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Advanced Civilization (ACV) PBeM Reports Updated June 21, 2023

2023 PBeM Tournament

Thirty-one rulers of nations entered the 2022 Advanced Civilization PBeM tournament. With everyone playing twice, this gave us a total of seven 7- and 8-player games. Defending champion Alex Herndon triumphed in both of his preliminary heats, logging victories with both Assyria and Iberia. Shantanu Saha and Kevin Youells both led Babylon to victory. Nils Brobbak also scored a win with Assyria, while Ian Bergman took Illyria into the winner's circle and our GM Nathan Barhorst scored his win with Egypt. With only six unique game winners DJ Borton and Paul Sampson were the closest players to the first-place winners and were able to move on to the final.

Players were given nation choices in random order, which led to the countries being selected in the following order: Babylon (Nathan), Illyria (DJ), Assyria (Kevin), Africa (Paul), Crete (Nils), Iberia (Alex), and Thrace (Shantanu). As a side note, Alex won the 2021 tournament and his preliminary round with Iberia. In hindsight, someone should have chosen Iberia earlier rather than leave it for Alex with the 7th pick. With all the nations chosen, play began on December 5th.

It did not take long for the battles to begin. Crete attacked Illyria in Thessaly on turn 4, killing two Illyrian units. Illyria responded two turns later by taking out two Cretans in Campania. Meanwhile, Africa got struck with Treachery. This was just the start of a lengthy list of bad cards that Paul got stuck with. Over the course of the game, he was visited by Treachery, Epidemic, Famine, Civil Disorder (FOUR times!), Slave Revolt, Earthquake, and Piracy. Nathan did not fare much better in Babylon, getting hit by Slave Revolt, Treachery (twice), Barbarians, Civil War an unlucky three times, Flood, Iconoclasm, and Earthquake. Needless to say, both players did not score well.

Kevin was our early leader, with Alex hot on his heels. On turn 8, it was a 77-point lead which slipped to 61 by turn 9. These two would swap first place several times over the course of the game, with scores being very tight. Alex took his first lead on turn 10, topping Nils by 135. Kevin came back in round 11, with DJ moving into 2nd place. Alex led through turns 12 and 13, then Kevin led for the last time in turn 14. After that, Alex took over, leading Ian by 59 on turn 15 and finishing with a 123-point win over DJ. Shantanu had an amazing trade round the final turn and moved up to third place. Ian and Kevin somehow managed to tie for fourth, followed by Nils claiming sixth place laurels.

How did Alex manage to take a second consecutive championship? Here it is in the words of the man himself:

"The big point for me in the game was Turn 11 when I eventually bought Military. That turn during calamities Babylon had a Civil War and Crete was the beneficiary. As a result, Crete ended with 9 cities and over 20 population. But I was winning, with Africa having the second highest Civ card total. Crete was technically second, but due to cities not cards. I figured I was too vulnerable.

I had planned to buy Literacy to advance on the AST. But Crete was going to be able to tax on 9 cities and thus move last, but still have units to spare in an attack. According to my calculation he could sack a city and disrupt two of my builds, which would have been crippling and caused me to bounce the next turn.

So, I figured I needed to change plans and buy Military to persuade him to leave me alone. That worked and he attacked Africa instead, initiating the decline of Africa, which then accelerated by Africa drawing an incredible number of calamities from then on. (I wonder if Nathan can look in the database to see how many Africa did draw. I bet it is a record.)

My plan was not to be aggressive and use Military simply to optimize my move/build each turn because I had a lead with no need to antagonize anybody. I thought a live-and-let-live strategy would be best. But the next turn I drew four calamities (Slave Revolt, Barbarians, Epidemic, and I&H) so I stagnated on cards causing my lead to dwindle. And the Assyria player (who had Coinage and Mining) told me he was going to buy Military. So, I felt I could not risk Assyria getting Military and be within reach of my cities, so I moved into Cyprus to hem him in. I also moved into Lycia and Thera to provide myself some eastern reach.

And with nobody else ever purchasing Military, I had the luxury of optimizing my moves for the rest of the game."

Many thanks to everyone who played. It was a great tournament as usual. Next year, can someone else please select Iberia in the final??

Final Scores:

  1. Alex Herndon-Iberia-4241
  2. DJ Borton-Illyria-4092
  3. Shantanu Saha-Thrace-3989
  4. Ian Bergman- Egypt-3930
  5. Kevin Youells-Assyria-3930
  6. Nils Brobbak-Crete-3681
  7. Paul Sampson-Africa-3515
  8. Nathan Barhorst-Babylon-2937

2022 PBeM Tournament

43 players entered the Advanced Civilization 2021 BPA PBeM tournament. Each player competed in 2 of the 11 qualifying games for 8 spots in the finals. Two players who won their qualifying games left before finishing, and one player won both of his. Consequently, everyone who won (and finished) a qualifier made the final; and everyone in the final won at least one of their games.

In the 11 qualifying games, Egypt, Illyria, Iberia, and Africa each won twice, with Babylon, Assyria, and Crete each winning once. Curiously, not only did Thrace win no qualifier games, but it was chosen last 4 times, next-to-last twice, and in a 7-player game wasn’t selected at all.

Another curious result from the qualifiers was that 4 of the games were won by players who chose their civilizations last or next to last, while only 3 were won by players who chose first or second. This suggests that there is not much correlation between selection order and winning. That would turn out to be relevant in the final because selection order was random rather than per a seeding formula as had been used in previous years.

The finalists in selection order were: Eric Monte (Egypt), DJ Borton (Babylon), Jonas Lundqvist (Assyria), Alex Herndon (Iberia), Kevin Breza (Thrace), James Gundy (Africa), Ian Bergman (Illyria), and Ed Coderre (Crete). With this lineup there was a guarantee of a first-time champion, although several players had placed in the finals before. Ed Coderre had a previous 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and a pair of 5ths. Jonas Lundqvist had a 2nd, a 3rd, and a pair of 6ths. Rounding out the players with finals experience, Alex Herndon had a 3rd, and James Gundy had a 4th.

Overall, this game turned out to be primarily about trading and calamity management, with just a bit of conflict sprinkled in. The first five turns were mostly uneventful with players making standard moves to define typical borders. There were, though, a few noteworthy actions. First, over Turns 3-5 Crete expanded into each of Turkey, Cyprus, and Greece. This required spending a total of 4 population on ships, which sped up Crete’s expansion, but at the cost of slower subsequent population growth. Meanwhile, on Turns 3 and 4 Babylon and Assyria peacefully shared Nineveh. But on Turn 5 Babylon built a city there after killing the two Assyrian “farmers” who had been intent on staying.

On Turn 6 Assyria responded by disrupting Babylon’s city build in Damascus, and by taking control of Syria, killing off would-be residents from both Babylon and Egypt. This was the last conflict between players until much later.

On Turn 7 everybody built to 7 cities except for Crete and Egypt, both of whom built to 6, but for different reasons. Crete could only get to 6 cities due to a small population, whereas Egypt had moved so that he could build up to 8 cities if he chose, but then decided to stay at six cities to avoid the risks of suffering both a civil war and a flood. When calamities were revealed, it turned out there were neither, which was bad luck for Crete because he would have been the civil war beneficiary. And the news for Crete got worse: Mount Thera erupted destroying a city and leaving an epidemic in its wake. Given Crete’s shortage of population, this set it on a path to struggle for most of the game.

The first civil war came the next turn, but it was drawn by Crete who had the most in stock, so there was no effect. On Turn 10 Egypt was about to have a civil war, but got weakened by some superstition just in time to prevent the civil war from happening. On Turn 12 Illyria had a civil war, and lost a city and a farmer to Thrace, who then lost that city the following turn to some pirates.

In general, Turns 9-12 were peaceful with no conflict other than with barbarians, and no obvious serious issues with calamities. The civilizations in the top half of the AST (Africa, Iberia, Illyria, and Thrace) were consistently at the top of the leaderboard with continual up-and-down movement between them, but with always less than 200 points separating them.

Iberia broke the peace on Turn 13 by moving two units into Etruria which already had two Illyrians, causing both civilizations to lose one unit. Unfortunately for the Illyrians, this reduced them just below the necessary population to support a 7th city, causing them to join the Iberians as the two civilizations with only 6 cities. Evidently Iberia wanted company in the fewer-than-7-cities club. By the end of the turn Assyria had moved up to join the top 4 civilizations, and the difference from first to fifth was just a bit over 200 points. The game was still up for grabs.

Turn 14 returned to peaceful ways, and by the end of the turn there was only a 401-point differential between first and eighth, and only 80 points separating first (Iberia) and second (Thrace).

On Turn 15 the Iberians resumed guerilla tactics by disrupting a Thracian build in Moesia, using a pair of soldiers conveniently residing in Delphi from a peaceful move the previous turn when it was left with room for one outsider. Second-place Thrace then got more bad news during the calamity phase. He drew Earthquake and was hit for both city reductions from Iconoclasm & Heresy (Iberia was immune due to Theology) and stalled on the AST. Additionally, Iberia gained a city and 4 farmers as the beneficiary of Illyria’s second civil war. During the purchase phase Thrace trained up a Military so that he could move last on the final turn and avoid a repeat of this turn’s misfortune. Going into the probable final turn, Iberia had a 320-point lead on Babylon, and there was only a 159-point difference between 2nd and 6th.

As expected, Turn 16 had a little bit of everything as players jockeyed for final position. Iberia had the lead and the corresponding bullseye but had the good luck to move next to last, and was out of reach of the Thracian military, so the Iberians suffered no conflict. The same was not true elsewhere. The Egyptians sacked and pillaged a forward-deployed Illyrian outpost in Jericho that the Illyrians had established a couple turns earlier due to some treacherous Babylonians. And Assyria sacked and pillaged the Babylonian city in Nineveh, confiscating a Spice in the process which would spell trouble for Babylon, and give Assyria a critical extra boost during trading.

The real action on this turn was in the trading, and that was led by the master merchant guilds of Thrace who started the turn with 6 trade cards, drew 7 more, and by the end of some incredible wheeling and dealing had accumulated a total of 22! This trading included a major deal with Assyria to break their 4-4 Grain stand-off, and many savvy negotiations with all the other players in what seemed like it could have been an all-time record for number of trades in a single round. Unfortunately for the Thracians, they fell one trade short of being able to avoid some ill-timed civil disorder (and the subsequent AST bounce), otherwise they could have propelled into first place. The tough luck continued for Crete who lost 20 units to Egypt in a civil war. It had looked as if Thrace would be the beneficiary, but Egypt was the lucky victim of Famine and was able to ensure he benefited from the civil war instead. By the time the dust cleared, the Iberians were able to hold on for victory, with the Assyrians squeaking into second place by 7 points over the Thracians. With less than a 700-point difference between 1st and 8th, this was one of the overall closest finals in tournament history.

Final Results:

  1. Alex Herndon, Iberia, 4441
  2. Jonas Lundqvist, Assyria, 4271
  3. Kevin Breza, Thrace, 4264
  4. James Gundy, Africa, 4140
  5. Eric Monte, Egypt, 4133
  6. Ian Bergman, Illyria, 4097
  7. DJ Borton, Babylon, 3981
  8. Ed Coderre, Crete, 3750

2021 PBeM Tournament

Forty eight players originally did battle in the 2020 Advanced Civilization pbem tournament. There were twelve preliminary games, with ten different winners, as Thomas Bostrop and Richard Beyma each won both of their games. Unfortunately, only eight can qualify for the final, so we had a pair of players who each won a game, but didn’t do well enough in their second game to advance. There were three players from the 2019 final that advanced, runner-up Nils Brobbak, fourth place finisher Antonio Catalda, and eighth place Kevin Youells. Shantanu Saha makes his return to the final this time, along with four players entering the pbem tournament for the first time this year. As an aside, sometimes slow play causes games to be adjudicated for advancement purposes, although play in the game can continue. Due to the dedication of the finalists, they actually managed to finish the tournament final before the last preliminary game.

In selection order, we ended up with Nils Brobbak as Babylon, Missy Youells in Assyria, Antonio Cataldo with Egypt, Alex Herndon as Thrace, Kevin Youells in Africa, Thomas Bostrop as Iberia, Richard Beyma with Crete, and Shantanu Saha rounding out the board with Illyria.

Crete was aggressive right out of the gate, moving first to the Balkans, then planning to sail to Asia Minor later on. When Assyria offered the usual four spaces in Asia Minor, Crete responded with a demand for Galatia, Cyprus, and Phoenicia. When rebuffed and given a recommendation to purchase Agriculture early, he threatened to buy Metalworking and declare war instead. Aside from that, everyone else had a peaceful open, although Africa did get greedy and occupied all of Sicily without consulting Illyria.

Calamities hit some players hard early on. On turn 7 Egypt fell victim to the first Civil War, and Crete gained three cities and six units out of it, which was enough to propel him into first place. On the same turn, Illyria ended up holding Treachery, Superstition, Slave Revolt, and Epidemic (and was hit by Treachery and Slave Revolt). Egypt continued his run of non-tradable calamities by drawing Famine the next turn, and had already become resigned to his fate as a runner-up this year.

Turn 9 brought a pair of controversial purchases. Babylon was the first to buy Mining, achieving this feat before anyone else even had Engineering. Meanwhile, Crete bought Military as his first civics advance, causing concern across the map. That concern turned out to be justified, as he sacked cities from Africa and Thrace the following turn. Crete continued his militaristic ways, sacking a city of Iberia a turn after benefitting from Iberia’s civil war. He then struck Iberia again two turns later.

It was in turn 10 when, Africa first opened up a small lead over Thrace. Africa invested in Mining one turn after the Babylonians while nobody else ever bothered to make the purchase. This allowed the Africans to use it to their full advantage, turning in full metal sets every turn and building a 400 point lead by the end of turn 13.

As time advances, there were a series of skirmishes; Crete vs. Iberia, Crete vs. Egypt, and Crete vs. Thrace. This is Crete using his Military advantage to steal cards and manipulate the card draw order. While it may have helped him avoid certain calamities, it didn’t seem to win him any friends. Africa’s lead held until turn 15. Turn 14 was rough, as Kevin drew three calamities, couldn’t manage a purchase, and saw Iberia substantially reduce the lead. In turn 15, the purchase of Clothmaking, Theology, and Philosophy was enough to put the Iberians ahead by 88 points. It was a very light round of calamities, with Illyria’s Volcano in Neapolis exploding, Egypt falling victim to his *third* Civil War, and a Slave Revolt in Crete reducing two cities.

As we started the final turn, every player had between six and eight cities on the board. Almost all of the calamities were scheduled to come into play, and all-out warfare was expected between the two leaders as the others fight for position. The predicted combat came to pass. Iberia went on the offensive and killed nine of Africa’s units, causing a city reduction instead of a build. Meanwhile, 4th ad 5th place Thrace and Assyria hit 3rd place Illyria, sacking Rome and Sparta respectively. Crete finished out the round by taking Jerusalem from Egypt and Cirta from Iberia. Only Babylon was not involved in any conflicts. When the dust settled, Africa, Iberia, Illyria, and Egypt al found themselves at seven cities while Crete, Assyria, and Thrace had either built to or remained at eight, and Babylon was the only player to reach nine cities. Suspecting that Piracy was the top card in the Nine trade stack, Egypt, Thrace, and Assyria all declined to purchase a nine card, leaving Babylon to draw the pirates.

The Civil War remained in the deck, but we saw many of the other calamities to varying effect. Illyria was struck by the Famine, but had grain, and the secondaries cost the two leaders a city each. Thrace dropped a city to an untraded Treachery, and was immune from the Superstition. Babylon got stuck with a Mining-enhanced Slave revolt, reducing three cities, but having the side effect of making him immune from his Pirates. The Nile Flooded again (of course), and Barbarians hit Crete for a change—he had been having units living in Illyria’s starting land of Germany for farming purposes, and Illyria ended with the Barbarians. So, in a rare event, Crete’s three units were wiped out by invaders from the north. Epidemic settled into Assyria again, while Africa ended with Civil Disorder and Iconoclasm & Heresy. Neither had any power behind them, as Africa had Theology to protect from I&H, and was already down to six cities, which is what Civil Disorder would have done. Due to limited options and negotiated deals, Crete was the only possible target for the side effects. Babylon then had a decision to make about the Piracy. If he chose, he could assign them to Crete and Illyria, which would cause both to bump on the AST. Pirates are a destructive lot, so that is exactly what Babylon chose to do. A short purchase round later, and Africa was crowned the winner of this year’s event.

The 2021 tourney continues, with Kevin Breeza and Ed Coderre already racking up wins. Information is at https://bpa-civ.rol-play.com/

Final Results:

  1. Kevin Youells Africa 4838
  2. Thomas Bostrop Iberia 4471
  3. Alex Herndon Thrace 4260
  4. Nils Brobbak Babylon 4136
  5. Antonio Cataldo Egypt 4076
  6. Richard Beyma Crete 4055
  7. Missy Youells Assyria 4036
  8. Shantanu Saha Illyria 3749

2020 PBeM Tournament

A record-high 58 contestants participated in the 2019 Advanced Civilization PBeM tournament.

The final got off to an amusing start when the server randomly generated the name of the game: “Lewd Organization”. Nation selection started a little differently this year as top seed Kevin Youells took Africa with the #1 choice. This was followed by Babylon, Egypt, Thrace at #4, Assyria, Crete, Iberia, and Illyria. The general peace of the world was broken very early this game, as Thrace attacked Illyria at Thessalonicia in turn 5, building a city on top of the Illyrian corpses. After the initial period of filling the map, Illyria was stuck at five city sites as Africa took all of Sicily, while Thrace crowded from the east. Things start to heat up in round 7. The first round of calamities was spread out: Iberia was the secondary victim of Illyria’s Earthquake, and his own Treachery. Superstition broke out in Thrace, while the Slaves revolted in Crete, and Egypt got hit by an unprotected Flood. Crete took the early lead in advances, purchasing Engineering and Drama, while Africa and Babylon stayed close behind with Agriculture/Mysticism purchases. All players advance on the AST and Africa leads by 98 over Assyria at the end of the turn.

As players move into the Late Bronze Age, defending champion and reigning Caesar Allan Jiang purchases Medicine, Music, and Metalworking to move into first place with his Assyrians. Illyria trails by 95. Play continues, and after turning in a set of Timber to purchase Literacy, Coinage, and Pottery, Assyria extends his lead to 170 points. Crete banks a set of salt to move into second. Babylon buys Mining this same turn, but empties his hand of trade cards. Iberia gets stuck with Civil Disorder as the calamities continue to ravage his empire.

Play continues, and Crete, while in second place, inexplicably decides he is no longer playing for the win. On consecutive turns, he attacks Africa, who is at the back of the pack. Both times he chose to launch attacks instead of building up his own cities. Africa reacts…violently, vowing revenge.

In round 12, Africa’s Civil War was averted by a lucky calamity discard. After twelve rounds of play, Assyria seems poised to win for the second straight year. He has built a lead of 325 points and nobody seems inclined to attack him.

Round 13 had a big potential to change up the game, as Assyria drew Civil War. He collected 5 calamities in total, and got lucky with the calamity discard: Civil War, Treachery, and Civil Disorder were removed, and Slave Revolt and Flood happened. This best-possible combination of calamities allowed him to continue to maintain a good board position in addition to having the lead. Assyria also purchased the Military advancement at the conclusion of this round, granting him a favorable turn order during movement to deter any attacks on his civilization.

Little changed over the next three two turns. Africa and Crete continued their war. Assyria continued to be left unscathed, having neither been the object of military attack nor exceptionally targeted with calamities. Allan’s lead expanded to 470 points with Illyria and Babylon trailing behind. It was another light calamity round for Assyria as Babylon attempted to collect all the calamities in a third consecutive successful attempt to avoid Civil War. As a result, Civil War, Barbarian Hordes, Epidemic, and Civil Disorder were discarded while Babylon “suffered” from Superstition and Slave Revolt. Africa declined to trade Piracy to Assyria in order to control the secondary effects and give Crete a second consecutive AST bump.

As we headed into the final turn, Assyria held onto a 540 point lead over Illyria, but had emptied his hand of trade cards during purchases, while the Illyrians held a full hand of eight. Nobody else had a realistic chance of catching the leader, as Babylon, Thrace, Egypt, Crete, Iberia, and Africa followed behind in that order.

Surprisingly the highly anticipated attack from Illyria against Assyria never happened and with the exception of Babylon sacking an Egyptian city, there were no player vs. player attacks, as everyone was concentrating on their own areas. Illyria, who played the entire game with just five city sites, had a very good trade round and made a serious run at catching the leader. Unfortunately, the addition of Philosophy, Democracy, and Mathematics was not quite enough to top Assyria’s Roadbuilding buy, and Nils came up just 58 points short. If Assyria’s Slave Revolt was not discarded on the last turn, then the game would have been decided by just 8 points!

Congratulations to our back-to-back champion Allan Jiang! Surprisingly enough, while historically viewed as a power position, this marks the first time that someone playing Assyria has won a tournament final since Doug Galullo at in the old Hunt Valley days.

The final scores were:

  • Allan Jiang/ Assyria 4785
  • Nils Brobbak/Illyria 4727
  • Jay Spencer/Babylon 4350
  • Antonio Cataldo/Egypt 4044
  • Ed Coderre/Thrace 3840
  • Daniel Kirkwood/Crete 3610
  • Andrew Morrison/Iberia 3489
  • Kevin Youells/Africa 2859

We hope to see everyone back next year when we do it all over again!


2019 PBeM Tournament

A record-high 43 contestants participated in the 2018 Advanced Civilization PBeM tournament. In the preliminary games, Babylon led the way again with three wins. Africa, Assyria, and Illyria each won two games, while Thrace, Crete, and Iberia each won one game. Ed Coderre was the only double winner in this year’s first round. Out of the ten single winners, the seven who came closest (by percent of winner’s score) in their non-win also advanced to the finals.

The final was once again an international match, with Dave Rubin (Egypt), Henry Rice (Iberia), and Nathan Barhorst (Illyria) representing USA; Ed Coderre (Assyria) and Allan Jiang (Thrace) representing Canada, Jonas Lundqvist (Babylon) representing Sweden, Antonio Cataldo (Crete) representing Italy, and Nils Brobakk (Africa) representing United Kingdom

The first major event of the final was a conflict in the islands of Corsica and Sardinia between Illyria and Iberia in Round 6. This led to a costly war between the two nations for the next five rounds that was resolved by Illyria’s purchase of the Military advancement. There was also a skirmish between Thrace and Assyria over Cappadocia, but otherwise the game was rather peaceful. Even gains from Treachery and Civil War were promptly returned to their original owners in most cases.

Crete, Babylon, and Egypt all took early game bounces on the AST to improve their economy. Assyria was the first to trade in a full set, trading in 6 Wine in Round 7 for Mysticism and Medicine, the latter of which would prove useful with the many Epidemics that occurred over the course of the game.

In Round 8, Crete was the first civilization to max out at 9 cities. This round saw the first Civil War, in which 5 Iberian farmers joined Africa. Babylon and Egypt were the first to discover Engineering, in order to protect the expansive Tigris-Euphrates and Nile floodplains. After a relatively unnoteworthy Round 9, Assyria led, with Babylon second, Africa third, and Crete fourth.

Round 10 had the second Civil War, as 3 Assyrian cities declared their allegiance to Illyria, but all of them (and one more Illyrian city) were reduced by Iconoclasm & Heresy. Civil Disorder reset Babylon to 3 cities. As previously mentioned, Illyria was the first to purchase Military. Assyria bounced on the AST due to insufficient Advancements, and the round ended with Crete first, Thrace second, Egypt third, and Assyria fourth.

In Round 11, the Barbarian Hordes made their first appearance on the board, destroying Assyria’s wilderness city in Armenia. Crete was the first to purchase Law. Iberia and Illyria bounced on AST due to insufficient Advancements. Crete maintained the lead, with Assyria second, Thrace third, and Africa fourth.

Round 12 had the third Civil War, causing 4 Egyptian farmers to turn Illyrian. Piracy made its first appearance, as pirates commandeered two Assyrian cities. Assyria and Babylon were the first to achieve Enlightenment. Crete continued to lead by 54 points, with Thrace second, Assyria third, and Babylon fourth.

In Round 13, Assyria was first to Democracy. Thrace purchased multiple advancements and took the lead by 195 points, with Crete in second, Assyria in third, and Babylon in fourth.

Round 14 saw another Civil War in Egypt, with 2 cities joining Assyria. Thrace and Crete were the first to discover Theology. Africa bounced on the AST due to insufficient advancement score, leaving Thrace as the only civilization to have not bounced. Thrace extended its lead to 366 points with Assyria in second, Crete in third, and Babylon in fourth.

In Round 15, Thrace and Crete both opted for Military to protect themselves in the endgame. In contrast, Babylon, with its secure borders, went on the offensive with a purchase of Monotheism. The score at the end of the round was Thrace 4061, Crete 3760, Assyria 3634, and Babylon 3598, and the game would potentially end on the following round if Thrace managed to keep at least 5 cities.

Round 16: Since the leaders acquired the Military advancement, endgame wars were deterred and peace prevailed. After the city construction phase, Illyria had 7 cities, Thrace/Crete/Assyria/Babylon had 8 cities, and Africa/Iberia/Egypt had 9 cities. Once the calamities were revealed, it was apparent that the game would end at the conclusion of this round as Thrace had no calamities and would end with 6 cities. Crete and Assyria finished at 7 and 6 cities, respectively. Babylon gained two cities from an Illyrian Civil War and also converted an Assyrian city using Monotheism, and ended at 7 cities. Babylon also had the best purchase phase, acquiring both Philosophy and Theology for a combined 490 points, while Thrace, Crete, and Assyria each made a single purchase. And so Babylon made a big move up from the fourth-place position it had been for the past four rounds, similar to other Babylonian endgames of recent PBeM finals. However, this time Babylon’s leap was not quite enough to claim victory. Thus, the three-year streak of Babylon winning the PBeM finals was broken as Thrace took its fourth win. Interestingly, all seven PBeM finals have been won by one of these two civilizations, which make for an odd couple: while Babylon is typically picked first and has the most wins at civ.rol-play.com, Thrace is typically picked late and has the second least wins to Asia!

The final score was:

  • Allan Jiang, Thrace 4369
  • Jonas Lundqvist, Babylon 4231
  • Antonio Cataldo, Crete 4182
  • Ed Coderre, Assyria 4058
  • Dave Rubin, Egypt 3394
  • Nils Brobakk, Africa 3251
  • Henry Rice, Iberia 2834
  • Nathan Barhorst, Illyria 2275

2017 PBeM Tournament

After a one-year hiatus and the retirement of four-time champion Mads Lunau, Haakon Monsen of Norway won the 2017 Advanced Civilization tournament in a photo-finish. He defeated Dave Rubin. from New Jersey, USA by a mere two points and 3rd place finisher Ed Coderre of Canada by 16. The remaining laurelists (who were separated only by 12 points) were Antonio Cataldo of Rome, Italy, Kevin Youells of Pennsylvania, USA and Jonas Lundqvist of Sweden. Shantanu Saha (from New Jersey, USA) and Bill Skulley (from Colorado, USA) also qualified for the final. Haakon claimed his first title beating out 38 other competitors through two rounds of play. In the 10 preliminary games, Babylon won 4 times (and finished second an additional 5 times); Crete twice; while Assyria, Illyria, Iberia and Africa each won once. One preliminary game ended in a tie which was broken by AST order.

The final was a closely fought game where no one wanted to give an edge to anyone else. Even in the before last turn, the top 5 were separated by a mere 140 points. The last 5 turns featured 5 different leaders with Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Thrace and Crete all taking a turn at the top of the standings. This includes the last turn when Crete was momentarily winning until the trade card values were added to the tally and vaulted Babylon from third to first.

The game followed a standard beginning but because trading was less open than it might have been, calamities came much more frequently as players could complete sets as easily. Africa was knocked out by calamities early on, acquiring Civil War twice before he had the chance to acquire D&P or Music, and never recovered. In turn 7, Babylon no doubt felt that this wasn’t his day as he drew Famine, Civil War and Flood. [Civil War wound up being the calamity avoided]. Civil war appeared 4 more times though the remainder of the game, each time redrawing the map a little. Africa drew consecutive civil wars early on and never truly recovered. In turn 8, Illyria gained an Egyptian city through treachery. This marked the beginning of a game-long Illyrian presence in the Nile Valley. Even when the Illyrians were finally stamped out in turn 14, an Egyptian civil war in the very same turn invited them right back in again. This time, they would gain two cities in the Levant as well.

While there had been a lot of emails warning anyone who would listen about nations with a seemingly good future, it was in turn 15 that the wars started. Assyria and Thrace were the primary targets over the final three turns. A civil war then ended any hopes that Assyria had for the crown. Crete, by being inconspicuous, and Babylon, helped by its isolation, came out relatively unscathed during this time.

The last turn featured a lot of maneuvering and calculating as it became increasingly clear that the value of a single city would determine the final outcome. In the end, Babylon, an early adopter of monotheism was able to convert one of the aforementioned Illyrian cities and the rest, as they say, is history.

The final score was:

  • Haakon Monsen, Babylon 4127
  • Dave Rubin. Crete 4125
  • Ed Coderre, Egypt 4111
  • Antonio Cataldo, Iberia 3985
  • Kevin Youells, Assyria 3980
  • Jonas Lundqvist, Thrace 3973
  • Bill Skulley, Illyria 3610
  • Shantanu Saha, Africa 3589

2016 PBeM Tournament

Despite having what should have been a huge target on his back, Mads Lunau has succeeded in defending his Advanced Civilization PBeM title against a field of 37 international players to take his third consecutive win. This marks the fourth PBeM tournament win for the Danish Destroyer in the five years of the series, and places him third on the ACV Laurels list despite never having attended WBC. The United States didn’t fare so well, managing only a 6th place finish by Dan Morris in the Laurels haul as the three Americans qualifying for the 8-player Final brought up the rear.

This time, Mads selected Babylon as his nation, and played the entire game near, but not quite in, the lead. This caused other players to be targeted more frequently with secondary effects of calamities. When combined with a hard position to attack, he was able to build and protect his cities wile cultivating a terrific hand of trade cards. On the final turn, he was able to collect full sets of Resin and Gold, turning in 410 points of cards to purchase Philosophy, Democracy, Monotheism, and Road Building (800 points for those of you scoring at home). Rumor has it that he may appear in person in 2017 to collect his prize, so those who think they are good at the live tournament should consider themselves forewarned.

The final scores were:

  • Mads Lunau, Babylon 4514
  • Jonas Lundquist, Egypt 4246
  • Nils Brobakk, Africa 4209
  • Haakon Monsen, Illyria 4066
  • Ed Coderre, Thrace 3741
  • Dan Morris, Iberia, 3647
  • Shantanu Saha, Assyria 3167
  • Pete Staab, Crete 2398

2015 PBeM Tournament

The 2015 Advanced Civilization PBeM tournament has drawn to its conclusion, and Mads Lunau has again risen to the top—, defeating 39 other combatants to claim his third title in the four years that we have run this event.

Leading Babylon, he defeated Ed Coderre of Canada by 121 points—a close game by ACV standards Other laurelists were Jonas Lundquist of Sweden, Jose Ignacio de la Fuente of Spain, and Kevin Youells and Joe Lux of the US. Steve Cameron and Jose de la Fuente completed the 8-player Final.

2014 PBeM Tournament

The 2014 Advanced Civilization PBeM tournament has drawn to its conclusion, and Mads Lunau has again risen to the top, defeating 37 other combatants to claim his second title in the three years that we have run this event. There were 11 games played (ten preliminary games plus a Final). Of those games, Africa and Babylon were dominant with four wins each, Thrace had two, and Illyria one. Thrace has now won all three years of the email tournament., as well as the 2010 and 2013 WBC titles. In tournament competition, I normally see Thrace get selected by the player choosing sixth. Given the recent track record of this country, I would be surprised if Thrace isn't grabbed sooner in the future.

For the longest time, it appeared as though the only competition would be between Jonas Lundgvist (Babylon) and Javier de la Fuente. They both took very different paths to success, as Jonas was the beneficiary of an early Civil War in Iberia. When the next turn rolled around, instead of consolidating his units and reducing the newly acquired cities as calamity damage, he went on the attack, soon occupying much of the rear areas of the Iberian empire. Turn order and calamities worked against Iberia's plan to reclaim his territory, and as a consequence, Jonas had two extra cities and several units tucked away where aggressive neighbors couldn't reach them. The Babylonian colony lived until Turn 16, and was instrumental in the lengthy Babylonian lead. In the end, Iconoclasts and Montotheistic neighbors caught up to Babylon, and caused an AST bump on the last turn, dropping Jonas to three cities. Javier, on the other hand, negotiated strong borders and non-aggression pacts with many other players, so he was generally left alone, and reaped the rewards of peace. He got stuck with a bad calamity draw, however, on the last turn, and was unable to make any purchases, leaving the door open for Mads.

Thrace spent much of the game in the middle of the pack, trying his best to look unassuming and non-threatening. Mads had a phenomenal last round of trading, and turned in six spice, four grain, and a pair of dye (348 points) to purchase Mathematics, Theology, and Philosophy to add 720(!) to his total, catapulting him into the lead as the game ended - which is, after all, the best time to be in the lead.

Overall, it was a great tournament with a truly international flavor. The top six places represented five nations: Denmark, Spain, U.S., Canada and Sweden.

Final results:

  • Mads Lunau Thrace 4438
  • Javier de la Fuente Egypt 4276
  • Kevin Youells Africa 4058
  • Dan Morris Iberia 3914
  • Kevin Worth Asia 3876
  • Jonas Lundgvist Babylon 3653
  • Rob Kircher Illyria 3640
  • Jon Anderson Assyria 2842

2013 PBeM Tournament

Is there a new powerhouse nation? When ACV players speak of the traditionally strong countries, they think of Babylon, Egypt, or Assyria. But Thrace? Never! It is considered a dog, and taken with the seventh or eighth pick. However, that perception may be changing as players using Thrace have won four of the last five BPA Championships - Greg Kulp at WBC 2010, Mads Lunau in 2012 PBeM, Doug Galullo at WBC 2012, and now Kevin Youells in 2013 PBeM.

28 new and returning players made up the 2013 tournament so there were eight 7-player games in the preliminary rounds. Each player participated in two concurrent games, and the winners of each game advanced to the Final. Greg Kulp won both preliminary games with Babylon and Egypt. His double win allowed for the top runner-up to advance, which admitted Jon Anderson. Also advancing with wins were Shantanu Saha, defending champion Mads Lunau, James Gundy, Kevin Worth, Kevin Youells, and Romain Jacques. Five of these worthies were repeating finalists from the previous year.

Egypt led the way with three wins, while Illyria(!) and Babylon garnered two wins each, and Africa won the remaining game.

The Final was unique from the start, as Jon Anderson opted for Asia instead of Creten with the last selection. The Asians and Assyrians did not make room for each other, opting to fight on Turn 2, as they each lost a unit in Cappadocia. This continued in the next round, dooming these two civilizations to also-ran status from the very beginning. Their war continued throughout the game. The Assyrians were driven off the continent, and forced to create a new homeland between Iberia and Illyria after being the beneficiary of Civil War. While this was going on, Illyria and Thrace raced to occupy the empty Cretan territories, and both benefited from the extra space and city sites. Babylon and Asia built a strong border and game-long agreement. Africa, Egypt, and Iberia all claimed their due with little conflict.

Five different players held the lead at various points in the game. Africa led for the first four turns, until Iberia made his move. The Iberians were in the lead for Turns 5 and 6, until struck by the first Civil War. Illyria took over on Turn 7, followed by a Thracian push to lead Turn 8. From there, the lead bounced back and forth between Iberia (Turns 9 and 12), Egypt (Turns 11, 13, and 14), and finally Thrace, who pulled away in the last three turns.

Why did certain civilizations prosper, while others declined? Obviously, Asia and Assyria were done in by their unending jihad. Once the Civil War came into play, things got more complicated. Assyria was the beneficiary of three Civil Wars, two from Iberia, and one from Illyria. Once the Assyrians arrived, they did not go away, which created a scarcity of farmland and city sites in the west, constricting Iberian growth. Iberia eventually ended the game with nine cities, but it was due to holdings in the Middle East, Crete, and Egypt. In addition to not leaving Germany, Assyria fought Illyria, killing several units and seizing Rome at one point. Eventually Illyria was attacked by Africa and Asia, guaranteeing him a place in the lower floors of the standings. Babylon had a card problem - he drew the most calamities. At one point he had eight cities, only drew six cards due to empty stacks, and four of them were calamities!

Thrace had been languishing far back in the point totals through the mid-game, until becoming the only Mining owner. This pulled him back into third, when he was attacked by Asia and Egypt. After buying Military, Thrace pushed back against Egypt, who was eventually driven completely off the Mediterranean coast by combined attacks from Africa, Iberia, and Thrace. Turn 15 was pivotal, as only Thrace, Asia, and Illyria advanced on the AST. This was enough to give Thrace an advantage and a lead that he would not relinquish.

In the end, the top two laurelists from the prior year fought for the championship again. This year Kevin got his revenge on Mads and held on to enough of his 300-point lead in the last turn to claim the prize.

The ending positions were:

  • Thrace Kevin Youells 4583
  • Egypt Mads Lunau 4360
  • Iberia Kevin Worth 4192
  • Africa James Gundy 3935
  • Illyria Romain Jacques 3681
  • Babylon Greg Kulp 3653
  • Asia Jon Anderson 3502
  • Assyria Shantanu Saha 2125

2012 PBeM Tournament

Dane Mads Lunau emerged triumphant from a field of 31 in our first PBeM tournament with a 16-point victory over reigning WBC champ Kevin Youells!! The game moved at a good pace, and took just over four months to complete. It was well fought, with four players vying for the top slot heading into the final round. Greg Kulp led for much of the game with Iberia, but calamities and an invasion from Egypt conspired to deny his title. Jon Anderson led the last two turns, but used all of his trade cards on the penultimate turn to purchase Theology, and was unable to make any purchase in the last round. Mads started the last turn in fourth place, but was holding half sets of Spice and Oil. This was enough to allow him to buy Theology and Philosophy for the win.

The final scores were:

  • Mads Lunau Thrace 4353
  • Kevin Youells Babylon 4337
  • Jon Anderson Illyria 4273
  • Gregory Kulp Iberia 4095
  • Joe Lux Africa 4021
  • Neil McIver Egypt 3721
  • Kevin Worth Assyria 3715
  • Greg Stripes Crete 3305