vegas showdown  

Updated 11/30/2009

2009 WBC Report  

   2010 Status: pending 2010 GM commitment

Eric Freeman, PA

2009 Champion

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Event History
2008    Andrew Gerb     56
2009     Eric Freeman     67

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Andrew Gerb        MD    09     33
  2.  Eric Freeman       PA    09     30
  3.  Nick Page          on    09     18
  4.  Sceadeau D'Tela    NC    08     18
  5.  Scott Chupack      IL    09     12
  6.  Kevin Brown        GA    08     12
  7.  Mike Kaltman       PA    09      9
  8.  Robb Effinger      on    08      9
  9.  William Herbst     NY    09      6
 10.  Chris Robbins      UT    08      6
 11.  Anne Murphy        MA    08      3

2009 Laurelists                                               Repeating Laurelists 

Nick Page, ontario

Scott Chupack, IL

Mike Kaltman, PA

William Herbst, NY

Andrew Gerb, MD

Past Champions

Andrew Gerb, MD

Eric Freeman, PA

James Freeman lends a hand to record the plays of the finalists so his son Eric, who also happens to be the GM, can play.

Vegas Showdown has gotten good word of mouth but is no longer new. Attendance has grown while many new Euros quickly vanish.

King of the Strip

Vegas Showdown, named Games Magazine's Game of the Year for 2007, had a highly successful second year at the WBC, improving on the numbers of a strong debut. Players are challenged to bid for and place basic and specialty rooms, all in an effort to build the best Hotel/Casino on the Vegas strip. 4-player games were the preference, with 5-player games being used only if necessary. In the two preliminary heats there were a total of 20 games contested by 67 different players. Alfred Smith was the only person to score wins in both heats, while defending champion, Andrew Gerb took a 1st and 2nd in his two heats. The closest game happened to be the only 5-player game of the tournament, where Tom Bissa snuck by Andrea Wicks, Lexi Shea, and David Gagne, by one, two, and six points respectively. The biggest win was by Nick Page, whose 88 points outdistanced his nearest competitor by 33.

The winning players were encouraged to record the rooms built in their casino, and the information was recorded on 23 games. The raw numbers can be a little deceptive as there is no information about what the winner paid to get the tile, and some tiles in the B stacks will not be available to be purchased in any given game. A key theme is getting good value for what you purchase. However, the numbers may indicate what tiles more frequently become good values. The number in parenthesis is the total of that premier tile available in the game, while the other number indicates how many total rooms of that type the winners purchased across the 23 games.

Lounge - 45. Every winner bought at least one lounge
Fancy Lounge (4) - 26
Nightclub (2) - 9
Theater (1) - 11. Thought by many to be a key to winning. Nearly half the winners had a Theater on their board, a high proportion when compared to other premier tiles, such as the Nightclub, which has double the availability. Interestingly, the winner purchased the Theater in only one of the five semi-final games.
Sports Book (3) - 16
Space Age Sports (1) - 3. Definitely not a favorite among the winners. Scott Chupack managed to win a preliminary game despite purchasing one and never getting it on the board. Least favorite of the "unique" premier tiles.
Slots - 91. Every winner had at least two Slots. Alfred Smith, Rob Kircher and Nick Page won games with only two Slots in preliminary games. John Corrado rode eight Slots to victory in his Round 1 game.
Fancy Slots (5) - 26. Not as popular as Fancy Lounges considering the extra availability and lower starting price.
Dragon Room (1) - 5
Table Games (3) - 10. Surprisingly unpopular for a premier tile that is fairly common
High Rollers Room (2) - 7. Winners that did buy Table Games generally made sure they got the HRR as well. In the Final, Eric Freeman bought both High Rollers Rooms.
Restaurant - 27. All winners bought at least one, but only four bought more than one, and none bought three.
Fancy Restaurant (4) - 26. All the "Fancy" tiles bought the exact same amount of times.
Buffet (3) - 13. Slightly less availability than the Fancy Restaurant, but a lot less popular considering the same starting price and prerequisites.
Five-Star Steakhouse (1) - 4

A detailed breakdown of the scoring was available for 24 games. In 14 of those games, the winners completed both the Casino and Hotel sections and connected between them. Rob Kircher managed a win with neither the Casino or Hotel filled, while Max Jamelli won with only one side filled and no connection. In both cases, completed diamonds were a big part of their victories with both scoring eight points in diamond scoring. Max was also helped by having the highest population and being tied for highest Revenue for nine total points. Don Tatum was the only preliminary winner to get ten points for the having sole possession of highest revenue and highest population.

Of the 19 different heat winners, only one did not show for the semi-final and that was due to an unfortunate mistake. Tom McCorry waited for the semi-final to begin in the wrong room (along with alternate and 2008 GM John Weber) and by the time he figured out the correct room, the semi-final tables were starting. Other heat winners included Kevin Wojtaszczyk, Tim Hing, Marilyn Flowers, Mike Kaltman, Eric Freeman, Tom Dunning, Bill Herbst, Tom Bissa, Cary Morris, and Luke Kolesar. Tom's absence allowed Bob Wicks, Jr. to qualify for the semi-final as an alternate, however with his daughter, Andrea Wicks, the highest ranked alternate behind him, he withdrew to allow her to play.

The 20 semi-finalists were split into five 4-player games.

In one semi-final game, Eric Freeman used an income strategy (10 pts for highest revenue and highest population) to nip defending champion Andrew Gerb at the end by one point. Closely behind in third was Don Tatum by four points. (As mentioned previously, the only other player to max out points in the income categories.) This semi was easily the closest of the five SF games. Scott Chupack rode slots (4), fancy slots (3), plus eight points in diamond scoring to win by seven. Nick Page used a "Fame" strategy behind Lounges (3), Fancy Lounges (2), and a Theatre in addition to eight diamond points to win by nine. Mike Kaltman used a balanced strategy (some scoring in every category) to win by six. William Herbst won the tightest semi when measured from first to last, with only nine points separating top from bottom.

The Final consisted of only four players, as William had a previous commitment that required him to leave. A full play-by-play of the Final is posted on boardgamegeek at A big thank you goes out to the GM's father, James Freeman, for recording the Final game, as the GM was a participant.

Some of the highlights include:
Turn 5: Nick bought a bargain Nightclub for $15 to stake an early lead in the game
Turn 6: Eric and Mike follow with bargain buys of $12 High Rollers Room and $12 Buffet respectively.
Turn 7 gives a big Fame boost to Nick and Scott from the Slot King event, netting them 3 and 2 Fame over Eric and Mike.
Turn 10 proved decisive. Here, the Good Relations card (must outbid by 2) came up along with the PR Scandal (No Publicity). By virtue of being early in the turn order, Eric and Scott are able to get bargains on premier tiles ($15 Fancy Restaurant and $15 Fancy Lounge), while Mike and Nick settle for base price slots and restaurant.
Turn 15 cemented Eric's eventual victory. The Theater is revealed as one of the premier tiles for bid. Eric buys a Fancy Lounge at its base price to get the prerequisite for the Theater. Despite the large outlay of cash, with his higher income and cash reserves left over, he already has locked in the ability to purchase the Theater sooner than any of the others. In Turn 17, Eric purchases the Theater for $37.

Final Fame on the board at the end of the game: Nick 51, Eric 51; Scott 49, Mike 36

Eric finishes with the highest Population (19) for five points, while Scott and Mike split 2nd (16) for two points each. Nick finished with 12 population.

Mike has the highest revenue (22) for five points, Eric second (20) for three points, Scott third (15) for one point. Nick finished with 10 revenue.

Eric, Mike, and Nick all fill both sides and connect for 13 points. Scott is unable to complete one section for eight points total.

Scott scores big for diamonds with seven points. Eric, Nick, and Mike score three, two, one points respectively for full and partial diamonds.

Nick, Eric and Mike get three, two and two points for cash left over.

Final scores: Eric 77, Nick 69, Scott 67, Mike 59

On Eric's tableau at the end; Lounge, Fancy Lounge, Theater, Sports Book, three Slots, two Fancy Slots, Table Games, two High Rollers Rooms, Restaurant, two Fancy Restaurants, and Buffet.

Eric used an income based strategy to chase down Nick in the final stages and then used the remaining turns to pull away.

 GM      Eric Freeman (1st Year)  NA   NA

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