2010 EuroQuest Recap
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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This was a watershed year for EuroQuest, now in its eighth year, as the event moved to a new facility (the Hilton in Pikesville, Maryland) with much more meeting room space as well as room for continued future growth. Very pleased with the turnout, as pre-registered and paid admissions topped out at around 290, a record number but still a shade short of my personal goal of 300. Maybe next year.

There was, once again, an exciting blend of tournaments and open gaming, plus a new emphasis on Essen games brought back from the big convention in Germany just two weeks earlier – meaning EQ this year was the first opportunity for many to try and sample the “hot new Essen games.” The most popular of these games proved to be 7 Wonders, which was sampled by over 100 people (about 40% of the convention attendees) and one of just two games rated over 8.00 (the other being Martin Wallace’s London). Expect to see a full list of the games posted on our website soon on the page labeled “EssenFest.” On the final day of the convention, 10 of the featured Essen games were given away in a prize drawing from of pool of those who had rated the games. Other games (including those donated by Alliance Game Distributors and Z-Man) were given away as well.

The tournaments proved to be just as competitive as ever, and it turned out to be a very good year for first-time winners and newcomers to EuroQuest. The prize for the top overall individual winner, the Harold L. Siegelman (“HLS”) Trophy, went to Randy Buehler, a first-time EQ attendee who had journeyed all the way from the Seattle area. In addition to the Siegelman Trophy, Randy carted off four second-place plaques from Agricola, St. Petersburg, Settlers and Thurn and Taxis. Randy also was a member of the winning team, Magic Men, garnering some additional prizes (through the auspices of Eastern Pennsylvania Gaming Society, who sponsored the event, with generous prize donations from GameSurplus, the on-line retailer of choice for many gamers in the Eastern US), so my guess is he probably needed to pick up an extra suitcase before heading home to Seattle.

Randy’s Siegelman points tally of 31 tied the all-time record for a single EuroQuest set by Arthur Field back in 2005. He had to stave off a late challenge from 2007 HLS winner Rob Kircher, who wound up second with 28 points, breaking his own record for tournament games won in a single EuroQuest with an impressive total of 21 wins. (Rob has now finished in the top three in HLS points in each of the past four EuroQuests.) Mike Turian, who won two main event tourneys, was the overnight leader heading into the final day (Sunday) but slipped to third overall with 27 HLS points. Rounding out the top five were Henry Dove and Edward Fear, each with 24 points.

A complete listing of tournament winners from EQ 8 follows (numbers in parenthesis represent the total number of unique participants):

Agricola: Mike Turian (26)
Dominion: Edward Fear (52)
Race for the Galaxy: Andrew Yao (27)
Power Grid: Doug Galullo (49)
Princes of Florence: Edward Fear (31)
Puerto Rico: Barb Flaxington (44)
Ra: Jeremy Oppenheim (32)
St. Petersburg: Mike Turian (42)
Settlers of Catan: Rebecca Hebner (43)
Stone Age: Sceadeau D’Tela (45)
Thurn and Taxis: Rob Kircher (37)
Ticket to Ride: Eric Monte (66)
Wild Card: Eric Freeman (129)
Total Tournament Games Played: 408 (252 in main events, 156 in Wild Card)

Like Randy, Mike Turian, Edward Fear, Doug Galullo, Jeremy Oppenheim and Eric Monte scored wins in their very first EuroQuest appearance. For Andrew and Rebecca, it was their first time in the EQ winner’s circle after reaching their first final at EQ. Randy, Mike and Ed captured the revived team tournament that attracted a total of 57 players (19 teams). Their team, the Magic Men, garnered 26 points to edge out the Hardy Laurels (another strong team consisting of EQ first-timer Andy Latto and the 2008 and 2009 Siegelman winners, Alex Bove and Sceadeau D’Tela). The Magic Men did so well at this year’s EQ that their second best scores would have beaten 17 of the 18 opposing teams. Third place went to Wabbits Wevenge, the same team that had won the last two editions back in 2004 and 2005, featuring two members (Eric Freeman and Barb Flaxington) who won events.

The only repeat winner from 2009 is Eric Freeman, who has now won a total of five Wild Card titles, including the last four in a row. Eric, who has seemed to master the event, pulled away to a runaway victory by amassing an impressive total of 334 Wild Card points, winning 16 of 29 games played. Runner-up in the Wild Card went to Rob Kircher, whose 181 points nosed out Eugene Yee with 173 points. Eugene had grabbed an early lead and seemed poised to possibly challenge Eric for the title before a big day for Eric on Saturday put first place out of reach. Rounding out the top six in Wild Card points were Jeff Mullet (161), Eric Monte (101) and Jordan Shea (92). The most popular game in the Wild Card event was -- no great surprise – 7 Wonders, the designated “hot new Essen game,” which was played 20 times by a total of 63 people. The three copies on hand (including one English edition) were in constant use throughout the convention.

Other familiar faces in the winner’s circle were Barb Flaxington, who reached her fourth final table in Puerto Rico in eight EuroQuests and, after having been runner-up twice before, recorded her first EQ win; Rob Kircher, who repeated his 2007 triumph in Thurn and Taxis, keeping alive a streak of four straight finals in that event; and Sceadeau D’Tela, defending Siegelman Trophy winner who experienced a bit of a “sophomore slump” this year, dropping to 6th in the Siegelman points standings but managing to take a win in Stone Age, which was the one new addition to the main event tournaments at EQ this year.

As in the past, this Geek List will focus on the games I played and the people I played them with. There will be a total of 29 entries (including two games that were abandoned by me during the instruction period), which meant I played a total of 27 games with 56 different people. How many did I win? Only one. Yes, that’s right – 1 for 27 the whole convention. And it was tough to pull out that one win, in one of the heavy duty Euro strategy games out there (Can’t Stop). Anyway, here’s a breakdown:

Tournament Games: 5 total games played, 3 different games
Wild Card: 12 total games played, 6 different games, 64 Wild Card points (good for 10th (!) overall, lots of 2d places as the 12 WC points from Can’ Stop didn’t get me very far)
Open Gaming: 10 total games, 9 different games (see Geek List below for more details)
Total: 27 games played, 17 different (7 Wonders was played in both open gaming and as part of the Wild Card, which is why the number of different games doesn’t quite add up)
People played most with: Kevin Walsh (8), Richard Shay (5), Eric Freeman (4), Mike Brazinski (4)

My excuse, maybe not a very good one, was that I served once again as a Co-Convention Director and was distracted because of numerous issues that came up during the course of the convention. Not a very good excuse for a less than 4% win ratio, I know. (My team, GCOM Laurel, also did not do very well, tied for 18th out of 19, i.e., tied for last.)

One positive I draw from this situation is that many of the people I played with did really well in tournaments, so maybe I was kind of a good luck charm for them. Starting with Jeremy Oppenheim, who went on to win the first Ra tournament, I also faced (either in tournaments or Open Gaming): Rob Kircher, Randy Buehler -- the Siegelman points winner, Doug Galullo, Eric Freeman – Mr. Wild Card, Barb Flaxington, Eric Monte, Andrew Yao and Rebecca Hebner, or 9 of the 12 that won competitions at EQ this year.

Thanks to everyone who came and who volunteered to help out. Hoping for an even bigger and better EuroQuest next year.

For those who might be curious about EuroQuest, check out the event website at:
http://euroquest.gamesclubofmd.org

For prior GeekLists by me about EuroQuest, see the following links:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/48656/euroquest-vii-re...
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/36585
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/26193
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/17574
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/11572

EuroQuest is sponsored by the Boardgame Players Association (“BPA”) and the Games Club of Maryland (“GCOM”).
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1. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:19]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Gaming started Wednesday night after we began setting up for the official start at noon on Thursday. There were about a dozen people around, including two guys from Seattle (who I got to know a bit better once Randy and Mike started doing really well in the various tournaments), so there was some pre-con open gaming available. First game up for me was 7 Wonders, which I had learned in a couple of gaming sessions the prior weekend, meaning I felt competent enough to teach it to others. This particular game was a six player (Richard Shay, Lynda Shea, Rob Kircher, Jim Vroom and Kevin Walsh were the others) and all I can remember is Richard (sitting on my right) won while I came dead last. One thing I recall was not getting the third stage of the Wonder because I didn’t play enough resource cards the first two Ages. Lesson to self: don’t rely on your neighbors to produce the last resource or two to complete your Wonder, do it yourself.
 
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2. Board Game: Hansa Teutonica [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:76]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Four-player game with Richard, Kevin and Rob from the prior game. Second play of the game for me. I hadn’t really caught on the first time, which was about 11 months ago now, and frankly I am much less enamored with this game than many others seem to be. Rob and Kevin got into the places that gave you extra actions, and I kind of waited after Richard commented you didn’t really need them to win. Then Richard went there, and I had to follow. Seemed to be just one step behind the other three throughout the entire game. Got crushed, no surprise, dead last – can’t recall who won.

Still don’t care for the game. No theme at all, some of the rules seem a bit obtuse (like using the round guy versus the square one). While there are a bunch of different things to do, if it turns out getting the extra actions early on is the real key to victory, then I don’t see the game as being all that interesting from a strategic standpoint as there don’t seem to be alternate paths to victory. Definitely a no-buy from me and, if I had to rate it (which I don’t do for games I have only played twice), it would only be a 4 or 5.
 
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3. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:19]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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No more games Wed. evening, this was the first one up on Thursday as people started to arrive and wanted to learn “the hot new Game.” This time, we had a full table of 7 and I did much better (perhaps my best game of this to date), coming second. Winner was Joel with 55, followed by John W. 48, Charles 47, John B. 46, Lauren and Derek 39, Pete G (who seemed to know the game the best) last with 38. After the game, I observed that the top three players were seated next to each other (Charles on my left, Joel on my right) – wonder how often this might happen in a 7-player game.
 
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4. Board Game: The Princes of Florence [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:62]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Tournament games started up around 3 PM on Thursday, and I jumped into the first heat of Princes of Florence, an old favorite of mine ably GMed by Rod Spade. My four opponents were Randy (later to become Siegelman winner), Eric Cheatham (another EQ first-timer who came from California), Brian Waterhouse and Rodney. Eric and Randy got in a bit of a dispute when Randy tried to take back a landscape placement; the GM (correctly I think) ruled he couldn’t but Randy took his time coming up with a Plan B. Rodney pulled away to an easy win. I could have perhaps closed the gap some had I been able to play both works the final turn, but turned out they were both 16 points, and I had to pull a bonus card just to get one of them down – OUCH! Still, tied with Brian for second and, as we were also tied on remaining doubloons, it came down to the special tournament rules tiebreaker – lowest number profession card, and my #2 took it. First time I had seen this tiebreaker come into play after years of playing Princes in various tournaments.
 
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5. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:19]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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The Wild Card competition got underway at 6 PM on Thursday, and for me the first game up was 7 Wonders. Five-player, took on perennial Wild Card champ Eric Freeman who claimed it was his first play after studying the rules. Others were Chris Moffa, Jeff Mullet and Ben Foy. Ben took this game with Eric in second. I was next to last, with only Jeff behind me.
 
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6. Board Game: Automobile [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:195]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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This is my favorite new game of the past 2-3 years, so I was glad to see it included in the Wild Card fare this time. Sat down for a 5-player game with Ben Foy, Doug Mercer, Patrick Chambers and another big Automobile fan, Todd Heidenreich. Believe it was Patrick’s first game. As it was already getting late, the game tended to drag with new players, interruptions, trips to the bathroom, etc. Now, having finished third at the inaugural WBC Automobile tournament back in August, I was a bit cocky, as I probably have more games under my belt (around 50 or so) than anyone at the convention. However, it didn’t translate to a win – Doug (4690, an excellent score for a 5-player game) won with Ben (4380) a strong second while my paltry score of 3600 was only good for third.
 
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7. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:30] [Average Rating:7.77 Unranked]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Don’t have any more games listed for Thursday evening, not sure I missed some as I usually go in for late night open gaming. What I do recall is that there were a lot of IT and computer hardware/software issues to be ironed out with the computerized scoring system that occupied my time on Thursday night. Thus, it was Friday morning before my next game -- a quick game of Dominion (Wild Card – although Dominion was also a main event). Think we went with the basic game, and – for three of us – it was a low-scoring game. I managed second with something like 7 – 10 points or so. Doug Galullo, who went on to win the Power Grid tourney later in the week, was a runaway leader, while CABBIES Jeff Mullet and Pete Stein were the also-rans.
 
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8. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:19]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Another game of 7 Wonders, with the same group from the Dominion game plus Brian Waterhouse from the Princes game. Brian won a close one (59 to 58 for Doug); I was next to last, behind everyone but Pete Stein.
 
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9. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:11]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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First heat of the tournament, fairly good turnout; two choices of maps, I went for Germany mainly because it was with the new Power Plant deck which I thought would be faster. It wasn’t – the game verged on the time limit (2 ½ hours) but fortunately we got done and didn’t have to be adjudicated. I finished in the middle of a five-player field that included JJ Jaskiewicz a former EQ Champion at this game), Brian Mongold, Ted Bohaczuk and Greg Rogers. I believe JJ won with Brian second.

As a side-comment, I find I am enjoying Power Grid (especially in a tournament setting) less and less as times goes by. While it’s no doubt a solid game (I rate it a 9 on BGG), the calculations tend to bog the game down, particularly if players aren’t thinking ahead on other players’ turns. Also, often I see games between good players decided by luck factors, such as the drop/non-drop of a particular plant during the auction phase. Prefer games with the new deck as it’s a bit faster, and the more efficient plants mean buying ahead is less of a viable strategy. That said, I am hoping to try some of the newer maps soon.

 
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10. Board Game: Vegas Showdown [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:274]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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An all-time favorite game of mine, and my opponents included Eric Freeman and his father James and local area gaming buddy Greg Shirah who was also on our ill-starred GCOM-Laurel team. As often happens, I shot ahead to a large lead in this one, got the Nightclub then faded towards the end when Eric caught up by snagging the Theater. Game came down to the remaining money tiebreaker, and Eric had a few more bucks than I did to take the win and 24 Wild Card points. I was second – worth just 9. A really close one that got away.

As a side note, I later learned that one of the two guys from Seattle, Mike Turian, was an official playtester of the game, having been a Magic player on the West Coast who was acquainted with the game designer, Henry Stern. Checked the Wild Card scoresheets and saw Mike got in just one game of Vegas Showdown (besides winning two main event tourneys), winning by a whopping 18 points over Sceadeau D’Tela, who had been runner-up at the first WBC when I was the initial GM before turning the reins over to Eric.
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11. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.14 Overall Rank:5]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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First heat of the Puerto Rico tournament. Bad luck right off the bat as I drew the #1 indigo seat, and sitting across the table in the favored #1 corn seat was the 2004 WBC Champion, Barb Flaxington. Now, Barb had had some rough times in recent tournaments but at EQ this year she was at the top of her game – bad news for the rest of the field. I actually had one of my worst games ever, finishing last, fourth -- with just 21 points – lowest score I can ever remember at least in a face-to-face games. Barb’s winning score of 30 was accomplished without a large building—indeed, none of us had a shot at large buildings as Eric Kleist, who came in second, ended it early by taking Mayor the final turn. Vassili Kyrkos, who had beaten me in a very close, similar low-scoring game at the 2007 WBC semifinal, was in the disfavored #2 indigo but still did better than me. 30-28-27-21, a really low scoring game and my score was the lowest of all.
 
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12. Board Game: Hotel Samoa [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:1901]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Needed a break, so time for some open gaming. Had bought this little gem (the Norwegian edition) through GameSurplus earlier in the year, and taught it to Kevin Walsh, Beth Raphael, Jeremy Oppenheim and Chris Suarez. Again, another close one that got away, and one I actually kept track of the scores as it was so close, top-to-bottom: Chris 130 John 126 Kevin and Jeremy 119 Beth 107.

I am hoping this game will get more favorable press now that the Z-Man edition is out (mine is the original Norwegian edition with English rules translation and player aids included). For me, Hotel Samoa is one of the top three new releases from 2010, the others being Founding Fathers and Constantinopolis. It plays quickly, in under an hour, executes its theme to perfection, and there are meaningful decisions at every step. Wish it would get more love from the cognoscenti at BGG who seem fixated on the over-hyped, overwrought and often overly complex, carbon-copy no theme Essen and GoF games and often ignore games such as these.
 
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13. Board Game: Road Kill Rally [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:1762]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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This is a game that Scott Brattlie (winner of the racing games series from the recent Congress of Gamers convention) had brought, and he, Jeff Kahan and Rick Bynaker talked me into joining them. Scott went over the rules, talking about getting bonus points for running down pedestrians and children. Not sure I could follow all the rules, and frankly I decided to pass when another opportunity arose …
 
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14. Board Game: Vegas Showdown [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:274]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Second of three games of Vegas Showdown for me, my opponents being three NY gamers: Vassili from the PR game, his wife Mindy, and Eric Monte, who I had met through his participation in the PR tournament at WBC but never actually played before. Once again, as in the earlier game with Eric Freeman, I was competitive, but it was only good enough for second. Eric Monte took the win, and he joined the list of people who beat me who went on to win tourneys by taking the largest main event tournament (Ticket to Ride) in his first appearance at EuroQuest. (Eric had won the WBC Ticket to Ride tournament back in 2006.) Eric also managed a top five finish in the Wild Card competition, helped no doubt by the 24 points earned by winning this game. But playing one of my favorite games with this group (Mindy, Vassili and Eric) was fun and one of the gaming highlights of the convention for me.

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15. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.14 Overall Rank:5]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Second heat of the PR tournament, starting at 10 PM Friday, a chance to redeem myself after the bad loss in the first heat. However, the pairing gods did me no favors – I was matched with Richard Shay, the defending EQ Champion; Kevin Walsh, the 2009 EQ and 2010 PrezCon runner-up who had beaten me in the semis there; and Vassili, who finished ahead of me in the earlier heat. As I like to tell people, games you play in an early heat at EuroQuest can be every bit as tough as any elimination round game at the WBC or elsewhere. Here I was, facing three players who had beaten me the last time out, two of whom (Richard and Vassili) I had never beaten. Then things got worse – I drew the disfavored #2 indigo seat. Turned out to be a defensive, tactical game, and at one point I remember getting hammered badly in a Craftsman stall situation when all three of the other very experienced players put the whammy on me, effectively ending any hope for something better than another last place finish. Kevin won this one with Vassili second. Final counts were 48-45-35-29. Yep, the 29 was mine, meaning I scored only 50 points total in two of my worst PR games ever, back-to-back. This game’s a blur except for how the other three high-fived it after pulling off the Craftsman stall tactic that sunk me. At least Vassili, who had also witnessed the fiasco in the prior game, was someone sympathetic.
 
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16. Board Game: London [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:172]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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It was now after midnight Friday, and even after a full day of gaming (eight games already) I was up for some more action. Richard and Kevin from the PR game were interested in trying Martin Wallace’s latest Essen release, London, which I had pre-ordered after reading the rules but which unfortunately had yet to arrive. (Apparently they had a printing snafu and had some limited number of games for Essen-goers while those who pre-ordered will have to wait.) Anyway, we struggled a bit with the rules and the strategy but fortunately Chris Suarez (who had beaten me in Hotel Samoa) who had played before was at a nearby table (playing what else – 7 Wonders). Chris' help was invaluable as it enabled us to get into the flow of the game. Mike Shea sat in, so we had a four-player game. I ran my city for something like 30 pounds the second time through, but then blew the money quickly such that I had to take out more loans. As a consequence, my losing streak continued. I believe Richard or Kevin won, not sure as it was getting late.

Not sure how I feel about this game, have to admit I was surprised to see it at the top of the Essen hit parade when the average rankings for the games rated at EuroQuest were compiled. My impression after the initial play is that there was not alot of player interaction, and that many of the player moves or sequence of moves seemed scripted. But, of course, that could be just sour grapes because I lost ...

 
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17. Board Game: Queen of the Cupcakes [Average Rating:5.84 Overall Rank:5727]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Andrew then offered up a game he had brought, called King of Beasts. Looked interesting, but it was so late I doubt much of the rules explanation sunk in. So, another game played, still no wins. Time to go to bed.

Another side note: Andrew whom I believe won both these games went on to win the Race for the Galaxy tournament, joining the growing list of people who beat me and went on to become EQ Champions in 2010.

 
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18. Board Game: Can't Stop [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:485]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Managed to get down to the gaming area around 9 AM and, with an hour or so before the final heat of Princes, joined Cody Sandifer, Anni Foasberg and Charles Faella for a 4-player game; I think Anni was new to the game while the rest of us had played before. As the game developed, I felt my luck beginning to change, as I managed to move a couple of rungs up to the top of the “2” ladder, then managed to get a second number going. Took awhile, but turns out the dice were with me, and I had my first (and what turned out only) win of the convention. Woo hoo!
 
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19. Board Game: The Princes of Florence [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:62]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Final heat of the Princes tournament. Tough table, including the GM Rod Spade and Tom DeMarco, two of the five from the 2009 EQ final table. Jeremy Oppenheim, fresh off his Ra win the prior evening, and Ra GM Ivan Lawson, were my other opponents. Weird game, as I kept winning the Jester auctions, which also meant I couldn’t take many points when completing most of my early works as the early Jesters went for around 1200 apiece. Wound up with 5 Jesters (!), a feat I cannot remember ever achieving in the approximately 200 Princes games played over the years, but I decided not to press to acquire the Prestige card in round 7 (would have got the Most Jesters bonus), but in the end my final score was good only for fourth place – next to last. Rod, a former EQ Champion at this event, won the game to advance to the final, but there he could do no better than 5th place.

Don’t get to play PoF as often as I would like these days, but it’s still an all-time top 10 game for me. Its numbers have tailed off a bit both at WBC and EuroQuest, while it’s been dropped at PrezCon in favor of some newer Euros that are, IMHO, not nearly that good. Hope it manages to stay on the agenda at both WBC and EuroQuest for many years to come; I always try to work in at least one game to help "keep the numbers up" even though I doubt I am competitive enough to reach a final these days, something I managed to accomplish just once -- in the very first EuroQuest back in 2003.
 
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20. Board Game: Automobile [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:195]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Had been pressing Wild Card king Eric Freeman to try Automobile, and for this game it was Eric, Mike Brazinski (who had played before), Eric’s Dad Jim (who had not) along with Kristina Lynch, a local GCOM gamer who was also new to the game. Eric, who had read the rules, also claimed not to have played before. As it turned out, Eric and his Dad wound up 1-2, with Eric (3920) first ahead of Jim (3800). Mike was the only other player above 3000. I had a fairly bad game, taking more loss cubes than I would have liked, finishing with something like 2600 which was still 1000 more than Kristina, who tried a strategy that didn’t work out very well. Solid effort by both Eric and Jim in this game.

Since Automobile was a longer game at the high end of the Wild Card scoring charts, the 48 points Eric got from this game was a big factor in his building a solid lead over Eugene Yee and other potential challengers in the Wild Card competition.
 
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21. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:19]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Might not have the order of games right here, but apparently I played my fifth 7 Wonders game (and my third as part of the Wild Card event) some time on Saturday. Justin Morgan won this game, with Rob Kircher (who was trying to chase down Eric Freeman and Eugene Yee in the overall Wild Card chae) second. The scoresheet shows I came fourth in a six-player game – no Wild Card points. Others in the game were Rodney Bacigalupo, Doug Galullo and Mike Brazinski.

Overall reaction to the game from my standpoint is positive, but I wonder what is going to happen once the initial excitement wears off. I think back to the 2005 edition of EQ when Caylus was all the rage, everyone wanting to play it. Four years later, back in the Wild Card, it was not played at all. So, where will 7 Wonders be two-three years from now? I kind of think it will be a bit like Dominion, played a lot because it’s quick, but not sure – without an expansion or two – that it will have staying power.
 
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22. Board Game: Vegas Showdown [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:274]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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For me (and also my GCOM Laurel teammate, Mike Brazinski) this was a bit of a rematch of the Automobile game earlier in the day. I billed it as “beat the Freemans” as both Eric and his Dad were in the game as was Jason Wagner, a Philly area gamer whom I had known for several years. Thus, this game was a 5-player, meaning the Slots ran out fairly quickly. This time, things were going well for me and, down the stretch, I was in position to buy the Theater, having taken Publicity a couple of turns in a row. Others in the game did not have the money or the prerequisite Fancy Lounge. Eric, who was trailing in the game, outbid me for the Theater even though he knew he would have to place it off to the side. Someone else (it may have been me) got the remaining Fancy Lounge. The game ended before Eric could get the Theater down, and he ended next to last. I still hung on for second, behind my GCOM-Laurel teammate, Mike. Eric’s Dad, Jim, took third.

While I was a bit unhappy at being knocked out of the win by Eric’s play, at least Mike and I had achieved our mutual objective to “beat the Freemans” in a Wild Card game.
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23. Board Game: The Speicherstadt [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:401]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Second play of this game for me, having learned it in open gaming at this year’s WBC. Other players were GCOM gaming buddy and Wild Card coordinator Brian Stallings, Richard Shay, Mike Brazinski and Kevin Walsh. I believe Mike and possibly Richard were new to the game. Anyway, Brian scored a runaway win but I managed to come in second – again.

I like the unique bidding mechanic in this game but, for me, the game seems to end too early as you don’t have time to develop a position so you can fill more than a couple of contracts. In that respect it’s similar to Race for the Galaxy, a game with a nice mechanism (there it’s the simultaneous role selection) but with what seems to be a bit flawed execution. Will probably try it again, but this game’s a no-buy for me.

 
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24. Board Game: Constantinopolis [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:880]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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This is a game that had been growing on me after the first three to five plays, and I was hoping to fit it in at EQ this year. Kevin Walsh was up for a game, as was Eugene Yee, who had played before. Neil Ryan, who had just arrived at the convention, joined in. Then some emergencies (both involving computer support and GM issues) arose, forcing me to bow out of the game although I helped Eugene explain the game to Kevin and Neil. Apparently the three of them were unable to finish, as Kevin had a Puerto Rico final coming up (he finished third, one short of a plaque).

As alluded to earlier, I like Constantinopolis, think it's one of the more innovative games from the 2010 crop, still a bit unsure whether or not it will hold up after repeated plays; think the auction mechanic for the offices provides sufficient play balance although the luck of the contract card draw can be annoying.
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25. Board Game: Homesteaders [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:285]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Final game of Saturday, in more late night open gaming. Kevin and Eugene were my opponents, and I believe all had played before. I actually recall teaching Kevin the game with a homemade set about two years ago when the game was still in playtesting. It was a very good game, with Eugene focused on getting a lot of buildings. I went for the big points buildings, getting the Church with about five turns left, then going for the Meatpacking Plant and finally the Restaurant. Thought this would be enough to at least get me second, but Kevin had a ton of trade chips left over. Final scores: Eugene 59, Kevin 52, me 50.

Even though my losing streak continued, I enjoyed the game a lot as I could match wits with two very experienced gamers in a fairly deep but relatively quick-playing Euro even though we were all kind of tired and it was late at night. A good way to wrap up the final night of the Con.
 
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