Because Castles has a multitude of boards, that unfortunately (a) only one copy is provided in the set/expansion and (b) aren’t well balanced, which forces me to be creative in the tournament format. At each table, I provide all four players with a copy of the same board, so at least all players in the game are balanced. Over the last three years I have kept track of the average scores of each of the boards:
- Board 4 - 209.08
- Board 6 - 210.62
- Board 9 - 212.23
- Board 13f - 215.00
- Board 3 - 217.46
- Board 13b - 221.85
- Board 13d - 221.99
- Board 14 - 222.96
- Board 7 - 223.19
- Board 5 - 225.94
- Board 2 - 226.94
- Board 13g - 230.81
- Board 13h - 232.33
- Board 13e - 234.92
- Board 13c - 240.88
- Board 13a - 241.27
- Board 12 - 243.88
- Board 8 - 250.86
The boards numbered 13a-13h have a special rule (The monastery) which adds an additional method of scoring—each board has a 3 monasteries situated on alternating sides. Each time a player connects a pair of monasteries with straight path of 5 tiles, they will score five points. In addition, the first player who completes all 3 paths receives a VP tile worth 7 points and the second player to do receives a 4 VP tile. This is explains the high scores on most of these boards. Also a factor is how many of the 6 pasture spaces are adjacent to each other—because when an animal tile is placed in a pasture space, it scores points for every matching animal in the same pasture. Also having several small areas to complete increase the scores as several can be scored early in the first two phases for 10 or 8 bonus points for completing areas. Board 8 has both a 6 space pasture and many other 1 or 2 space areas, explaining its domination of the chart.
Onto the actual event:
The first heat was in the Ballroom on the First Sunday at 4:00 after a quick demo at the Exhibit Hall. 52 players on 14 boards played in this round. The winners were: Sky Roy, Frank Dinoff, Dominic Blais, Anastasia Tircuit, Frank Downing, Doug Faust, Kara Morse, Nick Vayn, Nancy Morelli, Ray Wolfe, Vasilli Kyrkos, Anni Foasberg, Mason Murray and 11 year old Sam Wolff.
On the second heat on Wednesday afternoon. 36 players showed up, so 9 equal tables were played. The winners were: Richard Irving, Lawrence Solomon, Brandon Buchanan, Roger Jarrett, Vasilli Kyrkos, Sam Wolff, Gordon Rodgers, Nick Vayn, and Pascale LaFreniere.
The third and Final Heat was held in the Ballroom on Friday morning. 27 players played a total of 7 games. (I sat this heat out as I was suffering from the “Con Crud”.) The winners were: Dominic Blais, Lawrence Solomon, Ming Hon, Alex Henning, Ray Wolff, Gordon Rodgers, and Roger Jarrett.
The semifinals were in the Ballroom on Saturday afternoon. We randomly the 2016 Championship boards for the semifinal. In SF 1, Mason Murray won by 14 points over Ray Wolff. In SF 2, Anastasia Tircuit squeaked by with a 4 point win over Anni Foasberg. On Game #3, last year’s runner up Nick Vayn solidly advanced to the final with a 16 point win over Branson Buchanan. In the final SF, Gordon Rodgers won by 10 over Kara Morse.
In the final, which was played on the 2013 tournament boards (simply because they were not chosen in the SF), Nick Vayn improved his final position last year by 1 spot with 265 points. Gordon Rodgers was a close second with 261, Mason Murray third with 243 and Anastasia Tircuit repeating her 4th place finish with 230.
I enjoyed GMing this event again and I hope everyone had a good time!
|The women appear to be enjoyingthe game more.
||Roger Jarrett watches his opponents move.
|WBC veterans Luke Koleszar and Rich Irving in action.
||Finalists with GM Rich Irving
| Richard Irving [3rd Year]
|| 1505 Caceras Circle, Salinas, CA 93906