8th Dec 2022 - Tournamentby Robin. Wed, 25 Jan (Updated at Wed, 25 Jan)
Apologies to anyone who might have wanted to see Crystal Palace, Now or Never, Tapestry or Wayfarers of the South Tigris featured in the write-up. All of those games were at the club this week, and I found myself with a generous amount of time to spend wandering around them; but this write-up is going to be a review of the Tournament.
Over the year we’ve played through a nice diversity of different games, in both theme and mechanics. We worshipped the sun in the rondel-lite game of Teotihuacan, then assembled ocean liners in the ultra-rondel world of Shipyard. We wallowed in the filth of industrial Birmingham, then escaped to the beauty of north Yorkshire on the Last Train To Wensleydale, in two very different Martin Wallace point-to-point resource games. And we finished by building our merchant empires, set-collecting and picking up and delivering in 17th-century Macao.
2 of the 5 elected games of the aborted 2020 tournament had complexity ratings of about 2.0 on BGG, but this year the complexity rose up a level, ranging from 3.13 up to 3.97. Given that one of the nominated categories for 2023 is “Vital Lacerda games”, this looks to be a continuing trend. We’ll see. But hopefully everyone was able to enjoy one or two new games. For me, Teotihuacan was the highlight; and I will definitely be looking to try more of the “T” games in future as a result.
Anyway, after a year-long epic, it all came down to Brass Birmingham this week for the final, in which 4 paragons – of playing a complex game really slowly – sat down to give it their best shot. In the blue corner was Ed, who wins everything but who had not done so well in the league round of Brass Brum. In the brown corner, which he thought was the red corner, was Ian: the defending champion. In the purple corner was Bill, who had topped the league table with an outstanding record of 4 wins and one 2nd place. And in the yellow corner was me, who was also there.
Ian aimed to repeat of his successful strategy from the league round, by building railways and a lot of cotton mills. I preferred the boxes, along with the odd pottery and brewery. Bill and Ed both went for more of a mixture, with Ed doing a lot of railways and Bill managing to ship all three types of goods. The tension mounted as, with every move and every careful consideration, closing time approached. As the jeopardy of an unfinished final loomed larger, Ed emerged as the one taking longest over his turns, with Bill unexpectedly relegated to second place.
And the answer to the big question of the night? Yes, we did make the finish – just about. It was 11:25 as we left the building. And the most valuable resource in the game was indeed time, with Ed edging it in the final scoring by 2 points. Congratulations to Ed, who thus joins the exclusive club of 2-time tournament champions, with all the prestige that entails. Look out for the glow next time you see him.
Doesn’t that sound exciting? As the carnival draws to a close for one year, entries are open for next year’s edition. Like the idea of a regular cycle of new games to discover with different people? Or just want to get your name emblazoned on the famous trophy? Then fill in the form.