Interview with Gardens Division champion: Obi Wan Bonogi

Obi Wan Bonogi
2012 DominionStrategy.com Championships Gardens Division champion

Final Four overview

Initial seed: 6
Round 1: def. (251) pianoboy21 4-0
Round 2: def. (123) RichardNixon 4-2
Round 3: def. (70) andwilk 4-3
Round 4: def. (27) eliegel34 4-1
Division semifinals: def. (86) easwaran 4-1
Division finals: def. (19) ednever 4-3

Obi Wan Bonogi will be facing off against (7) Mic Qsenoch in the second (American) semifinal.  We caught up with Obi Wan Bonogi and asked him a few questions.

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

The elimination bracket made this tournament exciting as every round was life or death.  I was fortunate through seeding to get to be first player first game all the way through my side of the bracket which was is a big help.  I would assess my play as decent so far in this tournament but I have without a doubt made mistakes in every match, both strategically and tactically.  There were two series that went to game 7 against Andwilk and then against Ednever in which I feared I was eliminated.

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

I’m late in my late 20s from the Midwest.  The name is Obi Wan Bonogi (it rhymes with Kenobi).  My screename was originally Bonogi.  Bonogi was a slang term born out of playing my favorite 52-card game ever: Big Deuce aka Big Two with some friends.  It is a game of card shedding, the first player with no cards wins the hand.  Once one player wins the hand, everyone settles based on how many cards are remaining in their hand.  The rules we played under said that if you had 10 or more cards all your settles were double, and if you still had your starting 13 cards remaining you settled for triple, this triple was the Bonogi.  “Look like we have Obi Wan Bonogi over here” was said by my friend during a remarkable winning streak I was on for a good laugh and the name was born.

How did you get into Dominion?

I was introduced to Dominion by a friend who brought over a couple of the sets to my house one night.  We played a few three player games in which I had no clue what I was doing but I loved it.  He was correct in his assessment that I would be hooked, in fact when he had to go I didn’t let him leave with the cards, instead I bought him some new ones online, along with the remaining expansions for myself.  I enjoyed numerous nights with this new game and had a decent handle on the basics of the game, but it all changed when I discovered BSW and their Dominion offering.  It didn’t take me long on there to realize I still had a lot to learn, but I did my best to see what the better players were doing and I improved rapidly on there.

I made the switch to Isotropic as soon as I found out about it and have enjoyed playing on there ever since, with short breaks here and there.   I have kept up and own all the sets, except the most recent one, however real life Dominion doesn’t occur much anymore because of the chore handling all the cards, and my friends have tired on the game (or maybe have tired on the losing).   I was late to getting on Dominionstrategy and their forums.  I was ranked pretty high by the time I found this site but still crammed through all their articles and top posts when I found it and learned a lot.  For example, I remember reading the Golden Deck having never done it, never thought about it, and basically having no idea what it was, despite being one of the highest ranked players!

What are your favorite board games other than Dominion?

I’m not sure if it counts as a board game but I played the crap out of Magic: The Gathering earlier in my life and still occasionally will play a draft online once in a while.

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

Favorites: Ambassador, not really sure why I love it so much, but I usually feel confident when he’s out there.  Also a huge fan of Black Market, even when it doesn’t work out for me, I really like the mechanic and how different decks evolve for you and your opponent that require you do be adaptive and nimble.  I also really like Haven, it’s simple and a fair card but it really can make a plan come together.

Least Favorite: Ill-Gotten Gains or Tournament.  They define the game when they are out there and not in a way I enjoy.

Most feared opponent on Isotropic?

Everyone is the top 8 is deserving and I would never look past Mic Qsenoch but I will point out that Stef is still remaining and in my opinion he is the strongest Dominion player in the world.  No one is unbeatable however, and if I play as well as I am capable of playing I will give myself a strong chance to win.

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

Pay attention to the attacks on the board and try to utilize them against your opponent while mitigating the damage theirs to do you the best you can.

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