Age of Steam [Updated October 2004]  

2004 WBC Report  

 2005 Status: pending December Membership Century Vote

Richard Irving, CA

2004 Champion

2nd: Peter Staab, PA

3rd: Keith Altizer, FL

4th: Ilan Woll, CT

5th: Michael Holmquist, WI

6th: Doug Smith, PA

Event History
2004    Richard Irving     34


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 Laurels
Rank Name

From

Last
Total
 1. Richard Irving

CA

04
30
 2. Peter Staab

PA

04
18
 3. Keith Altizer

FL

04
12
 4. Ilan Woll

CT

04
  9
 5. Michael Holmquist

WI

04
  6
 6. Doug Smith

PA

04
  3

Conquer the world -- and beyond!

The first year for this event at the World Boardgaming Championships was projected to use a format where there were three heats with the winners advancing to a semi-final round, using the top second-place finishers to fill in remaining positions in the semi-final games. Then the winners in the semi-finals would advance to the final. However, because of the number of players that actually participated in the event and appeared on Sunday for the semi-final round, it ended up that any first or second place finisher in a heat participated in the semi-final round along with the top third-place finisher. Then the top two finishers in each semi-final game were scheduled to advance to the final.

The GM arrived in Baltimore at 5:50 p.m. on Tuesday evening with Heat 1 scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. Thankfully, a friend started the registration process prior to the GM's arrival so that the round started on time. Three games of four players each were played in the first heat with Lyman Moquin, Rodney Bacigalupo and Richard Irving being triumphant. Richard's game was the closest of the tournament with the final result being a tie between he and Eric Brosius with Richard winning on the tie-breaker of having the higher income.

Heat 2 was on Friday at 9:00 a.m. The GM thanks the players in this heat for their understanding as he was supposed to have a co-GM run this heat while he played Die Macher. However, his co-GM couldn't make it to the convention so the GM set up the four games that were played two 4-player and two 5-player) and left for his game while checking in on the tournament intermittently to make sure things were progressing smoothly and at a decent pace. This round had the game with the highest margin of victory with Rob Flowers winning his game by 27 points (90 points to 63 for second place) by using a strategy where Rob kept taking the locomotive increase option even after he had already maximized his locomotive. Also, the goods in this game did not come out the way that some of the players planned because of unfortunate die rolls, hurting their chances even more. The other winners in this heat were Mike Holmquist, Mike Backstrom and Charles Hickok.

Heat 3 was at noon on Saturday, with ten players dividing into two 5-player games. Gary Noe won his game by 22 points over the GM while Barbara Flaxington won the other game.

The semi-final began Sunday morning. Ten players appeared, so the GM set up two 5-player games with the top two finishers scheduled to advance to the final game immediately thereafter. In the first semi-final, Mike Holmquist defeated Peter Staab by a 19-point margin, finishing with both the highest income and the lowest amount of loans in the game. In the other game, Richard Irving had nine more income than the next highest player, easily overcoming the fact that he had the second highest amount of loans to beat Ilan Woll by 23 points.

The final was scheduled to have Mike Holmquist, Richard Irving, Peter Staab and Ilan Woll. Unfortunately for Mike, he didn't think that he could participate and still make his flight home so he dropped out, allowing Keith Altizer to participate as an alternate by being the higher third-place finisher in the semi-final. On the first turn, Ilan bid to go first and started his initial track from Wheeling to Pittsburgh. Keith played second and built a connection from Detroit to Toronto. Richard then built a connection from Cincinnati to Evansville. Finally, Peter started the furthest west connecting St. Louis to Des Moines. Even though a player's track does not have to be contiguous, it works better if you can set your track that way as you can usually earn more income in this manner. Given the starting positions of the players, Ilan soon got squeezed in his starting position and fell behind in the competition early. Meanwhile, Peter build up the western side of the map, Richard connected to Chicago soon after the first turn and made inroads on both the eastern and western portions of the board and Keith connected to Pittsburgh and stayed primarily in the Northeast. Going into the final turn, the competition was tight between Richard, Keith and Peter. Richard bid to go first and took the locomotive increase ability which raised his train to a level 6, allowing him to complete bigger runs and earn 3 income that he wouldn't have received otherwise. In the meantime, Keith ended up paying too much to go second and not get the locomotive increase he needed and Peter played last in the turn. When the the final turn ended, Richard had 32 income - compared to 25 for Keith while Peter had the lowest income of 23, but also the lowest amount of loans with four less than either Richard or Keith and also the highest amount of track segments. However, Richard's great income gave him an eight-point victory over Peter for his second WBC wood and first since 2000. Keith finished another eight points behind Peter.

Eugene Lin gets the "iron-man" award by being the only player to participate in all three preliminary heats, with only four other players playing in two different heats during the preliminary round. Even though the GM allowed either of the Ireland or England expansion maps to be used, the only map used was the Eastern US map, which was actually a bit disappointing. The England map was considered for the semi-final, but five of the nine semi-finalists other than the GM voted to use the US map so that map was usedthen as well. Finally, whether it is because the player is in the lead and has more money to bid to go first in the final turn or if there is some other advantage to it, nine of the 12 winners went first in the final turn, including all of the winners of the semi-final and final games. There seems to be less of a correlation of the position in the first turn, however, as in only five of the 11 games that reported this information did the winner go first in the initial turn, while four of the game winners actually played third in their games which included one of the semi-finals and the final.

I plan to GM the event again in 2005. With the change in venue and the likely increase in the number of people needing to catch flights on Sunday, I am going to be making changes to the schedule, shifting the semi-final round to Saturday and keep the final on Sunday morning. However, I haven't decided whether to reduce the number of heats to two or keep three heats, but have them at different times. If you have a suggestion about the scheduling or anything else about the tournament format, please contact me, either via email at the address below. I do plan to allow expansion maps to be used again and there should be six other maps available barring unforeseen circumstances. These maps would include Ireland, England, Western USA, Germany, Korea and Scandinavia. I might also require a different map to be used in either one of the heats (especially if I opt for three heats) or the
semi-final round, so let me know your thoughts about this as well. I hope that all of the players enjoyed themselves this year and I hope to see more of you participate in Lancaster.

 GM      Peter Staab  [1st Year]   700 Bayridge Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15226-2112
   pstaab@adatainc.com   NA

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