King of the Strip
Chad Weaver, Randy Buehler, and Kevin
Wojtaszcyk have the attention of the pit boss.
Steve Cuccaro, Scott Nerney and Mike
Kaltman are ready to expand their casinos.
Vegas Showdown, named Games Magazine's Game of the
Year for 2007, had a successful Junior year at WBC and shows
no sign of waning player interest. Vegas Showdown players
are challenged to bid for and place basic and specialty rooms,
all in an effort to build the best Hotel/Casino on the Vegas
strip. In the tournament, 4-player games were the preference,
with 5-player games being used as necessary.
In the two preliminary rounds there were 19 games played with
67 different players. Unlike last year, none of the players who
played in both heats, could do better than a first and a third.
The closest preliminary game featured four players who each
won Century events in 2010. In this game Rob Flowers (Princes
of Florence champion) tied Cary Morris (Agricola and
Caylus champion) at 59 points and edged him on money 5
to 1. Arthur Field (Dominion, St. Pete, Manifest Destiny
champion) and Aran Warszawski (Thurn & Taxis champion)
trailed close behind at 56 and 54, respectively. The biggest
win of the tournament was by defending champion, Eric Freeman,
who won his preliminary game by 22 points.
For the second year running, the winning players were encouraged
to record the rooms built in their casino, and the information
was recorded on 22 total games, including three 5-player contests.
Over the course of two years, there are 45 total recorded games
(four 5- player). The raw numbers can be a little deceptive as
there is no information about what the winner paid to get the
tile, and a key theme in the game is getting good value for what
you buy. In addition, some tiles in the B stacks will not be
available to be purchased in any given game. Regardless, the
numbers may indicate what tiles more frequently become good values.
The number in parenthesis is the maximum total of that premier
tile available in any given game. The number before the / is
how many total rooms of that type were purchased across the games
this year, while the total after the / is the cumulative total
over two years
Lounge: 50/95 - Every winner over two years has bought at
least one lounge. This year, Matt Peterson took this to the extreme,
by purchasing five in his preliminary game. His winning board
was even more unusual in that it only contained the three basic
tiles (slots, lounge, restaurant) and the fancy versions of those
Fancy Lounge (4): 22/48
Nightclub (2): 10/19
Theater (1): 9/20 - Thought by many to be a key to winning. However,
compared to last year, a lower percentage of winners had on their
board this year. Still it is a high proportion when compared
to the other unique premier tiles. In the four recorded SF/F
games, only Randy Buehler's board contained a Theater.
Sports Book (3): 15/31
Space Age Sports (1): 5/8 - More popular this year than last.
This, the Dragon Room, and the 5 Star Steakhouse have all been
pretty much equally bought.
Slots: 72/163 - Definitely less popular this year among winners
as compared to last year. In 2009, all the winning boards featured
at least two slots, this year Matthew Fetzer, Randy Buehler,
and Geoffrey Pounder all won preliminary games with only one
slot. On the opposite side of the scale were winners with six
slots on their boards. This included Rob Flowers in the game
mentioned earlier, David Gagne, and exhibiting his versatility
with regards to slots, Randy Buehler in the Final.
Fancy Slots (5): 20/46 - Still not as popular as Fancy Lounges
considering the extra availability and lower starting price.
Dragon Room (1): 5/10
Table Games (3): 14/24 - Definitely much more popular a buy this
year among the winners.
High Rollers Room (2): 6/13 - Winners this year were less successful
in turning a Table Games buy into a High Rollers Room.
Restaurant : 26/53 - The trends for the Restaurant stayed static.
For the second year in a row, all winners bought at least one,
but only four bought more than one, and none bought three.
Fancy Restaurant (4): 24/50 - Almost as many Fancy Restaurants
as normal Restaurants on winners' boards.
Buffet (3): 16/29 - Bit more popular this year.
Five-Star Steakhouse (1): 5/9
A detailed breakdown of the scoring was available for 24 games
this year to add to 24 from 2009. In 30 (16 this year) of those
games, the winners completed both the Casino and Hotel sections
and connected between them. Alfred Smith won a 5-player game
with only one side filled and no connection. While Alfred used
six points in diamond scoring to compensate, that was a total
in diamond points that was equaled or bettered by four other
winners, with the title of "Diamond King" going to
Steve LeWinter who scored ten diamond points in a 5- player game
win. Three preliminary game winners (Matthew Fetzer, Raphael
Lehrer, and Michael Kaltman) accomplished the "income daily
double" to get ten points for having sole possession of
highest revenue and highest population. It was noted that four
other players accomplished this in the prelim rounds in losing
Of the 19 different heat winners, four did not show for the
SF allowing 2008 Runner-Up, Sceadeu D'Tela into the field as
The closest semi-final win was Lexi Shea over Geoffery Pounder,
where they finished tied at 59 points and Lexi advanced due to
8 money left over to Geoffrey's 2. This outdistanced Raphael
Lehrer at 53 and Kevin Wojtaszczyk at 36.
The closest semi-final from top to bottom found Eric Freeman
topping fellow 2009 finalist, Mike Kaltman, 57 to 56, with Pat
Richardson and Eric Monte both close behind at 53. Notable in
this game was a turn where Mike and Eric mutually benefited from
the Visionary event card when each overbid the other by the minimum
on a Premier tile to score two fame apiece.
Randy Buehler advanced to the Final easily with a 12-point
win over Rod Spade, with Matthew and David Gagne behind by 21
and 23, respectively.
Matt Petersen punched his Final ticket with a 4-point margin
over Sceadau D'Tela and Chad Weaver, with Alfred Smith 21 points
A full play by play of the Final will be posted on boardgamegeek.
A big thank you goes out to the GM's father, James Freeman, for
recording the Final game, as the GM was a participant.
Some of the highlights of the Final include:
Turn 5: Matt with the only owned Table Games, gets a bargain
High Rollers Room for 12, and setting himself up as the "Revenue
King" for the game.
Turn 8: Vicious combo of events this turn with Slot Builders
on Strike (no bids on slots) and PR Scandal (can't take Publicity)
pulled. These caused higher bids than normal on a couple tiles.
Lexi bid 12 on a Fancy Restaurant, then was outbid to 15 by Eric,
who was outbid to 18 by Randy
Matt goes for a minimum price Lounge and Lexi outbids at 12.
Eric takes a minimum price Restaurant and Matt does not have
enough money to bid on anything and is forced to take Renovate
and do nothing.
Turn 15: Eric gets a bargain Space Age Sports Book for
Turn 16: Eric and Randy both get good bargains, with a
Five-Star Steakhouse for 25 and a Buffet for 12, respectively.
Turn 17: Randy gets a Fancy Lounge for a bargain (especially
for the late game) 15.
Turn 20: Probably the pivotal turn of the game. Eric had
set himself up to have enough money to buy the Theater this turn,
however Lexi has the button this turn and bids 33 to price Eric
out of the tile. However, Lexi did not own the prerequisite tile,
a Fancy Lounge, to be able to place the Theater. The last Fancy
Lounge available was up for bid this turn and was not going to
be available for Lexi to buy at a later time. Scrambling to put
together a backup plan in response to Lexi's bid, Eric bids 25
for a Night Club to lock out Randy from the tile. Randy then
bids 25 for the final Fancy Lounge. With no premier tiles left
to bid on, Matt takes Publicity. Eric then realizes that he cannot
place the Nightclub, so if the game ends after this turn, he
will not get the 8 Fame it offers.
Turn 21: Eric breathes a sigh of relief that the game
does not end this turn and Renovates to get his Nightclub on
the board. However, in doing so, he loses the connection he had
between the Casino and Hotel and what he spent his Renovate in
Turn 19 to accomplish.
Turn 22: The game lasts for yet another turn.
Final Fame on the board at the end of the game: Eric 62, Randy
59, Matt 46, Lexi 36
Randy finishes with the highest Population (20) for 5 points,
Lexi second (19) for 3 points, Eric third for 1 point. Matt finished
with only 10 population.
Matt has the highest revenue (21) for 5 points, Lexi second
(19) for 3 points, Eric third (17) for 1 point. Randy finished
with 14 revenue.
Matt is the only player to fill both sides and connect for
13 points. Eric fills both sides for 10 points. Lexi and Randy
complete one section and connect for 8 points total.
Randy scores big for diamonds with 7 points. Eric is the only
other player with diamond points with 2.
Matt, Lexi and Eric get 2, 2, and 1 points for cash left-over.
Final scores: Randy 79, Eric 77, Matt 66, Lexi 52
On Randy's tableau at the end; a Lounge, three Fancy Lounges,
a Nightclub, six Slots, a Restaurant, two Fancy Restaurants,
and a Buffet.
A full play by play of the Final can be found at http://boardgamegeek.com/article/5751970
... and the final score is ...? Nick
Page seems to have Kyle Greenwood and the others hanging. For
a game that was late being admitted to the club, Vegas Showdown
has been remarkably consistent in holding a strong attendance.
James Freeman steps in to record the
Final, enabling his son to attempt to defend his title. Eric
finished second to Randy Buehler who made quite a splash at his
first WBC with two titles and followed that up by winning the
Siegelman Trophy at the recent Euro Quest.