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Splendor (SPD) WBC 2023 Event Report
Updated November 5, 2023
198 Players Pascale Lefreniere Event History
2023 Champion & Laurels


Splendor continues to be an event that draws monster attendance, with 198 unique players entering the tournament this year. This is still down slightly from last year (206), as the event doesn’t seem to have recovered a somewhat significant drop off from pre-COVID years when attendance nearly broke 300. As the newness factor of a game begins to wear off after it has been around for a few years and the schedule gets busier with each successive convention, this is not too uncommon of a phenomenon.

With a smaller GM team for 2023, but a more streamlined approach to expeditious check-in and game initiation, as well as automated score submissions and results posting, the process of running the event now more closely resembles a well-oiled machine. Once again, an extra special thanks is due to the tech guru who helped a GM realize their dream - François de Bellefeuille. Sara Ward also stepped up big time in selflessly donating her time to make sure this event ran smoothly.

After three heats of play, some pretty neat things happened. All six Saccenti kids made the Quarterfinal cut (Antony, Donte, Holliday, Lynsey, Preston, and Pria). Old Man Scott also made the cut but did not show up when his number was called for the Quarterfinal seat assignments due to a Great Western Trail scheduling conflict.

Additionally, Cary Morris and his three sons (Luke, Zacary, and Maverick) also made the Quarterfinals. His youngest son Revin isn’t quite old enough to compete yet, but he will surely be there when his time comes. Fortunately, Revin had quite the time himself partaking in all of the fun adventures that Seven Springs has to offer while the rest of the gang was competitively gaming. Also notable is that perennial laurelist Rob Murray failed to win any of his three heats to advance.

While the Quarterfinal was packed with a total of ten Saccenti’s and Morris’s, only Luke Morris made it out alive to advance to the Semifinal round. Luke drew a pretty tough table against defending champion Michael Pustilnik, but both would lose out on a ticket to the Final to newcomer Bailey Burdett. The other Semifinal saw Pascale Lafrenière defeat event-leading laurelist Brandon Bernard and Ginger Thompson, while boardgaming deity Allan Jiang (AJ) took down Chris Wildes and Loc Nguyen.

It was a double-edged sword for new mom, Pascale. She was experiencing some separation anxiety through the elimination rounds and sorely missed her nine-month-old daughter and future power gamer, Camille. The Final was also encroaching on mealtime, so we might have had a first for WBC – breast feeding during a Final by one of the competitors. Upon agreement from the other Finalist, the GM assisted Pascale in taking gems and cards and paying costs for roughly the first half of the game.

Bailey started the game by reserving two big cards in seat 1: the 7G3R five-pointer and the 7G 4-pointer. Pascale opted to reserve middle tier cards with the 5R 2-pointer and 6BL 3-pointer while AJ reserved the 6R 3-pointer. Recognizing the result this would have on the game’s economy after the first five moves, Pascale immediately shifted gears away from the red requirement, but was able to keep enough of those gems away from the other players to provide just a little bit of resistance. AJ was able to play a cheap red card and acquire enough of his gems to complete his card in a reasonable amount of time. Bailey, who crushed the 4-player games, admitted to being inexperienced at the 3-player game and found himself in a tough position trying to complete the bigger gem cards with the reduced supply that the 3-player game presents compared to the 4-player game. Plus, sitting to AJ’s left is almost never a good thing in any game.

Never someone to be intimidated, Pascale executed a brilliant sequence of actions to edge AJ out 16-15 for the win! With a big smile across his face, AJ reached his hand across the table as Pascale played her winning move and congratulated her on the victory. Bailey was behind both with 11 points, needing another orbit in Seat 1 to score more points for a closer result. It was a moment that was emblematic of what makes WBC so great. Everyone in attendance and in the vicinity of the Final was elated for Pascale in winning her first shield. She’s a great gamer and an even better person – well-liked by everyone. This will surely be a story told to little Camille later in life about how she was instrumental in Mom’s big victory in this massive event.

2023 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: 2
Allan Jiang Bailey Burdett Brandon Bernard Michael Pustilnik Loc Nguyen
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
Enjoying Splendor in the opening Heats. Contemplating the next move.
A game for all generations. Several sharks, Morris & Bernard, at this table.
GM  Rob Murray [2nd Year]