tikal  

Updated 11/30/2009

 2009 WBC Report  

 2010 Status: pending December Membership Trial Vote

Jack Jaeger, VA

2009 Champion

Offsite Links

 
 

Event History
2000    Jason O'Donnell     95
2001    Kevin Garber     80
2002    Brian Jones     72
2003     Barbara Flaxington     53
2004    Harald Henning     77
2005    Davyd Field     75
2006    Davyd Field     45
2007     Harald Henning     56
2008    Eric Freeman     42
2009     Jack Jaeger     41

Euro Quest Event History
2003     Arthur Field     23
2004     Phil Rennert     16
 Laurels

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1. Arthur Field        SC    09    124
  2. Davyd Field         CA    08    101
  3. Barbara Flaxington  NJ    09     66
  4. Jack Jaeger         VA    09     64
  5. Harald Henning      CT    07     60
  6. Kevin Garber        VA    02     52
  7. Eric Freeman        PA    08     47
  8. Brian Jones         MD    02     40
  9. Daniel Broh-Kahn    MD    09     34
 10. Jason O'Donnell     OH    00     30
 11. James Hopkin        CA    02     24
 12. Phil Rennert        MD    04     20
 13. Jason Ley           WA    07     18
 14. Rob Kilroy          PA    00     18
 15. Pierre Paquet       qc    07     12
 16. Valerie Putman      OH    05     12
 17. David Wenstrup      SC    03     12
 18. Eric Haas           MD    03     12
 19. Marvin Birnbaum     NJ    00     12
 20. Robert Flowers      MD    09     11
 21. Chris Terrel        VA    05     10
 22. Greg Thatcher       CA    08      9
 23. John Kerr           VA    03      9
 24. Steve Cameron       PA    00      9
 25. Charlie Mitchell    VA    08      8
 26. William Duke        MD    03      8
 27. Virginia Colin      VA    09      6
 28. Rodney Davidson     AZ    04      6
 29. Jonathan Fox        IL    04      6
 30. David Fair          MD    03      6
 31. John Wetherell      PA    00      6
 32. James Carvin        PA    03      4
 33. Craig Moffit        NJ    06      3
 34. Tim Kelley          SC    04      3
 35. Mario Lanza         PA    03      3
 36. Mike Backstrom      MN    00      3
 37. Marc-Andre Imbeault qc    08      2
 38. Don Bone            au    03      2

2009 Laurelists                                              Repeating Laurelists:

Daniel Broh-Kahn, MD
2nd

Arthur Field, SC
3rd

Virginia Colin, VA
4th

Barb Flaxington, NJ
5th

Rob Flowers, MD
6th


Past Winners

Jason O'Donnell, OH
2000

Kevin Garber, VA
2001

Brian Jones, MD
2002

Barb Flaxington, NJ
2003

Harald Henning, CT
2004, 2007

Davyd Field, CA
2005-06

Eric Freeman, PA
2008

Jack Jaeger, VA
2009
   

Davyd Field, Scott Fenn, Gregory Kulp
and Matt Evinger make like Indiana Jones.

Alyssa Gumkowski gets schooled
in the finer points of Tikal by Arthur Field.

Still Short of the Mark ...

TIKAL celebrated its tenth anniversary as aWBC event in 2009, and the numbers were about the same as last year: 41 participants.  Read on to discover how the experts managed their allotted 130 Action Points over nine regular rounds and four scoring (volcano) rounds. Alsoo read on to discover if perennial finalists Jack Jaeger, Arthur Field, or Daniel Broh-Kahn won the tournament, or if it was relative newcomer Virginia Colin. 
 
Again the tournament this year was not without controversy, as there were charges of unsportsmanlike conduct at one table, but this might be attributed to normal venting or convention fatigue. In the GM's opinion, much of this is to be expected at the WBC, where the competition is the reason people come.  The GM himself must share some of the blame, by prodding this slow moving table. Tikal, like many Euros, is easy to learn, if 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" card. To summarize: A player places a tile, and then allocates 10 action points in their turn as they see fit. 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 player order, meaning whoever trails at the last scoring round gets to go first in the last scoring round, often a significant advantage. No language skills are required, as there are no words anywhere on the player card or the map. A true Euro! 
 
In order to make for a far more competitive game, Tikal, which has now been at WBC for ten years, uses the optional bidding rules included in the game.   This "optional rule, which was new to some people, is not that difficult an addition to an already great game.  Players bid victory points for the right to choose which tile they want to place, some tiles having more perceived value to one player than another.  Bidding provides a bit more strategy to the game, and is supposed to prevent the inevitable whining about poor tile selection. If you don't like the tile you got, you've got no one to blame but yourself! 
 
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, useful for digging temples one turn, then capping them in the next. And when there are only 130 Action Points in the game, the back-to-back play can be very rewarding.  But be careful, bidding too many points can hurt you, as one finalist discovered to his dismay this year!
 
There were three heats scheduled for different days and times. The first heat, always the most popular, had six games, the second had five, and the last heat had just two games.  Is there a trend here?  YES!  The last heat was a disaster from a scheduling perspective at a WBC tournament, as seven players is just not enough.  Perhaps the 10pm start was a little too late?  If so, then let this be your wake-up call that even the final heats of a multiplayer tournament need bodies, and, more importantly, offer opportunities!   Heats were scored on cards, with each individual disclosing his or her finish place, scoring in the final round, and reserve pieces for a tiebreaker. An amusing anecdote this year is that the GM, after just teaching a dozen or so folks how to play at the demo, was soundly trounced by three "beginners" in their very first game!  I take solace in the knowledge that my teaching skills are so good.
 
There were 13 individual heat winners, and so "win one and you're in" was pretty much guaranteed.  Although there was plenty of room for alternates at the semi-finals, only eight of the desired 16 qualifiers appeared for the 11 am semis! Eight?  With room for 16?  Wow.  Since Tikal works best as a 4-player game, it was agreed that the four semi-final winners and runner-ups would advance to a single, four-player Final, immediately following the semi-finals. 
 
During the heats and the semis, the GM did his usual aggressive job moving the four scoring rounds along, with all but one game finishing within two hours. The key to this aggressive scheduling, for those tempted to run Tikal tournaments without the dreaded Analysis Paralysis, is to ensure that all scoring rounds start before 30 minutes have elapsed since the last one. Most players, who usually had other games to go to after two hours, were only too happy to oblige and only one game before the Final went past 120 minutes, in spite of the prodding.
 
The first semi-final game was won by Jack Jaeger, with 107 points, eight ahead of his nearest rival, Virginia Colin.  Daniel Broh-Kahn won the other semi with 109 points, with the next player Arthur Field at 106.  Although the margin of victory provides some indication of the skill of the participants, it is not possible to compare one Tikal game to another, with different board layouts or bidding strategies possible each time. But clearly, the Final was again going to shape up as a clash of titans, with three bridesmaids to the big show.
 
At the Final most participants observed what was initially considered to be relatively passive bidding amongst the four finalists, unlike the aggressive bidding that characterized previous Finals.  Jack and Daniel were tied after almost every scoring round, with Arthur and Virginia relentlessly breathing down their necks. Scoring after Volcano 1 was 30; 28; 24 and 21.  After Volcano 2, it was even closer 41; 41; 37; 36. At that point it was still anyone's game.  But then, something stunning happened!  There was a 10 point bid for a single tile!  That had never happened before.  The impact was felt in the third scoring round, as the scores were 63; 63; 60 and 55, with the 55 by Arthur, who had bid the 10 for the critical tile, but had not yet recovered his expensive investment.
 
Then the trash talk started shortly after, as it was clearly going to be close.  Although the first three scorers (done in reverse order of their place on the score track) in the final round were able to start a comeback, with impressive scoring rounds after the last scoring round, it was a case of too little, too late.  So although Arthur scored a game high 42 points in his final scoring round, neither he, nor either of the other two, were able to stop the leader.  Virginia scored 40 on her final round, Daniel scoring third a paltry 36, knocking him out of contention and then Jack last with a 39.  Final scores were Jack, 102, Daniel, 98 Arthur, 96, and Virginia, 94.   A very, close game.
 
When it was all over, the four finalists went their separate ways, knowing that they would probably meet again at some future Tikal tournament. Will Jack, Daniel and Arthur reclaim their spots at the Final table next year?  If past performance is any indication, you can almost guarantee it!  Or will newcomer Virginia make a reappearance?  Well, we'll just have to see you at Tikal 2010 to find out.  And if you want to play it again, you're probably gonna have to vote it back in! 

 GM      Daniel Broh-Kahn [6th Year]   17 Seven Springs Court, Phoenix, MD 21131
    Daribuck1@comcast.net   NA

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