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Agricola (AGR) WBC 2018 Event Report
Updated October 8, 2018
 
71 Players Sceadeau D'Tela 2018 Status 2019 Status History/Laurels
  2018 Champion   Click box for details. Click box for details.
 

Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

In this world nothing can be said to be certain except death, taxes, and all-day Agricola on the opening day of WBC. Ever since WBC moved to Seven Springs, the convention expanded to a full nine days, running from one weekend through to the next. This has proven to create some more creative scheduling to allow people to compete in as many tournaments as possible. For the most part, running all three Agricola heats on the first day of the convention has been a success, with very few complaints. The commanding three-hour block for a heat can be a schedule killer when sprinkled throughout the week, and as the Agricola field may be the toughest field in the entire WBC tournament, it is very important to play in as many heats as possible. Two wins in the three heats will guarantee advancing to the semifinals, but winning two heats is simply very, very tough.

2018 saw 71 farmers competing, right in line with last year’s tally of 70. This year there were 31 unique heat winners, which is up from last year’s total of 26 (and likely a record high number). With ten double winners, there were only six spots open in the semifinals for competitors that only won a single heat. Eric Wrobel’s distinction of making the past six semifinals was in serious jeopardy when he arrived too late to play in the first heat. In fact, he rolled in just in time (literally) to play in the second heat and would only qualify to advance if he won both the second and the third heat… which he did. When the pressure is on, Eric often shines. Rob Murray got lucky and advanced as the first alternate when Cary Morris didn’t show up for the semifinal, back-dooring his way into the same distinction as Eric by qualifying for seven consecutive semifinal appearances. Speaking a bit to the increasing skill level in the tournament, there were no triple winners this year (there were four in 2017). Derek Glenn, who was a triple heat winner last year, was the second alternate and the first person to miss the cut in this year’s semifinals.

The first semifinal table was the newcomer table, as Keith “El Grande” Dent faced off with three players making their first appearance in an Agricola SF at WBC: Lumin Sperling, Robbie Mitchell and Ted Zellers. This game was a close one, for sure. Keith was set up well if Family Growth popped in Round 5, but it didn’t… an unexpected Start Player action in Round 6 also shook things up a bit. Lumin played solidly and edged Ted and Keith, 41-38-38, with Robbie, whose game this time around just didn’t pan out as he expected it would, finishing a distant fourth at 26.

The second semifinal table was Randy Buehler, Sky Roy, Ricky Boyes and Tricia Wolff. Randy showed off his skills in winning this game with some nice work of the Wm cards. He used Master Stableman and Loom to strong effect and powered his early game with playing Borrower. Randy also abused a favorite Wm card of the Greenspielers group, the Grain Elevator. He picked up a couple of ovens and edged out Sky Roy, 48-46, with Ricky finishing third (41) ahead of Tricia (34), the matron of the Wolff clan.

The third and likely most interesting semifinal table was Sceadeau D’Tela, DJ Borton, Rob Murray and Jack Wolff. Sceadeau is the leading Agricola laurelist and taught much of what he knows to Rob, who back-doored his path into the semifinal. DJ Borton has been a strong up-and-comer in many WBC tournaments (Agricola included) in recent years, and Jack Wolff was making his first appearance in an Agricola semifinal (all Wolff family members have now made at least one Agricola SF at WBC). What made this game interesting were the tactical gifts that swung in Sceadeau’s favor. Sceadeau and Rob were both playing set-ups for the long game rather than fighting for first family growth. DJ had room parts locked down and had 3 food at the start of Round 4. Instead of taking a food action and then building a room, he pushed to extend his position by playing Bargaining Baker, and then building the Clay Oven and baking his grain. What DJ missed was a curious 3 clay grab by Sceadeau in Round 3 instead of plowing a field using his Hill Farmer. After the Clay Oven action by DJ, Sceadeau took Start Player, played Clay Roof, and then took advantage of Family Growth turning in Round 5 by building the first room and growing... pushing DJ from growing first to growing last. Sceadeau was also able to acquire 6 wood at a very key stage in late Stage 2 (and again later in the game…), which powered some early fences and made animal grabs accessible. Part of being a good player is putting yourself in the position to capitalize on other players’ mistakes. You can’t beat good and lucky, and Sceadeau rolled to a big win with 52 points over Rob (39), Jack (35) and DJ (34).

The final semifinal table was Eric Wrobel, Alex Bove, Chris McCurry and Ben Scholl. This was likely the most balanced of the four semifinal match-ups, and also resulted in the closest point spread from first to last. In the draft, Alex passed Keys to Ben, who unbeknownst to Alex also drafted Stonecutter in his Occupations. This would help Ben’s game, but Eric ran a very popular Wm combo with Wheelbarrow Pusher / Fish Hook. The players estimate that Eric was able to trigger usage of Wheelbarrow Pusher approximately 13 times over the course of the game, with many of those utilizing his Fish Hook. It would be too much for Chris to overcome, even though Chris was able to get an early Sleeping Corner to the table and played around with a Crop Rotator. Several Start Player actions by Ben also aided Eric’s game, as Ben was seated to Eric’s right. Eric ended with 45 points to Chris’ 41. Ben (37) and Alex (35) trailed and were never considered a serious threat to challenge Eric for the win.

The final was set, and it promised to be an exciting one, as the four individuals who were probably the four strongest players in this year’s tournament made it to the final. Sceadeau was looking to become the second two-time champion in the event… Eric Wrobel, perhaps the best player without an Agricola shield, was trying to win his first final in four attempts… former Caesar winner Randy Buehler finally broke through to the final table after near misses in the past two years and after dedicating three years to improving his Agricola game… and Lumin Sperling was looking to prove to everyone that his famed Play-Agricola skills made him the strongest player in the room.

The players were randomly seated with Lumin in seat 1, followed by Randy, Sceadeau and Eric. The Occupation draft started the game.

  • Lumin’s opening pack: Animal Breeder, Clay Deliveryman, Master Builder, Market Crier, Acrobat, Cabinetmaker, Groom
  • Randy’s opening pack: Stonecutter, Yeoman Farmer, Clay Hut Builder, Hunter, Outrider, Forester, Animal Keeper
  • Sceadeau’s opening pack: Church Warden, Net Fisherman, Schnaps Distiller, Minimalist, Pig Whisperer, Fieldsman, Veterinarian
  • Eric’s opening pack: Head of the Family, Basketmaker, Dock Worker, Bread Seller, Butcher, Turner, Meat Seller

Overall, the Occupations were not incredibly powerful. Each pack contained one relatively strong card, with the best of those being Lumin’s Animal Breeder. Eric drafted in a way to position himself to play a Minimalist game, which is rarely seen executed to perfection and really requires a key Occupation or two that can feed your family throughout the game. The fact that he was also playing a Head of the Family game and Church Warden would be in play promised to make this one exciting… if he went for it.

The final drafted hands were as follows:

  • Lumin: Animal Breeder, Yeoman Farmer, Schnaps Distiller, Bread Seller, Acrobat, Forester, Veterinarian
  • Randy: Stonecutter, Net Fisherman, Dock Worker, Market Crier, Outrider, Fieldsman, Meat Seller
  • Sceadeau: Church Warden, Basketmaker, Master Builder, Hunter, Pig Whisperer, Turner, Groom
  • Eric: Head of the Family, Clay Deliveryman, Clay Hut Builder, Minimalist, Butcher, Cabinetmaker, Animal Keeper

As is usually the case, the Minor Improvement draft was much more interesting.

  • Lumin’s opening pack: Milking Stool, Manger, Edible Roots, Axe, Landing Net, Builder’s Trowel, Flagon
  • Randy’s opening pack: Prize-Winning Sheep, Stone Tongs, Reed Nursery, Beanfield, Bookshelf, Ladder, Slapdash Renovation
  • Sceadeau’s opening pack: Loom, Keys, Ram, Bonfire, Punner, Oak Cask, Corn Scoop
  • Eric’s opening pack: Clay Supports, Sawhorse, Pig Wallow, Straw-Thatched Roof, Tavern, Shepherd’s Pipe, Helpful Neighbors

Lumin and Eric both opened very strong packs, and they thought a long time on their first selection (close to ten minutes for Eric). Lumin surely wanted to keep Milking Stool after drafting Animal Breeder, but one must always give pause when passing cards like Axe and Landing Net. It’s also significant that Lumin saw Master Builder in the draft, and if someone has a secret Mansion in hand, things can really get out of hand quickly. Ultimately Lumin made the right decision, keeping Milking Stool and assuming Randy will keep Landing Net in seat 2, passing Axe to Sceadeau in seat 3. Should Randy get to play Landing Net by round 2, he should be able to keep Sceadeau off RSF long enough so that he isn’t able to pull off an early double room build by getting the stone he needs to play the Axe. In reality, all of these things are what transpired in the game. Eric’s decision was a lot more complicated. He just drafted a hand of Occupations that was directing him to play a Minimalist game, but Clay Supports is a card capable of some dangerous combinations, and Sawhorse is generally seen as an above average card as well. Eric decided to go big (risky) instead of going home, and drafted Pig Wallow first over both of the other choices. As you will later see, Eric strategically drafted a hand including several passing minors. Lumin getting passed Clay Supports second would be great for his game, and he was quickly putting together the best draft at the table. Randy chose to keep Slapdash Renovation first, partially because he had Stonecutter. Beanfield or Bookshelf are the best cards in his pack, but the power of Bookshelf is dramatically reduced with the absence of strength in the Occupation draft. Randy did have a Market Crier, but was most likely not intending on playing it, and thus opted for the extra actions Slapdash Renovation can provide. It’s certainly worth some discussion if it is better to give players free grain to accelerate your own farming game, or to ease the renovation queue in exchange for extra “late” actions in a round. Sceadeau deciding to keep Ladder over those same cards was fortuitous for him after he was passed Axe third, which must have killed Randy to have to do.

The final drafted Minor Improvements hands were as follows:

  • Lumin: Milking Stool, Clay Supports, Oak Cask, Bookshelf, Builder’s Trowel, Straw-Thatched Roof, Punner
  • Randy: Slapdash Renovation, Landing Net, Sawhorse, Keys, Beanfield, Flagon, Tavern
  • Sceadeau: Loom, Ladder, Axe, Shepherd’s Pipe, Ram, Stone Tongs, Edible Roots
  • Eric: Pig Wallow, Bonfire, Prize-Winning Sheep, Helpful Neighbors, Manger, Corn Scoop, Reed Nursery

Lumin probably had a small edge coming out of the draft and sitting in the first seat, but Eric drafted a hand that could really pay off big, and seated fourth, holding all tiebreakers.

The opening
Round 1 started routinely with Lumin taking RSF, Randy playing a free Stonecutter and Sceadeau grabbing 3 wood – signaling he intended on taking Start Player with his second action. As you will see throughout this write up, Eric played a very non-Wrobelian game (a Wrobelian game is defined as playing tons of cards and taking Start Player often), starting with his very first action of the game… plowing a field. There is a pretty strong chance Eric could have taken plow as his second action and instead used his first action to take 2 wood if he didn’t want to pay a food to play an Occupation. The move certainly gave Lumin pause, who after a minute of thinking said aloud, “I can’t not play an occ here.” Without knowing if Randy had any high occ surprises hidden away, such as Quarry or Animal Pen, he decided to play Acrobat with his second action. Randy thought longer than one normally does on the second action in Round 1 and elected to take Start Player and play Keys to the table for free. Randy was aiming to keep Sceadeau off RSF as long as possible since he knew he passed Axe to him. Sceadeau took 2 clay over 2 wood (Sheep was the Round 1 card), leaving Eric with the 2 wood that he probably should’ve taken with his first action. But hey, Eric wanted to plow a field… he likes plowing fields.

Randy started Round 2 by taking RSF, which both blocked Sceadeau from obtaining the stone he needed for Axe, but also set up a future SP + Landing Net action. Sceadeau grabbed 2 reed, which would come in handy once Axe and Ladder were both in play. Eric and Lumin took 3 wood and 2 wood respectively, leading to Randy sitting on Start Player and playing his Landing Net. Sceadeau played a free Church Warden for 4 wood, continuing his aggressive acquisition of room parts. Eric took 2 more wood and Lumin utilized his Acrobat by taking 2 food and then jumping to Plow a Field. Randy started Round 3 with another RSF(+F) action, and Sceadeau immediately grabbed Start Player with his Ladder. Considering Sheep flipped in Round 1 and Major/Minor was set to flip in Round 4, this left Sceadeau with some good options. He could either play the Fireplace/Sheep line, or take the RSF action he had been hoping for to play his Axe. Eric continued with his surprises and played Cabinetmaker as his first (free) Occupation. Lumin took 4 clay – a good move with MIMI coming out, as well as for his future clay rooms he was planning on building with Clay Supports in hand. Randy took 3 wood, Sceadeau played Basketmaker, Eric fished for 3f and Lumin took 2 more clay. It was a bit fascinating to see resource eating occupations played in the first stage of the Agricola final, proving it isn’t always the cards that are strong or weak, but rather how weak to mediocre cards can shine in the hands of experts. After taking a long time to contemplate his fork, Sceadeau built a Fireplace with his first action and grabbed 4 sheep with his second action. The remainder of the round included Randy building the first room, people grabbing resources and Lumin taking Start Player with an Oak Cask. Eric ate a wood at harvest, with all other players feeding with 4 food.

At the start of Stage 2, Sceadeau had enough resources on his board to build a room, while Randy needed a reed and Lumin needed 2 wood. Not surprisingly, Lumin opened Round 5 by taking 4 wood and Randy took RSF(+F). Lumin seemed a bit surprised at Sceadeau’s 4 clay grab that came next, which certainly signaled that he was banking on getting Axe out and double room building later. Eric took 3 wood, and Lumin took 3 food from Traveling Players, which turned into a plow action at the conclusion of the round with his Acrobat. Randy built his room and Sceadeau took 3 more wood. Eric made the game interesting by playing his first pick Occupation; Head of the Family. When Family Growth flipped in Round 6, this allowed both Randy and Eric to grow. Lumin took 2 reed and renovated with Clay Supports, Randy grew with a Slapdash Renovation and also made Lumin sad by taking Starting Player with the Flagon. Sceadeau finally took RSF to get the stone he needed to play Axe, which he played using the Major/Minor action. When Eric grew, he did so with Pig Wallow, thus explaining his desire for an early field, and he finished the round by taking 3 wood. Randy opened Round 7 with RSF(+F) and Sceadeau built his two rooms. After Eric fished for 4 more food, Lumin took “4 excellent clay” (so said Sceadeau). Randy used his remaining actions to acquire 4 wood and 4 clay, Sceadeau grew with a Loom, and Eric took 3 sheep to use his newly built pasture. After Lumin took another Traveling Players action (and another field), Eric nabbed Starting Player when he saw 3 wood was left on the board with yet another passing Minor Improvement, Helpful Neighbors. During harvest, Eric ate a wood and Sceadeau ate a reed, with all other feeding occurring in the conventional manner.

Middle game
Eric quickly took his well-earned 6 wood to start Round 8. Lumin then went into a very deep think and repeatedly looked over the board with a worried expression. He would eventually utter the words, “I’ve lost this game,” and then looked towards Sceadeau’s board and said, “you shouldn’t have been able to execute all of that.” Sensing he was about to fall deeper into growth queue hell because of his shortage of actions and the other players’ board states / resources, he decided to take Starting Player as his first action with no minor improvement. For those playing along at home, it is interesting to note that he did have options, namely the Pig Wallow or Helpful Neighbors he had been passed, but he clearly had plans to maximize the Pig Wallow once he played his first pick Animal Breeder, which was still a couple of rounds away from hitting the table. With Lumin’s second action, he built three clay rooms. Randy took RSF(+F) with his first action, which would give him enough materials to potentially build a room and press forward for the Church Warden bonus. Sceadeau took 3 wood while Eric continued to farm by plowing another field… that dude just loved plowing fields this game. Randy’s second action was to take 2 reed (+2 food), and rather than grow with his final action, Sceadeau grew on his second action to play Stone Tongs. After Eric took a Vegetable, the room’s spectators expected to see Randy build the Well to get it off his “to do list,” since Sceadeau signaled his next move would be to take 2+1 stone since he had set up for it with his Family Growth. Instead, Randy took 2 wood from the board. In Round 9, Lumin started by taking 4 clay and Randy followed with taking Start Player and playing Sawhorse. In post-game analysis, Randy stated that he mentally thought he had locked down the Well, he didn’t fully parse the impact of Sceadeau’s Stone Tongs, and he felt pressure to grow his house / family quickly to make sure he hit the Church Warden bonus. At this point, Sceadeau took RSF and gave Randy one final chance to build the Well, as both players had the materials to build it for a couple of turns now. After Eric plowed yet another field and Lumin grew with Helpful Neighbors, Randy built a wood room and a free stable. Sceadeau shrugged, renovated and built the Well, and triggered the Flagon for the table. The look on Randy’s face was telling. He realized he just missed something and didn’t even notice Sceadeau had acquired 3 stone to build the Well out from under him. It was a misstep, which would hopefully not be the difference in the game. The round finished with Eric continuing his non-Wrobelian play and fencing for 10 wood, Randy took 3 more wood and Sceadeau played Groom and took a Vegetable. At harvest, Lumin was forced to break his Oak Cask a little early, Eric and Sceadeau ate their resources again and Eric bred the first animal of the game (a sheep).

Rounds 10 and 11 signal the approach before heading into the end game. If you don’t have food worked out, this stage of the game is your last chance to set up your end game food engine. Other times, it’s when those who got pushed back in the growth queue finally get a chance to expand their family and see if the early game set up that they spent their time on will hold up against those who have extra actions in hand over them. In this game, Randy opened Round 10 by growing his fourth family member, as Lumin was behind him with two empty rooms. Randy played the Tavern, which is a less terrible card when you have a Stonecutter. Sceadeau took 4 wood and Eric filled up more of his pastures with 2 boar. Lumin began putting the wheels in motion for his big end game plans by building a Cooking Hearth. Randy followed with 2 reed (+2F) and Sceadeau took 3 sheep for 6 food. Unsurprisingly Eric plowed a field, and Lumin plunked a worker onto Traveling Players with the hopes of being able to jump for a Grain. Randy renovated with BMW and took back his worker via Slapdash Renovation. Sceadeau took another 2(+1) stone, Eric took 3 wood, and Lumin played his first pick Occupation, Animal Breeder. The round concluded with Randy taking RSF(+F), Sceadeau renovating to stone to start triggering his Groom (also building a Hearth) and Lumin making the jump to Grain. Randy opened Round 11 by plowing a field, as time was running out for players to get their fields in. Sceadeau kept pressure on wood by taking 3 with his first action. In need of food, Eric had to take Fishing at 4, allowing Lumin to nab the other 3 wood off the board. Randy took 4 clay before Sceadeau seized the all-important Round 11 Start Player action with something actually pretty useful for his game – Shepherd’s Pipe! Eric took a cattle, but Lumin’s cattle were more impressive, as he played Pig Wallow with his Family Growth action and bought 2 cattle for 3 food. Randy hit his G-spot, RSF(+F), Sceadeau took 2 more wood, keeping the pressure on wood once again, Eric sowed a grain and a vegetable, and Lumin fenced a single pasture for 3 wood, killing one cattle for 4 food in order to buy 2 more cows for 3 food. Randy built another room, which would force Lumin to grow with his first action in Round 12, and Sceadeau took one lonely sheep to end the round. Feeding and breeding got more exciting, with Lumin eating a cow and breeding it back, Sceadeau breeding a sheep and Eric breeding both boar and sheep.

End game
Family Growth without Room flipped for Sceadeau, who saw his chances of plowing in this game dwindling. Eric immediately followed with plowing yet another field, and as was previously alluded to, Lumin took his final Family Growth action and played Milking Stool(!). Randy’s consolation prize was 5 clay. After eating two Sheep, Sceadeau took 2 boar from the board and played around with his animal management / stable game. Eric took RSF and started thinking about maybe renovating in this game. With no points off board, he had to make sure he had plenty of points on his board. Lumin took 3 wood, in line with his aggressive fencing plans and to keep pressure on the wood – Randy was in dangerously short supply. Randy took 2 reed (+2F), and Sceadeau made Randy a little sad by taking 2 more wood from the board. Eric utilized the Head of the Family and grew without room, Lumin took his second naked Start Player action of the game, Randy took a grain for 2 points, Sceadeau fenced 2 pastures for 10 wood, Lumin took a Vegetable (plow/sow coming up) and Randy ended the round taking a cattle for 2 points.

Going into Round 13, the players’ final board states slowly began to take form. Lumin did a nice job of catching up and accelerating into the end game, with five family members in a clay hut, a viable food engine and a respectable farm. Randy’s farm could only be described as tenuous, with 9 empty spaces and just 1 wood in his supply, as well as requiring 19 food to finish out the game… a lot to ask of a Basketmaker’s Workshop and a Tavern. Sceadeau was rounding the turn into the home stretch, but it seemed unclear if he could accumulate enough points on his farm to catch Lumin or the player most poised to win this game; Eric Wrobel. Laugh if you must at his complete lack of improvements on his tableau, but Eric was making his food engine work with a couple of normally sub-par Occupations and game-long bottom feeding. His plan was clear enough, as everyone saw the Minimalist in the draft. Mike Kaltman has been known to shed some tears in recent history: the birth of his children, the Phillies’ World Series win in 2008, and winning his first shield in 20 attempts at WBC in 2014. All of these moments potentially pale in comparison to the elation he would feel knowing that the card he designed for the Wm deck, the Minimalist, would be the winning line at a WBC final.

Lumin opened Round 13 by plowing / sowing, to nobody’s surprise. Randy followed up with a first action plow to keep the pressure on and essentially deny Sceadeau field points this game. Sceadeau began a sequence of moves that would accumulate 10 stone over three actions and took 4 (+1) stone. Eric’s first move was a curious one. He played Butcher, which is essentially a Simple Fireplace in the form of an Occupation. Food gets tight when you don’t play Improvements! Lumin kept the pressure on the game’s wood supply by taking 3 wood with his second action, which must have worried Randy considerably. There is no doubt that this was Randy’s next action… confirmed when he took 2 wood. Sceadeau grabbed RSF before Randy could later have a chance to do so. Eric took 4 clay in order to be able to complete a renovation before game end and Lumin took 2 sheep. Randy took his final Family Growth action one turn early and turned a clay into a reed with Helpful Neighbors. Sceadeau took his third stone action by taking 3 stone (+1) from the board. Eric took a badly needed 3 food from Traveling Players, and Lumin took 4 food by grabbing and cooking a cattle. Randy partially solved his food problems by building the Pottery. Sceadeau needed one more reed to be able to build 2 stone rooms, so he did just that – he took 1 reed. Eric once again utilized his Head of the Family by taking the occupied Family Growth without Room action, locking up the Church Warden for all four players. Lumin fenced for the last time and bought 2 more cattle, and Sceadeau closed out the round by taking a boar. All players aside from Randy bred two animals in the harvest. Eric’s feeding was exciting: 1 wood, 3 food, 2 Sheep and 1 Boar via the Butcher.

The Climax
With everyone too busy doing a lot of important things in Round 13, Lumin was able to retain Start Player in Round 14! This seemed like bad news for Eric, who was sitting on a 9-point, potentially game-winning action and would be going LAST in Round 14. However, the other players all had really important things to do. Lumin took plow/sow and picked up three more points by making another vegetable field. Randy pounced on 4 wood, more than doubling his current supply. As Sceadeau could very easily be stable-blocked on the Build a Room action, he built two stone rooms.

At this point, there were a handful of spectators watching this game and eagerly awaiting the final tally to see who would win. It looked close between everyone, provided Randy could be allowed to get more wood for a big fence action, and also providing that Randy activated Slapdash Renovation to allow three renovation actions in the round. His food situation was dire, and it appeared he would have no choice but to do so, allowing Lumin to sneak in a renovation to end the game. It was Eric’s turn, and everyone watched with excitement as he was getting prepared to windmill slam the action that could win him his first WBC shield in Agricola. He had a board that was packed with farming points, he played a brilliant game, and he just needed that big push that Minimalist’s 9 off-board points would provide to seal it.

And then Eric plowed a field.

Upon the surprise turn of events, Lumin looked to block Minimalist from hitting the table, and thus played Yeoman Farmer for a couple of points. Randy couldn’t get involved because his position was too delicate, and he badly needed to take another 3 wood. However, Lumin remembered seeing Master Builder in his opening pack, and although it was a 3-point action for Sceadeau, he let out a very deep, “whew!!!” when Sceadeau dropped it. With the Occupations both blocked, Eric would have to find his remaining points elsewhere. In post-game discussion, Eric said that he felt he was behind because his only off-board points were Sceadeau’s Church Warden, which everyone hit, and that he needed to stretch to maximize his point-scoring actions. The rest of the round was less dramatic. Lumin slowly acquired the remaining resources he needed to renovate to stone and Randy Reno/Fenced, clearing the spot with his Slapdash Renovation. Unfortunately, Randy simply needed the extra action to take food to avoid begging. Randy’s final three actions were to tap his Tavern for some food, take a Vegetable for 2 points, and Day Laborer. Sceadeau rounded out his game by taking a Sheep, a Cattle and a Grain. Eric sowed his newly plowed field, as well as three other fields, fished for 3 food, renovated to clay and ended by taking a boar.

Scores were quickly and fastidiously counted and then recounted. The dust was settled, and Lumin was right – he lost this game, but just barely. Sceadeau edged Lumin 45-44 for the win. Randy finished third with 41, and Eric came in last at 39. The climax of the final round’s drama quickly became quickly; if Eric had played Minimalist as his first action rather than plowing a field, he would be the 2018 WBC Agricola champion. With 39 final points, let’s just say he misses out on two points by not plowing the field. Down 2, but up 9 from Minimalist, he’s already at 46 points, which is enough for the win. Truth be told, he probably could have wheeled the plow. Lumin could no longer legally plow, Randy needed wood too badly to get into that scuffle, and with zero fields on Sceadeau’s board, plowing would have been a one-point action for him… and as Eric also saw Master Builder in the draft, he would be aware that this was clearly Sceadeau’s intended second move. It’s also important to note that while Eric sowed in the final round, he still left one field empty. Therefore, none of his remaining actions would have been impacted and scored fewer points had he not plowed the field first. Even further still, Eric could have completely passed his final action and still won the game, making the plow move even less required on his part. But hey, that’s live Agricola. Without actually counting all the players’ live point totals before taking his action, he assessed he was behind and needed to stretch.

Nevertheless, Sceadeau was victorious. He joined Eric Ho as the only two-time winners of the event and cemented his legacy as the tournament’s all-time top player, adding to a laurel tally that far exceeds everyone else on the list. He proved once again that while the statistics do favor being the first player to grow their family, consistently winning Agricola requires a deep understanding of the strategic set up for the long game, as well being tactically sharp to seize opportunities as they present themselves. In a choice between good and lucky, Sceadeau will always choose “lucky” when it comes to Attack Sub. But this is Agricola, and he’s the king.

Thanks to everyone for being a part of a very successful tournament!

 
2018 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: 2

Lumin Sperling Randy Buehler Eric Wrobel Sky Roy Ted Zellers
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
 
Contemplating the right next move. Taking time to smile during Agricola
Too many choices.
 
GM    Rob Murray [5th Year]  NA
   zenvedev@hotmail.com   NA