Eddie Wehrenberg - D&D Minis World Champion Interview
The D&D Miniatures game puts you in command of a team of fantasy warriors in action-packed strategy battles. Every year a world champion is crowned and in August 2007, 14 year-old Eddie Wehrenberg Jr. battled his way to the top! It started when he won a qualifier and got a little crazy when everybody, from his dad to his friends and even the local game store owner, pitched in to help him get to the world championship tournament at GenCon in Indianapolis, Indiana. At GenCon, Eddie was up against players from all over the world, but managed to win it all! Gary just had a chance to chat with Eddie and here's what the world champ had to say.
Gary: You've said you're a big fan of getting younger players involved in the D&D Miniatures game - what tips can you give to a new player to help them get started?
Eddie: The thing to remember when you're getting started is to just have fun with it! It's a lot to take in at first and if you are around people who've been playing for quite a while, it can be intimidating. But if you're having fun with it, you'll enjoy it and you'll find that it becomes natural. I started playing with my dad and his friends and found that they were willing to teach me all about the game. They enjoyed seeing me get into the game and learn to play and we all had fun together.
Gary: In your opinion, what's the best D&D Miniatures set for new players to start with? Which set did you start with?
Eddie: I started with Harbinger (the first minis set) but for players getting started now, War of the Dragon Queen (tenth set) is a great one to start with. It has lots of big pieces that are really interesting and fun to play with, like the Large Fire Elemental and the Tundra Scout. It's a good all-around set and a good one to start with.
Gary: How do you deal with competing against players older than yourself?
Eddie: It's really not a big deal for me to compete against older players. When I started playing, I played with my dad and his group, so I've been playing around older players for most of my career.
When I play for fun, I play with a group of guys at Great Escape Games, the local game store here in Sacramento. Most of the guys in our group are quite a bit older than I am (10+ years). It's actually more unusual for me to play with someone my age!
I really enjoy the group of guys I play with. Even though there is an age difference, we have a great time playing and socializing together. There's a broad range of interests within the group, so we have lots of topics for conversation. It's always interesting to see what we'll talk about each time we get together!
One thing I would say to other kids who feel intimated about playing with older players is not to get discouraged. Despite someone's age, you might be more experienced or talented at the game. Just relax and have fun, no matter who you're playing with or what the situation is.
Gary: How about keeping the game fun when the stress is on and it's down to a crucial die roll?
Eddie: You know, the big thing to keep stress down is to just focus on the fun. I started playing the game because it was fun and I continue playing because it is so much fun. I figure there's not much I can do to affect a die roll, so I try not to worry about it; if you think too much about a game or a particular move, the stress just builds up. When that happens, you don't play as well, so I just stay focused on having fun and that's the most successful thing I can do.
When I'm at a tournament, my dad and I go out into the parking lot between matches and throw a Nerf football around. That helps me relax and clear my head between matches. And it's a good time just hanging out with dad.
In tournaments, I've encountered a few stressful situations, like GenCon last year. I lost the first match in the tournament and had to come back from that to win. But I just focused on having fun and enjoyed the excitement of coming back to win.
Going to events like GenCon are really great because there are so many people who I've played with and against that it's cool to see everyone at major events. We catch up and chat when we run into each other... but then of course give each other space to prep for our matches! There's a kind of camaraderie among players, so it's fun to see the other players. I don't really get psyched out seeing them before a match.
Gary: Do you have a favorite pre/post/mid-game snack or drink?
Eddie: I guess you could say it's Dr. Pepper... but that's my favorite drink whether I'm playing or not. I try not to drink too much of it, since it's so packed with sugar; I usually switch out Diet Pepsi to cut down the sugar intake.
Gary: When it's time to compete, do you have any tricks or habits that help you get your game on?
Eddie: Not really. I know some people have particular habits or routines they follow before every game or match, but I don't. For me, it's just all about the game and the sheer enjoyment of it. I think if I had too much ritual or routine to it would feel less fun and more like work.
Gary: A lot of gamers are superstitious about their dice - how about you? Is touching your dice a total no-no?
Eddie: No, I don't suppose so. For every match, my dad keeps my dice in our game case with everything else (maps, war bands, etc). So they're protected during travel, but it's more because of the sentimental value of the dice than superstition. I have two dark blue dice that were the first dice I started playing with as a kid. Since then, I've bought a lot of other dice (I always buy my own dice) but those two blue ones are my favorites.
I played once without them (I couldn't find them) and I didn't do very well. Ever since then, I make sure I have those dice when I play!
Gary: D&D is shifting to fourth edition next year and the D&D Miniatures game is changing too. Have you heard much about how it's changing? If you have, what do you think of the changes? If you haven't, what do you think is being done?
Eddie: I haven't heard too much about the new edition yet. I know that there are new rules and stat cards and I think it'll be a whole new game experience. From what I've heard, there are several tier one creature remodels and other changes that will be fun to try out.
Gary: Do you check out the D&D Miniatures previews that get posted here at Kidzworld?
Eddie: Yes! The new sets that come out really help keep the game new and exciting for us and every time a new preview or review posts (on any site), we check them out immediately.
Click Here for the rest of the interview with Eddie - including his plans for after school, the warband he used to win the world championship and more!