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Subject: Dominant Species 2012 Report rss

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Dave Long
United States
Greensboro
North Carolina
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The second running of the WBC Dominant Species tournament saw the game hold on to the same number of entrants as the inaugural 2011 event, while slightly increasing the number of player starts. And if your GM would ever actually bother to name a second Assistant GM, we might have even exceeded last year's entrants! But, I digress. On to the report!

This year 15 games were played over three different rounds of heats - Tuesday evening directly after the 7 PM demo, Wednesday morning, and Thursday evening. This was an increase of two games over the three heats in 2011, but there were more 4 player games this year than last. I discovered that appearently Dominant Species players REALLY like to play Here I Stand, as last year's defending champ, Dennis Mishler, only managed to make it to one heat due to scheduling conflicts with the Reformation game.

The Tuesday evening heat saw two interesting events. The first was John Emery's win in what I came to call 'The Mass Extinction' game, as by the end, 115 out of a possible 195 species had succumbed to extinction. Or, to put it succintly, 2/3 of every species was wiped out. In the other game of note in the round, Assistant GM Tim Rogers played the come from behind game perfectly, scoring a staggering 106 victory points on the final round to take the victory. The six games saw 3 Arachnid wins, 2 wins for the Insects, and one win for the birds. Bids to win the right to choose your animal first in this round were low, with two bids of 3 VPs, one of 2 VPs, and the rest being either 0 or 1 VPs. Robb Effinger turned in the best core of the tourney in his Round One heat, with a, dare I say it?, dominanting score of 253 points.

Round Two saw the first example of why bidding might not work out, as Andrew Long's bid of 1 came back to bite him when his one point margin as the Arachnid over Anthony Lainesse's Birds dropped him back into a tie after his bid was deducted, and dropped Andrew into second as Anthony's birds won on the Food Chain order tie breaker. John Emery won his second heat in this round to go two for two. Bids in this round were much higher, with two bids of 6 VPs (at the same table!), two bids of 4, a bid of 3, and one of 2. The 5 games saw 3 Insect wins, with a win each for the Arachnids and the Birds.

Round Three saw us in the fetid Lampeter Swamp on Friday night, giving lie to the game's claim that it is about an encroaching Ice Age. John Emery was foiled in his bid to sweep his 3 heats, as his 3 VP deduction for his bid pushed him from a narrow win into a narrow loss to Lane Hess. So, for the second time in two heats the bid swung the outcome. Bids were more restrained this go round, with only two 3 VP bids and two 2 VP bids.

The final totals from the three heats produced 13 different winners, with John Emery and Lane Hess both scoring two wins.

Since we did not reach 16 individual winners, and 3 people had conflicts with the Saturday noon semi-final start time, for the second year in a row, alternates who had at least two heats played and at least one second got to participate. The semis saw 14 players strive for the six spots at the final table in two five player games and one four player game. In Semi #1, Tom Bissa's Birds eked out a 2 point victory over David Buchholz's Insects and managed a 3 point margin over Eric Engelmann's Mammals. And this game was the laugher of the three semis! In semi #2 Kevin Emery's Amphibians managed to nip Tom McCorry's Arachnids by one point in a match-up of 2011 finalists. And Semi #3 saw Robb Effinger's Amphibians win on the food chain tiebreaker as JR Geronimo's bid of 2 dropped him into a tie. So for the third time in 18 games, the bid swung the winner. With the 4th through 6th spots at the final table decided by the percentage of the winner's score, the three first and second place finishers advanced to the Finals.

The Finals:

Tom McCorry 3 VP Bid Arachnids
JR Geronimo 2 VP Bid Insects
Kevin Emeery 2 VP Bid Amphibians
Robb Effinger 1 VP Bid Mammals
Tom Bissa 1 VP Bid Reptiles
David Buchholz 0 Bid Birds

In the finals, things started slowly, as the Immigrant Species card was one the 5 initial draws, causing the players to expand slowly in order to avoid losing too many early species to the immigrants.

Turn 2 saw JR Geronimo score the Intelligence card, granting all 6 players an extra action pawn rather than see his insects be left behind by choosing another option. Robb Effinger established the mammals on the tundra for the early bid for Survival control, while Tom and Kevin played tit for tat and sent 6 of their species cubes to the box through an untimely Ice Sheet action followed by a nasty Biomass extinction.

Turn 3 saw the game speed up, as each player now had four actions to play per turn thanks to JR's largesse. Fearing a mammal runaway, Catastrophe was used to virtually wipe out the mammal tundra presence, with 5 mammalian species heading to the box.

Turn 4 saw JR migrate a number of his Insects onto the now vacant tundra, and he secured the Survival card, which he kept throughout the remainder of the Final. At just past the halfway point, it was a four player race, with JR, Robb, Tom, and David all within 8 points of each other.

Turn 5 saw JR migrate again onto the tundra, to sew up the Survival advantage, at the potential cost in Final Scoring. Robb and JR separated themselves a bit, opening up a 12 and 10 point advantage over David Buchholz, with the Mammals having an edge in points but facing a huge potential Insect VP payout in the upcoming Survival phases.

Turn 6 saw the Ice Age card get played. Robb pulled off an interesting feat, managing to claw his way from 6th in turn order to first in just six rounds, but, after everyone speciated and migrated, the huge payout from JR's dominance cones in Ice Age scoring (due to a number of unopposed Tundra areas) and his final Survival scoring was too much for Robb's Mammals to overcome. So, with a VP adjusted score of 124 to 103 JR Geronimo is your 2012 WBC Dominant Species champion! Kevin Emery claimed third at 88, with David Buchholz at 86, followed by Tom MCorry at 81 and Tom Bissa in 6th with 64 points. Congratulations to all the finalists and especially JR for the win.
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Bill Morgal
United States
Elkridge
Maryland
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Experiencing senility daily since... I forget.
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Thanks again Dave for GMing this. It was a blast as always!
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J.R. G
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It was a terrific tournament. The final table was really well played and hard fought. Metamorphosing to water let me survive on a good chunk of the board and really let me capitalize on the survivor card. I also think that the Catastrophe getting Rob off the tundra really crippled his board position especially considering he still came in second. Truth be told I was going to Catastrophe him anyway but with Tom's bargain I was able to snag Omnivore and still effectively play Catastrophe also.
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