It was good to be back in the GM saddle after a few years away; I even got to play in the 3rd round, which reflected the smooth sailing in this granddaddy of the Euro genre. The most dramatic play that I saw was a one-turn claim of both longest road and largest army, added to turning over 2 VP cards to from 4 to 10 in one swoop - but mostly, games were close as well as convivial. Which makes for enjoyable gaming and boring GM reports. Really the biggest thing to note is how great the players were: lots of thanks and happiness. Several noted that they liked the first-Saturday tournament completion, although of course that is a biased sample of the people present on the first Saturday :). I want to note with thanks the work of Rich Shipley in helming this event for several years - it got my son into coming to WBC with me, so this was a small token of thanks to both him and the con.
89 players with a total of 54 games across 3 heats produced 14 players with either 2 wins or first-second-second; the new point system for advancing I like very much. And it came into play not only for determining advancers: Chris Gnech claimed second in the Final, after being tied on points with Ed Prem, on the basis of a higher set of heat scores (which were two wins and a third vs two wins, Ed having won the first two and not needing to play the third to advance!). For guidance next year: finishing 1-2-3 across the three heats got you into the die roll for the 15th and 16th seats in the Semifinal. And a brief survey of tables confirmed that the most likely number to be rolled on two six-sided dice is 11.
The Final itself was one of the least close games: Chad Martin claimed a 10-7-7-5 victory rapidly. Told you the report would be boring. (OK, fine, one note: I was impressed with how many players knew the minutiae of what happens if a die roll would result in more resources being awarded than are available to distribute [answer: no-one gets them, assuming that at least two players are entitled to do so]: y'all are my kind of geek!). Like air travel, some tournaments are best when everything goes unremarkably...