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Strategy Articles

GenCon 2014, Part IV

by Johannes Klarhauser, Kaiser

22nd September 2014

This is part four in the series. For part three see here; for part two, see here; for part one, see here.

Disclaimer: I am writing this article about three weeks after GenCon and purely from memory, so apologies for any mistakes or missing details.

Saturday, 16th August

I woke up to some confusion in the room. Niall apparently had just returned from another glorious night out, and was asking Jason to wake him up when it was time to go over to the gaming hall for the 1E Day 2 elimination games. Niall had ended up on the bubble, as he was the first replacement in case one of the first eight seeds didn't show up. Jason was trying to explain to him, that he was actually about to leave and go over. It sounded like either Niall had thought it was still night and he would get to catch some hours sleep; or that Jason is just a very early riser who wanted to be at the gaming hall with more than enough time to spare.

In the end, it was settled that Niall would simply stay awake for the moment, see if he got to play in the bracket, and then either do just that or maybe go to bed. Huge thanks to Niall here for going over dilemma choices with me at this point. Since I hadn't expected to make Day 2, I only had the dilemmas from my other decks as alternatives, but wasn't entirely happy with those either. He lent me, among other things, an Altonian Brain Teaser and some shiny manboobs. Apart from the dilemma changes, my deck stayed pretty much the same.

Over at the gaming hall, all eight players were there, so the bracket would be played as announced. The tables were set with those nice TCC-produced playmats that had the Worlds 2014 logo on them. I hadn't checked what deck my opponent had played on Day 1, nor whether there were any decks posted in his tournament history.

1E World Championship, Day 2, Round One vs. Jeremy Norris (Arcanthas), #8 seedDeep inside, Kirk had always been into Furries
Deck: [NA] Hirogen/Equinox deck titled Worlds Day 2 Tournament Deck
Game Summary: No matter how this game would end, I was told I would get to keep the playmat, so I had already won. Also, Jeremy is another new face, which is always great. What wasn't was the fact that in the Doorway phase he laid down a Storage Compartment Door. Please...no...don't do this to me... The rest of the deck was interesting, too. Like Derrick the day before, he had Aid Fugitives in gamma quadrant, and a planet mission in the mirror quadrant, as well as four more planets in the delta quadrant. I was pretty sure that the DQ affiliations had an easy way of getting to a different quadrant, though I couldn't quite remember what it was, so I put solid dilemmas under Aid Fugitives. Cytherians became a self-seed in the middle of my alpha quadrant spaceline, the other space dilemmas I hid behind walls in the mirror and gamma quadrants.

With my own missions all together, I could maneuver around reasonably quickly, but after a few turns, all those Tribbles breeding in my reporting locations made it difficult to actually get all the people I needed together in one place. I was lucky to have all my ships in play fairly soon to keep some uncontaminated spots for a while. As expected, I ran into a MEDICAL combo consisting of Hippocratic Oath, Love Ship, and Medical Crisis, and saw one of my guys relocated to the Gamma Quadrant, but I was eventually able to clear the wall (I might have used the old country doctor, I'm not sure) and complete. Jeremy seemed to have trouble drawing into Hirogen, as he had almost exclusively non-aligneds in play for several turns; nevertheless, he made his way through Assist Cooperative and completed for 40 points, but he was unable to score again before I was able to move the most annoying tribbles out of the way and scored another mission.

Moment to Remember / Forget: When I had one mission done and some Dabo points, I was just under 50 points, and I couldn't see a Q the Referee on Jason's side of the table. I had the personnel and ships to arrange them in a way that allowed me to clear the last of Jeremy's dilemmas under my space mission, hit my self-seeded Cytherians, move all the way to the spaceline end right away (it was only 8 span), scored 15 points there, then hopped aboard another ship, flew back, completed the mission for 35 more, and rigged Dabo with Diplomatic Contact to score another 6 and get me to 100 at the end of turn.
Game Result: Full Win, 100-40
Tournament Standing: 1 Win, 0 Losses, advanced to Round Two

1E World Championship, Day 2, Round Two vs. Kris Sonsteby (LORE), #4 seedIn real life, Lore wears glasseBoooooobies!
Deck: [Rom] TNG-Romulan deck titled If I'm Gonna Die...I Wanna Still Be Me
Game Summary: Kris had lost his Round One game to Stefan, but because of his Top 4 finish on Thursday, he had the insurance policy and got a second chance by playing against us lowly #5-#8 seed peasants in Round Two now. He was again going for his "When in doubt, shoot it out" approach, and considering his impressive Day 1 record, there wasn't really much of a reason for him change his deck. He did make some adjustments, for example, I think the stealable mission Wormhole Negotiations wasn't included in his Day 1 version. I assumed he would be protecting it with HQ: Defensive Measures, but I was still tempted to try and steal it. The mission skills I could easily download (Ru'afo via the Observatory and Lore with Defend Homeworld would provide the Treachery x4,) Dr. Telek R'Mor would allow me to attempt the mission, but it was bit too far away to invest the time and resources. Like in the first game, Kris had several Warbirds out early, plaqued and logged and boosted by a Battle Bridge, to be a constant threat to my ships. Also, he commandeered Deep Space Nine very early and established an android presence there to fend off any attempts to steal it back. This did not bother me overly much, though, because I mainly needed it to report Boobs.

Unlike the game two days before, in this game, I had no reason to complain about my draws, the Handshakes came steadily, and getting out ships wasn't a problem either. Kris had spread out his forces to have at least one ship in reach of wherever I might go. I fetched Defend Homeworld and Strategema early for protection (I think DS9 was at Characterize Neutrino, not Bajor, which might have been a mistake), and attempted at Bajor and Insurrection. The latter had a Trilithium Raid, and Kris downloaded six Romulans into my Observatory to counter Collect Metaphasic Particles (of course, I only realized after the game how to deal with that).

I switched to Bajor then, where as far as I can remember I encountered a MEDICAL combo that stopped me for a while. Neither Kris nor myself were making much progress at our missions, so what points were scored came exclusively from Dabo. After LORE's Lore (btw, my own Lore was also in play) had killed my Dabo Girls, he decided to spin the wheel himself, scoring six points on his turn; I would return the favour, report a Dabo Girl for free, rig the probe card with Diplomatic Contact, and also score six. The Dabo Girl would then be killed by LORE, only to be replaced by another one. We did this routine for several turns, always matching our score until it was 24-24, I think. Time was called then, and nobody had done a mission yet. In overtime, I was finally able to complete a mission, picking up another five points somewhere (maybe Love Ship, maybe Kira Taban got killed somehow, I don't remember) and scoring with Dabo once more for the modified win.

Kris's tournament report can be found here.
Moment to Remember / Forget: The whole game was very memorable. Lore doing the psychopathic murderer thing, sitting in Quark's Bar and killing Dabo Girls turn after turn was definitely a highlight of 1E Trek for me
Game Result: Modified Win, 70-24 (?)
Tournament Standing: 2 Wins, 0 Losses, advanced to Round Three (Semi Finals)

1E World Championship, Day 2, Round Three vs. Jason Drake (Wambundu), #2 seed...and Worf's Mek'leth can in fact open wormholes.
Deck: [Fed] TNG-Federation deck titled Cyberbiologists - Don't Call Us Borg ; extensive deck notes are attached.
Game Summary: Jason's brilliant tournament report is available here. Go read it, as well as the strategy explanations attached to his decklist, NOW! Jason's summary of the game is a much more accurate description of how our game went than I could do from memory now that so much time has passed, so let me just give you some general impressions from my perspective. Seeing six planets threw me off a bit at first, but then again, I had beaten an all-planet deck on Thursday and another one earlier that day, so I knew my dilemmas weren't as bad as I often tend to think they are. Unfortunately, Jason was immensely well-prepared, and his Feds and androids methodically dissected my dilemma combos. The one thing that actually did some damage and killed an entire away team (an expendable one, alas) was Crystalline Entity. I had included it both days, but only in the ninth game did somebody actually encounter it. It was in there mostly for nostalgic reasons: it was one of the first rare cards I owned (together with Picard, Riker, and Time-Travel Pod), long before I had any idea of rarities and about 18 years before I actually started playing the game. I don't own the original card (white border) anymore, but I had traded for a foil version a while ago and couldn't resist using it.

When I had finally completed my space mission and started regrouping after Jason had scorched my hand in response to using Space-Time Portal to return a ship with 10 guys to hand, it looked like Jason would complete the game the next turn. Sitting on 35 points, In The Zone would rule out a win this turn anyway, so my only option was to go after Insurrection, complete Collect Metaphasic Particles for 35 points, clear a dilemma or two from under Bajor, take the double turn, then complete Bajor to bypass In the Zone and reach 100 before Jason got another turn. I just threw everything I had at the Ba'ku planet, cleared the dilemmas coming out of the Dyson Sphere Door, but was stopped by Dead End. This was very disappointing, considering that in most of my other games, I had successfully played Dabo several times and was usually above 50 points by the time I went for a second mission. However, in this game Boobs showed up too late, and I didn't see Winn Adami (to rig the probe card for Dabo) at all, so of course ALL my attempts at spinning the wheel ended like this. (I think there's about a 70% chance of success, pre-Isomagnetic Disintegrator). Had they hit like in previous games, it could have been a lot closer, but I guess that's the just reward for relying on gambling as your retirement plan.

Moments to Remember / Forget: Unlike my loss on Day 1 when it appeared the cards were simpy stacked against me, and Kris played flawlessly to negate any progress I did make, I was actually able to do stuff in this game. However, I felt like I was truly and utterly outplayed by somebody with a lot more experience piloting an ingeniously crafted deck. I actually had to read Blade of Tkon again, because when Jason used it initially, I was too perplexed to realize what was going on. Also, what Jason did not mention in his Altonian Brain Teaser story was that, as an additional side effect to the massive Cool Bonus for beating it and forfeiting a turn, he also cunningly made one of his Countdown dilemmas stick around for another turn. Most definitely one of the most fun losses I have ever had in either edition!
Game Result: Full Loss, 35-100
Tournament Standing: 2 Wins, 1 Loss; eliminated, Fourth Place overall.http://www.klarhauser.de/bilder/gencon10.jpg

As everyone knows, Jason went on to defeat Jeremy Huth in the final confrontation to become the 1E World Champion 2014. I was able to watch the game for a while, but I have to confess: I lost track of what was going on at some point and had to ask Stefan what Jeremy and Jason were doing, and how things were looking for them. Again, I refer you to Jason's detailed report on how he brought this game home. Congratulations to the finalists on their impressive performance, and of course to Jason for earning the well-deserved title! The final standings can be seen here.

In the meantime, 2E Day 2 was about to begin. Since Stefan and myself had cunningly conspired to take one for the community and lose our semi-finals games in 1E, we avoided any player overlap between the final confrontation in 1E and the first round of the bracket in 2E. I was still on a high from my 1E finish, so I wasn't overly concerned with how 2E went at this point. In fact, Kris and I had talked about this situation after an online game a few months ago, agreeing that a great 1E performance would probably mean more to us than ending up somewhere near, but not quite at the top, in 2E. That was one of the main reasons why I eventually decided to hand in the [Fer] Ferengi decklist for the 2E bracket and go to war with something untested. Alright, time to forget about battle restrictions, valid responses, referee cards, cumulative rules, let's play when vs. while!

2E World Championship, Day 2, Round One vs. John Corbett (KillerB), #8 seedThis card sucks.
Deck: [SF] Starfleet deck titled Darrell's Early Bird #2
Game Summary: John had the same missions he had used on Day 1, and he said something about having expected me to change my deck. I'm not sure how high up Ferengi were on his list, or whether he cared at all about what he might be facing, but I suspected he would be more familiar with some of the Ferengi tricks than other players, since I was aware that Phil Schrader had played [Fer] in his playgroup several times a couple of years ago. We each took a few turns to set up; John was going for a 40-pointer first, while I couldn't afford to start attempting without a certain amount of tools and usually need to draw into one of the speed engines (Rule #6 or Par Lenor / Rule #141) to keep pace with a fast solver.

I had a big turn with 16 counters to spend, so I dropped Reyga and The Play's the Thing, and I think I also had two Ferengi Computers and Rule #144 out when I attempted. Between my Rules and the equipment, I had enough resources to complete Acquire Illicit Explosives right away, then went on to Feldomite Rush. I think it was in this mission attempted that I had to use Ulis to bring Reyga back after a Secret Identity had taken him out, I think it was to get around a Legacy; the second mission also fell right away, so it was 60-0 to me.

Like the day before, John proved that he can also do missions quickly; I think I miscalculated on Honor/Treachery for An Issue of Trust and couldn't take out enough guys to keep him from completing Eliminate Sphere Network. I think John went on to a planet mission and attempted with six. Since I didn't draw any of the bouncing dilemmas, I had to put one under to make sure John would be stopped. I was worried at this point, because even though I had beaten John to space, he would still have some bonus points to burn for At What Cost? and could probably drop five or six more guys on his next turn. Myself, I still had my 40-point mission to complete; even with several Cunning = 7 personnel in the deck, this can take a while.

Creepy old guy.On my turn, I played some reinforcements, flew home, then went and attempted big (11?) at Purchase Moon. Reyga / Ulis were still there, so John couldn't rely on a Legacy stop. He ended up playing a solid combo of filters, but I was able to keep enough guys going to take the mission. This was a strange game. Only five mission attempts were made between the two of us, resulting in four completed missions. I guess that's what people mean when they talk about steamroller type solvers.

Moment to Remember / Forget: On my game-winning attempt at Purchase Moon, John had given me good dilemmas that had taken out a few people already and forced me to use my last Ferengi Computer. The last dilemma in his stack was Picking Up the Pieces, a good call against my crew: four out of the seven remaining personnel had either Geology or Programming. I paid for Rule of Acquisition #144  to give those of my geologists and programmers who didn't have it yet the skill of Acquisition, and used #33 (John called me out on this and made me say the words and kiss his imaginary ring) to turn the Geology on the dilemma into Acquisition, so that Zek would allow them to dodge the random selection. With only one eligible programmer left, nobody was stopped, and the mission was done.

It meant the world to me that John said immediately afterwards that he didn't mind losing to a, in his words, "sexy" play like that. John was on the receiving end of an overpowered deck when he made the trip to Worlds in Germany in 2010, and was the best player not using cheese that year (the Damaged Archer/Sean Hawkins interaction and Representative Weyoun/VR Headset, both of which were nerfed as a direct response); I had a similar experience in Australia in 2012, when I was eliminated by the Bajoran/Maquis deck that has likewise received heavy errata afterwards, so I know what that feels like.
Game Result: Full Win, 100-35
Tournament Standing: 1 Win, 0 Losses, advanced to Round Three

2E World Championship, Day 2, Round Three (Quarter Finals) vs. Tyler Fultz (DJ Stormtrooper), #13 seedAlex downloads the world.
Deck: [TOS][Kli] Original Series/Klingon dual-HQ deck titled The Undiscovered Chula
Game Summary: Tyler, who had played in Germany for several years and was the initiator of the Manhattan Project, had made his way into the quarter finals by beating Phil Schrader and then eliminating reigning world champion Stefan. He brought two headquarters to the table, Qo'noS and [TOS] Earth, with three easy Diplomacy missions, one of which was Torga IV. I was in trouble. With the different point generation engines [TOS] has (Beautiful Lady, Enterprise-B), he could easily work the gamma qudrant mission for a while, wait until I had points, then solve it, trigger the point loss and force me into a four-mission win.

While my opening hand wasn't too bad (Brunt was out on turn one to get rid of Energize, Surprise Party, and other stuff), Tyler had two crucial personnel on the table early: staffers Sisko and Worf, who were used at every opportunity to cancel my events and interrupts. This cost Tyler six of his seven counters each turn, sometimes to prevent 0-cost events, but Tyler understood it was worth it. Consequently, the game was relatively slow, not because we played slowly, but because Tyler lacked the counters to make quick progress in building up forces, while I simply couldn't get my draw engine going and spent two counters most turns to replay Brunt, since there were so many dilemma support events (Delirium, Heightened Perception) that I wanted to destroy. This brings us to Tyler's dilemma pile: it was as impressive pile using Chula: The Game to great effect. With downloads of dilemma support events via the K'mtar / Hindrance / K'tal engine, he had lots of counters to spend and set up the eight-cost dilemmas that gave me big trouble.

Another creepy old guyLuckily, my own dilemma pile kept me in the game. Tyler had only six personnel to attempt with on the first few attempts, since he didn't want to risk losing Worf and Sisko. Attempts with six I can usually control with things like Polywater, Hard Time, Adopted Authority; eventually I had to put some dilemmas under, but when Tyler completed the mission (he went to Investigate Maquis Activity first, from where he could fly and get reinforcements in one turn) and took the lead, 35-0, I felt like I had done a good job delaying him there. I also eventually managed to do my space mission, but by now Tyler had the personnel advantage. He completed Investigate Destruction a lot more easily than his planet, while I had to struggle to get through Feldomite Rush (I think it had an Insurrection on it). I barely managed to complete it, I think I had no attribute point to spare. With time running low, Tyler went after his third mission. At one point he had played an At What Cost?, so the score was tied at 60-60. He formed two away teams of about 6-7 people each, then attempted. My dilemma pile didn't let me down, I drew an Outmatched as well as Vault of Tomorrow, which was converted into a Timescape to lock the mission for the second team. I advanced on seeding.

Moment to Remember / Forget: On my first few mission attempts, I hardly made any progress. With a Chula: The Game on the mission, I had already taken a trip to Where No One Has Gone Before, and Tyler consequently denied any use of Rule #239 with Sisko, so I didn't have the cards under Ferenginar to use Reyga against things like Chandra, The Dice, and Pick One to Save Two. Luckily, the latter selected Gint twice, so I returned him to my hand each time I got the chance and triggered his triple-download again. That way, I had enough fodder to keep Worf and Sisko busy, and eventually was able to put some Rules of Acquisition on the table while slowing Tyler down at the same time.
Game Result: True Tie, 60-60 ( = Win due to better seed slot)
Tournament Standing: 1 Win, 1 Tie, 0 Losses, advanced to Round Four

2E World Championship, Day 2, Round Four (Semi Finals) vs. Mike Harrington (Ajnaran), #3 seedGebt mir ein Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!
Deck: [SF] Starfleet deck titled, well, Starfleet
Game Summary: On his way to the final four, Mike had sent Stefan Slaby to the second-chance round, and eliminated Will Hoskin. Like John, he brought Starfleet, but only one of his attemptable missions was identical to John's Delphic Expanse build. I think it was the same build, or a very similar one, that Mike has used in the WCT event. He used a sweet mission setup that required exclusively the skills of Engineer, Leadership, Medical, and Science, was doable with Cunning throughout and only required attributes of >32 on three missions and >34 on the other one. Also, his missions provided useful gametext: Dyson Sphere to score crazy bonus points (so he might potentially be on 90 points with planet and space done, a great position for timed games; or on 120 points after three missions), Cryosatellite to reanimated dead bodies, and Metron Arena do counter Dirty Dukat.

Unfortunately, I don't remember too many of the details of this game. I know that it took some time before I was able to go out and attempt, mostly because I couldn't find a ship. I actually had drawn a Kurdon, but with only two [Cmd] icons in play and none ready to play in hand, I didn't want to end up destaffed after my first attempt. After the game, Stefan Slaby, who had built the deck and was watching from the sidelines, warned me that this was a very risky play that could very well have ended in disaster. Anyway, I finally drew into the Quetsivoo, my ship of choice, and tried to catch up with Mike, who had already got a mission attempt or two in. I think I hit Mike with a bouncing combo at his first attempt at Dyson Sphere, and sniped off a key skill with He Wasn't Nice when he switched to a planet, but I'm not entirely sure.

Critical miss!Like in my game against John, my own missions attempts went well throughout: Mike also had Chula: The Game as one of his key pieces, but I was able to cheat around a few things and had the first mission in the bag quickly. At my planet mission, I almost made a critical mistake when was about to use Reyga to prevent and overcome The Oracle's Punishment (the only card I ever had a hand in designing), but then remembered better and used two Ferengi Computers instead. I think I needed a #33 to beat one of the other dilemmas, but was able to complete that mission, too. Mike regrouped and attempted again, but my dilemmas did their job. I then proceeded to go for my last mission, where Reyga was selected by Secret Identity, but Ulis came in and resurrected Reyga immediately (again, earning post-game admonishment from Stefan for not holding back on Ulis' ability). Reyga did his thing and nuked a dilemma, and the Ferengi completed for the win.

Moment to Remember / Forget: Actually I'm not sure whether this moment occurred in the game against Tyler or against Mike: at one point, I had to overcome a Chula: The Dice without Reyga. Sufficient Cunning is usually not a problem in my deck, but except for attempts at Purchase Moon with the Enterprise-J boost active, the dilemma can be tough: only Zek has enough printed Integrity, and nobody is strong enough to help. Nog can reach Strength = 7, and Taar can be a 9-11-12 guy, but you never have those bonuses active when you need them. Instead, I had to resort to a double Rule #33, really, really sucking up hard to the boss.
If that happened in the other game, I'd probably have to name the fact that I was able to shut out an allstar player in a semi-final at Worlds.
Game Result: Full Win, 100-0
Tournament Standing: 2 Wins, 1 Tie, 0 Losses, advanced to Final

2E World Championship, Day 2, Final vs. Neil Timmons (ntimmons), #2 seed
: [Maq] Maquis deck titled 2014 Gencon Day 2 Romulan Killer
Game Summary: Apparently, stuff has been written and said about this game. I didn't get a chance to comment on the whole thing, because I was busy having the time of my life spending my holidays in the US with my wife after GenCon, and I couldn't be bothered to read or watch stuff about GenCon on my cellphone, let alone chime in, for most of the time. I refer you to Neil's tournament report and to John Corbett's podcast episode with Charlie Plaine to read about or listen to what they have to say. Go ahead, do this now, and come back in an hour or two. I'll wait.

Oh, there you are again.

Ok, first things first: Everybody please stop giving Neil a hard time.

From my perspective, we had a good game. Not a great game, because I screwed up too many times to consider this a great game of trek. We had fun, I think. I know I did. Neil played Maquis, which meant Tragic Turn, which for me meant attempting cautiously and managing my resources. I don't have anything in the deck to get dead people back apart from Ulis, so every kill would be costly. I attempted space first, lost many guys, as expected, but with Rule #6 I had stopped enough guys before attempting to make sure I wouldn't be destaffed. Neil did the obvious thing and blocked the mission with Biogenic Weapon.Strafing Fires Galor!
I pretty much lost the game because I simply forgot about the wording of Par Lenor. For some reason, I thought his Rule-destroying text included the condition "cost 1 or more" similar to Reyga, so I did not realize I could have blown up my own core events (Rules #6 and #76), which at that point (Neil had an Endangered in his core) would have allowed me to use Brunt to get rid of the Biogenic Weapon and attempt the mission again (and likely complete; Neil had put several dilemmas under on my first attempt, at least four, if memory serves). Instead, I went to Feldomite Rush, where I took heavy casualties.

Meanwhile, Neil was making slow, but steady progress at Elude Federation Forces. After some good stops, he finally completed the mission and took the lead. He did a brilliant job denying me the correct cards with his arsenal of disruption (e.g., using Alarming Rumors to make me wait another turn for my ETU, sniping off Grish with Cascade Virus, etc.) Two standout plays must be mentioned: he used Strafing Fire to remove all copies of Rule #76 first, preventing me from being able to draw cards because Rule #6 was left in my core. This meant I needed even more people in play, because I always had to make sure that I would be able to stop enough people to keep the card flow going; if too many personnel died during missions attempts, it would spell doom. (Again, I could simply have destroyed #6 with Par Lenor if I hadn't been convinced he was worded differently.) The other play was using the second Strafing Fire to remove The Play's the Thing, which worked two-fold: for one, his dilemma pile would be a lot more effective; and, I wasn't able to get certain personnel back from the discard pile with Ulis. Still, despite all that, I was able to stay in the game.

When time was running short, Neil was attempting Rescue Prisoners. At this point, I had no idea how much time there actually was left, I did not keep track in any of my games during GenCon. I had a feeling that we might be close to the timeout, so I gambled and gave Neil a combo that would definitely stop him. It included a Dreamer and ended in an Outmatched. I boosted to over 90, I believe (Neil was attempting with 13 or more). The score at this point was his 35 to my 30, and now we both had a shortstacked mission. Neil got a bit pushy now and, said he trusted I have what it takes to complete my second mission, he wouldn't give me any dilemmas. He knew I didn't have enough Range to fly to Transport Crash Survivor, so he expected me to do the mission, then either stay there and end my turn, or fly home and end the turn. Now, I usually take an offer like that, because I'm a huge fan of not slowing the game down unnecessarily. However, at this point, there was actually stuff that could well make the difference.

#!@$%&Remember, I constantly had to play with Rule #6 out, so I was trying to see if there was a way for me to stop people to draw cards with Rule #6, have enough guys to attempt the mission, then use Krem to unstop those stopped guys. I also wanted to make doubly sure that I would not be overlooking anything that would allow to get another mission attempt in. I had cut QSD, but maybe I had Bractor out? At the end of the day, I attempted, completed to take the momentary lead (70-35), returned home and ended my turn, even though there would have been legitimate stuff for me to do before passing the turn to Neil - actually having a look at the cards he discarded to the Dreamer, for example. I did not want to go as far as starting to beam down personnel to my HQ one by one to eat away more of the clock. In hindsight, probably one more petty order action like beaming someone would have been enough to see me to the timeout, since time was called before Neil actually got to play another card, but that would have been obnoxious. The rest of the game was academic, Neil had what it took to complete Rescue Prisoners and secure winning conditions, any other mission solves, for either of us, were unrealistic. It's all good, though. I made several mistakes - not using Par Lenor's text; taking Par Lenor on a mission attempt when I should have kept him out of harm's way; the Krem Gamble (see below) - while, to the best of my knowledge, Neil played flawlessly (barring the short window when he had a core event out that made his Biogenic Weapon vulnerable), so from my point of view, his win is well-deserved. Neil and I talked things over immediately afterwards. He apologized, I accepted; he won, end of story.

Moment to Remember / Forget: In a desperate effort to get more hand cards (I was running three copies of Excalbian Drama, so hand cards were hugely important to increase my chances to stop low-Integrity Maquis with a cheap dilemma), I got greedy and beamed down two guys to the shortstacked Feldomite Rush, stopped them to draw two cards with Rule #6, then wanted to complete the mission using Krem's ability to unstop those guys and get to stop them again for more card draws. Neil popped an Uninvited, but wasn't sure whether there was anything useful left. He gave me A Bad End, which killed a stopped guy and another one from the attempting guys. I still completed, but my plan backfired gloriously. We shared a good laugh and high-fived at this point. That moment will probably stay with me a lot longer.
Game Result: Modfied Loss, 70 (planet/planet) - 65 (planet/space); the tournament results are incorrect; I was ahead in points since Neil had spent 5 to burn an Endangered.
Tournament Standing: 2 Wins, 1 Tie, 1 Loss; eliminated, Second Place overall. The final standings can be seen here.


A fourth place in 1E, and now a second place in 2E that was no less sweet. I was given a second playmat and some rare Decipher foils, so that was not too bad. I do wish TCC would bring back the customized OTSD box tops for OP events; I think they are great, actually useful, and probably affordable thing to give out in place of expensive trophies. I still use the one from Worlds 2008, they are surprisingly sturdy when reinforced with sticky tape.

The rest of the night was spent with another visit to Steak'n'Shake, then James Hoskin convinced me to come along to play in the Austin Powers CCG World Championship. I had forgotten about all of the rules, but I remembered how well it worked to cheer me up after my loss in the 2E Worlds final six years ago, so I was in. On the way over to the tables, James did his best to explain the rules and what to watch out for, but it took a while until I got the hang of things. Sean O'Reilly ran the event, and was kind enough to lend me a deck. The first table was really nicely packed. Fun was had by all, and after some serious stroking of bishops, the round was over fairly quickly, and I was ready to go to bed. Sean then moled told me that I had actually qualified for the final table (yay, another title I could not win!) - oh well, would be rude to quit now, so I sat down for the final showdown. I had no shot at winning this, but I contributed a bit to preventing someone from winning, ha! Prizes were handed out, I was finally off to bed. I didn't intend on playing anything on Sunday except Tribbles, so was looking forward to sleeping in.

Sunday, 17th August

And sleep in I did. For a while.

Nobody had remembered to wake up Niall in time for the 1E "Cool" tournament. I knew how much he had been looking forward to this event, so I offered to go over to the gaming hall with him, see if he could join the tournament, and if he couldn't, I would sit down for a pick-up game. He had told me some of the things he was trying to do in the deck, and it sounded like a real laugh. And boy, what fun it was! I'll leave it to Niall to explain in detail how it works, but suffice it to say that Stephen Hawking set his wheelchair to ramming speed and suicide killed almost an entire away team, before we managed to, er, disable him. Which was just wrong.

I had a look at some of the other decks in the cool tournament, then got ready to play Tribbles. I had already played my own deck twice, I had also pestered James for one, so now I turned to Dan for help. He had about ten decks with him, I asked for the one labelled "IDIC". Now, Dan is the probably the Godfather of Tribbles, and I should just have taken the deck and played it, but I couldn't help myself and had a closer look at it. In the end, I took out a few cards and replaced them with some from my own deck. I knew I wanted to have a Discard in there somewhere, and put one in a 1,000 spot instead of a Freeze, and I think I also swapped one or two of the 100,000s.

My table consisted of seven people in total, and from what I heard, there were seven pods, so only the winner would go on to the final table. I don't think anyone at our table had a head start, and the game was up for the taking until the very end. The tournament details tell me that by going out once with a decent amount, and cashing in every now and then from direct scoring powers and the occasional Tally, I was one big money and change ahead of Dan Hamman at the end, and earned a spot a the final table.Wuschige Wulkanierin

Maggie went to the Championship Table as the favourite after scoring more than a million points in her preliminary table, the other players were, clockwise from Maggie: Jeremy Benedict, myself, Rogue Shindler, Phil Schrader, Roxanne Barbour, and Daniel Matteson. Maggie was the early target when she went out in the first round with several 100Ks that she accumulated with her Battle strategy. She started off the second round, and eventually picked me as her opponent for Battle - I flipped three 100,000s from the top of my deck! I don't know whether Rogue or Jeremy had cut my deck before the round, but whoever it was, you Sir, have my eternal thanks! Of course, those 100Ks didn't mean much yet, but I was able to go out in this round and took the lead. From then on, I was trying to speed up the game whenever possible and hoped people would go out with low scores. In round four, I went out again with a 100 Stampede > 1,000 Discard play (hey, one of the cards I put in worked!) for petty points, but an IDIC gave me 70,000 more. I think I had one more shared Tally in the last round, but couldn't score another big money. Daniel was the one who had the chance to go out, and he took it. He had some 100,000s, but they were not enough to get past Maggie or myself, and I found myself winning this thing with a score of 654,644 points. It was a very fun table with great people and some good laughs, definitely a great way to end GenCon!

So, I was given yet another Worlds playmat, my third. I was a bit embarrassed, because in the end winning Tribbles comes down to luck, but it worked wonders to lift my spirits after the unlucky loss the day before. GenCon was almost over now, but many of us finished the long weekend like we started it, by meeting again at Granite City that night for some casual 1E and 2E fun. I joined the 2E Standard Orbit, and put my dual HQ deck on the table for this, got to play two different Relativty designs and a Ferengi Thief deck, and took the chance to say goodbye to all the great people who make up this community. Some time late at night, Nick and I sat down to run his [TOS] [NA] Khan/Original Series mashup against my Pseudopod Loop. The game dragged on for two hours, I was able to kill almost everything that Nick played, but couldn't do missions to save my life. I feel for Will, who watched the misery; it must have been the most dreadful game of 2E ever.

The next morning, I had a late breakfast with Team London, the people who basically taught me the game and who welcomed me so warmly to their tournaments that I ended up travelling the world for ten years now, playing Trek and meeting awesome people, many of whom I consider myself lucky to call good friends. We shared a taxi to the airport, then we parted ways. They went east to return home, while for me the next stop was Las Vegas, where my wonderful wife would be waiting for me to finally start the more relaxing part of our holidays.


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