Marc Berenbach's trip to WBC 2008
Marc Berenbach
United States
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Recommend
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
WBC 2008. Even though it is the one convention I vowed to attend this year, I also started a new job in June. I knew I would regret missing the con, so took the plunge and dipped into a negative vacation balance. To get the best value, I decided to attend for a full week, starting with the Hannibal pre-con on Sunday and leaving Sunday afternoon.

I drove the first leg of the journey from MA on Friday night. At my family's house, I relaxed and mostly played video games with my brothers, making sure to workout hard Saturday morning as I would be sleep-deprived and eating badly later during the week. As a vegetarian, it's hard to find decent AND convenient food in the Lancaster area.

On Sunday morning, I left for the easy remaining 2 hours of the drive with dreams of rampaging elephants and valiant centurions still vivid.
Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: wbc [+] [View All]
  • [+] Dice rolls
1. Board Game: Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:71]
 
Marc Berenbach
United States
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
My goals for the Hannibal tournament were simple: win a game and go 1-4, and learn as much as I can in the process. I had just started playing after the Valley Games re-release, and had played against only one opponent (who will make an appearance shortly).

However, I did some prepration for the tourney which involved writing a computer simulation of the battle cards. I used this to analyze the averages and variance for number of rounds, attrition, chances of victory. So, I felt like I at least had a good handle on when to initiate and avoid battles, as well as some expected range of the outcome.

Round 1 - Grant LaDue

He takes Carthage for 2, and we are underway. I am nervous as this is only my second Hannibal opponent ever and I am not sure what to expect. I sailed Longus with a large Roman stack to block Hannibal, who eventually took a side way around. I made a terrible mistake with Marcellus and ended up losing all of my generals and most of my CUs on turn 3. However, I was able to come back to a 10-8 province count later in the game with some more reinforcements. Grant knew what he was doing and took care of business, leaving me with no choice but to concede before finishing turn 9 with a 13-5 province count.

Overall Record: 0-1
Rome Record: 0-1
Carthage Record: 0-0

Round 2 - Chris Senhouse

Of all the people picked in the draw, I get paired with the only person besides my rd1 opponent who I had played Hannibal with. I feel bad that one of us will have to take a second loss early, but on the bright side I joke that at least one of us will have the win we crave.

I make my typical bid of 1 for Carthage to start the bidding, and he accepts. I don't remember this game much except for Hannibal winning his first battle, and then getting amazing cards for Carthage and double enveloping his major army (12 CU). He was never really in the game after that, and conceded on a turn after ending with >= 6 province deficit.

Chris decided to play a game of POG on Monday morning... and then came back to the Hannibal tourney to win 2 in a row... not bad for us newbies!

Overall Record: 1-1
Rome Record: 0-1
Carthage Record: 1-1

Round 3 - Ahmet Ilpars

My opponent took Carthage for 2... I resolved not to make the same mistakes as I had in rd1 as Rome. My opponent was clearly very experienced and knew the cards and rules very well. It was a very tense struggle with lots of sea movement and battles in Sicily. He had trouble getting offense going in Italy and I took back Gallia, while he took Syracuse.

He did not get the cards he needed in the very close battles, which slowly started giving me some impregnable defense. It came down to turn 9, and he made an error (which he realized immediately) by not leaving a CU in Western Numidia. Not having a 3-PC card left, after Western Numidia revolted the province count was 9-8-1 in Rome's favor.

Overall Record: 2-1
Rome Record: 1-1
Carthage Record: 1-0

Round 4 - Gary Dickson

I bid 1 for Carthage and Gary accepted the Romans. The game started out with carnage as I made a dangerous attack with Hannibal on P. Scipio's 10 army legion with no retreat path. I was attempting to battle on the tribal space, but a successful intercept meant I had to fight for my life with one less battle card. After charging elephants, an 11 on 13 battle ended with success for hannibal.

Soon after this, P. Scipio was double enveloped by Hannibal, leaving Hannibal to take Tarentum and 3 eastern provinces. Gary did not have better luck with Mago and his navy in Sicilia, and resigned after another lost key battle and an enormous political deficit.

I really enjoyed playing with Gary... he was very fun and laid back. He fell victim to some bad retreat rolls and battle cards, so I am sure he looks forward to a rematch next year.

Overall Record: 3-1
Rome Record: 1-1
Carthage Record: 2-0

Round 5 - Larry Luongo

It was hard to believe I was beginning a final battle for laurels after starting the tourney with such low expectations. After taking Carthage for 2 and chatting for a minute, the game quickly turned into one of the most interesting games I have played yet.

An 18-high Roman stack in Gallia quickly boxed Hannibal in... neither that stack nor Hannibal's stack fought any real battles the entire game. A secondary force subjucated the tribe in Luciana, and while I had Rome solidly locked up, Hanno and Hasbrudal had impressive armies for Carthage. Scipio Africanus joined Nero with 20 CUs to start a Spanish incursion which was blocked effectively by Hasbrudal (but Hasbrudal was taking attrition along the way). The defeats Rome suffered were mostly probes with fairly low retreat rolls, so luck swung in my favor there.

With Scipio in Araceli and Nero in Emportae Hasbrudal couldn't be in two places at once, and I successfully took Idubeda. My plan was to use my large Scipio army to take Celetebria and take back Corsica with a Nero campaign as Mago had only 3 CUs. On turn 8 I was Messenger Intercepted, and my last card play was a Truce to lessen the possible damage Carthage could do.

Unfortunately, in 9 cards I drew 0 playable events to break the truce. 19 cards out of 64 would have been playable at that point in the game, so the chance of this happening is about 7%. My luck for the tournament had caught up, plus he had Syracuse allies on his final draw (last card played of the game)... which would have made it a difficult turn for Rome either way. No strategy cards were played on the last turn, and Larry took a well-earned 10-8 Carthage victory.

Final Record: 3-2
Rome Record: 1-2
Carthage Record: 2-0


I will definitely attempt more practice, and maybe play some games on Wargameroom if work + school this fall allow it.

Here are some parting thoughts for Hannibal:

1) I had much fun, and may try some more CDW events in the future. It is hard to give up playing some of the Euros, but playing CDW scratches some of the competitive itch from my old Magic CCG days. The games were all very tense, which makes time fly quickly.

2) It seems many people like the battle cards in Hannibal. In my opinion, they break up and slow the game too much. The card game has some minor choices to make, but for the time and effect on the larger game I do not believe it is worthwhile. This is especially true for smaller battles, where the number of rounds for attrition is really the only thing being calculated. I think with some extra dice an identical effect can be gained from a combat resolution chart, including double envelopment and probe losses.

2) Messenger Intercepted is very powerful indeed, but mostly because of turn denial as opposed to card denial. If I went first and get Messenger Intercepted, my opponent gets 3 unanswered plays. I think the fairest errata would be that the player who plays Messenger Intercepted takes another turn immediately. They still get to draw a card from their opponent's hand and deny them a turn, but this way they only get 2 unanswered plays instead of 3.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
2. Board Game: Manoeuvre [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:423]
Marc Berenbach
United States
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Tuesday morning was Manoeuvre, and the 10am turnout was enormous. People were buying games on the spot so they could play in the tourney.

I made 3 heat victories, and lost to Chris Byrd in the first single elimination round with a 4-4 attrition count each. We each had a weak 5 guy in the end that could have been blown off the board, but it didn't happen and he won in nightfall.

All of my games went to nightfall, and I lost at least 3 units each game.

Manoeuvre is a good game, but there are some aspects of the small hand size (and unit specific cards) make it fiddly.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
3. Board Game: El Grande [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:26]
Marc Berenbach
United States
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Ah, good old El Grande. After a loss in the first heat, I did not have high expectations.

I won my second heat in a very strange game where all of the scoring cards came out in the first 3 or 4 turns. It was a close game until I was able to close it out with the 2-1-13 in round 3.

The semifinal was a tough game, featuring some previous winners and just some great play in general. Grabbing the mobile scoreboard and putting it in my corner region, and snagging the second mobile scoreboard defensively the next turn set me up for a lot of points. It was a very competitive, close game but I pulled out the win with good region choices for my Castillo cubes.

The final started off badly for me, as special scoring went rampant and left me in 4th place for most of the game. I focused mostly on board position and some good second places with one or two low-scoring firsts, as my Grande was in New Castille and was quickly overrun.

I was able to hold on to stay close with everyone else, and got some big scores in the last round piggy-backing on the leader to get 2nd place. Another great game which was very close until the last round.

I want to give a shout out to Rob Flowers for running a great game despite the 3 different rooms. He tracked the finals move by move, so when an accident happened (the Castillo accidentally got tipped and cubes spilled onto the board) he was able to correct it exactly and salvaged the game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
4. Board Game: Caylus [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:20]
Marc Berenbach
United States
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
After my 4th last year, my teammates were pulling for me to do well this year. Unfortunately, there were two very large problems. One is that I hadn't played a single game of Caylus since the last WBC... the second that the second Caylus heat overlapped with El Grande (which I wanted to play slightly more).

I made some bad mistakes in the game due to rust and lost to the runaway leader who played well and won in a blowout. I'd like to play Caylus more, but most of my regular opponents aren't interested in the game and I don't really play online (since I work at a software company, the last thing I want to do at home is stare at a computer screen).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
5. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.14 Overall Rank:5]
Marc Berenbach
United States
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
I love Puerto Rico. The detractors and bashers can claim that it's too scripted, or too overplayed. I guess if you look at it compared to chess, they are roughly correct. Millions of people play chess (overplayed), and it has scripted openings (scripted). But every game is challenging with its own difficult situation and tactics, and its determenism allows it to be analyzed to a depth that is not possible with other Euros.

After losing my first heat as seat 2, I resolved to think about strategies that could make seat 2 work better. In the second heat, I got seat 2 again. After the turn 1 settle (in which I took sugar), I took mayor instead. This denied seat 3 a man to use the small market, and gave me 3 guys on the next turn (used to man small sugar mill plus a quarry). From there I was able to get a factory and harbor, and the rest of the win was academic.

I then was able to gain a second win against the winners of other heats in round 3 in seat 4 which earned me a bye into the semis.

Given that I had done some deep thinking about seat 2, it was ironic that seat 2 won my semi-finals table as well. As seat 4, I got 2 corn to start. However, I made a terrible mistake by not taking a coffee (versus corn) which left me without a sellable income source as seat 3 had tobacco. I was not able to buy a wharf, and hence not able to activate my harbor an extra time on the last turn. Matt Peterson was hard to catch in seat 2 in any case as he purchased a Guild Hall and another large building, and got 45 points to 42 in seat one to my 38.

I definitely need some more practice from seats 3 and 4, as I am used to playing in seat 1 and 2.

Thanks to John and the assistant GMs for running what must be a difficult game with over a hundred people, and its relative complexity.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
6. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:33]
Marc Berenbach
United States
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
After winning a very close heat, my semifinal table had both Aaron Fuegi (last year's winner) and Craig Moffit (the GM), and some new blood as well (forgot your last name Janet!).

I don't play Tigris very much... I like the game but for some reason it doesn't seem to get played as much as others. My lifetime total is somewhere around 10 games.

This game starts out fast and furious with monuments being created left and right. I perhaps created a monster by making a monument early... probably not a wise play. Aaron and Craig benefitted the most from the monuments, but were missing blue tiles. I can tell you that I had all of them... dumping continuously I counted at least 18 blue tiles that I had in my possession over the course of the game. I also managed to get 4 treasures, but the key near the end was to attack a small kingdom with 2 green to gain 3 green (my deficient color). It didn't happen, and Craig rode the monuments to victory. A very enjoyable and well-fought game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
7. Board Game: Titan [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:536]
Marc Berenbach
United States
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
So much time, so little to do. I felt almost guilty that I didn't play as much Titan as I wanted to. I am still a very new player, but every time I play I pick up some things. In addition, Titan players are very helpful to new blood and are willing to discuss strategy for battles (after they massacre you of course ).

I got to play my one Titan game starting at 10pm on Thursday night. The other players had many games under their belt and were experienced. I made some bad recruiting decisions in the beginning which I won't do again (that 3rd clops would have been nice early). Mostly I stayed out of the way and watched two players get eliminated while I built up a Titan stack with 4 serpents, Angel, and Warlock. My opponent had a large stack with an Archangel and Angel, and some Hydras. However, his Titan stack was relatively weak. I was able to move my Titan stack into a position on the bottom ring to block the big stack. Meanwhile, I had a stack with two Giants ready to recruit colossi.

He couldn't wait to attack as I would get stronger but his Titan stack would stay about the same. I lost the battle in brush, but it was pretty close.

I was pretty happy with my play overall, especially as the game went on. It's too bad that it went until 7am, since I ended up sleeping through some other heats. Now, where is my reprint?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
8. Board Game: End of the Line [Average Rating:6.31 Unranked]
Marc Berenbach
United States
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
One of the best things about WBC is the short but fun events. I got to play Wits & Wagers and Liar's Dice for the first time, which were both a riot.

Unfortunately I didn't get to play as many new games as I would have liked (Imperial was on my short list), but there's always next year. I also had a hard time not playing Lost Cities... I won 3/3 heats last year but scheduling conflicts prevented me from playing more both times. Maybe next year I will forgo some other games instead.

On Sunday morning I headed back to Boston with a trunk full of games, leftover energy bar wrappers, and some great memories. I can see what keeps people coming back year after year. I had nothing but a good time with all of my opponents, and some great stories to tell ... until I get even better ones next year. See you then!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.