puerto rico [Updated October 2005]  

2005 WBC Report  

 2006 Status: pending 2006 GM commitment

Bill Murdock, NY

2005 Champion

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Event History
2002    Arthur Field     152
2003    Nicholas Anner     217
2004    Barbara Flaxington     176
2005     Bill Murdock     164

Euro Quest Event History
2003    Lyman Moquin     57
2004    Arthur Field     44


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Barb Flaxington    NJ    04    102
  2.  David Platnick     NY    05     96
  3.  Arthur Field       SC    04     64
  4.  Bill Murdock       VA    05     61
  5.  Nicholas Anner     NY    03     60
  6.  Lyman Moquin       DC    03     40
  7.  Gary Carr          VA    03     36
  8.  Andrew Greene      VA    05     30
  9.  Malinda Barnes     NY    05     24
 10.  Jonathan Tivel     VA    04     24
 11.  Phil Rennert       MD    03     24
 12.  Aaron Buchanan     VA    04     18
 13.  Lucimara Martins   MD    03     18
 14.  James Robertson    MD    03     16
 15.  Rob Barnes         WV    05     12
 16.  Bruce Reiff        OH    03     12
 17.  Christian Moffa    NJ    04      9
 18.  John Kerr          VA    04      9
 19.  Bill Salvatore     MD    03      8
 20.  Davyd Field        SC    05      6
 21.  John Weber         MD    04      6
 22.  Ted Mullally       NJ    02      6
 23.  John Adams         MD    03      4
 24.  Steve Simmons      NJ    02      4
 25.  Rachel McGinley    SC    02      3
 26.  Tom Browne         PA    02      2

2005 Laurelists

David Platnick, VA

Malinda Barnes, NY

Andrew Greene, VA

Rob Barnes, WV

Davyd Field, CA

Past Winners

Arthur Field, SC

Nicholas Anner, NY

Barb Flaxington, NJ

Still the WBC Attendance Champ ...

As Others See Us: This event is always one of the most well attended events of the convention. This year there were 164 entrants. What is amazing is how the gamemaster gets so many people paired and playing so quickly. He puts numbered cards at each table, and as people enter the tournament he hands them another card with their table assignment. He asks each game to fill out a results sheet, which he uses to compute statistics about overall trends in the game. After the convention the gamemaster wrote a report about the tournament, and promptly posted it on boardgamegeek.com about three days after WBC ended. ... Frank Cunliffe in EPGS' HEROICS newsletter

There were a total of 74 games played over the four days of the event, which started with the first heat on Thursday, which actually drew the biggest crowd: 99 players at 25 tables. This year we played all four-player games from the start and, with the odd number, Robb Effinger now holds the distinction of winning the first ever three-player game of Puerto Rico in WBC competition. The first round saw some upsets as the top two from last year's tournament (Barbara Flaxington and David Platnick) both lost, and featured among the 26 winners were three members from the same family (Barry Barnes along with son Rob, daughter Malinda). More on the Barneses later. There were 26 winners because one game resulted in a flat-footed tie between Malinda Barnes and Trevor Bender, which under the tournament rules meant a win for both of them. Their 18-point margin of victory in that game was topped only by Shantanu Saha, who won by 19.

The second round with 22 full tables of 88 players saw Dave Platnick return to his winning ways while Barb Flaxington continued to struggle, dropping her second game in a row. Five players (2002 champion Arthur Field, Rodney Bacigalupo, Rob Kilroy, Robb Effinger and yes, GM John Weber) registered their second wins. Arthur's came in a game with Ted Mullaly, who was runner-up in the 2002 Final to Arthur, and three year later the result was the same: Arthur won with Ted coming in second. Bill Salvatore edged out Alex Bove on a tiebreak in what proved to be the closest game of the entire tournament, a 48-48-47-46 squeaker.

With 43 unique winners in the first two heats, there was a slight possibility that we would not be able to ensure seats even in the quarterfinals for all one-game winners. Thus, for the final round, we split the players into two groups, with all one game winners playing at three tables while the remaining competitors duked it out for their first win. David Platnick thus won his second game, and since his record of two wins and one second was the best in the initial heats, he became the first player to be offered a direct bye into the 16-player semifinals. Brendan Tracey (who had topped David in the first round) fell short this time, losing to Andrew Greene who joined the list of two-game winners. Finally, Malinda Barnes won the most competitive of these three games, where all four players were within five points.

Meanwhile, Barb Flaxington finally eked out a win, nosing out Phil Rodrigues on a tiebreaker by deviating from her usual big shipper strategy and becoming the big builder. Barbara's husband Chris Moffa and Arthur Field's son Davyd were among the ten who registered initial wins in the third heat to punch their tickets to Saturday night's quarterfinal showdown. Attendance in the third heat (52 players, 13 tables) was less than the first two but an improvement over the 10 table final heat at last year's tournament (where we had an early 9 AM start time).

The big questions going into the quarterfinals were whether or not there would be sufficient no shows that the remaining two game winners would be offered byes into the semis -- and would there be an alternate sneak in and make a run as happened last year? After a few minutes of confusion, it turned out that the numbers worked out perfectly: Four more two-game winners accepted byes, two (Andrew Greene and Rob Kilroy) did not, and the remaining one-game winners plus the two top alternates filled nine tables of four. The nine winners plus two closest runner-ups would join five players with byes in the semis. Ian MacInnes, Patty Davis, John Kilbride, Brad Sherwood, Trevor Bender, David Burkey, Rob Barnes, Bill Murdock, and Kevin Broh-Kahn won their semis to advance. Bill's 12-point margin of victory was the largest, and Barb Flaxington's bid for a repeat win ended when she lost by 7 to David Burkey. Three games were decided by one point, and the runner-ups in those games were ranked in order of their prior results, so Andrew Greene and Davyd Field qualified for the final two semifinal spots ahead of Chris Johnson.

The semifinal round shaped up to be the most competitive of the entire tournament, as nine of the 16 had not yet tested defeat. Three of the unbeaten players (Arthur Field, Rodney Bacigalupo and GM John Weber) were paired together, but as luck would have it the random draw assigned the preferred #1 corn seat to Malinda Barnes. Malinda did not look back, using a harbor, small warehouse, and wharf to rack up sufficient shipping points to win (despite the absence of a large building), with Arthur in second, five VP back. This ended Arthur's streak of laurels in each of the Puerto Rico tournaments as he finished one spot out of the money behind guess who -- son Davyd, who took the coveted sixth place sand plaque with a narrow one-point loss to David Platnick. David, who often pursues a builder strategy, reversed roles and became the big shipper in a game that only one player (Davyd Field) scored points for large buildings. But for this year the Field family would have to take a back seat to the Barnes family, as brother Rob managed the closest second in the semis with a loss on the tiebreaker to Andrew Greene, thus earning Rob fifth spot overall and guaranteeing two of the top five spots for the Barnes family. Andrew, on the other hand, overcame the odds of being stuck with an indigo seat after his decision to play in the quarterfinals rather than accept a bye almost cost him. Andrew advanced to the Final with a stellar record of 3 wins and a one-point loss (in the quarterfinal round). Meanwhile, in the other semi, Bill Murdock continued his solid play with the largest margin of victory: an 8-point win over Ian MacInnes. Bill, with three wins in three games, thus became the only undefeated player to reach the final table.

The four players who squared off in the final had a collective record of 12 wins, two seconds and a third in 15 prior games. The players eschewed an optional Evo-style bidding option in favor of the traditional random draw for all seats. Malinda drew #1 indigo, David drew #2, followed by BIll and then Andrew. The opening turns of the game were dominated by some clever defensive play that resulted in only one trade (corn for one doubloon) in the first six turns. Dave Platnick, the only returning finalist from 2004, once again deviated from standard play by taking Mayor instead of Builder in Turn 1. Andrew Greene was the first to produce a high value trade good (tobacco), but Andrew did not have a second good to protect it and most of Andrew's tobacco wound up on a slow-filling boat instead of in the Trading House. Malinda became the game's only coffee producer, and she improved her position with three well-timed coffee trades as the game was reaching its mid-point.

This year's final developed into a battle between the two builders (Bill and David) versus the two shippers (Malinda and Andrew) which the builders eventually won. Bill and Dave survived and thrived for most of the game without a high value trade good (Bill finally got tobacco going right near the end), as both bought Large Markets to supplement their trading income. Andrew and Malinda snapped up the two Harbors, and Bill countered by buying the first large building, the Guild Hall. Bill then built at every opportunity to try to end the game before the shippers got going. Andrew, unfortunately, was unable to generate enough income to purchase a large building, although the Customs House (which went to Malinda) would have worked nicely as he emerged as the big shipper in the final score. The others strived mightily to reduce Bill's VP totals, denying him a corn boat which meant he had four corn that was stuck in a warehouse for the remainder of the game.

The final turn decided the winner. David, as Governor, traded which gave Bill the funds to purchase a second large building. David, however, already had two large buildings (Fortress and City Hall) manned by this point. After a final round of shipping, it came down to Malinda, whose final move ultimately decided the game. Because she needed to man her Customs House, Malinda took Mayor, giving her four more VPs to secure her third place position. However, unfortunately for David, Malinda's play meant Bill got his second large building (the Residence) manned as well, moving him ahead of David by just two points. Final game scores: Bill 46, David 44, Malinda 40, Andrew 36.

Statistics were kept from all games played and, as in prior years, showed a decided bias in favor of the #1 corn seat, which scored over twice as many wins and averaged three points more than the "worst" seat, the #2 indigo seat. The #2 corn seat was second best, followed by #1 indigo, with each position about one point per game apart. Also, consistent with 2004 statistics, the four most popular violet buildings in winning displays were the small market, the harbor, the Guild Hall, and the factory, with the small market and harbor being the only two violet buildings to appear in over half the winning displays.

Greg Berry (who called an illegal move on himself in a first round heat and dropped from first to second as a result) was our sportsmanship award nominee. Had there been an award for the top family in this edition of Family Feud, it would go to the Barneses with the Fields a close second. This was the GM's best run at wood, with two wins and a pretty good performance until a couple of blunders late in the semifinal. And Malinda's run to the Final means all four years we have had a different female gamer reach the last table.

The GM wishes to acknowledge the invaluable assistance of his two official assistant GMs, Barbara Flaxington and Anne Norton, as well as assistance from unofficial helpers Stan Hilinski, Ted Simmons and Brendan Tracey. During the tournament we were called upon to make several rulings, most of which involved illegal moves that were discovered several turns later. For future reference, the player making the illegal move was required to retract it plus any tangible direct benefit but if the rest of the game could not be recreated it would not be replayed. Where the illegal move involved an illegal building purchase of a second building, the building was returned with compensation but the player was not allowed to select a substitute building in its stead.

 GM      John Weber  [4th Year]   NA
    jcw222@earthlink.net   NA

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