A Matriarchal Civilization ...
Jennifer Drozd (left) and Jamie Tang,
shown here giving Joe Collinson a tussle, were among six ladies
who competed in seven-hour rounds of one of WBC's longest events.
Newcomers had their day and replaced
the usual suspects as many of the usual laurelists were no where
to be found. William Kendrick (right) of the UK seems pleased
with his trade.
This year we lost some perennial contenders with both Doug
Galullo and Joe Gunderson among the absent, but new friends have
meant that our total numbers have remained consistent. We had
five first-round games, but Paul Sampson's conflict-indiced withdrawal
meant that four runner-ups played in the Final. Unlike last year,
only three of the eight finalists had appeared in the previous
Final: Kevin Youells, Joe Lux, and Shantanu Saha. The remainder
of the board was composed of first-time ACV player Brian Farrelly,
Jeff Bowers, Janice Thorne, and sisters Rachel and Christina
Harley. Rachel got into the Final by outplaying her father, 2007
finalist Russell Harley, in their preliminary game.
In addition to the more unpredictable game made possible by
so many first-time finalists, several events of note occurred.
Playing Africa, Jeff drew bad luck early, receiving five calamities
in three turns. Jeff decided to go the barbarian route, attacking
first Kevin's Egypt, then Joe's Illyria. Jeff actually spent
three consecutive turns late in the game without any cities,
dropping back to the Stone Age on the AST. Meanwhile, Shantanu's
Iberia managed to draw Civil War three times, followed by Iconoclasm
& Heresy twice. Rachel's Babylon drew attention (and many
secondary calamity effects) in the mid-game after she got out
to a lead and bought Monotheism. This caused raised tensions
between her and Assyria, as he was the most frequent target of
her conversions. Popular sentiment through the midgame had Babylon
targeted as the leader, and she may very well have run away with
the game until a post lunchbreak tax revolt cost her six cities
and removed her from contention. After a very unfortunate
run of calamities, highlighted by getting stuck with Flood and
Epedemic on the same turn, Kevin's Egyptians were reduced to
a lowly one city and 11 tokens. Consequently, y he was
left for dead, and ignored during the Calamity Phase for several
turns. He managed to rebuild in an impressive manner and
was contending for the win at the end but came up 200 points
Through it all, Christina laid low playing Thrace, building
eight cities quickly and maintaining that level throughout. By
the time she had bought 485 points worth of civilization cards
on a single turn followed by 320 points to take the lead, it
was too late to stop her rise. An additional 460 points on the
penultimate turn cemented her victory, putting her out of reach
of second-place Kevin and third-place Shantanu, barring a miraculous
last trading round.
Janice, playing Crete for the first time, and Brian playing
Assyria also turned in very competent games. Janice averaged
seven cities with Crete, and Brian averaged eight cities with
Assyria. But their inexperience showed in their vulnerability
to mid-game calamities, and Brian's city total dropped down to
six for the last four turns. Jeff's admittedly fatalistic barbarian
strategy managed to net him 1682 victory points, the lowest total
ever recorded in a WBC Final.
A survey conducted during the tournament revealed that most
participants want it to remain as it currently is, although some
would prefer shorter preliminary rounds. For the 2009 event,
we will prepare a set of optional rules to allow six-hour first
rounds, so long as all players at the table agree to the options.
The eight finalists begin the second
round marathon session. Note that half the six women in the field
made the Final table and all three laureled in one of WBC's "muscle"
Christina Harley moves as her sister
Rachel and defending champ Kevin Youells observe. Christina became
the first woman to win ACV at WBC.