• French Nationals Report - Guest Article

    EDITOR'S NOTE - What a privilege it is to share this report from the French National Championship from the champion, himself, Tom. I hope you enjoy reading about his experience in his own words as much as I did. Please enjoy:

    French Nationals and the situation I face in Germany

    Hi folks,
    In the last The Attack Zone podcast JT asked for an event report of the French nationals.

    Reading occasionally some of the reports you wrote in the reserve pool, I thought why not Ė but if I write my report, I would like to highlight my personal journey with the game, the situation we face in Germany at the moment. And of course I would like to share some of my experience I made during the French Nationals.

    If you are expecting a report about teams, strategies and so on, I fear that you will not be satisfied, but if
    you want to get some insights what happens at the other side of the ocean, please feel free to read and
    enjoy my article.

    First of all I would like to introduce myself. Iím a passionate boardgamer. I played in my youth a lot of Dungeons and Dragons. I never played trading card games or anything else on a competitive level and Iím not a comic fan. I tried several times to read Marvel or DC comic but I did not manage to enjoy it.

    So if it comes to Dice Masters and its fascination itís all about the game mechanics, variability, strategy and possibility to not take it to serious, because luck has its role, too. But most important itís about the people who play it.

    I started Dice Masters with Uncanny X-Men. At that time, the scene in my hometown was quite huge. Everyone was exited due to the buzz of the Dice Tower. In our local game store we even had some draft events and a facebook group with more than 15 people. But as fast the scene went big, it died almost immediately after the Uncanny set. Most of these players were boardgame players always hunting the next amazing board game. Investing into a collectable dice game for more than 3 month was nothing what they were interested in. Looking at a boarder perspective the German facebook group had about 60 members that time.

    During those days, I could play with my board game friends and one other Dice Masters player. But as
    already mentioned it was each time harder to motivate my friends to play Dice Masters instead of a brand new board game. One day Marc asked me, if I would be interested to play at a tournament. He had seen the post for the German Nationals on a Facebook page. The event was a 1 hour drive away, so I said letís do it.

    The day before the nationals my wife and I spend an evening with friends. During the evening I told them
    that I was going to play at a German championship for Dice Masters the next day. They didnít know anything about the game but Gerrit got curious and asked what kind of game it is and what I could win beside honor and fun. I told him, that this game is a collectable game and that I would also get some promotion cards. I cannot remember the details but we ended up at creating an account for him and registered him the night before the tournament - the rest is history.

    In our first tournament we met nice people had a lot of fun and went into top 8. Thanks to rocket raccoon Gerrit even won the Age of Ultron draft and since then posses a Super Rare print sheet. Later he even managed to get a signature from Eric Lang on that sheet.

    I could convince another friend of mine to play with us and at that time we were 4 players in our town regularly playing Dice Masters. We tried to convince our game store to invest into the game and also register in the WIN-System to conduct OP tournaments. Unluckily, the shop was not interested.

    On the other hand, the guy who went second in the German nationals was a good friend of a small shop
    90 km away from our town. Since then itís our home base for dice masters. Even if we cannot manage to be there every time they play, we participated and will participate in a lot of drafts and events. If BjŲrn and Thomas would not run the events, I would assume that a lot of players would not be anymore in the scene and the game would be dead in Germany.

    In the second year of Dice Masters we got a second spring for the game. Iím not sure if it was the print-
    run of German/French cards or anything else. At that time we where sometimes 8 players at a draft event. We were all looking forward for the second German National championship. During that time Asmodee was in charge for the game in Germany. We heard rumors that there will be a qualification tournament in a city 600 km in the south east. We planed to go there. We heard that the nationals should take place in May 2016. Than we got rumors that the German Nationals where postponed or
    even canceled.

    Having no idea if there would be a German National event in 2016 I looked into the WIN System for
    alternatives. Iím not sure what you see in US if you look into the system. In Germany you usually see
    nothing Ė no events announced within 200 km range. Therefore I used different town and even neighbor countries to see, if any interesting events were announced. I ended up with the French nationals. I asked them if it would be fine if I would join the tournament. They said it would be fine.

    None of my friends wanted to join me in 2016 so I travelled alone to France 600 km. I tried to practice a
    little bit but at that time my friend did not had a lot of time. Therefore I just went there to meet nice people, play against new players and see teams, which I had not seen before. It was amazing. More than 24 players had registered for the event. I was not the only foreign player. Some players for Spain joint as well. My first qualifier was not that good. I did not manage to qualify. During my bye, I had the chance to chat with the organizer of the event Hiroim. He was a very nice guy and managed everything fine. During the first qualifier it become clear, that mask ring teams where superior and almost won every game despite the player. (Looking back at the tournament it was strange that nobody played Bard Blitz). I had experimented myself with the ring team and chose to play it in my second qualifier event that day. Running a mask ring team as well, I managed to get qualified for the finals next day.

    I was happy to being qualified but not sure, if I would like to play the finals next day. During my second qualifier I got the feeling, that the finals will end up with all players running mask ring teams and its just a matter of luck who goes first and will win. Because I could not see my girlfriend during the week of the tournament and the weather was that nice the weekend, I decided not to skip the finals next day. I informed Hiroim and explained him my decision. Maybe he could try to find someone else to play the finals and drove 600km back home.

    Two month later and after the Worlds we finally got the German Nationals. At that time Bard Blitz was
    everywhere. I got luckily with Bard Biltz, managed to get into the finals and become second. You can meet Stefan who won the German nationals 2016 at the Worlds Championship this year. In that year 12 people joined the German Nationals. Half of the players played regularly in BjŲrns shop. It was a pity that players who played in other regions of Germany did not come to the event. Therefore, I cannot tell you how vivid the Dice Masters scene in other parts of Germany is. At least they are not active in the German facebook group for Dice Masters nor they are willing to drive a longer distance to play the game.

    After the German Nationals, with Bard Blitz almighty and reducing the game to first wins and without new stuff (Green Arrow and the Flash hit Germany end of September) we lost some players. Star Wars Destiny also managed to decrease the player base. Some went totally away, some stayed without any ambition for tournament play. The store that ran the nationals tried to offer a WKO event last autumn.

    But beside two of my friends and myself, nobody was interested in it. We had a discussion with the players who played at the Nationals about it. They said, that they would not join because of Bard and because the prize and participation cards where not attractive enough.

    So time went bye. During all the time I had sporadically contact to Hiroim the French organizer. Mid of February he wrote me that they plan a French National Championship again and asked if Iím interested to come. Due to the fact, that I was not sure if I could play German Nationals this year I told him, that I would do the trip again and travel 600 km to play the French Nationals. During that time we got the information that the German Nationals will take place as well. But since then, only 6 people registered for the German event. Therefore I was even more motivated to go to France, because there was still a high likelihood, that the German Nationals would be canceled like the WKO Event last year.

    I asked my two Dice Masters colleagues if they were interested to join the trip. Both were interested but
    with kids only Gerrit could manage to accompany me. With modern Age at the horizon, we were happy to got the information that Halfelf-Bard Master Alliance was banned form the French Nationals. So we started to discuss what team we should play and what other people might play. Gerrit went for a Kryptonite-Ultraman team and I chose a versatile Dragon team. We practiced together with our third player Timo a little bit and I was quite satisfied with my versatile Dragon team. I knew it was a bit slow, but I managed to win against Gerrit team quite often.

    Than the Nationals came.

    Within the week I thought again about teams I would face in Paris and I found out, that I had no chance against mask ring teams. I experimented a little bit with different counter but was not completely satisfied. On Friday I picked Gerrit up and we started our trip to Paris. During the drive we chat a lot and I discussed with him that we made a mistake not to play against ring teams in our preparation matches.

    So we decided to practice a little bit in our hotel. Because of Friday afternoon the trip was 8 hours instead of 6 and we managed to get into the hotel at 11 pm. Both of us were already a bit tired but played for 1/1/2 hours against a mask ring team. Both of us went to bed knowing that mask ring teams would be a serious threat to our decks.

    After a short night we walked in the morning to the metro station and went to the tournament. The championship took place in an Irish pub Ė a nice location. We arranged ourselves in one corner of the pub. In total we were 14 players who participated. Again, we were not the only ones from another country. Some Belgian players joined as well.

    Neither Gerrit nor I really thought about winning anything here. Our total purpose was to meet nice people, share experience with the game and play against other players. We chatted with a Deadpool fan who has recently learned the game and decided to play a Deadpool team, because of his fanship to the hero. We discussed the scene in Belgium, where people donít travel a 20 km to play in a different store and talked to several other people.

    On the team side we saw a loot of variety. A lot of Hulks and iron fists, mask and bolt ring teams, one other Kryptonite-Ultraman team, one Gobby team, one Dragon-Team and one vicious struggle team.

    The matchings of the first round were announced Ė Thanks to the WIN Systems, Gerrit and I had to play
    against each other. We both shook our heads in disbelief. We traveled 600km just to play against each other in one of our 6 games.

    I had terrible rolls in that game and lost against Gerrit. The second game I played against a young player. None of us had the PXG. Our game was quite slow and my dice rolls did not help me either. Finally, I managed to field my Half-Dragon Master Paragon, use the RIP Global, and buy my Blue Dragon Apprentice Dragon for two bolts. Next turn I used the Chalkboard global again, fielded the Dragon and bought for zero my cloudkill, which I laid into the prep area. The next turn I won.

    With a 1-1-0 scoring I went into the third and last round of the first qualifier. I had to play against the vicious struggle team. When I sat down to set my team, he told me that I owe him a win, because he lost last year against me. I was really impressed, that he remembered me and we started to play the game. I managed to buy two of the three vicious struggle dice but instead to use the action dices, I tried to play my win-condition. A few mistakes later I had lost. He was happy that he had won and got his revenge. I told him thatís now him who owes me a win und chatted a little bit.

    With losing two of three games it was clear that I was not qualified. Gerrit just lost his game against the winner of the qualifier. LaGrandMere won with a ring mask team. Gerrit went third and was qualified for the finals.

    In the break between the qualifiers I decided to play the mask ring team instead of my dragon team for the second qualifier. It felt a bit risky because I had not played with it since the last French Nationals. With exception of the 1/1/2 hours practice the day before I had no experience with the team.

    In the first round I played against the other dragon team. His team was quite slow. I was able to manage to set up my win condition and won. I discussed with him his team and showed him my dragon team I played in the first qualifier.

    In the second round I had to play against Maxilien. He had won 2 of 3 games in the first qualifier but was not qualified for the finals in the first qualifier. He ran a Kryptonite-Ultraman team. His BACs were One against Many and Special Delivery. The race had started. Both of us set up our win condition. Max bought all 4 kryptonite dice and used them very clever via Special Delivery. He managed to change my Ronin dice and my Oracle dice via my BAC Mutation and within one lucky round he put me down to 2 life. In the next round I could theoretically end the game but my rolls did not come. I attacked but 1 life point was left over. The next round Max won.

    So again I went with a 1-1-0 record into the last round of the second qualifier. Based on the number of players, this time only 3 player would be qualified for the finals. My last round I had to play against a control team with Hulk and Zombie Magneto. Based on the ruling change in the rules forum of the interaction between Zombie Magneto and Ring I tried to clarify upfront how it would be played at the Nationals. The player told me, that Zombie Magneto negates the Ring effect. I told him, that Wizkids
    overruled this rule. The judge decided to play it as if the ring was negated because he had judged it that way already in the qualifier and would like to be consistent.

    With this ruling decision my chances to win decreased tremendously. We started to play. I bought my Ring early and he managed to field Zombie Magneto. My only chance was my Mutation action dice. With some lucky rolls I managed to get the Zombie Magneto into his used pile with my action dice and attacked with my fielded characters. After he missed to field Zombie Magneto in his next turn it was clear that I was going to win.

    With 2-1-0 I became second. Maxilien won the qualifier with 3-0-0.

    Very lucky and with a lot of luck I managed to be qualified for the finals. The organizer of the Nationals decided to play it in Swiss mode instead of single elimination. At least I would have three additional matches instead of 1 to 3 matches. Without any ambition and still lucky to be in the finals I had to play again against Maxilien who won against my team already. The first game I had almost a perfect roll and won easily against his team. The second game I could win as well. So I survived the first round of the finals.

    Gerrit won with his team, too. After the first round, we had four people who won: Gerrit and me, LaGrandMere, who won the first Qualifier and Fleucky who had qualified via a WKO event and was second in the French Nationals last year. Like Gerrit and me, both are friends and play regularly against each other. Everyone hoped that we would not have to play against our friends. Like in the first round of the first qualifier, the WIN-System decided differently. I had to play again against Gerrit. The French players seemed as well not to be happy with this pairing. In my race against his Kryptonite-Ultraman team I bought my Ring quite early and played very efficient. The first game I won very fast. The second game took me longer but with bad rolls on Gerrits side I was able to win the second game as well. I felt a little bit sad, that I won. We had nearly the same situation in our German Nationals last year.

    LaGrandMere who run a mask ring team as well and Fleucky who ran a classic control deck with Hulk, Jinzo, Iron First, Captain America Super Soldier, Dwarf Wizard and Constantine played a much longer game. In the end Fleucky won.

    For Fleucky it was some kind of a deja vu. He was in the last round of the finals in a 2-0-0 situation and again he had to play against a mask ring team. He was well prepared for the ring team with his Iron Fist and Super Soldier. He decided to go first in the first game and went straight for his control piece buying Iron First, buying Captain America and poly him in. With this move he completely shut down my win condition. Due to the fact that he used Polymorph to get Super Soldier in, the dice had just three defenses. It took me a turn to realize, that I could ping Captain America out via his Magic Missile. I did so and could win the first game.

    In the second game he started again and went straight for Jinzo to slow me and reduce the risk to ping the Captain America out. I tried again to be fast, bought the ring early, played very efficient and took the damage when needed to get enough ramp. The second game was very close. In our last situation I had 6 life points left, he 4. In his turn he tried to ping my sidekicks with magic missile out. Luckily due to my Ronin I could hold enough blockers so that he could not attack lethal. Within this situation time was over. I managed to survive the last game and won the French Nationals.

    Again I felt a little bit guilty, due to the fact that Fleucky was in the final like 2016 and again become second. On the other hand I could not believe that I really made it. Quite happy, we waited for the end ranking. My surprise was even bigger, when I the organizer announced the ranking of the second and third place. Due to the Swiss system Gerrit became second and Fleucky even if he played against me in the final game become third. It turned out that Fleucky played in the first round against a weaker player than Gerrit.

    So without expecting anything upfront and just went to Paris to have some fun, we ended up with the first and second position. We thanked everyone and invited all players to come to Germany to play the German Nationals like we did coming to Paris.
    Afterwards I chatted a little bit about the scene in Dice Master scene in France. Due the presidential election that weekend some player did not come, other also quit or donít play in tournaments anymore. Without the players from Belgium and Germany and without the new players the event would be like it is at the moment in Germany. We promised to come back next year for the 4th French Nationals but although having in mind that a complete year is a long time for the game in its actual status in Europe.

    I really hope that Modern Age will help to get new people on board and give the veteran player enough variety and fun to stay with this awesome game. See you in Paris 2018.

    NiandoBG aka Tom

    From left to right, Gerrit and myself

    We played in a nice pub in Paris

    Hiroim and myself quite happy to meet each other again at the French Nationals

    EDITOR'S NOTE - Thanks so much to Tom for sharing his experience and thoughts. As the competitive season ramps into World's at Origins, I'm grateful for reports like this, and I hope you are too. Cheers!

    Danke, Tom. Du bist der Gewinner!
    Comments 9 Comments
    1. pk2317's Avatar
      pk2317 -
      Vielen Dank!
    1. Not2Shy's Avatar
      Not2Shy -
      Quote Originally Posted by pk2317 View Post
      Vielen Dank!
      Well said. It was reqlly nice couple of minutes reading this. I'm from Poland and here we don't have any tournaments too, only at local stores but they don't make money on Dice Masters so they focus on magic the gathering. Maybe next time we will have chance to play on the big tournament i central part of EU.
    1. jacquesblondes's Avatar
      jacquesblondes -
      Quote Originally Posted by Not2Shy View Post
      Well said. It was reqlly nice couple of minutes reading this. I'm from Poland and here we don't have any tournaments too, only at local stores but they don't make money on Dice Masters so they focus on magic the gathering. Maybe next time we will have chance to play on the big tournament i central part of EU.
      You should come to the Nationals in Slovakia! Qualifiers are on 26th and 27th May, Nationals on 27th: http://win.wizkids.com/venue.php?VENUE_ID=65481
    1. jacquesblondes's Avatar
      jacquesblondes -
      Lovely article. We've had similar up and downs in Slovakia, but thanks to staunch support from ihrysko, our FLGS, we've had 3 WKOs (I think), and are just approaching our first Nats Keep up the good work!
    1. rhombus218's Avatar
      rhombus218 -
      Thanks for this write up. Always interesting to hear how the game scenes are in other parts of the world. Congrats as well!
    1. TrueMisterSix's Avatar
      TrueMisterSix -
      Great read - thanks for sharing.

      I think it would be great to start getting some European cross-pollination going at events: maybe next year I'll look at some Easyjet flights and see if I can get over to join you guys on the mainland. Meine Deutsch ist nitch so gut and Mon Francais est OK though - but it appears from your write up you'll be able to help me out LOL

      We'd love to have you guys at our WKOs over here too - open invite to visit and play at our events.
    1. TrueMisterSix's Avatar
      TrueMisterSix -
      PS - I'm in the UK.

      Shoulda mentioned that
    1. cnhiggins's Avatar
      cnhiggins -
      What a great read! This article helps to showcase how big this game (obsession?) really is and how big it could get. Now one of my goals is to play Dice Masters in a pub... looked like a great atmosphere!
    1. Bere's Avatar
      Bere -
      Congrats, Tom!!! I'm one of the spanish attendees to the 2016 French National. I'd have loved to be there this year aswell but had another trip planned in that weekend.

      We had our Spanish Nat this past weekend and will try to do a small report for you guys.