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Subject: WBC 2012 Final Table rss

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Alex Bove
United States
East Lansdowne
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I was the GM and a participant in the Amun-Re tournament at WBC 2012, and I advanced to the final. My original plan had been to record the events of the final table myself, but since I would be playing the game, I could not keep records and play simultaneously. Luckily, a friend volunteered to keep a game log for me. Here is a distillation of that log.

Just a couple of notes before I start. First, we tried to keep accurate levels of province bids, players' purchases, sacrifices, etc., but we did not track sales of power cards, and in some places, we didn't note if/when players played +1 or +8 money cards, bid blockades, etc. If you recreate this game, or track the money, you will see that somewhere in the early-to-mid New Kingdom, the totals stop adding up exactly (they should only be off by a couple of gold, but now you know why). So the following is a record of almost the entire game economy. I apologize that we did not record every detail.

Second, I will try to add a bit of commentary about my own strategy and what I perceived to be the strategies of my opponents. I do this from the point of view of a player in the game, not of the GM. As the GM, I would neither compliment nor criticize another player's moves (including my own). As a player, I feel I can be a bit more opinionated. This report, then, reflects my own recollections and impressions and should not considered the "official" BPA record of the event.

WBC 2012 Final Table

Alex Bove (White)
Eric Freeman (Black)
Cary Morris (Blue)
Rob Flowers (Green)
Michael Shea (Red)

Round 1 Auction
Avaris (0 to Black)
Memphis (3 to Blue)
Amarna (1 to Red)
Thebes (3 to White)
Baharya (1 to Green)

Round 1 Actions
White: 2 cards, 2 farmers (+1 free), 2 bricks (+ master builder)
Black: 1 card, 1 farmer, 3 bricks
Blue: 2 cards, 2 farmers (+1 free), 2 bricks
Green: 1 card, 2 farmers, 2 bricks (+ master builder)
Red: 1 card, 2 farmers (+1 free), 2 bricks (+ master builder)

Round 1 Sacrifice/Rewards/Income
White: 1 (+3) / farmer / 8 gold
Black: -3 / none / 10 gold
Blue: 2 / farmer / 12 gold
Green: 6 / 3 cards / 8 gold
Red: 3 / 2 cards / 9 gold

Cash After Round 1
White: 15
Black: 25
Blue: 18
Green: 14
Red: 18

Round 1 Notes
I went first and bid 3 for Thebes, which I think is an underbid, but 6 is too much to pay in Round 1. I think 3 for Memphis is also correct. Allowing Avaris to go for free was probably a mistake, though with four players buying farming provinces, Avaris was not as strong as it would usually have been. I blundered in the sacrifice. I should have bid 3 or 4. If I had done that, Avaris would have been a bust and the rest of us would have done much better. In addition, an extra farmer would have been useful there. Eric comes out best in this round, but at least our farm income allowed the rest of us to keep pace a bit.

Round 2 Auction
Damanhur (6 to Black)
Buto (0 to Blue)
Sawu (6 to Red)
Berenike (6 to White)
Kharga (3 to Green)

Round 2 Actions
White: 2 cards, 1 farmer, 2 bricks in Berenike
Black: 1 card, 2 farmers, 3 bricks (+ master builder) in Avaris
Blue: 2 cards, 2 farmers, 2 bricks in Memphis
Green: 2 cards, 2 farmers (+1 free), 2 bricks in Kharga
Red: 2 cards, 2 farmers, 2 bricks (+ master builder) in Sawu

Round 2 Sacrifice/Rewards/Income
White: 1 / brick (Berenike) / 18 gold
Black: -3 / none / 11 gold
Blue: -3 / none / 6 gold
Green: 2 / 1 brick (Kharga), 2 cards / 12 gold
Red: 1 / 2 cards / 17 gold

Cash After Round 2
White: 19
Black: 23
Blue: 18
Green: 12
Red: 19

Round 2 Notes
By the time the auction came to me, I had to bid 6 on either Sawu or Berenike and I chose the latter. I didn't need the card bandwidth and wanted to save money by not buying farmers. It also gave me sacrifice flexibility. I'm not sure if Cary's -3 sacrifice was correct here. He needed farmers to score more, especially since he didn't have a +1 gold/farmer card. Eric is doing well, and Michael's cards should help him. Rob getting three rewards and keeping the pharoah for 2 gold was a bargain, but he has money trouble.

Round 3 Auction
Edfu (6 to Black)
Abydos (6 to Blue)
Mendes (0 to Red)
Abu (3 to White)
Dakhla (10 to Green)

Round 3 Actions
White: 2 cards, 1 farmer, 3 bricks in Abu
Black: 1 card, 0 farmers, 2 bricks in Avaris
Blue: 2 cards, 1 farmer, 2 bricks (+ master builder) in Memphis
Green: 2 cards, 0 farmers, 2 bricks in Dakhla
Red: 2 cards, 1 farmer (+1 free), 3 bricks in Mendes

Round 3 Sacrifice/Rewards/Income
White: -3 / none / 29 gold
Black: 4 / 2 cards / 22 gold
Blue: 1 / 1 card / 18 gold
Green: 6 (+3) / 1 brick (Dakhla), 2 cards / 27 gold
Red: 1 (-3) / 1 card / 27 gold

Cash After Round 3
White: 38
Black: 31
Blue: 22
Green: 29
Red: 35

Round 3 Notes
Rob needs money, and Dakhla helps him, especially when he later plays the 8 gold card on it. I have to pay too much for Abu, but I'm hoping for card synergy (it never materializes) and cash. Michael saves his money and continues to hoard cards. Eric's 6 on Edfu seems like an overbid to me, but since he can't make any power cards, he needs points from somewhere. Cary's 6 on Abydos is also an overbid, but he needs it to make his power cards. Eric's sacrifice of 4 is an attempt to get the pharoah (for bidding position for the next round, in case Avaris or Memphis come out), and he's disappointed that he misses. I assume he has the bid blockade card in hand.

Round 3 Scoring
White: 9 (3 pyramids, one set, one card)
Black: 14 (3 pyramids, most on a side, 3 temples (x2 each)
Blue: 14 (3 pyramids, most on a side, 2 cards)
Green: 12 (3 pyramids, one set, 2 cards)
Red: 8 (3 pyramids, one set, 1 temple)

Old Kingdom Notes:
Everyone at the table thinks I have a lot more money than I do. I think they forgot how much I had to pay for provinces and bricks, and I shouldn't have sacrificed 1 twice (the second time I needed to do it for the brick: I could not find a master builder card despite all my card draws). Cary has a lot of points but is in real money trouble. Rob is in a very flexible position. He's not too far behind in either money or points. Eric and Michael's positions are much better than they think, but again, they're overestimating my cash on hand. I only have one scoring card in hand (9 farmers), and my best shot at a comeback is for either Avaris or Memphis to come out in Round 4, when I have a cash advantage. But even then, it really needs to be Memphis so that I can also make my power card (I also have a +1 gold/farmer card in hand, so I'd like to farm in the New Kingdom). I think Eric is best after the Old Kingdom, though he has too little money to be completely secure.

Round 4 Auction
Baharya (10 to Black)
Damanhur (0 to Blue)
Sawu (6 to Red)
Kharga (10 to White)
Amarna (3 to Green)

Round 4 Actions
White: 2 cards, 2 farmers, 3 bricks in Kharga
Black: 1 card, 2 farmers (+1 free), 2 bricks (+ master builder) in Baharya
Blue: 1 card, 2 farmers, 2 bricks (+ master builder) in Damanhur
Green: 1 card, 2 farmers (+1 free), 2 bricks (+ master builder) in Amarna
Red: 2 cards, 1 farmer (+1 free), 2 bricks (+ master builder) in Sawu

Round 4 Sacrifice/Rewards/Income
White: -3 / none / 7 gold
Black: 3 / 2 cards / 10 gold
Blue: -3 / none / 4 gold
Green: 4 / 3 bricks (Amarna) / 8 gold
Red: -3 / none / 9 gold

(Approximate) Cash After Round 4
White: 26
Black: 28
Blue: 22
Green: 20
Red: 34

Round 4 Notes
I am in late auction position (4th, I think), and Eric's bid of 10 prices me out of Baharya, by far the best province for me here. Amarna and Sawu are both also 6 when the bid comes to me, so I think Kharga for 10 is okay here (though I'd really like to pay less. I probably should have saved the cash and just taken Damanhur, but I didn't know Memphis was coming next round. Everyone gets free farmers and/or bricks, which also causes me to spend more than I would like to spend. Michael's card dominance is starting to pay off as he's getting free things and/or money in almost every phase. Cary is in a pretty bad position here, but he has temples (foreshadowing?). Eric's bid for Baharya is exactly right. I would happily have taken it for 10 myself, if I'd had the chance. I think Rob is trying for a triple set of pyramids when he takes 3 bricks here. He has a lot of cards, so maybe he doesn't need more. Still, the two extra farmers only lose him 3 income this round (they earn at least +4 over the rest of the game) and save him the 8 gold card. Eric, Rob and Michael are now way ahead of Cary and me, but Eric has an 8 point lead over Michael and a 2 point lead (and +8 gold) over Rob, so I still think he's slightly better at this point.

Round 5 Auction
Mendes (10 to Black)
Dakhla (21 to Blue)
Memphis (28 to Red)
Berenike (15 to White)
Buto (0 to Green)

Round 5 Actions
White: 2 cards, 0 farmers, 2 bricks (+ master builder) in Berenike
Black: 1 card, 2 farmers, 3 bricks in Mendes
Blue: 2 cards, 0 farmers, 2 bricks (+ master builder) in Dakhla
Green: 1 card, 2 farmers, 2 bricks (+ master builder) in Buto
Red: 2 cards, 0 farmer (+1 free), 2 bricks (+ master builder) in Sawu

Round 5 Sacrifice/Rewards/Income
White: -3 (-3) / none / 15 gold
Black: 4 / 2 cards / 18 gold
Blue: -3 / none / 3 gold
Green: 6 / 3 bricks (Amarna) / 13 gold
Red: -3 / none / 13 gold

(Approximate) Cash After Round 5
White: 20
Black: 26
Blue: 10
Green: 33
Red: 13

Round 5 Notes
The cash totals are probably off by a couple of gold here, since I'm pretty sure by now some players had sold a card or two. I really wanted to bid 28 for Memphis, but I'd have had to sell both a power card and a money card, so I would have been broke, not been able to build or buy anything, and vulnerable even with the extra pyramid/bricks. Rob used the bid blockade and a bid of 15 to force Michael to use nearly all his cash, but Memphis served Michael well, points-wise. Rob pretty much locked up the bonus for his side of the river with his sacrifice reward, and Eric improved his cash situation going into the last auction. At this point, I knew I was likely playing for 4th as Cary and I were both cash strapped and I had drawn no scoring cards yet. I took Berenike intending to build a double set of pyramids on the next turn (as long as I didn't get Edfu) and hoping to hoard enough cash for the 6-point endgame bonus. I didn't think I'd have enough points to win even with that, but I also had really good card synergy and was hoping for a miracle draw (Thebes would have made two scoring cards possible for me and provided two cards--increasing my chances to hit what I needed--and Abydos would also make two scoring cards possible for me. If by some miracle I got Avaris, that would also make a card for me, assuming I could draw it). Eric had essentially made his 9 farmers bonus card at this point, and Rob was in good card position as well. I thought Michael was probably too far behind to catch up, especially since his provinces made scoring cards nearly impossible (he could still get the 7 wedges card with anything but Avaris, though).

Round 6 Auction
Abu (3 to Black)
Edfu (3 to Blue)
Thebes (6 to Red)
Abydos (0 to White)
Avaris (21 to Green)

Round 6 Actions
White: 2 cards, 1 farmer (+1 free), 3 bricks (+ master builder) in Abydos
Black: 2 cards, 1 farmer (+1 free), 3 bricks in Abu
Blue: 2 cards, 1 farmers, 2 bricks (+ master builder) in Edfu
Green: 1 card, 0 farmers, 0 bricks
Red: 1 cards, 0 farmer (+1 free), 3 bricks (+ master builder) in Thebes/Memphis

Round 6 Sacrifice/Rewards/Income
White: -3 / none / 27 gold
Black: -3 / none / 19 gold
Blue: 6 / 3 bricks (Damanhur) / 7 gold
Green: 2 / 2 cards / 13 gold
Red: -3 / none / 11 gold

(Approximate) Cash After Round 6
White: 36
Black: 35
Blue: 7
Green: 15
Red: 14

Round 6 Notes
The cash totals above only reflect cash when sold cards are not considered (again, we neglected to note when players sold cards), but they are close. I ended with the most cash, Eric with second most, and Michael with 3rd most. My records show Michael with a surplus of at least 3 cards (just counting drawn vs. played cards), so selling those three pushes him ahead of Rob. As for the last round itself, Michael priced me out of Thebes, and I thought 6 was too much to pay for the extra brick in Abydos, especially since I assumed I'd have more cash than Eric by game's end anyway (though it ended up being closer than I'd expected). Cary may have given me a gift by bidding on Edfu and allowing me to get Abydos for free. Rob went broke buying Avaris, but it guaranteed him a double set of pyramids and most on a side. Michael built his second set for 4 more points. Eric and I built our second sets, and Cary used his sacrifice rewards to get an extra point.

Final Scoring
White (Me): 9 (Old Kingdom) + 6 (cash) + 12 (pyramids) = 27
Black (Eric): 14 (Old Kingdom) + 4 (cash) + 12 (pyramids) + 3 (card) = 33
Blue (Cary): 14 (Old Kingdom) + 8 (pyramids) + 3 (temples) + 3 (card) = 28
Green (Rob): 12 (Old Kingdom) + 16 (pyramids) + 3 (card) + 1 (temple) = 32
Red (Michael): 8 (Old Kingdom) + 2 (cash) + 20 (pyramids) +3 (card) = 33

Final Notes
Michael won the tiebreaker with 9 pyramids to Eric's 6. If Rob and/or Cary had had enough money to elevate the sacrifice to level two, Rob would have taken 2nd place in a three-way tie (9 pyramids to 8 to 6), and Cary would have had 31 points. If Rob had had just a few more gold, he would have overtaken Michael for 3rd place and won the game outright with 34 points. I drew only one of the 5 possible power cards I could have fulfilled over the course of the game, so I might have been closer had I been a bit luckier with my cards. In short, it was an incredibly close and well played game, and a very small difference could have easily changed the final order.
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Paolo C
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Great report... thanks!
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Richard Lea
United Kingdom
County: West Yorkshire
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We need more reports as good as this one! Thanks.
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Alex Bove
United States
East Lansdowne
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I'm glad you like it!
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Rob Flowers

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I realized after the game that had I either

a) sacrificed one less dollar in round 5, or
b) used my 3 bonus bricks from that sacrifice in Buto instead of Amarna, I probably could have still gotten 2 sets and guaranteed biggest pyramid.

Well played by Michael.
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