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Subject: My GoF tournament report rss

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Brian Bankler
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San Antonio
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So I played in the BBH2045 tournament at the GoF. By this point I'd already played 6 games (but always learning games, a single best of 5 or best of 7). So I was comfortable with the rules (although I had some subtle differences wrong).

26 Managers were vying for the Gathering Series, which included gift certificates, and 7 managers would win a copy of the game.

This report is from memory, so I don't know everything and the player names (but not managers!) are fuzzy. No expansions were used.

My first divisional series was against

Tom Lehmann
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Palo Alto
California
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I've known Tom for years and he's a careful, clever player in any game, and he's been playing and playtesting this (and wrote an early appreciation). Ugh.

I don't remember much about this series. I drew a decent opening hand and squeeked out a win (I think 3-2), which felt good. I got blown away in the second game, losing by three runs, and then snuck the third game by a run.

The second round I played against Kristin Matherly, who I'd never met and may be

Kristin Matherly
United States
Burtonsville
Maryland
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(But I'm not sure). Kristin was playing her first games, I believe. We'd shuffled up the free agents and redealt for each game (to prevent arguments as to who gets to keep and switch the FA row after each series, which seems like a reasonable rule). I looked at the Free Agent Row, saw Max Verlander and looked at my deck (shuffled after each series) and saw.... $11.

I didn't put anyone on deck, lest I draw a $0 non PH card. I was willing to punt this game. But because I had $11, I had a pretty good hand and won it. Then I got Max Verlander, who helped me win the second game, and I went on to sweep the series.

My final series was against

Steffan O'Sullivan
United States
Plymouth
NH
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A longtime friend. I was 5-1 and he was 4-2, but I still needed to win 2-1 to win the division (since I assumed head-to-head is the first tiebreaker). The critical moment was in the tight second game. I'd placed down one of my big hitting robots, I think it was 5 Tool Model, but I'm not sure as my fourth (ish) card and Steffan, with two cards left, tried to go to his on-deck curveballer, but then realized he'd already played all his PH cards. And that mistake meant the game. That tied the series at two. In the 3rd game I drew a monstrous hand and placed a rookie on deck to try and draw an even better hand to clinch the title. That worked, but it meant I had no rookie to send down to the minors, so I sent down a money free agent for a better hitting (but lower revenue) agent. So I only had 8 Free agents.

I was 7-2 and advancing (and won a copy of the game for winning my division)!

Then came the discovery (as I waited for the other divisions to finish) that all the teams were advancing, and the copy would go to whoever went farthest in the playoffs from each table. D'oh!

I did get a bye in the first round, and my team was reasonable, but having one less Free Agent was a concern. I did have Max, most of my other players were hitting Naturals with glove and a curveballer or two. I believe I had two clutch players.

In the round of sixteen I played Floyd Sherrod (Spelling)? I got a lopsided draw, a great first game hand and the corresponding terribly second game hand. So we split 1-1. I anxiously shuffled for the third game and got back Max Verlander and more Free Agents that not including 3 Gloves, so got that game in a walkway.

I was in the round of 8.

Sadly, the same thing happened again (against my Opponent Alan Stern) but in reverse. The first game I had 5 basic players (including on deck). I actually had a shot at going to extra innings with some pinch hitting but his last two batters put it away. So I drew my second hand of all free agents leaving one card in my deck.

My last card was (I thought) a rookie, so I put a free agent on deck to make my hand slightly worse for next game but set up a slightly better deck for game 3. But I'd had a mental lapse. The last card in my deck was Verlander. I'd summoned him to pitch the non-critical game two. Even Charlie Brown could have gotten that right.

And in game three I drew another terrible hand. Having one less Free Agent really does open you up to much greater variance.

So I was out of the running, but had managed to win a copy of the game (after all!), and went a respectable 10-5 in the tournament. At this point it had taken 4 hours, but that included some organization time and taking the new players aside for 15-25 minutes in the first round.

The only suggestion I would have for future tournaments would be to watch out for slow players. I would ban all note taking during a game by/for players (and detailed examination of discards), because if its legal everyone would do it and it would slow things even more. (Memory is a skill, and one I lack, so this is not a self-serving recommendation).

There was also some discussion about what to do if one series gets a terrible set of players in the free agent pool, as that can cascade. I do like the suggestion that each series, if both players agree, you can sweep and redraw the players once. That means if one player has a good purchase, they'll take it to get an advantage over their opponent for the next game, but if it truly is a terrible board, you get one mulligan.
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Mark Delano
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Cary
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Quote:
There was also some discussion about what to do if one series gets a terrible set of players in the free agent pool, as that can cascade. I do like the suggestion that each series, if both players agree, you can sweep and redraw the players once. That means if one player has a good purchase, they'll take it to get an advantage over their opponent for the next game, but if it truly is a terrible board, you get one mulligan.


I'm not sure that is entirely necessary. It's tough to get a truly terrible free agent selection to the extent that it makes you uncompetitive. In the tournament at ConnCon no card higher than 8 ever came up to draft, but I still managed to win out. I even pitched a free agent at one point since I had double drafted so many times.

Even the cheapest players are still an upgrade. A 4 cost free agent is slightly better than the best starter and probably a good bit better than the card they replace. Once you get to 5 or 6 cost they can be significantly better, such that I wouldn't consider a 9 cost player to always be the better buy than a 4 and 5. Getting rid of two lousy cards instead of one is a nice benefit.
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Richard Watney
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Welwyn Garden City
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I frequently grab two cheaper players instead of one better player, because as you say having one less free agent increases variance, and if you fill up with more, you end up with a lot fewer 'bad hands'. even fence crusher can be stopped by a cheap curveballer.

despite all that - from now on whenever i play with people who have played before, im going to use a 8-10 card free agent pool. make some of the more extreme (all cyborg, all natural etc) teams more achievable.


lastly im crazy jealous of your 26 player tournament experience - sounds like a blast, and if that many players at GoF will set aside 4 hours for the game you know it's something special.
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Ralph H. Anderson
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Prospect
Connecticut
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Thanks Brian!

Great Tournament Report and I appreciate the helpful comments about the tournament overall.

I will be writing something up later this week including the Player Card Numbers for the two decks that made the finals, in case people would like to replay the final series!

We learned a lot this tournament and we will make improvements!

Best
Ralph
Baseball Highlights 2045 Commissioner
For Eagle-Gryphon Games
 
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Mark Delano
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frunkee wrote:
Even the cheapest players are still an upgrade. A 4 cost free agent is slightly better than the best starter and probably a good bit better than the card they replace. Once you get to 5 or 6 cost they can be significantly better, such that I wouldn't consider a 9 cost player to always be the better buy than a 4 and 5. Getting rid of two lousy cards instead of one is a nice benefit.


A couple of additional thoughts:

I generally consider a bad free agent selection to be a narrow set of price points that don't match with the money I have that round. All 5 and 6 cost cards when I'm sitting at 8 or 9 money is ugly. In that type of situation I'll try to either get up to 10+ money so I can buy two free agents or get lower (7-8) to let me force my opponent to buy first. Ideally I'll save a high money card in the on deck for the following round.

In that sense bad free agent draws are situational, so even with an option to discard the available free agents I'm not sure how often both players will agree on when to do it.
 
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Lou Wainwright
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Mark, the FA draft situation that Brian is referring to happened to me and was the exact 5/6 cost situation you described. My first opponent and I had 6 5/6 cost FAs at the start, and of the six purchases redrew 5/6 cost cards all times but one (an 8). In contrast, our opponents got much better FA selections including 8-10s and multiple 4/5s.

While this was certainly not the only reason, it clearly put us at a disadvantage and contributed to us going a combined 2-10 in the remaining six matches against the other two players at the table. This was, of course, very unlikely to occur and I certainly didn't think a major rule change was needed to prevent it. But I thought the idea of having the two players agree to a sweep and reseed before the first FA buy of the series was a reasonable rule.
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Mark Delano
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wainwrig wrote:
Mark, the FA draft situation that Brian is referring to happened to me and was the exact 5/6 cost situation you described. My first opponent and I had 6 5/6 cost FAs at the start, and of the six purchases redrew 5/6 cost cards all times but one (an 8). In contrast, our opponents got much better FA selections including 8-10s and multiple 4/5s.

While this was certainly not the only reason, it clearly put us at a disadvantage and contributed to us going a combined 2-10 in the remaining six matches against the other two players at the table. This was, of course, very unlikely to occur and I certainly didn't think a major rule change was needed to prevent it. But I thought the idea of having the two players agree to a sweep and reseed before the first FA buy of the series was a reasonable rule.


So neither of you were able to get to 10+ money during the 3 rounds? That sounds unusual.
 
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