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Subject: UK Agricola Championship 2016 rss

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Peter Howitt
United Kingdom
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The UK Agricola Championship took place at the UK Games Expo on Saturday 4 June 2016. At stake was a place in the Agricola World Championship in 2017. I was previously UK Ticket to Ride Champion in 2014, where there was a qualification process to even play in the national final. Here you just booked your tickets so my friend Andy and I decided to give it a go.

Unfortunately the expected copies of the game were not provided and it was a case of begging, borrowing and stealing to get the tournament underway half an hour late. We even had to use an iPad on pass and play for one board, which I was on. Another board used the new version of the game with some different occupation and improvement cards. With the exception of games on this table, all games were using the E deck and all used a 10 to 7 selection of occupations and minors.

My opponents on the iPad were Dave and Ryan. It became apparent that Dave was the main threat and he had an excellent Academic, Quarry, Mason and Stone House extension combo. However, I was able to get ahead of him on family growth, slowed him down further with the Ratcatcher and then blocked him from fencing in the final round to win by 4 points. After nearly three hours of pass and play we eventually finished!

In the second round I was playing on the new version with Andy, Paul and Charlotte. I wasn’t familiar with the cards, but didn’t seem to get a very good selection as I had a lot of early play 2 occupation minor improvements without many good early game occupations. I did however, have the Carpenter’s Parlour (the renamed axe), which is excellent in 4 player. I managed to get first family growth, which didn’t come out until round 7 and then powered ahead sufficiently that I could afford to make the mistake of playing the Roof Ballaster (a new occ that gives you 1 stone for each room in your house at the cost of 1 food) to get a load of stone I then didn’t manage to turn into a stone renovation and still win by 3 points.

The final saw four players who had won both of their matches – Me, Martin (winner in 2015), Natalia and Brian – in competition, finally back on a physical 4 player version of the original using the E deck. After two rounds of average at best cards I did get lucky for the final, drawing Head of the Family and Hut Builder as two very good occupations and some excellent minor improvements including Clay Roof and Fruit Tree. I also started and got my hut builder out first play before taking 2 clay, hoping for a sheep bonanza with the first fire place, as sheep came out in round 1. Sadly major/minor improvement didn’t come out until round 4 and by then Martin was able to scoop the fireplace and the four sheep.

I took starting player though and was able to build a room in round 5 and was therefore the only player able to grow in round 6 when family growth came up. My problem was that I didn’t have any occs or improvements that gave me early food and so that was a relative struggle. Even once I bought a cooking hearth, I had to take fishing a couple of times. Then Natalia played the Ratcatcher slowing Martin and myself down, in particular. However, I got out the Master Shepherd for five food, the fruit tree for six food and the Well for four food (having renovated to clay) and that put me in a much stronger position so that by the end of round 11 I had five family members and at least two of my competitors just had three.

A late Grocer (I didn’t have the food to power it earlier) then saved two actions in terms of getting material for the stone renovation, a grain and a vegetable, and I was able to get some fields plowed (Brian and Martin both had plows they used to good effect). Brian’s renovation in round 13 then left me with a no pressure renovation with fences in round 14 as neither Martin or Natalia had the right materials to renovate. Natalia and Martin both had strong finishes as Natalia played the most incredible baking combination I’ve seen in a physical game. Corn scoop, baking tray, stone oven and baker’s oven combined to generate 18 food in one bake. She was also able to use the Stockman and build four stables to get one of each animal. Martin used the stone cutter to help fund a lot of improvements and maxed out on the Braggart’s nine points. But a series of solid two point plays and then renovation with fences on the final go of the game was enough to win me the title by 3 points.

It was a high quality final match and great to pit myself against some very experienced players. I don’t think I would win that often if we played a series, but everything came together well in a one-off game.

The tournament in general was a lovely experience playing with some really nice folk. My general lesson would be the unoriginal observation on the importance of early family growth – I grew first in all three games.
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Guillaume Aubert
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Congrats. The tournament seemed a bit shaky but you did well.

You are the Agricola UK Champion 2016. Next step is world now
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Geoff Burkman
United States
Kettering
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Congrats on your win, and a fine account of the proceedings. I'm a little surprised Ratcatcher was allowed in tournament play, let alone Braggart. The renaming of Axe makes me laugh a bit. I have to wonder why they did that.
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Rich P
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Sheffield
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Sounds like a chaotic tournament so congratulations on the win. Is it true that you get flights and accommodation paid for to the world championships? I had to pay my own way when I went!
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Peter Howitt
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I think so, that was part of the motivation in entering! I think Mayfair's recent acquisition means the exact approach is a bit up in the air, but I am hoping to get more details soon.
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Roose Bolton
Norway
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Congrats on the win. Sounded like some fun games.

Can i ask a question about the organizer of the tournament? You mention "Mayfair", are they the new organizers of the World Championships?

Compared to the 2013 event that was hosted by "Lookout" ?

If anyone have any information on conatct info for the World Championships, that would be nice as i am looking to host qualifiers here in Norway.

thanks
 
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Hanno Girke
Germany
Schwabenheim an der Selz
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donba32 wrote:

Can i ask a question about the organizer of the tournament? You mention "Mayfair", are they the new organizers of the World Championships?

Compared to the 2013 event that was hosted by "Lookout" ?

If anyone have any information on conatct info for the World Championships, that would be nice as i am looking to host qualifiers here in Norway.


Lookout and Mayfair are partner companies.
Most organisatorial steps for the next World Championship event will be handled by Mayfair's Julie Yeager, who did the same for all the Catan events, so I think the event is in good hands.

If you want to get in contact with her, just eMail Mayfair or contact her husband Alex here on the Geek.
 
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Dan H
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For a national championship this does sound like a depressing messing of a competition. You would expect better organisation. I feel sorry for people who travelled a long way and then were told to play on an app to due not have sufficient copies!
 
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Mad Dog
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As the 2013 UK Champion, and runner up in the world championships in 2013, I am disappointed I only just heard about this and didn't get a chance to defend my title.

Where was this announced and publicised? It doesn't seem much effort was made to reach out to previous contestants or core Agricola playing groups in the UK (such as the Mind Sports Olympiad or London on Board).

There are a lot of very strong Agricola players in the UK, who deserved a chance to play to represent their country.

 
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Peter Howitt
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Mad Dog, The UK Games Expo is the biggest Boardgame event of the year in the UK, so this wasn't exactly secret. It's always worth checking out the board game tournaments.

Anyway, it looks like the UK is going to be able to send two representatives to the 2017 World Championships so there is another chance: http://www.ukgamesexpo.co.uk/game.php?id=BOR2288
 
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Mad Dog
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Thanks for the heads up. I doubt I'll be able to make it but I'll repost this so you should get a stronger field this time.

If this does come up again, it would be great if you can post here:
https://www.meetup.com/LondonOnBoard/messages/boards/forum/2...

And here:
http://play-agricola.com/forums/index.php?board=19.0

Also, if possible email@ mindsportsolympiad@gmail.com

It looks like you are already engaged with MSO this year, which is good news; those guys run 2 weeks of boardgame tournaments each year and have the experience (and the sets).

Tom

 
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