age of renaissance [Updated August 2001]

AOR  6 prizes Experienced Mult Ent Sing Elim Scheduled 
 Rnd1 Heat1  18  
 Rnd1 Heat2  9    Rnd1 Heat3  18  Round 2 15
 Round 3 Final 19

  Rnd1 Heat1  Rnd1 Heat2 Round 2 Maryland 4    Rnd1 Heat3 Valley    Round 3 Garden

Rich Curtin, NY

2001 Champion

2nd: Marty Hoff, TX

3rd: Marvin Birnbaum, NJ

4th: Kevin Sudy, VA

5th: Steve Koehler, NC

6th: Jim Jordan, MD
Event History
1991    None      -
1992    None      -
1993    None      -
1994    None      -
1995    None      -
1996    Mike May       30
1997    George Sauer      106
1998    Mark Giddings      124
1999    Ewan McNay     115
2000    Ewan McNay      81
2001   Rich Curtin    80

AREA Ratings

GM: Ewan McNay

A new champion in the reign of Ewan

The 2001 tournament saw a few changes from the reign of Jared; most obvious was the preponderance of five-player games, in a response both to previous years' lack of Hamburg victories and to perceived game balance. This was well received... but a little more on Hamburg later on.

Numbers continue to decline slightly, despite the reintroduction of a third heat, but the level of GM questions declined even more markedly as everyone seemed very comfortable with the game's intricacies. Several newcomers and old hands also noted that the level of camaraderie was extremely high - congrats, all! The one unfortunate incident - of a player walking out in the middle of his semi-final (which I still find boggling!) - was but a small tarnish on the enjoyment seen.

This was not a year to be a known face! Both the AREA leader and Enlightenment champ, Bill Crenshaw, and the reigning champion, Ewan McNay, were knocked off in their respective semi-finals - indeed, Bill never managed to win a game, qualifying as a close second. That semi-final also produced one of the closest games that I have ever seen, with first place at 2106 and fifth at 2054! Ewan's semi saw Genoa - Kevin Sudy - take an early caravan and capitalise on the pounding that Ewan (Paris) received - later characterised by Kevin as 'whackamole,' with Paris frequently down to zero cities! With neither Harald Henning nor Tom Taaffe on the field this year, Olin Hentz bowing out of the semis, and Jeff Mullet likewise not advancing, only Jim Jordan of last year's finalists managed a repeat trip to the final table. And from that table, courtesy of Kevin Sudy - - we have a victim's-eye view of the championship game:

Put to rest the myth that Hamburg can't win (none of last years 21 six-player games were won by Hamburg). This year's
champion showed us how. Amid the background noise of gunboat Diplomacy players, a constant flurry of deal-making was taking place at the AOR table.

The first two turns were fairly standard, except that players dumped a total of seven commodity cards, for no payouts - only London's wool remained in the deck. Genoa declared - and showed - that he routinely plays all cards every turn to save on stabilization costs.

On Turn 2, Hamburg played a military card and took Norwegian timber over the protests of London. Those trees would be the foundation for the win. An unlikely shortage of stone gave Genoa a card, but in the corner both Crete and Cyprus had fallen to the Spanish, giving him four wine provinces...alas, Jim promptly rolled a wine surplus.

On Turn 3, Parisian Crusaders provoked Genoese pirates, while a $32 payout of Wool to London convinced Hamburg to instigate a Civil War in England. Barcelona, having bid 0 and bought off the surplus, played Wine for 80, provoking an ill-fated war by Venice - as a result, Barcelona gained a domination marker with zero tokens. Preparing an extended home area that would remain inviolate the rest of the game, Hamburg placed nine satellites. Hamburg had greatly benefitted from the Parisian crusade - eschewing Caravans, Paris had gone to sea - landing in Seville on turn 2! - and left much of Area III to the
German's tender mercies.

[GM note: when I looked at the satellite placement, I thought it might be a fatal flaw in causing a lack of available tokens later on. Shows how much I know.]

On Turn 5 the drunkards in Spain - I mean, master vintners - were rewarded with a double shortage of Wine and two additional cards. Hamburg, moving first, was convinced to buy off both shortages. This was assured by promises of two Timber plays - and still a third came from Hamburg himself, exceeding any payout that the Spanish might have
received from their Wine! London agreed not to sell Barcelona any fool's gold in exchange for the Spanish oracle revealing an upcoming commodity play, but half the Fur mentioned by the divination is out of reach of the English six-boat.

In the first big advance race, Hamburg and Genoa bought Cathedral.With few tokens, Hamburg's purchase is viewed as defensive, and CNN headline news moved from Barcelona to Genoa. With no need of religion, the British discover both longbows and gunpowder, at the expense of Venice who has the misfortune to own most of the 2-value cities. Needing to
maintain a tenuous foothold in the East to fully use these new weapons, London agreed not to attack the Spice merchants in Acre if Paris would leave the peasants of the Levant satellite alone.

On Turn 7, London played Alchemist's gold on the perceived leader, Genoa. Immediately following that play, however, Hamburg revealed that his agents had been sponsoring the works of Copernicus, Galilei, Prince Henry, Columbus and Oldenburg (too many for golf, not enough for a baseball team), revealing the reason Hamburg had not been able to participate in commodity deal-making of previous turns. To add insult to this injury - and indeed, perhaps a fatal blow to the competing
merchants' chances - Timber pays out for the fifth and sixth time, bringing Hamburg's total Timber revenue for the game to something like $225. Faced with this mass of patronage moneys needed and feared, Wine-for-Wool and other deals proliferated, including effective extortion by Venetian Rebellion-mongers for much-needed Cloth payouts. A count showed that the total value of advances owned by the six players fell within a slim 80 point spread - BUT, all realize that Hamburg,
playing third, is carrying forward hundreds of dollars of patronage to the final turn - and has bought Interest and Profit to benefit from this loot.

On Turn 8, therefore, Venice played Civil War on Hamburg, and in the final turn of the game, the usual squabbling for final Spice and Silk payouts ensued. Such trinkets were beneath the Timber lord: with zero payouts in final card play, Hamburg retained the lead.

1st place Hamburg 1779 (bid 0 chose 6th)
2nd place Venice 1742 (bid 4 chose 2nd)
3rd place Genoa 1681 (bid 3 chose 4th)
4th place London 1591 (bid 3 chose 3rd)
5th place Paris   1471 (bid 3 chose 5th)
6th place Barcelona 1401 (bid 4 chose 1st)

 GM     Ewan McNay [1st year] 1303 Cypress Drive, Danbury, CT 06811 NA

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