|Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||Round 4||Round 5||Round 6||Rating||Game 1||Game 2||Game 3||Rating|
|B||Liam Bryan||Evil Liam||(30)||15||(25)||23||16||234||25||(27)||14||132||Finalist|
This year's tournament was a lot of fun, and totally worth the hours of effort and play that everybody put into it. It took about five and a half hours for the whole tournament.
I ran the tournament this year, and used it as something of a little experiment within the "Big Experiment" being run by Looney Labs. I did a lot of pre-planning for this tournament, and designed multiple forms to keep track of the tournament as it was occuring. In addition to the large score sheet that summarizes all the tournament games, I had small cards that the judges used to keep track of individual games, and other cards that the players used to keep track of their own scores. Most people found this paperwork more helpful than annoying, which was a great surprise to me.
The tournament would not have been nearly as good without the effort of Ryan McGuire, who calculated the tournament schedule for me, and made the beautiful stash of pieces from "Purple Heart" wood that he donated as a prize for the tournament champion.
My great thanks also go out to John "Dr. Cool" Cooper, who did most of the judging for the tournament, and to Andrew "Zarf" Plotkin, who did the rest of the judging. I'd also like to thank Jake for collating the data from the game report cards onto the big table at the end of the Ice-Offs. Lastly, I'll thank Eric Zuckerman for using his video camera to take action shots of the tournament, and allowing me to dub them before he left town.
The key player in the twelfth IIT (X4IT) had to be Ryan McGuire. No one else was probably so motivated to win as Jake was, once Ryan arrived as the tournament was starting and announced that the winner would get an Icehouse set carved from Purple Heartwood. Jake always plays to win, but he doesn't usually play for the purpose of winning. This year, he played for the purpose of winning.
Icehouse is definitely a sport. Talking with Jesse, one of the finalists from last year, he lamented that he didn't win a single match this year. But then he held up his index finger, wrapped in a band-aid. "I was injured!" Indeed, an injury that put him out for the season.
It seemed that the main source of pain for this year's tournament was crashes. I got a perfect score in my first game by sheer luck of Dale's air-support attacker ending up tip-blocked when he dropped it.
While I was ref'ing I noticed that Jake is a shrewd negotiator. He has an uncanny ability to motivate other players to do things that are to his advantage. He was also very sly. I saw three times where he would convince another player to "share the pain". Jake would attack with a medium piece, and maneuver the piece slowly into position, but then when players looked elsewhere, he would pull back his attack piece, squandering the other player's attack. And it seemed as if the other players didn't notice!
I'm not sure if people realize how difficult a well executed shotgun strategy has to be; you have to put your defenders far enough away from each other so that overicing is possible, but close enough that restructured attacks can cascade from one defender to another using limited prisoners. Many of the vets from past tourneys seemed to make great improvements this year with the shotgun's "spread".
The finals were impressive, and not just for Jake's eccentric strategies. I saw tight plays that were just crying out for crashes; but no, the plays were mostly smooth, exact, and intelligent, often even during the high speed phases.
I also wanted to add my buckets of gratitude to Eeyore, his organization of the tourney was about the best ever. The individual score cards worked a treat!