tikal [Updated October 2005]  

 2005 WBC Report  

 2006 Status: pending 2006 GM commitment

Davyd Field, CA

2005 Champion

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AREA Ratings

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

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


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Arthur Field       SC    05    110
  2.  Davyd Field        SC    05     58
  3.  Kevin Garber       VA    02     52
  4.  Jack Jaeger        VA    05     44
  5.  Brian Jones        MD    02     40
  6.  Barbara Flaxington NJ    04     38
  7.  Harald Henning     CT    04     30
  8.  Jason O'Donnell    OH    00     30
  9.  James Hopkin       CA    02     24
 10.  Eric Freeman       PA    05     21
 11.  Phil Rennert       MD    04     20
 12.  Rob Kilroy         PA    00     18
 13.  Valerie Stanton    OH    05     12
 14.  David Wenstrup     SC    03     12
 15.  Eric Haas          MD    03     12
 16.  Marvin Birnbaum    NJ    00     12
 17.  Chris Terrel       VA    05     10
 18.  John Kerr          VA    03      9
 19.  Steve Cameron      PA    00      9
 20.  William Duke       MD    03      8
 21.  Rodney Davidson    MD    04      6
 22.  Jonathan Fox       IL    04      6
 23.  David Fair         MD    03      6
 24.  John Wetherell     PA    00      6
 25.  Daniel Broh-Kahn   MD    04      4
 26.  James Carvin       PA    03      4
 27.  Tim Kelley         SC    04      3
 28.  Mario lanza        PA    03      3
 29.  Mike Backstrom     MN    00      3
 30.  Don Bone         AUSTRAL 03      2

2005 Laurelists

Arthur Field, SC

Valerie Stanton, OH

Jack Jaeger, VA

Chris Terrell, VA

Eric Freeman, PA

Past Winners

Jason O'Donnell, OH

Kevin Garber, VA

Brian Jones, MD

Barb Flaxington, NJ

Harald Henning, CT

Deep in the Deepest Jungles ...

TIKAL celebrated its sixth anniversary as a Century event at WBC 2005, and the numbers were about the same as last year: 75 participants. Sadly, the tournament this year was not without controversy, as there were charges of unsportsmanlike conduct, 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. So read on to discover if perennial finalists Jack Jaeger, Arthur Field, or Davyd Field won the tournament, or if it was relative newcomer Valerie Putnam.

Tikal, like many Euros, is easy to learn, if difficult to master. The game itself comes with a player cheat sheet, which shows everything a player can do on a simple 3 by 4.5 inch card. To summarize: a player places a tile, and then allocates 10 action points in his or her turn as he or she sees fit on the mapboard. 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 is in last place at the final 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 more competitive game, Tikal 2005, like the previous year, uses the optional bidding rules included in the game (which were new to some people). Players bid 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 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.

There were three heats scheduled, set for three different times and days. The Thursday heat had nine games, the Friday heat seven, and the Saturday morning heat five. Is there a trend here? The first heat was a disaster for some WBC attendees, as eight players were turned away for lack of enough games, same as last year. Let this be your wake-up call that even four-player tournaments need players to bring their games!

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. The Gamemaster's son, 13 year-old Kevin Broh-Kahn, had to enter three heats before he finally won a game.

The semifinals: As happened last year, there were 21 individual heat winners, and the potential existed for a scheduling problem in the semifinals Saturday morning at 11. And just like last year, the Gods of Tikal were delighted as the problem resolved itself, with only 15 of the 21 qualifiers present for the 11 am semis. Since the game works best as a four-player contest, it was agreed that the four semifinal winners would advance to a single, four-person Final, and the GM would participate in the fourth game as a non-advancing player to round out to 16.

During the semis, the GM did an aggressive job moving the four scoring rounds along, with all games finishing within two hours. The key to this aggressive scheduling, for those tempting 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 had other games to go to at 1 pm, were only too happy to oblige!

The first semifinal game was won by Valerie Stanton, with 109 points, five ahead of her nearest rival. Davyd Field crushed his table with 135 points, with the next player at 118. The other two finalists, Jack Jaeger and Arthur Field, each scored 115 points in their semifinal, with all of the other players at their boards scoring below 100. 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.

At the Final, the Gamemaster observed what he considered to be relatively passive bidding amongst the four, unlike the aggressive bidding that characterized last year's Final. According to Arthur, Jack took his favorite tile early just to burn it. Jack complained that Arthur was allowed to build and score points unmolested. The same sort of trash talk between these two participants has existed for years. Jack quickly dug a high scoring monument, which was soon challenged by Valerie. Valerie later shifted the focus of her attention to Arthur. The competition between Arthur, Jack and Valerie over a few points here and there ultimately hurt each of them.

By the time Valerie, Jack and Arthur had reached a sort of detente, it was too late. Although they were each able to start a comeback, with impressive scoring rounds after the second volcano, it was a case of too little, too late. So although Jack scored a game high 44 points in his final scoring round, neither he, nor either of the other two, were able to stop the leader. Davyd, who had escaped most of the competition among this elite group, grabbed the lead early and for the most part, never let go. Final scores were Davyd, 128, Arthur, 109, Valerie, 102 and Jack, 96. Congratulations to Davyd Field, on his first ever win.

Based on the volume of mail on the electronic bulletin boards, Tikal 2005 was certainly a memorable event. In the eyes of the GM, it was once again a smashing success, based on both the number of players (same as in the previous year, in spite of significant competition from newer Euros) and the quality of the competition (very high, as usual). The accusations and recriminations in the Final were as intense as any Tikal game ever seen, but the threat of a five-hour final was way off the mark! As a matter of fact, the Final, like most of the preliminary heats, was completed in less than two hours.

Still, 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, Davyd and Arthur reclaim their spots and the finals table next year? If past performance is any indication, you can almost guarantee it! Will newcomer Valerie make her appearance? Well, we'll just have to see you at Tikal 2006 to find out.

 GM      Daniel Broh-Kahn [2nd Year]   NA
    Daribuck1@comcast.net   NA

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