Below is the report I sent off to WBC to put up on their site. There you will also find Laurel standings, past winner photos, and other info, so by all means check it out. You can also find a record of all medal winners here.
While a slight increase over last year's attendance is always welcome news, what is most gratifying is the huge number of new players. We had 27 people who hadn't played Titan: The Arena at WBC before, or at least not in the last six years or so since I started keeping player records from year to year. Approximately one in every four is quite an influx.
Of the 28 qualifiers to win at least one heat, 22 showed up ready to battle it out. Joining them were three alternates to round out to a full five five-player tables. As in many of the heats, one semi-final table had a Head Referee card played in the first round that actually revealed someone's secret bet. However, unlike most of those heat games, George Galuschak managed to keep his Unicorn alive and very nearly won in doing so.
The final table may have had the highest concentration of former champions (three) in tournament history. Rounding out the table were a two-time finalist and one of those aforementioned new players. This game opened up with a first round on the longer side, with everyone feeling things out, until Ewan finally killed the unloved Cyclops with its zero strength card. The second round went much more quickly as Brendan killed the Titan which also had no bets upon it.
As usual, the third round was when the negotiations began in earnest. Ewan was the only one with two first round bets, and since he and Carter had supported each other's Troll and Ranger, the other three tried to decide which of either those two or Ewan's Hydra (on which he also placed a third-round bet) would die. Greg made the decision to not kill the Hydra when he had the chance –time would tell whether this was a tactical blunder or simple act of mercy. Thus the play got back around to Carter who made the decision to kill her 3-point bet on Ewan's Ranger rather than risk her Troll. This turned out to kill two secret bets – Brendan's and Ewan's.
Ewan knew he had to garner some sympathy from the table in order to have a chance at keeping his Hydra alive, so he revealed his secret bet on the dead Ranger at the first opportunity. As is the nature of the game, the rounds came and went much quicker by this point. Carter mistakenly played a low card on the Warlock when she later stated to play on the Unicorn. This allowed Ewan to make sure his Hydra survived again by killing the Warlock, which had 1st and 4th-round bets by Greg, as well as bets by Brendan and Carter.
With fours creatures left and the Hydra still in play, the last round ended with each player taking a single turn. Cards were low, so the others could not close the deal before Ewan got a turn. He used the Hydra power to play two cards, and as a result killed the Unicorn, which not only had Brendan's 1st-round bet, but also the secret bets of Angela and Greg. If the Unicorn had managed to survive, those eight points would have helped Angela to victory, but alas. When the chips fell, it was Carter who had the most points, due to having the only surviving secret bet (on the Dragon).
In addition to the finalist trophies, I also was able to give out six special medals themed after some of the spectator cards in the game. For achieving 6th place by virtue of the closest second in the finals (13 points out of a 15-point win), the Mighty Minotaur went to Harry Flawd. The Battling Behemoth went to the player with the most kills in regular heat player, which this year was Isaac Clizbe. Greg Zegalia earned the Shining Serpent for losing 10 points on his Hydra in the last round of his heat game. Carmen Petruzelli's win of 10 points and needing to go to tiebreakers snagged him the Weary Warbear. Isaac Clizbe medaled again with an 8-point last place score to win the Ardent Angel. And lastly the Overachieving Ogre went to Dale Long for scoring 32 points among his regular heat games.
Congratulations to Carter for winning the tournament, especially after only having started playing the game this year. Everyone, thank you all for making this another successful tourney, and I'll (hopefully) see you all for our last time in Lancaster!
I also run the Titan: The Arena Juniors Tournament at WBC, and here is what I had to post about that.
This year we managed to attract 15 young players which made up three full, 5-player tables. As was the norm for the Juniors games in past years, the diplomacy and negotiations flew fast and furious from beginning to end. Deals were struck, bargains broken, hopes were dashed and plans came to fruition, and eventually the three winners and closest two seconds met at the finals tables to receive their trophies. But not before one last battle!
It started with one of the longest first rounds ever. As every single creature ended up with an open bet, none could be unanimously targeted as the first one to be eliminated. As Kira had no less than three bets placed, it was arguably inevitable that one of those would take the hit. Sure enough, her ranger ended up being the first sent off to the locker rooms despite the chants of “Cyclops” from many of the players (for some reason).
The second round was also fairly long, with every surviving creature getting another bet. The experience of these finalist players was evident in the way that there were no repeat bets from the same player on the same creature in the two rounds. Everyone started to forge their alliances, some of which would be broken before the game was over, but one didn't even last the round. In a bold move, David decided it was better to lose his three-point bet on Kira's Hydra than to risk his own Dragon.
At this point only one player had two first-round bets left, so either Sydney's Titan or Warlock were likely to be next on the chopping block. Kira managed to get a form of revenge for her two fallen creatures by elimination the Titan, which, unbeknownst to most, also voided the secret bets of both Ethan and Lucas.
As the fourth round drew to a close, Sydney had a tough choice. Not being able to put down the Dragon which had none of her bets on it, she instead ended the two points she had on the Cyclops. This was worse news for Ethan and David, who each had four points on him.
On to the last round. With Lucas' four-point bet and the three remaining secret bets on the Unicorn, it was almost certain to survive, which was good news for Kira, who also had a three-pointer on it. Even so, she still had her work cut out for her, as only one combination of survivors would win her the game. I an amazing display of negotiation, she got just that, and managed to get rid of the Warlock, along with many of Ethan's and Sydney's points. In the end, Kira squeaked out a hard-won victory. Congratulations, Kira, and thanks to all our juniors players!