Always a Titanic Struggle ...
This year David desJardins became the first player to win
both the multiplayer and the two-player Titan tournament
in the same year. Changing to scheduled start times seemed to
help participation levels, but we were still below two years
ago. This year we had 51 different people participate in 36 preliminary
round games. 27 of these games were four-player and nine were
three-player games. We didn't need to set up any five-player
games (which generally don't work as well). We had a couple complaints
related to scheduled starts that I want to try to address next
year. One is that four hours apart is a bit too long. And the
other was that a couple of times several people got eliminated
from games just after a round of games were started.
What I am thinking of doing next year is cutting the time
between games to three hours except for between the first and
second rounds on Thursday and Friday where I will keep it at
a four hour gap. For the first round of the day I think without
overlap from a previous round a four-hour gap works better. I
also want to allow for additional games to be started at my discretion
not less than two hours before the start of the next round. That
way if some people become available shortly after a round starts,
I can get them into a game. However it is important to not do
this too close to the start of a new round, because I want to
make sure there are enough players at each scheduled start to
start up games. Otherwise we will be back to where we were last
I also want to make another tweak to the semifinal seeding.
A few years ago we switched to random seeding (with cliques to
split up friends) in order to avoid situations where people made
decisions about whether or not to play (or worse whether or not
to throw a game) in a round based on who they would be matched
up against in the semifinals. However this system has the disadvantage
in that the semifinal games may not be balanced. So next year
I will be grouping the top sixteen people in groups of four (based
on their ranking) and splitting each of these groups across the
semifinal games, but still randomly putting them at each table.
Cliques and splitting up teammates will take precedence over
this if there is an otherwise unresolvable conflict allocating
people to games.
This year we had both a semifinal game and the Final run so
long that they needed to be adjudicated. While adjudication seemed
to work well, we really could use some mechanism to keep play
moving. I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has tried
to use chess clocks or egg timers to keep either masterboard
or battleboard play moving. I doubt I will put in a system for
next year, but I do expect to discuss possibilities with the
On the sportsmanship front we had some good and bad things
Cliff Ackman made a classier variation on the classic winner
says to loser "Good game" remark by making it before
making a key roll that was going to effectively eliminate him
or Rich Atwater from a game. Rich appreciated this and used it
himself after Mutualling with David desJardins in one of the
semifinal games before making the roll to determine who would
end up advancing. While players won't always be in a position
to do this, but keep in mind when you have played a good game
with someone, that it comes off as more sincere to let your opponent(s)
know before the game has been decided.
Also on the good front was the cooperation of the players
involved with the adjudicated games. Despite these being critical
games, the players involved were all very cooperative and accepted
the results gracefully.
On the not so good front, we had a couple of incidences of
conflicting opinions on how the game should be played with respect
to it being a multiplayer game. While it is common and reasonable
for gaming groups to put extra limits on what is OK to do in
order to make the game more fun for them, it is unreasonable
to expect all gaming groups to impose the same limitations. I
would appreciate it if players would be more open to (or at least
tolerant of) other ways of playing and not get upset at some
other player who does something that would be frowned upon in
your gaming group, but that isn't against the rules or universally
regarded as unsporting.
Some specific examples follow.
Players are allowed to make nonbinding deals with each other.
If you get out by yourself while some other players get tangled
up, don't count on them not making a temporary truce to allow
them to disengage from each other without falling too far behind.
Players (still in the game) are allowed to give advice to
other players, both on the masterboard and on the battleboards.
So be aware, that if you attack a weaker player hoping they will
misfight a battle, that other players may advise them in order
to hurt your position.
Players are allowed to pull their stacks at certain points
in the game. So be aware that if you spend a lot of effort trapping
someone's Titan, they may get a chance to (and) pull their stacks
denying you the points for eliminating them.
If on Turn 1 you teleport into a tower next to another player's
stacks, don't be surprised if they make a suicide attack on you
While I have my own opinion about what extra constraints make
multiplayer games more fun, when we all get together I think
we need to go by what is allowed by the rules and be tolerant
of how other players play.
I hope to see you all again next year.