Over 9 rounds of play, 66 players completed a total of 132 games in the 2022 Can’t Stop PBEM tournament. This was the highest turnout for any PBEM tournament I have run to date, thank you to all who participated. The event was played using a single-game double-elimination format with rounds continuing until only one player remained with fewer than two losses.
During the early rounds, Can’t Stop demonstrated its capricious nature as two of the top three finishers from 2021 were eliminated after the first two rounds. Ultimately, no laurelists from last year’s tournament repeated in the top six.
By Round 6, only two players remained undefeated: Bill Masek and Haakon Monson. Bill got two early steps on the 12, while Haakon’s first turn sent him half-way up on the 9, which he then capped on his next turn. Unfortunately for Haakon he then busted on his next three turns while Bill made steady progress and won with 5-8-12.
Both Bill and Haakon lost in Round 7, which awarded Haakon fifth place overall. Two other players were eliminated in this round, with Chris Houle earning sixth place laurels over Laurie Wojtaszczyk on the second tiebreaker (opponent win percentage). Bill’s loss set up a true semifinal with the three remaining players: Grant LaDue, Aran Warszawski, and Dan Elkins.
In the first game, Grant unluckily busted immediately after setting up a 6-7-8 turn. Aran quickly capped the 8, followed by Grant locking down the 7 and 10 on successive turns. On the next turn Aran finished the 2 column and got one away from the top of 12, stopping after only pushing up those two tracks. Both players then tried to make progress up the 6 and 9, but Grant’s dice failed him twice allowing Aran to claim victory with 2-6-8.
The second semifinal started with four straight early busts before Bill was able to stop halfway up the 8 on his third turn, followed by Dan doing the same on the 6. Both players struggled with the dice throughout, and in total nine turns ended in failures. Bill capped the 8, followed by Dan claiming the 6 and moving to three away on the 7. However, Bill aggressively pushed up the 7 to erase Dan’s progress and end the turn one away on the 2. Dan claimed the 9 on the next turn and joined Bill near the top of the 2 column before passing. Dan would not get another turn as Bill found the 2 needed to claim his place in the final.
The dice were extremely unkind to Bill in the final, as he busted very quickly on 6 of his 7 turns. Aran capitalized to make safe and steady progress up the tracks, capping 3-5-7, and claiming the 2022 Can’t Stop PBEM championship. Top six finishers were:
- Aran Warszawski
- Bill Masek
- Grant LaDue
- Dan Elkins
- Haakon Monsen
- Chris Houle
Of the 132 games played in the tournament, 67 of them (51%) were won by the player taking the first turn of the game. Haakon Monsen achieved the only 4-column victory, simultaneously capping the 6 and the 7 on the final turn of his Round 3 matchup.
The craziest finish of the tournament goes to Marc Gibbens in his third round game. After busting on 7 of his first 9 turns, Marc found himself down 2-0 with his opponent one step away on three tracks. Marc was able to progress up the 2, 6, and 12, completing each one on separate rolls to cap all three in a single turn.
Below is the data for completed columns of winning players, with comparisons to last year’s tournament:
- 2 was used by 24% of winners (+3% over 2021)
- 3 was used by 8% of winners (-5% over 2021)
- 4 was used by 17% of winners (+4% over 2021)
- 5 was used by 23% of winners (-3% over 2021)
- 6 was used by 48% of winners (-5% over 2021)
- 7 was used by 52% of winners (-9% over 2021)
- 8 was used by 47% of winners (+0% over 2021)
- 9 was used by 27% of winners (+9% over 2021)
- 10 was used by 17% of winners (+2% over 2021)
- 11 was used by 13% of winners (+9% over 2021)
- 12 was used by 23% of winners (-4% over 2021)
Once again 6, 7, and 8 were the most likely to appear on a winner’s scorecard. However this year’s winners relied less on the 6 and 7, while 9 and 11 showed large gains. The 11’s improvement is particularly remarkable after it was by far the worst performing number in 2021 and at previous WBC tournaments.
Once again congratulations to all of the laurelists, and thank you to everyone who participated in the event.