Interview with Chapel Division champion: -Stef-

2012 Championships Chapel Division champion

Final Four overview

Initial seed: 1
Round 1: def. (256) mstephans 4-2
Round 2: def. (128) trusty mead 4-1
Round 3: def. (64) DWetzel 4-0
Round 4: def. (32) Robz888 4-2
Division semifinals: def. (144) mith 4-0
Division finals: def. (41) dondon151 4-2

-Stef- will be facing off against (13) lespeutere in the first (European) semifinal. We caught up with -Stef- and asked him a few questions.

Congratulations on winning your division! What do you think was your toughest match?

Clearly the last one against dondon. The first game he got some real luck, but the 3rd game I think he deserved to win and if he would continue a combination of those I knew I would be in bad shape. I haven’t been afraid of losing before being 1-2 behind in this one.

Tell us a little about yourself. How old are you, where are you from, what do you do?

My name is Stef. I live in Amsterdam, 33 years old and I’m a Java programmer.

I like playing all sorts of board- and card-games. Currently Bridge is my #2 favorite game. Besides that, I love sailing camps during the summer with children and I like all sorts of racket games (Badminton, Table Tennis, Squash) and swimming.

How did you get into Dominion?

A friend of mine learned about it at his work and when I visited him in Zurich we played a few games. I loved it immediately and bought a copy myself when I got back. A few months later Intrigue was released and I got that one as well. I played like a gazillion games 2P against one single opponent with those two -completely worn out and totally unmixable with new expansions.

I got reintroduced to the game about 13 months ago, when I discovered Isotropic. Whowa! Dominion online! That was really cool. Some friends of mine had 2 more expansions which a vaguely knew, and after learning the other 3 as well I got to the #1 spot for the first time after about seven weeks.

Then I felt I played too much and playing online was costing me more then it brought me. After not playing for something like two months I gave it another shot and now I was able to balance it much better. Today I can just love playing without even worrying about playing too much, really great. Also my ranking is now less important to me. That said, reaching level 55 is kick-ass 😉 [Ed. note: this is unofficially the highest legitimate level ever recorded on Isotropic]

What are your favorite board games other than Dominion?

I already mentioned Bridge. I don’t play as many games as I used to. I really liked Euphrates & Tigris, Risk, Civilization. I used to be good at Set.

What are your favorite and least-favorite Dominion cards, and why?

My favorites are shifting quite a lot over time. Currently I’m a huge fan of Fairgrounds, because it allows for engines on so many boards that are otherwise rather boring. A second pile of Provinces, simple but brilliant. Other cards I like include Watchtower, Develop, Apothecary, Highway, Nobles, Black Market, Masquerade, Wishing Well… hey if I don’t stop somewhere I could name them all.

I can dislike cards for several reasons. I dislike IGG, Hunting Party, Minion, Fool’s Gold and Governor all for the same reason. They have a huge impact on games they’re in, and usually the best strategy involves buying a lot of them.

I dislike King’s Court because too often those games resolve around getting to $7 / hitting first. I dislike Chapel because I consider it annoyingly luck dependent, and it takes all the fun out of gradually getting rid of the lousy cards and slowly improving your deck. I dislike possession and smugglers, because they remove the idea of ‘building my own deck’.

But another way to formulate that is ‘I just don’t fully get those cards’ and I totally accept them being part of Dominion. I really enjoy playing kingdoms of random sets of 10, no vetoing or other selection mechanisms whatsoever.

Most feared opponent on Isotropic?

Rabid, Marin. Fear is not really the right word, but I think my chances of losing are highest against either one of these. WanderingWinder is gradually starting to play engines more frequently and better so maybe I’ll have to add him to the list soon.

Finally, some one-sentence strategy advice you’d give to someone new to the game?

Playing key cards more often is usually better then buying another copy.

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