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Tony Gammell, Ireland

    Long-Small-BannerimagePart of the coverage for the Big-Event "EC 2007".

    This Interview with FutureGuy was hold by openCards user Jaglom Shrek.

    Name: Tony Gammell
    Known on the dboards as: FutureGuy
    Age: 30
    Regular player group: Cork, Ireland
    Current/highest Decipher rating: 1958/1968
    STCCG 2E accomplishments: First place at TOC Limerick 2006, TOC London 2006, TOC Cork 2007, PSR Essen 2005, EC2005 Day 1.
    1). How did you start playing Star Trek CCG?
    I remember my younger brother coming home with a card game based on Star Trek way back in 1995. He had bought 2 starter decks (1 of which was BB) and a few boosters. Without reading any rules, we just made up our own game. I was 17 at the time and I was enthralled by the concept, having never played a CCG before. After about a month, we actually read the rules and began teaching friends. It wasn’t long before we had 6 players! The following year, I enrolled at the University of Limerick. After a week or so, I posted a message on the games message boards, but I never received a reply.

    Then about a week later, I visited our local video game store to buy a few boosters of WB premiere. As I was walking up to the counter, I noticed two guys opening boosters-I couldn’t believe it! I went up to them and asked if they played Star Trek. One of the guys looked at me and said “your name is Tony Gammell”-to say I was freaked out would be an understatement! It turns out that they were fellow University students who had read my message. We found a local hobby store in the city, but as hard as we tried, we could never manage to get new players because too many people just wanted to play Magic.

    2). Do you play any other TCGs beside Star Trek?
    I used to play WWE Raw Deal very seriously for a few years but I gave it up at the end of 2005. I played LoTR for the first 5 sets, but realized that I couldn’t afford to play 3 CCGs. I have tried a lot of games out there but none really caught my interest in the same way that Star Trek did.

    3). Can you remember your first Star Trek 2E tournament? How did you do?
    My first Star Trek CCG 2E tournament was a sealed deck event down at WarpCon in Cork in January 2003. I ended up winning it, partly due to getting some incredible dilemmas in my boosters! That convention was brilliant because many of the players we demoed to that weekend still play regularly!

    4). Some of the players traveling to Berlin will have never played in such a large event. What advice can you give to these players who want to build the best possible deck for the event?
    First and foremost, go with what you know. I know it goes without saying, but if you know the deck inside out then it’s probably worth 4-5 points over 7-8 round tournament. James O Donovan, one of the best players in Ireland has a great saying about deck choices for Europeans…”if you cant name every card in your draw deck from memory, then you probably don’t know it well enough”

    So if you have spent 14 months playing Dominion, don’t just switch to Romulan a week before the event. It still surprises me when very experienced players turn up wit a deck they built the week before and wonder why they didn’t qualify for the second day!

    5). What was the first major Star Trek CCG event you attended outside of your own country? Do you feel that your game improved after playing?
    My very first Star Trek CCG 1E tournament was actually in the summer of 2000. I went to live in Chicago for 4 months after graduating from University, and while there, I realized that there would be a World Championships “Open Tournament” that summer. I had my deck shipped over (a Klingon battle deck), and I headed to the event, not knowing how I would do. When I arrived, I found that there were 39 players ready to battle it out for the World Championship byes. I sat down for my first game at 12:00 and 7 minutes later, I was beaten. They name of the guy was Ian Bell who was one of the best players in the world at the time. I ended going 2-3 after dropping after round 5, but I will never forget that tournament. I learned so much about the game!

    I think my game improved tremendously as a result of attending. I was aware of ideas and strategies that had never crossed my mind. It will be the same with EC2007, no matter how a person does, they will go home a better player than the one that turned up earlier that weekend!

    6). You have traveled to London on a number of occasions to play Star Trek with the crew of Team London. How do you think the style of play differs between the UK and Germany?
    I have been lucky enough to travel to both UK and Germany to play Star Trek. I think that the German players like to build slightly bigger decks and employ a little more event destruction. However, after the release of IaMD, I think we will see very little difference in the decks built by both sets of players. I think Team London have always said that they don’t seem to get the results that they have hoped for each time they attend Europeans. But I think that this year could be a different story. If they all play the decks that they are comfortable playing, I think all 4 could make the top 16.

    I have never met the 2 guys coming from Grimsby, but I am very interested in seeing how they do at such a large event.

    7).Have you attended a Continental Championship before? What did you like/didn't like about it?
    I attended EC2005 in Utrecht which was my first Star Trek tournament that I specifically went abroad to attend. Without going into too much detail, there were some things that impressed me and some things that didn’t. I really got the impression that it was essentially the LoTR championships, with Star Trek players being an annoyance to the organizers. I’m normally a very calm person, but even I got annoyed when the organizers decided to run a very noisy Rings draft event right next to the Day 2 Star Trek players.

    One of the things we had in mind when running EC2007 was that both games received equal attention. I think the team did a great job in making sure we did this.

    8 ). How do you think the Irish players will do at EC2007?
    The same team of players that attended EC2005 will be in attendance this year. Derek and Fergus are great, but very different players. One plays very well planned decks, the other is the master of original ideas, and I’m sure both will do Ireland proud over the weekend.

    9). If you had to place a 10 euro bet to name 3 players to reach the final 16 on day 2, which 3 players would you choose?

    Vladimir Vrbata-Very good deck builder, excellent player and veteran of many major events. Almost everyone has picked him in their top 3, and there is a reason for that. Semifinalist at EC2005 and winner of PSE Essen 2006. I’m looking forward to seeing what deck Vlad chooses for Day 1.

    Will Hoskin- For the group of talented players that make up Team London, they have always seemed to fare much better at Worlds than Europeans. I think this year will be different. This year, I think Will Hoskin has been the breakout player of the 2007 TOC season, winning 2 and doing very well in a third. If he makes a good deck choice for day 1, I see no reason why we won’t see his name in the top 16.

    Tobias Raussmann-Very consistent player, one of the toughest I have faced at continental level. The only German player in my pick of three, Tobias will know the field better than most.

    10). What are your personal goals that you hope to achieve at EC2007. How far do you think you will go?
    My main goal is to make sure that everyone leaves Berlin with great memories and great prizes, and the urge to head back in 2008. I really enjoy helping out in the organization of these events.

    However, in 2005-2006, I was really burned out by organizing events in Ireland and I made the decision to attend some events as a player. I went to EC2005, Essen 2005, and WC2006. This year however, my main focus will be to help Thorsten to organize the best possible event for players in Europe. I think that we are well on the way to exceeding many of the goals that we originally set for ourselves.

    I’m not sure if I will be playing at EC2007, although one of the advantages of being the PR manager for the event is that most of my responsibilities are finished as soon as the event begins. Personally, I will be happy to make day 2, although I have had very little practice over the last few months. After that I will just try to play my very best and see what happens.

    My chances of playing? As this week has progressed and more and more little things have been nailed down, my chances are improving. It’ll probably be down to a coin toss on the day.

    11). What 3 cards released from In a Mirror, Darkly do you expect to see a lot of at the European Championships?
    Energize-In the right decks, this will work wonders. However, I guarantee that we will see it appear in a number of decks that it really shouldn’t be in...

    Sabotaged Transporter-As with Energize, will suit some decks far more than others. I have one built but it remains to be seen if it will be fast enough.

    AU McCoy-His subtitle escapes me, but he will surely see play in many decks.

    12). When not playing Star Trek, what else do you enjoy doing?
    I like spending time with my girlfriend, keeping fit and playing soccer. I also enjoy poker.

    13). Are you already planning your European Championships deck, or will you wait until you see all the cards that will be legal?
    To be honest, I doubt I will have much time to prepare brand new decks for EC2007. I have one new deck built and 2 others modified to include IaMD cards, but that will probably be about as much as I will do.

    14). Name your favorite ever card? Why?
    Any card with Leeta on it! For two very good reasons...those being her special abilities and her low cost.

    15 ). Can you tell us the most memorable game of Star Trek 2E you have ever played? Why does this game in particular stick out in your mind?
    EC2005 was memorable for a number of reasons, but most notably for my game against Vladimir Vrbata in round 3 of Day 1. We were both on 2-0 after the first 2 rounds. I had never met Vlad before and all I knew that, like myself, he takes Trek seriously when it comes down to the major events. We sat across from each other, and I knew that this would be a very serious game of Trek-exactly what you want when playing at a Continental Championships.

    I was playing a Romulan Prejudice and Politics/Getting Under Your Skin/At What Cost deck while Vlad was playing a very fast DS9 speed solver. After a few turns, it was obvious that this would be a very tough match. Each dilemma play was thoroughly thought out, with both of us using Counterinsurgency Program alone to name the one skill that the other lacked. I think we both played an excellent game, and there was very little between us.

    After about 40 minutes, we both had 2 planets finished, and I had just stopped Vlad on his final mission. There were 4-5 dilemmas under the mission, and with all my Unexpected Difficulties/Machinations used, I knew he would win the game next turn. So that left me with one turn to win. Unfortunately I had very few people left in play thanks to Vlads dilemmas. At the time,

    • My final mission, Investigate Sighting had 3 dilemmas underneath it.

    • I had a ship at Investigate Sighting with only 3 people left on board (but could still solve the mission with Lore, Crosis and Vreenak).

    • I had a damaged ship with 6 personnel at my homeworld with not enough range to make the trip to Investigate Sighting (the crew could not solve the mission as I had no Exobiology on board).

    • Vladimir had only 1 event in core, Machinations, which could be used to get a zero cost dilemma. I had 7, thus making Crosis +6.

    I knew that if I tried to attempt with my real away team of 3 at the mission, Vladimir would have used Machinations to get a 0-cost dilemma to stop me, as I could not move my other ship to the mission. So all that there was left was to try to bluff my way out of it. After a while, I decided to try and get Vlad to think that I had a range increasing interrupt in hand. After looking at his Machinations a number of times, I began to toy with one particular card in my hand while staring at my ship. I knew that he was an excellent player, and I was hoping that he would think that the card I was toying with was Quantum Slipstream Drive, a card I could used to get my ship over to the mission and potentially win the game.

    After checking the personnel on the damaged ship a number of times and the mission I needed to solve (although I knew they couldn’t solve), I stated that I was attempting with my original 3 at the mission. I knew that if he was a top player he would have to leave Machinations as the chances were that there was no way I would have the requirements using 3 personnel.

    Vlad did not use Machinations and I solved the mission to win the game. Straight after the game, Vlad asked me whether or not I had a Quantum Slipstream Drive in hand. After I replied that I didn’t, we both realized what a great game we just had.

    I remember a great article written by John Corbett which compared Poker to Star Trek CCG. He said that when you face an average player, just play a basic ABC game and your skill will take you through. But when you play a world-class opponent, you have to use tricks that you would not normally have to use in order to beat the player.

    I still look back at this game as one that totally changed me as a player. I had to concentrate so hard for the entire hour, I was forced in to playing smarter and wiser, and I looked at the game from a new perspective. Games like this, where you become a better player than what you were before, are one of the best reasons for players of any level to attend such a large event.

    I am lucky enough to have played some of the best players from UK/Europe and the United States, but I rank Vlad as my toughest ever opponent.

    16.) Any last minute advice for players who are attending?

    -Check the current rulings and code of conduct documents on Remember, this is a Level 3 event and the rules with be enforced where necessary.

    -Write out your deck lists before you pack your bags for Berlin, and double-check every single card. Also get another person to double check it. The morning of the event, double check the cards in your deck against the deck list one more time before you hand in the list.

    -Get some good rest. Day 1 will be a grueling challenge for most players, especially those who only play 3-4 round events. Eat well in the days prior to the event and during the event. You need your brain to be firing on all cylinders for all 7/8 rounds.

    -After every single round, double-check the number of cards in your deck and dilemma pile before starting the next round. Do not force the judges to give you a game loss because a card went missing-if it goes missing and you didn’t spot it, you have only yourself to blame.

    17). Create a 2E dream card of yourself!
    (3) •Tony Gammell
    (command icon)(past icon)

    •Biology •Diplomacy •Geology
    •Medical •Science

    When this personnel uses a skill to solve a mission, you may take a dilemma you own that has been placed out of play and place it on the top of your dilemma pile. You may only do this once per turn.

    Integrity 6, Cunning 6, Strength 6

    Lore: “Ladies and gentlemen…let’s get ready to rumble!!!”

    I studied Environmental Science at University (Geology and Science), my career is in the Medical field (Biology and Medical) and I’m the PR Manager of EC2007-believe me I need Diplomacy here!!! As for the lore, I have been told that I am a good motivator of people and that I lead by example.