Patience Pays off ...
Kris Giesing, Richard Goldbaum and
2000 champ Rich Atwater
2006 champ Kevin Hillock, Clifford
Smith and Rick Northey
Akihisa "Aki" Tabei donated old style counter sheets
to all of the players in the multi-player Final. He also donated
three sets to hand out next year, in case he is unable to repeat
his long trek across the Pacific from Japan. Aki continued his
aggressive play again this year. In one of his preliminary games
he attacked Nick Klercker on Turn 2. It didn't work, but when
he's in the game, you don't want to give him a shot at your titan
legion if he'll have any kind of edge.
We had 32 preliminary matches with 14 3-player, 16 4-player
and two 5-player games for 116 player starts in the preliminaries.
While a number of players had secured early virtual locks on
a semi-final slot, several regulars were still scrambling for
the last slots in Friday evening games. Nick Klercker held on
to his spot, and Steve Koleszar, while not winning moved up enough
to earn his. Kris Giesing, Peg Mecham and Bruce Rae all fell
a win short. Jason Ley who spent much of his time taking third
in the Titan Two-player tournament, already had a win
but was unable to finish high enough to get the last semi-final
The first semi-final featured Dan Strock, Ken Nied, Bob Masso
and 1993 champ Brian Sutton. The first key battle was Brian attacking
with titan(8), two cyclops, two angels, and two rangers with
an angel to call against behemoth, guardian, three cyclops, and
two gargoyles in a jungle. Dan was able to recruit a behemoth
and Brian was unable to bring in his angel. The last cyclops
killed Brian's titan putting Dan over 200 points and the lead.
Dan's lead eroded a bit with Bob getting teleport first. However
Bob had only two legions for most of the end game. Ken was the
first to recruit a serpent which arguably put him ahead of Dan
at that time. Dan's recruiting picked up and he took the recruiting
lead with serpents and hydras. Dan caught Bob's titan legion
first and gained an archangel and titan teleport and then Ken
resigned a few turns later when his titan legion was trapped.
Match 2 matched two-time champ David des Jardins, Nick Klercker,
Jonathan Barnes and Charles Coats. David killed Charles' titan
with an angel, minotaur legion in brush. Then he killed Jonathan's
titan with a titan, wyvern, gorgon legion in the hills. And then
rolled a 6 and teleported to kill Nick's titan in a plains waiting
for a roll to get a dragon.
Semi-final 3 grouped defending champ Aaron Fuegi, 2006 champ
Kevin Hillock, Akihisa Tabei and Rick Northey. Aaron attacked
Aki's titan legion and at the end Aki risked giving a troll a
swing at his titan which had already taken five of its seven
hits in order to keep it from swinging at a dragon that had taken
eight of nine hits. Aki had another dragon that was going to
survive the battle and was due two angels for points, but judged
that he really needed to come out of the battle with both dragons
intact. Unfortunately for him, Aaron's troll got two hits to
eliminate him. Rick didn't recruit well and was chased by Aaron
into Kevin's area of influence who eliminated him. Aaron ended
up teleporting onto Kevin's titan legion and the battle came
down to Aaron's 11 point titan versus Kevin's 10 point titan.
Aaron won the battle cleanly (no mutual roll off was needed).
The 4th pairing earned the heavyweight bout billing with four
former champions (David Finberg, Rich Atwater, Steve Koleszar
and Sean McCulloch). Sean's title was in the two-player event
but it was still an impressive resume by any measure. The game
didn't start well for David as he mulligan'd a 2 and got a 5
on the re-roll and a 2 on his next turn. Sean jumped out to a
lead with an early hydra from wyverns in his titan legion. While
waiting in a hills with a one third chance for another hydra,
Steve attacked with a griffon and some lions and rangers. Steve
lost but stripped the recruiters from Sean's legion. David then
moved into the lead getting two giants into his titan legion.
He then went on to miss seven chances to get a colossus. This
provided time for Sean and Rick to get serpents. David had gotten
over 400 points by this time. Both he and Rick were trying to
catch Sean's titan. Just as Rick was about to close in for the
kill, David teleported on Sean to get his points. Rick then won
a pyrrhic victory in a tundra battle with his titan legion. David
then teleported into a plains under the mountains and beat a
strong legion of Rick's losing only one giant. Soon after he
replaced it and Rick conceded.
In the Final, again things started poorly for Finberg. He
was last and mulligan'd a 2 only to re-roll another 2. One of
his legions didn't recruit until Turn 3. A bit into the game
Fuegi made an attack on one of des Jardins' legions. Though des
Jardins had about a 33% chance to kill Fuegi's titan, he missed.
Aaron ended up with titan(8), two angels, warlock, gorgon, and
cyclops. A bit later des Jardins teleported to get a second wyvern
in his titan legion but shortly afterwards was trapped by Aaron.
des Jardins then attacked Strock's angel legion with his angel
legion to try to clear a way though. des Jardins tried to make
a run for it but was caught and killed by Aaron. At this point
Aaron had titan (11), two angels, warlock and cyclops for his
titan legion and another legion with a hydra. Things were looking
very good for him. Aaron then attacked Strock's two behemoths,
gorgon, and three cyclops in the jungle. Aaron later said that
given his position, he should never have made this attack. Things
went wrong in the battle and Strock eventually got a serpent
and Aaron had to make a bad choice of likely being killed outright
or needing good rolls to kill everything fast enough. In the
end he ended up losing the battle on time. Strock had 397 points,
but wasn't able to exceed 400 until after it was an immediate
win to teleport. Finberg had few points, so it took a long time
for him to recover. He recruited very well, eventually recruiting
all 10 colossus in the game. He eventually got 400 points and
was able to teleport on Dan's titan for the win and his fourth
Titan title. This game was an example of being patient
to give oneself a chance to win.
Since a question came up about seeding for the semi-final
games, I thought I'd go through a bit of the history for the
multi-player tournament to explain how we got to using the current
scheme. The first three years Bill Scott ran the tournament and
used a 6-player Final with no semi-final. When I took over, I
felt we had enough participants that we could support having
16 semi-finalists. In 6-player games, typically two people get
eliminated early through bad rolls and not really any fault of
their own. With 4-player games players getting eliminated early
due to bad rolls is much less frequent. As such I thought 4-player
games would be better for the playoff rounds.
In my first year, seeding was based strictly on how players
did in the preliminaries. I also tried to have consolation games
for the semi-final players who didn't win their table. That turned
out to be a mistake. Note to anyone thinking of being a GM: people
tend not to appear for consolation games. I also had mutuals
resolved by having the player with the higher seed advance.
I ran this way (minus the consolation games) for a few years,
but there were some issues that still needed to be corrected.
Players didn't like having the seeding affect who one mutuals.
So I eventually switched to having a 50-50 roll off to see who
advances. (That has worked out well and I also am now using it
in the preliminary heats.)
The seeding itself had a few issues. One is that strict seeding
could result in Team Tournament players being in the same semi
as a team member. While I don't think anyone ever threw a game,
it is best to defer these match-ups as long as possible to avoid
any semblance of impropriety. A similar issue is that people
from the same game club were asking to not be paired with each
other as much as possible.
Along a different front the seeding was a bit misleading.
People who were good players would sometimes win two games fairly
quickly and then play in other events until time for the semis
came. This and normal randomness resulted in the seeding not
really matching up with player skills. And it was also noted
by some players that near the end of the preliminary part of
the tournament the players could look at the preliminary seeding
results and perhaps have incentive to throw an in-progress game
or to not play another game in order to get a lower seed which
would get them an easier semi-final game.
So I then used the preliminary ranking just for deciding who
was in the semis. I also started allowing groups of up to four
mutually consenting players to be split in the semis. This was
to avoid being matched with frequent opponents from the same
area (as by that point most of the regular players were friends
at some level), or to avoid playing with those who had styles
they didn't like (generally involving what kinds of deal making
are OK). This solved the problems above, but went too far in
that the seeding information wasn't being used at all to help
fairly divide the semi-final participants.
So several years ago, I started breaking up the semi-final
participants into four groups, based on seeding, that all needed
to be split apart in the semi-finals. This retained some randomness,
the ability to split friends apart, split up teammates and use
the information from the seeding to fairly evenly divide the
players for the semi-final games. And the uncertainty keeps people
from being able to game things at the end by deliberately finishing
with a lower seed.
Robert Masso, Bruce Rae and Ken Nied
Bruno Wolff in his 17th year as Titan
GM oversees his finalists.