Thursday at the WBC feels like the tip of the mountain - you're right in the thick of things, but you know you are getting closer to the end of the con than the start. That said, I try to savor the experience as best I can.
The first game of the day was the final heat of Power Grid. This time it was Benelux, and I got put at a table with Bill Crenshaw, who I've played at least twice before in Power Grid and talked to about his game, Manifest Destiny. He's a tough Power Grid player, and I once again came in second, giving me two seconds and a first leading into tomorrow morning's semifinal. I'm pretty consistent at getting firsts and seconds in the heats in Power Grid - I think I had a similar record last year and got second in the semifinal to Raphael Lehrer on the Italy board. Tomorrow will be Korea, which I've never even played before...
After a snack, I entered Caylus and got assigned a table with my wife Bronwen and a guy named Jim who was a really fun opponent. He hadn't played Caylus in a few years, and I beat them pretty handily. (I hope Bronwen isn't going to ever read this... )
That was followed by two back-to-back games of Le Havre. The second heat had Grant Ladue, who I've played Wilderness War with and talked to on wargameroom.com, and two nice older guys who hadn't played very often. We ended up having to cut the game short, and since none of them cared to advance and they agreed I had a good set-up for the end game, they gave me the win. The second game was the semifinal with Mike Kaltman (who is also the GM of Caylus) and a guy who was in my Power Grid game earlier. We had a great, tight game, but Mike clearly knows the game well and got a well deserved win, mostly by building steel ships and luxury liners. I did the most shipping I've ever done in Le Havre, which was interesting, and took second. That should make me come in 5th or 6th overall...
I decided to forgo the second heat of Agricola because I didn't feel like playing a 5 player game. I went to the Lampeter room and signed up for the Saratoga tournament, which I often don't get to play because of its usual conflict with Twilight Struggle (which last year and this year conflicted with Power Grid semis, sigh.). I got paired up with Chris Byrd, who just learned the game, and we had a fun, tense game dancing around the edge of Freeman's Farm trying to flank each other. He captured the Ottawa Indians in the midgame, and Gate's wing was released as early as possible. His attack along the Hudson to try to get my baggage train ended up costing me the game as he did a step loss to a unit there. I probably should have put more thought into how to defense that region. I wish I had more WBC time to find some fun games of this series. Someone out there has got to want to play them.
Tomorrow: Power Grid semis, Agricola heat 2, Agricola semis, and Princes of Florence heat 2!!!