Thursday, November 29, 2007

New King at Kings Cribbage Online!

“Schrizo” wins inaugural Kings Cribbage Online tournament
By Joe Kane

It’s official. After nearly three months of epic international matches between 64 players in a double elimination style competition, the winner of the first ever Kings Cribbage Online tournament has been crowned as the reigning “monarch of the tiles.” Miami Beach resident Eric Schroeder, 29, earned the honor after beating out some pretty stiff competition at www.kingscribbageonline.com.

For those of you not familiar with Kings Cribbage, it’s a board game that combines elements of cribbage and scrabble. Players use tiles with playing card values on them to make points based on the scoring system used in cribbage.

Schroeder, whose screen name is Schrizo has been an active member of KC Online since March of this year and says he first learned of the game late in 2006 when his parents introduced him to the game.

As for his competitors, the final breakdown was as follows:
1st. Schrizo - $50 + free board game
2nd. Scaggcares - $25 + free board game
3rd. Dana - free board game
4th. Jane
T5th. Dandan
T5th. Jennett1
T7th. Traxter
T7th. Belinda
T9th. Ybbihs
T9th. Cribbage King
T9th. Jwaut
T9th. Perceptive1
T13th. Bethmad
T13th. Mchenkle
T13th. Scags
T13th. Nannan

Asked about how he liked the tournament Schrizo had this to say;

“I liked the tournament overall. I thought it was fun and a good idea. It took a lot longer than expected to finish. It can take some players a while to link up together to play a match - especially if they are in different time zones and working different schedules,” he said.

Although Schrizo says there were really no bad moments during the tournament, one of the memorable moments for him was in the first match against his final opponent, ‘Scaggcares.’

“I managed a skunk on the first game,” Schrizo said.

It was the second time the two had met up in the tourney and Schrizo said the results of the first match were much closer.

Schrizo also said “Jennett1” played well… “she is good and usually gives me a good game.”

Damien Blond, the programmer of KC Online and organizer of the tournament said he was very pleased with the results of the tournament and was looking forward to more in the future.

“[The tournament] brought even more new users to the online game and helped create our new record of 37+ simultaneous players playing the game,” Blond said. “It also developed more interesting rivalries within the game!

“The biggest mistake I made with this tournament was allowing individual players to setup their own match times. I underestimated how challenging this would be to everybody. We have players in different time zones, some that only play at night, some that only play at lunch, etc. This made it very hard to organize matches and consequently extended the tournament out to 3 months. I was hoping for about 3 weeks. Players also struggled to use the new message forum, so in future versions of Kings Cribbage online, our online message forum will be more tightly integrated into the game, so players can communicate with each other easily through that,” he added.

Blond said he anticipates playing future tournaments over weekends.

“Everybody that signs up to future tournaments will have to be available at certain times on the weekends,” Blond said. “If they don't show up, they will simply forfeit.”

Blond said he is also keeping track of tournament information in the player stats, so when you click on “Schrizo” in the KC Online lounge, it will say
"Schrizo finished 1st in KC Online Tournament #1" or something to that effect.

Schrizo said he is looking forward to more tournaments in the future.

“I would like to see more tournaments, more often, which would be feasible if done on a smaller scale,” Schrizo said. “Different types of tournaments would be good as well - such as a 30-second speed game tournament, or a 60-second no-feature tournament (turn off the ‘tiles left,’ ‘dimes,’ ‘notepad’ stuff). Maybe a 30-second, single game, single elimination tournament could be done in one weekend.”

One of the things that makes KC Online a bit unique is that there are no computer players – all the players are actual human beings. That’s rare for most online games, which allow people to play against a computerized opponent. But it is also one of the strengths of the game as it creates a real sense of community amongst the players. In fact, Blond originally created the online version in order to play with family and friends back home in Canada when he had moved to San Diego where he currently resides.

Schrizo says being able to play people from all over the place is one of the things he enjoys about the game. Asked if there are any players he may harbor any anxiety about playing in future competitions he says there are quite a few good players out there that could pose a major challenge.

“Maybe ‘Bethmad’ - I seem to have rotten luck against her,” Schrizo said. “’Phildog’ is quite good, but had some bad luck this tournament. Damien Blond, if he decides he can join a tournament, I would expect to meet me in the finals.”

And the new king of KC Online is not afraid to reveal his secret strategies.

“[There] may be a few tricks up my sleeve,” Schrizo said. “Keeping track of the tiles played makes a big difference in the end of the game - knowing what your opponent has can help a lot in playing the last few tiles.
It helps that I've played the original cribbage game for years and know what cribbage hands score without having to count them - a big help in thinking fast in this game, and in looking for the best play. Defensive strategies help too - always try to minimize openings for your opponent.”

Schrizo added that he wanted to say “thanks to Damien for all the hard work and getting the site up and running, with continuous improvements! Keep playing everyone, and let's have some more tournaments.”

Meanwhile, the sponsor for the tournament prizes, Roy Cowley, of Cococo Games, [www.kingscrib.com] who is the son of Kings Cribbage creator Gary Cowley says he is very pleased with the new online version and the excitement over the tournament.

"Damien has put together a great way for people to enjoy Kings Cribbage,” said Roy. “I love the fact that we have players from all over the world, including an American soldier who is stationed in Iraq, playing Kings Cribbage regularly online. Our first tournament has made the online experience even more competitive; bragging rights abound. We've handed out some small prizes as well, so there's something 'on the line' players can shoot for. It's really wonderful to see [the] game being enjoyed by so many, and hopefully we'll have another tournament in the near future."¬¬¬¬¬

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