The Year of Thirds (WBC 2011)
Alex Bove
United States
East Lansdowne
Pennsylvania
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As some of you may remember, last year was The Year of Threes (WBC 2010) (three wins, three-peat in Ra, third overall win in Goa, etc.). I was not so lucky, in terms of wins, in 2011. I had plenty of 3rds (and 2nds, and 4ths, etc.), though. Here's the story of my close-but-no-cigar con.

Note: I've done my best to record the names of players in and correct scores for all of my games, but I might have made a mistake in the rush that is WBC. Please feel free to correct any inaccuracies in this list, or to share your recollections, whether or not they concur with mine.

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26. Board Game: The Princes of Florence [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:62]
Alex Bove
United States
East Lansdowne
Pennsylvania
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One expects to draw strong players at a semifinal, but this might have been the toughest table of all. GM Eric Brosius, Randy Buehler (remember him?), and multi-event winner Curt Collins II joined me for a friendly game of Princes. Curt and Randy both bid for their seats (Curt paid 200 for the 2nd seat while Randy paid 100 for the 3rd seat): Eric and I were cheapskates. Once again, I had amazing card synergy, but Curt's letting me win a late recruiter card actually damaged my position as I was not prepared to do so many works (I though I was the one bidding him up!). Randy and Eric more or less split all the best work bonuses, and Randy won in the end:

Randy Buehler - 68
Eric Brosius - 64
Me - 56
Curt Collins II - 53
 
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27. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:84]
Alex Bove
United States
East Lansdowne
Pennsylvania
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A couple of years I really discovered TtR as a tournament game, and this year conflicts meant that I had only one real chance to play it. I drew three 20+ point tickets and kept them all (if I could connect New York to L.A. I'd basically make them all). But somewhere along the way I got it in my head that I needed only to connect to San Francisco. When I finally realized my mistake, I needed to burn three pink cards to get to L.A., but those were the same color cards I really needed to get up the coast to Seattle. In the end, Anne rush-ended the game (finishing with a 44-train longest route to boot), leaving me with two unmade tickets and a 60-point swing.

Anne Norton - 146
Larry Loiacono - 114
Jennifer Horan - 113
Me - 86
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28. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.14 Overall Rank:5]
Alex Bove
United States
East Lansdowne
Pennsylvania
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A third shot at P.R., and a third straight second place finish. Once again, I just couldn't quite build enough to win, despite two big buildings. Felix's Hacienda/Residence and City Hall edged my Guild Hall/Fortress.

Felix Goodson - 51
Me - 48
Richard Shay - 42
Thomas Idzikowski - 34


I actually qualified for the P.R. quarterfinals, but having come down with a cold and suffering my usual Saturday sleep deprivation, I decided to take a power nap in preparation for the Ra semifinals.
 
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29. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:95]
Alex Bove
United States
East Lansdowne
Pennsylvania
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Often in 5-player games of Ra, the third epoch comes down to a battle between the pharoah leader, who generally plays fairly conservatively and tries to hold a slim lead through the entire game, and a monument hoarder, who goes for huge points at game end. In this game, we had three monument hoarders, and the pharoah leader also had niles. I found myself pretty much out of contention early, so I spent most of the game carefully analyzing the other player's moves. Jennifer used her suns perfectly to protect her lead and held on despite Jefferson's and Stu's strong late-game pushes. I managed a much closer 4th than I'd predicted. In fact, if I'd just had a couple more points in suns, I would have tied for the lead (I can't remember if I had the highest single sun or if Jennifer did).

Jennifer Gorman - 42
Stu Hendrickson - 40
Jefferson Meyer - 39
Me - 37
Mark Parauda - 14


I was impressed with everyone's play at the semifinal, and not advancing to the final allowed me to take on the role of GM at that game (Steve Scott needed to attend to a few other things and allowed me to oversee the game). While I wouldn't give up the chance to sit at a final table, I found myself taking great pleasure in just watching the game I love played at the highest level. It was a barn burner of a final with Rich Meyer prevailing by a single point (if memory serves). Congratulations to him!
 
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30. Board Game: TransAmerica [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:714]
Alex Bove
United States
East Lansdowne
Pennsylvania
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Sunday is getaway day, and players who are not involved in the myriad Sunday morning finals can play the lottery...um...I mean TransAmerica. I was seated at a 4-player table, which meant we only played four rounds. I'm not a big fan of 4-p TransAmerica because too many cities aren't in play and players who draw extreme Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, etc. cities are disproportionately disadvantaged. Still, Elaine played beautifully and crushed us all. I don't remember the exact scores, but they were something like:

Elaine Pearson - 8
Matthew Craig - 11
Me - 12
Rodney Bacigalupo - 21?
 
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31. Board Game: Tally Ho! [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:2125]
Alex Bove
United States
East Lansdowne
Pennsylvania
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It wasn't my most accomplished WBC in terms of overall wins, but I played many very strong games and had an incredible time. I think I made some new friends, and I enjoyed reconnecting with old ones. My final tally:

Total games played - 32
Game finishes - 1st (13), 2nd (8), 3rd (7), 4th (3), 5th (1)

Tournaments played - 13
Semifinals made - 7
Finals made - 2

See you next year!
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