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Dixiecon 27 (2013) Report
Memorial Day Weekend – time once again to host Dixiecon in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. We had a wonderful collection of both old-timers and new attendees this year. The first step in the process is Thursday night before the Con itself begins on Friday. After rearranging the basement study lounge where the Con takes place, it was time to figure out who our Thursday night gamers were and what we would play. Though we were missing some of the usual suspects, we had a nice crowd consisting of Doc Binder, Dave Maletsky, Rich O’Brien, Peter Yeargin, Andy Bartalone, and yours truly David Hood.
We started with some Sword of Rome before our sixth player arrived. After Maletsky and I did what we usually do in games together, destroy each other enough to set up Peter Yeargin to probably win the game, we bagged the game to set up a rousing six-player game of Campaign Trail. The game is not rocket science, but it is surprisingly fun and involves actual strategy in the 6-player version because as the players with the least number of Electoral Votes are eliminated, it becomes critically important to have some presence in those states because the votes then go to the 2nd place winner in each state. Doc Binder won in the end, which was fun.
It was even more fun to see Buffalo continue to get screwed in the card play portion of the game. He took it so, so well.
On Friday we had many gamers begin to arrive at lunchtime and thereafter, in preparation for the official start of the Con at 6pm. A number of games were played throughout the morning and afternoon, including Here I Stand (obviously), Twilight Struggle, Lost Cities, Navagador, Leaping Lemmings, Quirkle, Star Trek Catan, Ricochet Robots, A Fistful of Penguins, and what was clearly the non-Diplomacy game of the Con this year, Seven Wonders.
Even more important for posterity was the fact that we did actually have official Dixiecon basketball games this year. Game 1 consisted of two old guys (Doc Binder and me) versus the father and son pairing of Jim and Kevin O’Kelley. The Ancient Ones were able to sneak a win over the O’Kelleys – and then Andy Bartalone showed up. So we played a second game adding Buffalo to the O’Kelley team, at which time the Ancient Ones were, well, smushed. Oh well, easy come, easy go. At least none of us were chicken, we got out there and played. Next year I double-dog-dare some of the rest of our roundball players to get ready for some World Dipcon-sized games…
As the Diplomacy portion of the festivities got under way Friday night, I first began with the traditional bestowing of awards from past Dixiecons. Ike Porter was the lucky recipient of his 14th Place certificate from the 2002 Dipcon/Dixiecon. Yes, Ike was given an eleven-year old award. That was pretty awesome. Didn’t put much of a target on his back for this year though – I mean, it was a 14th Place award. Come on.
The Diplomacy tournament started off with the usual three boards in Round One. All three games ended in three-way draws, and interesting enough in all three games Austria was a draw participant. Other interesting facts include that World Dipcon champ Doc Binder was able, with his outstanding play, to get eliminated in 1903 without ever having built as Russia in Game 1C – and that Danny Grinnell got into a draw in his first tournament Dip game while his dad Eric, playing about his millionth tournament Dip game, sucked wind as an eliminated Turkey. More on that contrast later – where Eric is listed as the I Got Hammered winner for the weekend.
During Round One, we also started our tournament for the non-Dip gaming, which we call the Iron Man of Gaming. Games that hit the tables on Friday evening included Order of the Stick, Here I Stand, All Creatures Big and Small, Twixt, Spin Monkeys, Railroad Tycoon, both Settlers of and Star Trek Catan, Plague and Pestilence, and Dixiecon perennial Outpost. There was also some limited Poker played that night, to be expanded on greatly the following evening.
Saturday morning saw the Diplomacy Team Tournament, played at the same time as Round Two of the Dip tournament. The three games ended at very different times – 1905, 1907 and 1910. The long game ended in a fairly classic DIAS with Tom Kobrin’s England at 11, Jim O’Kelley’s France at 12 and Andy Bartalone’s Turkey at 11. Where did Eric Grinnell finish? Yeah, well, eliminated. Former Dixiecon Champ Adam Sigal sat out the round to play Here I Stand – which apparently did not affect his ability to tie for the win in the bloody Dip tournament. Other action on Saturday included games of San Juan, Battle Line, Puerto Rico, Source of the Nile, Le Havre, and lots of Poker. The traditional barbeque dinner was also served in between there somewhere. There was much eating.
With a number of people in the running to win the event, it all came down to the Round Three games beginning on Sunday morning. Again, we had three boards. Because of the looming time limit, players with smaller positions altered their playing styles slightly and actually opted for longer games with the hopes that they might end up in the draw when time was called. This almost worked in Game 3C, where Sigal, Heumann and Kobrin were racing against the clock to eliminate the vestiges of Jim Koehler’s France and Brian Lee’s Turkey. They were able to accomplish this just before time was called, mostly due to one order from Jimmy that would have kept him alive had he ordered differently. This turned out to be critical to the tournament outcome, as Sigal and Kobrin tied for the Dixiecon Championship based upon this result! The Sunday Iron Man gaming consisted of New World, Wellington, Detroit/Cleveland Grand Prix, Star Trek Catan, Settlers, Crappy Birthday (yes, you read that correctly), Twixt, and even more Seven Wonders.
After the awards were announced, many travelers headed home while those who could retreated to a nearby restaurant for the exchange of After Action Reports and general good times. Sunday night, after having played games for three days straight, we decided to…play more games. Titles included Age of Renaissance, Battlestar Galactica, Innovation, Ticket to Ride, Twilight Struggle, Guns and Cash, Plague and Pestilence, Railroad Tycoon, and Ticchu. It was a blast. Thanks to all for coming. We missed two of our usuals, Bruce Reiff and Bruce Allen, due to family health concerns – our thoughts and prayers were with them. We welcomed a number of new players to Dixiecon, including several young teens, which was a great thing to see. We discussed our plans to host World Dipcon in 2014 and will have a number of volunteers to help promote and run that event. If you want to be involved, please contact David Hood. There will be Facebook groups and other things starting on that front soon, so pay attention.
2013 Diplomacy tournament results:
Best Austria - Peter Yeargin