Friday morning brought the finals for my team game, Le Havre. I was up against Pounder and a 3rd guy I didn't recognize. Thanks to the format for the tournament I again got to start in first seat due to my 2 wins in the heats. Pounder was the next highest seed so he was in second chair and I would again be fed by a 3rd guy who didn't have a history of success in the event. The first tile again had a wood on it and I got to start with 3 wood and the 4 cost building firm into marketplace. Unfortunately this time I was playing with someone else who really wanted to vendor the sawmill for half a wooden boat so Pounder jumped right into the marketplace. I think he'd first picked cash to buy the 6 cost building firm too, so he even got 3 things. In retrospect I now think maybe it's right to not build the marketplace, especially if someone else buys the 6 cost building firm. Maybe I should be first picking clay so I can grab a single iron and build the sawmill the hard way?
Anyway, the colliery was pretty easy to access in this game (under both the clay mound and black market) and I set up to get it. Pounder build the building on top of them, righty bought the clay mound, and I was able to buy the black market and construction firm up the colliery and the local court. Which I vendor shortly thereafter for a wooden boat of my own! Pounder is all in on operation use the colliery, and so is the 3rd guy, actually to the exclusion of taking what had always seemed like a required grab of 2 iron. Twice during the mid-game I got to take 3 iron offers... Now this does mean I was also turning down at least 2 shots at 2 iron, so it's not like people were going crazy. But I definitely had a ton of iron. I'd also managed to pull off a couple of big black market grabs (2 iron, 2 cows and 2 iron, 2 wood, 2 francs) which may have made the other players leery about taking 2 iron and giving up another black market play?
At one point I'd made 6 bricks because I had a bunch of clay and there were some good buildings available and then I made a double build of cokery and steel mill. I'm not sure how right that was. They are worth 40 points combined which is a pretty good action, but it also meant I was going to be at the end of the line for converting coal to coke and then iron to steel. The coal totals were something like 21 for Pounder, 17 for me, and 9 for the 3rd guy? (One of the special buildings let you convert food to coal and charcoal and Pounder killed his cows in order to use that building while I did not.) The iron totals were more like 2 for Pounder, 3 for 3rd guy, 6 for me so I felt like even getting to make stuff 3rd it would probably still work out ok for me. Then the town built a special building (I never once used the marketplace so I didn't know what could be coming) and the steel works hit. 15 energy and one iron for two steel. Pounder now suddenly had a really good way to get the stuff for multiple steel ships. This felt like a real problem for me and I went into the tank. I ended up deciding I had no way to handle it and just bought it so I'd at least get some entry fee action back. Pounder went to it and was able to snag the first steel ship. Then he went back for 2 more and could get the second one. I ended up getting to make my coke and decided that rather than wait around for the 3rd steel ship I'd just ship a bunch of coke and buy the second one. I did later build the 4th one as well.
As the game wound down I ended up counting up my symbols and found I had almost all of the bank related symbols and was able to buy it for a profit. I don't think I mentioned it, but I did the same thing in the semifinals with the town hall. Rarely is it ever worthwhile to pay the hugely inflated prices for those buildings but I got to do it two games in a row. Woo!
I ended up breaking 300 for the 3rd game in a row. Pounder came in at around 276 and the 3rd guy was around 200. Victory!
Pounder and I then headed to the Agricola room to play in the noon heat. We arrived and most of the players were already seated even though we were about 5 minutes early. I guess the Agricola crowd is a lot of eager beavers. Unfortunately for us the GM had underestimated how many tables he'd need and we ended up standing around with Sceadeau and it looking like we would all have to play each other despite showing up on time for the heat. This is contrast to the previous heat where they'd started too many tables and I was going to get stuck at a 5 player game until Elaine stepped up for us. This heat ended up having a few more people straggle in and they were able to start 2 tables from those of us standing around. I get the desire for efficiency but it does feel like pre-pairing people before knowing how many games will need to happen is error prone. But I guess for most people it probably worked out great?
I ended up at a table with Pounder, Steve LeWinter, and a 4th I don't remember. I didn't get the guildmaster this game so I didn't know what to do. In fact, I don't remember a single thing about this game. Except that I came 3rd and Steve won.
I could have gone to play Spyrium or Stone Age but the right choice was definitely to eat. Pounder, Sceadeau, and I walked to Red Robin and Elaine met us there with their car. I tried out their salted caramel milkshake because I love salt on everything. Except, it turns out, in a milkshake. It was not very tasty and I didn't drink very much of it at all. The burger was delicious though!
I then could have gone to play Wits & Wagers but decided to chill in the room for a bit. That got boring and I eventually wandered down and found that Pounder, Robb, Sara, and Duncan were a team for Wits & Wagers and there was a spare chair right beside them... Ok, fine, Wits & Wagers it is! I got to the game in time to share my wisdom about fish. The fastest fish in the world definitely clocked in at a massive FOUR miles per hour! We ended up losing everything at the end but that's ok because the rules are made up and the points don't matter!
Following Wits & Wagers was potentially the Agricola semifinals. Would a 1st, a 2nd, and a 3rd be good enough to advance? Turns out the answer was yes! The semifinals were going to use the WM deck mixed in with the E, I, and K decks. This was going to be a problem for me since I've never seen WM cards. Daniel showed me a few of the better ones but then I got thrown into the deep end. I started off by taking a guy that lets you get an extra building resource each time you take building resources but you have to spread them out on the board to collect later. Turning reed+stone+food into reed+stone+stone+food felt good to me, so I decided to run it. I then got passed guildmaster (that guy's good with extra stone!) and then stonecutter! I now had a plan for my game. Collect some stone and try to buy all of the stone things. The minor were passed the other way and the guy passing to me (Rob, the GM) made a comment about how he was really hooking me up with one card in his pack. I looked through the 6 cards and couldn't see anything amazing. There was a baking tray that would combo very well with my stonecutter... But there was also a WM card that looked very confusing. It was a ram that ate food each harvest and cost a sheep to play but counted as a sheep for breeding and scoring. It also let you breed sheep 4 extra times during the game. A single stable would be enough to let the ram and a sheep breed up an extra sheep for 2 food over and over again. Assuming you had a fireplace anyway. I assumed that since it was the card I didn't recognize and that the pack had a 'bomb' in it that it must be that card and took it. It turns out that was a mistake. Maybe I was getting pranked? Rob later said baking tray was the bomb card though it ended up going 4th and went unplayed. I sure wish I'd had it though since it would have been awesome with my stonecutter. *sigh* I then took a card that lets you demolish a built wooden room for 7 fences. You have to build fences before you reno but if you pull that off it feels really good. I used that to get enough space to breed sheep normally and didn't really need the bonus from the ram. I eventually played him because I'm stubborn and it was a minor food bonus (and a point) but taking him over the baking tray probably cost me the game. I also ended up with the cabinetmaker (4 wood if guildmaster is already in play) and the village well. My game plan was pretty clear. Collect lots of resources and build as many majors as I could get my grubby little hands on.
It worked out pretty well, though I misplayed at one point. I had the resources to build the pottery and I wanted to play guildmaster. If I build pottery first and then play guildmaster I get 2 clay. If I do it the other way I get 4 clay. 4 is bigger than 2! Unfortunately I played guildmaster and then Rob snap bought the pottery. I actually needed the 2 food from the pottery to feed myself that round and ended up having to take 3 food off traveling players instead. Doing it the other way safeties the contract and might have been enough in and of itself to win me the game. Certainly if I had baking tray I feel like I'd have won the game. As it is I ended up coming a pretty close 3rd, and then probably only because no one else at the table had read one of the cards played by the guy on my right. It made a single cow into a 4 point play for him and other people could have taken it as a good point action for themselves and screwed him. Considering how close the game was that was probably the difference. The guy on my right (Eric) ended up winning by a point over Rob who was a couple points ahead of me. I do feel like with more practice (and having ever seen the WM deck) I probably win that game. Oh well. There's always next year?
This game finished in time for Liar's Dice so I ran off to play at a table with Robb, Sceadeau, Pounder, Elaine, and Andy Latto. Robb smoked us and then chose more Liar's Dice over Waffle House. Mistakes! Waffle House so good!