Updated 11/26/2008

 2008 WBC Report  

 2009 Status: pending December Membership Trial Vote

Eric Freeman, PA

2008 Champion

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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

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

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Arthur Field       SC    06    107
  2.  Davyd Field        CA    08    101
  3.  Barbara Flaxington NJ    08     62
  4.  Harald Henning     CT    07     60
  5.  Kevin Garber       VA    02     52
  6.  Eric Freeman       PA    08     47
  7.  Jack Jaeger        VA    05     44
  8.  Brian Jones        MD    02     40
  9.  Jason O'Donnell    OH    00     30
 10.  James Hopkin       CA    02     24
 11.  Daniel Broh-Kahn   MD    06     22
 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 Stanton    OH    05     12
 17.  David Wenstrup     SC    03     12
 18.  Eric Haas          MD    03     12
 19.  Marvin Birnbaum    NJ    00     12
 20.  Chris Terrel       VA    05     10
 21.  Greg Thatcher      FL    08      9
 22.  Robert Flowers     MD    06      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.  Rodney Davidson    MD    04      6
 28.  Jonathan Fox       IL    04      6
 29.  David Fair         MD    03      6
 30.  John Wetherell     PA    00      6
 31.  James Carvin       PA    03      4
 32.  Craig Moffit       NJ    06      3
 33.  Tim Kelley         SC    04      3
 34.  Mario Lanza        PA    03      3
 35.  Mike Backstrom     MN    00      3
 36.  Marc-Andre ImbeaultQC    08      2
 37.  Don Bone         AUSTRAL 03      2

2008 Laurelists                                          Repeating Laurelists:

Barb Flaxington, NJ

Charlie Mitchell, VA

Greg Thatcher, FL

Davyd Field, SC

Marc-Andre Imbeault, QC

Past Winners

Jason O'Donnell, OH

Kevin Garber, VA

Brian Jones, MD

Barb Flaxington, NJ

Harald Henning, CT
2004, 2007

Davyd Field, CA

Eric Freeman, PA

GM Daniel Broh-Kahn gets a chance to play in his own event.

Our finalists deep in the darkest jungle ...

Short of the Mark ...

TIKAL celebrated its ninth anniversary as a Century event at WBC 2008, and it is still going strong with 42 attendees and 18 unique games. Admittedly, Tikal experienced a decline in attendance which resulted in its lowest participation ever, probably due to scheduling conflicts (since all heats and the Final were scheduled within 48 hours).  This official write-up, this GM's fifth, will be broken down into four distinct areas: Demonstration, Initial Heats and Scheduling, the semi-finals, and the Final, complete with strategy tips.

Demonstration Let us start with the Demonstration activity, scheduled right before the first heat at 1 o'clock on a Friday. As usual, there was an enthusiastic turnout, with almost a dozen or so newbies seeking to lfind their path through the jungles of Central America. Tikal, like many Euros, is easy to learn and difficult to master.  It can be taught in ten minutes, which allows for a sample game to be played through the first scoring round in the allotted hour.

To play, a player places a tile, and then allocates ten Action Points (APs) in his turn as he sees fit. Scoring is also simple: In each of the four scoring rounds, each player receives the usual ten action points, without the tile placement, and then they score. The last scoring round is done in reverse order, meaning whoever is in last place at the final scoring round gets to go first in the last scoring round, often an advantage.

The WBC version of Tikal uses the bidding rules of the game in which players bid on the right to choose the tile they place, some tiles having more perceived value to one player than another. Bidding provides a bit more strategy, and also prevents the ubiquitous whining about poor tile selection. Bidding also allows a player to go last in one round, and first in the next, allowing them, in effect, 20 action points in a row, something that actually happened in our Final. Don't forget in bidding: A bid of "0", or a pass, while potentially allowing a player the right to choose and play a tile, prevents a player from re-entering the bidding in this round. (In other words, you cannot bid 0, and then jump back into the current bid.)

Initial Heats and Scheduling: There were three heats scheduled, and the general rule is win one and you're in! Social Tikal should be a 90-minute game, and the GM allowed two hours for each of the heats and a little more for the semis and Final. With very few exceptions, all games were, or could have been, finished in less than two hours. Two initial heat games were cut short by the GM by removing the last four tiles from play, which has a limited impact on the overall game.

The Friday afternoon heat had six games, Saturday morning three, and Saturday evening five. Most heats were 4-player games if possible. Heats were scored on cards, with each individual disclosing his final score, finish place, and reserve pieces for a tie-breaker. This information would be used to move on in the semis.  The GM would like to express his gratitude to Bobbi Warczak, Phil Barcafer and Mark Love, who not only allowed the GM to play in the third heat, but played in the most courteous game I have ever played! What a treat!

The Semi-finals: With 14 individual heat winners, the potential arose for semis scheduling that definitely included some alternates. Exactly 12 people appeared for the semis on time, including four alternates. The semi-finalists were Eric Freeman, Greg Thatcher, Francis Spencer, Davyd Field, Marc-Andre Imbault, Kevin Youells, Dan Mathias, Daniel Broh-Kahn, Barbara Flaxington, Charlie Mitchell, Rod Davidson, and Mark Smith.  Since Tikal works best as a four player game, it was easily agreed that the three semi-final winners and the best runner-up would advance to a single, four-person Final. When we learned that our games were scheduled against Slapshot, we quickly decided to move the semi-final to a quieter spot, in our case, the Vistas D room, site of open gaming.

During the semis, the GM did perhaps an overly aggressive job moving the four games along, with two finishing in a little over two hours and the other two fifteen minutes later.   Part of the delay was due to the movement of bodies from the Ballroom to Vista. Your GM had the opportunity to be schooled by Eric Freeman, who had the most unpleasant habit of bidding high for a great temple value tile, placing it next to one of his guys, and in his turn, moving onto it, digging one level, and then capping the whole thing for the use of only one dude! This move will henceforth be called the "Eric." 

Eric actually first learned the move in 2003, at the Tikal Final, where Barb ultimately won and he finished second. The "move" was actually pulled by the guy who would finish a close third. Eric related that he actually pulled the move in that same game after learning it from him and it has since been a part of his repertoire ... however just executing it isn't a true key to victory as seen in that 2003 Final, since neither of its practitioners won.  One other item of note: The GM had to actually reference the rules again to determine tie breakers at the start of the Final scoring round, although they are quite clear.

The Final   The three semi-final winners, Charlie Mitchell, Eric Freeman and Greg Thatcher, and the closest of the runners-up, Barb Flaxington, all appeared for the Final Sunday morning. It seemed as if each of them had to give up something else to play in this Final, so thanks for the commitment! It was also pleasant to have a four-person final again. Taken together, these finalists have well over two dozen year's experience playing the game, including several Final forays. Still, a couple of them were not too sure of the rules! Eric proposed that all treasure trades with him cost 10 Action Points, while Greg was convinced that he should get twelve action points, since he was losing.  Both proposals were, sadly, vetoed. Greg also wins the Speedy Gonzales award for performing two back-to-back turns of 20 Action Points in about 30 seconds.

A couple of key events occurred that are noteworthy. Greg made a tactical error in not recognizing a potential thievery of a monument, which, in his own words, cost him any chance for victory. Eric pulled another "Eric", paying a staggering eight points for the right monument tile at the right time.  (For those wondering the value of such a move, it scored twice, easily recovering his investment.) The last scoring round started with Greg, Charlie and Barb struggling to amass as many points as possible to prevent Eric from running away with the whole thing, but by that point, it was too late. 

It should also be noted that though Eric was able to "steal" access to the 6 monument that Greg had thought to control later, doing so cost him some protection on the 7 and 8 monuments he had built next to his camp placed in the middle of the board. That opened a window where Greg was able to establish a camp next to his and using 20 AP, steal and cap the 7 temple with his leader and one other worker. With Greg's steal of this temple and another one critical to Charlie, Barb did the best job of protecting all her investments, which is why she finished so close at the end.

But in the end, Eric had done a superb job of protecting his dig sites, making the Action Point cost of obtaining a lead anywhere prohibitive: The score, while close, does not accurately reflect the dominance that Eric displayed while controlling the board. Final Round/Final Scores were as follows: Greg, 30/85; Charlie 34/92; Barb, 38/98 and Eric, the winner, 37/101. It is worth noting that Greg, Barb, and Eric were all teammates, but none of them chose Tikal as their team game, thank goodness!

All in all, Tikal 2008 can be judged a success, based on the number of players (although slightly lower than the previous year) and the quality of the competition (intense, as usual). The quality of play and dialogue at the Final was as intense as any game I have ever seen, but when it was over, the four finalists shook hands, knowing full well that they would probably meet again at some future Tikal tournament. Next year, by scheduling the heats a little further apart, the tournament easily has the potential to attract over 50 participants again. Alas, this year - one year short of consideration for Legacy status, the event has fallen short and will require offseason help to return as a Trial. So we'll hope to see you at Tikal 2009, for the big tenth anniversary party.

 GM      Daniel Broh-Kahn [5th Year]   17 Seven Springs Court, Phoenix, MD 21131
    Daribuck1@comcast.net   NA

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