2014 WBC Team Tournament—The 23th Run for the Slivers
July 29, 2014

History | Registered Teams/Odds | Tucker's Picks | How Odds Calculated

The TEAM tournament is now CLOSED for new submissions. The DEADLINE for Team Submissions was July 20, 2014.

TEAM TOURNAMENT: Teams are composed of any four players pre-registered as a team. Each team member must select a different event as his official game. Team members and games may change by July 20. No changes may take place on-site. In case of conflicting entries, the last version received was official. Teams consist of four pre-registered individuals. They must each select a different team game. Send the name of the team (up to 20 characters, including spaces), the name of each team member and his or her team game to the convention director at conventiondirector@boardgamers.org. (See also the Pre-Registration Flyer for details.)

All Team Points are awarded automatically when the GM turns in the Winner’s Claim for an event (see the Points Schedule). A bonus point will be awarded to everyone who earns team points in an event that they have previously not won. The team that gains the most points is the winner. The number of entrants in each team’s events is the tie-breaker.

Team Tournament Point Schedule
Entrants 1st 2nd 3rd-4th 5th-6th
128+ 10
64+ 9
32+ 8
16+ 7
8+ 6

Scoring: To improve the speed with which the standings are updated, Team Member, whether they score a point or not, should post their point totals on the Team Tournament kiosk Standings Board as soon as they are known. The Point Schedule is listed in the printed program. Those who score points in an event they have never won will receive one bonus point. While the self-service scoring is unofficial and subject to verification, it allows attendees to gain a current sense of where they are in the standings as the week unfolds. Since the results of some events are not known until the very end (and later) of the convention, the official scoring will be done the following week and posted here. Each member of the winning team receives a Team plaque and is memorialized on the website and in the Yearbook. The winning team will receive a plaque at the 2015 convention.

BRACKET BUSING CONTEST: All pre-registrants will receive an email invitation to participate in the bracket busting contest with the final teams and odds shortly before WBC begins. Join the fun and win a free membership next year by picking the most Top Ten teams.

2014 Teams, by ranking and submission order [as of July 23, 2014]
Rankings courtesy of Jeff Cornett. | Download the Team Statistics Summary
Click on the graphic to see a larger version. Unofficial team logos courtesy of Dave Dockter and Kaarin Engelmann.
If you would like to supply your own team logo, send it to webmaster@boardgamers.org. PP=Predicted Points

1 2 3 4 5
Nest of Spies
Team #: 14
Odds: 21-1
PP: 25.9
James Pei FTP,
David Dockter POG,
Stefan Mecay TWS,
Chris Byrd HRC
Wood Bee Contenders
Team #: 32
Odds: 22-1
PP: 24.7
Bill Crenshaw MOV,
Jason Levine FDE,
Doug Galullo ACV,
Jeff Cornett BCY
The Harry B's
Team #: 71
Odds: 24-1
PP: 22.5
Harry Flawd PDT,
Bruce Reiff FBS,
Bruce Beard 8XX,
Bruce Monnin WAS
Me & 3 Stiffs
Team #: 28
Odds: 26-1
PP: 21.0
Keith Wixson HRC,
Marvin Birnbaum WWR,
Henry Rice MAN,
Brad Johnson RRY
Uncivil Servants
Team #: 41
Odds: 27-1
PP: 20.1
Kevin Youells ACV,
Ty Hansen A&A,
Ewan McNay BRI,
Chris Trimmer GOA
6 7 8 9 10

Band of Fools
Team #: 9
Odds: 29-1
PP: 18.9
Richard Beyma WAT,
Gary Dicksn TRC,
Michael Dauer POG,
Tom Gregorio BWD

Magic Men
Team #: 52
Odds: 30-1
PP: 18.1
Randy Buehler AGE,
Sceadeau D'Tela AGR,
Andrew Emerick EGZ,
Ed Fear POF

We Ain't Dead Yet
Team #: 47
Odds: 31-1
PP: 17.4
Bruno Sinigaglio BAR,
Don Greenwood BKN,
Larry Lingle QGB,
Roy Gibson ACS
Greenville Mafia: War
Team #: 75
Odds: 33-1
PP: 16.6
Josh Githens CMS,
John Emery UPF,
Bryan Collars CBC,
Bruce Young ATS
Polish Lancers
Team #: 17
Odds: 36-1
PP: 15.2
John Poniske WWR,
Rick Young CCA,
David Metzger AHD,
Paul Gaberson WNW
11 12 13 14 15
Roll One Die
Team #: 6
Odds: 37-1
PP: 14.7
Lisa Gutermuth FMR,
Sean McCulloch BAT,
Jeff Mullet AOR,
Pete Stein CCA
Team #: 10
Odds: 39-1
PP: 13.9
Martin Sample ACS,
Bob Sohn ABN,
Aaron Fuegi TT2,
Dave Finberg TTN
EPGS 3: Four to Beam Up
Team #: 62
Odds: 41-1
PP: 13.3
Ken Horan LHV,
Steve Cameron GXY,
Jim Savarick PGD,
Jim Heenehan HRC
Iron Meeples
Team #: 15
Odds: 43-1
PP: 12.7
Kevin Wojtaszczk WOR,
Nels Thompson BKN,
Derek Pulhamus CBC,
Grant LaDue WNW

Hombres Locos
Team #: 1
Odds: 44-1
PP: 12.2
Peter Reese WNW,
George Young WWR,
Andrew Maly BAR,
Bill Edwards CBC

16 17 18 19 20

Team #: 4
Odds: 45-1
PP: 12.0

John Sharp VIP,
Bob Hamel GSR,
Bruno Wolff TT2,
Ed Menzel GBG

EPGS 1: Wabbit's Wevenge
Team #: 60
Odds: 49-1
PP: 11.1
Greg Thatcher AMR,
Barb Flaxington PRO,
Chris Moffa GOA,
Craig Moffit E&T
Cold Fusion
Team #: 49
Odds: 49-1
PP: 11.1
Rich Atwater TTN,
Jason Ley AGE,
Robb Effinger ELG,
Geoff Pounder IOV
Ghost Division
Team #: 57
Odds: 50-1
PP: 10.9
Kevin Hammond BKN,
Andrew Cummins SQL,
Jim ELiason VIP,
John Sutcliffe POG
Avenel Hill Game Co
Team #: 45
Odds: 50-1
PP: 10.8
Andy Gardner VIP,
Ben Gardner GSR,
Pat Richardson DOM,
Henry Richardson B17
21 22 23 24 25
Cynical Stoics
Team #: 8
Odds: 51-1
PP: 10.6
Derek Landel WOG,
Matt Bacho EIS,
Mike Ussery HRC,
Eric Wrobel MOV
Now Playing
Team #: 20
Odds: 54-1
PP: 10.1
David Meyaard ELC,
Jon Gemmel CAR,
Karl Henning GXT,
Nick Henning AUT
Super Conductors
Team #: 66
Odds: 54-1
PP: 10.0
Jeff Jackson RBN,
Trella Bromley TTR,
Debbie Gutermuh EPB,
Ken Gutermuth WPS
Gang Greene
Team #: 22
Odds: 57-1
PP: 9.4
Rob McCracken TRC,
Mark Miklos  BAR,
David Stiffler MMW,
Andy Lewis SFR
The Shockers
Team #: 46
Odds: 59-1
PP: 9.2
 Justin Thompson JUC,
Marty Musella PZB,
John Schoose QGB,
Bert Schoose  BAT
26 27 28 29 30
Gaming Speed Bumps
Team #: 7
Odds: 67-1
PP: 8.2
Lee Rodrigues KRM,
Craig Yope EOS,
Robert Frisby ANZ,
Richard Irving UPF
Flush Stein
Team #: 56
Odds: 76-1
PP: 7.1
Mark Mitchell GXY,
Chris Kizer TTR,
Dennis Nicholson WAS,
Richard Curtin SET
Beach Bums
Team #: 50
Odds: 77-1
PP: 7.0
Ed Beach GCA,
Sarah Beach T&T,
Matthew Beach WOG,
Natalie Beach SLS
Team X
Team #: 40
Odds: 78-1
PP: 7.0
Dan Dolan Sr ELC, 
Dan Dolan Jr CCA,
Tim Dolan PDT,
Chriz Storzillo BAR
St Paul's Rejects
Team #: 12
Odds: 82-1
PP: 6.6
John Pack VIP,
Steve Packwood A&A,
Sam Packwood EPB,
Paul Weintraub PRC
31 32 33 34 35

Team #: 24
Odds: 83-1
PP: 6.5
Mark Guttag FI5,
Lyman Moquin SKG,
Ron Draker NAP,
Malcolm Smith HOS

Lady Luck
Team #: 34
Odds: 85-1
PP: 6.4
Rebecca Hebner EGZ,
Angela Collinson CMS,
Jamie Tang TTR,
Tamara Houde RRY
Lampeter Swamp Dogs
Team #: 23
Odds: 86-1
PP: 6.3
Michael Rinella BKN,
Mark Giddings DOM,
Brian Smith RBN,
Randy Heller KFE

Team Mantis Shrimp
Team #: 44
Odds: 88-1
PP: 6.2
Andy Latto T&T,
Chris Shabsin RFG,
Eric Brosius FI5,
Kate Fractal GXT

Bubble Gum Syndicate
Team #: 79
Odds: 93-1
PP: 5.8
Rob Murray T&T,
Kyle Smith EGZ,
Joel Lytle AGE,
John Corrado BRS

36 37 38 39 40
Pea Soup
Team #: 30
Odds: 99-1
PP: 5.5
Jean-Francois Gagne DUN,
Eric Caron M44,
Marc Beauregard MED,
Stephane Dorais ABN
The Mongols
Team #: 30
Odds: 102-1
PP: 5.3
Joe Harrison M44,
Sophia Harrison SET,
Tom Johnston TTN,
David Gubbay QGB
Cardboard Heroes
Team #: 18
Odds: 102-1
PP: 5.3
Kathy Stroh MOV,
Bill Navolis RRY,
Cliff Ackman SPG,
Steve Squibb ACS
Team Delaware XXI
Team #: 53
Odds: 102-1
PP: 5.3
Tim Hitchings M44,
John Kirk CCN,
Vince Meconi WAS,
Verity Hitchings PRC
Greenville Mafia: Death
Team #: 76
Odds: 105-1
PP: 5.2
Kevin Emery DSP,
Ralph Gleaton UPF,
Bill Beckman SSB,
Toni Githens KOT
41 42 43 44 45
Minions of Puppy
Team #: 38
Odds: 106-1
PP: 5.1
Ian Streeb NVG,
Mariissa Bianco AGR,
Steven LeWinter VSD,
Cary Morris STA
Team #: 13
Odds: 108-1
PP: 5.0
Joe Millovich CAR,
Henry Allen TTR,
Lewis Lin SPG,
Paul Klayder STA
Hello Kitty Kommandos
Team #: 80
Odds: 118-1
PP: 4.6
Chris Bauch MMS,
Allen Kaplan CCA,
Sarah Bauch SMW,
Terry Coleman AHD
Shrubbery & Herring
Team #: 16
Odds: 135-1
PP: 4.0
L. Dan Hoffman POF,
Keith Levy IVH,
Adam Oliner LWL,
Jim Sparks WAW
Operation Ragnarok
Team #: 59
Odds: 137-1
PP: 4.0
Daniel Blumentritt VIP,
Darren Kilfara WAS,
Haakon Monson RRY,
Gareth Williams M44
46 47 48 49 50
Aces & Eights
Team #: 54
Odds: 154-1
PP: 3.5
Ron Glass WSM,
Mike Horn KPR,
Doug Landon NVG,
Pat Mirk SFR
Chicks With Dice
Team #: 19
Odds: 173-1
PP: 3.1
Laurie Wojtaszczyk LST,
Kaarin Engelmann SLS,
Marilyn Flowers YSP,
Rolinda Collinson GSR
Dyer Straits
Team #: 5
Odds: 177-1
PP: 3.0
Bill Dyer FDE,
Liam Dyer CCN,
Jacob Dyer DUN,
Quinn Dyer RRY
Les Patriotes
Team #: 39
Odds: 181-1
PP: 3.0
Anthony Lainesse 8XX,
François de Bellefeuille B&O,
Dominic Blai COB,
Romain Jacques AUT
3 Brits & a Yank
Team #: 73
Odds: 189-1
PP: 2.9
Nick Smith CQP,
Peter Card HIS,
Chris Hancock SCT,
Mark Love MMA
51 52 53 54 55
Harley Gang
Team #: 2
Odds: 202-1
PP: 2.7

Russell Harley SCT,
Kathryn Harley LST,
Christina Harley ACV,
Virginia Harley HWD

The Strat Pack
Team #: 81
Odds: 215-1
Carolyn Caton FDE,
Vien Bounma SPG,
Kelly Krieble SGM, 
Eric Ritter SCC

Transit Boys
Team #: 37
Odds: 215-1
PP: 2.5
Tedd Mullally EPB,
Chris Kreuter CAR,
Jeremiah Peterson SJN,
Eric Heller COB
Haliquoit Hammers
Team #: 58
Odds: 217-1
PP: 2.5
Michael Kiefte HIS,
Anna Kiefte CNC,
David Kiefte LBY,
Rob Winslow WOG

Dice Loving Canucks
Team #: 48
Odds: 223-1
PP: 2.4
Nick Page LHV,
Sara Vanderwal COB,
Duncan McGregor CNC,
Andrew Drummond MED

56 57 58 59 60
Greenville Mafia: Famine
Team #: 77
Odds: 227-1
PP: 2.4
Carl Sykes SET,
Tim Rogers HNT,
Dan Lawall RRY,
Ken Richards ACQ
Jay's Basement
Team #: 31
Odds: 228-1
PP: 2.4
Albert Scwartz TTR,
Bruce DuBoff AHB,
Jay Fox ELG,
Yoel Weiss LST
Wrath of Don
Team #: 27
Odds: 231-1
PP: 2.3
Phil Yaure LBY,
Deb Yaure TZK,
Chris Yaure WOR,
Kurt Kramer 8XX
Greenville Mafia: Pestilence
Team #: 78
Odds: 289-1
PP: 1.9
RJ Gleaton PRC,
Michael Sana CNS,
Mike Hazel ELG,
Bill Burtless TTR
Inglorious Basterds
Team #: 74
Odds: 321-1
PP: 1.7
Jim Doughan ATS,
Andrew Doughan TWS.
Cal Doughan DOM,
Jack Doughan PRC
61 62 63 64 65
Avatar: the 4 Elements
Team #: 68
Odds: 341-1
PP: 1.6
Rachal LaDue SPG,
Kristen LaDue SLS,
Morgan LaDue LLM,
Ginger Thompson LST
Lions of Winter
Team #: 42
Odds: 349-1
PP: 1.5
Derek Glenn DOM,
Eric Ho AGR,
Chris McCurry 7WS,
Keith Dent COB
Team #: 65
Odds: 366-1
PP: 1.5
Perrianne Lurie SPG,
Chris Gnech EPB,
Larry Loiacono C&K,
Robert St Pierre MED
We Go to IUP
Team #: 36
Odds: 372-1
PP: 1.5
Joe Yaure  ING,
Samantha Berk BAT,
Robert Berk FI5,
Heather Kwolek  DOM
Talk to the Hand
Team #: 69
Odds: 375-1
PP: 1.4
Carol Haney PRC,
Bobbi Warczak TAM,
Frank Braag RDG,
Steve Scott RA
66 67 68 69 70
The Cabooses
Team #: 3
Odds: 376-1
PP: 1.4
Yoni Weiss LST,
Adina Weiss SET,
Drew Duboff TTR,
Max DuBoff GXY

Blobs of Protoplasm
Team #: 29
Odds: 377-1
PP: 1.4
John Keating ACS,
Shannon Keating LST,
Bjorn von Knorring MAR,
Joel Tamburo CIS

Local Yokels
Team #: 33
Odds: 387-1
PP: 1.4
Chad Weaver DOM,
Dusty Usner CAR,
Erik Schlosser 7WS,
Rich Miller AGR
Age Differential
Team #: 70
Odds: 412-1
PP: 1.3
Adam Wojtaszczyk RA!,
Victoria Reiff LID,
Gracie Mullet PGF,
Mike Stanley CMS
EPGS 2: Mountin' Laurels
Team #: 61
Odds: 419-1
PP: 1.3

Mike Kaltman SPY,
Scott Salvatore WLL,
Tim O'Flynn STA,
Bob Stribula EPB
71 72 73 74 75
Where's Virginia?
Team #: 72
Odds: 448-1
PP: 1.2

Craig Melton FMR,
Joanna Melton GXY,
Rebecca Melton TTA,
Thomas Melton BBS
Team #: 11
Odds: 508-1
PP: 1.1
Roger Taylor MMS,
Paul McCarthy TWS,
Chris Godfrey KFE,
Phil Rodrigues NW5
Team #: 25
Odds: 644-1
PP: 0.8
Fred Bauer HOS,
Sherry Bryant M44,
Rob McKinney CQP,
Evan Woodham 989
Getting Lucky
Team #: 67
Odds: 770-1
PP: 0.7
Corey Averill PRO,
Cater Waite TTA,
Ashton Worley B17,
Ashley Worley GXT
The Lunch Bunch
Team #: 43
Odds: 940-1
PP: 0.6
Cody Zimmerman T&T,
Dave Blisard SMW,
Jennifer Gorman RA,
Patrick Gorman EGZ
76 77 78 79 80
Mean Sheep
Team #: 26
Odds: 1035-1
PP: 0.5
Barrett Straub PRC,
Jason Long, POF,
Dana Champion 7WS,
Zachary Felix RRY
EPGS 4: Mandatory Fun
Team #: 63
Odds: 1193-1
PP: 0.5
Mark Maginty HIS,
Keith Layton 775,
Dave Bohnenberger CNS,
Jim Vroom FBS
Miller's Mob
Team #: 35
Odds: 1655-1
PP: 0.3
Jeff Miller HWD,
Laura Miller T&T,
Patti Swift DOM,
George Swift STA
Team #: 51
Odds: 2173-1
PP: 0.2
Mark Herman CIS,
Zach Lawrence FTP,
Rich Phares EOS,
Peter Perla 775
Princess & the Frogs
Team #: 21
Odds: 2296-1
PP: 0.2
Holiday Saccenti CNS,
Scott Saccenti T&T,
Antony Saccenti YSP,
Donte Saccenti COB
Turn 10 Monoliths
Team #: 64
Odds: 54075-1
PP: 0.0
Will Bleier SMW,
Joe Kelleher DOM,
John Ratana ELG,
Pete Noteman AGR

Cornett's Comments, Part Two

By Jeff Cornett

Germantown, MD, July 22, 2014— Interesting statistics from the latest update are as follows: 

  • The top 10 teams have a combined 37% probability that one of them will win.
  • Teams ranked 11-40 have a combined 49% chance, so it is most likely that the winner will come from their ranks.
  • The bottom 39 teams have only a 14% chance that one of them will win.  However, the lowest ranked team is a complete dark horse team.  Although their odds are 54075 to 1, they could be a very good team but all just new to the WBC.

Tucker’s Picks, Part Five
By Stuart K. Tucker

Germantown, MD, July 21, 2013—The moment of truth approaches. It is time for me to set my lineup for the Bracket Busters contest. I’ve applied my own advice as best as I can. I’ve ignored the computer and let my better judgment rule. As I reveal these choices, of course, I’m inviting failure. As soon as a player is a favorite (and a team as well), the competition suddenly gets better at WBC. Everybody loves to be a spoiler. Those are the risks of this game. Such dangers are part of my calculations. So, it is time to reveal my Top Ten picks.

But first. Ahem. I know The Harry B’s ALWAYS submit their entry as late as possible so as to avoid mention in these columns. Nice try. Yep, once again the computer rates them highly, and once again I agree. They enter multiple-entry sports events, you have to like that approach. They dominate many events, not just their team events. They avoid multiplayer events, mostly. And we all love to see them fail (or at least win the wrong wood each year). I personally will be trying to upset their cart in a few of their events (well, let’s be reasonable, not in 8XX). Now back to the column …

Following my own advice, I’ve sifted out more than half of the computer’s top ten. In so doing, I’m deliberately passing on those highly-ranked teams that are trying to win points in HRC. Face it, that is a tough one to predict, so it is safest to assume they all fail in that event. That eliminates some good teams:  Nest of Spies, Me & 3 Stiffs, and EPGS3 Four to Beam Up. The hard truth is that each has other possible weaknesses that combine to sink their chances. I’m keeping Wood Bee Contenders, The Harry B’s, Uncivil Servants, and Band of Fools.

For the next pieces of my Top Ten, I’m picking some teams from the mid-ranks. I like KGB A as a team with very capable players entering winnable events. I like Pea Soup for their proven abilities in their events, even if they are mainly multiplayer. I’ve previously mentioned my views on Cynical Stoics, who remain in my final picks. I’m also going with Now Playing in a nod to some youthful talent who should never be underrated.

Finally, I pick two underrated long-shots to round out my Ten. I’ll go with Shrubbery & Herring because I know these guys can win anything to which they apply themselves. Last, but not least, I must pick a team of women who have both skill and crowd sympathy, Chicks with Dice, should they decide to win this year.

There you go. Pick differently at your own risk. Personally, I’d love to see how Don divides the prize if a large number of Bracket Buster entries follow my advice straight down the line!!!

Tucker’s Bracket Buster Entry, in Alphabetical Order:
Band of Fools
Chicks with Dice
Cynical Stoics
The Harry B’s
Now Playing
Pea Soup
Shrubbery & Herring
Uncivil Servants
Wood Bee Contenders

Tucker’s Picks, Part Four
By Stuart K. Tucker

Germantown, MD, July 19, 2013—As you review your racing form before you place your bet, sometimes you realize that it may be a lot easier to pick out the losers than the winners. Finding flaws or faults in a horse’s chances may be a lot more obvious to you than the superiority of a winner. In this case, you are betting by elimination. If you can eliminate enough horses then you have a decent sense of how to bet. Well, this may still leave you with many potential winners. In such cases, you have to work combination bets, wheels, boxes, multiple exactas, and so forth. Such betting gives you lots of possible winning combinations—all having the same common denominator:  you are betting against all those horses you think have no chance.

Picking a Top Ten entry list can be much like this process of finding faults. Which teams have chosen players and games that seem highly improbable? You can start at either end of the odds list. Most will look first at the ten favorites and try to decide if any of them should be dropped from their list. Others will start with the longshots and quickly eliminate those that have too many obstacles to victory. Either way, ultimately you are choosing to bet AGAINST some 70+ other teams. Have good reasons for discounting their chances. If you find a mid-range team actually is fairly solid, well then, perhaps they should be the first team IN, when you decide which of the ten favorites you choose to be OUT.

It is hard to do this until we have the full entry list of teams, but keep these Fault-Finding principles in mind for your final selection. To end up in the top ten, teams need winners, not just second/third place finishes. The teams not winning at least two Woods really have no chance in the point system. A team needs to be legit to make the finals in their events and when they get there, they must be strong candidates to win. Even teams with four players in finals can fall short, if they face opponents they just can’t beat. Yes, there are definite events in which you simply don’t want to be betting against the former champions. Take a look at the event records and stay away from teams entering events dominated by other players. Coming to mind quickly are events like FTP if your name isn’t Pei. Or FBS if you aren’t the famous Bruce.

Of course, if the game has dice, anything can happen, but I still wouldn’t enter my team in PDT against the Flawds and expect success. RRY may be fun, but don’t expect a team to win against Johnson. Avoid events against Fields. A team is suicidal going against Mecay in TWS. There are also plenty of games in which the top 8 players are all tough to beat. It may be hard to expect a new winner to break into such a group. However, it may be hard to support any of those 8 against each other. The odds are sinking fast for such teams. This is one reason HRC is not likely to be an event won by the Team Champions—and a good reason for a decade of futility by the favored Nest of Spies. Similarly, a small cadre of Titan players keep beating up each other, and dampening their team chances. But when they hit, look out, the job of the rest of the team just got easier.

Drop teams that seem to want to take on the entire world. Sure, one of them may make a stunning breakthrough and win Slapshot against more than 200 opponents. But will two other teammates be equally successful in large events? If you are going to pick a team with a couple of large events represented, at least make sure they have multiple heats so that the player can maximize opportunities to advance out of the first round. In fact, from there the player may find things easier, as the press of conflicting schedules weeds out some of the advancers who end up skipping round 2! So, favor the large multiplayer/multiheat events over those dice rolling late night single elimination events. And again, this can’t be the nature of the entire team. Some of the baton carriers must be in more manageable events, of say 40 opponents or fewer.

You can pick teams that have entries in large Euros, but if the game is relatively new, be sure the team is knowledgeable. The new Euros may indeed be easy in the early rounds due to the number of novice entrants, but they will certainly be filled with sharks in the finals.

I tend to pick against family teams, not because they can’t play, but because no matter how well the elders teach the youngsters, there is a certain tunnel vision in play style around the family gaming table. Call it group think—nobody has questioned the winning strategy dominant in the family. This can lead to rude awakenings at WBC, where true champions know MANY ways to skin a cat. I remember getting into the finals of Princes of Florence in my first year of playing it by playing a simple strategy of denial.

I made sure that nobody got a Jester for a low price in the first 4 turns. This so befuddled most opponents because they were used to picking one up by then, and doing it cheaply on turn 3 or 4. But when I got to the finals, two of my opponents knew perfectly well how to deal with the high prices and find an alternate strategy (the third opponent just went ballistic in refusal to adapt, and both of us went down to defeat). Most family teams simply don’t have enough range of experience in their events to know all the nuances and tricks and alternate paths. So, know your families. Do they have wider experience in a large gaming club in the off-season? If you aren’t sure, strike them from your list.

Oh, and if an entrant can’t claim to have played Puerto Rico 200 times, write him or her off. Still too much of a novitiate to survive in PRC at WBC.

Do a little preliminary exercise now. Look at the current top ten favorites. Surely at least five of them won’t be in the actual top ten. Can you eliminate five, picking them out for their flawed entries? If you can’t, how do you expect to pick a long-shot team or mid-ranked team for your entry? The weaknesses may not be glaring, but they exist and help you to navigate your way to a successful Pick Ten entry.

Cornett's Comments, Part One

By Jeff Cornett

Germantown, MD, July 7, 2014—The computer has perfect formulas that are based on past WBC performance.  Unavoidably however, it does have a weakness but only when it comes to predicting players who are new to WBC, or with events that are new to WBC, and/or with good players who are playing in a new event in which they have not competed before at WBC.

Otherwise, it is perfect ... except of course for dice rolls, card draws, table seeding, and also the effects of going-after-the-leader diplomacy in multi-player games.

Otherwise, it really is perfect ... except for previously unranked players who have been practicing ... also with expert players who do not take their opponents seriously.

... Otherwise, perfection in predicting the inevitable!

Tucker’s Picks, Part Three

By Stuart K. Tucker

Germantown, MD, June 29, 2013—Another crucial aspect of horseracing is pace. Do you expect your competition to be chomping at the bits to dash to the lead, setting unreal early quarters, then dying in the final stretch? That’s kind of how I play Hannibal. I just can’t seem to get in a strong Round 3-4 combo, so my Round 5 leaves me perennially in seventh place in the tournament. Or will all your real contenders hold back until they can clear the corner and then bum rush you in the final stretch? That’s kind of how I win at Win, Place & Show (should I be recruited for a team!).

How do we judge pace issues at WBC for the Bracket Busting competition? Well, it is kind of like checking on which horses are being held out of the Preakness and entering the Belmont. You can’t blame these for entering their strongest race, but a guy going for the Triple Crown can certainly resent the impression that he’s facing a hit squad. (Yet another hint to avoid multiplayer games without a wearing a good disguise.) Face it, the Team Competition can be brutal. Not only are teammates gunning for Wood despite their teammate’s representation in the same event for the team, but also other teams are looking for ways to shoot down your contenders. I personally hunt down key contenders in various sports games, all in good fun of course, but also a useful way to keep other team points down.

So, as you review your Top Ten list, think long and hard about the visibility of your horses. Are they obvious targets for other players in multiplayer games? Are they likely to face bitter rivalries from their roommates? Are they running for the Board this year? Oops, strike that last one as irrelevant. Are they defending champions in games that are hard to repeat? Teams with these liabilities will face uphill battles to emerge with points.

Then, let’s consider the “clean ride” aspect. You want your horse to break out of the gate cleanly, find a good spot near the rail, but not boxed in, then surge at the right moment without having to go wide on any turn. What is a clean ride at WBC? The early heats tend to be so. Check out your Top Ten teams for their potential to win early heats to avoid strong competitors mid-week. This is most pertinent to multiplayer events, but there are a few others with mulligan rounds, etc. Pay attention to the tricks of heat entry. This could well payoff well for your chosen entry.

REVIEW OF TEAMS 13 TO 23: One of the thoroughbred teams with the endurance to win grueling events is often-favored Nest of Spies, who this year have four very top contenders (none ranked lower than fourth in their event). Can the favorite be overrated? Certainly. The key is always Dockter’s travel schedule, but this team can make the top ten with only three legs; so drop them from your list at extreme peril. A team that can benefit from a clean ride is Chicks With Dice, who are not only accomplished gamers, but enter events with high scoring potential. They may not be top ten, but they can be one of your longshot sleepers.

Another team I like for the underrated longshot role is Shrubbery & Herring, with players all quite capable in their events, providing a lot of upside potential. Beware Polish Lancers and Iron Meeples, both facing a lot of accomplished competition in their chosen events. Another team that might face a rough trip is Now Playing, a team with plenty of talent, but no longer flying under anybody’s radar. I’m passing on Princess & the Frogs, Gang Greene, and Lampeter Swamp Dogs, all teams with glaring weaknesses.

Tucker’s Picks, Part Two

By Stuart K. Tucker

Germantown, MD, June 20, 2013—One of the more difficult tasks of the handicapper is assessing new talent. It is easy to rank veteran players based upon their historical records. Unfortunately, the competitive atmosphere at the WBC is ever changing. New events provide new opportunities to score team points. Old events see a different field of entrants each year. Players, distracted throughout the year by the latest shiny toy, may not keep up their proficiency in their old favorites. Players once thought of as novices, or even patsies, pick up a few tricks in the offseason and present early round surprises to veterans. In short, betting on the past is likely to receive a rude awakening. And yet, that is all that the computer ratings can do. The odds are based on expecting results consistent with the past. There is no model for predicting the decline of a boardgamer like we expect a sports athlete’s production to ebb as he ages. There are no effective scouting combines to tell us about the rising stars soon to make their name.

So, what am I saying? Should we by implication bet against the old hands? Throw out the five-time winner and expect a traveler from afar to pull an upset? Bet on the teenage newbie entering a mass event of 200+ players? Such chaotic thoughts disturb the Bracket Buster’s sense of order. What reasoning can we draw upon?

Let’s recall that the very term “Bracket Buster” is from March Madness—that annual work-cooler betting pool for College basketball in which Hoops fanatics habitually lose to the English Aunt who picks based upon the names alone. Why do they lose, you ask? They lose every year because they bet too much on the sure favorites. Inevitably, their betting bracket gets busted by upsets. In the cases of the savvy bettors, they understand the need to pick long-shots, but usually can’t guess the timing of their successes and failures.

So, as you select your entry for the Top Ten finishers in the Team Tournament, take a leaf from March Madness. Expect upsets, but don’t overplay them. In basketball, we see upsets in roughly one-quarter of the games during the Round of 64. However, by the time of the Sweet 16, talent wins out. The long-shots fold to the blue bloods of basketball. Similarly, your betting card for the Top Ten should contain a healthy quantity of favorites mixed in with a judicious selection of the unexpected. Don’t sweat out the differences among the well-known favorites. Put your efforts into finding three, maybe four, long-shot teams that for some reason will put it all together and win enough events. This is the way you will differentiate your betting card from others and win the Bracket Buster competition.

Finding the upsets won’t be easy, but you are not without resources. Among the rising star talent there will surely be a few former winners from the teen tournaments. Certainly, youngsters who play games in their own families are in perfect offseason training environments. For new events, find similar or sister games and expect winning talent to flow into the new event. Check on the distance players travel; that can be an indication of their motivation and commitment to winning. However, beware the family teams towing along a few weak siblings. Similarly, club teams may value their society goals more than Darwinian excellence; check out their track records in prior years before backing them. Face it, some events are harder to dominate than others. Therein is your opportunity to bet on the long-shot. Pick some new faces to win those multiplayer games, where the known veterans frequently get hunted down. Don’t choose a team with unproven entrants in grognard games; let’s be real.

In short, as you turn your nose up at the long odds of some teams, double check to see if contrary results might just be possible. A few choicely-selected long-shots will be your inside advantage.

REVIEW OF TEAMS 8 TO 12:  So putting this wisdom in practice, we have to ask if the current long-shot, Kromp-on-Krewe should be on your list. They have the advantage of entering a game of dice luck, a new game, and a multiplayer game where former champions never repeat, but the killer event is Twilight Struggle (don’t count on points there, my friends). I’ll pass on them this year. I’m also passing on MIT SGS, because I don’t like their two big multiplayer games for this tournament—way too unpredictable. That said, if we have a down year, their dominance of Titan alone could get them in the top six. St. Paul’s Rejects are trying for points in unwon events, and they are certainly capable players, but I’m just not feeling it (again, the computer may be overrating them). I like Cynical Stoics for having strong players who might pass under most people’s radar—a lot of upside potential there, and clearly underrated by the computer.

Tucker’s Picks, Part 1
By Stuart K. Tucker

Germantown, MD, June 13, 2014—Before you read this, REGISTER. All team members must be registered by June 30 to enter the Team Tournament. You can form your team as late as July 20, but only with registered players. Get on it. Don’t expect favors in July. Whip your teammates into shape—you have only 2 weeks to get them all registered.

We’re doing something a little different this year. Jeff Cornett will once again provide you Bracket Busters with his Computer Ratings, but I’m retiring my Baton Ratings system and turning to something entirely more effective—my intuition. I feel like I know you all (but some only from afar). In any case, we thought it’d be interesting to pit man versus machine this year. So, my column will be about tossing out the overrated and finding the underrated, but most of all, zeroing in on a viable Top Ten card of picks. Why me? Because I’m just about as gullible as the Dumb Ass Partners who own California Competition. Certainly just as opinionated. Maybe not so whiney. Very willing to spout off my wisdom. (But really, if you see Mark Love in time, try to steal his views.)

When a bettor reaches the window to place his money where his mouth is, you can be sure his gutt is telling him many contradictory things. First, he’s viewed the horses. He knows which ones are happy and which ones are distracted. He doesn’t want to bet on the complacent horse, but he certainly doesn’t want to back one which isn’t showing confidence or appears agitated. This can be a fine line that is difficult to discern. The same is true of BPA competitors. Second, he doesn’t want to back a horse on a losing streak. Yet, the Bounce-Bounce Back syndrome is so prevalent, he just can’t resist taking last year’s underperformer. Third, he wants to back a steady winner, but he knows that the big money comes from the long shots in large fields.

So, what is a bettor to do? Exactas, Trifectas, Wheels—do whatever it takes to mix and match favorites and long-shots in order to have a chance at big money. Don’t be a favorite-lover all the time (apparently 5 out of 9 bettors learned the hard way at the Belmont). I’ll try to clue you into my insights on who to toss out as nonviable bets and who just might have the pedigree to be your winner.

I will spare nobody any feelings. I’ll call it like it is, while trying to be fair. Come read Tucker’s Picks before you make your final bet slip for the Bracket Busters competition. Watch the Computer Ratings, but be willing to throw them out. This is more like riding a wave than doing math. This year we shall prove that.

EARLY ENTRANTS:  Of the first seven entrants, we can throw out these teams as having too few top contenders in their events:  Harley Gang, Dyer Straits, and The Cabooses. You have to like Gaming Speed Bumps talent, but I rate their top end to be a little shallow. Hombres Locos has plenty of top-contender talent in their events, but their events include many very tough opponents, so for now we keep them, but they may not make our final top ten. AREA has more of an upside with four solid contenders, though event size and prior wins may dampen their chances for a Team Championship. Keep them in your top ten for the moment. The clear standout, though, from this initial pool of entries, is Roll One Die. Their main weakness is having two entries in multiplayer games where their potential fame becomes a drawback (even if gender favors success in FMR). I suspect that Roll One Die will be on many a Bracket Buster betting slip, and probably on minw (even if I do want to enter a couple of there events to try to upset them).

See you in a few days when we have more entries. Now, get out there and recruit yourself a winning team!!!! (BTW, I am available this year for all events, for those of you willing to give a Has Been a baton. Full Disclosure:  last year my team could have made the top ten had I scored a bit better than a zero.) Those of you insiders paying attention, realize now that there goes Reiff’s chances in FBS!

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