And we’re back for the 2018 Saint Petersburg tournament! Norman and I were planning on arriving Sunday so we figured we’d do our part to help fill out the schedule in the early part of the week, with our first heat Sunday evening and the second on Monday. We also added a fourth heat later in the week hoping to get our numbers up to possibly get more plaques next year.
We did have one issue in our second heat, due to a data entry error on my part, 2 folks who signed up were accidentally deleted and didn’t get included in the count for assigning tables. So when cards were handed out, we had 2 folks who didn’t get cards, Eric Engelmann and Lynda Shea. Now, because we thought we had exact tables, neither of us were playing so the simple answer was to just add one more table with our two ‘extras’ and the 2 of us. However we were already using all the copies present, including 2 we had brought. I want to thank Eric and Lynda for graciously stepping out of the game so I didn’t have to track down the last 2 signups and swap them for Eric and Lynda. But it goes to show, if you have a copy of the game, bring it!
When all was said and done with the heats, we had 2 3-heat winners, Robert St. Pierre and Ming Hon, and 13 2-heat winners, leaving one slot open for the semifinals. Of the 1-game winners, Ted Bohaczuk was the only one who played in all 4 heats, so that got him in.
As last year, we offered the option to exclude the mistress/observatory from the first round of play in semifinal and final, but only if all players agreed before knowing starting role assignments. One table had a spirited discussion but ultimately could not achieve 100% agreement to exclude them so they remained in play. The dissenting opinion was that it would change the game in a way the player was not familiar with so they would not agree to it.
Table 1 pit former champions Rob Kircher and Vien Bounma against each other with Vien winning this table. Table 2 was won by WBC first-timer Lumin Sperling. He came from California to play Agricola where he did not have the success he had hoped for, but he certainly made up for it with SPG! Table 3 pit rivals from last year Ray Wolff and Keith Levy against each other again along with 3-heat winner Robert St. Pierre. None of these managed to win as the winner was the 4th player, Mikaela Kumlander. Table 4 pit friends/rivals Marcy Morelli and Ted Bohaczuk against each other along with 3 heat winner Ming. This one was also won by the fourth player, Curt Collins.
Ming lost her semi on a tie, giving her 5th place overall. 6th place and the ‘virtual sand plaque’ went to last year’s champion Ray Wolff for the next closest second place in the semifinals.
The 4 finalists then retired to ‘the dungeon’ for the final. Norman and I were both in the Splendor QF so AGM Marcy Morelli joined them for the final.
- Mikaela (yellow) Workers
- Curt (red) Buildings
- Lumin (green) Nobles
- Vien (blue) Upgrades
Lumin got first round Mistress. No Observatories came out. He later acquired a Warehouse.
At the end of round 3, we had a virtual tie (12, 13, 14) for the lead with Curt trailing at 3.
In round 4, both Observatories come out, grabbed by Lumin & Curt. Lumin observes the orange deck and gets the other Mistress. He plays it immediately since he has the cash and his warehouse is still full. Everyone groans at this. Lumin now takes a slight point lead at end of orange phase. In Upgrades people get some cards out of their hands. No orange upgrades. Curt, still trailing far behind in points, takes the Academy and says “I have to try something”
At this point, after washing out in the Splendor QF, Norman and I joined Marcy and the finalists for the end game.
In the Round 5 Orange phase, Mikaela gets the orange upgrade Czar out of her hand, leaving her pretty much out of cash. Upgrade phase has no orange again! Vien grabs the Winter Palace. Mikaela gets her 3rd fur shop.
Round 6 starts with 6 greens triggering game end. After the typical SPG last round of ‘can I afford that?’ the order of finish was Lumin with 85 points, Mikaela with 76, Vien with 73, and Curt with 69.
Lumin takes home the shield in his first trip to WBC!
And now for Norman’s ‘interesting statistics’. With the addition of the fourth heat, we had a total of 62 games this year, including heats, semifinals and final, as well as our overall numbers were up this year. 111 unique players with 41 playing in more than half the games and 11 players playing in all four heats. Hopefully the bump will get us back to our fourth plaque!
Our persistence award goes to Mikaela Kumlander who played in all four heats, the semifinal and the final! A special nod to Chris Senhouse who played in all four heats and came in 2nd each time. One of his losses was on a tie breaker and another loss was by 1 point. You can't get much closer than that.
As any Saint Petersburg player will tell you, there is no "normal" score. We had one player win with 102 points while another player won their game with 41 points. Sometimes points are falling from the sky (341 points total for the table), and other times you're digging for every little scrap (134 points total for the table), grateful for every little Market you get, even in the last round, because you really, REALLY need that one point.
No matter how well you do, though, even a good score isn't enough. We had two tables where the LAST place player scored 76 points. This would have beaten the winning score at more than half of our tables!
And when a game of Saint Petersburg is close, it's really close. We had four ties, including one in the semifinals. One of our heat ties went to the 2nd tie breaker for 2nd place. Even without a true tie, some games were nail bitingly close. Two games (including one in the semifinals) saw a spread of 3 points from 1st to 4th. That's one of those games where you take a photo of all four score markers lined up to post on your Facebook page "I was THIS close!". But, then again, there are times when you finish and you wonder if you were playing the same game as everyone else. We had one game where the winner had a 31 point lead over second place and three games where 1st place more than double the last place score. Ouch.
And finally to wrap it up, this was overheard from another final sharing the room: “Last year I got trounced by an 11 year old. “ “Oh, that’s the WBC Experience!” We haven't had a youngster at the final table yet but we're looking forward to it! Looking at you Jack and Sam Wolff! See you all next year!