WBC: The best week of the year!
jeff mullet
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circleville
Ohio
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WBC is always the highlight of my year. Even though I'm a little spoiled by having well over 100 gamers every two weeks at our CABS game club meetings, there's nothing quite like WBC.

Where else can you have 140+ people playing in a tournament of Can't Stop, Liar's Dice and Slapshot, at the same place where you have 50+ people playing Combat Commander, War at Sea and Britannia?

Not to mention getting to see the gaming buddies that I only get to see once a year.
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1. Board Game: The Driving Spirit Safety Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
jeff mullet
United States
circleville
Ohio
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It's a long trip from Columbus, Ohio to Lancaster, PA. But lots of people travel even farther. We used to go with "just the guys" in the early days and play "Combat Password" to pass the time. (You were allowed to punch your partner if they gave bad clues)

These days, I take the wife and 3 kids, so no room for other gamers. In fact, this year I brought a trailer along to fit all the luggage and games.

We arrived safely on Sunday evening. I took the kids for a quick swim and got ready for the first game I was GMing during the Precon on Monday morning.
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2. Board Game: San Juan [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:162]
jeff mullet
United States
circleville
Ohio
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Here is my write up for the WBC yearbookfor this event:

Once again, this year we went with the two-player version and four swiss
preliminary rounds. We also used the optional rule that the first player
started with five cards and the second player got six. Both players then
discard down to a hand of four cards. Players were not forced to play all
rounds, but at least three wins were required to advance to a single
elimination bracket.

Also like last year, rounds were scheduled for one hour each. This year,
every game was finished within 45 minutes, even though a few of the players
had just been taught at the demo. While it was nice that slow play was not
a problem, it did leave all of us standing around for 15 to 25 minutes to
wait for the top of the hour, since some players would step away after their
games were finished. Therefore, next years rounds will start every 45
minutes. That will also shave off a full hour from the tournament.

Before the tournament began, there was some (good-natured) grumbling from
some of the players that a CABS member has won 3 of the 4 San Juan
tournaments at the WBC. In fact, Tom Browne boldly stated that his main
goal was to knock out a Cabbie rather than win the wood! There were six
Cabbies in this years tournament and we were all hoping to keep Tom from
reaching his goal.

Former champ Pete Stein was among the first Cabbies to fall, along with
Mark Geary and Mike Stanley. In the Single elimination brackets, Sean
McCulloch and another former champ, Bruce Reiff were defeated. In the
second elimination round, Tom Browne would get his chance. Tom cruised to a
relatively easy victory over the last Cabbie standing, Jeff Mullet. A
collective cheer rang out when it became apparent a non-Cabbie would win
this year.

Tom Browne ended up playing Euro-shark Eric Freeman in the finals.

Eric started strong on turn 1 by building a Quarry while Tom passed.
Advantage, Eric. The next turn, Tom built a Smithy, while Eric passed.
Turn 3 had Eric build a Poor House, while Tom built a Silver Smelter. The
momentum looked like it might be turning.

Turn 4, Eric built a Sugar Mill, while Tom passed. Turn 5, Tom built a
Prefecture, while Eric built a Trading Post. Now Tom was firmly ahead.
The Sugar Mill and Trading Post are two of the weakest buildings in the
game. Meanwhile, Tom is now at an advantage no matter what Occupation Eric
chooses.

Turn 6, Eric gets the best building in a 2 player game, the Library, while
Tom builds an Indigo Plant. It's starting to look like Tom either has a
Guild Hall, or he's taking a big risk that he's going to get one. Knowing
Tom, probably the former. Turn 7, Eric builds a Chapel and Tom builds a
Tobacco Storage.

Turn 8, Tom builds another Tobacco Storage, while Eric falls a little
further behind and passes. Turn 9, Eric builds a Coffee Market and Tom
builds another Indigo Plant. On turn 10, as expected, Tom builds a Guild
hall, while Eric builds a Black Market.

Turn 11, Eric tries to make a comeback by building a City Hall as Tom
passes. Tom slams the door shut by Building a Palace on turn 12, while
Eric is forced to pass. Turn 13, Eric builds a Hero, while Tom builds yet
another Tobacco Storage. On turn 14, Tom ends the game by building another
Silver Smelter, while Eric builds a Market Hall.

Eric could just not seem to get the good card draws and Tom had probably his
largest margin of victory in the tournament with a score of 42 to 34. Tom
got to have his cake and eat it too as he achieved his secondary goal of
winning the tournament. The Cabbies in the tournament had decided to all
chip in and pay for a membership to CABS for Tom, just to spite him, so that
a "Cabbie" would still be the champ. But the CABS board didn't think our
club's reputation could survive the hit it would take by having Tom as a
member.

Thanks to everyone for their fast play and good humor and sporstmanship
throughout the tournament.

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3. Board Game: High-Bid [Average Rating:5.72 Overall Rank:6883]
jeff mullet
United States
circleville
Ohio
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After the San Juan tournament, I got in my only open gaming of the con. Bruce Reiff, Ken Gutermuth and I refreshed fellow Cabbie Make Stanley on how to play the game, Auction. (formerly High Bid, aka The Collector)) I won one, Bruce won one and Ken won one. Mike would have the last laugh as I'll detail later.

When we were done, it was time to help with the *actual* auction pre-registration. I'm the "auction store manager", which basically means I'm one of the main manual labor guys. ;>

I really enjoy helping out with the auction, but it's a lot of work. I literally sweat like crazy Monday night and Tuesday morning moving more than 1600 games for the auction and auction store.

Tuesday is the actual auction. The auctioneers are great at what they do. While none of them are actually professional auctioneers, they all know their stuff. And they try to entertain the audience with jokes and anecdotes sprinkled throughtout the auction.

I ended up selling way more games than I usually do, but I also bought way more games than I usually do. So I was happy with both.
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4. Board Game: High-Bid [Average Rating:5.72 Overall Rank:6883]
jeff mullet
United States
circleville
Ohio
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Tuesday after the Auction, I entered the mulligan round of the game, Auction. I end ed up winning my heat, so I was able to advance without playing in the first round Wednesday night.
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5. Board Game: Goa [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:56]
jeff mullet
United States
circleville
Ohio
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After Auction, the next game on my list was Goa. For the past couple of years, this has been one of my top 3 favorite games. It was the only game I knew for sure I was going to play (besides the ones I was GMing), so I made it my team game.*

At CABS we have been playing it almost every meeting for the past year. The last several months I had developed a strategy that had me winning every game we played. And if anyone knows the kind of gamers we have in our club, this is no easy feat.

Basically, I only go down the Expedition, Harvest and Found Colony tracks. I never, ever touch the Taxes track and rarely touch the Build Ships track. This strategy got me at a minimum, 50 points in every 4 player game we played.

I used this startegy and won my mulligan round.

*WBC lets 4 players form a "team". Everyone has to pick one game they think they'll do well in. Usually, if you make the finals or get in the top 4 or 5, you'll get team points. If you win your team event, you get lots of points. Sadly, you could win 5 events that weren't your team game, and you'd get zero points!

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6. Board Game: Ingenious [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:222]
jeff mullet
United States
circleville
Ohio
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After Goa, was Ingenious. My tile bag had a huge hole in it and when we picked it up, the tiles fell all over the floor. Of course that ugly, multi-colored carpet made it hard to find all the tiles. In fact, throughout the week, we found several other Ingenious tiles. Luckily for the owners of the games, a few people were able to identify exactly which tiles their games were missing and I got them back to them.

I ended up getting drilled in a fast game which was won by Bruce Reiff.
 
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7. Board Game: Yspahan [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:293]
jeff mullet
United States
circleville
Ohio
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The last game of the night for me was Yspahan, which I was also GMing. The mulligan round was Tuesday night. I won that game and made the semis. It was cool, because that meant I could skip playing the first single-elimination round on Wednesday morning and concentrate on my GM duties.
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8. Board Game: The Big Breakfast Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
jeff mullet
United States
circleville
Ohio
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Wednesday morning at 7:30 am (yawn) was the first ever Free GM Appreciation Breakfast. The BPA picked up the tab for all it's GMs. I thought that was very cool and it was appreciated. Ivan Lawson was presented the award for GM of the Year for 2007. A very deserving pick who does a great job with Lost Cities.
 
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9. Board Game: Yspahan [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:293]
jeff mullet
United States
circleville
Ohio
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Next up was the rest of my Yspahan tournament. I lost in the semis. Here is my WBC yearbook report:

The first WBC Yspahan tournament went very smoothly. I was hoping for a few
more boards in the mulligan round Tuesday night. But the players that
participated all had a great time.

In fact, one table had the players laughing so hard, some of them were
crying. That table included Chris Trimmer, Chris Gnech, Sean Vessey and
Arthur Field. As most WBCers know, it's not often Arthur does badly in any
game. But this particular game Arthur's luck was so horrible, the other
players couldn't stop laughing at every bad die roll and every useless card
draw, including Arthur himself. By the end of the game, the winner Chris,
nearly lapped the last place player in victory points.

After the first round and semi-finals concluded, the final table included
Chris Trimmer (who had already won his team game), J.R. Tracy of ASL fame,
Nate Hoam and his roomate, first time WBC attendee Scott Palenshus.

Something very odd happened in the first "week" (round) of the game that I
have never seen. In the seven "days" (turns), not one person rolled more
than 1 camel. This made it nearly impossible to build any buildings the
first round. In fact, J.R. was unable to build even a single building the
entire first turn. And the only way for the others to build was through
card play. Scott built one with the card that lets you build with only gold
and no camels. Chris and Nate were able to build one with the card that let
you convert gold to camels and vice versa.

At the end of the first round, Chris had 7 points. J.R. had 11 points.
Nate had 16 points. And Scott led the way with 17 points.

The next round, everyone started rolling plenty of camels and the game got
back to normal. Chris was making a little bit of a comeback, but he was
using the same strategy that got him to the finals and it just wasn't
working quite as well. Chris likes to set himself up to draw lots of cards,
but the dice weren't cooperating and he was having to spend his entire turn
just drawing a card. And the card didn't seem to help him much. J.R.
struggled a littile for the second straight turn. And Nate and Scott had
another good round.

At the end of the second round, J.R. had 28 points. Chris had 32 points.
Scott had 37 points. And Nate jumped out to 45 points.

The final round, Chris continued to have below average luck with the dice
and the cards. Scott began to stall and had trouble building his last
buildings. Nate continued his steady, strong play. J.R. almost had a
miraculous come from behind victory. J.R. sand-bagged a few cards for some
very clever points at the end of the game. Alas, he was just too far back
to pull out the win.

The Final standings had Chris at 66 points, Scott at 72 points, J.R. at 76
points and Nate as the winner with 78 points.

It was a very enjoyable tournament and a fun, fast paced final. Everyone
seemed to enjoy it and I hope Yspahan will return to the WBC in 2009.
Thanks to everone who played and those that helped out to make it easy on
me.
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10. Board Game: Ingenious [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:222]
jeff mullet
United States
circleville
Ohio
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After Yspahan, I had another crack at Ingenious. This time I won, but was thinking this probably wouldn't be enough to get me into the semis. Ingenious ended up with over 100 players this year!
 
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11. Board Game: High-Bid [Average Rating:5.72 Overall Rank:6883]
jeff mullet
United States
circleville
Ohio
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I was able to skip the first round due to my mulligan win. I won my semifinal and we played the final right after that. I started with a great hand and soon had enough to win, but I needed to get the buyers card that was up for bids. I ended up bidding everything I had (over $1600 dollars, but was out bid. I still ended up having over 7500 and enough to win, but I couldn't get back in before the winner got a set of jewelry and more cash than me. And who ended up winning? Mike Stanley! The guy we tutored the night before! (Incidently, Ken was in my final too!) student had become the teacher. :>
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12. Board Game: Football Strategy [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:2954]
jeff mullet
United States
circleville
Ohio
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I had some down time, so I decided to play FBS and attempt to knock out my teammate (Bruce Reiff) from his team game. I barely won my first game and was paired the Bruce in the second round. I scored on a kick-off and was actually ahead at half time! (I'd never beaten Bruce before and I think he was starting to sweat) But I came back to earth and he ended up winning the game. (and the event as usual)
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13. Board Game: Alhambra [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:312]
jeff mullet
United States
circleville
Ohio
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Next up was Alhambra. I managed to win that game in an ugly fashion. I actually felt bad for the way I won. I bought every single tile with an "exact" amount and was constantly getting two cards with my extra pick. (lots of 3-2, 4-1 combos) And the perfect tile(s) would come up just as it was my turn.

I ended up winning like 140 to 90 or something in that range. Pure luck, basically. But a win is a win. I'm in the semis. ;>
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14. Board Game: Can't Stop [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:486]
jeff mullet
United States
circleville
Ohio
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The last game of the night is Can't Stop. I've run it the last 2 years and it's gotten a little over 100 players the both times. I'm always on the lookout for games at yard sales, thrift stores, etc. I'm up to 6 games, plus the 2 from the CABS library. And it's still not enough.

This year we got over 140! Thankfully, Beth Zhao (sp)? took over GM duties. A couple of us still helped, but Beth was the one who had to stay into the wee hours and do the write up. I'm just getting too old to stay up that late anymore. (unless of course I was winning) heh! Thanks, Beth for stepping up!
 
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15. Board Game: Age of Renaissance [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:573]
jeff mullet
United States
circleville
Ohio
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AOR is one of my favorite games. I've literally played it over 500 times! But it is a long game. It's usually my team game, but they added a semi-final this year. As it is, I only play one heat(win or lose) because it takes 5 hours to play. This meant that if you make it to the final it's about a 16+ hour commitment. (There's no time limit on the final) I just didn't want to commit that much time to one game.

As it turned out, there were only enough players for a final, so I decided to play in the Thursday night heat. I ended up winng my board in a very enjoyable, but very sloooow game that had to be ended before it was over. So now I was in the finals.
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16. Board Game: Goa [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:56]
jeff mullet
United States
circleville
Ohio
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Mark Smith was in my AOR game and treated me to a nice lunch at an Amish buffet. I was able to skip the first round of Goa due to my mulligan win. I drew a very tough table, but using my same strategy, I was able to win.

The Goa tournament had a lot of very good players. In fact, the guy I consider the best player I have ever played against, didn't even make the final. But I admit feeling fairly confident that I could win by using the same strategy.

But who is at my table, but my teammate and the guy I've beaten over 10 consecutive times in 4 player Goa, Bruce Reiff. He sits to my left and proceeds to use the exact same strategy I've been beating him with for months.

Literally, he did the exact same actions I did for the first several turns. It got to the point where I was saying "Bruce and I will draw 2 cards this turn". LOL! He also fought me for the boats I always try to bid on (as you need to do with this strategy) But basically, it came down to which one of us would draw good cards. He got great cards. I drew really bad ones. Also, with us bidding way higher than normal because we were trying to stop each other, we were helping the other players by hurting each other. (Raphael Lerner and Chris Moffa)

In the end, Chris won on the "most money" tie breaker against Bruce in a very enjoyable, competive, hard-fought game. And Bruce and I found out the hard way how to stop my strategy. Have another player do the exact same thing. ;>
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17. Board Game: Pro Golf [Average Rating:5.40 Overall Rank:9648]
jeff mullet
United States
circleville
Ohio
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The last tournament of the night was Pro Golf. It's a game I would never play anywhere, except at WBC. It was (literally) a beer and pretzela game. You're suppossed to play with a foursome, but we had 8 players. And we still finished ahead of some of the foursomes. The Gutermuths and Lewis' can read the charts quickly, so we breezed through our game. All of us finished poorly with everyone hitting in the water, sand, etc.

It was a fun time and part of you is always glad when you don't make the final skins game and have to stay up extra late. ;>
 
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18. Board Game: Age of Renaissance [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:573]
jeff mullet
United States
circleville
Ohio
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The AOR final was first thing in the morning. It was a very tough table (as usual). I ended up winning one of the closest finals I can remember. The last place player was only a couple of hundred points behind me. (not a lot in AOR) In fact, it all came down to Pirates and Vikings. If I'm hit, London wins. If Paris is not hit, he wins. If Genoa is not hit, he wins,etc.

Turns out, I should have made this one my team game.
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19. Board Game: Alhambra [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:312]
jeff mullet
United States
circleville
Ohio
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Next, is my Alhambra Semi-final. Once again, Bruce is at my table. But he's due to GM the Trouble Jr. tournament for the kiddies at the same time as the Alhambra final. So if he wins, I have to GM it for him. If I win and make the final, he has to.

So now I don't care about winning nearly as much as I care about Bruce *not* winning! ;> Bruce starts off strong and I'm way behind. So of course, now all I can to is try to buy whatever color he does and try to buy building that fit his walls.

Luckily, Legend Dan Hoffman wins (and goes on to win the whole thing) and I get out of the juniors gig. ;>
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20. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:261]
jeff mullet
United States
circleville
Ohio
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Next up is a heat of Lost Cities. I really have no chance of adavncing, but I enjoy the game and it's run well. I lose to a twelve year old girl who is very nice and polite, and I'm on my way my next event.
 
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21. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:23]
jeff mullet
United States
circleville
Ohio
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Next up is another game I really don't have much chance of advancing in, but I like it, so I give it a go. I have played this game a dozen times and only won once. but I really enjoy it, even though I don't quite "get it". Which is strange, since it's similar to San Juan, which I'm pretty good at if I do say so myself.

I lose this game badly to one of nicest gamers you'll ever meet, Kathy Stroh.
 
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22. Board Game: Ingenious [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:222]
jeff mullet
United States
circleville
Ohio
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One more game of Ingenious. I end up losing to a guy who was playing his first game. Doesn't look good for making the semis.
 
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23. Board Game: Liar's Dice [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:417]
jeff mullet
United States
circleville
Ohio
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The last game of the night is Liar's Dice. I love this game, but I haven't been able to play the last few years because the AOR final has always conflicted with it. The first year it was run, I actually made it my team game. My teammates thought I was crazy, but i made the finals that year. No small feat since there are always well over 100 players. (This year there were over 200!!!)

I ended up losing 4 dice to "collateral damage" through no fault if my own. (when someone calls and there is an exact amount out there, everyone loses a die) I go out in the first round, which was proabaly good since I was exhausted at that point.
 
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24. Board Game: Sleeping Grump [Average Rating:4.82 Unranked]
jeff mullet
United States
circleville
Ohio
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I did something this year I've never done at WBC. I slept in until 10:30 and didn't shower and get ready until noon. My 11 year old daughter, Cassidy wanted to play in the Parent/Kid Crokinole tournament at noon which sort of messed up my planned Saturday schedule. So I decided to catch some extra Z's
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25. Board Game: Crokinole [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:39]
jeff mullet
United States
circleville
Ohio
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So we play in the tournament and do pretty well. we make ot to the final four and get knocked out by J.R. Tracy and Jim Doughan's kid. (A ringer who's name I can't remember)

It was a really fun tournament and my kid really had fun.
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