RNJ Crosses the Delaware
News from the 2003 Nationals
Of course, the major story of the Nationals was the horrific cheating scandal involving game creator Rob Anderson. It was especially curious that it happened during his Sealed Deck 2-player game with none other than RNJ's own Steve Braun. Steve was so shocked he went on to lose the game and spiral hopelessly out of contention. (Or maybe he was just laughing so hard he couldn't see his cards too clearly.) The details...well, you can imagine what happened.*
BREAKING NEWS- The true culprit in the huge-beyond-belief Nationals Cheating Scandal of 2003 (not to be confused with the Nationals Cheating Scandal of 2004, which hasn't happened yet) was unmasked. Kory Lentine actually rigged the event. Rumor has it that he had a huge wager on Rob, and unaware of Steve's utter lack of Redemption prowess decided to take matters into his own hand. As a result of a major disciplinary hearing by Cactus' secret "Star Chamber," Kory has been exiled for the next few years to a small island in the Caribbean. (He decided to make the best of it and try to learn some medical skills while he's stuck there anyway.)
Better news for RNJ was the surprising 4th place finish of Robert Braun in the Sealed Deck 2-player. This, after falling asleep in the hallway between rounds and being up about 3 hours past his usual bedtime. He was quite surprised when he found out what he had done the next morning. And of course it was all the sweeter because he did it in his dad's favorite event, and finished waaaaay ahead of him in the standings. To top it all, he got a (still top secret) autographed and altered card from Rob Anderson that supposedly only works against his dad. (Once he springs it on me in a game, I'll see if I can get a scan up here.) And yes, Rob also did graciously sign one for Steve too, despite previous indiscretions on Steve's part. Of course, since he signed a card that had Doug's and Kory's signatures as well, there isn't much of a chance that Steve can do much to alter it, is there?
There were several New Jersey players present (although not all would openly admit it), and no, they were NOT banned from the tournament despite Steve's T-shirt. All had a great time, made many trades and purchases, and in general livened up the place.
Much to the consternation of many present, RNJ managed to have a member serving as a referee during the Type I 2-player Saturday. Yes, that really was Steve "Polycarp" Braun (big guy, beard and glasses, white RNJ T-shirt) answering your questions about the rules. (And, I might add, he only missed one ruling, on a very obscure play (using Son of God to rescue the first half of the Lost Souls card), which he immediately checked and corrected.)
Much to the disappointment of many, RNJ was unable to print new T-shirts for the Nationals this year. (Suffice it to say that family health suffered a bit in September.) Then again, our Regional shirts got extra exposure this year.
The long-threatened "It's In There" deck did not make an appearance this year (especially since Doug Gray wasn't there), but it has now become the center of rumors concerning a potential future unofficial event at a future National tournament. Let's just say that no rumor is too wild to be considered. (OK, the one about a game played by a trained chimp against IBM's Big Blue reprogrammed for Redemption IS too wild, but you probably haven't heard it yet anyway.)
Highlights of the Nationals are always getting to see players from across the country, having a good time playing the game, coming home with a lot more cards than we left with, and proving that (1) you can play a tough, competitive game and still have good fellowship and (2) a good laugh never hurt anyone, and that's why RNJ is here.
*OK, Rob was set up by Kory Lentine, who was doing deck checks for the event and conveniently worked the table Rob and Steve were at. He wandered away, apparently to answer a question or some such thing, and when he returned declared Rob's deck OK. However, he had slipped a New Jerusalem lamb card into the deck-something that obviously couldn't be there legally, since Warriors boosters weren't available for Sealed Deck. If anyone had had a camera and gotten a picture of Rob's and Steve's faces when he played Search and found the card, it would be a Redemption classic. Of course, the hullabaloo spread through the whole room, and everyone had a good laugh-not the least Steve.
News from the 2003 Northeast Regional
We made the trek to the Northeast Regional again this year, despite the trepidation of other Redemption players. Over 50 players participated, including a pretty sizable NJ contingent. Unfortunately, Phil and Emily Gaudette couldn't make it, but there was a good group from South Jersey, and Justin Sangillo, who won the Type 1 2-player event, so we're counting him as an RNJ win. Steve Braun took 2nd this year at the Sealed Deck 2-player (and was beaten by a kid, so there!), and William Gardiner finished second in the Booster Draft multiplayer. (Speaking of which, what a great event! Lots of luck involved, so you can blame the cards, and plenty of action with no dominants, or much defense for that matter.)
Of course, the reason you're reading this is to see the T-shirt designs. Robert went with a fairly simple, straightforward graffiti:
(This has made it's way onto our graffiti page.)
Steve, of course, had to have an editorial comment on the place of RNJ in the Redemption world, as usual. He went for a front-and-back pair. (He's big enough to handle this-heck, he could probably wear the whole graffiti gallery on his T-shirt!)
These T-shirts also made an appearance (along with their respective wearers) at our ShoreCon tournament as well. We'll have new ones for Nationals...
News from the 2002 Northeast Regional
Something is wrong in Redemptionland-a member of Redemption New Jersey actually won an event! Yes, Steve "Polycarp" Braun is the reigning NE Regional Sealed Deck 2-Player champion! OK, for a better perspective on this you may want to take a peek at the competitors' group photo...
Mike Berkenpas is the tall guy in the back, and was a judge, not a competitor. Steve's the big guy with the beard. The five kids are the ones Steve beat for the title. Maybe he's found his appropriate age group? (Or at least his appropriate maturity level...)
[STEVE'S NOTE: I did spend a lot of time answering questions from the kids and serving as a quasi-judge for the games I wasn't playing, so sometimes it was like playing three games at once. And some of those kids were good!]
For those who frequent the newsgroup, you may remember that certain responses by Steve and Phil led to the threat of a good slap (which would probably have been well-deserved), but Kory was unable to carry out his threat because they found a hyper-super-ultra-rare card to protect themselves.
In keeping with the tradition of last year's Nationals, Steve and Robert Braun showed up with their annual RNJ T-shirts. While others wore real Redemption cards on theirs, the RNJers started with their "tour logos" on the back...
Robert went with a classic graffiti look...
...while Steve kept up his unrelenting annoyance of Rob Anderson (see the autographed card below), since Rob still hasn't forgotten that incident.
(We're still waiting for Rob's official ruling over whether this makes Steve a demon, a beast, or both.)
We pronounce RNJ the unofficial winners of the regional T-shirt design contest. And hey, we're not biased...
And a Blast From the Past-
The 2001 Nationals, RNJ Style
Let's get the obvious out of the way- no member of Redemption New Jersey took home a trophy. Phil Gaudette did make it up to the second table in the Type 1 2-player, and Steve Braun actually got to the last round of the Closed Deck 2-player unbeaten with a shot at the title, but that's as good as it got. Then again, nobody from RNJ won fewer than 3 games over the weekend, so while we're bad, we're not yet pitiful.
Then again only one player in the ENTIRE TOURNAMENT had to forfeit a game for using an illegal deck, and it was an RNJer-Steve. He left a couple of Lost Souls behind after one game, and when his opponent gave them back he returned them to the WRONG DECK! (Note: Only bring one deck to the Type 1 event in future tournaments, genius.) At least he had the decency to (1) ask a judge to count his deck during the game when the souls came out slowly and (2) forfeit voluntarily. So he's not terribly embarrassed-he wasn't cheating, just stupid. And stupidity goes a long way when losing...
Not only that, but after exercising a virtually complete domination over Phil in our RNJ play group, Steve lost to him by a time out, 4-3 decision in the only game played between two RNJ members. Guess all that Air Force training pays off during crunch time.
RNJ members Steve and Robert Braun did arrive wearing the best T-shirts at the tourney (at least, in our opinion). They set a new fashion trend for future Redemption players to try to top. The designs were these:
From Steve's T-shirt:
From Bobby's T-shirt (He's a lot skinnier than Steve.)
There was a new "take down" coined at the Nationals, although I don't remember who started it. Whenever anyone said something a bit daft (or more than a bit, for that matter), you could respond by saying, "What-are you from New Jersey?" This should become a mandatory part of every Redemption players vocabulary, in our opinion.
Rob Anderson was kind enough to sign cards for many people. Robert and Steve both got cards autographed for their collection. Rob did say something like, "I'm afraid to see what you're going to do with this card" to Steve when he did it, but of course we at RNJ would never consider stooping so low as to deface a card autographed by the inventor of the game we so dearly love, would we? Of course not...
Ask anyone from another, saner state, and I believe that you will discover that RNJ certainly brought a refreshing breeze (or perhaps a wild tornado) to the Nationals. At the same time, I believe we thoroughly fulfilled everyone's expectations of us-which, admittedly, were probably pretty low, but we don't mind having the bar set low enough to trip over...
All members of RNJ agree that they had a great time meeting all the people we've annoyed-er, met via the Internet. We're looking forward to hosting some local tournaments of our own, and maybe helping to get a state and regional tournament going out here in the East. You haven't seen the last of us, no matter what kind of wishful thinking you've indulged in... (And watch out for the still-in-development "It's In There!" deck. It might just be an idle threat, but then again, this is Redemption New Jersey.)