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WBC 2012 -- The Belated List
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
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So, this year my three kids were away for the week in New Hampshire with their mother so I was able to return to the WBC in Lancaster after last year's hiatus. I am a teacher so the WBC is conveniently situated in the middle of my summer vacation. I really admire those people who can return from this "vacation" and head straight back to their jobs on Monday.

I play a lot of games during the year in my local gaming group but I particularly enjoy playing a lot of different games. Unfortunately, this means I am more of a fish than a shark in the WBC tournaments because I often go into games with only a few plays under my belt. That said, I have a decent record down there (especially in opening heats of Euro games) and I enjoy playing against tough competition. I tend to prefer tournaments to open gaming mostly because it encourages me to play against people whom I would not normally have the chance to meet. Most of my open gaming in Lancaster is usually done against the same opponents I see all the time on Long Island - which is fine (and fun) but I don't want to spend too much of the con doing that.
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1. Board Game: Manoeuvre [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:414]
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
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I set out from Long Island and caught a 7:00 AM train to Penn Station. I then grabbed a quick breakfast sandwich (eggs and bacon on a roll with coffee -- is there anything better?)transferred over to Amtrak and was headed out to Lancaster.

Upon arriving, I checked in, said hello to my buddy Chris Palermo (Lemur) from Long Island and headed down to the 1 PM Manoeuvre tournament.

I have only played Manoeuvre a handful of times so my hopes were not high for any kind of success here. That said, it was a great opportunity to get in three games with three different nationalities. I managed to win one match and lose the other two. A fun few hours with a nice "pod" of gentlemen for opponents.
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2. Board Game: Tichu [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:63]
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
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I went to visit my friend Chris and his wife Anna Maria (and their baby Nico of course)and found myself sitting at the table outside their back door near the pool. When Brian Stone wandered over, we had the perfect number for Tichu and so we played a game to 1000. It was actually an eventful game with a number of swings of fortune. Since we were behind 850 to about 400, I risked and won a Grand Tichu for the first time ever. Chris and I actually did wind up winning as the cards went seriously cold for our opponents in the end game.
 
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3. Board Game: Miniature Golf [Average Rating:3.00 Unranked]
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
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Every year on the Monday of WBC, we have a tradition of going out to an Amish buffet (Shady Maple this year) and playing one of the bizarrely nice miniature golf courses down in Lancaster. It's kind of a nice opportunity to enjoy a night outdoors before firmly attaching my ass to a chair for the next week. That said, I am not exactly a fan of mini-golf and was a bit disappointed to find out after an hour and a half of hacking around the course in the dark that this particular course had 23 holes! That said it was a fun night out with a great crew -- Chris and Anna Maria Palermo, Charles and Sri Ward, Harry Flawd and his wife, Brian Stone and Jocelyn, Jim and Alex Bell, Allan and Eva Rothberg...
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4. Board Game: Manoeuvre [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:414]
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
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Arrived back at the host too late to play anything too long so Chris and I headed down to open gaming and grabbed this from the library (which may have been technically closed at the time -- sorry!). I taught him the game and he promptly became the third person to beat me that day.
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5. Board Game: Auction [Average Rating:4.83 Unranked]
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
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I went to the auction store on Tuesday morning and wound up buying a fair amount of stuff for pretty good deals. Off the top of my head I remember buying:
2 de Mayo
I'm the Boss
Why Did the Chicken
RAF
Caear's Gallic War
Silverton
Streetcar
Thebes
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6. Board Game: Texas Glory: 1835-36 [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:2937]
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
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My friends and I headed to Texas Roadhouse around 4 PM to eat and help out with the BPA game library fundraiser. Good rolls! Mediocre rest of the meal.
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7. Board Game: El Grande [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:26]
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
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For the three WBC's I have attended I have always kicked off the Tuesday 6 PM tournament slot (sort of the unofficial kick-off of the WBC proper for me) with El Grande. I had finished second in the previous attempts. This time I did not finish second.

Unfortunately, I finished 4th of 5. It was an amazing game of El Grande though. I was contending through the first scoring session but fell behind in the middle game and never could recover. I placed the big movable scoreboard on the region with my grande early in the game, knowing that I was asking for trouble, and I paid the price for that bit of hubris.
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8. Board Game: Santa Fe Rails [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:1224]
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
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I have played this game a handful of times and fortunately one play was about a week or so before heading down to Lancaster so I knew the rules pretty well and sat down for a heat at 8 PM. Perhaps because the person sitting to my right was inexperienced, I managed to make a bunch of cash on my 2x turns, and I also got to lay down a decent set of cities. The end result was a win in my heat which would hopefully be enough to make the semis.
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9. Board Game: Elk Fest [Average Rating:6.20 Overall Rank:1874]
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
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I love this little flicking game. Unfortunately, whie I consider myself decent at Crokinole, I am horrible at this. In the opening round I drew someone who had just learned the game at the demo. I managed to beat him by a decent margin in our first game. Apparently that was the only learning curve he needed because he won the next two games going away. Only good news was that I was out fast enough to get in another tournament.
 
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10. Board Game: Yspahan [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:288]
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
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I have played this at the WBC each year as well -- some years I've rolled some camels, some years I have not. This year I took second place at my table -- following the leader who was efficiently moving up the camel track throughout the game and I was never quite able to bridge the gap. Oh well, a fun hour.
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11. Board Game: Merchant of Venus [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:441]
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
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The next morning I was thinking of playing Combat Commander but, alhough I've played a bunch this year, I wasn't fully confident about the ruleset depending on the scenario that would be chosen so I chose to play Merchant of Venus instead. I like pick up and deliver games and have only played this one twice. I remembered enjoying it though and had fun again in our four player heat. I needed a bit of a rules refresher while the board was being set up but managed to move about efficiently, benefited from some fortunate route locations and squeaked out a win a turn before two other opponents would likely have passed the 2000 mark themselves. Another opportunity to play in a semi (although once again in a game that I don't really know that well unfortunately).
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12. Board Game: Founding Fathers [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:693]
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
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I jumped into a round of Founding Fathers at 1 PM after a quick lunch. I have played this a bit both face to face and on Yucata but I am not particularly good at it so I figured I'd play one round of the Swiss format unless I won my table. I didn't win -- came in a fairly close second, so it was off to Lost Cities.
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13. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:260]
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
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Played a three round match against a very nice woman in a very crowded room. I managed to win and was reminded how much I enjoy this addictive little card game.
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14. Board Game: 1st & Goal [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:1189]
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
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Played this over dinner at the bar with Chris Palermo. A cute little light football simulation that ultimately devolves into paper rock scissors. Like many games of its type, the fatal flaw is that calling plays in the manner of an actual football team is discouraged by a ruleset that rewards playing contrary to the intuitively typical football moves. Yes, the occasional call of a running play on 3rd and 15 might be an interesting change of pace but this game encourages you to make counterintuitive calls constantly by giving the third and long pass almost no chance of success if the defense plays a pass defense. A fairly elegant playing system -- all of the chart lookups and timing mechanisms are handled by the cards -- that ultimately fails as a game for me.
 
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15. Board Game: Atlantic Storm [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:2217]
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
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This is one of my all time favorite games. The leader bashing and luck of the draw make it tough to play seriously in a tournament setting but it's always a fun experience. I had the bad fortune of having one really good ship in my hand for much of the game and was caught between the desire to flush my hand and just discard one card in many instances. I should have gotten rid of the whole hand but held onto it for too long. Wound up finishing in the middle of the pack.
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16. Board Game: Santa Fe Rails [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:1224]
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
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I rarely return to multiple heats of the same game at WBC (again not a winning strategy but one that suits my tastes as a gaming dilettante), but I will play in semi-finals if I make them. I decided to forego my annual plays of Command and Colors Ancients to play in the Santa Fe Rails semi this year. It was a very tight game that saw me lose some points because of greediness and a failure to foresee the damage that a well timed 4x card could do to my plans to use a short line. That said, I drew great seven point city cards throughout the game and managed to win.

The final table began immediately afterwards where I was seated with two gentlemen from New England and another gentleman from NY. I drew two big point West Coast cities early and had the problem of having to choose to play other city cards in order to conceal my West Coast ambitions until the lines began to move in that direction. This meant playing two three point cities in the early-mid game and falling off people's radar screen as a threat. I also had the start player position so I did not see a 2x card for a long time (like 4 turns) and I fell behind on cash. In the middle game I had a play in front of someone with a 2x card as a line was approaching my (still in hand) west coast cities of LA and Sacramento. Everyone assumed I would scuttle his opportunity to make big bonuses for bringing the line through but I apologized and had to let him earn his bank. Now that I had a line out to my area of the world and hopeful the the west coast pocket rail would come out before the game ended, I was finally able to meld my 7 point cities. A few fortunate draws helped the situation and I was able to win in a very, very close game in which three points separated first from third place. What great, classy group of folks I had the opportunity to play with throughout the tournament and kudos to Rob Kircher for running such a fine event.
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17. Board Game: Biblios [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:264]
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
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After Santa Fe Rails, I puttered around a bit - eating lunch at the pool bar (which I think has better food than any other place at the Host - which is not saying much I know - and heading back to the room for a couple of Manhattans). Then I ran into a couple of friends (Chris Palermo, Sri Ward and Brian Stone) in open gaming and played a round of Biblios against them. I forget how good this little filler game is. I concentrated on two colors throughout the game and was very disappointed to see another player midway through bump up the dice on exactly my two colors. I went through the game believing I might mot even get a single point because I could not seem to draw my colors in the later rounds and didn't see much of them in the auction phase. I guess I was being a little too pessimistic though as i wound up winning both of those and the game.
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18. Board Game: Navegador [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:98]
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
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A few weeks before WBC, I was speaking to Anni, the GM for this event on a game day on LI and mentioned that I enjoyed Antike and Imperial but have never played this. She is a great advocate of the game and promised to teach it to me sometime. She carved out some time after the late night Yspahan and stayed up to teach me this in the open gaming room for about 20 minutes. I decided that I should probably play in a heat so that I wouldn't forget the rules before returning home so I showed up for this and sat down at a five player table. As this was my first play, I was very tentative and it took a few passes around the table before I felt comfortable. Rob Kirchner destroyed all of us at the table but I somehow managed to take second place. A very fun introduction to a great game that I definitely need to play more.
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19. Board Game: Factory Fun [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:561]
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
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Headed back to open gaming and found my friend Jarett Weintraub playing this with someone. As I had just bought this on Tanga I was interested in giving it a shot (I had played it years ago when it was first released). We played a four player game - I had some problems in arranging things effectively and finished in the middle of the pack. We then had to literally run across the hotel to get to the next heat if Lost Cities.
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20. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:260]
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
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Perhaps because of our late arrival, I was paired with my friend Jarett who had won this event in the past. The first hand was a disaster that saw me playing handshakes for colors that I had some decent cards for and never getting seeing anything else for the whole game. Jarett went up by something like 70 points and the rest was history.
 
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21. Board Game: Guilford [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:2224]
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
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I enjoy the Battles Of the American Revolution series and I had been talking to designer Mark Miklos earlier in the day about his upcoming releases of Newtown and Oriskany. I decided to play in round one of this tournament. I have played these games about ten times over the past five years so my grasp of the rules is tentative and I nev remember the specific rules for each battle. My partner was also inexperienced in this game (but an accomplished war gamer in other respects) so we muddled through the early turns and started to get the hang of it about a half hour into the action. Although my main line American assault was going pretty well, I made a foolish decision to take the swamp fox around the British flank to give him some concern in the backfield. He was not concerned for long as he skillfully cornered the units and eliminated them by preventing their retreat. The torque of the game shifted completely and I could not recover. The game was called for time with me struggling to survive and my morale dropping precipitously. I enjoy lighter end war games like this but never do well in them at the WBC at all.
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22. Board Game: Memoir '44 [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:87] [Average Rating:7.53 Unranked]
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
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I packed it in early on Thursday night (missing Cant't Stop which is a fun event). Friday morning I decided to play in this tournament because I had missed out on the opportunity to play Ancients the day before. It was a very well run tournament with the GM giving interesting notes about how the scenarios were from Belgium and were chosen by last year's Champion because they took place near his hometown. The GM also introduced designer Richard Borg who showed us some of the soon to be released equipment pack. Unfortunately, my online play here was to helpful and I lost both of games to a strong opponent. There's something about this game where I get impatient and bring my units too far forward or out of cover assuming that great die rolls will make up for impulsive play. It never does though.
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23. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:6]
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
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I love this game but have only managed to play it about three times. I knew I was in trouble when we began drafting cards and people were discussing the virtues of this deck vs. other decks. It was a great game even though I finished in dead last - I was truly schooled in every sense of the word here but am still glad I was able to get a game in.
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24. Board Game: Lords of Baseball [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked]
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
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After Agricola I joined my friend Brian Stone and the father and son design team in a one year learning game of this prototype. I love baseball and can enjoy the kind of hybrid Euro, Ameritrash, war game that this light simulation of front office tactics represents. I think Max and his dad have a great concept here and I look forward to the eventual release of this on GMT's p500 program.
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25. Board Game: Age of Steam [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:60]
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
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Age of Steam is one of my favorite games of all time. I love playing on different maps and exploring different strategies each. I signed on for any of the expansion maps figuring that this was a game in which I was particularly unlikely to advance so I would just try to enjoy a new experience. My table played Mexico which includes some interesting take tht potential in the nationalization action. I bid 0 in the first round content to see where the others started their lines and build elsewhere. This strategy worked fairly well in the early - middle game where I moved along slowly but surely and managed to build without taking nearly as many shares as my neighbors. Unfortunately I fell behind in locomotive advancement and thought I could pick up some cheap loco bumps in the later rounds since the top two players had already maxed their loco. For two turns in a row, though the leader (Ben) outbid me and took the loco action to block me. Great moves that I had never seen before or even considered (naive robber barons never get far or so I'm told). I lost four 6 deliveries and had to make due with inefficient 4s and 5s. Ultimately I finished in third place out of four despite a significant advantage in shares. I guess you have to borrow money to make on only sometimes. Fun game and a good learning experience!
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