a smaller Dominion ...
Carol Haney is wondering where that
Be thankful there's no trades in this
The tournament format changed drastically this year by moving
to a single preliminary round, and adding a Quarter-Final round.
Despite these changes which reduced entry opportunities, Dominion
remained one of the most popular WBC events.
The preliminary round had 35 4-player tables competing in the
new two-game/round format - despite having to turn away enough
players to fill another three tables due to a lack of games!
There were a number of interesting developments in this round.
The first trend that I noticed has to do with how the games ended
at each table. Five of the tables did not record the ending condition.
Of the 30 that did however, 23 of them ended both games in the
same manner (either by provinces in both games, or by three piles
in both games). Only seven tables actually had one game end by
provinces, and another end by piles.
The second trend that was obvious revolves around the effect
of Starting Turn Order that first surfaced last year. 2009 demonstrated
clearly that it was a lot harder to win from the fourth position.
While it remained true that there were fewer wins from the fourth
position (only 16 out of 70 games), there were also 19 second
place finishes. So half of the players who had the fourth starting
position, ended up first or second in their games which
suggests that things were more balanced this year. The new format
and scoring system meant that these second place finishes would
not hurt a players chance to advance if they could do well from
the 'more advantageous' starting position in the other game.
Two tables even pulled the really rare trick of having the fourth
position player win both of their games.
64 players were qualified to advance to the quarter-finals --
including 11 with two wins, 24 with a first and second, 16 with
a win and a third, and eight with a win and a fourth. There were
also ten players with two seconds, the top five of whom were
eligible to automatically advance, leaving five alternates. Surprisingly
only 53 of the 64 qualifiers returned, allowing the only two
alternates who came to advance. So a word of advice to alternates
-- don't lose heart. Those who come often get to advance.
With the 16 semi-tables already set up, the number of no shows
required the quarter-finals to be played with nine 3-player tables
and seven 4-player games -- since it left a fairly equal number
of 3- and 4- player games. In retrospect, the number of tables
should have been reduced to the minimum number of three player
games -- and that is how any similar circumstance will be handled
The quarter-final round produced six two-game winners, including
Jason Pollock who became the only undefeated player through the
first two rounds. They were joined by eight players with a win
and a second, which left us with ten players tied with a first
and third fighting it out for the last two spots -- the first
of which went to Sceadeau D'Tela. Because of the number of three-player
games, the scoring difference between 3- and 4-player games came
into play for the last ticket to the semi-finals -- allowing
Haim Hochboim to advance over Marty Bishop.
Haim and Rob Renaud each dominated at their respective tables
-- with Haim claiming two wins, while Rob captured a first and
second -- allowing both to advance easily. Jason Pollock continued
his impressive showing though by taking the second victory at
Rob's table, along with a third place finish. The third table
had a close battle with Daniel Gottlieb taking a victory in the
first game, only to fall to fourth in the second. That game was
won by Luke Koleszar who had only managed a third in the first
game. Christian Moffa was actually the most consistent player
at the table with two second place finishes, but that still left
him behind Daniel and Luke in the order to advance.
The last table was another hotly contended affair where Sceadeau
D'Tela took the first game, but then fell to fourth in the second
contest that was won by defending champion Arthur Field. Arthur
had managed a third place finish in the first game, putting him
in a tie with Jason and Luke. The tie was broken by total victory
points in the two games, and that left Luke with the low total
of 42 VP, compared to the 46 VP that both Jason and Arthur had
accumulated -- leaving Luke in fifth place. Sixth place was determined
in a similar manner where Daniel Gottlieb's 48 VP handily beat
Sceadeau's 40 VP for sixth place laurels.
The random seating order for the Final saw Arthur Field getting
seat one in the first game, followed by Jason Pollock, Haim Hochboim
and Rob Renaud. The cards featured in the first game were Cellar,
Chancellor, Laboratory, Mine, Remodel, Smithy, Thief, Throne
Room, Village and Workshop.
A Smithy and either a Silver or a Village were the options taken
by the players in the first two turns (with two buying the Silver-Smithy,
and two buying the Village-Smithy). Rob continued to concentrate
on Smithies, buying another one on each of the next three turns.
Jason and Haim both went for a Mine, a Throne Room and a Laboratory
in their next turns, while Arthur took a different strategy with
a Mine, a Remodel and another Silver.
Turn 6 saw two interesting plays. The first was by Arthur, who
used Remodel to turn an Estate into another Remodel. In my mind,
that ended up being a critical play later in the game. Turn 6
also saw the first Province purchase (by Haim).
Turn 7 then saw the first Gold purchases (by Arthur, Jason and
Turn 10 saw the run on provinces start as Arthur, Jason and Haim
all bought one. Arthur also continued to use his Remodel effectively,
as he used it to upgrade the Remodel (that he upgraded on Turn
6) into a Gold.
Provinces, Gold and Duchies were the leading purchases over the
next four turns -- with Arthur, Jason and Haim all fairly close
Turn 15 let Arthur complete his Remodel progression though, as
he was able to Remodel a Gold (perhaps the one he had upgraded
to on Turn 10) to take the last Province and ending the game.
Arthur's score of 33 VPs led Haim with 25, Jason with 24 and
Rob with 13.
The kingdom cards for Game 2 were Bureaucrat, Council Room, Feast,
Festival, Gardens, Library, Moat, Village, Witch and Woodcutter.
In a surprising twist, Rob, Jason and Arthur all ended up with
5-2 copper splits in this game, allowing them each to pick up
a Witch-Moat combo. Haim seemed to be at an early disadvantage,
taking a Woodcutter and Feast.
The next six turns consisted of a high number of Witch plays
(with a variety of Moat reveals along the way), followed by purchases
of Silvers, Villages, Feasts and Festivals. The key purchases
in this game, I feel, were Rob purchasing a second Moat on Turn
3, followed by a second Witch the net turn. Haim also bought
a second Moat on Turn 4.
Turn 8 saw that start to change as Arthur bought the first Gardens,
which precipitated a rush on Gardens over the next few turns.
After both Curses and Gardens were eliminated, the game took
on a 'rush' type feel as Estates were bought in a rush to end
the game quickly.
When the decks were counted, the Gardens came out to be worth
two or three points for everyone. What really made the difference
were the curses. Rob had the fewest curses of all (because he
had the extra Witch to give them out to everyone else), while
Haim also had a lower number (due to the second early Moat purchase).
Rob led the reduced scoring with 13 VPs, followed by Haim with
nine, Arthur with seven, and Jason with four.
Third place in the game though was enough combined with Arthur's
Game 1 victory to allow him to repeat as Dominion champion. Rob's
victory earned him second place, while Haim's consistency of
two seconds earned him third, and Jason's impressive showing
up to this point still earned him fourth overall.
I'd like to thank everyone who participated in this year's tournament,
and especially thank all of those who volunteered to help as
assistant GM's for me. Overall, the new tournament format was
received favorably, and considered by most a vast improvement
over the previous year. The two games in two hour slot worked
well -- with only a couple games needing to be warned of time
in the preliminary round, and no table having any time issues
in the later rounds. The two-games with the reversed turn order
seemed to also successfully address concerns about the disadvantage
of having a fourth place seating position. So look for this format
to continue next year.
One area that is going to see some change though is the advancement
criteria/scoring. There was some confusion on this matter because
two seconds actually scored "more points" than a first-third
or first-fourth, but actually were ranked lower for advancement.
So I will be doing some revising of the advancement scoring to
more clearly indicate who will advance. It's not going to really
change how the tournament works -- just some tweaking of the
scoring numbers so that advancement calculation will be simpler
The second change, and the one I had the most questions/requests
for, is going to have to do with expansions. YES -- next year
will start to include some of the Dominion expansions. I am still
not sure yet which ones I'll use, or how I will incorporate them
-- but I will start using some of them next year. In addition
to answering the request for the expansions, I hope this will
also address some of the concerns that some of the set choices
felt very similar to other rounds (even though they were randomly
determined). Hopefully with more choices available, it will better
differentiate the games in players' minds.
Perrianne is waiting for all that
GM Tom Browne rides herd on his finalists.
Euro Quest Laurelists
Edward Fear, NY
Andy Latto, MA
Sceadeau D'Tela, NC
Bill Crenshaw, VA