This past week I was at the world boardgaming championships. Just like the last 2 years I met new people, had great social experiences, and played a lot of games. Unlike the last 2 years I have no new plaques to bring home and put on a shelf to collect dust.
My performance this year was characterized by incredible consistency. I made the semi finals in every single game I wanted to. Then I played in those semi finals and got 2nd. It is clear that I am pretty good, but apparently not great, at everything.
As is often the case in 4 player euro games the semi finals consistently had 3 strong players and 1 weaker player and the weaker player threw the game to one of the strong players - usually the one to their left. This was the case in 4 of my 6 semi final games. In the fifth game I just got beat straight up, and in the sixth I had a win locked up except a normally really tight player had a brain fart and tossed the game to someone else.
I feel okay about this. I really would have liked to make some final tables but I feel like my play over the course of the week was consistently strong and my results show that I am good at many things. I will get those event 1st place wins eventually, considering how often I end up having reasonable shots at them.
One thing I am extremely pleased about is my finish in Agricola. That game is absolutely chock full of sharks and I smashed two of them in my heats. I won so handily that I didn't even have to play the third heat. In my semi final I built a crazy vegetable engine with Gardener, Schnapps Distiller, Schnapps Distillery, and Wine Closet to get me an early vegetable. My people don't need food, they can survive just on alcohol alone! Ferris beat me by 2, but I clobbered the other players real good. That landed me with a fifth place overall and I can't complain about that. I was close to final tabling and I feel good about my play. There was just one critical point where I didn't build my room but took 2 reed instead, and this meant that I didn't grow on 7, but instead managed to grow on 8 and 9. I don't know for sure that I did the wrong thing, but at the time I thought I probably should have grown on 7, if only to block Ferris from doing the same thing.
Puerto Rico has been consistent for me for the past 3 years. In each year I did great in the heats, got into the semi, and came in 2nd. At least this year it wasn't my team game so I didn't feel like I let everyone down by failing to win. And this time I absolutely had the game if my cross position opponent took builder, which was his best play both selfishly and also from a position of wanting the guy who eventually won to not win. It would have been better to lose to me by 1 than to lose to the eventually winner by 8!
I want to have a better plan to get points for my team next year. The games I have been playing so far have a ton of positioning and random player variance and nobody is going to be good enough to just make the finals each year. There are lots of good players and although skill matters, I would rather be the person to the left of the noob than be the best player at the table. I am considering playing a few hundred games of Seven Wonders Duel to get good at that and to try to grab a trophy there. I like the game and it would be nice to play something where if I lose I have only myself to blame.