I am back from WBC and I was curious to look at how my numbers shook out for the week. I played a bunch of different games competitively, but it turns out my results don't look much like I would have thought. Heck, I can't imagine anyone would have picked how it would go. Mainly the strange thing is that the game I was best in I lost in the semis, and two games I only learned right before the heats I did very well in, one of which gave me a 2nd place plaque.
Games that I was really prepping for:
1st 1st SemiFinal 3rd
Games I thought I was competent but not great at:
1st 1st SemiFinal 1st *Final 2nd*
1st 1st 2nd (Skipped SemiFinal due to conflict)
2nd 1st 2nd (Missed SemiFinal due to tiebreakers)
1st 1st SemiFinal 2nd
Lords of Waterdeep
1st (Skipped SemiFinal due to conflict)
Games I didn't know the rules to, or barely so:
Castles of Mad King Ludwig
1st 1st Semifinal 1st *Final 2nd*
Thurns and Taxis
1st 1st Semifinal 3rd
Super Random Dice Games
1st 2nd 3rd SemiFinal 3rd
The pattern is consistent - I win a lot, but my wins have nothing at all to do with my preparation. I did just as well in each category in the skill based games, winning the majority of my matches no matter whether I had logged hundreds of games, a few dozen games, or zero games before playing at WBC. The super random dice games I was barely better than average, which really is about what you would expect.
I only missed advancing in two games, both of which I only played one match in. Galaxy Trucker I legitimately suck at, and Ra I took a big risk trying to place well and it blew me out. I am not *good* at that game, but I could totally win it.
If I really want to have a massive win percentage I think I would approach it by skipping all semifinal games and just focusing on playing as many heats in games I am competent in as possible. Far better to be in a heat in a game I am okay at than a semifinal in a game I am excellent at, I think.
Not that I am trying to maximize my win percentage that way, but that is how I would do it if I was aiming for that.
I definitely need to learn some more games before next year though. There were lots of gaps where I could have fit in more heats but I didn't know how to play the games at all. Lots of games at WBC were absolutely boring to me, either because they were extremely random or because they took a really long time to play. However, I am sure there are a bunch of games that fit in the 1 or 2 hour time slots that I would greatly enjoy so I need to get cracking so I have more options for next year.
I think it is happy circumstance that my best tactic for winning a lot of plaques happens to be the same as my best tactic for having a blast - learn to be pretty good at lots of games and play them all. I am really good at Puerto Rico and I lost. I think I was the strongest overall player at my semi final table, but I got beat. I watched the finals and I think I am as good as any of those players, but I didn't make it. Playing one game one hundred times makes you better... but I don't think it wins you nearly as many plaques as playing ten games ten times each, presuming you are good at games in general. And like I said, I will have a blast playing ten games ten times each and going in feeling good about each of them, because I have a good chance to get to the final table at something, even if I don't know what that something is. Also it means that I don't have to fuss about scheduling - I will just go to whatever heats I want and attend the semis of any game where I make the cut. Nice and relaxed.
I have a plan. It involves playing a lot of board games. Do it!