New GM, Familiar Result ...
UK's Beavington Beavis and cheerleader
plot against Henry Dove.
Anthony Lainesse and Grant LaDue hope
to get too big to fail.
The usual suspects: Spencer Hamblen,
Bruce Beard, Eric Brosius and Ken Gutermuth.
GM Tom McCorry has replaced 8XX fixture
Pierre LeBoeuf but the finalists look all too familiar.
The 2014 edition of the WBC 18XX Pre-con began with
a few changes. Pierre LeBoeuf stepped down after a 14-year run
as GM. Pierre more than doubled the attendance during that time
period and evolved the tourney to accommodate the rapidly growing
catalog of 18XX games available for play. We all owe Pierre
a big thanks for his service. Replacing Pierre is Tom McCorry,
a former WBC GM of the Year and previous GM for Ticket to
Ride and Carcassonne. In the first year, only minor
changes were made: 1862 was added to the eligible games
(which turned out to be very popular and often the shortest of
the games played) and only the top four players were seeded in
the semifinal (which opened the way for non-1830 semifinal
1830 remained the game of choice with 20 plays. Newcomer
1862 was the second most popular game with nine plays
(and at least one in every session but the Final), followed by
1846 (4), 1880 (4), 1861 (3), 18EU
(2), 1856 (2) and 1870 (1). Most games were 4-player
in the preliminary round with a couple of 5-player contests each
round. The semifinals were all 5-player games.
We had 22 unique Preliminary game winners. Bruce Beard and
Andy Roosen entered Round 2 undefeated at 4-0 to claim the top
two seeds. Italian Fabio Pellegrino took the third seed at 3-1.
Nine players had two Preliminary wins so the fourth position
was not seeded. Exactly 20 winners arrived for the semifinal
(first rule is you must show to play) so no alternates were needed.
This was disappointing to 2-time former champion Barrington Beavis
who finished as runner-up in all four heats and for Andy Lewis
who similarly finished second three times. Two 1830 semifinal
games were played, one 1862 game and one epic 1880
game that included the last two champions Bruce Beard and Spencer
Hamblen, BPA Chairman Ken Gutermuth, Austrian Herbert Gratz,
and Eric Brosius. Spencer started the game slow but came on strong
at the end but not strong enough to catch the perennial top seed,
falling short by $500 while $1,000 ahead of third.
Since the tournament is a level 6 event, we had both a Final
to determine 1st through 4th place and a consolation game for
the runner-up semifinalists to determine 5th and the ever so
rare 6th place Sand Plaque. Bruce and Andy remained unbeaten
to make the Final where they were joined by Anthony Lainesse
and newcomer Mason Murray in an 1830 game. The game was
well played but Bruce demonstrated his 18xx mastery once
again, winning for the ninth time in ten years with a score of
$8929, $2000 ahead of Anthony. Mason came in third with Andy
finally tasting defeat in his sixth contest. Spencer Hamblen
won the consolation game to earn 5th place laurels and Francois
de Bellefeuille came in second again to earn sand and his fez.
During the 'off-season' I will be sending surveys out to those
who provided their e-mail address and via the WBC forums on Facebook,
Boardgamegeek, and Comsimworld, and on the 18XX Yahoo
Group to solicit feedback on the format, eligible games, and
schedule during the pre-con weekend. Thanks to everyone who participated
in the fun ... especially the newcomers who made an excellent
showing in the standings.