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Through the Ages (AGE) WBC 2017 Report
Updated March 22, 2018 Icon Key
38 Players Allan Jiang 2017 Status 2018 Status History/Laurels
  2017 Champion   Click box for details. Click box for details.

WBC Newcomer Makes It Through The Ages

Two of the usual suspects made the final table, but it was newcomer Allan Jiang who took down the shield in a very close final match. No one knew who he was when the week began, but with final table appearances at both Through the Ages and Agricola in his debut year at WBC, no one will forget him anytime soon.

Thirty-eight competitors played at least one heat this year, which continues the trend of smaller fields since the elimination of the pre-con badge and the increased competition for gamer attention on the first weekend. In this GM’s opinion, the change has been a great thing for the Con in general, and this event is still plenty big enough to be a worthy tent pole event. Moving forward, I may eliminate one heat in order to create a format where a single heat win is likely to make the semifinals, thus removing the need to play a second heat for a tiebreaker result and lowering the impact on people’s schedules.

Four players won 2 heats this year and they were seeded onto different semifinal tables. Three of them then made the final, with Kevin Wojtaszczyk pulling off the upset over Steven Brooks. He and the previously mentioned newcomer Allan Jiang were joined at the final by Sceadeau d’Tela, making his 4th consecutive final table appearance, and Randy Buehler, making his 7th final table in the last 8 years.

The opening flop of cards raised a very interesting question and highlighted the changes that come from the New Story of Civilization. All games this year used the new version that was published in 2015 and while some folks may quibble about a few of the details, the clear consensus is that the new version is a significant upgrade to the game.

Randy won the draw and got to go first taking Colossus over Pyramids. Sceadeau then had the ability to take Pyramids and Caesar, widely considered the two best Age A cards in the old version but he expressed disappointment as he too had concluded that Colossus is now the best Age A wonder and several of the newly upgraded leaders are better than Caesar as well. Allan took Aristotle over Hanging Gardens and Kevin wound up with Hanging Gardens, Urban Growth, and Frugality.

The more things change the more they stay the same as Randy and Sceadeau both discovered and built Knights by turn 4. Sceadeau even had a Phalanx in play before he finished building his Pyramids. Kevin took the brunt of this early strength, getting aggressed 3 times and only being able to defend once. He did manage to fend off the death spiral that can sometimes happen when you fall behind on military strength but he had to fire multiple workers and turn them into soldiers to do it. When he got Napoleon early in Age 2, though, he was right back in the game.

In Age 2 it was Sceadeau who fell behind on military. When a successful Raid destroyed his Theology building, Sceadeau made the fascinating decision to build a Classic Army instead of rebuilding his theologist. By not replacing those happy faces, it meant he had to skip production for a round but he didn’t want to open himself up to any more aggressions. It was a really interesting spot where both actions are pretty mediocre, but I’m not sure how many players would have even seen the line Sceadeau adopted. It was a gamble that almost worked out for him but he was still reeling from the effects of that missed production two turns later as Age 3 began.

Meanwhile Randy had revolted to an early Monarchy and then used Michelangelo to build a nice culture engine, mostly via Wonders. Mikey actually saved him a total of 6 actions over the course of Age 1 and Age 2 as Randy drafted more and more Wonders! While Randy probably had the best Age 1, it was Allan who had the best Age 2. He deployed Constitutional Monarchy by mid-Age 2 and also had the strongest military. His infrastructure was merely bronze and agriculture but he was able to leverage his military very effectively to create a steady supply of resources.

Sceadeau resigned from the game early in Age 3 after a pair of Spies left him unable to defend himself from a War. It looked like Randy had enough of a culture lead to win at this point but Allan managed to thread the needle by building a second Classic Army and finding a Culture War on exactly the right turn to catch Randy only able to respond with an antiquated Classic Army. Losing that war 55-47 resulted in a 26-point culture swing between them in the middle of Age 3 and suddenly things were very close. Allan was also able to resolve a Plunder versus Randy that could have been stopped by any Age 2 or 3 defense card. We later learned where all the defense cards had gone as Allan used them to conquer Historic Territory II and take a 10-point culture lead into Age 4.

While Allan and Randy were busy fighting each other, Kevin was able to set up Side Meier and Computers despite being by far the weakest player left in the game. He almost got away with it but Randy was able to point a culture war at him on the last possible turn, winning it 55-40 and then also resolving an Armed Intervention meant Randy more than undid the damage of his previously lost culture war.

Heading into Impacts the score was Allan at 100, Randy at 98, and Kevin at 25. There were only 3 Impacts seeded but they worked out to help Allan significantly more than Randy leading Allan to victory with a final score of 132 to 117 to 65. It was a very tight and well-played game and resulted in a very worthy champion.

Congratulations Allan!

2017 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: 2
Randy Buehler Kevin Wojtaszczyk Sceadeau D'Tela Steven Brooks Kyle Smith
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th

Kevin Wojtaszczyk earning his way to the final

Anna Brown planning her move

Early moves in this game

Through the Ages Finalists

GM  Randy Buehler [7th Year]  NA
 RandyBuehler@comcast.net  NA