Friday, August 29, 2014

WBC 2014 Recap - Part 2

Well, I'll just pick right up from where Part 1 left off.  After another night of not enough sleep, Saturday morning was upon us.  Saturday is typically "Conquest of Paradise Day" for me, and this was no exception - sort of.  The 4th and final heat was at 9:00 am that morning.  Since Brian had arrived late, this was his 1st chance at CoP.  Due to my victory in Heat 2, I was in the semis, but I always like to play, so I joined in Heat 4 as well.  Randomly drawing Samoa again, I had fortunate tile draws.  The random effects took their toll a little bit, and the Hiva and Raitea players used them against the Tonga player and myself.  The only unfortunate part of the game was that the Tonga player misinterpreted some rules, and got a little perturbed about that, as well as thinking that the rest of the table was picking on him even when he was down.  I don't think that was true, but he had a little bit of a sore spot with the game, and that made things a bit tense.  In the end I pulled out the victory after conquering some of the native inhabited islands to the west.  This got me the #1 seed in the semi-finals.  I had my choice of homelands, so I picked Samoa, which had treated me so well in the tournament.  The semis consisted of 3 4-player games.  The 3 winners and the "best" 2nd place would advance to the finals.  I was a bit chagrined when the gentleman from the previous game was assigned to my table again, but he seemed to have gotten over the earlier game, and had a find attitude this time around.  Brian was assigned to my table, and our 4th was a young lady who's name I don't remember (I wish I hadn't lost my notes).  I thought I had another good game going, with several good island pulls.  The Tonga player and I were clearly in the lead, and Brian tried his best to convince the young woman that they should focus on us, but she was intent on attacking Brian.  That effectively took the two of them out of the game.  I was preparing to attack Tonga, but I waited too long.  By virtue of good island pulls and Arts&Culture cards, he declared victory.  I was 4 or so points behind.  One of the other games had to go to a tie-breaker, so that meant I wouldn't get in the final.  My reign as defending WBC CoP champion had come to an end.

Saturday tends to be full of semi-finals and finals, so getting into new games becomes somewhat of a challenge.  I decided to go to the demo for Concordia, a game which Paul had picked up in the vendor area based on reputation.  While waiting for the demo, we watched a bit of the Memoir '44 mega-Overlord game, which was simulating the entirety of the D-Day landing.  There must have been 16 or so players, presided over by designer Richard Borg.  I had the pleasure of chatting with him for a few minutes - he was very nice, and opined that the mega-Overlord scenario was probably a "bit much", but fun for a convention.

I had some trouble keeping my attention during the Concordia demo...lack of sleep was catching up to me, but I decided to jump in the heat after the demo anyway.  My opponents were all more experienced, but I think the most experienced had played maybe 5 or 6 games.  My big problem is that I really didn't understand how scoring would work - and scoring doesn't happen until the game is over.  Like many euros, you can score for a variety of things.  I just didn't have a coherent plan on what to focus on, but even though I finished 4th, my broad approach didn't land me too far behind the leaders.  I don't know what to think of this game...I didn't love it, but I would be interested in trying it again.

Brian had gotten himself into the Tigris & Euphrates semi-finals, so Paul and I met in open gaming for a few rounds of Confusion:Espionage and Deception in the Cold War.  This is a great 2-player game that doesn't get to the table often enough, where you don't know how your own pieces can move...thus your opponent has to say "yes" or "no" when you attempt to make a move.  The objective is to get the briefcase, and carry it off your opponents edge of the board.  Our first game was quick, with Paul essentially bum rushing the briefcase off my side for the victory.  Our 2nd game was much more "tactical", though Paul still won in the end.

Brian re-emerged, his dreams of glory in Tigris & Euphrates smashed, and then we were joined by Bryan Fischer and John Sizemore of Nevermore Games.  We broke out Thunder Alley, a NASCAR inspired racing game.  In Thunder Alley, you play a team of cars, and you use cards to move either your single card, or the entire row of cars that your car may be linked with.  As you play cards, damage will build up on your cars, eventually forcing a pit stop.  The winner isn't necessarily who finishes first, but who accumulate the most points among his cars for things like leading laps.  I liked the game, but I didn't love it.  It was a bit more fiddly than I hoped for, and there was a certain luck of the cards element.  Someone made the comparison to Formula Motor Racing, and I think that was apt.  I would play it again, but I think Formula D remains my car racing game of choice.

Bryan and John took their leave, and Paul taught us Pergamon, a game about digging for archaeological treasures, and then displaying them in a museum.  By this time, lack of sleep was really catching up to me.  I liked the game well enough, better than Brian did...but would certainly like to try it again when I'm more awake.

Sunday morning we got in a couple more games in open gaming.  Brian Goodman and Dave (gah!, what's Dave's last name) joined us for a game of Mag Blast.  This is a sort of tongue-in-cheek game about battling each other's space fleets.  The unfortunate part is that like Bang!, there is player elimination, and I was eliminated early.  After that, we got in one more 3-player game of Villainous Vikings, and then called it a trip.

So, another WBC in the books.  But what does the future hold?  The big announcement was that starting in 2016, the WBC is moving a little bit west, to Seven Springs Ski resort.  As you might expect with gamers, there is no shortage of opinions on this...many negative, and many positive.  There are some legitimate complaints, and some not so legitimate ("It's no longer an east coast convention!"'s moving an hour or so's still east of Pittsburgh for crying out loud). 

The key for me is that the Lancaster Host is simply a dump at this point.  The management doesn't seem to care about the favorite this year was the sign on a table in the foyer advertising "Sign up now for low 2013 membership rates!"  The food...never great quality...seemed a notch below this year.  And the surrounding area isn't much better.  I've stayed in 3 different hotels now - the "Rodehouse Inn", the Continental across the street, and this year, the Ramada just down the street.  All 3 of them are marginal quality at best.  I'm happy to try out Seven Springs...I think the drive will be a little longer, but an hour more at most.  But to be honest, I have limited time and money for gaming conventions.  Prezcon is a must for me every year, but I'm starting to hear the siren calls of Origins and GenCon.  I would like to experience both of those.  I may have to make a decision in the next year or two on whether to skip WBC or not.    A lot of that may depend on where I am in further development with Santa's Workshop, and a couple other game ideas I have.  We'll see...
One more year...

1 comment:

  1. You keep reminding me of games we should play on Tuesdays. "Oh, yeah, Concordia. I should bring that next time. Oh, yeah, Pergamon. I should bring that next time. After we play Panamax. And I still want to learn Conquest of Paradise...."