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Dominion (DOM) WBC 2017 Report
Updated February 23, 2018 Icon Key
133 Players Anni Foasberg 2017 Status 2018 Status Event History
2017 Champion

Dominion rebounds with new Format

After 2016, Dominion was an event in crisis. Attendance was down and copies of the game were a serious problem, due to the inherited format that saw each round consist of back-to-back games with specified sets of Kingdom cards. As a result, we decided to throw the competition much wider open. For each of the three one-hour heats, players who wanted to bring copies of the game could play whatever sets they packed. Fourteen Kingdom cards would be dealt out and each player would get to veto one giving everyone some control over the field. With players able to bring whatever they wanted to host with and Rio Grande contributing multiple copies of the game to the library, it was hoped that both attendance and copies would stop being problems.

Attendance was indeed up - we had over a hundred for the first heat, well above last year's seventy-nine. Unfortunately, copies of the game did not jump by the same amount. Twenty were brought but even adding in the GM and AGM copies along with four sets that had been borrowed from the library, we did not have enough for everyone. Therefore, a few players had to be turned away. Those players were given priority on signups for the second heat, as the problem was expected to continue. Salvation arrived in the forms of Legend Dan Hoffman and Scott Buckwalter from the game library as it turned out that Rio Grande has been very generous to the BPA over the years and there were multiple backup copies of Dominion and Intrigue that hadn't been sitting out on the table. Dan and Scott brought those along with other expansions for flavor when word reached them of the issue. Armed with the extra copies, the second and third heats were able to be filled with no unsightly refusals. Thank you very much for the rescue!

The players seemed to enjoy the new format with response being almost uniformly positive. Time limits became a bit of an issue though, as getting cards laid out, read, and vetoed took longer than expected in some cases. Going forward, the GM plans to make tours of the room not long after the players are seated to try to preempt some of the delays.

Whether due to the revised format or the earlier time slot, there was not much competition on Sunday night and attendance grew by over two-thirds from the previous year. While wonderful, this also meant that we had twenty-one players with two heat wins leaving some of them out in the cold due to tiebreakers. Bidding for turn order is being considered in the playoff rounds as Dominion has a known first-player advantage. In previous years, the back-to-back games for each round, with reversed turn order for the second game, largely removed this bias but with the switch to single-game rounds, it has returned. The first player won 31% of four-player games. I do not consider this enough of an edge to justify the time and complexity of bidding for seats in the preliminary rounds but once we reach the playoffs, that equation changes.

While much of the tournament structure had changed, the GM wanted to retain one aspect from previous years, a final with special rules that challenged the players to think about the game differently. Darin Murphy, Keith Dent, Verity Hitchings, and Anni Foasberg found themselves looking at the following:

  • Kingdom cards: Settlers / Bustling Village, Chariot Race, Lookout, Bishop, Coppersmith, Gardens, Ill-Gotten Gains, Junk Dealer, Margrave, Grand Market
  • Special rule: Whenever shuffling the discard pile to make a new deck, first gain a Copper.

With a steady stream of low-value coins coming in, the finalists needed to figure out if they wanted to make use of those with cards like Settlers, Coppersmith, and Gardens, or try to trash them out of their deck for efficiency that would enable cards like Chariot Race and Grand Market. The initial consensus was for the former, with three players using their initial turns to buy Silver and Coppersmith. The outlier was Anni who instead selected a Bishop to go with her Silver. The Coppersmith players diverged quickly, Darin loaded up on Margraves and more coins, Keith with an Ill-Gotten Gains and a second Coppersmith, and Verity with Gold and a Bishop of her own. Anni, meanwhile, went all-in on Bishops buying more on turns three, four, and five before hitting five dollars for a Junk Dealer. With Bishops being played regularly, the Curses from the Ill-Gotten Gains did not last long and were not replaced. Anni started building up a respectable supply of VP tokens while the others ramped up money.

Keith edged Verity for the first Province by a single turn, after which both bought Chariot Races. Darin snagged a Lookout while Anni thinned her deck with Bishops and finally bought more treasures. Darin got on the board himself with a Province while Keith and Verity went back for seconds shortly after. Keith got a third the turn after and then a Gardens, showing that he thought the game was nearing a conclusion. Not unreasonable with more than half the Provinces gone. Verity took one more turn for Gold but Anni bought a Gardens herself as the players shifted entirely to a philosophy of "buy green". Provinces, Duchies, Gardens, and Estates were acquired, while Anni, and to a lesser extent Verity, also made use of Bishops. Keith finally won a Chariot Race on what turned out to be the last turn of the game and used his winnings to buy the last Province. With four Provinces and the only deck in the game to reach thirty cards for Gardens, he had a significant lead on green cards but Anni had fed multiple Bishops and even a Gold into other Bishops, leaving the two tied for the lead with 35 points. As the later player in turn order, Anni took the win even though Keith had actually had one more turn than her. Verity edged Darin 30-29 to take the final plaque.

Congratulations to all of the finalists on an incredibly tight final game. Thanks also go to AGM Sara VanderWal for her prep work before the tournament along with all of the Dice Loving Canucks who helped with on-site registration.

2017 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: 0
Keith Dent Verity Hitchings Darin Murphy Robbie Mitchell David Haldeman
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
Calculating up the scores after a good game of Dominion. Dave Platnick in preliminary heat
With all the players, what are the odds of this many younger players on the same board? Dominion Finalists with GM Duncan McGregor.
GM  Duncan McGregor [2nd Year]  NA
 RobRoyDuncan@gmail.com  NA