Voyages of Marco Polo (VMP) PBeM Reports Updated June 21, 2023

2023 PBeM Tournament

During the 2022 Voyages of Marco Polo PBEM tournament, 29 participants played a total of 49 games over three rounds. In each round, players completed four simultaneous games and were ranked according to the cumulative results using a 1000-100-10-1 scoring system.

In the first round, perennial finalists Michael Swinson and Dominic Blais each earned three wins to top the standings. Another seven players won two games: Connie Vogelmann, Dan Sirbu, Peter Ran, Chris Wildes, Jeff Wu, AJ Jiang, and Rob Flowers. Thirteen players advanced to the semifinal with a score of 1111 required.

2022 WBC champion Dominic once again won three of four games in the semifinal round. However, he was edged out for the top of the leaderboard by two-time PBEM finalist Peter Ran. Michael and Connie each won two games and they were joined in the final round by Chris Wildes, DJ Borton, and Scott Burns. Only those seven players won games during the semifinal, with 2022 PBEM champion AJ Jiang missing out with four second-place finishes.

Only four players won games during the seven-game final round. DJ and Connie each won once to finish 3rd and 4th respectively. Peter won twice to earn 2nd place and his highest finish in a PBEM Marco Polo tournament. Michael avenged his tiebreaker loss from last year, winning three games to earn his second PBEM Marco Polo championship, having previously won in 2020.

The top six finishers were:

  1. Michael Swinson
  2. Peter Ran
  3. DJ Borton
  4. Connie Vogelmann
  5. Dominic Blais
  6. Scott Burns

Michael won 8 of his 12 games and never finished lower than 2nd. Unlike in 2020 when he used one character in all his wins (Wilhelm von Rubruk), he won with five different characters this year. This included two wins each with Rashid ad-Din Sinan and Johannes Carpini, historically two of the worst performing characters.

Mercator ex Tabriz had the most wins of any character (19), the highest win rate (52.78%), and the best average finish (1.78). This was followed by Berke Khan (9 wins) and Niccolo & Marco Polo (8 wins), with no other character earning more than 4 wins. On the other end, Matteo Polo, Kublai Khan, and Johannes Carpini each earned two victories, with Matteo having the worst win rate (8%) and Carpini posting the worst average finish (3.08).

Comparing this year’s tournament with data from 2021, Mercator ex Tabriz and Berke Khan had improved win rates of 18.30% and 16.22% respectively. Wilhelm von Rubruk and Kublai Khan saw their win rates decrease by 23.92% and 20.71%. After not winning a single game in 2021, Rashid ad-Din Sinan earned three wins this year.

Compiling the numbers from all three PBEM tournaments, Mercator ex Tabriz and Wilhelm von Rubruk post the highest historical win rates at 40.57% and 35.82%. Matteo Polo and Rashid ad-Din Sinan remain the lowest with 11.43% and 6.06%.

Once again congratulations to Michael Swinson and to all the laurelists and thank you to everyone who participated in the event.

2022 PBeM Tournament

During the 2021 Voyages of Marco Polo PBEM tournament, 25 participants played a total of 45 games over three rounds

The top six finishers were:

  1. Allan Jiang
  2. Michael Swinson
  3. Connie Volgelmann
  4. Peter Ran
  5. Chris Wildes
  6. Martin van der Vlag

2021 PBeM Tournament

During the first round of the 2020 Voyages of Marco Polo PBEM tournament, thirty participants completed a total of thirty games, advancing fifteen players to the semifinal round. Three players managed to earn three wins in Round 1: Keith Dent, Allan Jiang, and Ming Hon, while seven other players earned two wins each.

In the semifinal round, another fifteen games were played with Allan Jiang again leading the field with three wins. Peter Ran, Connie Vogelmann, and Dominic Blais each earned two wins during the semifinal. They were joined in the final by Robb Effinger, Michael Swinson, and David Vestal.

In the final round, the finalists played seven games to determine a champion. Six of these games were won by Michael Swinson and Connie Vogelmann, each earning three victories. The winner would be determined by the results of their 4th games, with Michael’s third place finish edging out Connie’s fourth place. The top 6 finishers were:

  1. Michael Swinson
  2. Connie Vogelmann
  3. Allan Jiang
  4. Robb Effinger
  5. Peter Ran
  6. Dominic Blais

Michael won a total of five games throughout the three rounds of the tournament and used the Wilhelm von Rubruk character in each of these wins, demonstrating a mastery of a character many consider difficult to play well. Wilhelm von Rubruk was the story of the tournament, posting the highest win rate of any character at 46.15% and earning the 2nd most wins with 12. This is a significant change from WBC 2019 where the character failed to win a single game.

Mercator ex Tabriz finished with the 2nd highest win rate at 34.15% and most total wins with 14, a trend that continued from WBC 2019. However, if we separate the first round from the semifinal/final, we notice a decline in win rate from 40% to 25%, indicating that the character is not quite as powerful amongst more experienced players. Berke Khan had the highest average finish at 2.06 along with the 3rd highest win rate (32.26%) and total wins (10). On the other end, Rashid ad-Din Sinan had the lowest winning percentage (4.55%) and fewest wins (1). 34.62% of winners had the most contracts (or tied for most). 44.23% of winners had the most points from destination cards and 51.92% of winners had at least 20 points from destination cards. 48.08% of winners placed all their trading posts. This includes 83.33% of Wilhelm von Rubruk winners who placed all 11 trading posts. 28.85% of winners were first to get to Beijing, however 96.15% of winners did have a trading post in Beijing.

Once again congratulations to Michael Swinson and to all the laurelists. Thank you to everyone who participated in the event.

Full results can be seen at