seven wonders   

Updated Nov. 10, 2014

2014 WBC Report  

 2015 Status: pending 2015 GM commitment

David Platnick, VA

2014 Champion

Event History
2011    Matthew Beach     170
2012    Andrew Emerick     165
2013    Kelly Czyryca     128
2014    David Platnick     151

Euro Quest
BPA Event History
2011    Bill Zurn     80
2012    Luann Stubbs     61


 Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
   1.  Andrew Emerick     CT    12     58
   2.  David Platnick     VA    14     56
   3.  Matthew Beach      MD    11     50
   4.  Kelly Czyryca      MD    13     40
   5.  Luann Stubbs       PA    12     30
   6.  Bill Zurn          CA    11     30
   7.  Dominic Blais      qc    11     30
   8.  Karl Buchholz      MI    14     24
   9.  Dan Shmueli        NY    13     24
  10.  Lissa Rennert      MD    12     24
  11.  Robbie Mitchell    VA    11     20
  12.  Randy Buehler      WA    11     18
  13.  Sean Maher         WV    14     16
  14.  Chris Bert         PA    12     16
  15.  Chris Terrell      VA    11     15
  16.  Steven Alfieri     PA    14     12
  17.  Ed Ericson         AR    13     12
  18.  Jason Porta        PA    12     12
  19.  Ben Scholl         PA    12     12
  20.  Alyssa Poletti     NJ    11     12
  21.  Ken Schlosser      PA    11     10
  22.  Lawrence Solomon   VA    12      9
  23.  Rodney Davidson    AZ    11      9
  24.  Joe Millovich      PA    14      8
  25.  Zach Snyder        PA    13      8
  26.  Mario Arnold       MD    12      8
  27.  Ian Streeb         NC    12      6
  28.  Chris Gnech        PA    11      6
  29.  Karl Henning       VT    11      5
  30.  Eric Schlosser     PA    14      4
  31.  Jeremy Lennert     CA    13      4
  32.  Patrick Murphy     CT    12      4
  33.  Dan Mathias        MD    12      3
  34.  Jacob Nixon        WV    11      3

2014 Laurelists
Repeating Laurelists:

Karl Buchholz, MI

Sean Maher, WV

Steven Alfierei, PA

Joe Millovich, PA

Erik Schlosser, PA

Past Winners

Matthew Beach, MD

Andrew Emerick, CT

Kelly Czyryca, MD

David Platnick, VA

GM Ferris' random seating method instantly transformed a room of 150+ milling players into their assigned tables.

Yeah, it was cold in that ballroom, but Matt Calkins and Canadian Andrew Drummond seemed to survive without their parkas.

Felicia Alfieri and Matthew Beach build their civilizations.

GM Ferris and his six laurelists get down to the serious rounds.

Still Wonderful ...

Like the Great Pyramids at Giza themselves, the vast array of tables playing 7 Wonders at WBC served as monuments to greatness. Sure, players weren't exactly hauling giant stones across the desert landscape and stacking them in a pleasing geometric fashion, but their feats of strategic fortitude would excite even the most discerning of pharaohs. (GM note to self: get one of those funky pharaoh hats for next year.)

This year saw a nice attendance rebound. 151 players took part, up nearly 20% from the year before. While the time slot remained unchanged, the scheduling of other games may have been to our benefit.

As in 2013, the tournament favored smaller, more strategic table groupings. And as in the year before, preliminary round matches consisted of two games awarding advancement points to players depending on their finishing places. Unlike the prior year, players were instructed to play Side A of their Wonder boards consistently throughout the tournament. While some players noted they would have preferred the challenge and variety of Side B more, newer players were excited to play on what many consider to be the "easier" sides. Shockingly, despite a setup designed to level the playing field amongst veterans and new players alike, there was a much higher percentage of players finishing first in both of their qualifying games.

The switch to Side A triggered some interesting changes to Round 1 scores when compared to 2013 results. Scores in the Science category dropped over 10%. Naturally, points from Wonder boards rose (since Side A consistently awards up to 10 points, while most Side Bs award much less). Locking in those points from Wonders was also a fairly common strategy, with over 75% of players in both games scoring the full 10 points (or 15 for Giza) from their Wonder boards. Commerce (Yellow) cards also saw a jump in value, perhaps due to players hoarding resource cards and finishing their Wonders, thus scoring higher off cards like Haven and Arena.

Fifty players, all but six of whom won at least one of their preliminary round matches (and nearly a dozen who won both) advanced to the quarterfinal round. There, single 5-player matchups advanced all first and second place finishers to the semifinals. As one player described it, "fundamental strategic differences" present themselves in a 5-player game versus one for four players, and only needing second place to advance reinforced that. "Science isn't as good a bet; it has too big of a variance. Science can win you a game or just as quickly put you in dead last." Indeed, only one of the ten quarterfinal tables saw the leader in Science finish in first place (three finished second, and three in fifth).

As the crowds thinned entering the semifinal round, there were few familiar faces to late-round play, at least compared to the previous year. But those who did advance had one more obstacle to overcome before reaching the Final: another 4-player game, but this time, only first place guaranteed advancement. In fact, with five tables of four and a final round field of six, only a single runner-up would see the Final. For semifinalists David Platnick, Karl Buchholz and Steven Alfieri, this meant steering clear of Science building altogether to secure their wins and a spot in the last round. But for others, including Joe Millovich and Erik Schlosser, Science was the cornerstone of their semifinal strategies, accounting for two-thirds of their total scores. Joe won his table, and Erik took the sole runner-up advancement spot. Sean Maher won his table without locking in a single strategy; leaving his Wonder unfinished, he aced Military and picked up enough points in Guilds and a few other categories to stave off his challengers.

With Platnick being the only returning 2013 finalist to successfully run the gauntlet, the six nearly-new faces competed in a slimmed-down version of the previous year's Gauntlet of Doom. Instead of a three-game slugfest, only two games would be played to determine the 2014 champion. But like the first game of the previous year, advancing further meant finishing in the top four of six in a game that included the Leaders expansion.

In the opening moves of Game 1, Millovich (playing Babylon) scored Leader cards that would support his largely cash-driven empire. At the same time, Buchholz as Rhodes locked in a strong supply of resources (and the ability to get more easier), while Maher-carnassus started out strong on Military, and Alfieri countered with Military of his own in addition to early builds on his Ephesos Wonder board. Platnick, hoping to improve on his third place laurels of the year before, loaded up on Commerce and finished goods resource cards to support his Olympia, while Schlosser with Alexandria signaled a Science strategy early.

By mid-game, Maher's decisions became more and more agonized as he faced a continued Military onslaught from the right (courtesy of Buchholz) and a new one from Alfieri on the left. Millovich, perhaps seeing Schlosser taking the clear lead on Science, started going heavy on Civic structures. Schlosser's scientific civilization hit a few stumbling blocks coming down the stretch, forcing him to discard for money twice in Age II. Platnick kept a wait-and-see approach with a number of basic resource acquisitions.

In the closing plays of Game 1, it was Maher who took the lead on Science, but his Military defeats kept him from finishing better than fourth--still enough to survive into the Final game. Platnick, despite scoring heavily from point-laden Leaders, only came in third with a still-impressive score of 66. Tied for first were Buchholz and Alfieri, both scoring high in Military, with the former netting 29 points off Civic buildings and the latter snagging several opportune Guilds. Millovich lost the battle for Civic supremacy to Buchholz, missing the last game by just three points. Schlosser, with the only incomplete Wonder board of the game and Science sets he couldn't complete, finished sixth.

With Leaders back in the box, the last game of the tournament pitted Maher with Ephesos, Alfieri playing Alexandria, Buchholz as Rhodes, and Platnick in Giza in a base-only 4-player brawl for the ages. All four opened with resource grabs on Turn 1, and Maher and Alfieri kept their resource grabs alive for several additional picks, while Platnick adopted an early Military offensive. Buchholz went Military and Science as well but faltered on an unfortunate duplicate card play. By the end of Age I, Platnick's Military might and Alfieri's strong resource setup pointed odds in their favor. In Age II, all players saw fit to construct the first stage of their Wonder boards, with Alfieri following it up with a second Wonder build. Maher locked in some points off Civic buildings and started favoring Science cards with tablets, while Platnick loaded up on cash and more resources. Buchholz jumpstarted his recovery with more Military and some resource hoarding of his own.

Age III saw impressive plays from all players. Everyone completed their Wonder boards, and Maher continued to dominate the Civic realm--ultimately scoring almost more in Civic than the other three players combined--but succumbing to pure Military defeat from both sides. Alfieri snatched up two high-scoring Commerce cards but couldn't quite find his point niche. With only a few cards left to play, it became apparent that first place would be a battle between Buchholz and Platnick. Buchholz completed a Science set and scored well across the board, but it was ultimately Platnick and his building of two massively-scoring Guilds that gave him the 56-point victory over Buchholz's 49. Maher and Alfieri finished with 47 points each, with Maher's golden empire earning the tiebreaker.

 GM     Nick Ferris [2nd Year]   NA   NA

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