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Monday, July 30, 2012

WBC 2012 Begins!

I'm back in Lancaster for my sixth year at the World Boardgaming Championships!

We arrived Saturday at around 3 pm. I decided this year to skip the Hannibal tournament so as to not have to wake up at an ungodly hour which usually ended up with me being braindead on Sunday and Monday. Even with that, the drive was surprisingly tiring. Bronwen and I played a two player game of Through the Ages while waiting for people to show up, and then Randy and Andrew showed up around 7 and we played a four player Eclipse.

I'm not really sure why Eclipse is currently ranked at 5 on BoardGameGeek, other than it fits a niche that people have been wanting for a long time: the space civilization game that doesn't take all day and actually has a good rule set. It seems like a fine game, but very fragile: small differences can put you out of a game very early and you have to sit there for the next few hours getting punished. We played with the alien races, and it appeared to be even more the case with them. Maybe when people get better at the game it will seem less luck-driven, but the tile flips seem to be ultra important. My problem is that I am often playing games with 1 or 2 new people. Eclipse is somewhat "fun" from the theme standpoint, but I don't really love the kinds of decisions I'm making. For some reason I don't find them really interesting. Even though it's a short game for it's genre, I wish it were even shorter!

Anyway, yesterday was my first official entry into tournaments. I played two rounds of Through the Ages. In the first one, I was paired against two-time champion Jason Ley and Derek, a guy who had never played the Full Game version of the game. Jason got a ton of points with Michaelangelo, and I tried my best to pump military to take him down. Derek couldn't get his military going, so Jason entered Age III with a huge lead. I was able to get it down a bit, complete First Space Flight, and seed a few good Impact cards, and ended the game only 10 points behind Jason. As my first serious tournament game of TTA ever, I was happy with the result.

Unfortunately round 2 was much worse. I got Michaelangelo and Hanging Gardens, but I wasn't in a dedicated Michaelangelo strategy. I tried to get military set up, but my food production was a problem - I didn't really have a great chance to get a farm improvement until the end of Age II. I ended up way behind in military and got punched in the face. Repeatedly. Clearly the good players in TTA win consistently, but I haven't quite figured out how. I'm still learning my way through the variance of the card draws. I wish we could re-start the tournament and see if I've learned anything!

Today is round 3 of Through the Ages, then Amun-Re, Thurn & Taxis, Stone Age, and Ra!


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