Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The whole ugly story

I'll try to keep as much of the geekiness out of this story as possible, but I promise nothing. So I had known about the Dreamblade 1k Tournament for quite some time, and for most of the time I would say that the majority of the energy spent on it was in the service of convincing my friends to come along with me. Once I had done that I had to find them a warband. I think that's where problems started to arise...

I came across a great little warband (we'll call it the "Appease" band) that looked fairly straight foward to play, so I gave it to one of my co-workers to try out and he promptly beat the band I was planning on using for myself twice in a row. As you might imagine this cast me into some serious doubt. In retrospect I think it was just a couple of unlucky games on my part, but suddenly I doubted whether I had selected the best band. What I should have done is examine the games and see what had gone wrong, did I suffer from unusually bad rolls, had I made any bad moves, was there a hole that needed plugging in the band itself? Instead I went back to a square one...

Perhaps it's incorrect to say I went completely back to square one, I mean I was only considering bands that had done well in previous competitions, but I was considering all of them. As late as the week just before the match I was still trying to decide between four. There was the Appease Band, the Chessmaster, the Deathtrap and the WPRA (Worker's and Peasants Red Army). Appease was getting a lot of play because my co-worker was practicing with it, and it seemed to do pretty good. Chessmaster was the gold standard that had been around since the game was released. Deathtrap was the hot new star. And WPRA was what my friend had won his 44 person 1k with. I wasn't that excited about Deathtrap because it was a complicated band to play and I didn't have a lot of experience with it. I figured everyone would be playing Chessmaster (and indeed of the four finalists there was me and three chessmaster bands). So that left it as a choice between Appease and WPRA.

So I played a game with me playing Appease and my friend playing WPRA (the friend who had won his 1k with it) and the idea was whichever one that's the one I would play. It was indecisive... WPRA won, but if a single roll had gone the other way Appease would have won. Then I thought well there are two edge tournaments this week I'll take one to each and whichever does better. As it turns out the one in Provo didn't happen, and Appease won the one in Salt Lake. Of course WPRA won a previous Edge in Salt Lake, so...

The final blow happened at that last Edge tournament. The competition was really light, and I think that's what finally swung me. While WPRA is probably a better band it's more sensitive to luck, whereas the Appease is not as sensitive to the luck of the dice. With my assumption that the competition would not be steller I got into the mode of making sure I didn't lose rather than trying to guarantee that I won, which I think is a bad mode to be in (particularly in retrospect), and minimizing the luck factor played right into that.

So the morning of the tournament I decided to go with the Appease band. (That sentence right there may sum up the tournament). When I got there a kid I had seen at the previous tournament, but not the night before came up and asked if he could borrow a scarab warcharm, the single most valuable piece in the initial set. I didn't want to, but at the same time I didn't want to be a jerk, so I told him he could borrow it on the condition that if he won any money he would give me $10.

The tournament ended up with 18 people, some had driven in from as far away as Bozeman, Montana. This meant that there would be 6 "swiss" rounds to determine the top four players and then the top four would compete in a single elimination tournament to see who the winner was. My very first game was against one of the friends I'd brought to the tournament, which is a sucky way to start. Even suckier is that his second game was against the other co-worker... Pretty much as I expected the Appease band dominated 3 of the 6 games. On other game had quite a bit of weirdness and the other player managed to go up 4-0 (and later 5-1). Before I totally shut him down. The other two games were against Chessmasters... I should have expected that they would be there... I should have tested the Appease band against them...

In any case, although the Appease band seemed to start of strong, it just couldn't deal with the movement abilities of the Chessmaster. Losing the first time to the chessmaster was annoying but certainly not fatal. When I went up against another one in the 6th round, and it contained my Scarab, that was downright infuriating... And it only got worse when I made it into the final four and found out that I was facing the same guy again. Remind me to never lend my pieces to my opponents. And of course the $10? He didn't have it right then, but he swore he was good for it. So that was it... I made the cut into the top 4 and got $100. But perhaps the most frustrating part of all is yet to come.

So I called my friend that had won his 1k with the WPRA and of course he was mad that I hadn't used WPRA. He then casually brought up another band which was on the verge of winning the Chicago 10k which was also happening that weekend. I told him I'd never heard of it and he was surprised, thinking that I had. So he showed it to me and I could immediately see that with that band I would have stomped all over the chessmasters and won that tournament (yes I know that sounds enormously conceited). And he hadn't told me about it because 1) he wanted me to run his band, WPRA and 2) he thought I already knew about it.

So that's the story of Saturday. As I said before most people would have been overjoyed to make it to the final four, so I should quite complaining (trust me this is the last of that). Overall it was a lot of fun, and I met some very cool people.

Dreamblade complaint free at least until the 10k


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"When I went up against another one in the 6th round, and it contained my Scarab, that was downright infuriating... "

Oh my, somebody marked you an evil-eye curse or something, that's some bad luck.

4:57 AM  
Anonymous Geshin said...

I HATE it when I miss the "this is a Dreamblade only rant" disclaimer. :P

8:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please forgive my noobness but is there something wrong with game-related rants?   I did notice the apologies for "geekiness" ... was that a hint?

8:18 AM  

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