Navegador (NVG) PBeM Reports Updated May15, 2023

2023 PBeM Tournament

Thirty-three players participated in this year’s tournament. The field was larger than last year (57 games vs. 52). Only eight of the games ended by through Sailing. The rest ended by Buildings, either in Age 2 (18) or Age 3 (31). The longest game was 157 turns (ended with Sailing, with 2 factories left). The shortest game was 109 turns, which ended with six Exploration markers still on the board.

Ray Wolff led the scoring for the First-Round games, coming in with 4 wins. Mike Kaltman, Ryan Feathers, and Ian Streeb had 3 wins each.

The Final Round games featured former PBEM champions Michael Swinson and Ian Streeb, along with multiple-WBC winner Andrew Emerick. The rest included Ryan Feathers, Rob Flowers, Paul Sampson, Chris Wildes, and Ray Wolff.

In Game 1, Chris Wildes tied Rob Flowers, but won the tiebreaker, in an Age 2 game where Chris led with Churches and Rob with factories, where Chris was able to use turn order to his advantage in the market.

In Game 2, Chris Wildes edged Ian Streeb by one point, where Chris had churches and factories over a shipyard/explorer setup.

In Game 3, Ian Streeb passed Ray Wolff by 11 points, with shipyards and 12 colonies.

In Game 4, Rob Flowers won by 14 points over Andrew Emerick, with 15 factories and a couple of churches.

In Game 5, Rob Flowers outpaced Michael Swinson by 15 points, with churches and factories, in part aided by a sugar factory monopoly achieved about halfway through the game.

In Game 6, Andrew Emerick beat Michael Swinson by 3 points, with shipyards and colonies.

In Game 7, Michael Swinson won by 7 points over Ryan Feathers, with churches/factories and the support of his gold colonies.

In Game 8, we saw the closet game in the tournament, which went 112-111-111-110. Ian Streeb was the winner of the game, with Ryan Feathers and Chris Wildes behind.

In the end, Ian and Rob were tied in tournament points, and the tiebreaker is calculated on how close you were to the first-place players (or how much you won over 2nd place). With 2 decent wins and a tiebreaker 2nd place, Rob eked out the victory. Final standings were:

  1. Rob Flowers
  2. Ian Streeb
  3. Chris Wildes
  4. Michael Swinson
  5. Andrew Emerick
  6. Ryan Feathers

Like previous year reports, here is a list of the main “suits” that were used in each player’s score, and how many games were won with that arrangement. Here I held fast to 20 or more points to count it as a major scoring category. Age 2 games were much more likely to be won with a single category. Factories, especially, can do quite well in shorter games with just a handful of other points.

  • Shipyards/Exploration (19 players / 4 winners)
  • Shipyards/Colonies (21/4)
  • Churches (12/1)
  • Shipyards/Factories (12/2)
  • Churches/Factories (50/21)
  • Shipyards (17/4)
  • Factories (22/7)
  • Colonies (18/1)
  • Colonies/Exploration (14/5)
  • Churches/Colonies (11/5)
  • Factories/Colonies (10/1)
  • Exploration (2/0)
  • Factories/Exploration (3/0)
  • Churches/Shipyards (3/0)
  • Mix of 3 categories – usually Shipyards/Colonies/Exploration (14/2)

I also looked a little into a couple of things which ultimately did not seem that significant.

First, winners by initial turn order 18-12-11-16 by 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th.

Second, I was looking at a theory whereby if the initial colony flips turn up some cheap colonies, that the fourth player could get an early boost with buying 1 worker the first turn, then using Henry and a colony action to buy two colonies. In the 22 games that this happened, 6 of those folks won, which is not too different than the percentage of 4th place winners overall. I was surprised a bit by how often, in several games, nobody sailed to the sugar colonies for several turns.

Finally, while digging into that, I took note of the opening four moves of every game. Of the 57 games, there 44 different sequences of moves, and no series of 4 moves was repeated in more than 3 games. For a static setup, there’s still tons of variety to be had.

Thanks all, we’ll do this again next year! .


2022 PBeM Tournament

The field was a bit smaller this year, so we had 52 total games instead of the 59 for last year. Of those 52 games, 12 ended with Sailing, 17 ended with Buildings before phase 3 was triggered, and 23 ended with Buildings after phase 3 was triggered. Six games satisfied the second game ending condition after being triggered by the first.

The average winner scores were 119 for games ending with Sailing, 110 for phase 3 games ending with Building, and 93 for phase 2 games ending with Building. The distribution of points can vary wildly, of course. The highest score was by Andrew Emerick, who scored 140 with mostly churches and factories (in a game that ended with Sailing). The lowest winning score was posted by Ray Wolff, who had collected Shipyards with a side suit of factories in a game that finished in phase 2.

And then for my highly subjective statistics for “strategies”. I shoehorned folks into one or two items to describe where they got the bulk of their points. The dividing lines were pretty arbitrary, and I lowered them a bit for phase 2 games. There were also other games where a player (usually the winner), just got some very favorable tempo and managed to score decently in three categories, but I just chose the best two. Below is the number of times that “strategy” was attempted and how many times it won.

  • Churches / Factories - 52 / 22 (still very strong. Someone should always be going for this. And there’s also arguments to be made that there’s viable room for 2 players. We had 10 games with 2 players going for C/F and 3 of them were won by one of those players.)
  • Shipyards / Colonies – 31 / 9
  • Shipyards / Exploration – 24 / 2 (I was surprised to see this so low)
  • Shipyards / Factories – 17 / 3
  • Churches / Colonies – 16 / 3
  • Colonies / Exploration – 15 / 6 (this is a strategy I don’t usually consider)
  • Factories only – 13 / 0 (I think this is a bit misleading. Some of the other factories + other were heavy on factories. I think leaning heavy into factories can be quite viable and then pick something else up later.)
  • Factories / Colonies – 11 / 4 (can be tricky to pull off, as you generally leave either Shipyards or Churches uncontested to somebody, but very satisfying when it succeeds)
  • Churches only – 9 / 2 (should be noted that a lot of these “single suit” games are those that ended in Phase 2)
  • Churches / Shipyards – 6 / 0 (generally never works, but if someone doesn’t challenge one, you might try and pick up some of the cheaper ones)
  • Exploration only – 4 / 0
  • Churches / Exploration – 4 / 0
  • Shipyards only – 3 / 1
  • Factories / Exploration – 3 / 0

The final round had 7 games between 7 players for the top honors.

Game 1: Mike Kaltman beat Tim O’Flynn by 9 points with Churches and Factories. Mike had only 1 gold colony but monopolized the sugar factories.

Game 2: Michael Swinson passed Ray Wolff by 12 points. Michael managed to collect Shipyards along with 7 factories, but also 5 sugar colonies.

Game 3: Andrew Emerick won by 14 points over Tim O’Flynn, with a collection of 11 colonies and 6 exploration tokens.

Game 4: In one of those games with two Church / Factory players, Michael Swinson managed to be one of those that won, beating Antero Kuusi by 11.

Game 5: In the closest final round game, Anthony Lainesse won by 3 over Michael Swinson, with Colonies, Exploration Tokens, and also some Shipyards.

Game 6: Michael Swinson gets revenge, blowing past Anthony Lainess by 33 points with Churches and Factories.

Game 7: Mike Kaltman wins his second game, by 11 over Andrew Emerick, with Churches and Factories.

Michael’s three wins and a second place put him solidly in first place – congratulations!

The final results:

  1. Michael Swinson
  2. Mike Kaltman
  3. Andrew Emerick
  4. Anthony Lainesse
  5. Ray Wolff
  6. Tim O’Flynn
  7. Antero Kuusi

Full results at


2021 PBeM Tournament
  I have always enjoyed Navegador ever since it came out, as it fits well into the type of games I like where there are several simple, intertwined systems and there is a lot of predicting what other people will do (and prodding them by the actions you take). Obviously from the tournament results, I still have a lot to learn about this game.

I find a lot of focus on the discussion of strategy revolves around the items you strive to collect (e.g., a “Churches/factories” strategy) and while this is somewhat true, it is rather less of a strategy than where you eventually decide to pick up your points that build up the bulk of your score. Equally important is the income structure that develops over the course of the game. The most lopsided victories seem to be the ones where this gets way out of whack (e.g., one player gets the bulk of the sugar factories while the sugar colonies are split among the other players).

Lesser, but still important factors are timing/momentum with regards to the end of the game and change of each phase, as well as dealing with how you access workers or ships when you do not have the corresponding buildings to make them accessible.

As you seek to avoid having factories that match the colonies of your left-hand player (or vice-versa) and try not to be the THIRD person to start collecting a particular item, the whole beginning to middle of the game feels like a high-stakes game of chicken, which then turns into a gallop to the finish line… which sometimes comes sooner than you expect.

Of the total 59 games, we had 16 games end with Sailing, and 33 ended with Building. Of the games that ended with Building, 13 of them ended before the third phase was triggered (with the other 30 going all 3 phases). There were five games where the second endgame condition was achieved after the first one was triggered.

Average winning scores overall were about 108 points, but ending the game earlier obviously changes this. The average winning score dropped down to about 93 points in games that ended in phase 2. The lowest winning score was Ray Wolff with 84 points in a game where two players butted heads on Churches and Factories while he focused almost exclusively on Shipyards. The highest score was 141 points by Antero Kuusi who amassed Shipyard and Colonies in a game where all the Exploration tokens and Buildings were exhausted.

Back to the scoring, “strategies”, I did attempt to categorize how people got their points. The data collection was a bit imperfect, but I eventually settled on noting whenever someone got 20 or more points in a particular category. Here is the breakdown of the TOTAL number of times in that category, and the number of winning scores in that category.

  • Churches/Factories – 52 (23)
  • Shipyards/Colonies – 33 (9)
  • Shipyards – 25 (2)
  • Factories – 24 (5)
  • Churches – 21 (1)
  • Shipyards/Exploration – 19 (4)
  • Colonies/Exploration – 18 (5)
  • Churches/Colonies – 12 (4)
  • Shipyard/Factories – 11 (6)
  • Colonies – 11 (1)
  • Factories/Colonies – 7 (2)
  • No category – 4 (0)
  • Exploration – 4 (0)
  • Churches/Exploration – 2 (0)
  • Factories/Exploration – 1 (0)

Churches/Factories is certainly one of the easiest and straightforward combinations to pull off. And I think it even has room for two players. There were nine games where two players used this route, and five of them were won by one of those players. In the 34 games where only one person went that route (or did it well enough for my statistics) sixteen of them won. Despite the popularity, paths other than that are certainly viable.

I feel like, without much evidence, that one of the more balanced “setups” there is when two players are pursing Churches and Factories, while the other two pursue Shipyards, with one of the sailing players mostly picking up Exploration tokens while the other follows getting Colonies. But there is a lot to be said for all other sorts of combinations or even a single strong collection.

On to the final games. I run several rounds with four simultaneous games. The final round was seven players and seven games.

Game 1 – Anthony Lainesse (with 15 factories!) beat Mike Kaltman (Shipyards/Exploration) by 3 points.

Game 2 – Ray Wolff (Churches/Factories) had a 20-point lead over 2nd place DJ Borton (Shipyards/Colonies). In this game it appeared Ray had a Sugar Factory monopoly while the others split the colonies.

Game 3 – DJ Borton (Shipyards/Colonies) won by 18 points over Ray Wolff (Colonies). It was the opposite in this game. DJ had all the sugar colonies and the factories were split.

Game 4 – Ian Streeb (11 colonies, a few shipyards) passed Anthony Lainesse (13 factories) by 1 point.

Game 5 – Robert Woodson (Shipyards/Exploration) won ON A TIEBREAKER over Ian Streeb (Shipyards with some colonies).

Game 6 – Ian Streeb (Shipyards/Colonies and most of the sugar colonies) won by a comfortable 19 points over Allan Jiang.

Game 7 – Allan Jiang (factories/churches) edged DJ Borton (Colonies/Factories) by 2 points.

In the end it was very, very close. Ian Streeb and DJ Borton tied on tournament points, so it came down to the 3rd digit in the tiebreaking score, 3.96 to 3.95. Ian’s margins (not to mention his tiebreaker loss in game 5) were just enough. Both played well, congrats!

Final Results: Full results available at

Order of Finish:

  1. Ian Streeb
  2. DJ Borton
  3. Anthony Lainesse
  4. Allan Jiang
  5. Ray Wolff
  6. Robert Woodson
  7. Mike Kaltman