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Subject: Race for the Galaxy WBC 2012 Event Report rss

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Rob Neuhaus
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It's online at http://www.boardgamers.org/yearbook/rfgpge.htm with pictures, but here is the text for you guys.

First, I want to apologize for the confusion I caused with regards to the format, especially in the first and second heat. This was the first tournament I've run at WBC, and I can assure you that next year will run more smoothly. The tournament consisted of four heats of primarily 4-player games. A win in any heat advanced players to the quarterfinals.

Approximately 50 arrived for the 9 am first heat. Players were randomly seated and usually played the base game. Players could opt to play with expansions if all agreed. Defending champ Aaron Fuegi won his first game while 2011 runner-up Nick Kiwsanto topped three-time champ Rob Renaud. Two games were decided on tiebreaker. Thomas Tu had the highest score with 54 points. Heat 2 followed immediately with most of the same players. A couple players left for greener pastures, while some late-rising stragglers arrived for the 10am heat. Thomas Tu, Nick Page, and Eric Brosius became the only players to win both their both heats. Michael Kaltman had the highest score with 64 points.

In Heat 3, players used The Gathering Storm, the first expansion. None of the double winners played. Michael Crescenzi had the highest score with 65. The last heat followed an hour later. Nick Page returned to win his third game. Eric Freeman's 66 points was the highest score.

11 players won multiple games. In all, 36 players qualified to advance by virtue of a preliminary win. 30 of those opted to do so, making eight quarterfinal games. The top two from each game advanced to a semifinal round of four 4-player games. Husband and wife pair Eric and Cathy Raymond both advanced to the semifinals, but no further.

Aaron Feugi's title defense was ended by Rob Renaud who won with Alpha Centauri and an early Terraforming Guild. Third-ranked Rob Kircher ended Nick Page's four-game winning streak to advance. #9 ranked Nick Kiwsanto and unranked Curt Collins also won to reach the Final.

The Gathering Storm was played in the Final. The big goals were 6+ military power and 4+ developments. The small goals were 3 aliens, first to 5 vp, powers in all phases, and the first to discard due to overflow. For homeworlds, Renaud opened with Damaged Alien Factory, Kircher with Alpha Centuari, Collins with Separatist Colony, and Kiswanto moaned about opening with Old Earth.

Alpha Centauri, with its 3 value brown good, almost always opens with a trade. This puts a lot of pressure on Old Earth, which like all homeworlds wants an early trade, but unlike all the other homeworlds, has a consume power that doesn't give him any cards. So if OE settles a windfall on Turn 1, the good will likely get consumed away, and he'll have to produce on Turn 2 and then trade on Turn 3 before getting any card flow from it. Kiswanto therefore chose trade on Turn 1, hoping that Collins would settle first turn, allowing Kiswanto to trade a windfall good immediately.

In this particular game however, Renaud was Damaged Alien Factory, who is likely to produce on Turn 1. This frees up the OE player to settle a production world on Turn 1 and then trade on Turn 2. So Renaud gambled and traded on Turn 1, hoping that Kiswanto would play his part and settle. Unfortunately for both of them, Collins explored rather than settled, and both were left looking a bit sad with their missed blind trades.

Turn 2 was less interesting. Kiswanto and Renaud licked their wounds and backed away from the blind trade: Kiswanto explored while Renaud did his expected but one-turn-late produce. Kircher (with Alpha Centauri) called develop and built Mining Robots, which leeched DAF's produce. Both Kiswanto and Collins built Interstellar Bank, important in a game with the 4+ develop goal. Renaud built Public Works, slightly worse than Bank for this purpose.

On Turn 3, both Robs traded their new goods for more cards, while Collins built New Economy. New Economy is, perhaps deceivingly, a very good card in the 4+ dev goal games, especially if a develop war occurs. It gives two points for every develop power with a consumption ability, and there are quite a few developments with consume powers. Kircher misses this second dev and falls behind in the development race.

Kircher came firing back on Turn 4, building both Alien Tech Institute and Alien Toy Shop, turning away from the brown strategy at which his homeworld excels. Collins built New Military Tactics, which needs to be thrown away to yield +3 military, and cashed it out to build New Sparta, signalling his end of the chase for the development goal, and his pursuit of the less contested 6+ military goal. Kiswanto remained in the dev race, building Mining Robots, but still hadn't made any trades, and was hurting for card flow. Renaud built Galactic Federation, which coupled with his Public Works and the 4+ dev goal, put him in a dominating position to take the goal, and with it, the game. With a bit of hubris, Renaud lets Kiswanto know who he thinks will get the most devs goal in some competitive but friendly banter.

In the next few turns, Renaud kept pounding develop, putting out Replicant Robots, Investment Credits, and Diversified Economy. Collins put down Space Marines and Improved Logistics, so his 5 military could possibly set up some very big, very fast scoring on double settle. Kircher built Expedition Forces and Space Mercenaries, putting him at 2 military but up to 4 with discards, and up to 6 including his Alien Tech specialized military bonus, hinting at contesting the military goal. Kiswanto finally bows out of the develop race, but does manage to get down Galactic Survey SETI. SETI is generally a solid if unremarkable 6 dev, though it mostly rewards having worlds, a bit ill-suited for this develop-heavy game.

Turn 7 finally sees our second settle. Collins built Former Penal Colony, giving him the 6+ military world goal, as well as Rebel Colony for free. Kircher put down the 4 cost, +1 military Alien Robot Space Ship, and his military inches up to 3. Meanwhile, Renaud and Kiswanto get some produce/consume going.

On Turn 8, in an impressive burst of military might, Curt's Improved Logistics lets him settle both the Rebel 6 and 7, while Kircher creeps closer to the military goal with the Lost Alien Warship, putting his military at 5. Meanwhile, Renaud's Galactic Federation and combined development discount let him build a somewhat out of place Mining League and he continued to leech the produces from Nick's finally developed economy.

On the last turn, Kircher settles the Lost Alien Battle Fleet, bumping him to an impressive and game-leading 8 military, much to Curt's chagrin. But Renaud's Galactic Federation led the way with 51 points, giving him a comfortable win over Kircher's 42. Collins took third with 34, despite the nice Improved Logistics play, due to the lack of a synergising 6 dev and losing the military power goal to Kircher. Kiswanto, who never really got in stride with his unlucky Old Earth opening, finished with a respectable 32.

The early missed blind trade put Renaud and Kiswanto at a disadvantage, but it seemed to have the effect of dissuading early settles. This locked Collins and
Kiswanto out of the profitable produce/trade cycle, and meant both Robs had a big card flow advantage.Renaud was lucky enough to land Galactic Federation, which is really the trump card in a development heavy game.

Unlike many WBC attendees, I only specialize in a couple games and I just want to grind out many, many plays of my few specialties. If you are interested in playing lots of expert level RFG at the next WBC, and you probably might if you've managed to read this far, please send me an email.
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Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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Thanks for GMing, Rob, and congratulations on your victory.

I'd like to suggest collecting data that will enable you to submit AREA results in the future (if you are already planning to do so, great!) One often hears that Race for the Galaxy, like Lost Cities, is a luck driven game. Collecting AREA data year after year is a great way to refute that claim.
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Rob Neuhaus
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Thanks.

I trust the 100,000+ games worth of data on the internet that I can collect automatically much more than the 50ish games of data per year from WBC that I would have to transcribe by hand.

I do think there is a fair amount of luck involved in a single game of Race.
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Eric Brosius
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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rrenaud wrote:
I trust the 100,000+ games worth of data on the internet that I can collect automatically much more than the 50ish games of data per year from WBC that I would have to transcribe by hand.


You are 100% correct from a rational viewpoint. However, there are a lot of WBC players who look at the AREA ratings and not at the online data. Since your aim is to attract WBC players, it might make sense to submit AREA data.
 
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