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Sean's 2012 WBC geeklist
Sean McCulloch
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Every year the WBC is the big week I look forward to, to see people, and play lots of games. This year, we've gone through a lot (new baby at home- which may have been intentionally timed in a way to avoid coming in early August..- wife transitioning to more of a stay-at-home mom lifestyle, me doing extra stuff to make up for the slack) that I sort of felt "out of it" coming into this week. Combined with that was this trip was the middle of "Niece Tour 2012", where I saw my brother and sister and _their_ new babies, made the whole experience a bit surreal.
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1. Board Game: San Juan [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:160]
Sean McCulloch
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I got there on Sunday (I'd originally planned to try to come out early on Saturday in time to play in the Hannibal tournament, but Niece Tour 2012 killed that idea), so the first tournament I played in was this one, at 9 AM on Monday. I was sort of hoping I'd lose here, so I could play Wilderness War at 1:00

(As an aside, it seems like there was a lot of conflicting wargames going on Monday. Sekigahara, Warriors of God, Wilderness War, Maneuvere later on.. I wonder how much they all interfered with each other attendance-wise..)

In my first game, I played someone who hadn't played San Juan much, but had played Race for the Galaxy a bunch (which is sort of the opposite of me), so he didn't know the cards very well, and I beat him. In the second round, I played someone pretty good, but had a really good early hand (something like prefecture/library/carpenter), and rode that to the win.

2 wins out of the first 3 is enough to make the single-elim bracket, so I go off and get lunch (and bring some back for the people running the event). Then we get paired up in the bracket, and lo and behold, I get the exact same player I got in my second game! We asked if that was ok, and was told that it was, so we played a rematch. In this one, I think I started with the guild hall and ran down a bunch of production buildings for the win.

In the next round, I play a pretty good player and beat him (I forget how), bringing me into the final 8, where I play one of the sharks, and past champions. In this game, I had _nothing_. Hardly any good cards at all, while he got most of the large buildings (and was digging with library-assisted 8-card councilors for the rest). About all I could manage was an early chapel, which actually worked out great, because it was so early, and the game went on so long. It probably got me 8-10 points. In the end, though, I made it closer than I thought, but still lost by one point. My opponent went on to lose in the finals, I think, so that probably got me 6th place or so, which is the best I've ever done in that tournament.
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2. Board Game: Union Pacific [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:289]
Sean McCulloch
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Since I did "too well" in the San Juan tournament to play Wilderness War, I settled for this at 3:00. It's a game I think is ok, but not great, and I don't play it much. But luck was with me, as I won my first 2 games, basically by creating a monopoly on one color and having nobody draw any more of that color until the final payout. All skill, baby!

The tournament is 3 rounds of Swiss, with people of similar records paired at the same table. So my 3rd game was at a table with all of the 2-0 people, meaning that whoever won and whoever came in second would be guaranteed a spot at the final table. After that it got a bit murky.

The first time around the table, the first player chooses not to buy a share of the UP stock, then I do, then the third player doesn't and says "oops, yeah, I should have done that. I forgot". Uh-oh. It's one thing to intentionally not buy any UP (I'm not good enough to say whether it's a good idea or not, but I almost always try to come in first in it), but to forget, and then try to catch up (and then to forget to lay it down before the second payout, meaning the person who didn't buy _any_ got some free money) makes weird things happen.

One thing he didn't forget to do was draw 4 of my color stock from the deck, and steal the train I've been building from me. That was enough to put me in 3rd, and out of the final. Oh well.
 
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3. Board Game: Auctioneer [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Sean McCulloch
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Not being in the UP finals meant I had time to help set up the auction for Tuesday. There's a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes- both Monday night, as well as days and weeks in advance to get all of the lots organized. I think the auction itself went well on Tuesday (though we may need to rethink the way the back doors of Lampeter are used- lots of people want to go in and out through there, which is a big security hassle), so thanks to everyone (especially the Gutermuths, who do almost all of the pre-con organization) for all the work you put in!

Personally, I got a few cheapish things, including the Sauron expansion for the Lord of the Rings co-op game, and the War of the Ring game for just $28. Maybe I'll play in that tournament next year. (Checks..) Oh, dang. It looks like they use the expansion. (Checks..) Oh, dang. It looks like the expansion is out of print, and sells online for $90. Maybe I won't be doing that next year
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4. Board Game: High-Bid [Average Rating:5.73 Overall Rank:6651]
Sean McCulloch
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After working in the auction, I like to get a game of this in as a warm-up for the convention. It's not something I'm very good at, because I tend to always have hands that I don't know what to do with.

This time, though, I have a couple pieces of Rich Collector stuff that gets bought, and manage to make a set of Queen Anne. I'm rolling for the win, and get enough on the sell roll to win, but first I have to pull a card off the deck.

Of course, it's Imitation, which means the item I sold gets me no money- and I lose the item! So I'm done, and someone else wins on the next hand. Sigh.
 
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5. Board Game: March Madness [Average Rating:6.25 Overall Rank:5321]
Sean McCulloch
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This is my first game I play seriously- or as seriously as I can with such a simple game. I like that it's simple, but there are lots of choices for different strategies- in the teams you choose in the draft, in the types of risks you're willing to play with your cards, in when you use your one time out reroll per half.

I picked my team towards the middle of the pack, and so got a mediocre team. Luckily for me, I played a similarly mediocre team in my first game (and won), while most of the top seeds got upset. That meant I player a better- but not too much better- team in the second round, and managed to outroll him. In the 3rd round, I played someone with a C defense, an A bench, and who drew the Offensive Specialist (which let him use his A bench for 2 positions). So that was that. I think he went on to win the whole tournament, so that just shows that C defenses _can_ win titles!

I also played in the Friday morning heat, also got a mediocre team, and I think went went 1-1.

There were some new cards, and new teams this year, and I think some of the letter grades got re-assigned by Terry. That was really cool to see- it was nice to have a set of teams so closely bunched in quality.
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6. Board Game: Win, Place & Show [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:1569]
Sean McCulloch
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Normally, I try to play Queen's Gambit or Ingenious once I lose in March Madness, but my games went a little long, so I missed them. I did have time at 11 to play this, which is a game I'm always at a distinct disadvantage because I don't know how the horses do (but I think I am getting better).

I had a pretty horrible first 2 races, bad enough that I was worrying about having enough to make my bets for the rest of the game. But I had a comeback in the 3rd and 4th races, and managed to call the 5th race pretty close to optimally, so all of a sudden, I was close to the lead going into the last race.

So now I get to play Rock, Paper, Scissors with Win, Place, and Show master, Ken Gutermuth. The facts are these:
- I don't know if I'm winning or not. Ken apparently thinks that I am, but I'm still not too far removed from the "I hope I don't bust out" of a few races ago, so I don't think it's likely
- There are probably only 2 realistic bets: Mona Lisa (who we call "the Lisa"), who's sort of the favorite, or Captain Ahab, who's sort of the underdog.
- Ken _loves_ Mona Lisa. I think he's bet her to win every game I've seen him in. Of course, he's usually winning by that point in the game
- Ken's daughter, coincidentally named "Lisa", is sitting at the table with us, watching the game, but not playing. I have no _proof_ that this is why Ken likes the Lisa so often, but I have my suspicions..
- I own the Lisa, Ken owns Ahab. I'm probably not good enough to intentionally ruin my horse without being suspicious, but Ken is. Ken may be good enough to have an advantage with his horse in the actual race- it's hard to tell, for me at least, how much "skillful jockeying" buys you. A lot of the moves seem to play themselves.

So, based on all of this, I pick Lisa to win and place, and Ahab to show (in case I'm wrong). Ken does the opposite- Ahab to win and place, Lisa to show. Sure enough, Ken's horse wins by 1 pip (if one movement die would have been one larger, I would have won the race, and the game). Still, that's way better than I usually do.
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7. Board Game: Titan [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:531]
Sean McCulloch
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Wednesday morning I get to sleep till 10, and play in my team game- the 2 player titan tournament. Ever since I won. a few years ago, I've made it my team game, and ever since then, I've done pretty badly. I'd like to do well in this tournament again, so maybe it's time to pick some other team game

It's set up as a single-elimination bracket. In the first game, I played someone I'd played a couple of years ago. In that game, he was really out-recruiting me, so I made a bold attack to strip his titan. He decided to risk his titan instead of getting stripped, and I killed it. In this game, he was really out-recruiting me again (maybe I'm doing something wrong..) and ended up with all 12 stacks running around the board. 11 of the 12 stacks had scary things like unicorns and behemoths and things running around. His 12th stack, luckily, was his titan, and wasn't that good. I was able to track it down and kill him. Whew.

In my second round game, I played one of the titan sharks, who's beaten me several times. In this game, I was the one recruiting well (behemoth in my titan stack, griffon in my angel stack, he didn't have much), so he decided to make the bold attack, titan on titan in the jungle (with my behemoth). I think he's better enough than me to be able to out-play me in a long game, but he's also probably better enough than me to win a battle like this, so I guess it washes out.

As the battle progresses, I have a choice. Do I:
- set up so he has to move his titan against my titan, pretty much ensuring a mutual.
- hope that a lion and a ranger (each swinging once) don't get 4 hits between them on my titan, and then I'll probably win the battle if I don't do anything stupid.

The lion and ranger average 3 2/3 hits, and a mutual is decided by a random die roll, so mathematically, I'm probably supposed to try and play for the win. But I decided I'd rather take the sure thing, partially because I was scared of the rolls, and partially because "don't do anything stupid" is probably worth more than 1/3 of a hit coming from me As it turns out, we do mutual, and I lose the roll-off. Still, it's nice to be able to play one of the great players even that closely.
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8. Board Game: Galaxy: The Dark Ages [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:2610]
Sean McCulloch
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After the titan game, I ate some lunch, and went in to play Galaxy. I like this game, and won it many years ago, but it's becoming a bit of a shark tank. Looking around at the table I was at, I saw 4 really good players. The game played out that way too- the final scores were 8,8,8,7. I had the 3rd place 8 (because of the tiebreaker), but I thought I played pretty well considering I spent most of the game with a handful of really low cards. Great for killing things, not so great for deciding who to bet on..
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9. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:261]
Sean McCulloch
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Next up was Lost Cities, a game which I seem to be good at for some reason- don't ask me why. The prelims are spread out with 4 heats over 4 days. I usually try to fit in heats where I can, but don't build my schedule around them (they're often in the afternoon or evening, and so can conflict with other things). Also, _so_ many people play, that with the SE bracket portion only taking 32 people, you need 3 wins (or 2 wins in early heats) to advance. Ivan does a great job running this tournament, but I wish the bracket took more people.

Anyway, I won my first game against someone who doesn't play very often, and in my second game, I played someone pretty good, but neither one of us could get any good cards. I think the total score over 3 hands was 60-45 him, mainly because he found a handshake for his good column in the 3rd hand, and I couldn't. But those aggregate scores are really bad for 3 hands- they're pretty good for _one_ hand, but people beat them in all the time. So, going 1-1, I figured it was unlikely that I was going to advance, so I didn't make time for more heats.
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10. Board Game: Alhambra [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:309]
Sean McCulloch
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WBC has lots of cool tournaments going on at once, and figuring out your schedule is both hard, and needing constant re-adjustment. I missed my Queen's Gambit heat on Tuesday night, playing March Madness. The next heat is at 8 Wednesday. At 6 Wednesday, I can play Kremlin, which is another game I like and only really play at WBC. Do I play Kremlin, and hope it gets done in 2 hours? I decide not to risk it, and play Alhambra at 6, knowing it will be done by 8. (In fact, we get it done in 45 minutes)

I'm not great at Alhambra, and they play 5 player games here, which means planning is usually not very helpful (someone will probably buy the tile you're trying for before it gets back to you). I probably need to a better job with money management, or deciding to overpay, I don't know. Whatever the reason, I'm never really a factor in this game, and come in 4th or 5th.
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11. Board Game: Star Wars: The Queen's Gambit [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:344]
Sean McCulloch
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I really like this game, and winning the tournament is one of my long-term WBC goals. Normally, I do pretty well in the heats, then lose to some 10 year old kid in the bracket. In this heat, I got an adult (yay!) who was pretty good (boo!). I think I played him really well, and I think I rolled pretty well, but nowhere as good as he did. I think he rolled a block with Darth Maul each time I swung at him, often 2, 3, or even 4 blocks! It was just brutal. After the loss (not in my first heat.. man, I hate that rule), I figured it was unlikely I'd advance even with a win in the final heat, so I missed it.
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12. Board Game: Titan [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:531]
Sean McCulloch
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After a couple of demoralizing losses in the previous games, I decided to try my luck in the 4-player Titan tournament. How I do in this is usually a function of how much time I devote to it- the top 16 players from the heats make the semifinal, and I'm not usually good enough to just show up, play 1 or 2 games, and make it.

In my first game, I never got anything going, and eventually got put out of my misery by someone, coming in last.

In my second game Thursday morning, one of the players decided to take a chance sitting 5-high below the inner ring, hoping I wouldn't roll a 5 or higher to attack him. I did, and won the battle. After killing him, I pretty much dominated the board, and while the remaining 2 people mutualed against each other, giving me the win, I think I would have been ahead of either one had they won.

1 win and a 4th is usually not enough to make the semifinals, so I tried to find times to make some more heats. As it turned out, the times I tried were the 10 PM times on Thursday and Friday night. For some reason (and, now that I think about it, I wonder if the Lampeter AC problems had something to do with it), nobody showed up for those start times, so I was getting pretty resigned to not being able to make the semifinals (which to me, meant I'd have a pretty boring Saturday, since not much goes on besides semifinals) But, luckily some people won multiple times (taking wins from other people), and there were less games total this year (probably because of the AC problems), so I made the semifinals anyway.

In the semifinals, I lost an early battle (cen cen cen wbe mutualed against og og tro), which sort of set the tone. I was doing a little better than I did in my first game, but still felt I was living on the sufferance of others, who didn't want to "bother" to trap and kill me. Then, one of the players (one of the sharks) attacked someone else's titan. The defender rolled really well in a losing effort, leaving the attacker (one of the sharks) with (Ttn12 Ang Ang). Figuring this was my best chance to win, I attacked on the very next turn with my (Ttn7 Wyv Wyv Ran Ran Lio), with an angel to bring in. It was sort of a weird battle, because even though I was the attacker, I set up as the defender, hunkered down and let him come after me, which he did. (I may have hung back and let me string myself out, but since I'm not as good in battles, I'll defer to his ability). Then, his angel had a chance to put 3 hits on a ranger of mine, or my titan. I thought the titan was a no-brainer, but he put them on the ranger. I think he felt that doing so gave him a better shot for one of us to win, instead of a mutual, which I guess is a good goal in a semifinal where only 1 of us will advance. But on the next roll, I surrounded and killed his titan, leaving me with {Ttn12 Ang Ang}. Eventually, I found a tower, meaning that the last remaining player couldn't find my titan until I'd filled up on warlocks, so he conceded, putting me in my first ever 4-player titan final!

This game started out well for me- getting a hydra and 2 warlocks in my titan stack, and a giant in my angel stack. After that, though, things kind of stalled out. One of the players got attacked, and won a battle we were all expecting him to be eliminated on, and as a result, 3 of us kind of all got stuck in one area blocking each other. As that happened, the 4th player had free rein of the board, recruting like crazy. None of his stacks were _great_ (lots of rangers and things), but we kind of took a long time to unwind each other (I had the choice most turns of attacking {Ang Gia Wbe Wbe Ran Ran Ran} into {Min Min Wbe Wbe Uni Uni Lio} in the hills- even if I win, I have nothing good left, or attacking with my {ttn wlo wlo gri gri hyd lio} in the brush against a pile of rangers and gorgons- ugh, or "passing", by moving one of my dud stacks around. Which I did. Maybe I should have made the attack in the hills, but I think all that does is make my giant stack into a dud stack. I don't know.

Eventually, my titan gets attacked from behind, and after a couple of battles, I end up with {ttn ang} and just like 250 points. Not enough for teleportation, and just one other stack (the giant), so I pull my units, so I can get over to Slapshot (which I GM) so that I'm not too late for it. Still, a 4th in this shark-filled event is a result I'm proud of.
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13. Board Game: Can't Stop [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:481]
Sean McCulloch
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After losing my first titan game, I was happy that it took only about an hour so I could play in Can't Stop and defend my unlikely 2nd place from last year. It wasn't to be this year, as the game only took like 3 turns. The winner closed out the 2, 12, and 7 in succession, and we never had a chance. Off to bed.
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14. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:19]
Sean McCulloch
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Thursday afternoon, I decided to play this. I have no pretensions about being good, but it's a fun quick game. To my surprise, out of 100+ people signed up for the tournament, I get paired with 2 people I know- Jeff Mullet and Lisa Gutermuth. The way they run it is 2 games at the same table, with random positions and random monuments each time. While it can be argued that it's possible to win a game and not win the table, I think that's ok. You're really trying to maximize your score anyway, and the setup means that everyone gets 2 (quick) games in.

Lisa had the best strategy, which I didn't have the guts to do- sell your soul for science, and assume that the rest of the table won't have enough people good/attentive enough to stop you. It worked. Lots of people (myself included) probably gave her good cards because they weren't watching. For example, I passed the "wild science" guild down the table, knowing Lisa would love it, but figuring that one of the 3 people in between us would burn the card or something. But all of them figured it wasn't their job (which I can't really fault them for, since I figured it wasn't my job, either), and sure enough, she ended up with it.

Lisa later reported to me that apparently that strategy _doesn't_ work in the semifinals, though, especially when 2 people try it at the same time
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15. Board Game: Football Strategy [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:2914]
Sean McCulloch
United States
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I'm not very good at this game, but I'm in the process of writing a computer program that works as an AI for it, so I figured I'd see how I'd measure up.

In the first game, I did pretty well. I play a sort of "mixed strategy" on offense, using weighted die rolls to decide what to play. On defense, that doesn't work so well for me, so I try to use psychology. In this game, my psychology was better than my statistics, and the game was low-scoring, but I won.

The second game was pretty back and forth, but I was behind for most of the game. I managed to get the ball back down by 7 with 2:45 to go, which is all you can ask for. Unfortunately, I missed like 6 or 7 straight plays (there were some penalties in there), so I blew my last big chance.
 
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16. Board Game: Kremlin [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:571]
Sean McCulloch
United States
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Thursday at 7 I got my Kremlin game in. This game is always lots of fun, but the attendance puts it in kind of a limbo area- not enough people to make a semifinal worth it, but too many people to guarantee that each heat winner makes the final table.

I often play a mid/late game strategy in this game, mainly because I don't want to shoot my wad early, and be bored for the rest of the game. In this game, my people gravitated to the top at just the right time, as the politburo emptied and the game was won. It was one of those "Well, the only legal candidate for the new party chief is Sean's guy. Hey, look, the game is over!" situations. Since the win was in my "first heat entered", I made the final (still don't like the rule, even when it helps me)

In the final, after Nestor, the top level politburo was all really young. I figured one of two things was possible;
- someone (or several someones) would go all out and take the top 4 people with all of their high numbers
- all of us would be scared to put any points on anyone, because we'd be worried about option 1.

I decided to put some of my medium numbers (4-6, which usually don't do much good in a 6 player game anyway) on them, to make sure that if someone wanted them, they'd have to _really_ want them, and then put my high numbers on lower-level people for some late-game possibilities. As it turned out, option 1 happened, as someone had the "miracle drug" card that healed Nestor, and he survived for about 5 potential waves, and exhausted lots of our cards trying to stop the win. After that, the game was pretty neutral, with a couple of people getting one wave, and a couple of people failing.

Bringing us to the turn 9 add influence phase. As things fell out, I had both of my 10 and my 9 up in the politburo, and nobody really knew they were mine. But other people had promoted them, and other people had put occasional add influence points on them in previous phases. I had 1 extra point on my 9, meaning I could, if I wanted to, come out and declare the 10+ on both of them. On the positive side, this means they're unassailably mine (and those points people had put out made me a little worried that they were someone else's 10+). On the negative side, they're unassailibly _mine_, and I'm a pretty big target going into the last turn. I'm not sure what's right here, but I decided to not take the chance and declare the 10+. (As it turns out, I'm pretty sure nobody had close to enough points on either to 10+ them. Oh well)

Then we had a turn similar to the first, where enough people were killed or purged to guarantee that this was the last turn. I thought things were set up so that they'd have no choice but to make one of my people party chief, but the Assassin card was still out there.

So, the only thing that could stop my win was:
- The player with the assassin card playing it on themselves, and not killing themselves (needing a roll of >10)
- The player then fingering my guy, and making the trial roll (>=12).
- The nomination for the party chief has to go to the guy that's not mine

Even if you assume I'll never get the nomination (probably a safe bet), both other things happening is about a 20% chance, but sure enough, it happened, and I lose the final. I guess I can't complain about having an 80% chance to win the game, but grr...
 
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17. Board Game: Pro Golf [Average Rating:5.40 Overall Rank:9552]
Sean McCulloch
United States
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Oh, Pro Golf. You are so awesome at 11 PM with beer in hand. I wouldn't play you any other way.

(Take that however you want)

Over the years, our "foursome" has become a "12-some", and this year we split into 2 tables. The main joy this year was that one of the new players had actually picked Pro Golf as his team event, and proceeded to have one of the worst rounds ever seen in my life. Like +6 or something. It sure made my even score look good.

Afterwards, I went to bed, so sadly missed the Mark Yoshikawa Skins Game Experience. I'm sad I missed it.
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18. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:23]
Sean McCulloch
United States
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Friday Morning, I have a choice- I want to play the Kremlin final at 1 (hoping I made it). Do I play titan at 10, trying to get that second good game, or do I do other stuff? I decide not to get stressed about making the titan game finish in 3 hours, and play March Madness in he morning. When I bust out, there's not much on the schedule except for this.

Despite the fact that I'm decent in San Juan, I'm not very good at this game, and don't like it as much, which I know puts me in the minority. It just feels like it ends too quick, with people potentially playing 2 cards a turn, that you (or, well, me) don't get much chance to play any of the cool combinations of cards I try to set up. The fact that I don't know the cards, and haven't played the expansions at all don't help either.

But surprisingly, I manage to hold my own. In the first game, I try to do some kind of producer-consumer thing, using the x2 vp as much as I can, but it took too long to set up, and I lost, but not by much. In the second game (they do 2 back to back), I really thought I was doing better, getting lots of military and the military world 6-point building, but apparently someone had some strategy involving lots of blue worlds, and ended up killing us.
 
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19. Board Game: Battle Line [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:130]
Sean McCulloch
United States
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Somehow, I won this tournament last year, so Friday night, I came down to defend my title. In my very first game, I almost lost- the guy I was playing had to give up a column, and decided to really give it up rather than turning it into a flush (which would have won once I couldn't make my 3 of a kind on my side). The other 2 games in my pod were tough, but I won them, making me 3-0 into the single-elimination bracket.

In the bracket, my first game was against someone I beat in San Juan early in the week. I almost blew it when I counted all of the 6's, thought they were all out, and missed one. Whoops. Luckily, I'd pulled the traitor from the tactics deck, which meant I could steal the 6 away, making my count right

The next game went to the very end, but forced me to figure out that a column I had a 3 of a kind couldn't be beaten by _any_ possible straight flush (there were no possible ones left), so I could claim it for the win. That put me in the finals, against another fellow CABS player.

In the final, I got all 6 tens, and claimed a straight flush column before he got any cards down. The combination of the 2 meant I pulled out the win for a second straight win in my new favorite game
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20. Board Game: Liar's Dice [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:412]
Sean McCulloch
United States
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Friday night, after nobody showed up for the 10 PM titan heat, and I learned that I was going to qualify for the semi anyway, I went to play Liar's Dice. It's a really fun crazy event that gets over 200 people. You get to play with your friends, and our table had the usual trash-talking, beer and pretzels, and complaining about losing dice to collateral damage. When the dust settled, I was left with one other player, who had 1 die to my 2. He bet 1 star, which I believed, so I put it at 2 fours (I had a 4 and a 3). He picked the right time to lie, since I believed him, but was unlucky that he'd also rolled a 4 and so was screwed.

In the next round, I was sitting behind 2 people who really didn't want to call a bet. Like, if it was 5 spots over the average, and they didn't have any of the number, they'd wince, think about it, and very reluctantly call. So, lots of times, when it came to me, the bet was pretty significantly overbid. Or so I thought. I hadn't taken into account the ability of the player on my left to roll stars. I think she had 4 dice, and rolled 4 stars, 3 stars, 3 stars, (lost 1 die to collateral damage), then rolled 3 stars and 2 stars. So most of my calls were actually made bets, and I lost because of it. Crazy.
 
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21. Board Game: Slapshot [Average Rating:6.33 Overall Rank:2049]
Sean McCulloch
United States
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Saturday night's crazy party game, and the one I run. I came a little late because of the titan final, and missed some of the pre-game craziness. (Was there a RANGERS parade this year?) But I did get into a game, with a really horrible team. Still, being the patsy isn't all bad, because it gives you a chance for occasional wins, and a chance to play brusiers, which can only improve your team. I made it into the playoffs (though it's very possible that the playoffs consisted of the only 4 people at the table willing to stay up late), but lost there.

The Massively Unfair Semifinal Round was a little stressful to run, since it was hard to find games, so I had to do 3 tables instead of 4, and the tables were all really crowded. Sorry about that.

The average age at the final was older than it has been in previous years. I don't know if that was a fluke, or a reaction to the "youth movement" we've been having. Congrats to Derek Landel, a repeat champion 13 years removed from his first win!
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22. Board Game: TransAmerica [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:705]
Sean McCulloch
United States
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Sunday morning, I usually get in a game of TransAmerica to say goodbye to everyone. I'm not very good at it- I don't win many rounds, and the accumulation of 2 or 3 points each round usually kills me.

This time, though, I managed to win a round when everyone else had 6 or 7 points, and won the game, putting me in the semis. Which is a bit of a mixed blessing, since I had to ride up to Buffalo for the next leg of Niece Tour 2012, and was planning on leaving around 11.

In the semis, I played against someone who built out from the corners instead of from the middle (So in going from Seattle to Salt Lake, they'd start in Seattle). I usually like starting in the middle, because if people start connecting to me, I can jump into them faster. Luckily, not only did she start from the corners, it was often corners I was going to anyway, so I could build the rest of the map assuming I could get up there without too much trouble once we were all connected. That was enough to win the game, and get me into the final.

Now I'm doubly stressed because I haven't checked out of my room, I need to be on the road, and it's 1:00. But I figure now I need to go for it. Of course, that's when I have my "regular" TransAmerica game, only winning 1 round (which someone else also got 0 points on), and scoring 2-3 points most other rounds. Which put me in 4th. Oh well.

Still, it was a great week, I got a lot of different games in, and had a good time. It was great seeing everyone, and I can't wait to do it again next year!
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