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WBC 2013: First Timer's Report
Vidar Aas
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Arendal
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This summer was awesome. Many weeks of warm, good weather (not to be taken for granted in Norway) and my wife Gudny Scheving and I finally made it to the World Boardgaming Championship for the first time!

I have loved board games for almost as long as I can remember and Gudny also likes to play, although she’s not as eager as me.

I’ve known about the WBC for more than 10 years and have wanted to go there since I heard of it. In fact, we were in Lancaster in 2006, but one month too early. We were visiting my wife’s sister and husband, who were then living in New York City, and they took us to Amish Country.

When I discovered how close we were to the WBC, I became determined to go back for the WBC some time. Finally, this year it happened.

After some terrific days in Iceland and New York City, we took the Amtrak from New York to Lancaster on Sunday and installed ourselves in our hotel, the Ramada Inn just down the road from the Host.

Sunday evening we met our team mate Wilfred from Holland. The last team member, fellow Norwegian Haakon, didn’t arrive until Tuesday evening. We were all first timers at the WBC and the team - Good Bad Ugly & Evil - was created with the help from Facebook and Board Game Geek.

For some reason the bookies didn’t quite believe in us and gave us 7000-1 in odds to win the team tournament. But clearly they knew what they were doing, none of us managed to get any points in our team games…

We still had a great time at the WBC. Thanks to all the nice players we met - and not least all the dedicated GM’s and organizers that make this event possible. We’ll be back!

But enough talk – now for the games! meeple
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1. Board Game: Saint Petersburg [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:154]
Vidar Aas
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Wilfred brought St.Petersburg with him, so we had a game when we met him Sunday evening. This turned out to be my first and only game of open gaming.

I’m a typical tournament player and mainly went to WBC to compete in my favorite games, but I will gladly try new good games if I can smell them. I had heard about St. Petersburg and have almost bought it a couple of times, so when Wilfred had brought it I wasn’t difficult to ask.

Of course, Wilfred won by a large margin, but I managed second place. Which isn't bad. I’m a slow learner, and Gudny usually beats me the first time we play a new game. Most important, it was clearly a good game and I immediately decided to play at least one heat of St.Petersburg.

So Wednesday morning, I played in the first heat. I knew I wouldn’t have a chance to win, but it was a good chance to play and learn from some good players. Of course I lost, but I still had a good time.

St.Petersburg -1.heat:
1. Lori Miskoff - 82
2. Derek Glenn - 70
3. Norman Rule - 65
4. Me - 50

Gudny didn't play and this was my only game in the St.Petersburg tourney. But I bought a copy from one of the vendors afterwards and will definitely play this more in the future.


Wilfred teaching St.Petersburg to Gudny and me.
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2. Board Game: Thurn and Taxis [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:256]
Vidar Aas
Norway
Arendal
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I have Thurn and Taxis in my game collection, but have only played it twice, a long time ago. So on Monday, with nothing more interesting going on at the time, I decided to give it a shot.

It soon became clear why I haven’t played it more. I really don’t know what to do in this game. To make it worse, I couldn’t remember all the rules, even though I had attended the demo, so I lost many cards and ended up on negative points. A great start to tournament action blush

Gudny also played and did a bit better, ending up third on her table.

Thurn and Taxis - 1.heat
1. Kyle Smith - 28
2. Randy Buehler - 21
3. Carmen Peraunelli - 16
4. Me - -2


We also played in the second heat on Wednesday. I was still quite clueless, but this time I managed to get positive points! And I was not dead last, I tied for third place. So there might be hope for this game after all!

Gudny finished last in her heat, meaning that none of us would qualify for the semi finals.

Thurn and Taxis - 2.heat
1. Jim Crock - 22
2. Sara Beach - 15
3-4. Sean Maher - 10
3-4. Me - 10


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3. Board Game: Stone Age [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:49]
Vidar Aas
Norway
Arendal
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Stone Age is currently the favorite game of both Gudny and I. We have only played it for a year and have much to learn, but I still thought that we could do well if we had some luck.

The first heat was Monday afternoon. At my table was a young boy, aged 12 or so. He went for huts only, and tried to empty one of the stacks. So I had to stop him, or he would have run away with the game.

After a couple of more rounds, I had some huts myself, along with some good multipliers. We went into what I thought would be the last round. But then he suddenly realized that he might not be in such a good position after all, and rejected to take the final hut he had claimed.

So there was one more round, in which one of the other players managed to take three of the four civilization cards. I don't know for sure, but that may have decided the game.

Meanwhile Gudny managed to win her game by a large margin, scoring over 250 points, and was already qualified for the quarter finals on Saturday.

Stone Age - 1.heat
1. Gregory Breza - 163
2. Me - 147
3. Mark Berenbach - 125
4. Hudson Wyatt - 106


The second heat was Thursday. While Gudny had already qualified to the Stone Age quarter finals by winning her first heat and was off to Amish Country, I had to make another try.

Things certainly didn’t look bright. It was already Thursday, and I had still not won a heat in any game. But you can’t give up, so I played optimistically and gained a lot of huts and food and hut multipliers. It was just enough. Finally a win and I was in the quarter finals. Relief!

Stone Age - 2.heat
1. Me - 208
2. James Bell - 184
3. Unknown (had to leave before counting) - 143
4. James Crescenzi - 101


Having already qualified for the quarter finals, we both skipped the third heat on Friday, opting for Ra: The Dice Game instead.

The quarter final was first on the agenda on what should prove to be a looooong Saturday. It soon became clear that I was up against some very skilled players. There were lots of high dice rolls and I probably focused too much on huts over cards.

I also made a huge error in the last round, which cost me 15 points, but fortunately that didn’t matter, as I would have finished last anyway. I believe Gudny finished third in her quarter final.

Stone Age - Quarter Final
1. Ed Ericson - 198
2. Mark Crescenzi - 191
3. Pat Mirk - 177
4. Me - 157



Young Hudson and Mark Berenbach in the first heat.
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4. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:95]
Vidar Aas
Norway
Arendal
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I have not played much of Ra and only bought the game earlier this year. But I bought Razzia! many years ago and we have played it from time to time.

Ra and Razzia! are basically the same game, only with different themes, so I knew some of the tactics. The main difference is that Razzia! does not have disasters.

I still didn’t expect to do well in this game, knowing that a lot of Ra experts were present.

The first heat went Monday evening. I managed to get some good stuff. With three (I believe) Ra spots left in the last epoch I used my last sun, hoping for a quick finish. But the game lasted longer than I hoped and I finished second. It didn’t go quite as well for Gudny. She was last at her table.

Ra - 1.heat
1. Carol Haney - 37
2. Me - 35
3. Matthew Craig - 28
4. Anni Foasberg - 24
5. Marissa Bianco - 23


At Tuesday we were tourists in the area, but we were back well in time for the second heat of Ra in the evening. This time I was never a contender for the win. Two players ran way from the others and I had to settle for third place.

A place in the semi finals now seemed far away. I had to win the two last heats. With so many good players present, my chances looked very bleak. But Gudny managed to win her heat, meaning she would be in the semi finals if she could snatch one more win.

Ra - 2.heat
1. Dominic Blais - 43
2. Brad Sherwood - 42
3. Me - 26
4. Melody Loder - 20
5. Jason Long - 18


Third heat of Ra went Thursday evening, and now I had to win. It was a strange game, low-scoring, with lots of disasters and odd stuff going on.

One of the other players got some good tiles with low suns in the first two epochs and things didn’t look too bright. But then I managed to get some monuments and the highest suns in the third epoch. That was just enough to win, with the same score as the runner-up, but higher suns.

Gudny finished third in her heat, meaning we had both one win after three heats.

Ra - 3.heat
1. Me - 35 (highest suns)
2. Bobbi Warczak - 35
3. Anni Foasberg - 26
4. Kyle Smith - 18
5. Karl Buchholz - 6


The last heat was Friday morning. Both Gudny and I had to win to get into the semi finals. I was lucky and got lots of good tiles and managed to run away with the game, thus qualifying for the semi finals. Gudny was not so lucky, finishing fourth and was out of the tourney.

Ra - 4.heat
1. Me - 43
2. Grant LaDue - 28
3. Dan Mathias - 26
4. Bryan Berklenstock - 23
5. Ivan Lawson - 12


Friday afternoon it was time for the semi finals. I was ranked first in the tourney after the heats, but that was mainly because I had to play all four heats to qualify and got some points for my second and third places also. Some others just won two straight games and qualified directly.

Unfortunately, this was my worst game in the tournament. The first epoch was ok, but in the last two epochs the tiles didn’t come my way. Of course, my opponents were better than in the heats, too.

I was still quite happy to reach the semi finals in a game I haven’t played that much, and will play more Ra in the future!

Ra - Semi Final
1. James Freeman - 39
2. Angela Hoffmann - 33
3. Aran Warszawski - 30
4. Me - 27
5. Peggy Ng - 23



My nice opponents in that crazy third heat:
Kyle Smith, Karl Buchholz, Anni Foasberg and Bobbi Warczak.


The Ra tournament was very well run and had some nice Egyptian themed prizes.
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5. Board Game: All About Lancaster Pennsylvania [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Vidar Aas
Norway
Arendal
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Well, we didn’t really play this game. It only serves as an excuse to tell what we did on Tuesday. This was auction day and, after browsing through the auction market without buying anything, we went to Amish Country. On our feet. It was a bit longer than it looked on the map, so we were quite happy to see the DJ’s Taste of the 50s after about an hour’s walk.

After a good burger we walked the last bit to Bird-in-Hand, which we also visited seven years ago. After walking around for some time, we met a woman who asked if we knew when the bus was supposed to come. We had been looking for a bus the whole day without seeing one and were prepared to walk all the way back, but decided to wait with her. And actually, after 20 minutes or so a bus turned up. We were tired and happy to get a ride back to the hotel, well in time for the second heat of Ra.

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6. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:261]
Vidar Aas
Norway
Arendal
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Before the WBC, I thought that I might have a chance to do well in Lost Cities. But I also knew that there were 211 players last year and that you needed a lot of luck, so my expectations were not too high.

The first heat was on Wednesday. My opponent in the first heat was a young girl, aged 12 or so. I know from experience that kids can be very good at board games, so I took the game very seriously. And she certainly knew what she was doing. It was a fairly close game, but she managed to win all three rounds with a small margin.

That meant that I would have to win the next two heats in order to advance. Gudny went down town Lancaster for some shopping and didn't play this heat.

Lost Cities - 1.heat
1. Adina Weiss - 136
2. Me - 109


The second heat was Thursday. I was paired against Cary Morris and needed to win, having lost my first game. He led by 87-81 after the first two rounds, but I managed to get a good triple in the last round. It decided the game and I was still in. Gudny didn't play this heat, either.

Lost Cities - 2.heat
1. Me - 137
2. Cary Morris - 103


When the third heat was played Saturday afternoon, both Gudny and I were out of all other tourneys and Lost Cities was our last chance for wood.

I met Andrew Sinigaglio in the third heat and had to win to advance. The first hand was quite even, but in the next two hands I was lucky and won by large margins. Gudny also won her game.

There was a second game of the third heat for winners of the first game only. I was already qualified for the single elimination rounds with two wins, but chose to play to see if I could get a better seeding.

Gudny had to win, with only one win so far, but we both ended up losing. So Gudny went out of the tourney, while I was still in.

Lost Cities - 3.heat, 1.game
1. Me - 146
2. Andrew Sinigaglio - 67


Lost Cities - 3.heat, 2.game
1. Taylor Tu - 147
2. Me - 117


Time for single eliminations. I decided to just continue to play like I did in the heats and see how far I could go; patiently and don't take much risk.

I don't remember many details, but with the help of unsuccessfull gambles from some of my opponents and some luck I made it to the final. There I lost to Chris Entwistle in a fairly close game. Grats to Chris, who played very well!

Lost Cities - Round 2
1. Me - 112
2. Alyssa Morgen - 43


Lost Cities - Round 3
1. Me - 180
2. Ted Bohaczuk - 49


Lost Cities - Round 4
1. Me - 202
2. Carolyn Struck - 145


Lost Cities - Quarter Final
1. Me - 226
2. Lissa Rennert - 200


Lost Cities - Semi Final
1. Me - 206
2. Yoni Weiss - 87


Lost Cities - Final
1. Chris Entwistle - 127
2. Me - 110



The first heats of Lost Cities is a "madhouse", with young and old playing whereever they can find space.


The final against Chris Entwistle, with GM Ivan Lawson.


The Final Four: 1. Chris Entwistle, 2. Me, 3. Thomas Tu, 4. Yoni Weiss.
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7. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:107] [Average Rating:7.44 Unranked]
Vidar Aas
Norway
Arendal
No States or Provinces
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Finally, Wednesday evening it was time for Carcassonne, probably my best game. I have won the Norwegian Carcassonne championship four times and have played in the World Championship thrice, with 7th place as the best result.

But that was in two-player Carcassonne. In WBC it was multiplayer, with four or five players on each table. That makes the game far more random and luck driven and you need to have a different approach to the game.

In the first heat I tried to get into a large city, but unfortunately the other three managed to close it just before my nose. So I had to settle for third place, which meant that my chances of reaching the semi finals looked very slim. I needed to win the two last heats.

Gudny was unlucky and was placed on a table with five players, who were constantly doing strange things. For instance she tried to share a large city with one of them, for the benefit of them both. But for some reason, he kept inviting more players into the city. As a result it was never finished… She finished fourth or fifth.

Carcassonne - 1.heat
1. Erik Schlosser 68
2. David Bliss 67
3. Me 50
4. Matt Roizin-Prior 47


Only a win was good enough in the second heat Friday evening and I played accordingly. There was a large city and late in the game I had the chance to snatch it all for myself. I knew only one tile would give me the city, and I only had 25 % chance of getting it. But I had to go for it. I had some unlucky draws, and it was my only chance to win.

By some miracle, it turned up as my last tile, and I won the game! Lesson learned: Even if multiplayer is not the way I prefer to play Carcassonne, you have to adapt to the tourney format and invite luck! cool

Carcassonne - 2.heat
1. Me - 69
2. Rebecca Hebner - 57
3. Carol Haney - 55
4. David Bliss - 40


Saturday morning both Gudny and I got knocked out of the Stone Age tourney. The good thing was that I could now play in the last heat of Carcassonne!

I don’t remember much from my game, other than it was very close, but I managed to come out on top by two points in the end. So what seemed very unlikely before I drew my last tile in the second heat, was now turned into a place in the semi finals!

Gudny was third or fourth in her heat, but had no chance of getting into the semi finals anyway.

Carcassonne - 3.heat
1. Me - 79
2. Chris Erickson - 77
3. Antony Saccenti - 75
4. Mark Smith - 42


The semi finals consisted of five tables of five players. And for the fourth time in a row, I was the last player.

With so many players the fields get extremely important and there was soon a race for a large field with many cities. In the end, I got the field, but had little else.

The starting player, who got to draw one tile more than the rest of us, won by two points and I was second on tie breaker. I can’t recall what his last tile was, but it may have been decisive.

I believe this placed me in seventh spot in the Carcassonne tourney. Good by itself, but a bit annoying to be only two points from a place in the final.

Carcassonne - Semi Final
1. Sean McCulloch - 44
2. Me - 42 (most unused meeples)
3. Ed Fear - 42
4. Henry Allen - 32
5. Randy Buehler - 27



The semi final. Round the table: Ed Fear, Henry Allen, me, Sean McCulloch and Randy Buehler.


The Carcassonne finalists with GM Jennifer Visocnic. Winner Joe Millovich to the right.
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8. Board Game: Ra: The Dice Game [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:808]
Vidar Aas
Norway
Arendal
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With nothing else to do before the second heat of Lost Cities on Thursday, I decided to try my luck in Ra: The Dice Game. I had only tried the game once before, but it’s simple to learn and quite fun, although not as fun as Ra. It's not the same atmosphere and I miss the bidding.

It went quite well in the two first epochs, but I didn't have enough monuments to win the game, so I finished third in the end. Gudny didn't play, she had gone to Amish Country.

Ra: The Dice Game - 2.heat:
1. Josh Githens - 68
2. Ray Thomson - 59
3. Me - 57
4. Alyssa Morgen - 47


Having both already qualified for the Stone Age quarter finals, we both opted for RDG on Friday morning after Ra. It wasn't a great success. I was last in my heat and Gudny was third or fourth in her heat.

Ra: The Dice Game - 3.heat:
1. Jim Neuschwander - 49
2. Wilfred Meyboom - 47
3. Me - 31


Gudny also played in the fourth heat, while I played the Carcassonne semi final, and managed to win. That was enough to give her a place in the quarter finals, but unfortunately it ended there.

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9. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:30] [Average Rating:7.78 Unranked]
Vidar Aas
Norway
Arendal
No States or Provinces
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I like Dominion and have played quite much, but I’m not good at it. So I didn’t expect to advance when I entered the tourney Thursday evening. Each table played two games and I just played for fun. I probably should have won the first game, but in the second game I didn’t play well and was out of the tourney. Never mind!

Gudny doesn't like Dominion and didn't play.

Dominion - Round 1, 1.game:
1. Ben Scholl 33
2. Me 30
3. Seth Bell 27
4. Eric Filipowski 15


Dominion - Round 1, 2.game:
1. Ben Scholl 33
2. Eric Filipowski 26
3. Seth Bell 23
4. Me 19


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10. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:84]
Vidar Aas
Norway
Arendal
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We didn't get to play the first heat of Ticket to Ride Thursday evening due to a conflict with Ra, but were prepared to play the second heat on Friday. But when I qualified for the Ra semi finals, Friday was going to be a very busy day for me, so I decided to skip it.

I used to like TTR and have played it quite a lot, but I have kind of got tired of it. So I went to the Texas Roadhouse for a delicious burger and some relaxation, while Gudny played TTR. Unfortunately she didn’t manage to win, I think she was third at her table.

I did play the third heat on Saturday, when Gudny was busy with the Ra: The Dice Game quarter final. But I probably shouldn’t have played, because I was rather uninspired after losing out of the Carcassonne final by two points an hour earlier.

By coincidence, I happened to play the winner of the Carcassonne tournament, who arrived just in time to take part. He was apparently in a good steam and won the game, while I was completely lost, finishing none of my routes.

Ticket to Ride - 3.heat
1. Joe Millovich - 101
2. Scott Pfeiffer - 72
3. Emily Wu - 70
4. Me - 55



My game in the third heat. Picture from mataka.org.
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11. Board Game: Alhambra [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:310]
Vidar Aas
Norway
Arendal
No States or Provinces
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Alhambra is one of our favorite games, but unfortunately we couldn’t play the first heat on Wednesday evening because there was a conflict with Carcassonne. And there were only two heats of Alhambra, so our hopes of qualifying for the semi finals were slim. They didn't increase when we ended up on the same table in the second heat on Friday.

Alhambra is best with three, maximum four players. We were five players and one player soon ran away, so it was not a very interesting game. At least I snatched a second place.

Alhambra - 2.heat:
1. Jeff Mallet - 109
2. Me - 77
3. Brandon Bernard - 73
4. Antony Saccenti - 71
5. Gudny Scheving - 64


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12. Board Game: Völuspá [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:1344]
Vidar Aas
Norway
Arendal
No States or Provinces
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I bought a couple of games at the vendor’s market on Friday. This one mostly because of the Norse theme. We haven’t played it yet. If it turns out to be a good game, it’s a bonus.
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13. Board Game: Sleuth [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:759]
Vidar Aas
Norway
Arendal
No States or Provinces
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I also bought a second-hand copy of Sleuth at the vendor's market. This is a classic detective game, which I remember playing by mail (!) in the 80’s. Yes, I’m that old!
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