This was originally posted at the Strategicon website. In case you didn't know, I organize all of the board game tournaments for Strategicon, including the upcoming Gateway Convention, September 3-6, 2010!
After decades at the table, Dave Zevin won the Settlers of Catan Worldwide Championship pre-qualifiying round at Gamex 2010. We sat with Dave for a while to hear about his experience.
Interview conducted by Neil Figuracion
Strategicon: Dave, how long have you been gaming?
David Zevin: I've been gaming since I was three or four. I was playing the games that we [Eurogamers] don't really like as much any more, like Monopoly. I was kicking people's butts at Monopoly when I was like five or six, I would say.
S: How did you get introduced to Settlers of Catan?
DZ: Settlers, I was introduced to by a friend of mine in High School, pretty close to when it came to the United States, I think. I liked it then and I continue to like it today.
S: Have you played a lot of Settlers?
DZ: I have played a ton of Settlers. I would have to think that I have played more Settlers on an actual board than almost anybody that I can think of. Almost every day in college, me and my roommate would play two player Settlers, even though the box says 3-4. We would also play with our suite-mate a lot. One of them was Pre-Med and one of them was a Bio-Chemical Engineer. They both almost flunked out, because of Settlers, I think.
DZ: We would play just way too much. Like once, twice a day for that entire year. In college alone, I played 3 to 400 games.
S: What brought you to Strategicon?
DZ: I couldn't find enough gamers out here [in Los Angeles] that I knew. So I went online to look and found the SoCal Gamers. I found out through them that there was this game convention and I said "yeah, sure that sounds like something I'd like to do." It's just a very chill atmosphere and you can get in the games that you want to get in and you can win prizes. It's cool. I love it!
S: What inspired you to get involved in the World Championship competition?
DZ: I was kind of on the fence about it actually. I knew this would be a huge commitment. I know that I'm a pretty strong Settlers player. I won the Mega Settlers [tournament] a couple cons earlier. I was happy I did it, but it took up a good portion of my con and I knew this was going to take up even more. I wanted to do it. I wanted to see if I could make it to Indianapolis. See if I could represent the U.S. in Germany. I think that that would be awesome.
S: When you got to the pre-qualifier event last weekend, what was your experience like there?
DZ: It was positive. There were some good players. I was fortunate enough to have the best winning percentage there. The first game I lost. I won five straight after that. [joking] even I lose Settlers occasionally. Five out of six isn't bad.
S: [laughter] So what was it like playing with a group of Settlers players for hours.
DZ: It was kind of daunting by the sixth game in two days. You're kinda seeing sheep in your sleep. It was a good experience. I look forward to doing it again in Indianapolis.
S: You take it to the final table at Gamex. What was that final game experience like?
DZ: It was pretty easy actually. The semi-final was the scary one for me. There were a couple of instances... I kinda had to come out of nowhere to win that one. I had to use every trick of Settlers in my book to win that one. I wasn't getting the rolls. A lot of it comes down to initial placement and I got hosed. I was able to get some lucky cards at the right time and make some good moves and I won. The final game, I was ahead the whole game. People were teaming up against me the whole game and it really didn't matter beccause my placement was better and I was getting some lucky rolls. I started ahead and finished with a pretty healthy margin of victory.
S: So what does it feel like to represent your home convention?
DZ: I'm gonna do my best! It feels good. I'm gonna hopefully represent SoCal and hopefully take down these Midwesterners and Easterners. Show 'em what we're made of.
S: What do you have to say to your potential opponents?
DZ: I'm coming. You watch out!
S: [laughter] Thank you very much, Dave!
DZ: Thank you!
Click here for part 2, with the results of the GenCon tournament and more about David Zevin's journey on the Longest Road to the Settlers of Catan Worldwide Championships!
Also, check the Strategicon website for the board game events schedule. It's gonna be a rockin' fun weekend! See ya at the table.