Rethemed games

Since I keep mentioning this and then forgetting to provide a link:
Non-comprehensive list of games whose themes were changed between design and publishing, compiled by Bruno Faidutti, himself a designer of many games. Some of the interesting rethemings include:
Medieval Japan –> Aborigines (because war-themed games aren’t popular in Germany)
Trojan War –> Renaissance Spain (because there was a competing Trojan War game already released that year)
Medieval War –> Trojan war (because the Trojan war was more “original”…that year)
Mississippi cotton shipping –> Loire wine shipping (because there was already a successful Mississippi shipping game)
Space empire building –> Polynesian island exploration (because SF games aren’t popular in Germany)
The short version often amounts to “game publishers are as twitchy as movie producers when it comes to guessing what will or won’t sell.”

The first two Pro Tours of 2008

In Brian David-Marshall’s latest “The Week That Was” column (click here to read it) he interviews Scott Larabee, who reveals some info about the second Pro Tour of 2007 — Hollywood. Here’s the information on the first half of the Pro Tour season for 2007:
Pro Tour Kuala Lumpur
Date: February 15-17, 2008
Format: Lorwyn draft, I believe
The PTQ season for Kuala Lumpur is Lorwyn sealed, with a draft for the top eight. There’s only one Bay Area PTQ for this one, coming up on the 10th of November. Click here for more info on Kuala Lumpur PTQs worldwide.
Pro Tour Hollywood
Date: May 23-25, 2008
Format: Standard
The PTQ season for PT Hollywood will start if January 5th, and will be Extended format. They don’t yet have a page up for PT Hollywood PTQs, but we can presume at least one locally, and I’m seriously considering heading down to Los Angeles to play in the LCQ, participate in side events, and spectate.

2007 Magic Invitational

Right on the heels of Pro Tour Valencia comes the 2007 Magic Invitational. Basically the “all star game” for Magic, the Invitational features sixteen of the best-known names in Magic on the year, playing in a multi-format, round-robin tournament. I’m not going to really cover this one, although I may comment on fun aspects of it. The really interesting thing for me is that the winner each year gets to design a card — and these cards frequently end up being fun, competitive cards. Some recent-ish examples:
Dark Confidant – Bob Maher
Rakdos Augermage – Terry Soh
Solemn Simulacrum – Jens Thoren
The other interesting change this year is the return of the Invitational to real cards; in the last few years, it’s been run using Magic Online. This year, they’re not only back with real cards, they’re playing out the Invitational at this year’s Essen Game Fair. Essen is the biggest show in the boardgaming business, and placing the Invitational at Essen is a material representation of the way the American and European game industries have come solidly together in the last few years. Probably the best place to read about ongoing events and announcements at Essen is at Boardgamegeek. Continuing coverage of the 2007 Invitational can be found here on the Wizards site.

Final PT Valencia roundup — Melissa DeTora

I mentioned Melissa DeTora in an earlier post linking to coverage of her match against Quentin Martin. In the podcast coverage, Melissa says that she’s played in four Pro Tours so far, and “hasn’t done very well.”
She did quite well at PT Valencia, making the cut to day two and ending her run in 54th place (of 422 participants — the biggest individual PT ever), taking down a $610 prize for her efforts. I believe this makes her the first woman to cash in an individual Pro Tour (women have cashed in a Team Pro Tour and in some Grand Prix events).
Melissa’s track record on the day:
Round 1: Won 2-0 over Juan Lucena of Spain
Round 2: Won 2-0 over Naoki Sakaguchi of Japan
Round 3: Won 2-1 over David Brucker of Germany
Round 4: Lost 1-2 to Yuuta Hirosawa of Japan
Round 5: Lost 0-2 to Kamiel Cornelissen of the Netherlands
Round 6: Drew 1-1-1 with Zac Hill of the United States
Round 7: Lost 0-2 to William Ljungberg of Sweden
Round 8: Drew 1-1-1 with Quentin Martin of the United States (covered here)
Round 9: Drew 1-1-1 with Tony Martins of France
Round 10: Won 2-0 over Antti Malin of Finland (impressive win)
Round 11: Won 2-0 over Matt Hansen of the United States
Round 12: Lost 0-2 to Frank Karsten of the Netherlands (a very honorable loss)
Round 13: Lost 0-2 to Saul Aguado of Spain
With three drawn matches, it looks like Melissa ran into a few too many control versus control matchups. It seems like she had a pretty good handle on her Gifts-Rock build, and it’ll be interesting to see if her skills apply in the other formats of upcoming PTs. She’s been playing long enough that I wasn’t willing to look through all the relevant PT records to see if she has a “best” format.
Congrats to Melissa, and maybe we’ll continue to see her up in the scoring ranks with the likes of Paul Cheon and Zac Hill (both of whom she outscored).

Pro Tour Valencia finals

Given how well Andre Mueller did in prior matches with his Enduring Ideal deck, this could have been a lame final. Remi Fortier did very, very well however, winning the match despite the fact that Mueller was able to play his combo in all five games (!). Overall, the best match of the top eight.
You can expect to find downloadable video of all these matches on the Wizards site in the near future. More on the match in the extended.

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Pro Tour Valencia quarterfinals

I’m watching the Valencia quarterfinals live via the web broadcast. Somewhat stream-of-consciousness commentary in the extended. Three of the four matches ended very quickly and felt quite one-sided, but the last and longest match was a really nice, complex one between two control decks that took rather different approaches to control.

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