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Joined: 29 Jun 2008
Location: Hillsborough, NJ
|Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 1:14 am GMT Post subject: GenCon 2014 - Post-Convention Results
|GenCon 2014 was a really good show (as were the previous GenCon conventions I've attended). What made this an especially good show was the unexpected opportunity to meet both David Papay and Lester Smith for the first time. I even had the rare pleasure to play a match with David Papay in Single Race, and he humbled my Goblins with his Feral. While I thought it was a magnificent display of defiance forcing him to Lightning Strike my last Leopard Rider and Troll seven times before blasting them out of existence, it was equally ignominious that the stupid Troll couldn't roll one Regenerate that entire match.
I also have to "tip my hat" to John Koslow for his meticulous organizational skills in co-ordinating the GenCon events, keeping track of the tables available for use, the number of attendees for each event and their names, collecting tickets from every SFR event, arrange the match parings, track results, provide the prizes, and being able to compare that data with data from previous GenCon events. He let me know which space was best to run my Campaigns of Esfah events. He had help from Sean and Jace to run concurrent overlapping events.
Chuck, Cliff, and Miss Tiffany were usually at the SFR booth, attending customers and clients and supervising the demonstrations of Dragon Diceâ„¢ and Daemon Diceâ„¢, with help from several SFR volunteers. The Exhibition Hall is constantly busy. The SFR staff at the booth work at least as hard (and I suspect much harder) than the SFR staff that run the events.
I cannot comment on all the SFR events at GenCon 2014, but I can share my experiences with five of them.
Campaigns of Esfah (8 PM, Thursday)
Four players attended this event. Two had no previous experience with Dragon Diceâ„¢, but all the players picked up the game mechanics quickly. The team of Brian Lombard (Coral Elves) and Richard Peiper (Dwarves) defeated the alliance of Michael Fox (Lava Elves) and Tim Bucknell (Goblins).
Single Race (10 AM, Friday)
I had a couple of Generic Tickets and had not played in any events up to this point, so I stopped by to see if there was room and if I was fortunate enough to make it an even number of participants. I was in luck, as I became the 8th player. I brought a Goblin army (1 x Cannibal, 1 x Troll, 1 x Harpies, 2 x Leopard Rider, 2 x Death Mage, 1 x Filcher, 3 x Hedge Wizard, 1 x Wolf Rider, 1 x Trickster, 1 x Black Drake, 1 x Black Wyrm)
In the first round, I played David Ata, who also brought a Goblin army similar to mine, but without the Cannibal. All the proposed terrains were Swamplands. I lost the initiative and selected my Swampland Temple for the Frontier. I had the Trickster at my Home, which started at 3. The Frontier started at 6, as did David's Home terrain. He killed off the Trickster with missile fire, but failed to move his Home terrain and declined the opportunity to melee, as they were magicians. All went into Reserve.
I advanced both terrains to 7 and held my ground. David rolled for magic, but Goblin magic in the Reserve is pretty useless if there is no one to heal and all your units are in the Reserve, so David moved his entire army to his Home terrain.
I advanced the Frontier to 8 and rolled for magic. I ended up with 16 gold magic and used Path to move a couple of units from the Frontier to my Horde army and Transmute Rock to Mud to slow down David's army to turn the terrain die at his home from 7 to 8 to win the game.
For the second round, I played Jeff Shoemaker, who had an Amazon army. I was not optimistic about the match, as a typical Amazon missile army often includes a lot of charioteers (which this army did). I was fortunate to win the initiative - but that still left me with difficult choices. If I pick the terrain, it removes the Flatlands from the Frontier, but his Home army will still have a Flatlands and would go first, leaving the Horde army exposed to a potential opening volley out in the open. If I go first, I get the first decisions to make after finding out where the terrains start, but I allow the Frontier to be a Flatlands, which could expose my armies at any terrain to missile fire. I decide to go first, and the Frontier becomes a Flatlands.
I must have made the right sacrifices to the Goblin gods, as the terrains started out as Swampland Home - 2, Frontier Flatlands - 1, Flatland Home - 5. I successfully generated magic to bring out my black dragons, which eventually scored a double breath against one of the Amazon armies. After abandoning the Frontier to capture the Amazon Home Flatlands, the magicians are able to cast Open Grave consistently, while part of the army splits to move back to the Swampland Home to advance it up to the 8th. The Amazons in Reserve cannot dislodge the Goblins at the Flatlands 8th Face by missile attack. Moving to the Frontier exposes the Amazons to a Dragon attack, and contesting Goblins at a Swampland terrain is even less appealing - so Jeff's options range from bad to worse. The Goblins go on to win the match.
In the third match I play against David Papay, who has a Feral army. We tie for Initiative, but David wins the re-roll and goes first. The terrains are Swampland Home - 3, Swampland Frontier - 4, and Flatland Home - 5.
David kills off the Trickster, but fails to move the Flatlands and pulls back into Reserve with everyone. I advance the Flatlands to 6 and pull back the Frontier army. Dave rolls for magic and advances back to the Home Flatlands. I fail to move the Home Flatlands and elect not to attack, but reinforce with the rest of the army. Dave attacks and the Goblins don't generate enough saves, so I lose 4. I counter-attack, but only do 8 damage, and a Counter SAI forces me to lose 4 more.
Now its my turn. I failed to turn the terrain, but elect to attack, hoping for a better melee roll, but the Goblins only do 7 damage and a Smite SAI. The Feral save against the normal damage and counter-attack, doing 21 damage. I get a reasonable save roll, but still have to lose another 7. Now I am badly outnumbered and out-gunned, so I withdraw. Dave advances the Flatlands to 7. I roll for magic in Reserves, but no luck, so I go to the Swampland Home. Dave moves the Flatlands to the 8th Face and starts launching Lightning Strikes, targeting the mages first. The mages fall. I roll for magic, but can't get magic and can't get a Regenerate to trigger off the Troll. The turns go real fast now, as I only have one army and one roll each turn, and Dave's is a little longer turn than mine, but not much longer. It takes about 4 turns to reduce the Goblin army to a Leopard Rider and a Troll, and then 7 more turns before both fall to the Lightning Strikes, extinguishing the Goblins.
There is time for a fourth match. My opponent is Nathan, who has a Treefolk army. All the terrains are Swamplands. I win the maneuver roll and elect to go first. The terrains are Swampland Home - 4, Frontier Swampland - 5, Swampland Home - 2. I advance the Frontier and eliminate the small Treefolk army present, eventually claiming the 8th Face. The Treefolk missile attacks do little damage, and the Treefolk magicians fail to generate significant amounts of magic. Black dragons are summoned, which show little mercy on the Treefolk, scoring a breath attack on the initial attack and finish off the survivors with a 30 damage attack.
After 4 rounds, this event resulted in a 3-way tie for first.
Campaigns of Esfah (2 PM, Friday)
I had 7 attendees for this event, so I asked Russ Lockwood to fill in as an 8th player. The two 4-man teams were:
Matthew Trenton - Treefolk
David Storm - Dwarves
Kasey Wallace - Coral Elves
Russ Lockwood - Feral
Danielle Storm - Firewalkers
Daniel Storm - Goblins
David Storm Jr - Morehl™
Brandon Wallace - Swampstalkers
This game ebbed back and forth as the Dwarves and Feral took the first territories after a rash Goblin attack, but the Swampstalkers mounted a slow steady advance with few losses. The pivitol combats were between the Feral/Dwarf alliance and the Swampstalkers. The Swampstalkers were able to come up with the saves to handle the attacks, but delivered equally potent attacks back, which the Feral failed to save against. The Dwarves held out longer, but they fell as well before the Swampstalker juggernaut, which carved out a victory for their team, capturing 16 of 24 territories.
Campaigns of Esfah (10 AM, Saturday)
I had 5 attendees, so I filled in the role of the 6th player to make two teams of 3-players each. The teams were:
John Ross Valdez - Swampstalkers
Chris Alford - Goblins
Jesse Wagner - Morehl™
Cody Powell - Dwarves
Timothy Simmons - Treefolk
Danoel Burkley - Coral Elves
Chris & Timothy had played Campaigns last year, and brought their 3 friends to play this time, so all the players knew each other and the smack talk started immediately. The players got into the game quickly and the two sides grabbed each other's territories frequently. The Swampstalkers and Coral Elves assembled magician armies that frequently cast dragons against armies of their foes, which were often able to tip the combat in their favor. (Summoned dragons are friendly to the casting army in this board game version of Dragon Diceâ„¢.) The Goblins were very aggressive, but had Pyrrhic victories where territories were won, but losing many troops in the process - leaving them prone to counter-attacks. After 3 hours (one hour past the 2-hour event), the Dwarf/Treefolk/Coral Elf alliance outlasted the Swampstalker/Goblin/Morehl™ pact to claim the final victory.
World Championship (2 PM, Saturday)
Six players attended this event:
Jim Rayborn - Coral Elves
Nick Couns - Eldarim Champions
Ken Williams - Firewalkers
Ryan Stapleton - Amazons/Trolls
Daniel Burkley - Goblins/DragonLord/Morehl™/Firewalker/Treefolk
Jeff Shoemaker - Amazons/Eldarim Champions
My first match was against Nick Couns, who I faced in last year's Worlds event. An Eldarim Champion army is always intimidating, especially if you have to do hand-to-hand combat. The Frontier terrain came up high, so that became the focal point for both our armies, Nick got there first will all of his army and I advanced to meet it, so he got the first swing, which eliminated 4 from Smite and 4 from Bash during my counter-attack. During my turn, I got both units back from the Gold Medallion and Troll and Nick lost 4 points from Smite and 4 damage in excess of saves.
This turned out to be the pivital point of the match. Nick had to decide to either stay, or pull back. He stewed on this for a while and decided to pull back. This allowed me to take the 8th Face Temple, while Nick moved to his Highlands Home at the 2 face (magic). We swapped magic, and I was often able to suppress his magic with Dancing Lights or Palsy, but could not muster 16 black to eliminate a champion, but the Temple buried the previously killed champions.
Nick found this exchange to be fruitless, so he returned to reserve and came to the 8th Face to wrestle it from me, but now at a great disadvantage. Nonetheless, he came at me, but he took worse than he dished out, but fought to the last man.
My second match was against Ryan Stapleton, who brought an interesting army of Amazons with two Trolls. The Frontier and Ryan's Home started at 6, so the Goblin gods were smiling on me once again. The Horde army completely eliminated the Amazon Home army with a melee action (Smite, Rends, and normal damage followed by a poor save roll), and then on the following Amazon turn, the Reserve army shoots the Goblin Horde army, and eliminates the entire army (thanks in part to rolling 0 saves). Flushed with victory, the Amazons advance to their home (now at 7). I capture the 8th Face at the Frontier and roll for magic, scoring 16 points of gold magic and cast 2 Transmute Rock to Mud and one Path to send the Unicorn to contest the Flatland 7. I roll 0 maneuvers, and the Amazons roll 7 normal maneuvers, but no SAIs, so I take the second 8th Face in a relatively short game where both sides had the rare pleasure of eliminating one of the opponent's starting armies of 17-18 health in one action.
The third match is against Ken Williams, the 2011-2012 Worlds Champion. I did not face him in the 2011 Worlds, but did play him in the 2011 Battlefest. I played in in the 2013 Worlds and managed to defeat him in a real cat-and-mouse game that I thought was a well-fought match on both sides - so now we face each other again as I try to defend my title. Our armies are almost identical to the armies we used last year (Firewalkers and Goblins & friends). He swapped out one die, as did I - but both armies are basically the same as last year's - so I'm getting this deja vu feeling... Ken's looking forward to the re-match, and this Phoenix army is strong enough to win. It's incredibly resilient.
Our opening set-ups look identical to last year's match. I win the Initiative roll and make the same decision I made last year. I choose the terrain and let him go first - I need to restrict his Terrain Flight racial ability, but having a Swampland is beneficial to me as well. The terrain rolls are Swampland Home - 6, Swampland Frontier - 2, Coastlands Home - 1.
After exchanging some smack talk, Ken tried to turn the Coast land terrain, but I stop him. He rolls for magic, but its little to none. He turns the Swampland Home down to 5 and pulls everyone to Reserve. I turn the Frontier to 1 and cast magic, protecting the Trickster at the Swampland Home. I activate the Trickster to advance the terrain to 6. I pull the Frontier and Horde armies to Reserve.
Ken rolls for magic and casts some Burning Hands on his Phoenix units, then moves out of Reserve to the Swampland Home, but moves the two Firewalker magicians to the Frontier. I try to change the Swampland terrain, but fail. I roll for magic in Reserve and give the Trickster Open Grave & Stoneskins, then move all my units to the Swampland Home.
Ken rolls for magic at the Frontier and casts a Windwalk, followed by an attempt to change the terrain. He scores 20 maneuvers + 4 from the spell. I score 13 from Goblins and the Unicorn, all of which is doubled from racial abilities. Ken declines melee and withdraws all units to Reserve. I advance the terrain to 7 and pull back everyone, except the Trickster.
Ken rolls for magic, casting some more Burning Hands,then moves out of Reserve to the Swampland Home, but moves the two Firewalker magicians to the Frontier. I try to change the Swampland terrain, but fail. I roll for magic in Reserve and give the Trickster Open Grave, Flashfire & Stoneskins, then move all my units to the Swampland Home.
Ken rolls for magic at the Frontier and scores 0 magic, followed by an attempt to change the terrain. He scores 16 maneuvers from the spell. I score 21. Ken declines melee and withdraws all units to Reserve. I advance the terrain to 8 and roll for magic. I Finger of Death the 1-health mage, summon a Dragonkin and cast Deadlands on my 8th Face Swampland City.
Ken rolls for magic and gets back the 1-health mage. He moves to the Frontier. I cast magic and summon two dragons and some protection spells.
Ken saves and kills one dragon. He advances the Frontier to 2 and rolls for magic for no effect. I cast another dragon and Finger of Death the 3-health mage.
I roll the dragons against Ken's army at the Frontier. I get a Dragon Breath SAI and some damage. A Phoenix and the 1-health mage go to the DUA. The Phoenix is rolled, but no Rise to the Ashes SAI appears, so it stays in the DUA. Ken survives the rest of the damage and moves the terrain to 3 and conducts a missile attack, scoring a Seize SAI, targetting the Troll. The Troll fails and goes to the DUA. I roll for magic. I get the TSR logo on the Gold Medallion, so the Troll comes back. I add a dragon and bury the 1-health magician.
I roll the dragons against Ken's army at the Frontier. I get a Wing and a Claw. Ken survives the damage and kills a dragon. He conducts a missile attack, scoring a Seize SAI, targetting the DragonLord. The DragonLord fails and goes to the DUA. I roll for magic and see if I can get enough to cast 2 dragons, cast Dragonkin, or protect the army.
The rest of the game continues in this same pattern. Ken gets a Seize every other turn, but I never have more than 2 units in the DUA, since I get a TSR logo on the Gold Medallion or Regenerate SAI on the Troll. The Dragon attacks are ineffective, but it permits Ken to eventually get some TSR logos on his Gold Medallion to get units out of the BUA and into the DUA.
The stalemate continues until time is called. It's probably best described as a "winning draw" for me, worth 2 points.
Has the terrains been different, or Ken had better luck on his missile rolls to get more than one Seize SAI, it could have been a very different game. ("All I need to do is roll 7 Seize SAIs." Ken says near the end. "You get 7 Seize SAIs, and I whiff all the save rolls, and you deserve to win." I reply.) Like last year's game, Ken points out a result I may have overlooked or asks for a spell count on the spells cast to see if I've underspent (or overspent, as it turned out on one occasion). He may not have the title this year, but Ken is still a great player and a pleasure to play with or against.
There is still time for a fourth round, but because there are 6 player only, the umpire cannot make another set of pairings without resulting in 2 players facing each other again, so he calls the event after the 3 rounds played - so the last round turned out to be the deciding championship round.
World Champion Army at GenCon 2014
1 x Swampland TSR Tower (Frontier)
1 x Swampland City (Home)
1 x DragonLord (Eldarim)
2 x Death Mage (Goblin)
1 x Necromancer (Lava Elf)
2 x Leopard Rider (Goblin)
1 x Trickster (Goblin)
1 x Unicorn (Treefolk)
1 x Fireshadow (Firewalker)
1 x Troll (Goblin)
1 x Gold Medallion
1 x Black/Gold Drake
1 x Black/Gold Wyrm
1 x Coastlands Forest minor terrain
1 x Flatlands Forest minor terrain
1 x Highlands Forest minor terrain
1 x Swamplands Forest minor terrain
1 x Gold Dragonfoal (Dragonkin)
1 x Black Dragontroop (Dragonkin)
1 x Gold Dragonscout (Dragonkin)
1 x Black Dragonsentry (Dragonkin)
1 x Gold Dragonspy (Dragonkin)
1 x Gold Dragonkin Champion (Dragonkin)
US National Champion (DEXCON 2007, 2009, 2010)
World Champion (GENCON 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014)
Battlefest Champion: DEXCON 2008, 2011, GENCON 2009, 2010 (co-champion), 2011, 2017)
"No Magicians": GENCON 2008
"Single Race": DEXCON 2008, GENCON 2010, 2011, 2014 (co-champion), 2017
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