Saturday, October 30, 2010

Feedback from Participants

German Tournament Final results
All 4 players from TEAM NORTH AMERICA, Ken McCoy, Keith Gill, Mario Phenix and Marko Sapiano made it into the semi-finals.
Mario Phenix finished in first place after the initial round. Ken McCoy (Abacus) made it into the FInal 4 Round and finished 4th overall.
Congratulations to TEAM NORTH AMERICA!
Final Four
1. Josef Sigl (Germany)2. Janos Balogh (Hungary)3. Astrid Hiob (Germany)4. Ken McCoy (Canada)
*All 4 have been awarded Master Points

Feedback from Participants

German Tournament:Edited Feedback from Keith Gill (Mr. Wizard)
I'm pleased to say that the Germany trip provided my mother and I with enough ammo to write a book. I had just visited France and Italy with friends a few weeks back, so the opportunity to revisit Europe just 1 week later and get 1 more country under my belt was spectacular. We arrived in Munich Wednesday morning, stayed 2 nights, and then took a train to Frankfurt. There were fewer tourist attractions in Munich than in the other countries I visited, but the ones we did get to see gave us chills: Munich's Olympic Stadium and Dachau's concentration camp to name a few. The taxi drivers were FAR more friendly/helpful than those of Paris, Rome, and even Boston. Nearly everyone spoke English and were more than willing to help silly tourists. Finally, my mother and I went to Oktoberfest our last night in Munich... think of it as a gigantic fair with rides/food/games accompanied by 12 huge beer tents serving German beer. We ran into a minor issue of me blacking out, leaving my mother for 6 hours, and arriving back at the hotel with blood on my face, bruises all over my body, and a broken hand... and I have no recollection of anything. I'd love to just say I was drunk, but I did not drink anywhere near the amount I'm used to drinking... so either the alcohol content was double what their website claims it is (Paulaner is the name of the beer) or I was drugged (if this, then it was probably by accident as people jump up, down, and dance around... so beers may get swapped at Oktoberfest). I didn't think I was going to be able to shuffle/deal, but I was able to get through... made sure to shake hands with my left hand though!
The tournament was awesome. I didn't quite agree with certain aspects of the tournament, but I would rather have some world tournament with foreign rules than no world tournament at all. We got free breakfast, Amigo picked us up and brought us to the Castle, we were playing the game within 30 minutes of arriving (I'm glad there was no dilly-dallying), the tourney was over in a mere 4 or 5 hours (this was convenient for those of us that were knocked out earlier than we expected), the tour of the Castle was entertaining, but the dinner itself was head and shoulders the funniest part of the day/night. The entertainer was rather funny, but the real laughter was caused by the discussions/stories that Team North America were sharing with one another (as well as the Hungarians) at our table. My mother fit right in with our group, dirty jokes and all.
The Amigo-Spiel girls were great... and kept me entertained after I failed to advance haha. They were all very friendly, helpful, and went out of their way to make sure the guests were satisfied. The one girl who stayed at our hotel with us (Lydie) went so far as to come back down to the bar with us after we arrived back at the hotel after the tournament... it was obvious (to me, at least) that she just wanted to go up to her room and get to bed after a long day at work, but upon the insistence of a few of our group, she still came down with a smile on her face and hung out with the rowdy NA crowd for 2 hours!
Future tournaments:I know you've already had in-depth discussions about the cost and locations of future Wizard tournaments, so I won't bore you with that monotony, but with regard to the tournament procedure itself: the primary differences (of which you're already aware) between our NA tourney and the world tourney were as follows: limited to 20 players, no even bids, and only 1 game per semi-final and final rounds (as opposed to two). Maybe I'm biased, but I would not replace our current tournament with any of these aspects... I do not agree with any of them. You're familiar with the even bid argument as it has been beaten to death. The one plus to only having 20 players AND only playing 1 game per round was the swiftness of the overall tourney... BUT, I would MUCH rather have a more time-consuming tournament if it meant the best (or one of the best) players would win. Now it just so happened that everyone in the final table of the world tournament were solid players by my standards (though, let it be known, that I beat the winner of the tournament in a 3-player game in the first round haha)... but there were a lot of crappy players in that tournament. There was one country there whose home tourney consisted of like 24 players and almost all of them were new to the game... clearly diversity was more important than quality... and don't get me wrong, I get why they did it, and I don't necessarily disagree (let's popularize this game!), but it's just something to take into consideration... I much prefer 2 games per round (and more rounds) so that only the best will survive. The names on that North American trophy actually mean something, to me, at least. That said, this was the first real world tournament, so I honestly have no complaints with how the tourney was run... that's a daunting task to fly in 20 people from around the world to play a unified world tournament for the first time. I've covered most things, but this is easier discussed in person, so I'll leave it at that for now.

Feedback from Ken McCoy (Abacus): Edited
1. What was your overall assessment of the entire experience? Why?
My overall assessment of the whole affair was fantastic. I looked at it as a once in a lifetime opportunity and but did not know what to expect before I got there. It was quite interesting to wander about the city and have a look around. I found the locals to be quite friendly especially the younger people in Darmstadt, Once you spoke to them in English they would immediately start asking where you are from, If you are on holiday how you like Germany etc. The staff at the hotel were extremely friendly and helpful as well.
2. What was your overall assessment of the Tournament itself? Why?
Considering all the countries involved I can see how that caused logistical headaches. They seemed to handle them quite well. I though the Bastardising of some of the rules made it difficult as well as the 2 no shows from Greece made it difficult. The Ladies handled the situation as best and fairly as they could. The first hand of the Final table I dealt myself a Wizard then had to bid zero with it knowing full well I was starting off the game at Minus 10. Kind of silly but that was how the rule was written.
3. Comments on
(a) Arrangements prior to tripWas nice to be able to make the arrangements ourselves to allow for personal schedules and side trips before and after. After the Tourney I left for England and visited some relatives that I had not seen in 17 years. Glad that could be planned in, Went to see Lizzy as well in London but she was not home.(b) the trip itselfLong time on the plane of course but well worth it. Getting out of Germany turned into it's own little adventure. Had an eight hour wait for my flight. Discovered 8 hours at the airport is a hell of a lot longer than 12 hours at Burg Frankenstein. While I was waiting I met up with another player that was in the Tourney from Finland, I named him Niles after Dr Niles Crane as he is a dead ringer for him. Spent several hours hanging out with him and chatting. Very nice man. He logged onto our Wizard site to play under the name Niles of course. A half hour before my flight was about to depart it got shoved back 2 hours. When we finally got on the plane and were ready to go they had one more passenger than the Flight manifest said should be there. Big problem of course. Took awhile to find out who it was, Turned out to be me! Somehow they gave me my boarding pass but failed to put my name on the manifest. Some of the other passengers in humor of course said "it's the Damn Canadians fault" I got the last laugh though, When we landed in Manchester there were two lines, One for EU passport holders with a few hundred people in it and one for non EU passport holders with 2 people in it.
c) transfer to hotelBus leaves the airport every hour and of course I miss it by 5 minutes, Was ok though, after 7 hours cooped up in a plane was nice to walk around. Bus was where the info said it would be so, Piece of cake.
(d) The hotel Class hotel with Class staff. Only good things to say about that.
(e) Transfer to Burg FrankensteinDid not find the people scheduling the bus till about 15 minutes before it departed. Return bus would not start when we left to go home at 11:00 PM. Was kind of scary with sitting in the dark on a bus that would not start parked beside Burg Frankenstein. All the makings for the start of a 2nd rate horror film.
(f) Tournament organizationLadies had it all thought out and executed it well with the minor curves they were thrown
(g) post tournament dinner and activitiesEnjoyed that more than the tournament itself, Between every course a man would come out and entertain us with story, song and audience participation. Food was excellent and the entertainment was better.
4. Relationship with:(a) other Team NA membersKnew most of them of course so it was great. Was great to meet Mario and spend a day with him visiting Darmstadt.
(b) Other player participants All very friendly and played fairly and with Class.
(c) Amigo personnelDid a great job
5. Any particular memorable moment that stands out for you?
Being at the Final table of course and Knowing that I had friends there in my corner cheering for me.
6. The best of the entire experience?
Visiting another Country and being able to talk to very friendly people in another country.
The worst of the entire experience?Leaving, standing there waiting for the bus listening to my ipod. 1200 songs playing on random, what are the odds of "Leaving on a Jetplane" coming on. Damn I get so emotional with age.
7. Recommendations for future tournaments? Are there features we should:
(a) emulate? Post Dinner and entertainment.
(b) avoid?. Have a plan ‘B’ for no shows!

Marko’s Edited Feedback on Germany
I thought the whole trip was amazing with little room for improvement.Couple of things I didn't like:Hotel:1 - The hotel had no free wireless or internet connection.2 - it was right beside the Train station so you could hear trains going by all night :)Tournament1 - I didn't like the 4 player format at all.2 - I didn't like the no even bids at all - takes out the strategy and the skill of the game. If you can justify forcing the dealer to bid 1 with 2 jesters just because there were 2 bids made before the dealer, I'd like to hear it.3 - I didn't like that the semi-finals and the finals were 1 game eliminations.4 - Although it was great getting an international field in place (much like the Olympics) these were not the 20 best players. In two of my games I had 1 player that scratched 8 out of the 10 times. In the Semi finals one of the player scratched and instead of using their wizards to take another one to ensure that they weren't the only ones to scratch they allow other players to make their larger bids (I was one of the players with the larger bids and I was happy to see that they did that - but they shouldn't have and good players know not to let people get too far ahead of them).5 - I thought it was a shame that Stuart attended for such a short time.6 - I thought the crowding around of the final table as it approached the end was poor. I would have kept the crowd back and allow those playing a chance to compete without a crowd hovering around them.Castle Frankenstein.I thought they did a great job, the entertainment was fun, the food was great. I think the Scary tour/walking around outside learning about how people were tortured in the past was a little dull. It would have been better if they had their Halloween entertainment up and running but as it was, it didn't really hit home with anyone.Travelling to and from Hotel to tournamentThey had a bus, it took about 15-20 to get there. The bus stalled when we were going home, but the driver get it up and running so really there was no issue.Things I liked.HotelIt was a nice hotel, friendly staff, clean, overall a nice place to stay at.Tournament:I thought it was well organized and well planned.I thought they adjusted nicely to the absence of 2 players.Although I did complain that I didn't like the one game and done for the semi-finals and finals, it did make the tournament go rather quickly.Again I complained that it wasn't the best of the best, but playing with new players and seeing the growth of the games to places it might not have reached without this tournament was refreshing.I have no memorable moments at all :) Nothing good or bad sticks out in my mindRelationships - I was not at all surprised that the 4 of us got along well together. I think Elaine said it best when she said that we are all like family. We know each other and although we have our differences at time, we respect and appreciate what we do have in common.

Edited version of feedback from Mario Phenix
My Tournament ExperienceBy MarioWITHOUT PREJUDICEThe most extraordinary experience for me was to be with the 20 “best” players in the world of Wizard.The tournament allowed us to get to know some of the other “fans” of Wizard. It also gave us a chance to meet people with whom we play online. It shows that people in person have nothing to do with those we play online I was finally happy to meet “Mac”, the bad guy. LOL.The organization of the trip to Darmstadt was very smooth. The information received before we left was very appropriate and relevant. Some people have taken our best interests at heart. Dinner before the “D” day was a good idea and food was very good.What to say about the tournament organization by Amigo Spiele? The location was very appropriate for this kind of tournament. The evening and the meal were pleasant. We were only missing the victory.My relationship with other members of “Team N.A” and their families was very pleasant. Special thanks to Keith’s mother for entertaining us. I certainly gave the impression of being a “weird” and distant person, but this was due to language. God, I regret not listening during my English lessons when I was younger.The “highest moment for me was when the Amigo Spiele staff called the names of players who qualified for the semi-finals and I finished 1st in the group of 20 participants. What a feeling and what a relief!. I felt that only bad luck could possibly beat me for the games yet to come.. Disappointments were few for me. The first was not having access to the rules of the tournament before it began. (No even bids). The second was the time allotted to play a game (45 min.) Moreover, I believe that in the future the rules should be dictated verbally and not published on a sheet of paper on a table.Before my online victory, several people around me were sceptical that I could win the prize and travel, but now all want to participate in this type of tournament. It was an excellent way for me to promote the game, WIZARD.Suggestions for the Future: Rules known by all participants in advance. A minimum amount should be paid by players of a regional tournament (Canada / USA) in order to pay some costs for an International tournament.

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