The Kids are Allright!
Peter Reese, the POG champ, takes
on an opponent a tad younger than he's used to. Doesn't Doughan
play POG? Looks like favor time came due.
Bryan Thompson breaks away from his
latest Breakout championship to try frequent nemesis Doughan's
event. Coincidence? I think not.
2010 was the WBC debut for Riener Knizia's classic two player
game of deception, Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation
(LRC) as an open event. The Stratego-like mechanics of
this game coupled with the pokerish card play create tension
and anxiety in a simple to learn and easy to play game. Both
players are challenged to use deduction, bluffing and guesswork
to outwit their opponent, and secure victory. And it's all over
in under an hour per match.
What was new this year was that LRC was offered as an event
for adults as well, in the hopes that many of the former juniors
would return to try their hand in an open competition. This GM
was not disappointed in his hopes, and the junior room was swamped
with 44 entrants for this single elimination tournament. Many
of them were recent and not-so-recent graduates of the Juniors
program taking up the sword again in their old stomping grounds.
After some delays while we scrounged up extra copies of the game,
the tournament got started in earnest.
It was pleasing for this veteran Juniors GM to see a lot of
returning faces from past juniors events, even if they were sometimes
hard to recognize. It was also fun to see some grognards try
their hands at a so-called kiddie game. As could have been expected,
youth had its day, and most of the old folks were out looking
for something else to play when the later rounds took place.
In the semi-final round, the field was reduced to three entrants
plus the GM who was competing as an eliminator. Nick Henning
rallied back from a first game loss to the eliminator to win
the second game and the match on two tie breaker points, and
earn himself a spot in the Final. David Rennert (14 years old)
eliminated Matthew Beach in the other semi-final. All three of
the semi-finalists (and five of the six laurelists) were WBC
juniors graduates. Clearly the junior program is creating strong
players for the future of the hobby.
The Final was a very tense affair. Rennert's Shadow forces
were able to corner the Fellowship and when his orcs killed Frodo
in Moria there were two Shadow characters remaining for a match
score of two. In the second game, Henning and Rennert switched
sides, and once again the forces of Shadow prevailed. This time
it was the Witch King who killed Frodo and seized the ring for
the Dark Lord, but most importantly there were three characters
alive for the forces of Shadow. Henning had secured the Championship
by the narrowest of margins—one point.
After the Final, one last match was held but not for any prize.
This time it was for something much more valuable—bragging
rights. As open champion, Henning was asked to compete against
the Junior champion, Andrew Doughan, to see if youth would have
its day. This time, this GM and proud father is sad to say that
age and guile overwhelmed youth and excitement. Henning defeated
Doughan two games to zero. Nick Henning can truly lay claim to
the title Master of Middle Earth. At least until next year ...
The sugar daddy GM checks out his
Rebecca Hebner aims to trip up Gunner
Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation Junior
The juniors have been playing this game for years now at WBC
and many of them look forward to the event as the highlight of
their week in the junior room. This year was no exception with
18 hobbits from the 12 and under set trying their hand to win
the coveted junior plaque. Sadly, the two time defending champion
Thomas Melton was unable to compete in the junior event this
year (he was scheduled for a semi-final in an adult event!),
and Andrew Doughan defeated Zach Denysenko for the championship.
Placing third through sixth in the Juniors event were: Theo Crescenzi,
Iain McGraw, Adam Wojtaszczyk, and Wes Lewis. Since both Andrew
and Thomas are eligible to compete as juniors next year, we may
have that rare event in a junior's event—a contest between
two prior champions. That is unless some other 11-year-old has
something to say about it.
The Junior champ sizes up his opponent.
GM and proud papa with the champ.