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WBC 2011 Games Played
Chad Weaver
United States
Denver
Pennsylvania
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This was my second WBC. Last year I played several tournaments, but this year my group was more excited about open gaming, as was I. Over the course of six days, I got 63 plays in, including 27 games I had never played before! Here's the list.
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1. Board Game: Manoeuvre [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:413]
Chad Weaver
United States
Denver
Pennsylvania
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Arrived early Monday morning but found the Game Library wasn't open yet. One of my friends, Erik, brought Manoeuvre and taught me that. We played once (Erik took the Brits and beat my French, IIRC) and since the Manoeuvre tournament was starting, I signed up.

I won my first game with Britain over Spain I think. In the second game, I took Russia versus Prussia. I was way behind early thanks to some bad dice rolling. I rallied back late in the game. My opponent wasn't too pleasant and there were a couple rule disputes that he called the GM over for. I figured I learned incorrectly but he was looking for a fight anyway. I don't remember the details but I was wrong about the first thing, then right about the second thing and that really made him mad. On what turned out to be my last turn, I knew I couldn't get the lead so I declined to draw the last card in my deck, as the provided rules said that all the phases were optional. Of course my opponent objected and called the GM over yet again. The GM said that the rule was changed so I finished my turn, lost 8-7, and withdrew from the rest of the first round pool play.

This was really my only negative experience the whole week, but it was an unhappy way to start an enjoyable week.
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2. Board Game: Confusion: Espionage and Deception in the Cold War [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:680]
Chad Weaver
United States
Denver
Pennsylvania
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By now the Game Library was open. A copy of this Stronghold Games reprint was in the library, and caught my attention. My friend Ken and I had a little time for a two-player game and gave this a go. It took a few minutes to figure out the rules, but once we got it going it was fairly fun. There are nice components in the game, both the pieces and the dry-erase notebooks. I'd play it again, but I don't play many two-player games regularly so I won't be picking this one up.
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3. Board Game: Piece o' Cake [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1102]
Chad Weaver
United States
Denver
Pennsylvania
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By now Dusty joined Ken and I in open gaming and we had just a bit of time to kill so we pulled out Piece o'Cake. This is just a simple game, probably great with kids, but little depth. Dusty won all three times, starting his trend of winning all the games aimed at the 12 & under!
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4. Board Game: Alien Frontiers [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:92]
Chad Weaver
United States
Denver
Pennsylvania
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Ken went off to the San Juan tournament so Erik, Dusty, and I pulled out Alien Frontiers (I brought my copy) for a quick game. This is always fun, and the upcoming expansion should solve the one real problem, the open scoring. We've had a few games turn into a near-stalemate at the end where everybody has to focus on preventing one player from winning at the expense of helping themselves. If I recall correctly, I pulled out a narrow victory on this play.
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5. Board Game: Vegas Showdown [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:272]
Chad Weaver
United States
Denver
Pennsylvania
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Up next for me was the Vegas Showdown tournament. I narrowly missed the finals in this event last year, and I was off to a good start in the first heat this year. It was an odd start, as the card that offers victory points for money came out first, so three of us started with 5 points but strapped for cash. I had three strong opponents but built up my income without Slots early, using Table Games and Buffet until the Slots demand went down. However, the slot cards hit in the interim which hurt my chances. Late in the game I was still holding the lead in revenue and population, and if the game had ended two turns earlier, I probably would've won. But a bit more bad luck at the end prolonged the game putting every tile in play by the end, and I lost. Still fun to play against good players, however. I didn't make it back for any of the other heats.
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6. Board Game: Toboggans of Doom [Average Rating:4.74 Overall Rank:10591]
Chad Weaver
United States
Denver
Pennsylvania
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Dusty pulled this game out from the game library. The tiles looked cool and each turn you got to roll several different dice. That's about all that is good about this one. The rules were not very clear about a couple things and it was just one big luck fest. We each got one turn, then I won on the second turn. Yawn.
 
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7. Board Game: Carcassonne: The Dice Game [Average Rating:5.17 Overall Rank:10716]
Chad Weaver
United States
Denver
Pennsylvania
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This was another quick filler game from the game library. Dusty and I are both fans of Carcassonne, so we wanted to give this one a try. Much like Toboggans of Doom, it didn't last long. He won on the third turn. Terrible game.
 
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8. Board Game: Airlines Europe [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:204]
Chad Weaver
United States
Denver
Pennsylvania
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I was looking forward to playing this one, so we pulled it out of the game library in the evening for a four-player game. We figured it out from the rules pretty quickly and got underway. The blend of majority stock ownership and the TTR route-building mechanic made for a solid game. It didn't knock anybody's socks off, but we agreed to consider playing it again later in the week.
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9. Board Game: Maori [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:1192]
Chad Weaver
United States
Denver
Pennsylvania
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And now on to Tuesday. I made a pass through the auction store and there were a number of games on my "maybe later at the lower price" list. (The auction store is full of games people want to sell for $30 and under, and they set a 10 AM price, a noon price, and a 2 PM price. Then Dusty, Erik and I went to open gaming and pulled out this game. It's a tile-laying game with a unique selection mechanic. I think we all enjoyed it for what it was, but not enough to run out and pick up a copy.
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10. Board Game: Quarriors! [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:443]
Chad Weaver
United States
Denver
Pennsylvania
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Quarriors! Somebody had a copy that was set up in the open gaming demo area on Tuesday. (Unfortunately we didn't see it at any point for the rest of the week.) Erik, Dusty, and I, along with another guy got a couple plays in. We figured things out fairly quickly (the other guy had helped in play-testing several months earlier so he had some concept of the basics) and enjoyed those plays. The game did seem to end too quickly, and the Quake Dragon seemed overpowered, but it's far too early to judge. I'm a big Dominion fan, and it was a blast to play a similar game but with dice. I'm anxious to see where this game goes with expansions.

Preordered!
 
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11. Board Game: To Court the King [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:1041]
Chad Weaver
United States
Denver
Pennsylvania
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Filler dice game that Erik picked up and we played three-player with Dusty. Ever since Alien Frontiers, I'm enjoying dice games more and more--especially those where there are decisions to be made after the roll. To Court the King is about as simple as this type of game comes. Fun game!
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12. Board Game: Small World Underground [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:175] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
Chad Weaver
United States
Denver
Pennsylvania
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My group enjoys Small World, which Dusty owns. I figured if we liked SW Underground I'd pick it up to have this style of game. Dusty, Erik and I played a three-player game and we were underwhelmed. Dusty's evaluation was that the designers used up all the simpler races and special powers and were left forcing more complex abilities into this game, and I agree. This one is coming off the wishlist.
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13. Board Game: Slapshot [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:2027]
Chad Weaver
United States
Denver
Pennsylvania
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I've heard about this at WBC, and there were several copies of the new Columbia Games version in the game library so Erik, Dusty and I tried this out. We all enjoyed the game quite a bit. I later learned about the rule differences but I think the new version is superior. There is usually a bit of strategy in the first-goal-wins overtime, and the one-goal home ice advantage for being challenged solves balances the playing field for when a team is weak and is getting regularly challenged.

This will get played by my regular group and I think by my wife, my parents, and other friends who are starting to enjoy playing games. This one went on my post-tournament order list right away.
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14. Board Game: Days of Steam [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:3052]
Chad Weaver
United States
Denver
Pennsylvania
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I'm not sure who pulled this one out of the game library or whether we played this three-player or four-player, but I enjoyed it right away. This is, of course, a train game. Tiles are laid to form track paths and other tiles are laid to build towns. The players travel from town to town, powering their engine with steam that is accumulated from playing tiles, to pick up and deliver goods. There is a bit of ability to impede your opponents, using certain tiles to build over previously-built track sections. It's a 45-minute game with key decisions to make often. In addition, you can do a lot of planning during the other players' turns so there doesn't feel like a lot of downtime. Dusty purchased this later in the week after a few other plays.
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15. Board Game: Black Friday [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1384]
Chad Weaver
United States
Denver
Pennsylvania
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I've played this before online, so I convinced Erik, Dusty, and Ken to play this. I did need to consult the rules for some of the things that are programmed in and done automatically on yucata.de but despite the fiddlyness it went pretty quickly and everyone enjoyed it. I capitalized on a big price jump for orange in the mid-game and rode that good fortune to victory, something like 30-25-25-24. This is staying on the wishlist for now--I think my group will play again.
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16. Board Game: Skyscrapers [Average Rating:5.05 Overall Rank:9609]
Chad Weaver
United States
Denver
Pennsylvania
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The last play of Tuesday was the most controversial. Somebody pulled Skyscrapers out of the library and after fighting through the poorly-written rules we got underway. Basically the players use big cardboard tiles and plastic "rivets" to construct the frame of a skyscraper. Bonus points were awarded for the number of connections to the existing structure and for building a tile higher than any others. Also each player had workers that had to be touching the tile being built on.

As the game went on, the structure went up to five or six levels but became unsteady. And with a harsh penalty (-5) for knocking off workers, the game turned into a stalemate. We all just carefully moved our workers up and up, filling up the top tile (bonus points at game end for having the most workers on the top level). Erik guessed that there would be a good game in there if there were a few component changes (beveled tile edges so they fit together, and cutouts for when the head of the rivet will be against another tile. The rest of us think the designers intended the structure to become unsteady, using the score track which went to 50 but also down to -50 as evidence. However, if that is the case, the rules needed to be much more clear. We were setting up workers nearly halfway off the tile to make them get knocked off easily by our opponents. In addition, the rules forbid touching opponents' workers but don't spell out a penalty for someone who does. It was fun to debate the game and set each other up for doom at midnight on a Tuesday though!
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17. Board Game: Olympos [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:559]
Chad Weaver
United States
Denver
Pennsylvania
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Dusty and I were the earliest of our group to arrive Wednesday, and we were downstairs in the Rio Grande demo area checking things out. The Rio Grande host (I believe Skip is his name) showed us Olympos. We added a third player and tried it out. There is a unique time-points mechanic that controls the turn order and the end game. (However, there seems to be one glaring gap in the rules. What stops the first player from doing a 100-point movement on the first turn and triggering the end game?)
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18. Board Game: Days of Steam [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:3052]
Chad Weaver
United States
Denver
Pennsylvania
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Time for the Days of Steam tournament, final heat. Dusty and I went to play and we were two of just six participants in the heat. I finished 3rd of 3 but scored 10 points in one game, while Dusty was 3rd of 3 while scoring 8 points. The GM told me I was probably in on points, and that 9 would probably be the 16-player cutoff.

My game was a fun one which opened my eyes to the power of making the circuits as part of a winning strategy!
 
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19. Board Game: Lords of Baseball [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked]
Chad Weaver
United States
Denver
Pennsylvania
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This was one of two prototypes I got to play this week. This game is designed by Max Jamelli and his father. Max was also the Days of Steam GM. Max demo'd the game for me and two other guys. It was similar to what I expected from what I read, but even more enjoyable. I'm not a wargamer, but it seemed more like a wargame than a euro. In the game you play several seasons as a team owner, going through phases of offseason, early season, midseason, late season, and postseason. In the offseason, you structure your roster in number of superstars, all-stars, regulars, and journeymen paying the appropriate costs. You also set your front office skill, manager level, and farm system. Then you use a hand of event cards to manipulate your team and your opponents' teams. During the season, you play cards to earn wins, and also attempt to promote minor league phenoms to the pros. The player with the most wins, if he wins enough games, wins the pennant and goes on to the World Series. Then points are awarded for the season results including star players, wins, and overall strength of the franchise. From there you move on to the next offseason and do it all over again, for a predetermined number of seasons.

In our demo, we only played one full season plus another offseason. I was fortunate enough to win 100 games (the other two guys knew each other and beat each other up a bit) but I lost a d10 die roll for the championship!

The only concern I have about the game is the game length. Max quoted about an hour per season with experienced players, which sounds right. But the game probably shines in a 4- or 5-year period. Even so, this game was a lot of fun. While baseball is the theme, a non-sports fan gamer would still probably enjoy it quite a bit. And for a prototype, the game had some nice component touches, including the baseball uniform style number tokens. Hopefully this gets picked up by a publisher!
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20. Board Game: Artus [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:2051]
Chad Weaver
United States
Denver
Pennsylvania
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Not much to say about this one. Played it three-player. It had a unique mechanic (the rotating table which changed the point values of the seats based on where King Arthur was seated) but even in a first play, suffered from some analysis paralysis. In a serious game where players tracked their opponents' card plays, I think it would grind to a halt in the late game while all the possibilities were considered.
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21. Board Game: Olympos [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:559]
Chad Weaver
United States
Denver
Pennsylvania
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Another play, this time with Erik and Ken. Seems like something is missing. Both Erik and Ken both noticed the problem with the movement rules, and asked what stops the leader from just ending the game at any time. Good question!
 
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22. Board Game: Paris Connection [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:994]
Chad Weaver
United States
Denver
Pennsylvania
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This was set up in the Queen Games demo area, and Dusty read the two-page rule sheet so we gave it a go with four players, Erik and his friend Troy. It was fairly simple, trading stock and building routes. In fact, it was like the far simpler version of Airlines Europe. The game lasted about ten turns each. Meh.
 
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23. Board Game: Navegador [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:97]
Chad Weaver
United States
Denver
Pennsylvania
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Troy knew how to play Navegador and offered to teach us in open gaming before heading off to his tournament, so Erik, Dusty, and I gave it a play. I think we all enjoyed this quite a bit. I found it fascinating. I like games that have multiple paths to victory, and those that force you to react and revise plans based on your opponents' decisions. Also I liked the actions rondel. This would get a couple more plays in the week and it also went on my post-WBC order list!
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24. Board Game: Can't Stop [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:476]
Chad Weaver
United States
Denver
Pennsylvania
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Dusty and Erik called it a night but I wasn't about to miss Can't Stop. It was a wild and raucous event as usual. I think there were around 200 players. I managed to win my first-round game to get to the quarterfinal round. That was the bad news, because it was nearly midnight by the time we started that round. My quarterfinal game was close throughout. One opponent had two columns, I had one, and had a turn with 3, 4, and 11 marked. I finished 3 for my second column but didn't think I could stop at that point, as I might not get another turn. I rolled back-to-back 11s to pull out the win!

On to the semis, four games of four-players each I believe. My luck ran out here, but I did have two columns when the game ended, so I may have snuck into the laurelist group (top six) depending on how they calculate the tiebreakers.
 
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25. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:19]
Chad Weaver
United States
Denver
Pennsylvania
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I arrived a bit late Thursday and joined my group as they had already picked up two extra players. So when they finished their game, we had six players. I had 7 Wonders in my backpack because the event was Thursday afternoon so we got a play of that in. I pulled out a narrow win and built up some confidence for the tournament later. (Foreshadowing doom....)
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