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18XX (8XX) WBC 2016 Report
Updated Nov. 17, 2016 Icon Key
51 Players Bruce Beard, MD 2016 Status 2017 Status History/Laurels
  2013-2016 Champion   Click box for details. Click box for details.

New Venue, New and Familiar Faces, Familiar Result

The 2016 version of the WBC 18xx Tournament was another success. Our tournament room was a great improvement over the Limerock & Strasburg days of the Lancaster Host era. We had cell phone and Wi-Fi coverage, plenty of space between tables, and starting on Sunday, it got even better with great views of the Seven Springs slopes and sunshine from the Alpine room. While our numbers were down ten from the previous year, I attribute most of that to the convention expanding to a full nine days with more competing tournaments beginning on the opening weekend.
We had our usual international field with players from the US, Canada, Finland, UK, Austria, Japan, and more. The qualifying rounds hosted an average of eight 4-player games. 1830 was still the most popular title with 14 plays. Second was 1846 with eight plays and 1861 with four. 18Dix and 1880 both had three plays, followed by 18NY and 1862 with two plays each. Rounding out the field were one session each of 1856 and 18EU. I suspect with the addition of just a few more people, the games with the fewest plays will jump dramatically since they were frequently on the “to play” bubble.

The statistic that pleases me the most as a GM is that we had 26 unique winners in 33 preliminary games so more than half the field won at least once over the course of the four qualifying heats. Many of the non-winners scored solid runner-up finishes. The 2016 “Missed it by that Much!” award goes to Glen Pearce with three seconds and a third. There were only three multiple heat winners this year. Canadian Anthony Lainesse went 4-0 including a thrilling $9 win (0.44% margin of victory) over Kurt Kramer, and fellow Canadian Francois de Bellefeuille, who had two wins. Prohibitive favorite Bruce Beard had three wins but was bested by Antero Kuusi from Finland in his bid to run the table.

With 26 winners and only 20 places in the semifinals, we were once again in danger of a heat winner not advancing. The tie breaks are most wins, win in your first heat played, win in your second heat played, win in your third heat played, win in your fourth heat played, margin of victory. We had 21 people qualify through the third tie-break (win in second heat played) so it was going to be close. But as so often happens, we only had 17 winners present for the semifinals and did not need to have a 5-player game when Grant LaDue opted out to participate in another tournament. So all 16 winners present made it to a perfectly symmetrical semifinal round consisting of 4-player games of 1846, 1862, and two 1830 games. The winners advanced to the Final and the runners-up played a consolation game for the fifth and sixth places plaques. Francois advanced in his bankrupt finish 1830 game with Spencer Hamblen as the alternate. Newcomer Jonathan Coveney scored a solid win over the heretofore undefeated Anthony to also advance. Bruce Beard, strategically avoiding the 1830 players, advanced from his 1846 game with David Long the alternate. Finally, Peter Eldridge advanced from his 1862 game with Mark Geary the alternate. In the consolation game, Antony’s slide in the playoffs continued as 2012 Champion Spencer claimed the fifth place plaque and Mark claimed the coveted sand plaque to join the annual Sandman parade on Thursday.

The Final remained a truly international field with players from the US, Canada and the UK. Here is an outline of what transpired (thanks to Bruce for the notes):

Private Auction: Francois (F)-C&A 165, Bruce (B) - MH 115, Jonathan (J)- DH 75, Peter (P)- Schuylkill 20, F- CStL 40, B- pass, J- pass, P- BO 220 (par at $100)

Stock Round 1: F- PRR at 67, B- C&O 67, J--NYNH 67
2 rounds paying with one 2 train.

Stock Round 3: J bought last three 2s on NYNH and dumped it on F with four 2s and started BM at 100
B&O floated and bought a 3T.
BM floated and bought three x 3T.
F took CStL rip with NYNH, train tight
C&O ran and paid 70 and bought a 3 and a 4 (no rip)
PRR ripped C&A for 250 and bought a 4T (no run)

Stock Round 4: F now floated the NYC at 760.
NYC had to buy the 3rd 4T and NYNH bought the 4th.

At Start of Stock Round 5 it looked like:
B&O (P)- 3T and money
BM (J) 3 x 3T and $300ish
C&O (B) - 3 and a 4 and $150ish
NYC, PRR and NYNH (F) with a single 4 each (NYC has money)
Bruce traded in the M&H for an NYC share
B&O bought the first 5T and BM lost a 3T to train limit.
NYC bought the 2nd 5.

Stock Round 6: Bruce had priority and floated Erie at $100.
J floated CPR at 100.
Erie bought 5 and 3 from C&O.
CPR bought 6
BM bought 6
C&O paid $220 and trade 4T on D.
F had three RRs and a train. He had NYC buy across the 5T from NYNH using money from hand (which allowed him to sell NYNH shares and dump now trainless NYNH on Peter.
Peter could only raise $1000 and went Bankrupt.
(Bruce: “If Peter death spirals three rounds he can dump a trainless B&O on me but then NYNH is in brown and F buys back five shares at $10 and gets another 5T.   Peter elected to finish last then rather than last two hours later”).

The final scores were Bruce $1400, Jonathan $936, Francois $609, and Peter $110. Bruce’s 33% margin of victory tied for the highest in the tournament and earned him his 11th WBC 18xx title and fourth in a row as he continued to hold WBC’s second longest winning streak.

Thanks to everyone who participated, especially our new players. I also want to thank all the players who were involved with the 18xx gaming in the spacious open gaming hall during the week. 1822 was the popular pick-up title this year with 1817, 1831, 18Africa and a large scenario 18OE among other games I saw played. I really enjoyed the two 1822 games I hosted: one with Mikaela and Antero from Finland and some of the locals and a 7-player running with many of the tournament semifinalists and finalists. It turns out the 7-player game length was not significantly different from a 4-or 5-player game but the bid values and strategies were. I plan to host another 7-player 1822 open gaming session next year. We will use the same tournament format and I will conduct the annual voting for games to include in next year’s tournament. I look forward to an expanded field next year at Seven Springs.

2016 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: 2

Jonathan Coveney, NY Francois de Bellefeuille, qc Peter Eldridge, uk Spencer Hamblen, MD Mark Geary, OH
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th

WBC regulars Melvin Casselberry, Mike Brazinski, Jason Levine
and Richard Irving tussle in Heat 1.

Karsten Engelmann plays his first heat and Kelly Krieble his
fourth on the second of nine days of WBC 2016.

Former Sportsman of Year Peter Eldridge of the UK and
Finnish regular Antonio Kuusi add to the international flavor.

Titan GM Rich Atwater and previous 8XX GM Pierre LeBoeuf
show that GMs like to play too.

GM Tom McCorry supervises his four finalists in the sixth game for all but Eldridge who missed two heats. 
GM     Tom McCorry  [3rd Year]   NA
   Boardgaming@Comcast.net    NA