Archive for August, 2008

Since Carrie and I will be at TCEP 15: The Elder Party this weekend, we will not be hosting Ludus on Labor Day, September 1st, 2008.  Ludus will resume its normal schedule on Monday, September 8th.

We hope to see you at TCEP, but if not, have a good (and safe) holiday weekend!

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Tonight we played Race for the Galaxy and On the Underground.

Attendees:  Craig Trader and Carrie Hafer, Rachel and Jim "Blaise" Trigg, Tim and Shaune Lee, Chris Hom, and Tony Montuori.

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Tonight we played Fluxx and Race for the Galaxy.

  • Carrie, Sallie, and Rachel played Fluxx.  Rachel won the first game, and forced Carrie to win the second game.
  • Craig won Race for the Galaxy with 26 and 9 cards, followed by Blaise (26 and 2 cards), and Tony (24).
  • Blaise won Race for the Galaxy with 42, followed by Craig (34) and Tony (20).
  • Tony won Race for the Galaxy with 35, followed by Craig (33) and Blaise (32).
  • Blaise won Race for the Galaxy with 34, followed by Craig (33).

Attendees:  Craig Trader and Carrie Hafer, Rachel and Jim "Blaise" Trigg, and Tony and Sallie Montuori.

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Tonight we played Agricola and Race for the Galaxy.

  • Lije won Agricola with 31, followed by Brian (30), Craig (27), and Dave (26).
  • Brian won Race for the Galaxy with 34, followed by Craig (30), Tony (20), and Shaune (16).
  • Shaune won Race for the Galaxy with 65, followed by Brian (46), Craig (44), and Tony (28).

Attendees: Craig Trader and Carrie Hafer, Brian Carpenter and Lije Bailey, Shaune Lee, and Tony and Dave Montuori.

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Just a quick reminder that Tad and Craig's Excellent Party 15: The Elder Party will be held, as usual, on Labor Day weekend this year (Friday, August 29 - Monday, September 1, 2009).  For all the details, download the flyer.

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I woke up early, packed everything into the car, checked out of the hotel, had breakfast and got over to the convention with a few minutes to spare.

  • 9am, RoboRally (RRY) Finals, I washed out attempting to escape the third flag, but I had a lot of fun getting there.
    The RoboRally tournament had a strict 2-minute time limit on programs. On the first turn I picked up the Recompile option (discard and redraw your entire hand, then take a point of damage), but using it meant that I would have to evaluate my current hand (30-60 seconds) and then have to do it again for the new hand. I actually used it successfully 4 or 5 times, including once when I already had 3 locked registers. Sadly, even the recompile couldn't save me from a robot backing up (and pushing me) after I pushed him. The resulting mess killed both our bots, and neither of us were able to recover momentum after that.
  • 9am, Ticket To Ride (TTR) Heat 3, skipped in favor of RoboRally Finals.

After that was the drive back to Sterling, which was tedious, but uneventful.

All in all, I had a great time this year (better than last year) and I'm already making plans to be there in 2009.

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Saturday started out like Friday: I lost consistently, but enjoyed myself.

After playing Puerto Rico, Eric, Cathy, and I made a pilgrimage to the Wilbur Chocolate Factory in Lititz, PA. What we didn't know was that the entire town of Lititz was shut down for some sort of craft festival. We eventually made it to the Wilbur factory store, where we stocked up on chocolate and sweets, but it was cutting things close.

The Manifest Destiny heat was pretty miserable -- I was stuck playing with people who bitched, moaned, threatened, and cajoled about every single decision someone made. The leader frequently whined about being targeted by the other players. This dragged out a 3 hour game to being only 2/3 done at the 4 hour mark. Shudder!

Finally, and 9pm, there were the RoboRally semi-finals, which were the highlight of the day. The game was close and hard-fought, with lots of robot interaction. Three of the players from my board advanced to the finals, including myself.

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While I did pretty awful today, I still enjoyed myself, which is the important thing.

I spent a lot of time with Eric and Cathy Raymond, and Ken Burnside, playing Race for the Galaxy and commiserating about how badly we were losing games that we should have been winning.

We ended up playing more Race for the Galaxy, followed by a trip to Starbucks for hot chocolate.

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I met up with Eric and Cathy Raymond after Power Grid, and we ended up playing a couple of rounds of Race for the Galaxy so that I could improve, and so that Ken Burnside could learn. After that we went out for dinner.

  • 12pm, Power Grid (PGD) Heat 3, I took 3rd in a 5-player game on the Benelux map. I don't think I made any mistakes, but I got squeezed early on, and had some poor luck with power plants early on, which left me a day late and a dollar short for the rest of the game. I may still make the semi-finals; tomorrow will tell.
  • 1pm, Race for the Galaxy (RFG) Heat 1, skipped in favor of Power Grid.
  • 7pm, Puerto Rico (PRO) Heat 1, I took third in a 4-player game. At one point I bought the Harbor when I should have bought a wharf, and I didn't make good use of my factory.
  • 7pm, Manifest Destiny (MFD) Heat 2, skipped in favor of Puerto Rico.

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I got rid of the migraine, eventually, but only got a couple of hours of sleep. At 6am I gave up and decided to go get breakfast and hit a supermarket. After a short nap, I headed over to the conference center, where I met up with Eric and Cathy Raymond.

  • 10am, Empire Builder (EPB) Heat 2, took second in a 4-player game. This wasn't good enough to make it to the semi-finals (no surprise) and I decided that I'd rather play something else instead.
  • 2pm, Power Grid (PGD) Heat 2, skipped, in favor of Manifest Destiny.
  • 2pm, Manifest Destiny (MFD) Heat 1, took third in a 4-player game.
  • 2pm, Empire Builder (EPB) Heat 3, skipped, in favor of Manifest Destiny.
  • 6pm, dinner with Eric and Cathy Raymond.
  • 7pm, RoboRally (RRY) Heat 1, won! This qualifies me for the semi-finals. I actually made it through 3 flags on 2 boards, against 5 other players.
    This game was funny -- all of the players were laughing and having a good time. The funniest bit for me was where I had taken enough damage (5 points) to call a shutdown. Another player was behind me, and he did more damage to my bot, including pushing me along. I 'woke up' with 5 points of damage and a locked register. I drew 4 cards and declared another shutdown. I ran away (and got shot for 4 more points of damage), but when I was done, I had traveled a full board length (in the right direction) and was fully repaired. This is probably what allowed me to win.
  • 10pm, Vegas Showdown (VSD) Heat 2, I took third in a 5-player game. Not good enough to make the semi-finals.

At one point during the day, I was able to purchase a copy of Race for the Galaxy. Hooray!

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I drove up from Sterling this afternoon. Traffic was good, until I got to York. The US-30 bridge over the Susquehanna River is restricted to 1 lane in each direction, sigh. By the time I got to my hotel, I had a raging headache, which eventually turned into a migraine.

  • 6pm, Power Grid (PGD) Heat 1, won!
    I finished my board (France) with 16 cities powered and 17 cash, in spite of the headache.  Second place had 16 cities, 8 cash, third place had 15 cities, fourth had 14 cities, and fifth had 13 cities.  Going into the last round, I was leading with 14 cities, but with only (3) 5-plants, so I wanted to buy a 7-plant to be able to power 17 cities.  All three of the 7-plants came up for auction, and all of them went to other players (eventual 2nd, 3rd, and 4th placers) -- for much more than they were worth to me.  I eventually bought the 39 (nuclear 6-plant) at cost, leaving me able to power 16 cities.  After the other players had built their connections, only one player had connected (and could power) 16 cities -- the others had either overbuilt cities or plants.  I decided to connect 3 cities (all of Paris) and end the game, for the win.
  • 6pm, Empire Builder (EPB) Heat 1, skipped in favor of Power Grid.
  • 10pm, Vegas Showdown (VSD) Heat 1, skipped because of the migraine.

Went back to the hotel and crashed.

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World Boardgaming Championships Logo

The World Boardgaming Championships is a gaming convention, held yearly since 1999 by the Boardgame Players Association. This convention replaced AvalonCon which had been run from 1991 to 1998 by Avalon Hill.

Last year I showed up without much pre-planning, and without any goals beyond (1) play games, (2) have fun.  This year I decided in advance which tournaments I wanted to try to win, and actively practiced those games at Ludus and other gaming opportunities. Noteably, I decided to skip Age of Renaissance, which I like to play, but (1) takes too much time, and (2) is not one of my strongest games.

Most of the tournaments are structured with several qualifying heats (enter as many times as you like, must win one or more), followed by single-elimination semi-finals and finals.  Others are strictly single-elimination rounds, played until there's a single winner.  Since there are 100+ tournaments running over the course of 6 days, there's a lot of overlap.  Consequently, my performance in some of the early heats will dictate my schedule for the following days.  In particular, Sunday morning there are 4 different final rounds that I might be eligible for, depending upon how well I do throughout the week.

More or less in order, I'll be participating in these tournaments:

  1. Power Grid (PGD)
  2. Puerto Rico (PRO)
  3. Vegas Showdown (VSD)
  4. Manifest Destiny (MFD)
  5. Empire Builder (EPB)
  6. Race for the Galaxy (RFG)
  7. Ticket To Ride (TTR)
  8. RoboRally (RRY)

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Tonight we played Cineplexity and Vegas Showdown.

  • Craig won the first game of Cineplexity.
  • Carrie won the second game of Cineplexity.
  • Shaune won Vegas Showdown with 67, followed by Craig (61), Tim (60), Blaise (56), and Tony (54).

Attendees:  Craig Trader and Carrie Hafer, Rachel and Jim "Blaise" Trigg, Shaune and Tim Lee, and Tony Montuori.

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