It was 1993, I was just coming to the game. I remember seeing the advertisement for the FtF in Chicago at the now famous Allerton Hotel. I had only been playing for a couple of weeks back then but the concept of the FtF sounded amazing and I knew that one day I had to go to one. I would have never guessed that the experience of Chicago would be so bad that we wouldn't go back for another 21 years. (Other midwestern cities included Columbus, St. Louis, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, etc) But here I was in 2014 finally getting ready to go to my Chicago FtF! By this time of course, I had moved to the Midwest (Nebraska) from Hawaii, and when you live in Nebraska, it's pretty common to just take the overnight Megabus to Chicago when you get bored so it's a city I was well familiar with.
The Thursday night trip out wasn't promising. The Denver airport (where I'm now staying for the summer) is one of the worst to fly out of and things were once again delayed. I was faced with a multi-hour delay or I could just rebook in the morning--not wanting to get in at like 3:00 AM, I just decided to change my flight until Friday morning. So Friday morning's flight is mostly on time and
I get to Chicago maybe around 9:00 AM or so. The hotel is in Rosemont, which is near the airport (but far from the touristy areas), but right now I'm just glad it was in the airport. It was nice, a lot nicer than hotels I've usually stayed in Chicago, and I liked the layout.
Khisanth arrived shortly after I did and the two of us napped for a bit until noon. I went down to the convention area where the Dark One and Grimm had already set up our alliance table. (Apparently there wasn't room at first, according to Marma Duke, there were around 44 people at this FtF, which was by far the largest FtF I've been to in awhile) Went to Gibson's for lunch with Grimm and Khisanth, which was one of the two hotel restaurants in the area. It was actually pretty good. Then I went down to do the long task of inputting all my stuff.
So playing D2 has been tricky for me this summer. My address is still in Nebraska, but I'm spending most of my time working in Colorado. Nebraksa is still where my DM stuff goes, and where everything is, so i really haven't been able to fill out strategy sheets or do much DM stuff when I've been in Colorado. (Although if you've been following DM 84, you'll know I've been prepping) But anyway, I looked like the totally unprepared manager (*cough* Guardian *cough*) who had to enter all of his warriors on Friday. And then buy rookies and enter rookies and do Rookies. Ditto for Bloodgames. So entering my warriors took me most of the afternoon. (Abouut 50 pre-rookies) Then I bought some roll-ups and then did Bloodgames. I did have time to do dinner at Giordano's with a bunch of LOL and BOB folks, and when I came back, Bloodgames were back but there was something wrong with the information/connection to Arizona and they couldn't get roll-ups printed. It was nearly 1:00 AM when roll-ups were finally out. Poor TMM and other managers who had just arrived and no sleep looked exhausted while waiting. I know I was, I hadn't slept well the night before. So it was maybe 2:30'ish when I finally make it back to the room to sleep. We had to get up in around 5 hours tTo do Turn 1. It was just like the old days of the FtF when you didn't get a lot of sleep.
Saturday arrives, I have a little problem waking up (thanks Khisanth for making sure I got up) and Round 1 has begun to print and most of it is waiting for me when I get there. Sandy has the early turns running likie a machine. There are no major hold ups (people yelling "wait!"), probably due to more and more people going electronic than ever before. There were a couple of minor hiccups here and there and I saw Sandy on the phone a couple of times and Lee came down once (presumably to fix something), but they were handled without much delay. If anything, Sandy was running things so smoothly that the delay allowed people to catch up.
The tourney seemed like it was going ok. All the classes I felt like I was strong with were going well and I was surviving in the classes I thought I weren't that strong in. My Bloodgames was interesting, at one point I had 7 different warriors with kills (but no one getting more than one). But only one person was bloodfeuding me. I thought it was kind of weird. Anyway, before you know it, it was time for a dinner break. We went to a gastro pub somewhere, I forget the name. It was pretty good. Not great for the diet but this was kinda a cheat weekend.
After the dinner break, we actually went two rounds instead of one before the overnight turns. It seemed like it was one round deeper than we normally did. So people would be done in early Sunday morning it seemed. Still, things were running smoothly. I didn't do the overnight turns (things take longer to print than to input), and I was already short sleep. In the last turn I was a little bummed because my best Challenger had taken a loss, but Superior Snotling, my Champions favorite was still undefeated as well as my ADM bust out.
Usually the overnight turns are horrendous for me, but this time it wasn't too bad. I think I made it out of there over 50% and still in healthy shape. Went to the breakfast buffet and had a brief chat with Howling Wolf and got right back into it.
Round 10 was already starting before 11:00 AM, and I thought it looked like it was going to be a quick tourney. I had a fraction of my squad remaining at this point, but I was still hopeful in a lot of areas. The tourney bogged down in the afternoon because we had a lot of the same managers in a lot of different classes in the run-offs, and they had to stop to get their TC fights read, etc. Here's how things broke down:
Primus: Papa Bear and LHI teamed up and let LHI run Papa Bear's warriors, and this broke the Primus tourney a bit. It was TUM who stepped through the door with Harv taking home his first Primus TC. (I remember when Harv was still in basic) TMM's string of consecutive Primus TC comes to a temporary end.
Contenders: A lot of people, including Otto, Grimm, and Marma Duke had Contender hopefuls here, hoping they could do something against the horde of TMM warriors that dominate this class. They did a very good job, as the TV list looked very competitive and not just dominated by one or two warriors. In the end, it was TMM taking this class home, with Marma Duke being the runner-up. (Was this a Mannequin proxy?)
Eligibles: TMM's Miffed Sandy was the heavy favorite here, but that didn't stop a lot of people from chasing. Bustouts included warriors from TUM, Khisanth, and The Dark One. It was Khisanth who made it to the finals, but despite his best effort he couldn't topple Sandy. He did a pretty good job of hitting Sandy, but he just couldn't put her away.
ADM: This class had another heavy favorite in Meat, but with this prize, everyone was going after it. I know I was busting out a really good Fist AB, OAB had a good bustout, as did a couple of others. The Runner-Up was a surprising (to me) Dealer, but this time TUM wouldn't let himself be done in by a surprise warrior as Meat rather easily took care of business. On a personal note, I was happy with my 3 ADM TVs. I only just started to bust out warriors again as I took a break during my drought, so it's good to be back in the awards list in a class between Primus and Freshmen. My ADM bustout trained 3 DF really early but then got stuck after that and hit nothing else. Oh well, that's the way the cookie crumbles.
Freshmen: The Freshmen class was another bloodbath. Lots of people decided to bust out warriors including TUM, TMM, OAB, Storm Lord, Marma Duke, Chief, etc. I wasn't there near the end, but it looked pretty brutal, lots of hit trains, busted 21's, Fists, Shields, and Tears. The end came down to TMM and TUM, two managers who battle a lot, but not usually in this class. The final fight read like the Eligibles final with TMM coming out on top.
Challengers: Marma Duke's Zombie was the favorite going into this class (although not necessarily a heavy one because of the Challengers skill caps), and he looked like he was in control when the run-offs started, but then he ran into those high skill/high physicals Lungers that park in Challengers forever and were his bane. The finals came down to TGG's Buck Rogers, which has runner-upped Challengers a couple of times already, and TMM's offensive TP, which I had pegged as a future Challengers winner, but thought he was too young this time out. Buck Rogers took him down once, to force a deciding 2nd match, where he adjusted and was able to pull it out.
Champions: My warrior, Superior Snotling, was the heavy favorite going in, but a decent contingent felt Jormp Jumper could challenge and even win it after his Adepts performance at the Mailer. (Really, someone gave OAB 2:1 odds against Snotling? ) The big showdown never materialized as Jumper fell in Round 10 after a strong start. Going into the run-offs I saw a SL and AB as potential problems, but everything else was Strikers. (Arguably, Snotling's best match up after scum) Sure enough, the flurry of Strikers proved to be the perfect wingmen as they disposed of the SL and AB for me and allowed Snotling to pick them off one by one en route to the TC. Kudos to Otto's AB for being my one loss.
Adepts: There were some good warriors here, but this one was one off the wide open classes to me. I was a little excited when the run-offs started as I had the last surviving WS and there were a bunch of Strikers and one AB. Unfortunately, I ran into the AB in Round 12, leaving the way for the Striker fest. The final two came down to two Strikers run by DMobster and TUM. DMobster's Striker jumped TUM's Striker twice--but both times TUM's striker dodge/parried and then riposted for the win. Potentially unlucky bounce for DMob or TUM has a brilliant Striker strategy out there.
Inits: Another wide open class which left a variety of styles. A lot of Strikers, and one SL and one ST. This time, no one could take out the PR left and Hollowshade's PR was left against TMM's ST. With Hollowshade going after his first TC, almost everyone was openly cheering for him here. The ST hit the PR with a couple of normals that had me wincing but eventually the PR parried an attack, then riposted and it was over. Congrats to Hollowshade on winning his first TC and being the surprise of the tourney!
Apprentices: I didn't enter any Apprentices, so I wasn't following this class too much. But I did see Assur's warriors near the top of the standings during most of the run-offs. As it turns out, he took care of business, being the only manager to TC and Runner-Up in the same class.
Rookies: Given the high turnout, this might have been one of the biggest Rookies tourney ever--I know I was having trouble finding the styles of warriors in Round 12. My warriors in this class kept hanging around near the top of the standings. (Which I didn't want --because everyone would know their style as stylemasters) In Round 14, it looked like my stud Rookie, Peculiar Snotling, was going to seize control. I had a wingman in Quatin in there to back him up as well. He matched up with the one warrior I was worried about (Deep Thought's Chow) in Round 15 who handed him a loss, but I was ok with that, since Quatin and JE's Lunger was still out there. In Round 16, I thought the match-ups went my way and I had a chance to seize control of the tourney with Quatin (ST) going against Deep Thought's AB and Snotling going against Mouse. (Howling Wolf's Scum TP getting the bye, but if my stud AB won, he wouldn't be a problem). Of course that means that Snotling would ruin my plans and lose to JE's Lunger in a close battle. (Maybe I should have used a weapon after all) Quatin salvaged the round when he beat the Chow and then drew the bye. Ok then, I was still in the TC fight against the winner of the TP and LU. I thought I preferred the TP, but I wasn't 100% sure. In the end, Howling Wolf's scum won and even though I felt ok about the match-up, I still remembered the last FtFs where TP's were beating ST's for the TC's. It was a good fight with Quatin throwing crits early and then not doing much in the middle. He went exhausted in minute 8 and then threw a lucky crit in Minute 9 in the right spot to end the fight and winning me another TC! Whew! Sometimes the wing man wins it. I don't want to give the numbers because you'll probably see Quatin in another tourney some day, but to quote Khisanth after he saw Quatin's overview in the hotel room: "You TC'd with that PoS?!?!" Rookies has always been my historically best class (Around 12.5% TC rate in it since I started playing), and I thought maybe my time had passed when I couldn't win it during my TC drought, but after the last two rookies tourney wins, maybe my mojo is really back now. I know I'd much rather be hated/feared and be in the winner's circle than to receive everyone's sympathy cheers during TC fights. It's a long road to recovery, and I need to re-establish myself in ADM and take back Freshmen. But maybe my warriors will be feared once again.
In the grudge fights, we had dinner reservations so we had to skip the reading, but BOB defeated the World 5-3. (Crip saving the world from humiliation with his two wins)
Overall I ended up sending 66 with 9 awards (7 TVs and 2 TCs) for an award percentage of 13.6%. My W/L was a 223-189-2, for a pretty anemic 54.1%. But I can't really complain about my tourney at all.
Quick Rundown of results:
Primus: TUM / Papa Bear
Contenders: TMM / Marma Duke
Eligibles: TMM / Khisanth
ADM: TUM / The Dealer
Freshmen: TMM / TUM
Challengers: TMM / TGG
Champs: Mgr / Storm Lord
Adepts: TUM / DMobster
Inits: Hollowshade / TMM
Apps: Assur / Assur
Rookies: Mgr / Howling Wolf
I actually thought we would get a more widespread distribution as everyone seemed to be loading up for this one. Unlike the last FtF which took a lot of people by surprise, people seemed to have time to prep for this one.
Overall it was a great FtF. There were so many new people, I know I didn't get a chance to say hi to everyone. 40+ people is great! It's a sign we should have more FtFs in Chicago, because it's so easy to get to. I didn't get a chance to go to Exxxotica, but I saw Marma Duke's pictures and it looked like a great time. I hope everyone had run and I hope the momentum from all of the new players continues!
Darque ArchMaster Poster
Joined: Jun 21, 2002
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