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Innovation (IOV) WBC 2023 Event Report 1
Updated November 13, 2023
32 Players Robb Effinger Event History
2023 Champion & Laurels

Effinger Wins Fourth Innovation Championship!

2023 was all in all an unremarkable year for our innovation tournament. We were moved into Seasons - an unfortunate swap, as we were pressed for space in both the early rounds, and the later rounds of our single-elimination tournament ran afoul of larger heats, but nothing world-ending. We drew 32 players, enough to have a 16 player single-elimination bracket - which was almost very awkward, as two of the players that would have qualified for it would have been randomly eliminated - but again, not the end of the world, as two of the winners had to drop. And we mostly kept on schedule, with a couple stragglers delaying the bracket start, as is par-for-course. Trying to summarize that into a single Innovation card, I think I’d call this year “Calendar” - pretty regular, nothing special.

The majority of games continued to be played on the 3rd Edition. It appears that there will be an Ultimate Edition/4th edition coming out in the future. I got some questions about how we will be handling the new edition during the week (the first of which let me know there was a new edition coming :), so sorry if I was unprepared to give a good answer to those at the time) - I’ll try to give a better answer here, but please do reach out if you have thoughts of your own. Since the crowdfunding (BackerKit) campaign is currently ongoing, we’re unable to say for sure what the effects of the base game will be. But based on the previews, it looks like some cards will be getting significant updates, including the addition of a new keyword, and a new age (Age 11) is being added to the game. When the 3rd edition was released, we had a year where we still preferred 1st edition, and we gathered feedback from players to see what their preference going forward was - most players preferred 3rd, so we made that the default going forward. I plan on following a similar model with the 4th edition - we will continue to default to 3rd edition for at least the first year after 4th has become widely available, and we will gather feedback from players. The updates from 1st to 3rd edition were fairly minor (some rebalancing on a small number of cards), so it wasn’t a very controversial or contested decision. Given the larger and much more functional changes from 3rd to 4th, I’m less convinced that we will end up making that switch - but maybe 4th edition will prove to be much more enjoyable and popular.

We played 63 games of Innovation this year. In the preliminary rounds, 39 were won via Achievements, 3 on Score, 4 on Bioengineering, 1 on Self Service, and 1 via Empiricism. During the single elimination bracket, 14 were won via Achievements and two via Self Service! Collaboration continues its 0% win method in recorded Innovation history.

The Semifinalists opted to play for their placement - Congratulations to Bronwyn Woods for beating last year’s winner Michael Thiessen and securing 3rd place.

The Final this year was played between Luke Koleszar and Robb Effinger. Thank you to Bronwyn for both providing some notes on the Final and keeping the game state legal. The game started with Luke using Tools to grab Machinery, while Robb used Pottery to build an early score pile. Luke looked around in the 3 deck and found Compass, which he used to steal Robb’s Pottery - his only card on his board - and since all of Luke’s top cards had leaves, Robb got nothing in return, leaving him with an empty board! Robb had already built up 5 points, though, so he started his next turn by achieving the 1. Or, at least, he tried to, until Bronwyn asked, “Is that legal?” At this point Robb and Luke realized that since Robb had no top card of level 1, he could not achieve the 1 (!). Robb’s first action then became “meld a 1” (Sailing), and his second was “Achieve the 1”.

Sailing found Archery, which Robb used to steal Education from Luke and get into the 3s. Meanwhile, Luke tried his hand at Alchemy… and exploded. With the help of Optics, Robb achieved the 2 and 3.

Luke found Experimentation and used that to find Coal. He scored some 4s, and then used Printing Press to get to age 6. Since Luke was behind on achievements and score, his game became that of “Tech up to find an answer,” whereas Robb’s game was still on team “Add points to score pile and grab the achievements.” Luke found some answers - he took an achievement, used vaccination to push Robb’s score down to 0, and found evolution to catapult himself into the 9s. Unfortunately for him, Robb was able to grab a late Monument by using Lighting twice in a turn to score 6 cards and win the game.

2023 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: 4
Luke Koleszar Bronwyn Woods Michael Thiessen Daniel Ottey Matthew Thiessen
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
GM Robb Effinger enjoying Semifinal game against Michael Thiessen. Luke Koleszar and Bronwyn Woods in Semifinal game.
Finalists Luke Koleszar and GM Robb Effinger.
GM  Robb Effinger [8th Year]