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Messages - wallaceprime

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1
General / Re: Few random pictures and thoughts
« on: October 19, 2022, 04:08:36 AM »
That's the first time I've seen a meeple orgy!  :-*

2
General / Re: Few random pictures and thoughts
« on: October 17, 2022, 01:13:39 PM »
@Snearone   Utterly fantastic - I love them!  8) +1 from me

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General / Re: Carcassonne: Carc Central Edition?
« on: October 17, 2022, 06:37:12 AM »
I just wish I'd had more creative input than just trying different drop-down menus until something pretty appeared!  ;D

However, trial and error can often lead to interesting results, particularly when using the HDR (High Dynamic Range) technique in photography.
I was pleased with this manipulated image I took in Bradgate Park in the UK:



(for more images, see my gallery at https://wallaceprime.com/gallery/galleries/)

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General / Re: Carcassonne: Carc Central Edition?
« on: October 17, 2022, 04:50:56 AM »
And another variation, "Bold Strokes" (I think it looks more impressive when enlarged)


5
General / Re: Essen - My First Time
« on: October 15, 2022, 04:24:28 AM »
I was originally going to use self-adhesive velcro pads to hold the tiles in place. However, it seemed sacrilegious to stick things to the tiles, so I cut a recess in the felted background and sandwiched the tiles between the glass and the frame's backboard.

6
General / Re: Essen - My First Time
« on: October 15, 2022, 04:07:11 AM »
I mounted and framed the tiles I got signed at Essen as a memento of what might be a unique event for me. I'm missing a few of the players, but I got most of them.

I decided on using the Spiel'22 tile (signed by KJW) to set the context rather than having a textual plaque.



It also gives me somewhere to put my UK trophy  :yellow-meeple:

7
News and Events / Re: Dan Goes to Essen: An Adventure Story (2022)
« on: October 14, 2022, 07:39:53 AM »
Great write-up, Dan. +1 from me.

I'm glad it's not just my son that can focus on the most irrelevant details from certain situations!  :)
(to be fair, I can't remember what those situations were, so he might have grown out of it by now)

8
General / Re: Essen - My First Time
« on: October 14, 2022, 07:33:22 AM »
Don't worry, I have a restraining order on me after folks complained about the wanging....  :-[

9
General / Re: Essen - My First Time
« on: October 14, 2022, 04:26:31 AM »
Thanks, @Scott. When I won the UK Championship it was such an intense and close final I was stunned when the realisation hit me: 'I'm the UK Champion!' (that might have shown on my face in the video)

It was only much later, after Essen, that the second wave of patriotic pride flooded me: 'I've represented my country at something and done pretty well', and that is a very special feeling  :yellow-meeple:

10
General / Re: Carcassonne: Carc Central Edition?
« on: October 13, 2022, 10:02:10 AM »
@Willem : At DIN0's suggestion from my earlier posting, here are a couple of tile designs if they are still available (if not, I can apply a similar process to most other tiles)





(created by manipulating original tile designs using Corel Painter's 'AI Paint')

11
News and Events / Re: Willem's journey to Essen 2022
« on: October 13, 2022, 06:35:50 AM »
Great write-up, Willem, +1 from me. I can't believe it was your first time at Essen; I guess you'll have to start saving-up now for next year's purchasing extravaganza  :yellow-meeple:

12
News and Events / Re: Decar's trip to Essen Spiel 2022
« on: October 12, 2022, 12:02:18 PM »
A great write-up with excellent photos, Decar - I really enjoyed reading it and re-living some great memories. +1 from me too

13
General / Re: Essen - My First Time
« on: October 12, 2022, 05:33:32 AM »
It was utterly Folkwangky!!! It was only a 15 minute walk from my hotel, and I arrived 5 minutes after opening time... or what would have been opening time if it wasn't closed on Mondays  >:(
Still, at least I got half an hour of exercise  :yellow-meeple: I spent the unexpected additional time in the Hugo Junkers lounge at Dusseldorf Airport - very civilised and well worth the 27 euros to relax in comfort and utterly stuff myself  :@

14
General / Essen - My First Time
« on: October 11, 2022, 09:14:03 AM »
Before Essen

Having won the UK Championship in June, I qualified to represent the UK at the Carcassonne World Championships - wow, the unimaginable journey had begun!
I initially prepared for the tournament the month or two before the event by setting Arena aside and concentrated on playing highly ranked players in 'simple' games. This was good while I could find opponents (not always easy in the early morning that I usually play), but I often found myself get bored waiting for opponents, so started playing other games instead. With four weeks to go I switched back to Arena: although I had my fair share of less experienced opponents, so not particularly useful for world championship practice, I also found myself matched against really tough opponents, and that really was useful.

Spiel

I flew to Dusseldorf from Heathrow in London, got the train to Essen and then the underground to Spiel. The German public transport seemed very efficient, but I was so surprised at the lack of automatic gates or inspectors to check the tickets. I think London Underground would go bankrupt in a week if they used the same system - Germans must be much more honest!

I arrived at the games fair at around 16:00. That only left me 3 hours to look around, but - and please forgive me for saying this - games fairs just aren't my thing, I wasn't that fussed. I really don't like the crowds and the noise, and I much prefer checking new games online from the comfort of home. However, it was great to meet-up with Dan, Tom and Willem for a drink and a chat, joined a little later by Melvin and his protégé, Erick. In the halls I also found the UKGE stand and collected their generous contribution to my expenses.
Spiel is HUGE and makes the UKGE event seem comparatively small. However, I'd say the UKGE has the advantage over Spiel in that it seems to have far more open gaming tables where visitors can play late into the evening, rather than being kicked-out at 19:00 as happens with Spiel.

The Big Day

At 06:45 on Sunday morning, the nerves and anxious energy finally hit me. I was initially surprised it hadn't started earlier, but, on reflection, I was much more concerned about the travelling: I hardly ever fly or leave the UK, so I admit that flying to a foreign country on my own and not being able to understand German filled me with trepidation!

We had to arrive before the main fair opened and make our way to the separate Germany Hall under Hall 1. Several players and supporters were milling around waiting to enter the hall. Since many of us had never met in person before, everyone seemed to be glancing at each other, wondering who they were. Tentative greetings started the process of getting to know each other. Once we had registered, we were given name badges with our name and flag on it. This was great, but most of us knew each other by our BGA nicknames. Many people had the advantage of recognising me since my face (in monochrome) forms my avatar and my name, Chris Wallace, is part of my wallaceprime nickname.

It was fantastic meeting so many lovely people, and still good to meet some of the less lovely people! ;) There really is a strong community spirit among many of the players.

The Games

The format of the tournament was 5 rounds of Swiss system (starting with random pairings, then winners play winners, losers play losers), followed by a knockout stage for the top 8 players.

My first game was against the Russian player Ivan Taranakov (but playing under a neutral flag). It was a close game and I won by 3 points. There was a little confusion immediately after the count-up of the farms since we were both under the impression that one of Ivan's un-joined farmers was attempting to steal a particular farm, not, which was the actual case, equalise the farm. We replaced his meeples where incomplete features had been, and all 7 meeples were accounted for, so we might both have been thinking that one of his cloister meeples was a farmer. Still, for me this was a great result - 'at least I'm not going home without winning any games' I happily thought to myself!

My second game was against Iceland's Narfi Jonsson. I won 105-83, but it was a much closer game than the score would suggest until I drew the pennanted 3-sided city with road as my final tile to complete a 20 point city and add 6 points to my farmers. Two games under my belt and I was starting to feel a bit more confident.

Round 3 was against Lithuania's Andrejus Svabas. I can't remember much about this game but I think I had the luck of the tile draw and won 90-75. Wow! I only needed one more win to almost guarantee me a place in the knockout stages. With 3 wins out of 3, this was going way better than I had predicted :yellow-meeple:

When the organiser read out the 4th round pairings, I felt a real glow of pride when he took the mickey out of me in a very good-natured way, with something along the lines of, "On table 1, Chris Wallace from... I can't believe it, Great Britain!! I can't remember Great Britain ever playing on Table 1!". Yes - I had reached the top table! My opponent was a good friend, Osvaldo del Arco from Mexico. We were very evenly matched, with 9 hits each from our 18 BGA games. It was a very good-natured game, with each of us liking and totally respecting the other, starting with sincere handshakes. This game didn't go so well for me; Osvaldo kept completing features and scoring points, building up a sizeable lead. With only around 5 tiles left, my only chance was to steal the large farm. I'd counted there was one road bend remaining after I played the one in my hand, so I placed a meeple on the outside of freshly placed road and crossed my fingers. They weren't crossed for long - Osvaldo drew the bend on his very next turn, sealing my fate with my first loss. Still, I couldn't get too disheartened - there was one game left to play and everything to play for!

My 5th game was against Gere Arpad from Romania. The game started pretty equally, with both of us getting a decent mix of city and road tiles and getting scores on the board. However, we got into a city fight that determined the whole outcome of the game. I was in the perfect position to block Gere's meeple from joining the big side of the city, but 3 turns came and went without me getting the tile to make the block. He then managed to protect it, but leaving just one 3-sided city with road to link himself in. The ruin was too big to ignore, being worth more than the difference in our scores, so I attacked it from two different points to minimise Gere's chances of blocking me from both. Fate was not on my side: Gere got the joining tile he needed and tiles to block both of my attacks. I can't remember the score, but Gere's ruin secured his victory and pegged me at 3 wins.

I was a bit deflated at first: after my 3 wins I really thought I had a good chance of reaching the knockout stages, but the two losses brought me savagely back to earth. However, I brightened considerably when I saw the results table and saw that I had finished 9th, only just under the cut-off. Ninth place amongst 35 national champions in the Carcassonne World Championship is something I am really proud of, particularly it being my first time participating.

I felt even better about my loss in the 5th game when my opponent went on to win the Championship - losing to the champion isn't so bad, particularly when just one blocking tile could have swung the whole game.

Goodbyes

After such a phenomenal day of excitement, happiness, disappointment, the awards and certificates had been given out and the group photos taken. We had built a great sense of camaraderie and fraternity, but we had to break up our real-life fellowship and say goodbye to our friends - some we'd known before, but many new ones. But I know those friendships will continue to strengthen online.

However much I loved the day itself, when I got back to my hotel room (my flight home wasn't until Monday), it was absolutely exquisite to take shoes and trousers off and just sit and relax in perfect silence. I had not realised how much the senses had been overloaded during our long and exhausting day in the hall, but sitting there, on my own, my thoughts soon turned to... what do I have to do so I can do it all over again next year?  :yellow-meeple:

15
News and Events / Re: Essen Spiel 2022 meetup
« on: July 06, 2022, 04:03:08 AM »
I should be arriving in Essen mid to late afternoon on the Saturday, playing in the championships on Sunday (due to finish by around 17:00), then setting back home via Dusseldorf airport mid-afternoon on Monday, and would be happy to meet-up anywhere in that mix  :D

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