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Arctic Scavengers (A_S) WBC 2016 Report
Updated Jan. 17, 2017 Icon Key
35 Players William Ramsay, NY 2016 Status 2017 Status History/Laurels
  2016 Champion   Click box for details. Click box for details.

Planting a Seed

Arctic Scavengers, by Rio Grande Games was introduced beside the new WBC location in 2016, and both seemed to be starting off well with three dozen attendees and 13 unique 4-player games in three heats.  

Background: In the year 2097, the entire Earth was enveloped in a cataclysmic shift in climate, plunging the globe into another ice age. Nearly 90% of the world’s population was eliminated, driving the survivors to band together into loose communities and tribes. In Arctic Scavengers, you are the leader of a small band of survivors. Resources, tools, medicine, and mercenaries are scarce. You are pitted against up to four other tribes in a fight for survival. Build your tribe, skirmish against other players head-to-head, or even bluff your way to victory. The player with the largest tribe at the end is the winner.

Demonstrations: Since this was a new game to most, demos were scheduled before each of the scheduled heats on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. There was an enthusiastic turnout at each session with approximately a dozen newbies at each demo. Arctic Scavengers falls in the genre of card drafting/deck building/hand management games, which represents a new challenge for those not used to it. There are also some inconsistencies between the rules and play aids, such as where to place discards or when, specifically, to shuffle the discard pile, but these were all eventually ironed out as we progressed.

To play, a player drafts his card hand, or tribe, and uses resources (such as mercenaries, tools, or the ever unpopular refugees) to create a stronger and more powerful tribe. After the third play round, all players compete for contested resources, which usually serve to make the tribe stronger. One criticism of the game is that the strong players always seem to get stronger, although that can be mitigated somewhat by the other players noticing that, and collaboratively doing something about it. Thus, continuing to win skirmishes at the end of each round will earn the ire of other players, who can then snipe at you to reduce your tribe’s effectiveness.

Initial Heats and Scheduling: There were three heats, and the general rule is win one heat and you’re in the semis. Arctic Scavengers should be played in a hour, and with gently applied GM pressure, most were finished in less than one hour. The Monday and Tuesday heats each had four complete games and the Thursday heat managed five. Most games were 4-player contests if possible. Preliminary games were scored on a single sheet of paper with each individual disclosing their final score only. Scoring information was to be used to advance to the semis, but that turned out to be unnecessary.

The Semifinals: With 13 individual heat winners, the potential need for tiebreakers to determine alternates for a 16-player semifinal was likely. However, since only five winners appeared for the semis on time, it was agreed to dispense with the semis and go straight to a Final session. Advancing to the finals were William Ransom, Kevin Cantwell, Daniel Broh-Kahn, Thomas Tu and David Denton. By virtue of his top place finishes in the preliminaries, Tim Tu was awarded 6th place laurels.

The Final: Had there been a semifinal, we would have used the headquarters expansion, and then added the recon expansion for the Final. However, since there was no semifinal, we used the headquarters expansion only in the Final. That was a little disappointing, as several of us wanted to try out the Recon expansion. Still, the HQ expansion did create a nice change of pace, with new strategy choices available to the players and bonus cards at the end creating a situation where you were unsure who was ahead until it was too late.

One thing that was obvious during the Final is that a strong tribe tends to get stronger, (and the weak, weaker!) and that was the strategy that Thomas Tu undertook in this game by building a strong (e.g. aggressive) deck. However, the other four players quickly grasped what Thomas was doing, and started to shut him out of the competition in the skirmishes. In the end, William emerged on top, with 34 points in tribe members (that was a lot in a 5-player game!) plus a five-point bonus for a winning score of 39. His strategy might be summarized in a single word: Medicine! Finishing second was Kevin, at 31, then Daniel, with 30 (thanks also to a five-point bonus, followed by Thomas with 26 and David at 21.

Arctic Scavengers should be judged a limited success in its debut based on the number of players partaking in the midst of so many favorite events. The tournament was completed in a reasonable time despite the handicap of being new and not once were there not enough copies of the game available thanks to the Library donations supplied by Rio Grande. In sum, this tournament has the potential to take root and grow if it gets voted back in for 2017.

2016 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: NA

Kevin Cantwell, PA Daniel Broh-Kahn, MD Thomas Tu, NJ David Denton, NY Tim Tu, NJ
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th

The Alpine room provided plenty of tables and good lighting.

Rachel LaDue and Todd Bookman gather supplies.

Bob Wicks, Daniel Broh-Kahn, Thomas Tu and Pam Przybylski-LaDue battle for survival in the preliminaries.

GM     Daniel Broh-Kahn  [1st Year]   NA
    Daribuck@Verizon.net    NA