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puerto Rico (PRO) WBC 2016 Report
Updated Nov. 26, 2016 Icon Key
100 Players Kevin Walsh, NY 2016 Status 2017 Status History/Laurels
  2016 Champion   Click box for details. Click box for details.

A Very Close Final

Kevin Walsh claimed the victory on tiebreakers with the coins he gained while Mayoring as the very last role pick of the game. Defending champ Ben Scholl had triggered the end game with Building to fill his town. Ben's nine point lead in buildings and bonuses was matched by Kevin's seven point lead in VP chits and Ben's two point bid for third seat.

Looking over the transcript, Aran Warszawski's Turn 2 Captain for one coin cost Ben two coins and a VP.  That is how seat 3 gets disrupted and loses its advantage. Unfortunately, this didn't help Aran in the end and he finished fourth. Devin Smith managed third place despite a number of occasions when he was locked out of trades and Builder was selected at very poor times for him. Even the Settler action seemed to shun him, as he finished with a factory but no tobacco or coffee! You can see a transcript of the game and some pictures of players and boards at:

Although event attendance continued to decline and just barely clung to our 15th straight triple digit field, there was still plenty of excitement for Puerto Rico. Here is some analysis of the results:

Some seats do better than others, which is why bidding is introduced for elimination rounds and is optional in heats. Seating is random in the qualifying rounds. Seat order is bid on in half point increments for the elimination rounds. Of the 38 games played without bidding, the seats (order of play) won as follows (totals 39 as there was one tie for first). The second number is the number of games won with bidding for each seat.

  • Seat 1: 8 wins, 2 wins (average bid: 0.25)
  • Seat 2: 6 wins, 3 wins (average bid: 0)
  • Seat 3: 17 wins, 2 wins (average bid: 1.5)
  • Seat 4: 8 wins, 4 wins (average bid: 1.25)

Seat 3 continues to dominate and seat 2 seems to be the most handicapped. The Final game was the only game determined by the points bid and it went to Seat 2. Two other games would have been ties without the bidding. That assumes the seat orders would have been the same, a big assumption.

There are basically three ways to win: build the most, ship the most, OR balance shipping and building. A somewhat arbitrary sorting of the winning strategies this year gives:

  • Building: 19 wins
  • Mixed: 17 wins
  • Shipping: 14 wins

Strategies can vary wildly. Eric Brosius won his quarterfinal game with only two VPs for shipping. His markets (both kinds) and office intimidated crafting. Eric McGlohan tried to keep pace, but missed a tie by the difference in bidding. Eric tried to repeat the build strategy in his Semifinal, but Kevin Walsh outshipped him by 18 overcoming a ten point building disadvantage.

One game (names witheld to protect the guilty) ended with a town full, but no one had put colonists on any of the large buildings. Not a bonus point was scored.

Jason Levine won his quarterfinal game with a hospice based strategy. With his hospice in play, he picked settler to get four quarries and built his way to victory. Even with 25 points in buildings and 15 bonus points, his lead was only three points at the end.

Rule 8 (refusing the colonists) was invoked in at least three games. That rule might be changed to leave the colonists that are refused on the boat, available to the other players. You can follow a discussion of that on BGG at: https://boardgamegeek.com/article/23478993#23478993
Basically, the German rule book has a phrase that wasn't translated into the English rules that clarifies the otherwise murky situation.

Thanks especially to my assistant GMs, Amy Rule and Marcy Morelli. Thanks to Andy Latto for his great new support spreadsheet.

2016 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: 1
Ben Scholl, PA Devin Smith, jp Aran Warszawski, il Nathan Wagner, CO Jason Levine, FL
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
GM Richard Shea oversees his four finalists.
GM  Richard M. Shay [4th Year]  NA
 RShay@mac.com  781-769-4233