In Vegas Showdown players bid and place rooms in an effort to build the best Hotel/Casino on the Las Vegas strip. In the preliminary rounds, four player games were the preference with five player games used if necessary.
Highlights of the Heats
This year only three players won two heats, compared to the record 7 from last year. John Corrado, Ryan Romanik, and the GM’s son Andrew Freeman, 10 years old, were the ones to pull off the feat this year.
Last year, Kate Fractal was on the losing end of the closest game from top to bottom in tournament history, finishing second to eventual champion Nick Henning. This year, she emerged victorious in the closest game top to bottom. Kate was able to buy the Theatre on the final turn of the game to propel her to 67 points followed by Jeff Wu with 65, Tim Rogers with 65, and Jim Fry with 62.
In another heat, Roger Budz pulled off an incredible 15 diamond points fueled by all 4 Fancy Lounges and the Theatre.
This year there weren’t any crazy big victories. The largest winning margin was 19 points by Andrew Freeman. Andrew’s game featured 5 lounges which tied Greg Thatcher with the most lounges on a winning board this year.
The dominating income, the full 10 points for having the lead in both population and revenue, game continued to resurge this year. Two years ago, only one winner pulled off the feat. Last year, 3 players managed it in the preliminary rounds, while this year 6 winners pulled it off in the preliminary rounds. Mike Kaltman did it in a game in the final heat, where he got the win he needed to advance over a tough board that included 3 players, Roger Budz, Eric Freeman and Sara Ward, who would qualify for the semifinals. Greg Thatcher pulled off the trick in his 5 lounge game despite those rooms providing no income help.
Highlights of the Semifinals
After the three heats, there were 32 players who had won at least one game. However, top seed, Andrew Freeman skipped the semifinals for the Roll of the Galaxy final while GM Eric Freeman and Micah McCormick skipped for the El Grande finals. The GM would like to his dad, James Freeman, and Greg Thatcher for running the SF in his absence. With many winners not showing up, no winners had to be turned away from the semifinals this year and Sara Ward with her three second place finishes was able to secure the final qualification spot.
Roger Budz punched his ticket to the finals with a low income strategy, no points for population or revenue, and only two types of tiles that were not basic, 3 Fancy slots and 2 Fancy Lounges. Roger won by a comfortable 9 point margin with 61 over 2015 Champion, Steve LeWinter at 52, Cary Morris at 40, Ryan Romanik at 40, and Brandon Ketchum at 39.
Former champion, Mike Kaltman scored 57 to cruise back to the finals over Tony Bosca with 47, Kate Fractal with 46, Max Jamelli with 44, and 2016 Finalist, Lexi Shea with 43. You can check out Mike’s account of the event and the WBC overall at https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/228289/wbc-2017-gaming-my-way-along-road-wellville.
WBC newcomer, Jeff Wu, prevailed in the closest semifinal game, 58 to 57 over Nick Page. Check out Jeff’s WBC geeklist at https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/228189/my-first-wbc.
Former champion Doug Faust at 52, Rod Spade at 52, and Patrick McGavisk at 46 followed after Jeff. Jeff was very blue room heavy with 3 Fancy Restaurants and the Five Star Steakhouse.
Adam Hurd, with 52, rode big income driven by a Space Age Sportsbook and Five Star Steakhouse to squeak by Debra LeWinter, a WBC newcomer who joined her husband in the semifinals, by two points. They were followed by Sara Ward with 48, John Corrado with 41, and Greg Thatcher with 37.
David Wolfe prevailed over 2016 Finalist Sky Roy, Joanna Melton, Ben Scholl, and Craig Trader.
Highlights of the Final
Taxes came out twice early in Turns 4 and 6. Unlike last year, where slots retained their value, none less than $7, slots dropped to $5 by turn 4, maybe helped in part by the lower overall income. That drop followed the trend of the finals excepting last year.
On turn 3, Mike, on the button, gets a pretty good deal with a Fancy Slot at $9 while the other two slots went for $7. Jeff buys a Nightclub for $18 on Turn 8. Turn 10, PR scandal rounds where players can’t take the point for going to publicity, is always fun.
Roger bid on the Buffet for $15 and David bids on a Restaurant for the minimum $15. Jeff overbids $18 for the Restaurant and Mike overbids $18 on the Buffet. Adam bids on the Table Games for $12 and Roger bids $9 for a Lounge. David overbids $15 on Table Games and then Adam overbids $21 on Buffet. The gamblers in Vegas must be very hungry! The GM was a bit surprised the lounge was not more popular with both lounge events still in play. Mike then renovates for a second turn in a row which is usually not a good thing.
On turn 11, Mike’s saving money lets him snag the first Fancy Lounge for $25. The second renovate also turned out to be helpful in his placement of the Fancy Lounge. Turn 12 saw a fortunate flop for Mike, as he is the only player with a Fancy Lounge, and the Theatre comes out.
On turn 13,Jeff grabs a second Nightclub, this time for $25 followed by turn 14 where Mike has the money for the Theater for $37. On turn 15, Adam purchases the Dragon Room for $33 and on turn 16 Master Planner gives Mike 3 points and nothing to everyone else. Adam buys the last lounge for the maximum $21 and Jeff renovates which allows him to connect his casino.
The game ends on turn 17 with no big tiles remaining and the Sale event pulled.
Final Fame on the board at the end of the game was Jeff 30, Michael 28, Adam 21, Roger 16, and David 12. Roger finished with the highest Population, 17, for 5 points and Adam was second at 15 for 3 points. David and Mike tied at 14 for 0 points and Jeff had only 10. Adam finished with the highest revenue, 17, for 5 points with Roger finishing second at 16 for 3 points. David finished third at 12 for 1 point. Mike and Jeff finished with 11 and 9 revenue, respectively. Jeff with the final turn renovate was the only one to fill both sides and connect for 13 points. Adam completed both sides for 10 points, while Mike completed one side and connected for 8 points. David and Roger completed just one side for 5 points. Mike was the only player to score diamond points for 5 and David got stuck with a lot of cash at the end, scoring 3 points for it. Mike, Jeff and Adam all scored 1 point for leftover cash.
Final scores were Jeff 44, Mike 41, Adam 40, Roger 29, and David 21. The relatively early end game benefited Jeff’s low income strategy and gave his opposition less time to fill their casinos and/or connect.
Jeff’s tableau at the end contained 2 Lounges, 2 Nightclubs, 1 Sports Book, 1 Slot which is an amazingly low number for a winning board, 1 Fancy Slot, and 1 Restaurant.
Congrats to Jeff for winning the Vegas Showdown tournament in his very first trip to the WBC. I look forward to seeing him in the tournament in future years.