Eric Wrobel completed the extremely impressive 3-peat WBC Terraforming Mars championship, eking out a close win over Donte Saccenti, with Chad Weaver besting Bill Crenshaw for third.
Attendance was down to 115 players as we dropped a heat. Players responded well to banning Poseidon, Manutech, Point Luna and Vitor. Wins were widely distributed among corporations, with 18 different corporations (out of 48 reported results) winning. Credicorp led the way with 8 wins, Phobolog, Terractor, and Saturn Systems each had 5, and Ecoline and Morningstar had 4.
29 winners appeared for the Quarterfinal, with Dave Long graciously agreeing to drop out so we had 7 tables of 4 players each. The 7 Quarterfinal winners advanced to the Semifinal, along with Erik Mooney, who had lost on a tiebreaker in the Quarterfinal. The Semifinal featured a “young guns” table where Donte squeezed out a 3 point win over Eric Wrobel, who held off Andrew Martin by 1 to grab second, with Lumin Sperling completing the field and a “senior statesman” table where Chad Weaver ran away with the game and Bill Crenshaw held on to second by 3 points over Dan Addams, with Erik Mooney slipping to 4th.
The Final featured the GM (Bill), two assistant GMs (Eric and Chad) and a prior finalist, Donte. All good players and good friends, the game had more of the feel of a pickup game than a Final. The Elysium board was used, with most of the promo cards, and the starting colonies were Pluto, Triton, Europa, Io, Enceladus, and Miranda.
Bill went first but bemoaned his lame corporation choices. He settled for Thorgate over Ecoline (since Big Asteroid was in the draft), Robinson and Polyphemus. He played Acquired Space Agency (netting Giant Space Mirror and Ice Asteroid) and Power Generation for his Preludes. Recognizing all of the players favored an economy game, Bill built a colony on Pluto as his first action and discarded a card to get to $17 for his second action, which enabled him to colonize Luna when, as expected, Eric used his Aridor action to put Luna into play.
Donte played Valley Trust along with Research Network and Mining Operations. For his Valley Trust action, he chose Io Research Outpost and then built a colony on Pluto. He then played Research Outpost, giving him a good economic base but leaving him short of funds to build on Luna.
Chad played Stormcraft with Donation followed by Eccentric Sponsor to play Big Asteroid and completed the Pluto colony run. His Donation money enabled him to grab the last Luna colony spot.
Eric played Aridor, Loan and Metals Company. He got off to an amazingly fast start, putting Luna in play and colonizing it (a nice tradeoff for missing out on Pluto), followed by playing Earth Office, Luna Metropolis, Dirigibles, and Designed Microorganisms, parlaying Aridor into first generation income of 8, despite playing Loan. In gen 2 he played Community Services for another 4 income, enabling him to claim Specialist without breaking a sweat.
Bill had a tame gen 2, merely colonizing Triton, but started to progress in gen 3, playing Ice Asteroid, Mars U and Acquired Company. Donte also started slowly but took off in gen 3, playing trade discounts that ultimately enabled him to trade for 1 energy and Interplanetary Trade that boosted his income by 7. Gen 4 was even better, playing AI Central, Dev Center, Dusk Laser Printing and Robotic Workforce.
Chad had a solid Gen 2 with Nuclear Zone enabling him to grab the 3 cards from Olympus Mons and Titan Floating Launch Pad enabling him to trade. He followed that up with Advanced Alloys in Gen 3 (making him regret passing Metals Company to Eric) and Business Network in Gen 4, followed by Penguins in Gen 5.
Eric slowed down a little but was able to play Media Group and Jovian Lanterns, enabling him to claim Hoverlord in Gen 5, right after Chad claimed Legend, leaving Bill and Donte milestone-less. He also played an early Kelp Farming, taking advantage of the plentiful oceans, followed by Nitrogen Rich Asteroid to jack up his plant production in a very un-Eric like fashion. Eric later funded Landlord, having better board presence than the competition, which he ultimately won.
Bill played Earth Catapult on Gen 4, and later Warp Drive and Space Station, giving him 10 off space tags. He also had Power Infrastructure to get a little more income, but unfortunately for him, despite playing a number of science tags to trigger Mars U, he could not find the right cards to make up lost ground. He pivoted to plants but it was too little too late.
Meanwhile, Donte continued his strong game, playing Sky Docks, Orbital Cleanup, Martian Zoo and Gyropolis for 9 to vault into the income lead, leading him to fund Banker, which he won, and later Contractor, which he also won. By the end of the game, he had broken 60 income...as well as getting $10 from Martian Zoo and Orbital Cleanup. Not to mention 3 trade fleets, each trading for 1 energy with a bump! Donte had several more actions than anyone else, leading the table to believe he had completed his comeback.
As the game wound down in Gen 8, Eric started getting abused, leading to 3 separate reductions of his plant production. It was becoming apparent it was a battle between Eric and Donte. Chad, not wanting to play kingmaker, took mercy on Eric (after a little lobbying), declining to remove 3 plants from an asteroid. Chad also played Anti-Grav, Cutting Edge Technology and a 3 point Commercial District to make a late run. Eric stumbled a little, leaving a 2 greenery spot for Bill to sneak in a city after Eric tried to play a city card without having any energy production. Oops. Eric did not have any energy to trade with until Gen 8, although it didn’t slow him down too much.
When final scoring started, Eric had 41, Chad 39, Donte 38, and Bill 33. Eric extended his lead with 10 milestone points and 5 from Landlord to reach 56. Donte nudged into second with 10 points from Contractor and Banker. Chad got 5 from Legend and 2 from Contractor, while Bill was only able to pick up 4, 2 from Banker and Landlord.
City and Greenery points were split evenly among Donte (13), Eric (12), and Bill (12), with Chad (0) largely staying off the board. Eric’s Jovian Lanterns enabled him to pick up 20 resource points and ultimately was the difference, as Chad snuck into third with 14 due largely to Penguins, with Bill (8) and Donte (7) lagging behind. Donte made a big jump picking up 35 card points as Chad’s 30 and Bill’s 29 offset each other, with Eric having a mere 17. When the dust settled, it was enough to ensure Eric victory once again: Eric 105, Donte 103, Chad 90, and Bill 86 – all impressive scores for an 8 Gen game.
Eric’s ability to shift to a ground game when he wasn’t getting the high point cards, he typically relies on was most impressive. A hard fought win over top competition, all of whom were targeting him. Congrats Eric!