A Continued Changing of the Guard
David Glowny and Katherine McCorry
Laurie Miller and Kevin Wojtaszczyk
Words of Wisdom ...
"If you want to win a Thurn and Taxis game against
Norman [Rule] and Andy [Latto], you have to take some chances!"
Thus said WBC newcomer Rob Murray in his semifinal, before
deciding to draw a face-down card, rather than using the Administrator
to get his choice of six cards. The card he drew wasn't perfect,
but it was useful to him, and it was enough to win, 23 to 22,
modified to 23-21 because Andy bid a point to go first.
record turnout meant it was difficult to even reach the semifinals
this year; with only 16 semifinal slots, we were a far cry from
"win and you're in". Twelve players scored two wins
in three heats, and six of them added a second in their third
heat. This left only four slots for players with a single win.
Two players had a first and two seconds, so of the 11 players
with both a win in their first heat and a second, only two could
be in the semifinals, which meant that the minimum performance
for qualifying for the semifinals was to win the first heat you
entered, and then lose in a subsequent heat by a single point.
Two players won their first heat, and came in second in their
second heat by only two points, which wasn't good enough to make
The first-player advantage was smaller in 2013 than in years
past, with player 1 winning 21 games, while the three later positions
scored 16, 17, and 17 wins respectively. Adding this to the data
from previous years, we have total wins by postion of 71, 52,
52, and 51, so the player who goes first has won 31% of the time,
with each of the other positions winning only about 23%. In a
trend that continues from previous years, the first player advantage
has not held up in the elimination rounds. None of these were
won from first place, with third player winning three times and
second and fourth once each.
Because of the statistical advantage of the first player,
bidding for seats was instituted this year in the later rounds.
Bids were low. Out of five games, one point was bid to go first
twice, half a point was bid to go first once, with nary a bid
in the remaining two games. The only other bid was a half-point
bid to go fourth; while I personally like playing from the fourth
seat, the statistics don't say its preferable.
None of the bids changed the order of finish in a game. The
only effects these bids had on the outcome was to switch fifth
and sixth places overall, because Andy's 1-point bid caused him
to lose the closest runner-up race for fifth place.
But while Rob was a newcomer to WBC, he was not new to Thurn
and Taxis. Rob took some chances again in the Final, making blind
draws from the deck in Turns 2 and 3. He and Aran raced through
the carriages, both getting their 5 carriage via the cartwright
on Turn 7, ony one turn later than the theoretical fastest possible.
But Rob didn't sacrifice efficiency to get this speed; He was
first to get the world traveler bonus, earning six points. David
caught up in the carriage race and cartwrited to get the first
7 carraige to trigger the endgame, but Rob had kept pace with
him, and also cartwrighted for the 7 carriage on the last turn,
beating Aran by five points.
We leave you with a piece of strategy advice from new champion
Rob. "Never play a route that has Innsbruck that doesn't
also have Salzburg".
Karine Bourque and Angela Collinson
were two of the 43 women in the event.
Marci Morelli, Ken Samuel and Eric
Brosius check out the routes to deliver the mail.