Four Out of Five ...
Ed Ericson and Chris Kizer engages
in some intergalactic exploration.
Daniel Hibshman and Daniel Barnes
explore the galaxy.
Fortified by the trials and tribulations of his initial GM
experience in 2012, Rob Renaud came better prepared for his second
go 'round and ran a much smoother tournament in 2013. The format
was changed to Heats Most Wins, and players needed two wins to
qualify for the 16-player semifinals.
Heat 1 saw 14 4-player tables of base Race for the Galaxy
at 9 am on Wednesday. Previous laurelists Rob Kircher, Nick Kiswanto,
David Platnick, and Aaron Fuegi all recorded their first win.
Returning champ Rob Renaud suffered a disappointing 3rd place
finish to Ed Fear and last year's third place lauelist, Curt
Collins. The original RFG GM, Winton Lemoine, also earned a win.
In what was the start of a nice streak, Mark Crescenzi won by
an impressive 25-point margin.
Heat 2 followed immediately with 13 4-player base game tables
still in action. Edward Fear earned his second win in a rather
strange game against Aaron Fuegi and Winton Lemoine in which
all players built a dev-bonus development on the first turn.
Rob Renaud managed a narrow victory despite Alex Bove's monstrous
eight cards drawn on produce (via Diversified Economy and Lost
Species Ark World). Five others (Mark Crescenzi, Tim Tu, Nick
Kiswanto, Rob Kircher, and Peter Eldridge) all won their second
game and likely entrance to the semifinals.
Heat 3 put 11 4-player tables in service at 9 am on Friday.
This session featured the Gathering Storm expansion, which
introduces goals and the infamous Improved Logistics. Previous
champions Rob Renaud and Aaron Fuegi both got their second wins
and qualified for the semis, along with John Riston, Jason Levine,
and Christopher Ellis. Mark Crescenzi won his game to become
the only triple winner.
Heat 4 again followed immediately with the loss of only one
table and many players seeking that precious second win for the
semis. Chris Bert and Jason Long accomplished the task, providing
14 double winners. As a result, four players with only one win
but an average finish of second also qualified for the semifinals.
Meanwhile, Mark Crescenzi couldn't turn off the victory faucet
and racked up his fourth win, with an impressive 17 point margin
over double winner John Riston.
of the 14 double winners appeared for the semis, with three more
lucky (or perhaps, merely present) 1-game winner alternates filling
up the remaining slots for the four semifinal tables. The semis
were again played with the Gathering Storm expansion.
Mark Crescenzi continued his man among boys dominance with an
impressive 20-point victory, taking out former champion Aaron
Fuegi in the process. Rob Kircher bested Rob Renaud in their
semis game thanks to a gutsy repeated blind trade call. Jason
Levine beat Nick Kiswanto in their semi, despite Nick's twice-successful
blind trades. John Riston won in a close game where the difference
between first and last was only eight points.
The Final was played with both the Gathering Storm
and Rebel vs Imperium expansions. The big goals in the
game were 4+ production worlds and 3+ Explore powers. The small
goals were first to eight tableau cards, the first to build a
6<?> dev, first to three alien cards, and the first to
five VP chips.
Rob opened with Imperium Warlord. He held Imperium Seat, the
Rebel 7, and the Alien 8 in his hand, but will need tons of military
to get them down. Importantly, he has no cheap military windfalls
to bootstrap his military conquest.
John opened with Epsilon Eridani. He has a military hand,
including Alien Robot Sentry and Alien Robot Scout Ship, as well
as a military dev.
Mark started with Alpha Centuari. Your imperfect GM has no
notes about his opening hand, but recalls that it was somewhat
weak and lacking synergy.
Jason happily and immediately took Galactic Developers before
even looking at his hand.
On the first turn, John called dev to put out some military,
enabling a next turn settle. Mark traded, and everyone else explored.
Rob found (and built) Imperium Troops, his second Imperium card
and potentially set up some possibly big scoring with Imperium
Seat. Jason followed the military trend, building Space Marines.
Mark missed the development with his weak opening hand.
On Turn 2, John settled Alien Robot Sentry. Mark settled Comet
Zone. Jason settled Destroyed World.
On Turn 3, Mark produced, while everyone else trades away
their windfalls from the previous turn.
Turn 4 saw a diversity of role selection. John explored +5,
Jason called develop, and Rob produced. Jason built Pan-Galactic
Research, mistakenly grabbing the 6-dev goal before being informed
that PGR does not actually qualify for it. Nevertheless, the
GM is a huge fan of an early PGR, because it quickly pays for
itself with massive card advantages in explore, develop, and
produce. Rob continued with his military strategy, building Space
Marines. Mark built a well-timed Mining Conglomerate, drawing
two cards for producing the most (and only) Mining good on produce.
At that point, John and Rob both had a decent military, Jason
had impressive card flow, but no clear strategy, and Mark had
a budding Mining produce/consume engine.
Turn 5 again saw another round of varied action selection.
Mark called explore + 5, Jason called dev, John called settle,
and Rob traded away his freshly produced windfall good. John
built Galactic Imperium on dev, solidifying his military strategy,
though with the GM's least favorite military 6 dev. Mark built
Terraforming Robots, which fit in well with his tableau. Jason
built R&D crash program for free, possibly hinting at a future
6 dev. On settle, John built Rebel Warrior Race, which got a
+2 score bonus from his Gal Imp. Mark built another mining windfall,
which gave him excess windfall worlds. He could not produce on
all his worlds, even if he called produce.
On Turn 6, Jason again developed as his R&D hinted, both
military players settled, and Mark produced. Jason built Galactic
Survey SETI on his develop, giving him two explore powers and
putting him close to the most explore powers goal. Rob built
drop ships, upping his military to 7. Both Mark and John missed
the develop. John settled Lost Alien Warship, while Rob played
a 2 defense uplift windfall world, and Mark expanded his engine
with Earth's Lost Colony and has Mining Guild in his hand. By
then, the big military worlds that Rob held in his initial hand
were gone, so he may not be able to capitalize on his large military.
On Turn 7, everyone traded in their fresh goods, except for
Mark, who called consume 2x VP and grabs the first to 5 VP goal.
Turn 8 sees a dev from Rob and Jason, and a settle from John.
Mark expectedly calls produce, but must not be happy with the
dual build from his opponents, rushing the game towards the end,
before he can get many consume 2x VP cycles. Rob builds Research
Labs and takes the 3+ explore powers goal. Everyone now has eight
cards on their tableau except Mark, effectively earning him -3
VP for missing some build phases. On the settle, Mark builds
Gem World for his third production world. Rob settles the Rebel
6. John surprises the GM by placing Smuggling Lair rather than
the Hidden Fortress that he has in hand, but he felt the need
for more card flow and a quick game end. Jason settles Lost Species
Ark World and draws four on produce, but maybe should have been
pursuing the explore power goal with his existing good card flow
and SETI on his tableau.
Turn 9 again sees a dev and settle while Mark consumes 2x.
Mark settles a brown windfall, leaving him still 1 away from
the 4+ prod world goal, while Jason ties him in the production
world race. In a big and possibly game winning move, John uses
the bonus +4 military against Rebels from Galactic Imperium to
settle the Rebel 9, giving him both a giant military world and
a matching military 6 dev. He showed me he didn't need Hidden
Fortress to get the big military world's down and effectively
used Galactic Imperium's settle power.
On Turn 10, Mark explores with his mostly empty hand, Rob
explores +5, probably looking for some big end game card, Jason
devs, and John settles. Jason builds New Economy on dev. Mark
and Jason split the 4+ prod goal during settle, probably both
of them unhappy with that outcome.
When it ends, John's 40 points make him the new RFG
champion,one better than Jason's and Mark's 39 and Rob's 36.
Had Mark not found a production world on explore, Jason would
have had 41 and would have won. Likewise, Mark would have won
if Jason didn't tie him for the goal.
Congratulations to John both for winning the WBC title, and
putting an end to Mark's dominant 5-game winning streak. Unlike
many WBC attendees, I only specialize in a couple games and I
just want to grind out many, many plays of my few specialties.
If you are interested in playing lots of expert level RFG
at the next WBC, and you probably might if you've managed to
read this far, please send me an email and I'll happily oblige
you in Open Gaming.
Jeremy Lennert, designer of For
the Crown, tries RFG.
GM Rob Renaud and his finalists.