Borderlands Games in Salem, OR held a fantastic Board Game Expo and Settlers of Catan Tournament last weekend that proved quite successful with local gamers. Some 20 participants in the Tournament turned out to support a local food bank, as the entry fee was a $5 or 5 cans donation to a local food bank. 6 tables, 5 game rounds and as many hours later, one lucky winner was awarded the Settlers of Catan 3D Collector's Edition.
The tournament began at 1pm and the store opens at 10am, so of course I was there as soon as the employees were, ready to rock the worlds of so many Salemites. I really enjoyed some of the games on display that I'd never played, specifically Guillotine, playing some 4 games or so between tournament rounds and preparing for the tournament itself. To get my atypical competitive juices flowing, I finished off an unfinished game of Cities and Knights that my father-in-law began, and had a lot of fun explaining it and other games to the spectators and participants. Overall, the expo itself brought together a really solid combination of salesmanship amongst the demo-ers, and that friendly, "hey, check out this sweet game" feeling all true board gamers love to express.
At one the tournament started with a quick explanation of how the games were to be played and how many rounds would be moderated by the tournament officials. 3 normal game rounds, grouped at random in fours and threes, with the top 16 in overall victory points after those games advancing to the single elimination semi-final, and the winners of each of the four semi-finalist groups finishing the day with a one shot final game.
My first two games found me the winner, with the second game ending particularly notably. After placing starting settlements last (now considered by this gamer to be the best starting position for planning purposes) I found my group rolling some uncommon numbers fairly frequently. The fours and tens and threes just kept coming, flooding my stocks with Ore, Sheep, and Wheat. After upgrading both my settlements into cities and joing their roads to form five roads total (taking longest road) I focused on development cards. My lack of bricks was shameful to say the least, completely stunting my ability for growth. I ended up with three soldiers after building thre d-cards and played them on each of the next three turns as I built three more d-cards during the same time, two were victory points, bringing my total to ten! I was amazed, as were my fellow players, because having only six point showing, then swooping in for the win before most of them could manage five points! Fastest win ever = 2 cities, longest road, largest army, and 2 V points to win!
Game three was an outright shame, and well deserved after my flawless luck in game two. I ended the game with 4 victory points, shamefully ending my winning streak, but still ensuring my place in the semi-finals.
Repeat luck in the semi-final round, unable to draw any cards due to great placement (I was on a 4, 5, 2x 6, 8,2x 9) and horrible rolling. (11 rolled 18 times!~?!?!?) Ending with 6 victory points, my luck had run out and the tournament continued without me. To add insult to injury, the winner at my table had only been playing since his first game that day! What a heartbreak for a diehard like myself.
All in all, I want to encourage gamers to get their local stores to do more expo's and the like. I can't tell you about the feeling of recommending a game to a father of three just trying to keep his kids away from the TV, and having him demo it and walk out with his own copy. It's great, and even if you're not competitive or super into the game that might be tournament played, it's always nice to game with some people who are there for fun, and that could be you!