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Games I played at the WBC
Kevin Brown
United States
Macon
Georgia
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As the totally original title of the list suggests, these are the games I played at the World Boardgaming Championships.
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1. Board Game: Yspahan [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:288]
Kevin Brown
United States
Macon
Georgia
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My first game Tuesday was a pickup game. Richard Irving taught me this one then proceeded to crush me and another player (I am absolutely terrible with names, so expect lots of mentions of anonymous players). I might play this one again. It's pretty light.
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2. Board Game: El Grande [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:26]
Kevin Brown
United States
Macon
Georgia
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My first tournament game. My special pink pieces were a hit (I painted the brown ones pink because I had trouble telling them from the green) and the guy who chose them won. This was apparently the first time in WBC history that someone won an El Grande game playing pink.

I played again Thursday morning. The pink was chosen again, but with less success.

I didn't do particularly well in either game, finishing 4th and 3rd. One of the downsides of never getting to play at home, I guess.
 
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3. Board Game: Ming Dynasty [Average Rating:5.96 Overall Rank:3821]
Kevin Brown
United States
Macon
Georgia
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There was a demo of this going on in the lobby all week. It's Elfenland remade as an area control game, not very successfully. Doubt I'll play this one again.
 
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4. Board Game: Vegas Showdown [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:272]
Kevin Brown
United States
Macon
Georgia
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The first heat Tuesday went badly when someone purchased a Theater he couldn't play and was clearly never going to be able to play, when I could play it and would have won it over the other possible person who could play it the next turn. The guy who bought it came in last, the woman who couldn't have played it and didn't buy it won. There's a lesson there somewhere.

Won my second heat on Wednesday. In both games I was matched with a player who bought no blue tiles. He took second both times. It's a very different strategy, that obviously provides a significant income limit, but it seems workable. I might try it one of these days.

One win put me in the semifinals on Thursday. Won pretty handily. Got the Five Star and the Dragon Room, while the Theater never appeared.

We played the final on Friday morning, because none of us liked the scheduled Saturday time. I took third. I got a Buffet and a Fancy Restaurant before I got a regular Restaurant and spent much of the game purchasing one tile and placing another, much to the consternation of GM John Weber (who was trying to keep a game record). I got the Five Star here too, but it was too little, too late.
 
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5. Board Game: Nefertiti [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:653]
Kevin Brown
United States
Macon
Georgia
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Another game available for demo all week. Tried it twice, once Wednesday and once Thursday. Liked it much less the second time around. Another one I won't be buying.
 
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6. Board Game: Cuba [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:268]
Kevin Brown
United States
Macon
Georgia
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Won my heat Wednesday. Broke open a close game on the last turn with a 12 point shipment of oranges and cocaine that I bought at the market for 6 coins.

The final was tough for me. GM Michelle Hymowitz interpreted the Foreman as able to use buildings in either the same row or the same column as the worker. I have always played that it can use any buildings that are in the same row or column as the worker, including my heat where that was understood to be the rule by all the players. I don't agree with her, the rule doesn't say either/or, but it's not an impossible conclusion to reach. It's a poorly written rule. In any event, I went for the Cigar Factory/Zigarren-Cafe strategy and was doing OK until the Tobacco prices at the market went sky high and I couldn't maximize the cafe points. I wound up 4th.
 
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7. Board Game: The Princes of Florence [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:61]
Kevin Brown
United States
Macon
Georgia
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Of course I had to get my annual Princes debacle in. I didn't do anything spectacularly stupid this year, just had the dumb luck to be going 5th. Four of us were bunched up in the high 40s while the guy who went second was 20 points ahead. Typical Princes, and the main reason I think it's very overrated. It's a nice game, but it has a severe balance problem.
 
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8. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:11]
Kevin Brown
United States
Macon
Georgia
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On the US map with the Southeast out. I took a chance on winning while powering only 10, which was more than anyone else, but came up short after another player noticed I had a shot and convinced everyone to block me out. Missing an opportunity like that is almost always devastating, and this game was no exception. I finished 4th when the game ended the next turn.
 
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9. Board Game: Saint Petersburg [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:153]
Kevin Brown
United States
Macon
Georgia
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First heat Thursday was an easy win. I got two green upgrades on the first turn and wound up collecting 18 Rubles on turn two while everyone else was on 9 or 12. That enabled me to get some powerful blue buildings going and I built up a huge lead. It didn't matter that I had only six nobles at the end.

Won my second heat on Thursday as well. It was a closer game, ultimately decided by me getting an Observatory on the last turn and snagging an extra noble with it. I'm not a big Observatory fan generally, but it saved my hash this time.

In the semis I was put in a game that was intended to be a fast game, because one of the players (Arthur Field) was GMing another game an hour later. I started 4th in orange and third in green, which meant a low money strategy was needed. I got the most beautiful possible opening nobles, Judge-Author-Author-Author, which mitigated the disadvantage of going last. I never did get much green going, but I put together eight nobles by the end. On the last turn I calculated that I had enough to buy the cards in my hand and have 4 rubles left over. I had a Pub, but I wanted to keep a little money in case I needed to keep an orange upgrade from Arthur, so purchased only one point. That turned out to be costly as he never had a chance at the upgrade but he had enough cash to buy the one point that put him ahead of me. If I'd bought one more at the Pub we would have tied. Never mind that he would have won the tie breaker (he had money left, I would not have if I'd bought more at the Pub).
 
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10. Board Game: Brass [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:15]
Kevin Brown
United States
Macon
Georgia
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Got in a pickup game with Ananda Gupta and a couple of other guys. I won doing the Cotton thing. I managed to get one Level 3 on the board in the canal era, which is actually the same points as a Level 2 Shipyard. I put on the other two 3s and two 4s before the game ended, which was enough despite Ananda building all three shipyards.
 
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11. Board Game: Tinners' Trail [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:269]
Kevin Brown
United States
Macon
Georgia
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Jim McDanold taught me this one Thursday afternoon. It was the first new game I learned that I'd like to try again. I've forgotten who our third was, but he was impressed by my WNBA T-shirt. Said he'd never seen one before. I expect you'll be seeing more soon, the W is on the verge of blowing up big.
 
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12. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:94]
Kevin Brown
United States
Macon
Georgia
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Since I made the Ra finals last year I felt obligated to try to make it back. Got third in my Thursday heat. I needed to be more aggressive in the last era.

Took second in my other heat on Friday. I was in the hunt, but just couldn't get the tiles I needed.
 
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13. Board Game: Stock Car Championship Racing Card Game [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:2650]
Kevin Brown
United States
Macon
Georgia
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This is the only game in which I'd ever gotten wood at the WBC, and I really like it, so I had to give it another go. Took third in my Thursday heat, thanks to some timely Block cards late in the game. As often happens with me, I lingered around the back most of the race then moved up at the end.

Second heat, on Friday, I came second. This time I was hanging around the front all the way. I'm always amazed that people don't hold on to a Pass Outside for the end game.

Top three in each heat qualify for the final, so I was there Saturday night. The latest iteration of the tire wear/mandatory pit rule was used, and almost screwed up the race again. In the end, however, I pushed to the front and looked like I would win until Steven Caler pulled alongside at the last second. Still, I had a 960 speed rating card in my hand, which meant there were only two cards out of the 60 in his deck that could beat me. He had his 975, which he played for the win, relegating me to second. More wood for me, but disappointment at coming so close...
 
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14. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.15 Overall Rank:5]
Kevin Brown
United States
Macon
Georgia
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The obligatory PR heat for me was Friday. I came in second, and I know exactly where I screwed it up. I decided to take Captain before my Wharf was manned one turn, Mayor was available, and I never caught back up from the carnage.
 
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15. Board Game: Stone Age [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:48]
Kevin Brown
United States
Macon
Georgia
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Steve Quade taught me this one on Friday evening. It didn't take me long to figure out where I'd gone wrong, but by then it was too late to do anything about it. This feels like a game where you'll get dice whipped alot, but I'll definitely play it again given the chance. I actually have a copy that I've never played.
 
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16. Board Game: Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:78]
Kevin Brown
United States
Macon
Georgia
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One of the games I was most looking forward to playing turned into the worst experience of the convention. Got matched in a game with a kid who decided his fun would be to kill any colonist that shared a space with him in the new world. That mostly meant me. One of the weaknesses of AOE is that it's very difficult to transition from one strategy to another once you've gotten started. Basically he crippled me on a whim and I spent the next 2 1/2 hours playing out the string. The kid finished last, of course, with me a distant third. It was all the more annoying because I couldn't play the other heat. It conflicted with the St Pete semis.
 
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17. Board Game: Notre Dame [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:139]
Kevin Brown
United States
Macon
Georgia
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Sagrilarus and someone were setting up to play this and I jumped in. None of us had played before, so we learned it from the rules. Ghod only knows if we were doing it right, but Sag and I tied at 38 with the other player at 37. We were also even on the tiebreaker. I like the game and will play it again.
 
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18. Board Game: RoboRally [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:222]
Kevin Brown
United States
Macon
Georgia
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Played by the old rules, with virtual bots, which threw me off. I fell way behind, but came back to finish second, just three spaces from the last flag. There was considerable carnage after the first three players reached the second flag, which allowed me to catch up. I didn't expect to play this, but the fast game in the St Pete semis opened up the opportunity.
 
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19. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:6]
Kevin Brown
United States
Macon
Georgia
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The Sunday getaway game. I got to the tent before almost everyone else on Sunday morning and started reading the rules. It was the first time the library copies weren't checked out while I was around. Bronwen Heap came in while I was reading and offered to teach. We quickly filled a game of five. I started to get the hang of it about halfway through, enough to take third. I can see where I made some mistakes and will do better. It's a fascinating game and I can see why it's highly rated.
 
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