The EC was a lot of fun, and I’d (again) like to thank the organizers for the huge effort they put into it. Sure, the hotel was more of a youth hostel, but the prices were cheap, the staff friendly and the playing area had enough room. What more could you ask for? Well, decent food, for starters, but there was a reason that we skipped the “hotel” lunch/dinner stuff and went out to seek food in nearby restaurants. Lots of good little restaurants to be found there, after some amount of searching.
Anyway, the actual EC was once more a blast, and a hectic three days of nearly nonstop gaming and very little sleep. I think I slept around 6 hours per night usually, with Sunday night hitting a rock bottom of 2.5 hours of sleep – the end party and casual games just dragged on and on, and suddenly it was 6am with the wakeup call around 8.30am. Duh. It was great to meet people once again, and everyone was really nice both in-game and out. Sure, the EC games did get somewhat intense at times, but the atmosphere stayed very friendly. I like that.
This time around I tried using rush decks for the Last Chance and EC Day 1 games. It didn’t really work, though the games were a lot of fun and I did enjoy the table control and negotiating possibilities the rush decks gave me. Last Chance with g5/6 Gargoyles gave me 1VP, and EC Day 1 with G5 Ahrimanes / !Gangrel got me 0.5VP. So nothing to write home about, point-wise. Well, it was a fun experiment in any case.
The First Chance qualifier was a bit of a surprise. I wasn’t really sure what to play in it, but one of the decks I had along as more a “casual deck” managed to win a table in a casual game, so I decided to tweak it a small bit (added a bit more defense, mostly) and go with it. To my huge surprise it did very well, scoring me 1GW and 5.5VPs; this left me at #19 of around 150 players, which is by far the best score I’ve ever gotten in an EC game… and it also got me a qualification for next year. Yay!. It was not a “power deck” by any means, and maybe that’s why it worked for me: it didn’t look like any sort of a table threat. Based around Obfuscate Black Hands and Marijava Thuggees, it mostly just bleeds for 1 multiple times (with lots of stealth) and tries to look innocent. Sure, luck was a factor here, but then it always is in this game. The last game (which yielded me 1.5VPs) was awesome; for a long time it looked like a zero VP game, but due to amazing twists of luck (a critical Delaying from my prey, top-decking a Ministry, having a Confusion of the Eye on hand at just the right moment, etc etc) I managed to oust my prey and hang on until the timeout, with two players on the table having a deal to oust me. I should have gotten ousted many times over, but somehow I wasn’t. It was a really fun game.
I stayed in Paris for an extra day along with some other Finns, so on Monday we did around 12 hours of touristy stuff: the Père Lachaise Cemetery, the Louvre, Notre Dame and finally the Eiffel Tower at night (we took the stairs to the midpoint level, quite a climb). Nice day, but our feet were killing us by the time we got back. The initial idea was to (finally!) grab some sleep, but as luck would have it yet another Finn had a problem with too many bottles of wine etc in his room which needed drinking. So we did the civilized thing and helped the guy out, and suddenly it was 2am again. Ho hum.
Tuesday, we hit the Catacombs in the morning, and then headed towards the airport. Good trip, all in all, and I do like Paris. My French remains extremely primitive, but even in that primitive form it was handy now and then. In a group in which nobody else speaks any French at all, even simple French gets you pretty far. Oh, and I managed to snag a copy of the new French version of Call of Cthulhu’s “Beyond the Mountains of Madness” (Par-delà les Montagnes Hallucinées ). Looks awesome. Now I just need to (significantly!) improve my French in order to read the thing…
Marko Saari has a pile of pictures from the EC online.