Tuesday, July 30, 2013

2013 WBC Day 2

Sunday starts off with Through The Ages at noon. All of last week I'd been going to bed around 9pm, so Saturday night I ended up going to bed earlier than Robb or Pounder. Again, maybe that was to get away from Space Alert, but I was also rather tired. I think I went to bed around midnight or so, which was going to leave plenty of time to wake up for noon so no alarm was set. I ended up waking up much earlier than that, since it turns out the hotel room was set to refrigerator temperature. I woke up with the chills and a bit of a sore throat. I assumed that was just because the room was so much dryer than I'm used to, drank some Sprite, and took my standard tactic for dealing with a low body temperature: hot bath! I settled in with my book (Shadow of the Giant) but didn't really warm up much despite a very high water temperature. Eventually I gave up and got up for good. I went to register while Robb and Pounder got up and showered and stuff. I got a nice collared shirt for being a GM. Woo!

In an attempt to bribe the WBCers to keep us from finding a new location (the AC dying last year was a mighty big straw on our little camel's back) the hotel gave everyone a free breakfast buffet for each day they were staying. This sounds pretty typical I would think (the place we stayed across the street in 2007 had free breakfast) but this hotel didn't have it before so one would think it was a step in the right direction. Unfortunately the buffet is really, really bad. The orange juice was so watered down I found it offensive. The bacon was rather cold and slimy. The honeydew was actually decent though, which was a bit of a surprise. Cutting up fruit isn't hard, but I would have thought they'd have found a way to fail. I stayed away from the eggs as I was worried of gluten contamination but Robb told me I wasn't missing anything.

Eventually off to Through The Ages. Randy changed the format this year to get rid of the conceding shenanigan I used last year with only your top two finishes counting this time. Not that it mattered for me, since I would only be able to play one heat anyway thanks to needing to GM A Few Acres of Snow. I showed up because there was nothing I could actually win at the same time, and because I really like the game, and because I was hoping to get put on Sceadeau's table so I could beat him. Unfortunately to use Daniel's term I was up against two stuffed animals. I ended up winning by a really large margin, and it could have been even more if I'd been focused on scoring points at the end of the game instead of on just making it to the end of a slow game without going crazy. One of my opponents had a hard time with making legal plays. I really don't think she was trying to cheat, just that she was sloppy or absent minded or felt rushed by the third player but she kept failing to spend food, resources, or actions to do the things she wanted to do. I had to pay close attention to maintain the game state. That's the sort of thing I like to do anyway (I hope to be able to learn from good plays if I watch the plays as they're happening and try to analyse them) but this game was pretty slow and it wore on me as the game went on. I'd also failed to bring my thermos down to the room with me, so I ran out of water, and my already dry throat from earlier was starting to really get to me. I got Sceadeau to do a water run for me which was awesome of him and helped some.

Despite my game being pretty slow Robb's game was nowhere near done. He was going to play in the next heat and wouldn't have time for food so Pounder and I went out for food just the two of us. Pounder wanted to go somewhere else but I decided I didn't want to risk gastro-intestinal issues while GMing a game so I pushed for another trip to Red Robin. I got the same thing, with a different drink. Burger hold most of the toppings. It's pretty great to start from a menu item and just list off most of the stuff as things to take off. Aaaaand the bun. During the meal I drank a lot of the melonade drink (lemonade and Sprite combined with some watermelon chunks) and discovered it wasn't making a dent on my throat. I had time to stop and think in the restaurant and came to the conclusion that this wasn't just a dry throat. I was sick. Super sore throat, stuffy nose, a bit of a cough, a headache, and a really warm forehead (which probably just meant a really cold hand) to go with the chills from the morning that just wouldn't go away. I haven't felt like this in a while, but it feels a lot like when I used to get throat infections as a teenager. Maybe it's the flu, maybe it's an infection of some kind. I've decided it's actually the plague, and Sceadeau has labeled me Patient Zero. Everyone is going to get to go home from WBC with my plague. I don't know if I picked it up here, or on the trip from Toronto to Kitchener, or what. Maybe I had a bad baked PoTaToE at Wendy's after all. But the bottom line is I felt terrible and didn't want to do anything but find a warm place to sleep.

So... Off to GM my event. Sunday night had the mulligan round for A Few Acres of Snow and I had to be there to run it. Pounder came along to help out and I talked to Nick Henning who agreed to also help out on Monday. Running the event started with a bit of a snag. Each game has a big triangular prism which contains things like the history of the event and a big picture of the event so people who walk into a room have a beacon to know where to go in order to sign up. They were all in the big row outside the demo area as expected... Except mine. The big concern was the registration sheets get stored with the kiosk, so not having it was going to be a real problem. Andy Lotto told me I could steal the one out of Innovation if I needed to in the short term because Don would surely fix things when he found out. A Few Acres of Snow was missing, and registration was closed to go eat. There was a sign saying they'd be back in an hour or so, which would be an hour before my round would start, so no need to panic yet. We had time to kill so Pounder went and got Innovation and we played a couple games without expansions. He blew me out both times. He plays a lot online so he knows what cards are good and which ones are not. I do not.

Eventually registration opened and it turns out my kiosk was just sitting in registration. In order to help out the events being run that day they'd set aside those kiosks in the registration room. Which would have been great, if it hadn't been locked when we wanted to pick it up. Oh well! I was able to collect it in plenty of time before the event started so no harm done. I was a little stressed out about it, so maybe a little harm done, but it all worked out in the end.

The mulligan round ended up attracting only 8 people which was a drop from last year's 16. A 9th person did show up, but they didn't know the rules. Rather than let them play I told them to come back tomorrow morning for the demo and maybe the real first round. There was nothing else the guy wanted to do, so he just stuck around to watch games. 6 of the 8 people had copies of the game which was pretty great. I wrote people's names on index cards and used those to generate pairings. I ended up playing against Kevin Lewis, who came 3rd last year. He was not happy to have to play me until he thought about it a bit more. Because I don't want the 2nd best person to get knocked out by losing twice to the best person I said I'd split up people who played in the mulligan round onto opposite sides of the bracket. If we were to play again it would be in the finals.

The game itself was over in very short fashion. He let me be the British with a bid of 5, but then forgot to use any of the bid tokens. That or he was saving them for a big flourish at the end which is entirely possible. He bought a very early settler card and I was quite scared that I he was going to be able to settle out before I could kill him even with him putting up next to no effort to stop me at all. He even let me ambush away his starting regular (though he later said that was a mistake)! Unfortunately for him the first card in my deck after my first military victory was the Port Royal card which let me attack Louisbourg quickly. He had fortified it (and Trois Rivieres) but I was still able to take it out in short order. And then my first card on the next shuffle was Louisbourg, so I was able to hit Quebec and win. The game took maybe 15 minutes from start to finish since we both had a plan and knew what each other was doing.

After that the guy who was watching asked if I'd play him a game for fun to teach him the rules. I had to stay until all the mulligan round games finished anyway so I didn't see why not. Rather then blow him out the same way I went a full British expansion strategy and ended up barely winning. Against a complete newbie who took many random actions, and had no bid tokens. Yeah, that's not actually the way to win a real game. Conquer or lose!

One game in the mulligan round went pretty long and one of the guys suggested I could just leave and he'd tell me the result later. That seemed super sketchy. I stuck around until the bitter end, and they ended up running right into the 2 hour mark. The guy who made that suggestion is someone who had emailed me a bunch of times with rules questions in the months before WBC, which was interesting.

Anyway, mulligan round over. Attendance down, but there was still the next day to boost that back up. I think Robb and Pounder wanted to play games (Hanabi I think) but I'd given in that I was sick and therefore should go to bed. The room was still cold, and I was still shivering outside the room, so Pounder gave me the blanket off of his bed. Sheet, comforter, super warm blanket, extra hotel blanket... Would that be enough to keep me warm through the night?

1 comment:

Sthenno said...

The entire greater toronto area has a sore throat, so you probably picked it up before you left.