Dale Yu: Tournament of Champions Round of 33 (First Half)
OK – the steering committee has finally finished making the brackets, and after a lengthy deliberation, the tournament is ready to get underway! Today, we will unveil the first half of the competition – and let the voting begin!
How do you vote? Simply go to the blog post titled “First Round Voting Part One”, and you will find a series of polls for each matchup. Just vote for your choice in each matchup. The polls will stay open at least through Friday night (Eastern time) – at which time, the committee will tabulate the results.
Unlike the NCAA, there is no attempt of full transparency of the inner workings of the bracketing process. But – here’s an outline of how we set things up for this Tournament of Champions. First, I proposed the idea of a tournament to the OG writers. A few of them attempted to “seed” the games. A few others came up with lists of matchups that would be compelling to discuss/see the results. Over (quite a few) adult beverages Saturday night, I took all the suggestions and whirled them together into the bracket you will find below.
I took the suggestions of games to be seeded from the other writers, and ended up with 8 games which ended up in their own part of the bracket. The other matchups were then randomly placed in the bracket to fill it up.
Here are the 8 first round matchups in the upper half of the draw.
Keltis / Focus / Rummikub
Well, the first matchup of the tournament is the unique three-way battle made necessary by the fact there are 33 games which have won the SdJ thus far! This first contest pits two of the more “abstract” games against a remaking of a classic card game..
The games here also represent the only SdJ winners for both Knizia and Sid Sackson (well, and Ephraim Hertzano too…).
Adel Verplichtet / Heimlich & Co.
The second contest pits two games which have been since re-released under new names. For those newer to the hobby, this matchup might be better labeled: Hoity Toity / Top Secret Spies. (And, for those of medium experience, maybe it could be called By Hook or Crook / Under Cover)
To add to the mystery, all voters will essentially have to secretly and simultaneously choose – no results of this poll will be available until the voting is done!
Cafe International / Drunter & Druber
Seating international guests at a large restaurant vs rebuilding a town? Both of these are games where adjacencies matter. Drunter & Druber was recently rereleased as Wacky Wacky West and is from Herr Teuber. Cafe International is by Rudi Hoffmann, who also brought us Tally Ho! and Maestro.
Carcassonne / Alhambra
The tile-laying champs square off in this match up. Will it be Wrede’s expansion-addled game or Henn’s expansion-phile game? Both Carcassonne and Alhambra have seen not only countless expansions, but also many standalone spin-offs, spawning their own mini gaming empires. But now it’s time to choose the real champ between them.
Niagara / Villa Paletti
Zoch won two awards in the 2000s, Niagara and Villa Paletti. Niagara has a unique movement mechanic that players have to master in order to collect the needed gems. Villa Paletti is the only true dexterity game to win the coveted SdJ award.
Barbarossa / Dixit
This matchup has the battle of the party games. Barbarossa is the classic Teuber game where players use modeling clay to make sculptures to be guessed by the other players. Dixit uses beautifully illustrated cards to try to match a sentence or story told by another player.
Enchanted Forest / Elfenland
The two fantasy-themed games in the bunch face off in this contest. Enchanted Forest is a memory/race game. Elfenland is a hand management race game where players try to visit all the cities on the board while hindering their opponents from doing the same.
El Grande / Manhattan
Both of the games in this matchup pit the players is a area-control battle – one for Spain (El Grande) and one for the Big Apple. Although of different weights, they were both novel for their era and both have legs, although Manhattan appears to be out of print. Plus, Manhattan has the Godzilla variant.