The first WBC Terra Mystica tournament garnered a respectable turnout, 50 players in the first heat and 40 in the second, with 62 unique players competing. A three hour time slot worked well. Only one table ran late with all 4 players agreeing to finish and they were done with less than 10 minutes of overtime.
Not surprising, the most popular factions tended to be the most successful, though there wasn’t a one-to-one correspondence. The three most popular factions were Nomads, Darklings and Mermaids. The three most successful factions were Witches, Darklings and Engineers.
Selection and average finish in the heats were:
- Nomads – 15 players, 17%, 2.2 average finish
- Darklings – 13 players, 14%, 2.0 average finish
- Mermaids – 10 players, 11%, 2.7 average finish
- Witches – 9 players, 10%, 1.9 average finish
- Halflings – 9 players, 10%, 2.7 average finish
- Engineers – 9 players, 10%, 2.0 average finish
- Swarmlings – 7 players, 8%, 2.6 average finish
- Chaos Magicians – 5 players, 6%, 3.4 average finish
- Giants – 4 players, 4%, 3.0 average finish
- Dwarves – 3 players, 3%, 3.0 average finish
- Alchemists – 3 players, 3%, 2.7 average finish
- Auren – 2 players, 2%, 4.0 average finish
- Cultists – 1 players, 1%, 4.0 average finish
- Fakirs – 0 players, 0%, 0.0 average finish
Four players had 2 wins, nine had a first and a second and one had a first and a third. Of the 5 players who played in only one of the heats and won their game, 2 advanced to the semifinals and 3 did not based on the highest score tie breaker. High score of the tournament by a large margin was Sceadeau D'Tela, scoring an impressive 181 with the Engineers in the second heat.
Faction selection in the four semifinal games was similar to faction choice in the heats, with Nomads, Darklings, Mermaids, and Engineers most popular. Two Mermaid players. Jon Senn and Jeremy Carr, one Darkling, Chad Weaver, and one Engineer, Sceadeau D'Tela, advanced to the final.
Selection and average finish in the semifinals were:
- Nomads – 3 players, 19%, 4.0 average finish
- Darklings – 3 players, 19%, 1.7 average finish
- Mermaids – 3 players, 19%, 1.7 average finish
- Engineers – 3 players, 19%, 2.0 average finish
- Cultists – 2 players, 13%, 3.5 average finish
- Witches – 1 players, 6%, 3.0 average finish
- Dwarves – 1 players, 6%, 2.0 average finish
The semifinals also demonstrated the popularity and effectiveness of early magic burn. Before the end of turn 2, the amount of magic still held by players ranged from 5 to 8. The semifinals also saw creative thinking at one table where the players created an ad-hoc Fire and Ice turn order record, moving the active player pawn through a set of four terrain disks.
Instead of choosing in turn order from the full set of factions, the Terra Mystica final used the faction bidding rules from Fire and Ice. Five factions were selected at random. Chad Weaver bid 9 VP for first choice and took the Cultists, Jeremy Carr bid 7 VP for the Dwarves, Jon Senn bid 4 VP for the Swarmlings and Sceadeau D'Tela chose Alchemists over Auren for 0 VP.
Turn one saw magic burn from all 4 players with both Jon and Sceadeau building their strongholds for the 5 VP turn bonus. Turns 2 and 3 saw steady expansion followed by a burst of town building on turn 4 for the 5 VP bonus. On turn 6 Sceadeau, who had reduced his shovel cost to one worker per shovel and had 4 magic remaining, pulled a clever move, using a worker to dig, which cycled magic from the Alchemist stronghold bonus, then converted the magic to a worker which he used to dig again. Over several turns, this trick allowed him to generate 3 shovels from one worker and a few magic.
At the end of turn 6 Jeremy, Dwarves, was in the lead with 125 points, but Jon, Swarmlings, won the area bonus and gained 15 points from cult tracks, enough to pull ahead and win the tournament. Final scores were Jon Senn with Swarmlings at 154, Jeremy Carr with Dwarves at 148, Sceadeau D'Tela with Alchemists at 136, and Chad Weaver with Cultists at 103.
If Terra Mystica returns next year I plan to make a few changes. First, third place finishes will no longer be a tie breaker. Second, faction bidding will be used in both the semifinals and final, but instead of selecting factions randomly, a secret vote by the semifinalists will select the factions available for bid in the semifinals and final.