2017 marked the second year the World Boardgaming Championships have been held in Seven Springs, PA. In the WBC's first year at 7 Springs, Lost Cities had a total of 164 unique players which was the lowest player total in the last decade. This year saw a slight rebound with a total of 191 unique players This year’s count of 191 players was the fourth highest player total since the year 2000. Lost Cities also had an increase of people attending the demo. 2016 had only two players attend the demo while this year we had seven players not only attend the demo but also play at least one heat. Like in previous years, Lost Cities had four heats with all players with at least two wins advancing to the single elimination playoffs.
The four heats had 118/110/108/52 players with the single elimination playoffs having 55 players and an eliminator. A total of 222 total games were played during the course of the week. Below are some highlights from four qualifying heats:
- Only a single player scored more than 300 points in a single heat -Robert Griffiths with 315
- Only one pairing had a combined score of 500 points or higher -Robert Griffiths with 315 and Jeremy Pirlet with 269 for a total of 584
- Jeremy Pirlet, unfortunately, had the bad break of the highest losing score of 269
- 29 players had a score of 200 points or more in a single game
- Jessica Brown was the only person to score at least 200 points in multiple games
- Heat 4 was the only heat in which no player scored negative points
- Range of scores were 315 to -30
- Average score was 116 points
- 7 players were unsuccessful at finding any Lost Cities and ended with negative points
- Kevin Burns was the only player to play and win in all four heats
- 15 players played in all four heats with 9 qualifying for the playoffs
- 20 players were able to play just two games yet qualify for the playoffs
We did have one speed bump in the third heat with more players wanting to play than we had copies of the game. Between open gaming, the juniors’ library, and others offering to let us use extra copies of the game, we still had about 30 people having to wait until a game was available. Please remember in the future that if you are planning on playing a two-player game please bring your own copy.
A total of 63 players qualified for the single elimination playoffs with 55 of those showing up to play. This was an increase of 14 players qualifying for the playoffs and 15 more players actually competing in the playoffs than the year before. Four of the players in the playoffs were past champions and every single one of them was taken out in the first round. The closest game in the first round was between Lexi Shea and Jay Fox with Jay squeaking out the win with a score of 121 to 117. After two rounds, Lexi was down by 22 points but had a powerful third round of 52 points that wasn’t quite enough. Another highlight was a showing of good sportsmanship from Hennessey Gorham. Hennessey played the first round but was unable to continue in the playoffs due to a schedule conflict. He ended up winning the round but came to me after the round to concede the match to his opponent. While this may not sound like much, it meant something to his opponent and is just another example of why the WBC is not like most other competitive gaming tournaments.
The second round was rather uneventful. The closest game was between Rachel LaDue and Mark Parauda. The end score was 121 to 116 with Mark advancing. Rachel declared that the GM, whom she defeated the previous round, did not give a good enough pep talk beforehand to propel her to victory. It was definitely not one of those “Win one for the Gipper” inspirational speeches.
Round three saw 14 players still competing for first. It was announced that the highest scoring loser would advance to the next round to make it a top 8. Tessa Lytte and Kevin Wojtaszcyk had the closest game with Kevin winning 115 to 109. Though defeated, Tessa was able to advance with the highest losing score of the round.
Round four had Kevin Burns take down Mark Parauda 125 to 111, Howard Marron defeating Kevin Wojtaszcyk 128 to 89, Jay Fox slipping by Dennis Nicholson 75 to 74, and Claire Brosius victorious against Tessa Lytle 112 to 25.
The top four pitted Jay Fox against Kevin Burns and Howard Marron versus Claire Brosius. Unfortunately for two of these players, their Lost Cities quest for wood ended. Claire and Jay were just unable to discover enough cities to please their investors and were eliminated.
Then there were two. Howard Marron and Kevin Burns were the only two players left to play in the sixth and final round. With only three plaques being awarded, the player who lost to the losing finalist was going to end up with the short straw and no plaque.
Howard and Kevin sat down and played their first hand. In shocking fashion, Howard started the round off with a blue handshake and followed with a two. These were the only two blue cards Howard had at that point. Normally it would be considered a risky move but it had worked for him so far. At the end of the first hand the score was Kevin with 25 points and Howard with 6 points. Howard ended up scoring -2 in the blue location. It was also interesting to note that both players played all five colors and four of the ten locations ended up with negative points.
Hand two had both players start aggressively. Howard once again started with a white handshake and this time a three with no other cards in the color. The result for Howard’s white was -16. Not to be outdone, Kevin started off in similar fashion with a yellow handshake and a five with no other cards in the color. Kevin ended up with -22 points in yellow. Howard also kept with his trend of playing five colors and ended up scoring 26 points and Kevin ended with 9. The score after two hands had Kevin ahead by a score of 34-32.
With both players being practically tied, it was anyone’s game going into hand three. Howard decided to play a little more conservatively and followed Kevin’s lead in playing only four colors. Kevin played aggressively early on in blue and that ended up being his downfall. He played two handshakes in blue but could only put seven points into the location for a score of -39 points. The end score for hand three was Howard with 42 and Kevin having -7 to bring the overall score to 80-27. Howard Marron went a perfect 8 for 8 and was awarded the Lost Cities championship. Howard got his first championship in his first year attending WBC. Congratulations Howard, well done.
I would like to end this by saying a few words about my personal experience this year. The 2017 Lost Cities event was the first event I have ever GMed or Assistant GMed. The event was an orphan until right up to the deadline and rather than see it go away due to lack of GM, I decided to throw my hat into the ring. Going into it I thought I had a plan and like all plans, it works until the bullets started flying. I will be completely honest, that first round was rough. It was overwhelming trying to get everyone signed in, paired up and everything else a GM needs to do. Luckily, I had an amazing assistant GM in Megan Byrd. She was my rock for the event. She helped me keep focused and not get overwhelmed with everything going on. Thank you, Megan, for everything you did in helping me run Lost Cities. A few others offered assistance throughout the event. Winton Lemoine, Rebecca Ropollo, and Ewan McNay were there for us if needed and I wanted to recognize them as well. Finally, I would also like to thank all the players who played in the event. Like I said, the first round was rough, but I felt each round got smoother after each heat and that is in part because of you. Everyone was understanding and patient as we worked through the growing pains and I wanted all of you to know how much I appreciated it. I hope you all had fun and will play it again next year. If anyone any thoughts, comments or suggestions about the event or how to make it better, please let me know. We look forward to seeing all of you again next year in Seven Springs.
|Claire Brosius on her way to 3rd place
||Dennis Nicholson getting ready to score
|Intensity in youngters eyes
||What should I play next?
Megan Byrd continued the training academy for budding explorers and is introducing a new generation of competitors to the game. Twenty-four of the bright and eager little explorers, up 35% from 2016, were anxious to learn their craft. The best of these intrepid explorers was Preston Saccenti. Preston was followed by Zaczry Morris, Simon chickman, Madigan Landel, Joe Birnbaum, and Ethan Shipley-Tang.
|Lost Cities continues to be popular with the junior players
||Lost Cities Junior's Champion with GM Megan Byrd