View from the Top of the Plateau
Ken Whitesell subbed for GM Carl Olson who had
to leave early and took his pay in wood.
After getting bounced out of the Football Strategy
tournament Thursday evening, I decided to hop into the Dinosaurs
of the Lost World tournament starting next door. I was pleased
to see that there would be 16 people playing in that heat - four
full tables. It had been a while since I've played this, so I
was relearning the game as I went along. I got the necessary
but couldn't find an escape item and could only watch as James
Cleland won our game. The other winners in the first heat were
Seth Kirchner, Scott Cornett and Abby Cocke.
Saturday morning at 9:00 AM saw another 13 people entering
the plateau giving us three 3-player games and a 4-player game.
The 3-player games finished relatively quickly, with defending
champion Steve Dickson, two-time champion John Poniske, and Robert
Navolis all earning their way into the semi-finals. Meanwhile,
at the 4-player game table, we had reached a virtual impasse.
Two of us were racking up the victory points, but were unable
to find escape items. The other two players lacked the VPs but
had found what they needed to escape. Finally, after over two
and a half hours of play, the game was adjudicated and I was
declared the winner, having gathered 32 VPs during play.
We had a short break, and then started the semi-finals. Seth,
Scott, John and Steve were at the first table; James, Abby, Robert
and I were at the other. The top two from each table were going
to advance to the finals, second place being strictly determined
by victory points.
Looking around at the competition, there was one obvious difference
between the others and myself. The other seven semi-finalists
were 'graduates' of the Jr version of this tournament. It appeared
to me that I was older than any other two semi-finalists combined.
A quick survey of ages revealed that to be true. It didn't take
long for someone to dub me the 'old-fogey'. I had to quickly
try to convince myself that "age and experience will win
out over youth and exuberance". That belief was quickly
put to the test as I found myself in the most vicious game I've
ever played. Everyone was fair game, and after multiple dinosaur
attacks all around the table, Rob was down six items (porters),
getting absolutely creamed in chases. However, Abby was the first
to run out of ammo, having had to fight just about everything
on the board. I tried to keep a low profile, and relied upon
my ability to roll 6s on demand to skate through to a win. James
had to settle for second with an impressive 38 VPs but no escape
About an hour into the game, someone at our table asked John
(at the other table) how he was doing. His reply of "I'll
win in two or three more turns" turned out to be overly
optimistic as they played significantly longer than that. He
still eventually won his game, with Steve also collecting 38
VPs to finish second - and earning a spot in the finals.
The finals started much the same way as the semi-finals. Instead
of searching for dinosaurs on a plateau, I felt like I was swimming
though the Great Barrier Reef fending off sharks. John, Steve
and I were quickly collecting VPs, while James couldn't seem
to complete an adventure. I was the first to make an escape attempt.
I needed to complete the Pinnacle
Adventure, gathering all possible VPs to reach 25 and a victory.
My attempt fell two VPs short. John, who couldn't find an escape
item, finally got one from event card #21. There he made his
only mistake. On his way to the Pinnacle, I ambushed him and
took the event card away from him. But rather than risking the
Pinnacle Adventure again, where VPs can be lost, I made my way
over to the Indian Caves to try to escape there. A couple of
good cards and one extremely crucial die roll later and I had
Finally, after ten years and participation in probably 35
- 40 tournaments, I have wood!
As an addendum, those semi-final and finals were about the
two most enjoyable games I played all weekend. The competition
was fierce and there was no mercy given to the 'old-fogey'. But
more importantly, excellent sportsmanship was displayed by all.
These regulars in the DLW crowd is a group I would game with
anytime, anyplace. They play hard, they play fair, and they have
fun! If they represent the future of our hobby, it is in good
hands. Now, where did I put that Geritol?