Intermittent Titan ...
Craig Melton battles Bruno Wolff.
Ex-champs Ed Rothenberger and Aaron
Fuegi play for a second title.
Wednesday morning ranks as one of the most exciting moments
at WBC every year, as the 2-player Titan hopefuls gather
to see who they will play in the first round. The selection method
is random, with the only constraint being that past champions
will not be meeting each other in the first round. Happily, we
had eight of the 11 former champs on hand. Once first round pairings
have been made, the tournament bracket is created, placing each
ongoing game into a random slot, with games including past champions
into seeded locations within the bracket.
2008 saw an increase in players from the previous year, and
there was an odd number, meaning that one player would not have
a first round opponent. As it turned out, there was also one
player who requested to be included and would be unable to make
the 10 am start time. It does not always work out this way. Compare
with last year when two players who requested a late start that
also happened to be roommates were required to play each other
in the first round.
The first round included two upsets, as past champions Dan Strock
and Sean McCulloch were ousted by Nick Page and Rick Northey,
respectively. Six other past champions made it through the first
round. Mike Rogozinski outlasted Eric Monte in the longest game
of the tournament at 7 hours 50 minutes. As an experiment to
confirm average length of the matches, players were asked to
record the start and stop time of each match. After 28 games
in 2008, the average length of time to finish a match was found
to be 2 hours 28 minutes. The two fastest games were both recorded
by Aaron Fuegi, who has demonstrated a propensity for rolling
sixes on the first move or two and recruiting warlocks. His semi-final
win took a mere 20 minutes. It is this variability in the duration
of matches that makes it impossible to have regularly scheduled
starting times other than in the first round.
In the second round, Nick, and the six past champions each
won their games, while Rick advanced with the only bye of the
bracket. One of the more interesting final scores was Geoff Pounder
662 to Ed Rothenheber's total of 69, with Ed winning the final
battle. It is pretty unusual to outscore your opponent ten to
one and still lose. David Finberg, arguably the most skilled
player in the field who had not previously won the tournament,
bowed out to two-time champion Brian Sutton. In the quarter-finals,
Brian lost to another two-time champion David DesJardins, Bruno
Wolff was put out of his misery in an hour by Ed Rothenheber,
Jason Ley spent nearly four hours advancing past Rick Northey
in a remarkably low scoring 246 to 108 match for that length
of time, and Aaron schooled Nick Page in 25 minutes. The presence
of six past champions in the quarters made this the most powerful
field in memory for this stage of the tournament. Both semi-finals
were quick, but noonetheless interesting. Jason moved first against
Aaron. In his first three moves, he recruited a troll, a second
gargoyle, and a Cyclops in his Titan stack. Aaron rolled a 6
each time and recruited two warlocks, the second in a tower within
striking distance of Jason's Titan. Aaron did not know it was
Jason's Titan stack, he was actually convinced it was the Angel
instead, but the warlocks this early in the game plus the Angel
call would be decisive against either lord, even six on seven.
On his third turn he attacked the stack that he could reach.
This is the match that lasted twenty minutes. Jason would recoup
later by winning the multi-player tournament.
In the semi-final pitting David against Ed, the decisive battle
occurred in the jungle. David attacked with two Cyclops and two
gargoyles against Ed's three Cyclops. Since the attacker will
eventually be facing a fourth Cyclops at defender's fourth movement
turn, this battle only makes sense if the Angel is called into
battle. David made his first kill on attacker's third movement
turn and was ready with the Angel, but an unusual situation developed.
If Ed could kill the last attacking creatures after this next
movement phase, it would be too late for the Angel. But the new
recruit would need three movement points to get into the fray,
and without the additional dice, the attackers would not all
perish. So Ed down-recruited to the Gargoyle, which was able
to fly the needed three spaces, and the extra four dice provided
enough hits to finish the last attacking creature. No Angel summon,
Ed wins. However, even more important was the 60 points gained,
putting Ed at 88. He was able to attack a small stack with his
Titan stack shortly after this battle, earning the Angel in his
Titan stack and giving him the firepower needed to attack and
defeat David's Titan within a few turns.
The most unusual aspect of the Final was the intermittent
play. Both players had alternative events at noon on Friday.
They set up at 11:10 and played for fifty minutes, adjourning
until they could get back together. They played an additional
hour and a half from 4:30 to six, followed by a second adjournment
for additional WBC events. They reconvened at 10pm, where Aaron
Fuegi prevailed in a final battle, ending at 10:23, final score
Aaron 361, Ed 576. The playing time was 2 hours 35 minutes but
the elapsed time to completion was just short of 12 hours.
It was a very enjoyable year, and the 2-player tournament
ran smoothly. I look forward to seeing all of you again next