$30.00
Recommend
18 
 Thumb up
 Hide
13 Posts

Agricola» Forums » General

Subject: 2016 WBC Agricola Tournament rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Rob Murray
United States
New Jersey
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The Village Fool Strikes Again


It goes without saying that “Change!” was the unofficial motto of the 2016 World Boardgaming Championships. BPA moved the convention from the Lancaster Host to Seven Springs Mountain Resort cozily nestled in the Allegheny Mountains outside of Pittsburgh, PA. Countless Facebook forums are filled with reviews and praise for the move, which was widely considered a success. The convention was also expanded to a full nine-day tournament with no pre-cons, which allowed for a more spread out schedule. The Agricola tournament was moved up in the schedule so that all three qualifying heats occurred on the first day of the convention and the semifinals were held the following morning. As Agricola commands a three-hour block, this allowed for many players to participate in tournaments that they found difficult to manage in previous years with the tighter schedule. The change to the Agricola tournament was also considered a resounding success, as attendance climbed over 20% from 72 participants in 2015 to 88 farmers in 2016. In a year where the overall convention attendance was down 10-15% after the move due to a decline of walk-ins, the Agricola event experienced a surge of players looking for competitive gaming on Saturday, as it was almost the only game in town.

One drawback to the fast and furious back-to-back-to *dinner break*-to back heat format is that it made advancement to the semifinals extremely challenging, as most players entered all three heats. In previous years, the cut for semifinals was typically made near the “a win and a second place” line, to advance 16 sixteen players. This year, two (2) players with a win and TWO second place finishes did not qualify to advance, which included former EuroQuest champion and WBC finalist Steve LeWinter. Likewise, a 1-2-3 finish in the heats was not enough for former WBC Champ Cary Morris to qualify for semifinals. The two players in the field with the longest current streak of consecutive semifinal appearances, Eric Wrobel and Rob Murray, were also forced into “must win” situations in the third heat, as both players had finished second in each of their first two heats. As both are seasoned Agricola warriors who play well under pressure, Eric and Rob were able to pull out a win in the third heat and reach the semifinals for the fifth straight year. There were a total of four triple winners after three heats: 4-time finalist Mike Kaltman, former Caesars Alex Bove and Randy Buehler, and defending champion and top Agricola laurelist Sceadeau D’Tela.

A total of seventeen players were taken into the semifinals, with three four-player games and one five-player game. The four winners would then advance to a four-player final. The big story heading into the semifinals was the appearance of nine-year-old Sam Wolff. Agricola may be the “sharkiest” of the complex Euros at WBC, so Sam’s achievement was really quite impressive!

The four triple winners were separated so that they weren’t forced to play one another in the semifinals – an advantage of the seeding format in this tournament. Sceadeau used “The Secret” a la Cary Morris and was able to draw the card for the five-player table. Sceadeau and perennial Agricola powerhouse Jon Senn (absent from this year’s tournament) are both considered to be particularly skillful in the five-player format of the game.

Table 1 (in initial turn order): Mike Mularski – Eric Wrobel – Moon Sultana – Sceadeau D’Tela – David Platnick

Eric was in the right seat at the right time to play a free Field Watchman after Mike opened the game with Reed, Stone, Wood. He was also the owner of some fine Clay Supports a little later in the game; when a player of Eric’s skill is able to have that strong of a set-up, it is very difficult to keep pace. Sceadeau was the recipient of some bad luck as Moon played Canoe to make his Net Fisherman very sad... a move that was discussed at length after the game and was revealed as being executed to directly counter Sceadeau’s occupation. Sceadeau was unable to even steal one food from Fishing three times in the game! As one might expect with that line of play, Sceadeau and Moon were 4th and 5th at the end and never contended for the win. David played a Quarry / Clay Pit game, but couldn’t find a way to transform those strong cards into a lot of points and ended the game with a massive amount of unused stone and clay on his board. In the end, Mike had an impressive board and was able to stay close to Eric and finish just two points behind in second place and earn sixth place laurels for the tournament. Unfortunately for Sceadeau, he was unable to tie Mike Kaltman’s distinguished achievement of four consecutive appearances at the final table. Perhaps a new streak will begin for Sceadeau in 2017.

Table 1 SF scores: Eric (42), Mike (40), David (37), Sceadeau (35), Moon (31)


Table 2: Rob Murray – Robb Effinger – Geoffrey Pounder – Alex Bove

Starting in seat 1, Rob opened the game with Reed, Stone, Food in order to have the stone ready to drop his Axe at the opportunistic time. This game was very strange in that there were no strong occupations in the draft, or at least not occupations that players wanted to fight to play early. Robb actually took 3 wood in the 2 seat to allow Geoffrey and Alex to open the game with occupations – whether they wanted to or not. Rob capitalized on some early game momentum with the first (double) room build in Round 4 powered by a free Church Warden for four wood (seemingly an easy 3 points with Axe in play and Sleeping Corner in hand). Family Growth flipped in Round 6 and Rob was first to grow. Coupled with the first Fireplace and a key sheep grab, it was too much for the other players to contend with.

Table 2 SF scores: Rob (53), Alex (44), Robb (42), Geoff (32)


Table 3: Dave Brown – Patrick McGavisk – Sam Wolff – Randy Buehler

This game generated quite a bit of buzz among all of the semifinalists in the tournament in post-game discussions. There was beauty in seeing MTG Hall-of-Famer and former Caesar Randy Buehler, who is widely considered to be the strongest EuroGamer that attends WBC, sitting next to nine-year-old Sam Wolff at the semifinal of such a skill-based game. This is the kind of scene that really makes you appreciate the uniqueness of WBC and the charm of boardgaming. But everything isn’t always roses and sunshine… This game saw a lot of counter-play between the farmers. Dave was the Starting Player and opened with RSF and then played SP + Landing Net, only to have Patrick take one reed as the opening round’s 6th action. Sam also played Net Fisherman, which slowed down Dave’s Landing Net in Phase 1. Randy had a solid game early and was able to punish an early mistake made by Sam. Sam attempted to take one reed in Round 3 to draft the 3 food off of Fishing. Knowing Dave would probably take the 3 food on Fishing out of spite and principle, Randy looked nine-year-old Sam in the eye and took Traveling Players (a fine 3 food action regardless) to force at least one begging card on him. No wonder Rob Murray calls him “Darth Buehler!” Sam would later take 1 reed / 1 food (Fishing) rather than take Day Laborer, and thus took two begging cards rather than one. Although Randy had the early lead, Dave came storming back with a fierce combination of moves and nice card play. Using Slapdash Renovation, in one round Dave renovated to clay and grabbed BMW, then renovated to stone and built a Fireplace, and then later played Silo Girl which gave him all the grain and vegetables he would need to sow with wasting the family member actions to take them. At the end of the game, there appeared to be a tie for first place! With the new tiebreaker rules, that would’ve given Randy the victory since he started in the fourth seat. However, after a recount it was discovered that Patrick inadvertently miscalculated Randy’s score by giving him credit for a fenced stable, which was actually unfenced. After several recounts, it was confirmed that Dave squeaked out a one-point win over Randy, who would have to settle for fifth place laurels with the one point loss. As Randy has never netted Agricola laurels at WBC, he did achieve that goal which he set out for himself this year. He proved that thanks to a visit to Farmageddon this past year and intense study at the School of Sceadeau, he will be a force to be reckoned with in the future.

Table 3 SF scores: Dave (44), Randy (43), Patrick (32), Sam (31)


Table 4: John Corrado – Keith Dent – Ben Scholl – Mike Kaltman

Table 4 was the toughest all-around semifinal table. John Corrado is the current EuroQuest Agricola King, Mike Kaltman made it to the WBC Agricola final an unprecedented four consecutive times, Ben Scholl is one of three players to win both WBC and EuroQuest and Keith Dent is an all-around gaming powerhouse, collecting five plaques at this year’s WBC (including first at Russian Railroads). Wow! In a game with this much talent at the table, the game can come down to who opens the best starting packs. In this case, Keith got Field Watchman just as Eric Wrobel did in his game and proved how strong this card is in the hands of an expert. No amount of former Agricola plaques or achievements would be enough to slow Keith down in the 2 seat, as the table had a difficult time keeping up with his strong cards and sharp, precise play. Keith won the game by a comfortable margin for a semifinal.

Table 4 SF scores: Keith (50), Mike (44), Ben (42), John (37)


And there you have it… the four triple winners in the heats were all eliminated in the semifinal round. Eric and Rob, both faced with early elimination in the heats, won their way into the final. Eric was the only player with experience in the WBC final, as Dave was new to WBC and Keith and Rob have never made it past the semifinals. There would be a new winner crowned this year.

After a scheduling snafu put the final in the same small room as an Innovation heat, the final was moved in an impromptu manner to the main stage in the ballroom, hidden behind the walls of photos placed at the foot of the stage from last year’s convention. The move was met with contempt by tournament director-elect Ken Gutermuth, but after an apology and a promise for future communication by the GM, the game commenced!

The Final: Rob Murray – Dave Brown – Eric Wrobel – Keith Dent

Reaching the final of this event is no easy task, so when you don’t recognize one of the players there, it can only mean one of two things. Either they got extraordinarily lucky with a softer path to the final than what is expected due to matchups or drafting mistakes, or he’s just way better than you are. Dave was a total stranger to Rob, Eric and Keith, and if they were worried then they had good reason to be.
Random seating put Rob in seat 1, followed by Dave, Eric and Keith, who held first tiebreaker under the revised rules.

The opening Occupations packs were opened as follows, and passed counter-clockwise (reverse from previous years):

Rob: Sheep Farmer, Layabout, Sunrise Admirer, Master Builder, Rancher, Wood Buyer, Butcher
Dave: Village Fool, Diplomat, Pig Whisperer, Clay Digger, Cowherd, Clay Firer, Pig Catcher
Eric: Clay Worker, Wood Deliveryman, Greengrocer, Gem Hunter, Traveling Salesman, Acrobat, Maid
Keith: Baker, Plow Maker, Tutor, Merchant, Gem Hunter, Stone Carrier, Minimalist

The draft saw a few good Occupations, but nothing game breaking on the surface such as Educator, Charcoal Burner or Field Watchman. Dave took Village Fool from his opening pack and then drafted the remainder of his hand defensively. This was a tactic that took Ben Scholl to victory at the 2013 WBC Final. Additionally, Dave got the seldom played Minimalist back seventh, which goes very nicely with a Village Fool game provided you can figure out food with one or two improvements. Eric drafted a hand of clay-heavy occupations, but was probably hoping to also get back Gem Hunter and Clay Firer, which were both taken defensively by Keith and Rob after seeing several clay-based cards floating around.

Final drafted Occupation hands were as follows:

Rob: Sheep Farmer, Diplomat, Greengrocer, Merchant, Rancher, Clay Firer, Maid
Dave: Village Fool, Wood Deliveryman, Tutor, Master Builder, Cowherd, Acrobat, Minimalist
Eric: Clay Worker, Plow Maker, Sunrise Admirer, Clay Digger, Traveling Salesman, Stone Carrier, Butcher
Keith: Baker, Layabout, Pig Whisperer, Countryman, Gem Hunter, Wood Buyer, Magician

Next, the opening Minor Improvement packs were opened as follows, and passed clockwise (also in reverse to previous years):

Rob: Iron Plow, Private Forest, Clay Roof, Spinney, Cooking Hearth, Clapper, Brewery
Dave: Field, Slapdash Renovation, Undisturbed Pond, Loom, Fish Hook, Boundary Stones, Butter Churn
Eric: Animal Pen, Almshouse, Ladder, Fish Trap, Attic, Apple Tree, Herb Garden
Keith: Sawhorse, Mansion, Pelts, Crib, Helpful Neighbors, Drinking Trough, Wood-Fired Oven

The improvements, as is often the case, made for a lot more interesting and difficult decisions. Eric chose Animal Pen first, which meant that Keith was able to get both Sawhorse and Almshouse. Those two cards are considered by a lot of players to be in the top 5 improvements in EIKWm. Rob’s starting pack was by far the most interesting of the bunch and also generated a lot of discussion afterwards. He chose to keep Iron Plow to combine with his Greengrocer, and also knowing he would more than likely get back the Cooking Hearth Minor Improvement. This left Dave with a very difficult decision, as he could have taken either Private Forest or Clay Roof, knowing whatever he chose would probably end up under his Village Fool. He spent a full five minutes considering which card to draft in this position (see Dave’s thoughts on his draft here: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1614607/wbc-finals-draft-re...). Dave made a very precise and correct decision by keeping Private Forest, although Eric was very happy to see Clay Roof come to him third. The most controversial move of the draft was made by Rob in his fourth pack, when he had to decide between Fish Trap and Ladder. Unbeknownst to Rob at the time, this decision greatly affected the outcome of the game. Rob evaluated that at a final table with very strong players, he was unlikely to get more than ~6 food from Fish Trap, and while Ladder is not an amazing card it has several combinational opportunities that can break games (such as if someone has Clay Supports). Additionally, providing you get to a four room stone house, Ladder should be worth four reed. As Rob also had Mansion in hand as an outside possibility, he chose Ladder and gave Dave’s Village Fool the food engine he needed.

Drafted Minor Improvement hands:

Rob: Iron Plow, Mansion, Ladder, Loom, Cooking Hearth, Drinking Trough, Herb Garden
Dave: Field, Private Forest, Pelts, Fish Trap, Fish Hook, Clapper, Wood-Fired Oven
Eric: Animal Pen, Slapdash Renovation, Clay Roof, Crib, Attic, Boundary Stones, Brewery
Keith: Sawhorse, Almshouse, Undisturbed Pond, Spinney, Helpful Neighbors, Apple Tree, Butter Churn

As was the case in Rob’s semifinal game, this game started with player 1 taking RSF and player 2 taking 3 wood. Eric played his first Occupation for free… Clay Digger, which is usually not the first Occupation played in a game of this magnitude and skill level. Keith followed that up with Gem Hunter, which is also not a power card. Rob took 2 clay, Dave took SP and got his Fish Trap out right away and got to work. In Round 2 Dave played Village Fool, which was met with audible groans from the other players. Eric continued rushing out Occupations: Clay Worker, Stone Carrier and Traveling Salesman in order to play his Animal Pen. Prior to the first harvest, Eric had 18 clay on his board and was hoping that Renovation came out in Round 5. With Eric’s Clay Roof and Rob’s Ladder, Dave was not met with much competition for RSF (or Reed), which he took frequently. Dave built the first room and when Family Growth flipped over in Round 5, the game was effectively over. When Dave was able to build the Basketmaker’s Workshop prior to the second harvest, it was a simple matter of proper execution of “The Family Game” to give Dave the game. Unfortunately for Eric, his gambit didn’t pay off and Renovation turned over in Round 7, which was a little too late to make a challenging push onto Dave’s position. Dave would later play Minimalist for some bonus points too and cruise to a nine-point win. Had the Renovation and Family Growth cards been reversed, it is possible that Eric could have made a serious push for the win (he had also been fence blocked and stable blocked by Keith in the final round), but such was not the case.

Final scores: Dave (47), Eric (38), Rob (34), Keith (33)

A small apology is in order for those who look forward to a 5,000+ word write-up of the tournament with a detailed round-by-round breakdown of the final. Diligent note taking by the GM is more difficult when the GM is lucky enough to make it to his own tournament’s final game…  Let’s hope this is a trend that continues in future tournaments.



Dave's winning board (47)


Eric's final board (38)


Rob's final board (34)


Keith's final board (33)
16 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave Brown
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
flag msg tools
Great write up!

One thing I forgot to mention to you earlier in my semi-final game is that I also had Lord of the Manor. It's not a flashy card so it is easy to forget about or under value. It was worth (probably) 4 points though which, along with the slapdash and silo girl shenanigans, put me over Randy.

Also, I now think passing the Clay Roof was a clear error. But, since I ended up with Fish Trap it was an advantageous error.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike K
United States
Fairless Hills
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
'Zenvedev' wrote:
Dave was a total stranger to Rob, Eric and Keith


Those who frequent Play-Agricola.com know "ad_hoc" well. (In fact, a number of former champions hone their skills there, as well as on Boite-A-Jeux.)
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rob Murray
United States
New Jersey
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I wouldn't have passed Clay Roof, but you did have decent rationale for doing so... but you would think after taking five minutes on that decision that you would make the correct move. (Just kidding)
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike K
United States
Fairless Hills
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Also: I realize that the extra points earned only padded the margin of victory, but it thrills me to no end that the WBC champion played Minimalist in the game!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Hanno Girke
Germany
Berne
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Any idea why they still used the old version that's no longer tournament-important?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jack Paris

Monforte de Lemos
LUGO
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
As a new version was released just this summer with a much reduced card count it seems unlikely a choice to be used for the tournement, no? The community has had no time to begin to assess the new small card set. Most experienced players will have their experience earned on the original version. I think it's a bit premature to start calling the original version 'tournament uninmportant.'
13 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rob Murray
United States
New Jersey
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hanno wrote:
Any idea why they still used the old version that's no longer tournament-important?


Well that's a strange comment.

We don't plan on running the WBC with the new game until the whole card set has been released. Forcing players to use a small card set they've never seen that is only 10% of the intended final product a mere two months after it was released seems silly.

But the real reason, I suppose, is that we simply ran the tournament the way we wanted to run it. We've inquired many times in the past about a US qualifier for the world championship that has fallen on deaf ears, but the advantage of this situation is that we aren't bound by anyone else's rules. Sadly, it was recently brought to my attention that a qualifier was finally given to the US, and that it was run at GenCon... a real shame considering the caliber of farmers that attend WBC vs. GenCon. Most of the best players in North America were likely not in attendance, as GenCon took place right after WBC.

Plus, if everyone wants to play the more familiar full set, who am I to declare something being "tournament unimportant?"
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
Austin
Texas
flag msg tools
designer
Glory to Rome!
badge
"Let each man pass his days in that wherein his skill is greatest" Propertius Sextus
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hanno wrote:
Any idea why they still used the old version that's no longer tournament-important?


Looks like they also needed a 5 player option. As far as I know, that isn't supported by the current iteration of the game.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rob Murray
United States
New Jersey
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
darthnice wrote:
Hanno wrote:
Any idea why they still used the old version that's no longer tournament-important?


Looks like they also needed a 5 player option. As far as I know, that isn't supported by the current iteration of the game.


That's another good point. We had a unique situation arise in making cuts for semifinals and I wouldn't have been able to call the audible that I did by accepting 17 players.

We also had a few 5ers in the heats.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Hanno Girke
Germany
Berne
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Zenvedev wrote:
Hanno wrote:
Any idea why they still used the old version that's no longer tournament-important?


Well that's a strange comment.

We don't plan on running the WBC with the new game until the whole card set has been released. Forcing players to use a small card set they've never seen that is only 10% of the intended final product a mere two months after it was released seems silly.

But the real reason, I suppose, is that we simply ran the tournament the way we wanted to run it. We've inquired many times in the past about a US qualifier for the world championship that has fallen on deaf ears, but the advantage of this situation is that we aren't bound by anyone else's rules. Sadly, it was recently brought to my attention that a qualifier was finally given to the US, and that it was run at GenCon... a real shame considering the caliber of farmers that attend WBC vs. GenCon. Most of the best players in North America were likely not in attendance, as GenCon took place right after WBC.

Plus, if everyone wants to play the more familiar full set, who am I to declare something being "tournament unimportant?"


Dear friend, you're mixing up apples and pears.
While the US distribution was with ZMAN, there was no Organized Play in the US. Now that the game is with Mayfair, Mayfair set up a OP program - and if you choose to ignore their rules, I deem it's more than likely that you'll be ignored for qualifiers.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jack Paris

Monforte de Lemos
LUGO
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Hanno wrote:
Zenvedev wrote:
Hanno wrote:
Any idea why they still used the old version that's no longer tournament-important?


Well that's a strange comment.

We don't plan on running the WBC with the new game until the whole card set has been released. Forcing players to use a small card set they've never seen that is only 10% of the intended final product a mere two months after it was released seems silly.

But the real reason, I suppose, is that we simply ran the tournament the way we wanted to run it. We've inquired many times in the past about a US qualifier for the world championship that has fallen on deaf ears, but the advantage of this situation is that we aren't bound by anyone else's rules. Sadly, it was recently brought to my attention that a qualifier was finally given to the US, and that it was run at GenCon... a real shame considering the caliber of farmers that attend WBC vs. GenCon. Most of the best players in North America were likely not in attendance, as GenCon took place right after WBC.

Plus, if everyone wants to play the more familiar full set, who am I to declare something being "tournament unimportant?"


Dear friend, you're mixing up apples and pears.
While the US distribution was with ZMAN, there was no Organized Play in the US. Now that the game is with Mayfair, Mayfair set up a OP program - and if you choose to ignore their rules, I deem it's more than likely that you'll be ignored for qualifiers.



Oh my. This is turning ugly.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rob Murray
United States
New Jersey
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hanno wrote:
Zenvedev wrote:
Hanno wrote:
Any idea why they still used the old version that's no longer tournament-important?


Well that's a strange comment.

We don't plan on running the WBC with the new game until the whole card set has been released. Forcing players to use a small card set they've never seen that is only 10% of the intended final product a mere two months after it was released seems silly.

But the real reason, I suppose, is that we simply ran the tournament the way we wanted to run it. We've inquired many times in the past about a US qualifier for the world championship that has fallen on deaf ears, but the advantage of this situation is that we aren't bound by anyone else's rules. Sadly, it was recently brought to my attention that a qualifier was finally given to the US, and that it was run at GenCon... a real shame considering the caliber of farmers that attend WBC vs. GenCon. Most of the best players in North America were likely not in attendance, as GenCon took place right after WBC.

Plus, if everyone wants to play the more familiar full set, who am I to declare something being "tournament unimportant?"


Dear friend, you're mixing up apples and pears.
While the US distribution was with ZMAN, there was no Organized Play in the US. Now that the game is with Mayfair, Mayfair set up a OP program - and if you choose to ignore their rules, I deem it's more than likely that you'll be ignored for qualifiers.



LOL

We would certainly use their rules if given the chance to participate in the world championship. But I'm sure entry would never be given after the fact by reviewing my tournament's results... So whether or not we followed Mayfair rules is completely irrelevant.

We are both doing the other a disservice I believe. We aren't using Mayfair rules (which we were never made privy to) and Mayfair is missing out on participation from some of the best players in North America.
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.