Games Played at 2006 WBC
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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As usual, one of the high points of the gaming calendar is the annual World Boardgaming Championships, which last year moved from Maryland to Lancaster, PA. It's a bit of a drive (I would have preferred it had stayed closer to home in MD), I've had a few hotel issues, but in general this year was better than last. In part, it was because I got more control over my schedule plus I was there a full seven days (from Sunday evening through Sunday afternoon), mainly because they added a pre-Con containing many of my favorite games, so for the first time I bought a higher level membership that entitled me to attend the pre-Cons as well.

Here's a summary of what I played: 44 games in all, 22 different games, 14 different tournaments (including three Pre-Cons), with a heavy leaning towards tournaments: 34 of the 44 games were in some tournament or another. The list below is largely chronological, but keep in mind some of the tournaments with multiple rounds were spread over several days. NOTE: There will be 23 games on the list because I was involved in demoing a game which I unfortunately did not get to play.

When I play in tournaments at WBC, there are only a few I really target and try to win -- I decide this based on the schedule plus what games I really am doing well. This year I targeted just three such games -- Puerto Rico (heck, I'm the GM, which means that I have to show up for all the games anyway); Power Grid; and Adel Verplichtet (aka Hoity Toity aka Hook and Crook) where I have three times finished in the top 3). Other tournaments I play in just for the experience, to help the GM get the numbers of (so the event will return next year), or often just to learn to play the game a bit better.

As I mentioned before, I had a more enjoyable WBC this year, not that the pace was any less frenetic, but that I was able to find a way to play my five all-time favorites in tournaments, and 8 of my top 10 (7 in tournaments, one in open gaming). One two games I didn't play because of other schedule commitments were Princes of Florence and Taj Mahal, which may suggest I might want to consider adjusting my top 10 list.
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1. Board Game: Coyote [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:1437]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Played 3 times in open gaming. First game played on Sunday night when I hooked up with Dave Dockter and some of his wargaming buddies who were looking for a break from Paths of Glory, Hannibal, or one of the other umpteen wargame pre-Cons going on -- so far the EuroGamers only have their pre-Con games on Monday-Tuesday. Everyone in their group loved it, they were laughing, drinking beer, taking pictures. Played two more times in opening gaming, once with a group that included Larry Chong, Paul Haynes and Erik Arneson, a nice guy whom I met for the first time (he has his one boardgame newsletter on the internet). Another game I recall had Puerto Rico expert Dave Platnick and Bob Cranshaw. What's cool about this game is how stupid everyone looks when they move their head and try to do the mental arithmetic. For me, this is a great fun party game, can't see anyone going back to stuff like Liar's Dice or Bang or even Werewolf after playing this one.
 
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2. Board Game: Nobody but Us Chickens [Average Rating:6.20 Overall Rank:2780]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Played once, Sunday night with the same wargamers group. It was OK, simple but quick mechanic I like where you have a set of cards and must play one each round. Would play a again if looking for a quick game.
 
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3. Board Game: Kreta [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:904]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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After playing Coyote and the Chicken game on a table just outside the Paradise room, wondered in and found GCOM President and BPA Board Member Keith Levy and his daughter Shira and got into a game of Kreta with them and a fourth player. This was one of the 10 games included in the brand new Showcase Sampler event (10 Eurogames that had not been part of WBC before) that proved to be a huge success, 96 people for a non-plaque bearing event. (There were some game prizes, though, and I did well enough to qualify for one.)
 
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4. Board Game: Tsuro [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:648]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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The group with Keith and Shira also talked me into a game of Tsuro, which I found was OK but perhaps a bit too luck-driven. Again, OK for a filler game.
 
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5. Board Game: Attika [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:395]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Monday morning, after helping Keith lug stuff into the Wheatland room (we had a computerized scoring system set up to score all the Sampler Showcase games). I signed in for the first event of the pre-Con: Attika. I fully expected to play only one game and then start playing Sampler Showcase games, which started a hour later. Turns out I won my first game in about 30 minutes with a shrine connection, so I had to keep playing. Then I won my second game. That paired me up in the third round with Bruce Reiff, one of the CABS guys from Columbus who's good at many games, including Attika. I gave Bruce a good tussle in a reasonably close game where neither of us really threatened a temple connection. His more efficient building got him to 30 about 3-4 turns ahead of me. Since Bruce went on to win the whole thing, I don't feel too bad about the loss, particularly since Attika is a game I haven't played much frequently. Since it was a double elimination tournament, I decided to give it one more try and this time my opponent was Rebecca Hebner, one of the top female gamers at WBC, who a few years back carted off the all-time record number of first place plaques, four or five, at one convention. I started off really well, was close to connecting on shrines when she pulled the one building that enabled her to block me for free, and right after that she popped a stack to make a future connection impossible. It came down to who could build more efficiently to get to 30 first and a few inaccurate moves on my part plus some good play by Rebecca gave her the win and a spot in the quarterfinals. Rebecca and I kept up alot of friendly banter during the game, and it was fun for me, hope to get to play her in some games at WBC again.

Only downside was the time commitment playing the four Attika games put me behind schedule in my plans to play alot of Showcase Sampler games on Monday, given that Die Macher (my all time favorite) was up Tuesday morning.
 
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6. Board Game: Dream Factory [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:382]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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After Attika, found time to work in a game of Traumfabrik, one of my all-time favorites and certainly my favorite Knizia game. Played two games in the sampler, once on Monday and again on Tuesday in a group that included Larry Chong, Eric Freeman and Erik Arnesen. I remember the Tuesday game alot better, as I managed to come in ahead of Larry and Eric F., a real feather in the old cap as Eric Freeman, as he did in the Wild Card event, came in first in the Showcase Sampler. Eric was also the GM for Traumfabrik in the sampler, and as it turned out, Traumfabrik (one of the older games there) proved to be the most popular by a wide margin, as it was played 14 times by 44 different people, more often I bet than many of the more-established plaque bearing events. I'm hopeful this will be enough for it to be voted in to the main field of games for next year's WBC.
 
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7. Board Game: Railways of the World [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:54]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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This is the only game on the list here that I did not actually get to play. On Monday afternoon, ran into gaming buddy Larry Chong from the Philadelphia area and we took the time to grab a bite to eat at the nearby Appleby's down the street -- my only meal outside the LH facilities once the gaming got started -- and Larry was interested in RR Tycoon, which I was demoing at 6 that day. I made sure I got Larry into the demo game, and soon five others showed up -- a full table, which meant I was teaching the game but unable to play. So, that's why the game is on the list. We had one "ringer" in the group who had actually played before, I believe it was a guy named Chris, who became the runaway leader by taking some early bonus cards.

I prefer RRT to its close cousin, Age of Steam, because of the greater range of options it offers the players and hey, the bits are cooler. With Eagle Games going under, though, wonder how much support (future maps ane expansions) the game is going to have.
 
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8. Board Game: Vegas Showdown [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:275]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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The Railroad Tycoon demo ran long and after a brief hiatus assisting Parthenon GM and co-designer Andrew Parks -- who had two games going at once -- as well as giving a group a refresher course on Kreta, one of the other fine Sampler games, I got started with a 10 PM demo game of Vegas Showdown. We had five for the demo, but since one of them (Dave Platnick) didn't have the appropriate badge, I took over his seat so we could count it as an official game. I remember Richard Irving, a very fine gamer with lots of WBC experience, and Barb Flaxington, a WBC champ at games like Puerto Rico and Tikal, were also playing. I managed to pull out the win, and of course Dave was there taking credit for it (and I didn't always listen to his advice, too).

I was pleased that I was able to win two games in the Sampler, beating Eric Freeman (who came in first overall) in Traumfabrik and Richard Irving (who came in second) in Vegas Showdown. The points from these two wins put me somewhere around 10th in the overall standings, good enough to claim a prize. I chose a shrink-wrap copy of Reef Encounter, which was probably the best-looking game of those I don't own sitting on the prize table at the time.
 
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9. Board Game: Die Macher [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:97]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Tuesday morning was the big Die Macher tournament and if I sound enthusiastic, it is because Die Macher is my favorite game of all time although I'm lucky to get in 3-4 games a year. 2006 was Die Macher's fourth year at the WBC. Frankly, because it's a five hour game, it has conflicted with many other shorter games that has caused attendance to suffer during the main week of WBC where there are 140 plus games offered. As a matter of fact, last year when attendance dropped to 10 I couldn't make it because of a one-hour overlap with a Puerto Rico heat where I was GM. This time, as a PreCon, attendance almost doubled, to 18, and for the first time we had four tables going at once.

I was paired with Pete Staab, who ironically had won the last game I played, and Pete beat me again. I managed to come in third and of course did not advance to the final later that day. I do recall one of the two players I finished ahead of was Roger Whitney, last year's champion, who simply had a bad game. Rounding out the field were Chris Trimmer, who still managed to come home third in the Sampler, and Pete Pollard, who I think made it to the final with a second to Pete Staab.

A game of Die Macher is about the most intense gaming experience there is, and you cannot really take a break as you might miss something. The tournament was won by Ted Simmons, son of the GM, Steve Simmons. I know both of them real well not just from WBC but from gaming sessions hosted by Tom DeMarco and Anne Norton in the Philadelphia area. Ted is about to enter college this fall and the ironic thing is, he did not even care much for Die Macher until the last year or so and now he is the WBC Champion.

The Die Macher community is a tight knit group, and all of the finalists (Ted, Pete Staab, Pete Pollard, Lyman Moquin, and Tom Browne) are people I've played the game against. Hope is did well enough to merit a return engagement at the WBC.
 
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10. Board Game: Thurn and Taxis [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:258]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Played twice during the WBC, once in open gaming on Tuesday and then during the first heat on Wednesday night. I was attracted to T and T in part because the same guy who desinged Puerto Rico designed this game (along with his wife, Karen Seyfarth). It's not quite as heavy duty as PR, maybe around the same level as San Juan where there are different ways to score points and win.

The pickup game on Tuesday was with Larry, Beth, and Erik A., and I remember having a pretty bad time of it and Larry just running away with the game.

In my tournament game on Wednesday evening, I was paired with David Gagne (a Quebec area gamer), Donna Balkan, and a fellow Marylander named Raphael Lehrer. David played really well and took the game. But this is kind of one of the neat things about WBC--you actually run into people from your own area you have not met before, and I'm hoping to see Raphael at more GCOM gaming events in the future, in particular EuroQuest in the fall.

The Thurn and Taxis tourney had a real good turnout despite being a late addition to the WBC lineup, and on the final day of the Con it was announced as the "Hot New Game" for EuroQuest IV in the fall.
 
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11. Board Game: Sports Illustrated Baseball [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:3318]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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You'll see I'm almost halfway through my list of games but chronologically we're at Tuesday evening and the start up of the WBC proper (first events and demos start at 6 PM typically). I had a big scheduling dilemna -- to play Caylus, the hot new Euro game of the past year -- or to sign up for a game I'd enjoyed before in a different genre, an event with a new GM and a free-format format. Sorry to disappoint you Caylus lovers out there, but I decided to go for Superstar Baseball.

Thursday night in the Hopewell room we got our team sheets and began drafting teams. My name was called out like 4th or 5th, and I decided to go with one of two Negro League All-Star teams featuring guys like Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson. The format was you could play anyone you wanted, but with diminishing returns after the first couple of games -- so usually you found someone with a team, played a couple of games.

My team got in about 8 games over the course of the Con, not enough to get enough points to advance, even if I could find time in my schedule later in the week. I think my final record was 5 wins and 3 defeats, and I had a four-game win streak that included a three-hitter by Satchel Paige against the Yankees and Babe Ruth. Ruth had two home runs taken away by Paige's piching numbers. There was one 12-inning marathon game we played at about 12 AM, another Paige victory (he went 3-0 for the team) that came in the bottom of the 12th.

I really like the concept of the event, but the free-form nature made it kind of hit-or-miss if you weren't playing with the sports game group (Paydirt, March Madness, etc) which I was not. Then there was the issue that some of the scoresheets that were shoved under a door may have been lost. I give the event an A for concept but a D for execution.
 
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12. Board Game: Parthenon: Rise of the Aegean [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:1842]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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This was one of the Showcase Sampler games I was looking forward to playing, particularly since the GM was co-designer, Andrew Parks. I told Andy I really wanted to get in a game with him before the event ended, but unfortunately after the Die Macher game our schedules didn't track on Tuesday (and this after those Attika games sort of messed things up on Monday) so I had to settle for a late nite pickup game with Beth, Rodney and Skip on Tuesday night. Rodney had placed only once before, so I had to do the duties of explaining the rules (another reason I wished Andrew were still around!). Skip was real enthusiastic about the game and was doing real well. Then Rodney started to make a move. I got my Wonders plans real early and was able to complete them before everyone else, and finally got enough gold to build the remaining structures to win. It was an exhausting game that tired everyone out, but I still prefer Parthenon to just about every other Civ-building game out there.

Final stats for the Showcase Sampler: 48 total games played by 96 different people. Impressive, considering it was just about the only official event at WBC without a plaque going to the winner.
 
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13. Board Game: Fairy Tale [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:528]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Some time on Tuesday (or maybe it was Monday, who knows) I got into a game of this being taught by Dave Platnick, of all people. All I remember it was late at night (I think right after one of the Coyote games) and I couldn't keep up with Dave's explanation (he has a habit of talking a million miles a minute) but I recall something about laying down matching cards being good, I tried to do this, and I won!!
 
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14. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:11]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Wednesday morning 9 AM and it was time to focus away from the fun of the Showcase Sampler and the open gaming and in to the more serious competitions.

Power Grid has been one of my better games over the past year, I've won quite a bit, and it was one event I had marked down the semis and even final should I advance. Last year I won two heats and came pretty close in the semifinal, losing out to Rod Spade. Rod, who is a GCOM member who lives in the Lancaster area, told me he was focusing on other games. However, due to the schedule conflicts with other heats, it was win this first 9 AM heat and advance or not play Power Grid any more.

We were paired together in five-player games -- I chose to play with the Germany map over the US map. I was paired with Ted Simmons, fresh from his Die Macher win, and the 2005 defending champ, Jim Castonguy. Rob Bucchieri was one of the other players. Jim kept up a constant stream of chatter during the game, freely offering strategy tips to the other players. When he offered advice to me, sometimes it was not always the right move. I broke out to 7 cities first and managed to win a fairly tight game with Jim second. Afterwards, he complimented me on my play.

I had cleared my schedule to play in the next round, the Semifinals, on Friday night. This time it was the Italy map, a map I done fairly well on up until the PrezCon finals last February when I was thoroughtly trounced. Five players again, which made it really crowded. Two fellow Maryland gamers (Phil Rennert and Pete Eirich) were in the game. I opted to start building in Sicily while the others started in the crowded quarters up north. The main thing was the weird way the power plants came out, all the big numbers out early. I think the guy who won got the 35 plant real cheap real early and ran away with the game. I was thoroughly out of it by the end-game and only barely managed to escape the cellar. Phil I believe edged Pete for second, but both of them played fine games. Don't know who won the tournament, but I know the guy I beat (Jim, the defending champ) told me he had won his semi to reach the final again.
 
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15. Board Game: Manifest Destiny [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:1932]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Wednesday afternoon I hooked up with Bill Crenshaw once again to play his excellent game, adapted from the similar Age of Renaissance, called Manifest Destiny. Good turnout, had four games going at once, most if not all 5-player. This is one of the events I come to play just once for the experience, not caring about advancement.

Can't recall much about the game, Chris Trimmer from the Die Macher game was in it as my neighbor to the north (I bid 0 and wound up with Pennsylvania). I think I came in third or fourth, but it was a fun 3-4 hours. Will probably play it again at PrezCon or WBC. Bill Crenshaw, the game designer, is a good guy who has supported my Puerto Rico event in year's past and I certainly enjoy the opportunity to return the favor as I believe his game is a vast improvement over its predecessor, AoR.
 
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16. Board Game: Louis XIV [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:345]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Another one of those 9 AM starts, this time on Thursday morning. I had served as GM for Louis in 2005, and I felt obligated to help out Skip Maloney, this year's GM, as much as possible. Unfortunately, in a couple of areas, like scheduling, Skip didn't listen to my advice, and, a result (two of three heats at 9 AM), the event took a big attendance hit, dropping from 66 to 33. Big tip here: if you are a GM and want your event to succeed, (1) do NOT accept the option of allowing the Convention director to choose the time slot and (2) in picking your time slot, look at the prior year's schedule and try to minimize conflicts with similar games. Last year, with Louis, I picked the "soft" late night time slot which has always been a winner with new Euro games. Skip, with one additional heat, managed to have the game stuck in some really bad time slots, and the attendance drop will probably put it on the bubble for making it back next year.

My game was a four-player against Blair Morgan, Winton Lemoine and Kevin Brown. Kevin and Winton were particular nemesis of mine from past Cons where I always seemed to get paired with them and then lose big time. This game I recall I came in second behind Winton but ahead of Kevin and Blair.

Unfortunately, schedule conflicts prevented me from playing any more games than just this one. I could have played in the final Saturday 9 AM heat, but was just too darn tired to get up that morning.

One of my gripes about BPA-imposed rules for the Con was some mandated MESE tiebreaker rules that required alot of math-- and right after the third heat I had to help Skip do the tiebreakers for the players in his event, since he was planning on taking a bunch of alternates to the semis later that day. The time spent on doing this put me behind schedule and I didn't really get a full lunch, eating on the fly while trying to run the final heat of Puerto Rico.

Saturday night Skip and another of the players (Eric Freeman) came pleading with me to play in the semis (they were short warm bodies) but I was more interested in playing Adel (see entry under Hoity Toity below).

I'm quite proud of the fact that as GM I helped shepherd four great games (Puerto Rico, Princes of Florence, San Juan and Louis) into the WBC "Century" list of games. Selecting the right time slot is the key. This year Louis did not have those time slots, and the event suffered.
 
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17. Board Game: 1826 [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:2765]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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This started out as strictly and 1830 tourney in the old Avalon Hill days but Pierre LeBoeuf, another GCOM member, who runs this tournament has done a fine job of working in the different maps. In the past he has added in 1856 and 1870, and this year there was a heat for 18EU, 1846 and 1826. Since I had played 18EU and 1846 (both with Pierre) in the last year, I opted for 1826. I was paired with David Fritsch, David Metheny, and Lane Newberry, all veteran 18xx players -- so I knew I was probably in for some schoolin.

David F, who had played the 1826 game the most, did most of the talking and after saying how crappy the Alsatian was, but then he put in an opening bid for it. I outbid him while Lane got the Paris and Dave M., the Belge. To my surprise, David let me have it and started another RR, the Nord. Right at the outset, I felt I had been snookered.

The 5-6 hour game proceeded at a slow pace (I took several breaks during the game to refresh myself with food and drink, including a trip to track down the nearest relatives of a child who had been slightly injured near the junior's tournament area) and in the end I prided myself, after the final train buys, on not finishing last. Lane took the win over David F. with me coming in third ahead of Dave M. I actually played a kind of kingmaker role late in the game by selling some of Dave F's company when I could have sold some of Lane's. The high point of the game for me was getting into a rules discussion and having the GM -- after consulting with the real 18xx expert, Barrington Beavis, who comes all the way from the UK to play 18xx games each year -- rule in my favor when it was Dave F. who supposedly knew the game so well.

A pleasant game but a bit of a mental grind particularly near the end. For next year I need to lobby Pierre on the next new map to include -- how about 2038 or UR 1830 BC?
 
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18. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.14 Overall Rank:5]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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This is the tournament I have run for 5 years since its inception so I will post a report on the Puerto Rico BGG page in a few days. I may also post follow-ups here on individual games I played. I would up playing a total of five games -- more than ever before -- and this after sitting out the third heat. Yes, with three heats, quarters and semis, you do the math -- I did reach the final of my own tournament for the first time ever!

Overall, numbers were down to 136 -- which doesn't seem that low but it's our lowest ever, and I'm pretty sure after conferring with Ticket to Ride GM Tom McCorry that PR will not lead the Con in attendance after four straight years at the top.
 
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19. Board Game: Twilight Struggle [Average Rating:8.34 Overall Rank:1]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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This was one of those games I just wanted to play for the experience. The rounds were scheduled for three hours apiece so it was at least a full day commitment for those seeking to get to the top honors.

I was paired with Mitch Lake, who said he had played the game about 5-10 times (same as me) and brought a very nice-looking laminated plastic overlay map. We played with my game, however, a mistake as it turned out, as not all the Early War cards were segregated after our last play. Unfortunately, we didn't discover this until we ran out of cards dealing them out for turn 2 -- which shouldn't happen until turn 3. I was prepared to go on but Mitch called the GM over and guess what -- 45 minutes down the drain and we restarted, way behind everyone else after a slow start anyway.

I played the Russians after bidding one VP. As it turned out, I won the game in the first or second turn of MidWar by establishing a couple of dominances in Asia, Europe or the MidEast, scoring big on the Southeast card, and Mitch kind of threw in the towel with me up 15 or so when he drew the Africa card after I had control markers up the wazoo in the Dark Continent (the game was about 30 minutes away from being adjudicated anyway).

I heard Jason M. say TS got somewhere around 75, really good for a first time event and certainly enough to come back next year. My guess it will probably be #2 to Caylus for the new games this year -- Caylus had around 92, if I recall what Tom McCorry told me.
 
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20. Board Game: Stock Car Championship Racing Card Game [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:2695]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Three heats were played -- got in two of them. This is #3 on my all-time list of games, like it so much we ran a series of races within Games Club of Maryland last year. One of the highlights of the week for me was being paired in one race with GM and co-designer Mike Garton, but unfortunately didn't get to "race" much with Mike as he developed transmission trouble and became a slow car, repeatedly lapped and used as Two Wides. Knowing I could not compete if I advanced (another schedule overlap with Puerto Rico) I didn't push as hard as otherwise, but had a fun time.

This year I really appreciated how Mike ran the event very efficiently, as I was worried about the fact I had to GM a PR heat right after, but it was never an issue as the races were all completed well within the time limit.
 
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21. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:262]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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First time played in a tournament. I've come lately as a fan of this game -- it's a great filler and we play it quite a bit at a local games club chapter where I am the host. The GM, Ivan Lawson, really seemed on top of what he is doing, had picked good time slots, and when he handed me a chit that said I was player #109 I knew he had a lot of people in the tournament.

I played just one game, 11 PM Friday night, against Larry York. Larry struggled in our game, which I won handily. But that was it for me; this was another event I played just for the experience where schedule conflicts prevented me from playing further.
 
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22. Board Game: Hoity Toity [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:906]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Saturday night is the traditional time slot for this event. In recent years, however, there's been a pretty big drop in attendance. Two years ago, in 2004, I reached the final table and came away with the third place plaque despite having won just one of six games. The first four games are played on a point system where every game counts so getting alot of seconds can be just as valuable as getting a win.

Skip and Eric F. had both looked me up, begging me to join them in the Louis 14th semis, that started at the same time. I informed them I had commitment to Ray Pfeiffer, the long-time Adel GM, that I would play in his event, so I declined to play Louis. Besides, Adel is on my all time top five and Louis is not.

I knew I was in trouble from the get-go when I was paired with Mark Houde, the guy who had won the tournament in 2004. I was doing OK but Marc played the front runner strategy and with just four players, it was hard to thieve him down to break his collection. Josh Adelson, aka Mister Cranky, was in the game. To make a long story short, I had my worst run in Adel ever, finishing last, next to last, then last, dropping out early after three of four games. With nothing elst to do, went back to my room to finish my GM paperwork for Puerto Rico (you have to turn in a list with all entrants on it, which takes longer than it thinks because you can't list someone twice -- so, lacking a computer, I use a set of 3x5 cards with badge numbers on it but it takes a long time). This time I wrapped up fairly early, before midnight, and was out looking for some open gaming.
 
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23. Board Game: Mermaid Rain [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:3185]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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This game, another on my Top 10 list, is a rare gem that is hard to get. It was therefore not on the agenda at WBC and so I played it as a pick-up game Saturday night (last night of the Con as everyone left on Sunday) with three Maryland gamers: Neil, Beth and Raphael. Neil and Beth are regulars at my local games club in Laurel and Raphael is the guy from the Thurn and Taxis game mentioned above. Ironically, Raphael is also Beth's last name. Raphael (the guy) was new to the game but took to it with great enthusiasm. It was, as usual, a close and exciting game, right down to the final tribute to the witch, and Neil was the winner.
 
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