WBC: A first-timer takes a first-place
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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This was the first time attending WBC for me and my wife (who also posted a geeklist). As someone who played in a lot of CCG tournaments back in the day, I was excited about getting the chance to try my hand in tournaments for board games. For timing reasons, going to WBC meant we had to miss out on GenCon for the first time in several years, but I really enjoyed this. I'm sure it's not something I'd want to do every week, but competitive board game tournaments were a nice change of pace from the non-stop open gaming that I'm used to at conventions.

In any case, I consider myself to be a relatively competent player, so I didn't expect to embarrass myself in tournament play. On the other hand, I'm also not someone who plays BSW games 100 times every week, so getting crushed is no big deal to me either.

If I played a game with you, it's likely that I forgot your name. Sorry about that. Maybe next year I'll actually take notes or something.
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1. Board Game: Merchant of Venus [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:703]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Wednesday

Due to work commitments, we unfortunately couldn't make it to the convention until Wednesday (actually late Tuesday night, but it amounts to the same thing). After trying to navigate the warren-like hotel to find the registration desk (which they did a great job hiding--4 or 5 people asked ME where the desk was over the course of the con), I decided to try out an early-morning Merchant of Venus tournament.

Opponents: 3 people whose names I don't know

I'm pretty much a Merchant of Venus newbie, as I had only played twice before this play, and I still don't have a solid grasp on the rules, let alone the strategy. This would be different from the other games I played too, in that we were playing to 2000 instead of the usual 3000. The shorter game seemed to favor Clipper ships; in my other games I had gotten pretty good mileage out of a Transport ship, but here everyone else had gotten a Clipper while I was still trying to save up money for a Transport when the game ended. I basically spend the entire game trying to re-teach myself the strategies, especially regarding ports and factories. Eventually I got the hang of it, but by that time I was pretty far behind the curve. I ended up wasting a few turns, trying to get a hypergate to go a particular direction, which definitely hurt. Later in the game I found myself some moves short of being able to land on a planet, but I was able to sell my expensive cargo at an opponent's port (and that opponent happened to be winning). I felt kind of bad doing this, as I didn't want to upset the balance of the game, but it wasn't *that* much he'd be getting really, and the alternative was spending two additional turns to sell my goods. The second-place player cringed a little at my move, but on the very next turn, he went and sold goods at another port belonging to that same player, which made me feel a little better about my play. That player had enough to end the game on that turn. I ended in third place with 800-some money, with the second-place player having 1500-some, and the fourth place player also having 800-some.
 
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2. Board Game: Power Grid: Benelux/Central Europe [Average Rating:8.04 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.04 Unranked]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Opponents: Peter Staab, 3 others

In this heat, I opted to play on the Central Europe board instead of USA, despite the fact that I've never played that board before. Always good to learn something new, right? In any case, I started out with the 4-plant, which got me first city placement. I usually like going in the middle of the board, as it gives me more options, but that wasn't true here. Everyone else also placed in the middle, leaving me with only one city to expand to before I had to start jumping over people. Yuck. So a couple of turns later, I "break out" to the west, which should give me some more options. But, it was not to be; as soon as I did that another player came in and boxed me in again. Next turn, I jumped him and headed south, and from then on I had a decent number of cities available to me. Step 2 came and went, and Peter found himself with the opportunity to jump to 15 cities and then power 12 of them to possibly win; fortunately I had just acquired plants that would let me power 12 as well, meaning he had to hold off. Eventually I was able to bump my capacity to 15 and then build to 15 for the win.
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3. Board Game: Amun-Re [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:261]
Doug Faust
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Malverne
New York
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Opponents: Alex Bove, Mike Kaltman, Loc, 1 other

I know Alex and Mike from EPGS, and was aware that they are both very strong players, though I hadn't gotten to chance to play Amun-Re with them previously. Alex leads off with a bid of 6 on Avaris (with no other money provinces out), so I follow up with a bid of 10 and take it. For some reason I can't seem to draw any point cards this game, but I do end up repeatedly drawing Master Builder cards (I think I drew 4 in addition to the starting one), so I end up building 4 pyramids (without sacrificing) in the first epoch, getting me a set plus a majority. At that point I was leading in neither points nor money, but I had a decent position in both. In the second epoch, I continued my rampant pyramid building, usually offering to get more bricks. Loc tried to compete with me for a majority in the west, but gave up when we ran out of money. I ended up grabbing Damanhur cheaply, and was all set to get three sets and a majority. After throwing in all my money to the offering on the last turn, I abandoned that plan in favor of two sets and both majorities (though shared on the east). Despite finishing out of the points in cash and with no point cards, I manage to squeak out a victory by one point over Mike in the end.
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4. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:134]
Doug Faust
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Malverne
New York
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Opponents: 4 people whose names I don't know

Okay, this was my epic fail game. In the first epoch, the Ra tiles came out very quickly, filling up all one but spot on the track. At that point, I had only spent one sun tile, leaving me with two mid-value tiles. Despite having mid-value tiles, I started to call Ra a lot, not wanting my suns to go to waste. However, it seems like whenever I did this, I was always outbid. The other players didn't feel the need to call Ra as much, as let tiles accumulate. And of course, the last Ra tile came out before I was able to spend either of my remaining tiles, leaving me with no civs and least pharaohs--negative points. I thought Ra would be a little kinder in the second epoch, but it was not to be. This epoch was plagued with disasters and copious Ra tiles, and I again finish with a sun tile remaining, and again finish with no civs, least pharaohs, and negative points. At this point the game was fairly hopeless for me, and I ended up taking myself out of the third epoch grabbing my 8th different monument. I guess that kind of offset that fact that I again got no civs, least pharaohs, and even the icing on the cake--smallest suns. I finished with 15 points--hey, at least I had more than I started with!
 
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5. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:17]
Doug Faust
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Malverne
New York
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Opponents: Loc, 2 others

I wasn't too enamored with my cards in this game (it was my opponents who got cool stuff like the Wet Nurse and Lover), so I go with the tried-and-true strategy of getting a bunch of wood early and building a third room. I end up being fairly balanced early, picking up my third family member, a couple fields, and a 6-fence pasture. For some reason (probably just to spite me for buying an early fireplace), boars are much easier for me to get than sheep this game, as I'm able to pick up a pair of boars twice, and never get more than one sheep. I renovated to clay fairly early in the game, using the extra improvement action to pick up the Clay Oven and bake a grain for 5 all in the same turn. I grabbed some stone in the middle of the game, but someone else built the Well before I was able to. Despite this, I'm having a pretty good game, as I was able to expand to four clay rooms and get my fourth family member fairly early. On the second-to-last turn, I was able to family growth without space for my fifth family member, by taking the start player in the previous turn. On the last turn, I noticed that no one could renovate, so I was able to wait a while before taking renovate and fences to go to a stone house and create two more two-space pastures. I also played the Organic Farmer in the last turn, earning me three extra points. Though I did have to eat into my points a little when the game ended, the only negative I finished with was one empty space, for a total of 50 points. Unfortunately, one of my opponents had 55 points through playing something like 8 cards, so I ended up in second place.
 
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6. Board Game: Vegas Showdown [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:415]
Doug Faust
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Malverne
New York
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Thursday

Opponents: Jim Freeman, 2 others

These 9am tournaments are a little bit rough on me, as I'm a man who appreciates a good night's sleep, but I do manage to make it down in time. I'm matched up against Jim, the father of the GM, along with two other players--one who seemed pretty experienced, the other who seemed somewhat inexperienced. As often seems to happen, the early slots go for too much for my tastes, so I end up with a first-turn restaurant. Surprisingly, though, the price of slots never seems to go down throughout the course of the game--the new player (and to a lesser extent Jim) makes sure they always go for 9, which really doesn't seem worth it, particularly mid-game. In any case, I managed to get a real steal early on, grabbing a Night Club for 12. I did manage to get some slots in the game--one I got for nine during a turn when Visionary was active, and the another I got for 5 when others were interested in special buildings. At this point, I liked my position, being relatively far ahead in points. However, through various cards that came up that helped other players more than I (particularly the player with all the slots), my point lead vanished as we advanced in the game. Finally, the Theater came out, and I saw my opportunity to get back in the game. One turn after it came out, I could afford it and was willing to blow all my money on it. However, on this particular turn, I happened to be last in the turn order, *and* good relations came out. The player with the slots made a bid to put it out of my range, and I was left with a poor consolation prize in the Dragon Room (which is half the points and didn't fill my space nearly as well). At that point, he pretty much just ran away with the game, and I finished in third.
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7. Board Game: Power Grid: Benelux/Central Europe [Average Rating:8.04 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.04 Unranked]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Opponents: 4 people whose names I don't know

I was told that, with only one win, I may not qualify for the semi-finals, so I decided to jump in this final Power Grid heat. I opted for the Benelux map this time, a map that I've played before but haven't had great success with. As usual, Luxembourg got excluded--is there any reason to include this region besides just being contrary? In any case, I start with the 3-plant, as oil is very abundant on this map. I continue to play my game, but find myself behind the 8-ball a little bit, as other players grow more aggressively than me and don't seem to be penalized as much on this board. At least I had plenty of options for expansion, this time. The last turn of the game featured a little controversy and a whole lot of stupidity. I managed to position myself to be last in the turn order. At this point, the capacity of my plants was 2, 4, and 5, so I needed to pick up a 6 or 7 to have a shot at victory. By the time there were only two people left in plant bidding, the biggest plant out was a 4, which he put up for auction and won, dropping down the 38 (3 garbage powers 7) for me. Another player complained about this, saying he should have passed to prevent me from getting the 38. I disagreed, remarking that everyone knew the game was going to end this turn, and replacing a 1-capacity plant with a 4-capacity plant was the only way to improve that player's placing. For what it's worth, the player who bought the plant agreed with me, but the complaining player was kind of grumpy about it. And now for stupidity. I was first in buying cities, so I started putting cities on the board and adding up the costs. I placed my first four cities in 15-cost spots, and calculated that 15x4=90. At that point, I was surprised that I was out of money, but what can you do? Almost immediately after I ended my turn, I realized my mistake: 15x4=60, not 90! I could have bought two more cities, which would have allowed me to power 15 and get second (the winner powered 16), instead of powering 13 for last place. Grump grump grump.
 
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8. Board Game: Saint Petersburg [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:232]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Opponents: Tom DeMarco, 2 others

So, I'm still a little dazed in a cloud of self-chastisement, but I realize that they are setting up a Saint Petersburg tournament in that very same room. I hadn't counted on being done in time to make this particular heat, but here it was! So I sign up and find myself paired up with Tom DeMarco, who I play with frequently back home. I consider myself to be a competent St. Pete player, but I think I've only ever beat Tom once. As I find myself often doing, I go all out on aristocrats, and ignore points until it is too late. Tom, on the other hand, was getting a number of gifts from the fairly inexperienced player sitting to his left, and just trounced the rest of us. I ended up finishing a very close third, with Tom waaaaaay ahead of the second place player.
 
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9. Board Game: Caylus [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:45]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Opponents: 2 people whose names I don't know

After that I wandered down to the Caylus tournament. Caylus was a game I fully expected to get trashed in, but I decided to play nonetheless. I ended up in a 3-player game with a guy who said he didn't get to play much in person but played a lot on BSW, and another guy who claimed inexperience but seemed to do just fine. It was a little humorous how, for the first few turns of the game, we forgot to give ourselves income, and had to do it retroactively. I used my usual strategy of trying to make the most out of the building and victory point tracks; my opponents also were of the building track persuasion. There were a lot more buildings built early on than I was used to, the big stone production buildings didn't get built until after the gold mine. I was a bit behind the curve here, and ended up with the third one built, which of course was the wood one. What surprised me most was the production buildings were not the first stone buildings built: the BSW player began with the stone building that gives you a favor. He then proceeded to use a strategy I hadn't seen before, using residences to bulldoze the favor building and then re-building it for even more favors. I think he built that building 3 times in the game. I'll have to try that sometime. In any case, one thing I was able to collect over the course of the game was gold, and I was able to construct the 25-point building when the game ended via a building track favor. Despite this, I ended up in a very close 3rd, with the BSW player way out in front of second place.
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10. Board Game: Saint Petersburg [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:232]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Opponents: Arthur Field, 2 others

I still think I'm a fairly competent St. Pete player, so I decided to give this one another go. This time I ended up paired up with Arthur Field, who is one of the better players at the entire convention. I ended up getting an early observatory, which is great, but for some reason I always find myself getting stuck in situations where the only room I can make in my hand is for the aristocrat that I'd draft normally in the aristocrat phase, making the observatory worthless for that turn. Maybe I'm doing something wrong here. In any case, sitting to the left of Arthur was a player who seemed to believe that the key to the game was discounts for doubles: he did things like take 2 fur trappers for 11 in the first round instead of a lumberjack and a shepherd for 8, and later aggressively went after his second library. Weird. So, Arthur won, and I came in a fairly distant second.
 
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11. Board Game: Amun-Re [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:261]
Doug Faust
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Malverne
New York
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Semi-Finals

Opponents: Greg Thatcher, Sam Atabaki, 1 other

First semi-final of the convention for me. I have the opening bid, and Abu is the only money province, so I bid 6 on it. Greg commented that this was a pretty good bid, which made me feel like I wasn't totally out of my league here. Surprisingly to me, 2 of the other provinces that were up also went for 6 despite not having money, but no one outbid me on Abu. The first epoch kept on going that way, with provinces being bid up a lot more than I expected them to be. Seeing how others were spending lots of money on provinces that didn't pay back, I tried to press my money advantage by going after a set and a majority in the first epoch. In the third round of the game I made a small mistake. Sam had bid 6 on Dahkla, and I was deciding on whether to bid 10 on Dahkla or 0 on Buto. Either way, I'd be getting the free card I wanted, but for some reason it got stuck in my head that 0 on Buto is the "cheap" thing to do, despite Dahkla actually actually giving me money back. In any case, it wasn't a huge mistake on my part, but I did let Sam have Dahkla for only 6. Anyway, so I achieved my goal of a set and a majority in the first epoch, but I had to share the majority, and I came out with less money than I would have liked.

So I came into the second epoch with a variety of point cards, including farmers, power cards, and north/south. I think I ended up getting Abu back to start off. At that point, Dahkla, Edfu, and two one-card provinces in the north. The first two bids were 10 on Edfu, and 10 on Dahkla. For me, Edfu would be ideal, because all of my point cards would still be in play; with Dahkla I'd miss the farmers, and with the other two I'd miss the north/south and the power cards. Yuck. So, I could bid 15, but only by selling 3 power cards. If I did that on Edfu I'd be dead broke, which is no good. With Dahkla I'd still have the 12 to work with, so I went ahead and bid 15 on it, and sold all my cards that weren't the two point cards I was still eligible for. On the last turn, Memphis and Avaris with 2 pyramids, and Baharya and Sawu with one pyramid came up. Memphis obviously got bid up out of my range (by Greg), and for some reason the second player wanted Baharya. Sam then bid on Avaris (and high enough that I didn't feel guilty about not trying to outbid him), leaving me with Sawu for free, exactly what I wanted in the first place. So I completed my two cards, finished with I think 2 sets and a majority, but last place in money. Greg had 3 sets and a majority, which was good for the win. Myself, I came in third.
 
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12. Board Game: Saint Petersburg [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:232]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Friday

Opponents: Amy Rule, 2 others

So, at this point I had no chance of advancing to the semi-finals even with a win here, but I'm a glutton for punishment. In this game, everyone seemed pretty competent. I managed to get the observatory again, though not quite as early as I would have liked. Of course, I again ran into problems with my hand being full when I wanted to use the observatory. I'm probably mismanaging this somehow. In any case, I end up coming in 4th in a fairly close game. Obviously this isn't my weekend for stellar St. Pete play.
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13. Board Game: Power Grid: France/Italy [Average Rating:7.95 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.95 Unranked]
Doug Faust
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Semi-Finals

Opponents: Raphael Lehrer, Patrick Shea, Rich Meyer, 1 other

With only one win, I wasn't sure that I'd be able to qualify for the semi-finals, but it seemed like everyone that showed up was seated. We were playing the Italy board, which features the usual replenishment rates, but higher-than-usual starting prices for coal and oil (and lower for garbage). I was surprised to see the 6-plant actually being bought, but I guess I shouldn't have been given the prices. I ended up with the 4 plant, and placed in the middle of northern Italy. I followed this up with the 15-plant (2 coal for 3) as a stepping-stone plant, and decided to try to use the 24-plant (2 garbage for 4) as an end-game plant, since garbage was so cheap and that's what was available to me. Everyone pretty quickly built up to 6 cities, and at that point, I wanted to see if I could get another end-game plant. The 31-plant (3 coal for 6) came up, and I bid it up to 37 and then passed on it. At this point the 36 (3 coal for 7) fell to me, which I got for cost. The coal was starting to dry up in the game, so I knew at this point I needed to hang back in cities so I could get turn order to buy it. Well, that's not what happened. With everyone at 6 cities, and me first in the turn order with the 36-plant, no one built a single city for THREE MORE TURNS! So I was unwilling to build to 7 because I didn't want to dig an even deeper turn order hole for myself, Patrick was sitting pretty on his nuclear and wind plants, content to make more money than anyone else, Rich was far away from the nearest available city, and the other two just seemed unwilling to advance the game to step 2. So yes, the coal ran out, so I'm sitting there powering only 4 of my 6 cities for a couple turns, albeit cheaply with garbage. Eventually Raphael got tired of waiting and built to 11, which not only triggered step 2 but also step 3. The plants got jostled around, which led to huge bidding wars next turn on big plants that would allow the game to end that turn. I stayed out of this, and quietly took the 28-plant (1 nuclear for 4) at cost, giving me 15 capacity. Despite spending obscene amounts on plants, Rich and Patrick were both able to build to (and power) 16 cities (from 6 cities, mind you), and Rich won the money tiebreaker by 4. I correctly assessed my situation, as I was able to build to 15 (also from 6), and since Raphael moved ahead of me in the turn order, I could buy the coal and power them too. That was good enough for third place, and I have to say that I was pretty impressed with being able to power 15 at the end despite being completely screwed over mid-game.
 
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14. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Europe [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:92] [Average Rating:7.58 Unranked]
Doug Faust
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Malverne
New York
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Opponents: 3 people whose names I don't know

I actually greatly prefer the original game, not only because I'm more familiar with it, but because I think the added rules in Europe detract from the game. But this was the table I was assigned to, so there you have it. So looking at my four tickets, the long one is Brest to Petrograd, and the short ones all involve Italy and Turkey. So, the short ones all go together, but I really dislike throwing away the long one. I did a quick count, and decided to just try for them all (and not take any additional tickets later). For the most part, everyone else stayed out of my way, with them concentrating on the center of the board, and me making a giant U from France to Italy back up to northern Russia. As my trains began running out, I quickly double-counted to make sure I had enough to do what I needed to do, and I did, and even if someone cut me off I could just use a station. So as my trains got into the single digits, I looked at the board, looked at my trains, and realized that I am REALLY BAD AT COUNTING! I was actually one train short of my master plan, and since no one was interested in the routes to Brest and Petrograd at either end of my line, stations would not avail me. So, I built up to Petrograd and stared at how my remains 3 trains would not build the 4-track from Pamplona to Brest. Everyone else had plenty of trains left, but if I didn't complete a 20-point ticket, that would pretty much guarantee that I lose. So I do the one thing that's left to me: stall, and hope that someone else builds from Pamplona to Brest so I can station it. So I begin drawing random cards, trying to manipulate the face-ups to leave purples there so other people would take them. At some point, I just dropped my station in Pamplona; if I'm going to lose, I'll do it with style. About five turns later, the player to my right went out, so I just extended my route further into Spain. However, on the very last turn of the game, the woman two spots to my left built the Pamplona-Brest route, just for points! So I completed all of my tickets, had the longest route, only played one station, and won by some 30 points. Now that's about the luckiest I've ever been in playing a game...
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15. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:16]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Opponents: Arthur Field, 2 others

There are clearly people much better than me at Puerto Rico, but I don't think I'm really bad at it. Arthur, however, quickly proved to be one such player, as he could quickly point out my mistakes (and I thought, yup, that was a mistake). I'm last in the turn order and buy a construction hut first turn (yes, the first turn was builder), and quickly scoop up 3 quarries. I was able to buy a factory pretty early, but I really think my cash-richness this game was really more due to taking roles with money on them more than the occasional factory money. In any case, I have more money in this game of Puerto Rico than I think I've ever had before. Arthur, meanwhile, has the whole harbor-wharf combo going, so I know I need to end the game as quickly as possible before it gets out of hand. I bought a few production buildings to get my factory going, and then I turn my attention to the large buildings, picking up the Guild Hall and Fortress. Toward the end of the game, I have two spots left and 6 money. Unfortunately, someone else took the builder, leaving me 1 dollar short of buying a third big building and ending the game. Instead, I bought a production building, and bought another one next turn, ending it. By then, Arthur had accumulated a huge stack of VPs from shipping, and I came in second with 50 points to his 55.
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16. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:2204]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Core Worlds prototype

Opponents: Andrew Parks, Anni Foasberg, Manny O'Donnell

At this point I decided to take a brief break from the non-stop tournament action, and spend some time with my good friend Andrew Parks, who is a game designer with a few published titles. He showed us his new prototype called Core Worlds, which I won't talk about too much for NDA reasons. Suffice to say, it's a little like Dominion, but much more involved and with a drafting mechanic. For what it's worth, I ended up winning by one point over Andrew.
 
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17. Board Game: Notre Dame [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:218]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Opponents: Claire Brosius, 3 others

I really didn't want to miss out on this 10pm heat of Notre Dame, as it's one of my favorite games. It turns out that none of the players in this game were particularly experienced, so I kind of ran away with this one. I managed to get all my cubes out early, and then moved three cubes into the Park with the Minstrel to have 4 in there by mid-game. Meanwhile, I kept the rats right on the brink without going over, and had a steady flow of income throughout the game. I don't exactly remember how close everyone else was, but it was one of those situations where I thought I was winning the entire time, and then I won.
 
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18. Board Game: Notre Dame [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:218]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Saturday

Semi-Finals

Opponents: Anne Norton, 3 others

My wife Anni was also in the semi-finals, as was Anne who I know from back home. It was good to see some familiar faces here. Only nine people qualified for the semis, so we played a game of four and a game of five, and the top 2 from each would advance. Unfortunately, I ended up in the five-player game. It really seemed like the game had it in for me from the beginning. My usual early cube strategy completely failed me, I got my cloister house and my trusted friend on the same turn (both of which I like to use for cubes), so I passed the cloister house, only to be passed another trusted friend. And of course, the Bishop didn't come out until after I had already placed there, so he was no help. I didn't get my first actual cube in the cloister house until turn 5. Getting money was equally hard, and I ended up using my carriage to go around and get the one-point money messages, just so I'd have enough to hire someone. Then, I had to forgo many of the early point guys in favor of stuff that got me cubes and money. When the middle-round Minstrel came around (usually when I like to cart a bunch of guys to the cart), not only did I not have a bunch of guys to move, the seven rats forced me (and three of the other players) to turn to the Doctor, which I always consider a last resort. After that, though, rats were not an issue, and I eventually was able to recruit all of my cubes. I used the late-round minstrel to move 3 cubes into the Park (totaling 6), but had to forgo a big point card to do so. I thought it was too little, too late, but then I proceeded to pick up points from a number of different places, including the point building, a 4-point message, and two cubes in Notre Dame, all of which got me a +3 Park bonus. Other players remarked at how quickly I was able to pick up points during the last couple of rounds. I ended up finishing with 60 points, which wasn't enough to win (the winner had 63), but it was enough for second place and a seat at the top table. I was pretty shocked.
 
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19. Board Game: Notre Dame [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:218]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Finals

Opponents: Beth Zhao, Nick Page, 1 other

The final game started immediately after the semi-final. This game was drastically different from the last; everything that went wrong in the last game went right in this one. I kept my trusted friend with my opening draw, and Beth passed me her cloister house (it looked like she had the same trusted friend/cloister house conundrum that I had last game). So I was able to get 2 in the cloister house on turn 1, played my own cloister house on turn 2, and was able to recruit all of my cubes by turn 4. Similarly, I had an absolute lack of money problems. I used the Bishop to play my first cube in the bank, and then played two more banks in the early rounds, giving me seven money (enough for the rest of the game) in turn 3. Of course, something's got to give: I had no cubes in the hospital. At the end of turn 3, I had 6 rats, with 6 more coming. Rats you say? No problem! I used the minstrel in turn 3 to move 3 cubes from the bank to the hospital. I later put a fourth cube in the hospital, and didn't have any rat problems for the rest of the game. In turn 5, I used the minstrel again to move 3 cubes from the cloister house into the park, and built that up to six very quickly. It was just smooth sailing from that point out, as I just took whatever action gave me the most points. I ended up with four cubes in the VP building, and did use Notre Dame once (and got the money back from an inn card). Round 9 turned out to be a little disappointing, as I didn't draw or was passed any cards that would get me points. In any case, I finished with 77 points, which is a personal record for me, and was good enough to win.

So yeah, my first WBC, and I won a tournament. I felt pretty psyched at that point.
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20. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:126] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Opponents: 3 people whose names I don't know

So, I was pretty sure, but not 100% certain, that I'd make the Ticket to Ride quarter-finals with my strong win in the previous heat. So, I decided to play again, just in case. I took tickets on the first turn, and ended up planning a long route from Montreal to Miami back up to Portland. I counted my routes, going through Miami was possible but would use nearly all of my trains, branching to go to Miami would take fewer trains and was more feasible if I needed to detour in other places. Though I felt pressure at times and started with a disjointed route that I needed to connect up, I was never truly cut off in this game. Toward the end of the game, I had built my route down from Montreal to outside Miami, and over from Portland to outside Miami, and I just needed to decide how I was going to connect these two yet unjoined routes to Miami. So I collect all the requisite cards that I need to go through Miami, and of course the game ends one turn too early. So instead of connecting both ends of my route through Miami, I ended up detouring around and skipping Miami entirely, causing me to miss a 12-point ticket, not compete for longest track, and come in 3rd place out of four.
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21. Board Game: Tahuantinsuyu [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:2253]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Opponents: Anni Foasberg, Zev Schlasinger, Paul Gerardi

At this point, there was nothing too appealing left on the tournament schedule, so we grabbed some dinner, and played a pick-up game of Tahuantinsuyu, which Zev had wanted to look at. None of us had played before, but fortunately we had a moderator in playtester Marc Houde, and later Andrew Parks when Marc had an event. This turned out to be an interesting crayon-based connection game, where you have to decide whether to try to build your own stuff to get lots of points, or develop your network to better leech off others' points. I found myself at a little bit of a disadvantage because the region chips that were easiest for me to reach provided lots of victory points (which, like Power Grid, disadvantages your turn order) and little production points (which is obviously bad). Regardless, me, Paul, and Anni built up a decent point engine in the north (despite the constant games of chicken), while Zev tried to do his own thing in the south. Zev, with his plethora of road-building powers, managed to sneak around and build into the northern network, while Paul monopolized the east and built into Zev's buildings. I spent the entire game struggling with insufficient resources, and Paul managed to take a commanding lead. At this point, no one really saw how Paul could be stopped, so we ended up calling the game.
 
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22. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium [Average Rating:7.95 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.95 Unranked]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Opponents: Anni Foasberg, Andrew Parks

After that, I was interested in a pick-up game of Race for the Galaxy, since I had missed out on all of the tournament heats due to other commitments. Andy was more than happy to oblige. We played with all of the expansions, used the takeover rules, and played to 15 cards in the tableau instead of 12. Despite getting an opening hand Alien Toy Shop, I decided to toss it and go military with Imperium Warlord and Space Marines. Turns out, everyone else went military as well. Andy kept playing the development action early, when I didn't have any worthwhile developments, which was bad. Overall, it always seemed like Andy would play develop when I didn't have developments to play, and settle when I didn't have any planets to play. Thus, he was able to rocket to 15 cards before either me or Anni really got going even. On the last turn of the game, I actually was able to invoke the takeover rules to conquer one of Andy's planets, but I wasn't able to stop the game from ending as he had another to replace it. I don't recall the final scores, but Andy killed us.
 
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23. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:126] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Doug Faust
United States
Malverne
New York
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Sunday

Opponents: Jim Freeman, 2 others

I told Anni that today I would play Ticket to Ride until I got eliminated, and then we'd grab some lunch and head home. I ended up in with another session of the original game. I spent the first two turns drawing tickets, but all I could show for it was 5 small-to-medium tickets in the midwest. I thought I would be able to round up enough points with this configuration if I could grab the big routes in the middle of the board and did some sort of crazy zig-zag thing, but it was not to be, as the routes I had targeted got snatched up pretty early in the game. Instead of trying to take even more tickets, I used my extra trains to create a giant loop-de-loop in the middle of my tracks, which actually earned me longest route by a single train. However, I just didn't have enough points to win the game, and I finished in third place despite fulfilling all my tickets.
 
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