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Coal Country (C_C) WBC 2017 Report
Updated February 21, 2018 Icon Key
15 Players Allan Jiang 2017 Status 2018 Status History/Laurels
  2017 Champion   Click box for details. Click box for details.

Coal Country makes debut at WBC

Are you good at math and feeling like indulging in a little corruption? Then Coal Country is for you! To play Coal Country effectively, you need to be good at math, especially multiplication! The corruption is an acquired skill! Coal Country, by Rio Grande Games was their second new game introduced to the WBC in 2017, and like Orient Express seems to be starting off well with a couple dozen attendees and 5 unique four or three player games in the first two heats. Had more people known about the game, chances are the tournament attendance could have been much higher!

Coal Country is a three or four-player resource management game, the key resource being your pool of foremen. The economic game is very simple, as players earn money from mining and selling coal. The difficulty is deciding when to sell the coal: Sell early and you can make a lot of money, which affects the turn order. Sell late, and you will not make as much money and money is the sinew of this game. The mechanics, while not simple, are intuitive after a couple of plays. The monkey wrench is that there are random market forces that affect the price and cost of everything! Of all the game components, your 9 foremen tokens are the most important, as they affect everything you do. Next in importance are the 141 utility cubes, which determine how efficient your mineshaft tiles get to operate. Finally, placing one of the 24 building tiles on your village will give you certain edges in various phases of the game.

This game was just introduced to many people, so Skip Maloney, the Rio Grande representative, was hosting demos of Coal Country and other Rio Grande games throughout the week in the open gaming ballroom. There was a decent turnout at the scheduled Friday 5:00 pm Demo, with a dozen or so players seeking to learn a new game with a sarcastic theme. To be honest, Coal Country is difficult to learn, although since it falls in the genre of resource management games, if you are good at those, you will understand this after just a couple of turns.

There were two heats scheduled for the game, and the general rule is win one heat and you advance. Tournament Coal Country should be a 2-hour game, and with gently applied GM pressure, most of the games were finished in less than two hours as hoped. Regrettably, the way to make the game play fall within a time limit is to end the game after only a few turns, which has the undesired effect of removing many of the late game market manipulations sought after by all the players! The Friday at 6 pm heat had 2 complete games, and the Saturday at 11am heat had 3 more for 5 initial games total. Most games were four player games if possible, although a couple were completed with three.

With 4 individual heat winners they advanced directly to the finals. Finishing two hours early is always good on the second Saturday! Advancing to the finals were Allan Jiang, Ted Drozd, Pierre-Luc Ranier, and Anthony Lainesse.

Coal Country offers up a variety of bonuses and penalties at the end of the game, and all players were disappointed that the game was restricted to just three turns, in order to fit the tournament in the allotted time. There is a much different game after playing the third round, and it is hoped that regular players will try their hand at a longer game going forward. The final scores, after all the multiplications were winner Allan Jiang at 248 points, followed by Ted Drozd with 171, Pierre-Luc Ranier with 162 and Anthony Lainesse with a final score of 78.

As a final strategy note, this GM would just like to say to future Coal Country players to avoid the penalties that accrue at the game end, which is fairly easy to do since you know exactly when the game is going to end! Almost every player had in their possession at least one of more penalty fees, which subtracted from your total victory points. So don’t let that happen to you!!!

Coal Country seemed to be a success, based on the number of players attending a new tournament. Will it return next year? That’s up to you!

2017 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: NA

Ted Drozd Pierre-Luc Ramier Anthony Lainesse Daniel Borh-Kahn Brandon Buchanan
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th

Coal Country was a new game run at this year' convention

Coal Country Finalists with GM Daniel Broh-Kahn
GM     Daniel Broh-Kahn [1st Year]   NA
   Daribuck@verizon.net    NA