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Splendor (SPD) WBC 2017 Report
Updated March 20, 2018 Icon Key
262 Players Andrew Drummond 2017 Status 2018 Status History/Laurels
2017 Champion Click box for details. Click box for details.

Canucks Take Home The Gms

Splendor had been fairly successful in 2016, and we mostly wanted to continue the same format in 2017, with only a couple changes. Co-GM Sara VanderWal redesigned the scorecards so that they would sit on the table like a tent, making it easier for players to find their tables, and harder for the scorecard to be overlooked later, a very useful alteration. More relevant to game play, we went with four-player heat games this year instead of three. While I am still of the opinion that the three-player game is more skill-intensive, the number of copies available at any given heat was consistently about 30%, much more of a problem when you need 33% than 25%!

The data on winners by turn order for the four-player games was interesting, players who started the game were significantly less likely to win than the others. Out of 112 four-player games, seat A only won twenty, with the other seats picking up, in order, twenty-nine, thirty-one, and thirty-two. I am not sure if this is an anomaly due to a small sample size or whether it represents a real handicap for first, so we will be paying attention to this in future years. Luckily, the three-player games we use for playoff rounds continue to be very balanced, with no significant advantage or disadvantage for any seat.

As a GM, the main difficulty to overcome in the heat games was room logistics. All of Splendor's heats ran in Seasons, which was relatively large and had excellent tables for four-player games. While we had made sure not to schedule it at the same time as other large events, we were immediately before or after some in the same room. This made things less ideal when we couldn't set up early, or when the event after us couldn't, such as Heat 3, where we were bracketed by Lost Cities and Ticket to Ride. Luckily both Lost Cities and Splendor are typically done in significantly less than an hour, and TTR's Claire Brosius planned ahead to minimize disruption to her event.

With the switch to four-player heats, our number of double winners dropped from the low thirties down to twenty-one, which guaranteed us our preferred three-player games all the way through the playoffs, with all of the double winners and the top single-win players. Interestingly, it seemed that few of the top single-win players actually realized their standing. Of the six single-winners guaranteed playoff slots, only two actually showed for the quarterfinals, requiring us to hit up the alternate list for replacements.

A monster table developed in the semifinals, with Andrew Drummond, the inaugural winner and a finalist last year, up against Curt Collins II and Jefferson Meyer, who were both top ten in last year's Caesar race. Careful play and a fortuitous draw from the second stack put Andrew through to the final game, while Jefferson edged Curt on the GM-added second tiebreaker to claim fourth place and the final plaque. Joining Andrew at the final table were veteran Brandon Bernard and rookie Michael Swinson.

Michael led the finals by grabbing three gems. Brandon elected to instead reserve a three-point card from the middle row, a green card that took six green to play. Andrew apparently approved of this set of priorities, reserving a three-pointer for six in black. Michael was the first to build, while the others grabbed gems and more cards. Brandon reserved a one-point green card for four black, then used his gold to play it the next turn. Andrew, on the other hand, reserved a five-point card from the top row, one that took seven red gems to play, which was seven more than he had at the time. It's good to have goals, he commented, as he refreshed the available cards. He spent the next couple turns taking gems and discarding to the ten-gem limit, but even though he was the last to play a card, he was ahead on points after doing so, having managed his six-black build for three points.

Michael finally got into the reservation business, filling up his hand on three consecutive turns. Brandon dropped his own three-point card, giving him a pair of green cards showing and another in hand. Andrew defensively reserved a five-pointer with a heavy green cost, not inclined to leave it for Brandon. Michael and Brandon both played point cards from hand, but with no really good builds left on the board, Brandon took a chance and reserved a card off the top of the third deck. More cards from Andrew and Mike kept the scores very even, with everyone at five or six, and the players started accumulating gems again.

Brandon dropped a two-pointer, but Andrew had managed to build up the red gems for his five-point card. All three players snagged zero-point cards over the next couple turns. Michael and Brandon grabbed gems, while Andrew built another zero-pointer, putting him only one green card away from a noble while sitting at ten points. Michael defensively bought the last green card on the table that was worth points. Brandon, with no great plays, again reserved off the top of the third deck, and again looked like he regretted it. Andrew reserved the last green card anywhere on the board to guarantee him the noble when it was needed. Brandon took and played a two-pointer, while Michael and Andrew built up gems. Knowing that Andrew could reach fifteen points in two turns with his cards in hand, Michael made a play for sixteen, deploying a four-point card from hand that also gave him just enough to buy a two-pointer from the board. Unfortunately for him, Andrew also had the gems for the public card he needed, buying it before Michael could, and hitting twelve points. The new flip off the deck did not help Michael, and Andrew won the game with his telegraphed noble. Congratulations go to all of the finalists for their performance!

There are no major changes planned for 2018, but I do plan to switch the tiebreakers back to the way they were in 2016, putting best non-win finish back above best margin of victory. This was originally changed because we had a number of people who could only make it to one heat, and who would ask us if they had any chance to make it in with one big win. Reverting the tiebreakers once again makes the answer to this no, but it allows us to reward players who get a first and a close second, which feels more likely to be an indication of skill than a single blowout.

Finally, special thanks go to co-GM Sara VanderWal for her amazing prep work before the event, and my thanks to all of the Dice Loving Canucks who helped with registration, and especially Sara Ward for also helping with data entry. The event could not have run as well as it did without all of your help.

2017 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: 2
Michael Swinson Brandon Bernard Jeff Meyer Curt Collins II Chris Wildes
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
Nobody wants the blue gems Brandon Bernard on his way to the final
At least one person is having fun Splendor Finalists with GM Duncan McGregor

Splendor Junior 2017

On Friday afternoon 25 little Splendor fans reported to Fox Den to once again collect gems in order to reach the magic 15 victory points. After several rounds of play, Bailey Burdett topped all the gem collectors to collect her fifth juniors championship of 2017. Preston Saccenti finished in second followed by Teagan Boralo third, Nina Coussis fourth, Zacary Morris fifth, and Rita Polcen sixth.

Splendor is very popular with the juniors Splendor Junior Champion Bailey Burdett collecting
her fifth plaque with GM Andrew Drummmond

GM  Duncan McGregor [3rd Year]  NA
 robroyduncan@gmail.com  NA