Four Out of Five ...
Charley Hickok engages in some intergalactic
Rob Kircher practices reading upside
First, I want to apologize for the confusion I caused with
regards to the format, especially in the first and second heat.
This was the first tournament I've run at WBC, and I can assure
you that next year will run more smoothly. The tournament consisted
of four heats of primarily 4-player games. A win in any heat
advanced players to the quarterfinals.
Approximately 50 arrived for the 9 am first heat. Players
were randomly seated and usually played the base game. Players
could opt to play with expansions if all agreed. Defending champ
Aaron Fuegi won his first game while 2011 runner-up Nick Kiwsanto
topped three-time champ Rob Renaud. Two games were decided on
tiebreaker. Thomas Tu had the highest score with 54 points. Heat
2 followed immediately with most of the same players. A couple
players left for greener pastures, while some late-rising stragglers
arrived for the 10am heat. Thomas Tu, Nick Page, and Eric Brosius
became the only players to win both their both heats. Michael
Kaltman had the highest score with 64 points.
Heat 3, players used The Gathering Storm, the first expansion.
None of the double winners played. Michael Crescenzi had the
highest score with 65. The last heat followed an hour later.
Nick Page returned to win his third game. Eric Freeman's 66 points
was the highest score.
11 players won multiple games. In all, 36 players qualified
to advance by virtue of a preliminary win. 30 of those opted
to do so, making eight quarterfinal games. The top two from each
game advanced to a semifinal round of four 4-player games. Husband
and wife pair Eric and Cathy Raymond both advanced to the semifinals,
but no further.
Aaron Feugi's title defense was ended by Rob Renaud who won
with Alpha Centauri and an early Terraforming Guild. Third-ranked
Rob Kircher ended Nick Page's four-game winning streak to advance.
#9 ranked Nick Kiwsanto and unranked Curt Collins also won to
reach the Final.
The Gathering Storm was played in the Final. The big
goals were 6+ military power and 4+ developments. The small goals
were 3 aliens, first to 5 vp, powers in all phases, and the first
to discard due to overflow. For homeworlds, Renaud opened with
Damaged Alien Factory, Kircher with Alpha Centuari, Collins with
Separatist Colony, and Kiswanto moaned about opening with Old
Alpha Centauri, with its 3 value brown good, almost always
opens with a trade. This puts a lot of pressure on Old Earth,
which like all homeworlds wants an early trade, but unlike all
the other homeworlds, has a consume power that doesn't give him
any cards. So if OE settles a windfall on Turn 1, the good will
likely get consumed away, and he'll have to produce on Turn 2
and then trade on Turn 3 before getting any card flow from it.
Kiswanto therefore chose trade on Turn 1, hoping that Collins
would settle first turn, allowing Kiswanto to trade a windfall
In this particular game however, Renaud was Damaged Alien
Factory, who is likely to produce on Turn 1. This frees up the
OE player to settle a production world on Turn 1 and then trade
on Turn 2. So Renaud gambled and traded on Turn 1, hoping that
Kiswanto would play his part and settle. Unfortunately for both
of them, Collins explored rather than settled, and both were
left looking a bit sad with their missed blind trades.
Turn 2 was less interesting. Kiswanto and Renaud licked their
wounds and backed away from the blind trade: Kiswanto explored
while Renaud did his expected but one-turn-late produce. Kircher
(with Alpha Centauri) called develop and built Mining Robots,
which leeched DAF's produce. Both Kiswanto and Collins built
Interstellar Bank, important in a game with the 4+ develop goal.
Renaud built Public Works, slightly worse than Bank for this
On Turn 3, both Robs traded their new goods for more cards,
while Collins built New Economy. New Economy is, perhaps deceivingly,
a very good card in the 4+ dev goal games, especially if a develop
war occurs. It gives two points for every develop power with
a consumption ability, and there are quite a few developments
with consume powers. Kircher misses this second dev and falls
behind in the development race.
Kircher came firing back on Turn 4, building both Alien Tech
Institute and Alien Toy Shop, turning away from the brown strategy
at which his homeworld excels. Collins built New Military Tactics,
which needs to be thrown away to yield +3 military, and cashed
it out to build New Sparta, signalling his end of the chase for
the development goal, and his pursuit of the less contested 6+
military goal. Kiswanto remained in the dev race, building Mining
Robots, but still hadn't made any trades, and was hurting for
card flow. Renaud built Galactic Federation, which coupled with
his Public Works and the 4+ dev goal, put him in a dominating
position to take the goal, and with it, the game. With a bit
of hubris, Renaud lets Kiswanto know who he thinks will get the
most devs goal in some competitive but friendly banter.
In the next few turns, Renaud kept pounding develop, putting
out Replicant Robots, Investment Credits, and Diversified Economy.
Collins put down Space Marines and Improved Logistics, so his
5 military could possibly set up some very big, very fast scoring
on double settle. Kircher built Expedition Forces and Space Mercenaries,
putting him at 2 military but up to 4 with discards, and up to
6 including his Alien Tech specialized military bonus, hinting
at contesting the military goal. Kiswanto finally bows out of
the develop race, but does manage to get down Galactic Survey
SETI. SETI is generally a solid if unremarkable 6 dev,
though it mostly rewards having worlds, a bit ill-suited for
this develop-heavy game.
Turn 7 finally sees our second settle. Collins built Former
Penal Colony, giving him the 6+ military world goal, as well
as Rebel Colony for free. Kircher put down the 4 cost, +1 military
Alien Robot Space Ship, and his military inches up to 3. Meanwhile,
Renaud and Kiswanto get some produce/consume going.
On Turn 8, in an impressive burst of military might, Curt's
Improved Logistics lets him settle both the Rebel 6 and 7, while
Kircher creeps closer to the military goal with the Lost Alien
Warship, putting his military at 5. Meanwhile, Renaud's Galactic
Federation and combined development discount let him build a
somewhat out of place Mining League and he continued to leech
the produces from Nick's finally developed economy.
On the last turn, Kircher settles the Lost Alien Battle Fleet,
bumping him to an impressive and game-leading 8 military, much
to Curt's chagrin. But Renaud's Galactic Federation led the way
with 51 points, giving him a comfortable win over Kircher's 42.
Collins took third with 34, despite the nice Improved Logistics
play, due to the lack of a synergising 6 dev and losing the military
power goal to Kircher. Kiswanto, who never really got in stride
with his unlucky Old Earth opening, finished with a respectable
The early missed blind trade put Renaud and Kiswanto at a
disadvantage, but it seemed to have the effect of dissuading
early settles. This locked Collins and
Kiswanto out of the profitable produce/trade cycle, and meant
both Robs had a big card flow advantage.Renaud was lucky enough
to land Galactic Federation, which is really the trump card in
a development heavy game.
Unlike many WBC attendees, I only specialize in a couple games
and I just want to grind out many, many plays of my few specialities.
If you are interested in playing lots of expert level RFG
at the next WBC, and you probably might if you've managed to
read this far, please send me an email.
GM Rob Renaud and Jack Howell
The finalists in their pre-battle