War of the Worlds 21st Century
What happens when the final of a Century tournament ends with
three of five players tied for the highest score? (The other
two players were just one and two points behind the lead.) The
answer is: The GM thanks her lucky stars that the rules contain
clear cut tiebreakers. One of the finalists-Marty Sample-was
already very familiar with calculating tiebreakers, as three
out of four players in his semi-final tied for the most influence.
was clearly the most popular secret bet during the final - because
four of five players chose it. (Surprise, surprise... it survived.)
The two most popular worlds for secret bases during the tournament
were Divergence and Felowi, with 22 and 17 players choosing them.
These were also the most popular choices for secret bases among
individuals who won or tied for the win in their games. (Divergence
is a lady to be respected.)
The least popular world for a secret base was Myrmidon, with
only seven players selecting it during the tournament. Even less
popular, with only five players using the strategy, was to establish
no secret base. Only Trevor Bender pulled off a victory with
"No Surprises" strategy. The only player who won even
after losing his secret base was Andres Dunn. He beat out two
players whose secret bases survived.
Unlike most players who concern themselves with which three
worlds will survive to the end, Rob Kircher worried about only
one world-and he managed to keep all 12 points alive, winning
his heat. Generally, players spread their risk a little more.
Divergence survived in 11 of the games played, with Felowi and
Erthizonians making it to the end in 10 games each. The world
least likely to survive-making it in only 4 games-was Cylor.
When it came to secret bases paying off, Divergence took top
honors, with the base surviving to the end for 86% of the players
who bet on it. Cylor and Ecup Contract were least likely to be
worth the effort, only surviving 25% and 33% of the time.
During the tournament, the average score was 8.64, with the
maximum score 16, attained by David Buchholz in the final heat,
and the minimum score 0 (achieved by only one player this year).
In the semis, the average score was slightly higher, at 8.86,
but the maximum score was only 14, attained by Rob Winslow.
There were fewer rules questions this year-two demos and no
coaching worked wonders. The only real gaffe occurred when a
player thought that a hidden Kha ship got final attacks when
it was turned over to end the round and matched other face-up
ships. It wasn't until after several ships had been destroyed
and the players were trying to determine who got spoils of war
that the GM was alerted. Happily players were able to sort it
back out without too much trouble.
Although allowing Don to schedule the Galaxy tournament gave
it an extra plaque this year, we're back to the drawing board
for our schedule in 2004. I'll try to come up with a plan that
accommodates players a little better. There were ten 5-player
games and nine 4-player games during the first round. Similar
to last year, anyone who had played in a heat and showed up for
the semi-finals had the chance to compete for a place in the
final round. Unlike last year, although three Shambedas competed
in the semifinals, none of them advanced. They are sure to be
back with a vengeance next year.
Thanks to Trevor Bender for his idea to present the "Ender"
award to the player who eliminates the most worlds in the tournament.
(Ender refers to the Orson Scott Card character of the same name.)
This award will be officially added to the Galaxy tournament
next year. In the 2003 tournament, there were three instances-none
during the first round-when a player caused four worlds to surrender
in one game. Because Joel Tamburo managed it once in the semis
and again in the finals (taking out 11 worlds overall), I've
declared him the unofficial "Ender" for 2003.