EuroQuest 2018 Recap
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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This past weekend was the 16th annual EuroQuest (“EQ”) convention near Baltimore, five full days of gaming fun. For me, with the addition of Great Western Trail to the tournament fare, that meant two of my top three all-time favorite games were offered in tournaments, so I took maximum advantage, playing in all three scheduled heats. That, plus the added bonus of being fortunate enough to play in some elimination round games, meant less free time for open gaming, and far less time that I would have liked to sample the many new Essen releases that were included in the New Games Library and on the Saturday prize table. In sum, the stats for my total participation in terms of games played ended up like this:

Number of Games Played: 31
Number of Different Games Played: 15
Number of Tournament Games Played: 9 (2 different tournaments)
Number of Wild Card Games Played: 5 (2 different games)
Open Gaming Games Played: 17 ( 11 different games)
“New To Me” Games Played: 4
Games Played Most Often: Puerto Rico (5), Strange Vending Machine (5), Obsession (4, not counting demo), Great Western Trail (4), GWT with Rails to the North Expansion (3)
Number of Different People Played: 40
Played with Most Often: Kevin Walsh (13), Barb Flaxington (7), Chris Moffa (4)

Highlights of the con were many, but here’s a few:

- Reaching my first tournament final in a decade (Puerto Rico)
- Participation in the inaugural Great Western Trail tournament (Puerto Rico has been included in all 16 editions)
- Seeing the first “local” winner of the top prize, the Harold Siegelman Trophy, going to a fellow Maryland gamer, Scott Saccenti, simply “saccenti” here on BGG
- Seeing the massive success of the debut “Hot New Wild Card” game, Obsession, which was in constant play throughout the convention
- Good to see Anne Norton, who had won the inaugural “Wild Card” event back at the very first EQ, repeat with her second title in that event some 15 years later

For a link to prior year’s EQ reports by me, see https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/232464/euroquest-2017-rec...

For more general information about EQ, see the convention website at https://www.euroquestcon.com

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1. Board Game: Obsession [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:1041]
Board Game: Obsession
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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I had agreed to stand in for game designer and publisher Dan Hallagan and run a demo of this fine new Eurogame, plus Dan had graciously agreed to donate two copies for this year’s EQ: one, for the main game library and a second, for the prize table. While I had brought my own (already well-used) copy, I decided that it was time to break out the brand new prize table copy and was joined by Rich Shay, Rob Kircher, and my good gaming buddy Kevin Walsh, all three excellent gamers and all from out of town (Rich and Rob from New England, Kevin from upstate NY), and so Obsession was among the first games played on Wednesday afternoon, with my doing the teaching. We played the standard game, but with a bunch of expert variants, and we filled out a scoresheet to count in the Wild Card competition. (For those unfamiliar, the Wild Card is a convention-long event where you gather a group, play any of 17 games on a list, return a scoresheet to the front desk – an EQ innovation made possible by a computerized scoring system that tracks the results on a giant screen.) Anyway, Rob proved to be a good learner (or maybe he just had some good fortune during the game), and he came away the winner with Rich a close second. While playing, I couldn’t help but notice that there were two other Obsession games going on at the same time, and – since Obsession was one of the higher value events (points being based on length of game), Rob and the other winners would have an initial lead in the Wild Card points.

After around 35 plays, I still enjoy Obsession, feel it’s a brilliant marriage of theme and mechanics, and certainly the best new game I’ve played since Great Western Trail (now in the BGG top 10) appeared in print two years ago.
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2. Board Game: Great Western Trail [Average Rating:8.28 Overall Rank:10]
Board Game: Great Western Trail
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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One of the reasons our group did not opt for the longer version of Obsession was because all of us wanted to make our first scheduled event, the initial heat of the newly-added Great Western Trail, which had been elevated to main tournament status following its inclusion as a Wild Card game at EQ 2017. By random draw, I drew a tough table, paired with a couple of prior Siegelman winners, Randy Buehler and Andrew Emerick, along with fellow Marylander Chris Wildes, a guy who I met at a local gaming club in nearby Laurel and who, like me, has volunteered to run Great Western Trail tournaments at other gaming cons in the initial year after the game’s release in 2016. Anyway, the game did not go well for me, as Randy and Andrew geared up with “big cow” strategies and then, before I knew it, I looked over and saw Chris with six builders and then, my own board, with, well, few workers and basically, no strategy. The game ended as a solid triumph for Chris, ahead of Randy and Andrew, with me, a rather distant fourth. Nonetheless, an enjoyable experience, and I vowed to do better in the remaining heats.
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3. Board Game: Great Western Trail: Rails to the North [Average Rating:8.50 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.50 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.50 Unranked]
Board Game: Great Western Trail: Rails to the North
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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This new expansion for Great Western Trail debuted at Essen and, when I noted that some English language copies were available through some on-line Canadian retailers, I grabbed at the chance to get one. Glad I did, since shipments of English language versions to US online retailers seems to be way behind schedule for some reason. Anyway, Kevin and I hooked up with more good gaming friends Barb and Chris from NJ, also fans of the game. While Kevin had picked up a German language edition and had played it before EQ, it was the first time for Barb and Chris with the new stuff. Pleased to report I managed to win this game with a builder strategy – something I haven’t managed all that often – and the expansion has had a favorable reaction from most GWT fans I have played it with.

Initial impression about the GWT expansion is that it adds a new dimension to an already great game, although the original game is still quite good (one of four 10’s IMHO).
 
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4. Board Game: Strange Vending Machine [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:10393]
Board Game: Strange Vending Machine
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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At this point, I believe Chris wandered off to play in a scheduled tournament, but Barb and Kevin were up for another game, albeit a shorter one, so I brought out this cute-looking Essen filler I had picked up from Philibert in France. First play for all of us, and frankly neither Barb nor Kevin seemed impressed, but I enjoyed it, as did others who got to try it later in the convention. Unlike other games, the box time (30 minutes) actually overstates the amount of time the game actually takes as, with simultaneous play, 15 to 20 minutes seems more accurate.
 
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5. Board Game: Parade [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:768]
Board Game: Parade
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Looking for a game more to his liking, Kevin found this one in the library shelf, and we played with Barb and Chris. I believe Kevin won, with Chris second, having taken a majority away from Barb right near the end, dropping her to last.

Cute game, and while I didn’t find the game as enjoyable as Kevin, I certainly would play it again.
 
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6. Board Game: Stick 'Em [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:957]
Board Game: Sticheln
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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My favorite trick-taking game, have been playing it a bit more recently after having picked up a new copy as my prior one seemed to have gotten lost in the shuffle in a house move. Seem to recall it was a four-player, including Barb, Kevin and myself, and a fourth player (but I seem to recall it was someone other than Chris). Anyway, after the game concluded, it was getting late, so that concluded the first day (Wednesday) of the convention.
 
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7. Board Game: Strange Vending Machine [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:10393]
Board Game: Strange Vending Machine
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Started off the next day with a couple of more games of this quick filler – I believe three in all – that included Pete G, Pat and Ellen. Since I had a scheduled event soon, it was good timing that all three games were concluded in about half an hour. Anyway, unlike the group of serious gamers the night before, everyone seemed to enjoy the novelty of the game.
 
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8. Board Game: Great Western Trail [Average Rating:8.28 Overall Rank:10]
Board Game: Great Western Trail
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Second heat of the tournament and, again, no easy draw, as I was initially paired with Andrew (again), Amelia and Eric W, all players who had beaten me at GWT before. However, before we could begin, a re-pairing was made, and Eric was directed to another table, leaving us with just three players. However, in doing so, we neglected to reset the board for three – an error we did not discover until three quarters through the game when, thinking the game was taking way too long, we noted the error – that the fourth column on the worker chart (which was reserved for use in 4P) was filled with workers when it should have been empty for 3P. Since the end was so close, it was too late for a reset, and Andrew, who was well ahead, ran away with a ridiculously high score of something like 155. I did a few things right and came in around 100, ahead of Amelia who was in the 70s.
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9. Board Game: Obsession [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:1041]
Board Game: Obsession
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Next up, another game of Obsession, which Kevin was eager to try again, as was Ben, whom I had taught the game at a local gaming session the weekend before EQ. We were joined by Chris S, who was new to the game. I managed to win this time, with Ben second, extracting some measure of revenge since Ben had finished ahead of me in our prior game. Again, as has been the case with almost everyone I have introduced the game to, Obsession was very well received.
 
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10. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:24]
Board Game: Puerto Rico
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Next up was the first heat of the one event I participate in every year at EQ: Puerto Rico. For this heat I was paired with Scott, Marcy and Pat O, all of whom I have played the game with, and two of whom (Scott and Marcy) have beaten me before. I drew at #2 indigo seat, normally a disadvantage, but things seemed to go well for me, and I ended up with the Guild Hall and managed to win, taking some of the pressure off to do well in the remaining games as a win and a second result has historically been sufficient to advance in prior years.
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11. Board Game: Obsession [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:1041]
Board Game: Obsession
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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After Puerto Rico was the scheduled demo for new players and, with a full table of four and a few onlookers, I fumbled at the start by using the prize table copy (instead of my own), as that game had not been put away for easy setup. Nonetheless, after a brief 15 minute explanation, things ran smoothly with Alyssa, Mark, Virginia and Kurt as the participants. The hour-long demo took us through the first Courtship and almost halfway through the game and we picked it up. The game was again well received, and later in the convention I saw that at least one of the participants (either Kurt or Mark) had picked up one of the six copies shipped in to our vendor for sale at EQ on Saturday morning.
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12. Board Game: Gizmos [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:308]
Board Game: Gizmos
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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After the Obsession demo, we cleared the table and Mark invited me to play Gizmos, and we were joined by Kurt and Jeff, the New Games Coordinator for EQ; in fact, all four of us are part of an informal committee that ranks and proposes new games to be purchased and featured at EQ. Anyway, the game was interesting and fun, particularly when we saw just one type of marble sliding down the chute early in the game. I think I came in last or close to last, but another sound filler game that I would be happy to play again.
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13. Board Game: Strange Vending Machine [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:10393]
Board Game: Strange Vending Machine
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Speaking of fillers, since the group was in a light-hearted mood, it was time for another game of this cute novelty game, and Mark, Jeff and I were joined by Jacob and Legend Dan Hoffman of Canton Games, the main vendor at EQ. I believe we got in two games, one with the simultaneous action game (for which there were printed help cards), and then, with the slightly longer, second game, the one where there are successive player turns where you pay a fixed cost on the card. Given that I really wasn’t familiar with the second version, and that there were no help cards, we decided to just start playing without really looking at the endgame scoring rules. I mean, who needs rules, when it’s just fun playing the game? Anyhow, I believe Legend Dan managed to win the game, and Jacob said it was the most fun in any game he had played all day.
 
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14. Board Game: Great Western Trail: Rails to the North [Average Rating:8.50 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.50 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.50 Unranked]
Board Game: Great Western Trail: Rails to the North
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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By this time it was after 11, and Chris wanted to introduce the game to another friend of his, a guy named Jack whom I had not played with before. While we setting up, Eugene (who was very familiar with GWT as well as the recent expansion) made it a 4P but, unfortunately, the game went very slowly as it turned out Jack was really not all that familiar with the base game, having only played it once before. So, the game dragged on, well past the normal shutdown time of 2 AM, but no one from the hotel arrived to kick us out, so we finally finished around 3 AM, with Eugene winning. So, not an ideal gaming experience upon which to end the day.
 
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15. Board Game: San Juan [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:261]
Board Game: San Juan
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Friday morning there was a 9 AM Puerto Rico heat, so not much sleep for me, a situation made worse by the fact that one of the clocks in my room was showing the time being one hour earlier. So, arriving while few were in the hall with some time to spare, it was an impromptu 3P game of San Juan with Perrianne (an EQ regular) and Molly, with whom I have not played before. I managed to have a great game, getting both Guild Hall, City Hall and Palace to score in the 30-plus points range. Would have been great had this counted in a tournament, but alas, San Juan wasn’t even in the Wild Card event any more.
 
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16. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:24]
Board Game: Puerto Rico
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Second heat of Puerto Rico, and this time I was paired with Henry, Eric E and Pat (who was also in the first game). Can’t recall much about the game, but I believe Henry won and Eric edged me for second after I corrected a scoring error on his part (he was the one filling out the sheet) that originally had me in second.
 
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17. Board Game: Obsession [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:1041]
Board Game: Obsession
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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I was up for another game of Obsession, this time using the Extended Play rules, and was joined by Heath and Julie, plus Pat from the Puerto Rico game. I had taught the game to Heath a couple of weeks before and he was willing to play again, always a good sign. Heath won this game, finishing ahead of me for a second time in a row.
 
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18. Board Game: Great Western Trail [Average Rating:8.28 Overall Rank:10]
Board Game: Great Western Trail
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Final heat of the tournament, and I was paired with Eugene, Jack (not the same Jack from the late night Rails to the North game), and Chad (with whom I had not played before). Anyway, it was an interesting game as we both went our separate ways, Chad going for cows, Jack for engineers, and Eugene and I went for the builders. I decided to change my focus (given nothing had worked in my prior games), and, taking a page out of his own book, was a step ahead of Eugene, building in both of the swamp bonus spots after the flood hazards at the bottom of the board, my first attempt at executing the “Southern Strategy.” With a couple of minor miscues, it seemed to be working except for one time late in the game when I confused the 4-4-4 building with the one that maxxed out the cert bumps and had to finish with a lap with a subpar value. Anyway, I managed to finish ahead of Eugene, but well behind Chad, who won with a whopping 57 points in cow cards alone, with Jack coming in second.
So, with a second, third and a fourth, placing me somewhere like 23rd on a list of 30+ players, I assumed at this point, that I would be done with any further play in the GWT tournament.
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19. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:24]
Board Game: Puerto Rico
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Microbadge: GCOM memberMicrobadge: Die Macher fanMicrobadge: Puerto Rico fanMicrobadge: Euroquest attendeeMicrobadge: Fan of the Stock Car Championship Racing Card Game!
Final heat of the Puerto Rico tournament. Paired with Randy, Rob and Scott, all of whom I had already played one game at this year’s EQ. Bid for seat position, I seem to recall it was Scott and Rob who bid VPs for the corn seats. Anyway, as the game progressed, Scott seemed to do well, getting the Guild Hall but at some point his game kind of stalled out. Randy came on strong with a good shipping game, and I managed to edge Rob for second by one on the tiebreaker (doubloons plus goods). A win and a second meant advancement to the semifinals, which has generally been where things have ended for me in prior Puerto Rico tournaments.
 
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20. Board Game: Vegas Showdown [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:508]
Board Game: Vegas Showdown
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Microbadge: GCOM memberMicrobadge: Die Macher fanMicrobadge: Puerto Rico fanMicrobadge: Euroquest attendeeMicrobadge: Fan of the Stock Car Championship Racing Card Game!
In addition to GWT and Puerto Rico, another all-time top 10 favorite game for me on the Wild Card list is Vegas Showdown, so I was able to get Kevin and Amelia to join me for a three-player game. We managed to hit a kind of an endgame stall when the large sized buildings came out but none of us had room on our respective layouts to place one. Ended in a very close game, with me managing to eke out Kevin for the win based on more diamond points.

Didn’t have an opportunity to check the stats, but hopefully Vegas got played enough times to return as a Wild Card game in 2019, as it’s one of my favorites, just a bit disappointed at only being able to get in one play this time around.
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21. Board Game: Great Western Trail [Average Rating:8.28 Overall Rank:10]
Board Game: Great Western Trail
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Microbadge: GCOM memberMicrobadge: Die Macher fanMicrobadge: Puerto Rico fanMicrobadge: Euroquest attendeeMicrobadge: Fan of the Stock Car Championship Racing Card Game!
I had just sat down to learn a new game ( I believe it was Pioneers) in Open Gaming with Rik Van Horn when Scott, the GWT GM, informed me that I was next up on the alternate list and that a position in the semifinal round was available to me if a player above me dropped out due to schedule conflicts. Turns out, I was able to sneak into the semifinal round as the 16th and lowest ranked qualifier which meant, according to Scott’s method of pairing, I was matched with the #1 ranked qualifier, a guy named Chris (not the other Chris in the first heat nor any of the other two Chrisses mentioned elsewhere), but someone I had never played with before. The other two guys in the matchup were, to my dismay, Andrew and Eugene, both of whom I had faced before in GWT with less than stellar outcomes (Andrew in particular had beaten up on me pretty badly in heats one and two). We used a bid VPs for seat position, and I ended up in seat #3 for like no VPs with Eugene in #1 and Andrew in #2. As the game progressed, things didn’t go well and I felt I wasn’t in the running, although I did a few things right and wound up doing better than Chris, whose cow game didn’t seem to work. Andrew went with a big builder approach, something that was different than in the two heats. Eugene I think mixed engineers and building. Andrew did quite well in positioning his buildings to zoom around the board quite quickly and, in the end, made like eight deliveries to six (me), five (Eugene) and only four for Chris. However, when the scores were counted, Eugene ended up the winner, with Andrew second and I had the consolation of edging out Chris for third.

Anyway, it was an enjoyable time playing in this tournament, the first of hopefully many GWT tournaments at EQ. There’s been quite a lot written about strategies for this excellent game, and while I was ahead of others in the early days in terms of learning the game (heck, I ordered a copy from France right after Essen 2016), I feel others have surpassed me and, yet, there’s still a lot to explore as every game is different, and what works in one game could fail miserably in the next.

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22. Board Game: The Quest for El Dorado [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:198] [Average Rating:7.57 Unranked]
Board Game: The Quest for El Dorado
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Microbadge: GCOM memberMicrobadge: Die Macher fanMicrobadge: Puerto Rico fanMicrobadge: Euroquest attendeeMicrobadge: Fan of the Stock Car Championship Racing Card Game!
With the tournament fare winding down Friday night, I was still up for some late night gaming, as were Aaron and Kevin, and we played this fairly simple but interesting deck builder/race game that I had learned for the first time in the spring, courtesy of Barb and Chris who had turned in for the evening at this point. I took the early lead, then Kevin trailblazed his way to the front, with Aaron a full two to three large hexes behind. Then, as often happened, Aaron had set up his hand of cards and zoomed past both of us for the win.
 
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23. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:24]
Board Game: Puerto Rico
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Microbadge: GCOM memberMicrobadge: Die Macher fanMicrobadge: Puerto Rico fanMicrobadge: Euroquest attendeeMicrobadge: Fan of the Stock Car Championship Racing Card Game!
The Puerto Rico semis were at 11, and I decided to get a good solid breakfast and arrived in the gaming room relatively well rested. Random pairing put me in a group with Ed and two former Siegelman winners, Rob and last year’s winner, Dominic, from Quebec, Canada. As this was a semifinal, we bid for seat position and I believe Rob bid 3 VP for #3 and I took 4th seat for 2 ½. Ed went first, then Dominic was second. As the game progressed, Rob – as is often the case in 4P Puerto Rico – got a good position in the #3 seat. Both he and Dominic were faced with some interesting choices that, in the end, seemed to help me as the game reached a crucial tactical middle stage. At one point, Rob – who already had the Factory -- had enough to buy a large building and went ahead of me, and I feared he would go Guild Hall and lock up the game, but instead he took Coffee which then let me get the Guild Hall. As the game closed to an end with colonists running out, I felt I was winning but spent longer than usual checking and re-checking the scores, which was quite easy since none of the “5” shipping counters had been claimed. As it turned out, I won by a comfortable margin – reaching a milestone, my first final table in any EQ tournament in a decade (I had last reached the final in PR at EQ in 2008.)
 
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24. Board Game: Altiplano [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:281]
Board Game: Altiplano
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Microbadge: GCOM memberMicrobadge: Die Macher fanMicrobadge: Puerto Rico fanMicrobadge: Euroquest attendeeMicrobadge: Fan of the Stock Car Championship Racing Card Game!
There was plenty of time before the Puerto Rico final, so I hooked up with Kevin (who had also made the PR final as well), and we were joined by Aaron and Brian for a four-player game of Altiplano. I find this sequel to Orleans to be quite interesting because it adds the tactical motif of moving your worker to a particular location to execute actions, making efficiency a primary goal. Anyway, in this game things were going fairly well, I was planning to zoom up my Warehouse to the top row by filling in a bunch of singles then dumping four of the five Cocoa there, having already completed two high value Contracts when Aaron, sitting to my right, suddenly triggered endgame. Now, perhaps it was motivated by the fact that Aaron had to rush to a scheduled tournament game, but when we recorded the final scores, turns out I had won by 112 to 106 for Aaron, with Brian close behind at 103 – the low scores indicative of how quickly the game ended (the Village being empty of huts and wagons).
 
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25. Board Game: Reykholt [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:1657]
Board Game: Reykholt
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Microbadge: GCOM memberMicrobadge: Die Macher fanMicrobadge: Puerto Rico fanMicrobadge: Euroquest attendeeMicrobadge: Fan of the Stock Car Championship Racing Card Game!
It was Kevin, Brian and me, joined by Barb, for this recent Essen release, the latest from Uwe Rosenberg, which is kind of a bare bones worker placement, but with a lot fewer moving parts than Agricola, Caverna or Feast for Odin. (Some have compared it to Nusfjord, which I have not yet had an opportunity to play.) Anyway, since it was everyone’s first play (I had solo-played the copy after picking it up from Philibert in France a couple of days before to get the rules down), we played with the A service tile deck. Basically, it’s a race to see can manage his or her resources the best to get furthest down the track. I took the tech that let you harvest when you sow, which Barb copied, and Barb had the one that gave her a free mushroom when harvesting. Kevin got the third tech (don’t remember which), and I got one late in the game (the mixed field) which ended up not helping. Lots of leapfrogging on the track in the early going, but after round four or five, Barb pulled ahead and went on to win.

Lighter than Agricola or Caverna, which is good for me, since I’m not a huge fan of those games that really overwhelm the gamer with options.
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