puerto rico   

Updated 11/17/2011

2011 WBC Report  

 2012 Status: pending 2012 GM commitment

David Platnick, VA

2011 Champion





Event History
2002    Arthur Field     152
2003    Nicholas Anner     217
2004    Barbara Flaxington     176
2005    Bill Murdock     164
2006    Chris Moffa     136
2007    Raphael Lehrer     157
2008    Nick Page     164
2009    Steve Pleva     151
2010    Luke Koleszar     150
2011    David Platnick      140

Euro Quest Event History
2003    Lyman Moquin     57
2004    Arthur Field     44
2005    John Kerr     42
2006    Arthur Field     37
2007    Sam Atabaki     44
2008    Michael Brazinski     43
2009    Richard Shay     39
2010    Barbara Flaxington     44
2011    Ben Scholl     58

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Barb Flaxington    NJ    10    173
  2.  David Platnick     NY    11    158
  3.  Christian Moffa    NJ    10    104
  4.  John Weber         MD    11    100
  5.  Arthur Field       SC    06     96
  6.  Luke Koleszar      VA    10     66
  7.  Bill Murdock       VA    08     64
  8.  Malinda Kyrkos     NY    09     63
  9.  Raphael Lehrer     MD    11     60
 10.  Steve Pleva        CT    09     60
 11.  Nick Page          on    08     60
 12.  Nicholas Anner     NY    03     60
 13.  John Kerr          VA    07     54
 14.  Lyman Moquin       DC    05     49
 15.  Keith Walsh        NY    11     48
 16.  Alex Bove          PA    11     48
 17.  Sam Atabaki        CA    08     48
 18.  Sceadeau D'Tela    NC    11     38
 19.  Greg Thatcher      CA    10     36
 20.  Jeremy Osteen      MD    09     36
 21.  Matt Peterson      MN    08     36
 22.  Gary Carr          VA    03     36
 23.  Ben Scholl         PA    11     30
 24.  Edward Fear        NY    11     30
 25.  Aran Warszawski    is    10     30
 26.  Richard Shay       MA    09     30
 27.  Michael Brazinski  MD    08     30
 28.  Andrew Greene      VA    05     30
 29.  Lexi Shea          CT    10     27
 30.  Davyd Field        SC    07     26
 31.  Rob Barnes         WV    10     24
 32.  Jonathan Tivel     VA    04     24
 33.  Phil Rennert       MD    03     24
 34.  James Robertson    MD    05     22
 35.  Eric Freeman       PA    11     20
 36.  Kenneth Horan      PA    11     19
 37.  Geoffrey Pounder   on    09     18
 38.  Aaron Buchanan     VA    04     18
 39.  Lucimara Martins   MD    03     18
 40.  Jason Ley          WA    11     15
 41.  Vassili Kyrkos     NY    07     15
 42.  Chris Terrell      VA    09     12
 43.  Haim Hochboim      is    09     12
 44.  Andrew Gerb        MD    06     12
 45.  Bruce Reiff        OH    03     12
 46.  Amy Rule           MD    11      9
 47.  Winton LeMoine     CA    06      8
 48.  Bill Salvatore     MD    03      8
 49.  Doug Galullo       MD    10      6
 50.  Norman Rule        MD    07      6
 51.  Ted Mullally       NJ    02      6
 52.  Chris LeFevre      AZ    06      5
 53.  John Adams         MD    03      4
 54.  Steve Simmons      NJ    02      4
 55.  Rachel Cox         SC    02      3
 56.  John Downing       VA    07      2
 57.  Tom Browne         PA    02      2

2011 Laurelists                                                 Repeating Laurelists: 0

Edward Fear, NY

Sceadeay D'Tela, NC

Jason Ley, WA

Kenneth Horan, PA

Eric Freeman, PA

Past Winners

Arthur Field, SC

Nicholas Anner, NY

Barb Flaxington, NJ

Bill Murdock, NY

Chris Moffa, NJ

Raphael Lehrer, MD

Nick Page, on

Steven Pleva, CT

Luke Koleszar, VA

David Platnick, VA

Barb Flaxington and Malinda Kyrkos

Jennifer Gorman and Vassili Kyrkos

Fourth Time is the Charm ...

Anyone who has played Puerto Rico with David Platnick knows he is one of the best players on the planet. His tournament resume includes three wins at PrezCon and one at Origins, but -- coming into this year's WBC tournament -- the big victory had eluded him. Sure, he had a high position in the laurels count after three consecutive second place finishes, but nothing in the top six the last five years. 2011 was Dave's year. He won a tough matchup in his first heat, then swept through the rest of the tournament undefeated. It was a well-deserved win for a player whose tournament record in the first ten years of WBC has been the most consistent: four Finals, five laurelist finishes, eight years of semi-finals, and advancement to the elimination rounds nine years out of ten. Looking back over the first decade of our tournament, we now have ten different champions in as many years. However, Dave's impressive record of achievements is unparalleled.

Before the start of play, special prizes were awarded to eight individuals who have participated in each of the first ten years. This list of stalwarts includes Mike Backstrom, Barbara Flaxington, John Jacoby, Cheryl Mallon, David Platnick, Bob Stribula, Kevin Walsh and GM John Weber. Then, it was on to the competition, which took place in a packed Ballroom B, with 21 Puerto Rico games alongside 28 Dominion games in a room with just 44 tables, requiring some "doubling up" for both games. The proverbial term "tough draw" applied in a couple of instances. 2006 Champ Chris Moffa was paired with Dave Platnick in a high scoring 3-player game that went to Dave, 63-60 with Marcy Morelli just one point further back at 59. This was a reversal of the 2006 Final, where Chris edged Dave by a half point in the closest Final to date, with the difference being their respective bids for the two indigo seats. Another former Champ, and past Caesar winner Raphael Lehrer, suffered a narrow one-point loss to Edward Fear in his first WBC. Perhaps the toughest draw of them all involved 2004 WBC Champion Barb Flaxington (the laurels leader heading into 2011) being paired with Greg Thatcher, last year's runner-up, and two-time finalist Assistant GM Malinda Kyrkos, the 2007 runner-up to Raphael. The winner of this game? None of the above, as victory was claimed by the fourth, Jason Long, with Barb just two points behind.

There was more trouble to come for the four former Champs in the field during the second heat. Attendance was still strong, with another 19 games being contested. Barb Flaxington could not improve on her earlier result, finishing third in a game won by 2008 runner-up Matt Peterson. Vien Bounma took the measure of 2006 Champ Chris Moffa, and defending Champ Luke Koleszar fell just short, losing by one to Eyal Mozes in another "tough draw" table that included 2009 EuroQuest Champion Richard Shay. Thus, heading into the third and final heat, none of the four former Champions had won a game. Only one competitor (Ed Fear) had won games in both heats. A highlight of this heat was a rare three-way tie, with Patrick Monte emerging victorious on the tiebreaker over Craig Trader and Llew Bardecki. Another highlight was scored by Brandon Ketchum, who ended his game with the almost unheard of total of four large buildings, although not all were manned.

The third heat took place at high noon on Saturday, with the quarter-finals due to start three hours later. This meant a quick turnaround on the results, and assistant GMs Barb and Malinda were on hand to help your friendly GM get the results compiled and posted in plenty of time. Four of the 17 games in this heat paired prior winners, while the remaining 13 games produced 15 more qualifiers when two games finished with absolute ties on points and the doubloons plus goods tiebreaker so all of the tied players were credited with wins. One of the double winners was Barb, the 2004 Champion who thereby qualified for the next round. Defending champ Luke Koleszar also made it, posting a solid eight-point win. On the other hand, Raphael Lehrer and Chris Moffa fell short again, but multiple second places in the heats left them high on the alternate list, should extra spots appear in the quarter-finals. Meanwhile, in the winners' bracket, Ed Fear became just the fifth player in WBC tournament history to sweep with wins in all three heats, romping to a 15-point win from the statistically disfavored #2 indigo seat. Jason Ley and two newcomers to the tournament, Eddie Burmeister and Ben Scholl, posted their second wins which gave them byes into the semi-finals.

Those with one win were eligible to participate in the first elimination round. A total of 40 such players appeared, ending the day for the alternates. As in the past five tournaments, players bid for their favored seats in half VP increments. Most of the quarter-final games were close, but one that was not was Eric Freeman's 11.5 point-win that ended the run of GM John Weber, who could do no better than third behind Ryan Houman. Contrast this with the closest game that was 3.5 points from top to bottom - with Ken Horan taking first on the tiebreak from Greg Thatcher. This was one of four games decided by one point or less. A half-point separated Anthony Daw from second place Loc Nguyen in another tight game that saw a 4.5-point spread covering the four players. Jason Long, who had made a splash with his prior win over a former Champ and two runner-ups, nosed out Sceadeau D'Tela by a half-point. The margin was just a point between John Dextraze, who advanced, and Marcy Morelli, who did not. Former champs Barb Flaxington (by two points) and Luke Koleszar (by four) reached the semis, along with Dave Platnick, Eric Brosius and Kevin Walsh, who won the other quarter-final games.

The rules specified that the 16 semi-final spots would go to the four byes plus the quarter-final winners, plus the closest seconds as needed. The closest second was Greg Thatcher, but Sceadeau D'Tela and Loc Nguyen were tied for the last spot - which would require a coin flip if everyone showed. However, word that Greg had chosen to contest a Sunday AM Final instead meant both Sceadeau and Loc were in.

The first game to finish had Dave Platnick the winner, advancing to his fourth Final table (first since 2006) with a solid 7.5 point win with Ken Horan in second. Ken decided to wait around but, based on past history, his shot at a plaque as one of the two closest seconds seemed remote. Things took a turn for the better though when the next two games finished with identical 10.5 point margins - advancing Jason Ley and Sceadeau D'Tela. Barb Flaxington's campaign was over after another good run, finishing third to Jason and behind Eric Brosius in second. The runner-up in Sceadeau's game was John Dextraze, an Ontario native and the top non-U.S. finisher in this year's field.

The last game to finish was perhaps the most intriguing matchup, pitting the defending Champ vs Ed Fear, who had dominated thus far with three heat wins, along with Eric Freeman, a 2006 finalist who had the biggest winning margin in the quarters and Kevin Walsh, a veteran now in his fourth WBC semi-final. As had happened in each of the heats, Ed won by an impressive margin - 10 points. Nonetheless, this result gave runner-up Eric Freeman (despite the double-digit point deficit) the coveted sand plaque and sixth place laurels. This meant Ken Horan - who was a bit happier after seeing the results of the other games come in - claimed fifth.

Thus, Dave Platnick was at his fourth Final against three first-time finalists, making him the clear favorite based on prior years' performances. However, Ed had an impressive four-game unbeaten streak going (at his first WBC, no less) and Sceadeau had laurels to his credit. Jason, whom the record-book shows was in a "coached" game with the GM at the inaugural WBC tourney in 2002, was a bit of an unknown quantity whose results had gradually been improving in recent years. The bidding for seat position had Dave in #1 (indigo) for half a VP, Ed in #2 for no handicap, Jason in #3 (for 2 VP) and Sceadeau in #4 (for 1 VP). An unusual sequence of plays took the game "out of the book" on the very first round as David started by taking Builder (to purchase a Construction Hut) and Ed, after buying a Small Market, punted by taking Prospector. This helped Dave get off to a solid start as he picked up one of the two corn in the opening draw after Jason followed with Settler-Quarry instead of the usual Mayor, which Ed had anticipated.

As the game developed, Jason started well by taking an early Captain worth money and points, while Sceadeau and David scooped up roles with money on them. Sceadeau and Ed executed the game's first trades on Turn 4 (indigo and corn) but the big money didn't start rolling in until Turns 5 and 6 when Jason made two successive sugar trades and Sceadeau traded coffee. By this time Jason had already bought the first Harbor, and he seemed poised to do well. Ed and David expanded into tobacco, plus David had a Hacienda up and running with an eye to ramping up production quickly as the game progressed.

Things began to change when Jason was unable to raise the cash for a Coffee Roaster when Sceadeau took Builder on two successive turns. David (with two manned quarries) was in excellent position to capitalize and improve his position by expanding into sugar and indigo (to go with corn and tobacco). Both Jason and Sceadeau let a $2 Prospector reach David, who managed to keep his building costs low with those quarries. Despite being short on colonists for most of the game, Dave seemed to have them placed perfectly when the opportunity arose to build, or alternatively to produce, expertly shifting them to anticipate the upcoming role selections. Thus, while others may have made small mistakes, as David later observed, "nothing went wrong" and his strategy (starting with the Construction Hut, then adding the Hacienda) prevailed where it had come up short in earlier finals. This set him up for a strong finish as the pace of the game accelerated in the final few rounds.

Sceadeau, who had passed the first two building cycles, took the money from the initial coffee trade to purchase a factory and soon had four goods in production, generating steady cash flow to compensate for a lack of cost-reducing quarries. Meanwhile, David, as Governor on Turn 9, gained even more of an edge by executing his first tobacco trade when the Trader had two bonus doubloons on offer. He continued to pinch his pennies, and the game was eventually his when he was able to raise the funds to purchase two large buildings in back-to-back game turns (the Guild Hall on Turn 11 and the Residence on Turn 12). Two turns and two builder phases later, he ended the game after having maxxed out his Guild Hall and Residence bonuses at 10 and 7 points, respectively. With David ahead by a wide margin, it was a very close battle for second between Sceadeau and Ed, and a late game miscue by Sceadeau (taking Prospector when Craftsman would have netted him a better position on the tiebreaker) handed second place to Ed on the special "most colonists" tiebreak after the two were tied on the regular doubloons-plus-goods tiebreak. It marked the first time this tiebreaker has been used in elimination round play at WBC.

As for Jason, he had developed an excellent position for a shipping game (with the Harbor/Small Warehouse/Customs House combo) but the game simply did not last long enough. Final scores (factoring in bids for seat position) were David 49.5, Ed 43, Sceadeau 43, Jason 36.

The play-by-play of the Final can be accessed on-line as a Session Report at BoardGameGeek: http://boardgamegeek.com/article/7425045

As in the past, there was some number-crunching done to see which starting positions did the best and which buildings were the most popular among game-winners. The trend favoring the two corn seats continued in 2011; however, the #1 indigo seat had a fairly good year as well. The fourth corn seat, which had generated the most wins in 2010, dropped to third in that category and barely outscored the #1 indigo. However, the negative trend for the less favored #2 indigo seat continued, with a scoring average and win percentage far below that of the other seats. Overall stats from 68 4-player games (adding up to a total of 70 wins because of the double winners in two Heat 3 encounters) are as follows:

Seat 1 indigo 43.82 ppg 21 wins (30.0%)
Seat 2 indigo 42.04 ppg 11 wins (15.7%)
Seat 3 corn 45.19 ppg 23 wins (32.9%)
Seat 4 corn 44.07 ppg 15 wins (21.4%)

The same three buildings that have historically topped the list of most popular violet buildings in winning displays remained so, with a shift at the top. This year, the Harbor (40) outdid the Small Market (35) with the Factory (34) a close third. Least popular among game-winners were the University (4), Office (6), Large Warehouse (7), and after these three, tied at 10 - the Hospice and - surprisingly - the Wharf. Most popular large building was, once again, the Guild Hall (28) followed by City Hall (23). The Fortress (12) was the least popular large building among game-winners.

In elimination round games with bidding, it was a good year for the #1 seat, which won seven of 15 games while the worst was the #2 indigo, which won only once, when Barb Flaxington bucked the trend in the quarter-final round. Those quarter-finals saw the only game where the player with the higher raw score (Greg Thatcher) failed to register a win after subtracting the bids. Here are the aggregate bidding stats based on 70 4-player games using the bidding system at WBC from 2006 through 2011, inclusive:

Seat 1 indigo 17 wins (24.3%) Average bid 0.39 Average winning bid 0.26 Highest winning bid 1.0 (2 wins)
Seat 2 indigo 13 wins (18.6%) Average bid 0.01 Average winning bid 0.00 Highest winning bid 0 (13 wins)
Seat 3 corn 16 wins (22.9%) Average bid 1.50 Average winning bid 1.47 Highest winning bid 2.5 (3 wins)
Seat 4 corn 24 wins (34.3%) Average bid 0.88 Average winning bid 0.79 Highest winning bid 1.5 (4 wins)

David's win in the #1 seat means all four seating positions have won at least one Final since the current bidding system was introduced in 2006; prior winners by seat position were #2 seat (Chris Moffa, 2006); #3 seat (Raphael Lehrer, 2007; Nick Page, 2008); #4 seat (Steve Pleva, 2009; Luke Koleszar, 2010), so the corn seats still have an edge although indigo is gaining ground.

This wraps up the first decade of WBC tournaments. The GM wishes to especially thank those who have helped manage the large numbers over the years, particularly current assistant GMs Barb, Dave and Malinda, as well as prior assistants Anne Norton and Stan Hilinski. I am thinking it's time for a break, so don't be surprised if there are some changes next year.

Rich Atwater and Eddie Burmester

GM John Weber's finalists strike a pre-game trash talking pose.

2011 Euro Quest Laurelists

Ben Scholl, PA

Kevin Walsh, NY

Alex Bove, PA

Amy Rule, MD

Raphael Lehrer, CA

 GM      John Weber  [10th Year]   NA
    jcw222@comcast.net   NA

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