History has shown us many things, and chief amongst them is that Americans, the fine citizens of that colonial backwater we really didn’t want all that much (it’s long commute, and have you seen their internet trolls?!) are often late to the party. When they do decided to get in on the fun though, they do it big, loud and proud – Stars, Stripes and Kim Jong Il puppets all to the fore.
(Seriously, I have been to Amercian college football games with over 100,000 people. At my university the only people that came up to watch our hung over players play were their put-upon girlfriends and the homeless chap who was using the changing rooms to keep out of the rain. They really don’t do things by halves).
Another thing that should be clear to the interested observer (though, to be honest, interest is really not required) is that our American cousins have strong views on… well, everything really (I personally think there may be a direct correlation to the sheer number of lawyers that seem to play this game over there). So when the news seeped out to this side of that dark grey iceberg-strewn pond we call the Atlantic that someone was going to put on a Masters event, a couple of things set me thinking… How the hell would they pull this off? Just how good are these guys? On a scale of cool to mega-cool, how cool would this be?
Oh, and would the North East secede from the United States as a direct result of this?
How Jerry got this off the ground I will never know – I think he probably had some goons (Amercians have goons, right?) in the background banging heads together. How could they possibly get such disparate regions and their play styles to agree on how to play at such an event is beyond me. And yes, I am aware it was a long, painful process – David over at Garagehammer did some fantastic coverage in the lead up to this (if for some reason you don’t listen, check over there ->). This being America of course, disagreements and disputes were not kept hidden away from the children and servants, but shared with the world in all its glory.
We laugh at some of the UK internet trolls over here - nice chaps (and girl) really in the most part. But damn, our red white and blue cousins (OK, that doesn’t work as a descriptive term – I am NOT talking about the French or the Kiwis – or even, for that matter, the Cubans or the Norwegians) take the gloves off when it comes to typing on internet forums. Saying that though, no lesser a judge of character than our current UK Master tells me there are uniformly nice people, so I take his word for it – just makes the reading all the more fun.
So, putting all that aside, Jerry and his goons have pulled it off. 5 different areas of the mighty United States are sending 10 hand picked warriors (OK, gamers, this is not the Van Damme’s Blood Sport) to go and play for the title of Master. There will be tears, there will be ragequits (online at least, if not at the event) and maybe the odd beer and bro-hug. Each region has the right to decide how their representatives will qualify, just adding to the confusing awesomeness of the whole thing. I am not entirely sure how they all did it to be honest – mixture of event winners, doing well in qualifying events, mixing table top success with acceptable personalities – I am sure a whole treatise could be written to analyse which is the more effective way of doing things.
Not content with putting on this event, Jerry went out and looked to shackle social media to do its thing, and working with Chad over at OnceBitten360 (seriously, a fantastically good YouTube channel the more I look at it, the more I love it check it out if you haven’t already - https://www.youtube.com/user/OnceBitten360 ) he decided on a novel way of doing the matchups for this – recording (live, as it turned out) video chat with online personalities the matchups and some thoughts on the games and anything else that occurred to the participants. Clearly February is when a lot of the ‘personalities’ are hibernating, because he got me to kick this off (alongside *actual* personalities Ben Curry (who unfortunately had to pull out and was replaced, handily, with another chap called Ben), Dan Heelan and the American powerhouse Joe Rodgers.
Our various ramblings on the topic can be seen on the channel. I especially recommend the ones I am not on!
So, what did the players bring to the party?
Rocking in with my favourite points total (2500) and using Swedish Comp with a 0-20 spread(!) (with points differential capped at 800 points) and a few adjustments to the “rulebook” (cue wild cheering, sullen resentment and swearwords, depending on where you are) version of the game (infinite hills, two characters allowed Look Out Sirs vs everyone’s favourite spells), what would they do?
Being a list-loving
geek macho man the anticipation was
getting to me.
Now, I wanted to write about each matchup. But a lot of that will be going over what the show said. And time is running out. So, for now, please find below the matchups and lists of the 50 greatest players in the greatest country on this ere damn planet (other opinions are also available :) ). If I get the time, I will pick on some of my favourites and go into more detail (SPOLIER ALERT: this would definitely include Donovan’s list!)
Good luck to all the guys - there can be only one!
Should probably have a picture of a immortal Scottish chap with a French accent here... but they say you should always leave them wanting more....
Until next time,