Deep in the Deepest Jungles ...
GM Daniel Broh-Kahn (right)
oversees a preliminary game.
This yar's field was the smallest
yet recorded for Tikal at WBC.
Tikal celebrated its seventh anniversary as a Century
event at WBC 2006, and based on the enthusiasm of the turnout,
it shows no signs of abating. Read on to discover if perennial
finalists Barbara Flaxington, Arthur Field, or Davyd Field won
the tournament, or was it a relative newcomer Daniel Broh-Kahn?
Tikal, like most Euros, is easy to learn, and sometimes
difficult to master. The Tikal game itself comes with
a player cheat sheet, which shows everything a player can do
on a simple 3 by 4.5 inch card. No language skills are required,
as there are no words whatsoever on the player card or the map.
In a nutshell, a player places a tile, and then allocates 10
action points in his or her turn as he or she sees fit on the
map board. Scoring is also simple: In a scoring round, and there
are four of them in the game, each player receives the usual
10 action points, without the tile placement, and then they score.
The last scoring round is done in reverse score order, meaning
whoever is in last place at the final scoring round gets to go
first in the last scoring round, often an advantage.
Since 2004 at WBC the bidding rules have been used in Tikal,
in which players bid on the tile they choose to place, some tiles
having more perceived value to one player than another. Bidding
provides a bit more strategy to the game, and also prevents the
ubiquitous whining about poor tile selection. Bidding also allows
a player to go last in one round, and then first in the next,
allowing them, in effect, 20 action points in a row.
Initial Heats and Scheduling: There were three heats
scheduled for the game, set for different times and different
days. With this flexible scheduling format, anyone who truly
wanted to play a game could get in a heat at some point during
the very busy WBC week. Social Tikal should be a 90-minute game,
and the GM allowed two hours for tournament play of each of the
heats and the Semis. With very few exceptions, all games were
finished in less than two hours. The Tuesday evening heat had
five games, the Wednesday heat seven, and the Saturday afternoon
heat three games. All were scored in the GMs notebook with each
individual disclosing his or her finish place, and total points.
This information was entered into a computer, with the ratio
to the winner used as for a tiebreaker for runner-ups to move
on in the semis.
The Semi Finals: With 13 individual heat winners, 14
including the GM, the potential arose for a slight scheduling
problem in the semi-finals on Saturday night. As before, the
Gods of Tikal were clearly smiling, as miraculously, the
problem resolved itself, when exactly 12 qualifiers showed for
the semis on time. Since Tikal works best as a four-player
game, it was easily agreed that the three semi-final winners
would advance, as well
as the best runner-up to a single, four-player Final.
The Final: The GM paid particular attention to the
Final, as he was a participant for the first time, matched against
former champions Barbara Flaxington and Davyd Field. The fourth
seat, reserved for Arthur Field remained empty at the appointed
start time due to scheduling conflicts.
For the first couple of moves, all went well for the three
finalists. Very little was bid during the auction for turn order,
but the treasure hunt proved interesting. Davyd matched two treasures
out of his first three picks, and Barbara snagged two pair on
her first four picks. Poor Daniel grabbed five treasures before
the first scoring volcano, with no matches.
As can be seen from the tables below, the Final was very close.
Before the first volcano was scored, the three finalists had
bid only one or two points, and were very close after scoring.
At the second and third volcano, they were still close, within
three points. By the fourth volcano, however, Daniel had pulled
to what seemed an insurmountable lead, with almost 30 points
off the board in treasures (to make up for the deficit of the
first volcano.) But on the last scoring round, Davyd sneaked
in and grabbed an uncapped monument, for seven points. That was,
as he said, a 14 point swing, enough to make a difference in
the outcome. So congratulations to Davyd for his back to back
All in all, Tikal 2006 can be judged a success, without any
of the controversies of the 2005 event: Thank goodness. Next
year, by scheduling the demonstrations before the initial heats,
and by scheduling in conjunction with other similar games, the
tournament easily has the potential to attract over 60 participants.
So we'll see you at Tikal 2007!
Summary of Final Game
Davyd, Daniel, Barbara
Score Before First Volcano 18 19 19
Before Second Volcano 24 22 25
Before Third Volcano 54 55 52
Before Fourth Scoring 95 98 90
First Volcano Scoring Rd 08 10 10
Second Volcano 33 34 31
Third Volcano 43 43 38
Fourth Scoring 53 48 46
Scoring ALL Volcano 129 125 115
Score after 1st Volcano 26 29 29
Score Second Volcano 57 56 56
Score Third Volcano 97 98 90
Final Score with winner 148 146 136
Summary of Bids in Final Game
Bids BEFORE First Volcano 2 1 1
Bids BEFORE Second Volcano 2 7 4
Bids BEFORE Third Volcano 3 1 4
Bids BEFORE Fourth Scoring 2 0 0
Total Bids in the Game 9 9 9