The 2021 7 Wonders Duel PBEM tournament featured 44 players completing a total of 88 games over 8 rounds. The event was played using a double elimination format with rounds continuing until only one player remained with fewer than two losses.
Heading into Round 6, eight players remained in contention. The last two undefeated players, Derek Landel and Chris Wildes, faced one another. Chris finished the game with five science symbols but earned enough points for a civilian victory. James Thompson also narrowly missed science dominance with five symbols in his game but fell to Rob Flowers on points. In the remaining games 2018 WBC Champion Robb Effinger defeated Dominic Blais and Jon Senn defeated Goran Kero, each on civilian victories as well. James, Dominic, and Goran all ended the tournament with four wins, meaning the 6th place finisher would be determined by the tiebreaker, opponent win percentage.
In Round 7, Robb and Chris each earned science victories, defeating Rob and Jon respectively. In the third game, Derek faced James, who was serving as an eliminator due to an odd number of players remaining. Derek used The Appian Way and The Sphinx in Age 3 to prevent James from securing the sixth science symbol after James failed to find Law from The Great Library, allowing Derek to secure a civilian win.
Chris and Robb squared off in Round 8 while Derek again faced an eliminator, Jon Senn serving in that capacity. In the first game, Chris and Robb drafted a fairly even set of Wonders with one extra-turn Wonder apiece (The Temple of Artemis for Robb and The Hanging Gardens for Chris). Neither the Law nor the Strategy progress tokens were available, making science and military dominance less likely. After Age 1, Robb had acquired a full set of brown resources and had built The Great Lighthouse, while Chris had purchased all three yellow resource cards and two science cards but had yet to build a Wonder. Halfway through Age 2, Chris used The Hanging Gardens to pick up a matching science symbol and acquired Theology, meaning his three remaining Wonders would each trigger an extra turn. Robb responded by acquiring a progress token of his own (Economy) and quickly building his remaining Wonders to minimize Theology’s impact. In Age 3, Chris combined the Moneylenders Guild with his six yellow cards to end the game with 18 points from coins, which along with building The Pyramids and The Mausoleum propelled him to a narrow points victory, 68-61.
In the second game, Derek and Jon again drafted a relatively even set of Wonders, but the Law token was available putting an increased value on science cards. During Age 1, Derek acquired two science cards along with both gray resources, but Jon had picked up all three brick resource cards making that resource more expensive for Derek. Derek was able to mitigate that early in Age 2 by building The Great Lighthouse, giving him access to brick. By the end of the Age, Derek had four science symbols, including the Law token. Jon had used The Great Library to take the Philosophy token and had picked up the Agriculture token as well to give him a 17 point lead. All seven Wonders had been built and Jon held a slight advantage on the military track from the Circus Maximus and The Statue of Zeus Wonders. When the Age 3 cards were dealt no science cards entered the display face up, so Derek began trying to narrow the point gap. In the meantime, Jon picked up two red cards to push the military track within two shields of victory. With ten cards left in the game, Derek would have to reveal only one more blind card on his turns, and he needed that card to not be the last remaining red card. Unfortunately he revealed Circus, giving Jon the military dominance win and making Chris the last player remaining in the tournament.
The top six finishers were.
- Chris Wildes
- Derek Landel
- Robb Effinger
- Rob Flowers
- Jon Senn
- Goran Kero
Over all rounds of the tournament, Chris Wildes had the highest winning civilian score with 92 while Andrew Bennett had the lowest winning score at 48. Haakon Monsen had the highest non-winning score at 74. In the closest civilian game of the tournament, Alfred Schnabel defeated Scott Burns by one point on the first tiebreaker (most points from blue cards), 27-26.
In arguably the closest non-civilian game, Cary Morris began Age 3 with five science symbols against Lexi Sheaburns, who sat one shield away from military dominance. Cary elected to go first in Age 3 with the only visible science card sitting in row three. The card he revealed was one of three potential military cards remaining, allowing Lexi to claim the victory.
Over the 88 games played, civilian victory decided the most games with 39 (44%) games ending on points. Science dominance followed close behind, being the decider in 36 games (40%) while military dominance ended only 13 games (16%). The player who took the first turn of the game won only 44% of games.
Regarding Wonders, Piraeus had the highest build percentage (percentage of games in which the Wonder appeared where it was also built) at 98% (57 of 58 games). The Mausoleum was the Wonder least likely to be built at 55% (32 of 58). The Great Library had the highest win percentage of built Wonders (59%), while The Pyramids had the lowest win percentage at 40%.
The Temple of Artemis was the Wonder most likely to be selected first from any given set of four (81%) and had the highest average pick order (1.28), while The Colossus was not once selected first. The Pyramids were most often the last Wonder remaining from a set (86%) and unsurprisingly had the lowest average pick order (3.69).
For progress tokens, Law had the highest win percentage at 78%, with 88% of those wins by science dominance. Overall, 80% of all science dominance victories included the Law token for the winning player. By comparison, players picking up the Strategy token won 71% of the time, but only 40% of those victories came by military dominance. The only two tokens to have a <50% win percentage were Economy (48%), and Masonry which failed to win any of the four games in which it was acquired. Only 15 games (17%) were won by a player with no progress tokens. Dan Leader acquired the most progress tokens in one game with five.
Once again congratulations to all of the laurelists and thank you to everyone who participated in the event.
Full results can be seen at https://bgtournament.wordpress.com/7-wonders-duel-2021-results/