louis xiv [Updated October 2006]  

2006 WBC Report  

 2007 Status: pending December Membership Vote

Arthur Field, SC

2006 Champion

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Event History
2005    Evan Tannheimer     66
2006    Arthur Field     33

Euro Quest Event History
2005    Arthur Field     18


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Arthur Field       SC    06     40
  2.  Evan Tannheimer    MA    05     30
  3.  Richard Meyer      MA    05     18
  4.  Rodney Bacigalupe  MD    06     12
  5.  Tom Browne         PA    05     12
  6.  Robert Cranshaw    RI    05     12
  7.  Steven Caler       OH    05      9
  8.  Gordon Rodgers     PA    06      8
  9.  Tom Dunning        NY    05      8
 10.  Patrick Shea       VA    06      6
 11.  Skip Maloney       NY    05      6
 12.  Bob Heinzmann      FL    05      6
 13.  Sam Atabaki        CA    06      4
 14.  Winston LaMoine    CA    05      4
 15.  Stan Hilinski      MD    05      3
 16.  Blair Morgen       NJ    06      2
 17.  Bill Duke          MD    05      2

2006 Laurelists

Rodney Bacigalupe, MD

Gordon Rodgers, PA

Patrick Shea, VA

Sam Atabaki, CA

Blair Morgen, NJ

Past Winners

Evan Tannheimer, MA

 John Weber (upper left) takes a break from his Puerto Rico GM duties to play Louis XI4.

A lack of curious players caused a precipitous sophomore attendance drop.

 Gordon Rodgers and David Rohde (right) contemplate their next mission.

Sophomore Jinx?

Attendance at this event was halved this year; from 66 unique players in its inaugural year last year to 33, this year; a fact attributed (by my assistant GM John Weber) to the 'difficult' time slots allotted for tournament play (more on this later), although most new events suffer attrition in their second year. Euros, which attract many players learning them on the fly in their debuts, are especially vulnerable to this declne.

We fielded 16 players (four games) in each of the first two heats and 12 (three games) in the third. Conflicts bedeviled the tournament throughout the week. In spite of ten unique winners in the 11 preliminary games (Kevin Brown was the only player to win two heats), and sufficient second-place alternates, we were unable to muster a full semi-final complement of 16 players. Only seven winners in the preliminary rounds were able to make it to the semi-finals - Eric Freeman, Arthur Field, Gordon Rogers, Jim Castonguay, Blair Morgan, Patrick Shea and Rodney Bacigalupo. The field was filled with alternates Greg Thatcher, Chris Moffa, Ted Simmons, Sam Atabaki and Rafael Lehrer, all of whom squared off in three, semi-final games. The winners were advanced to the Final, along with the closest, by percentage, second place finisher in the three matches, which turned out to be Rodney Bacigalupo. Rodney completed only five missions in his semi-final game, but had 16 coats-of-arms (heretofore referred to as 'shields') by game's end (almost twice as many as his three opponents) and collected four more in the 'majority shield' battle, edging out Blair Morgen for second place by one point and losing by one point (46-45) to Patrick Shea. That single point differential for second place narrowly beat out Sam Atabaki, who, in his semi-final game, finished two points behind Gordon Rogers (47-45).

Point totals tell a tale of strong competition in the Final, which featured the highest total points scored in any game - 198; 10 points higher than any matchup in the preliminary heats or the semi-finals. This translates into almost 50 points per player (49.5, actually). Three of the four finalists completed eight missions with the fourth accomplishing seven. Overall, in the first three heats and semi-finals, players completed a little over six missions, on average.

On average, the 33 unique participants scored just over 43 points per game, broken down into roughly six missions (at five points each), ten 'end of play' shields and two bonus shields (percentage points account for the single point difference between the two).

In winning, Arthur Field who was the only returning laurelist, recorded the highest single point total of 55 (eight missions, 12 'end of play' shields and three 'bonus' shields). Patrick Shea, one of the four finalists, scored 54 points in his first round heat, as did Kevin Brown in the second heat. Rodney Bacigalupo scored the lowest point total in a victory (41 based on five missions, 11 'end of play' shields and five 'bonus' shields).

Knowing that one of the principle criticisms of Louis XIV has been the fact that bonus shields are awarded randomly, based on a player's possession of a majority of different types, I decided to determine, for each game played, how this 'random' element actually affected play. As it turned out, this 'random' element actually determined the tournament's winner. At the end of play in the Final, both Arthur Field and Rodney Bacigalupo had completed eight missions for 40 points and were in possession of 12 shields. Arthur, however, picked up three bonus shields in the 'majority' battle, while Rodney gained only one, ending the game with Arthur in front by just those two points (55-53). On the other hand, throughout the tournament, bonus shields were less significant than the number of shields players owned before the bonuses were determined. Kevin Brown, in winning his third heat (52 points) had 17 shields at the end of play and picked up five bonus shields when the 'majorities' were evaluated. He completed the least amount of missions in that game (6), but ended up with the win because he had two-plus and five-plus times as many shields as Greg Thatcher and Richard Fox, who tied for second place. So, in general, the 'shield' rule of thumb appears to be: if you want to increase your chances at the random 'majority' battle for bonus shields, collect more shields during the course of the game. Bear in mind, though, that while the winner in this year's tournament was more or less determined randomly with the bonus shield totals, three of the four finalists (Arthur, Patrick, & Rodney) completed eight missions (each by completing three missions in one round, two in two rounds and a single mission in a fourth). Gordon Rogers completed seven missions (two in all but the opening round). The Louis XIV rule here appears to be: complete two missions in at least three of the four rounds and look to pick up between two and three shields per round (three being preferable). Had Patrick Shea accomplished the second half of this formula, instead of just the first half (he collected only two shields in the course of play), he'd have brought home the 'wood.' As it was, his two, game-earned shields earned him only a single bonus shield (and he was lucky to get that) and he finished last.

In all 15 games played, a total of 87 'hard' missions were accomplished; between five and six total per game, which translates to between one and two per player. Only six players completed three 'hard' missions in a game - Rodney Bacigalupo and Jack Jaeger did it twice, while four other players did it once each.

Note to newbies: Based on the data collected this year, you should look to at least equal the tournament average of six missions and 1ten shields for 40 points by game's end. Figuring that you're more or less likely to pick up two bonus shields, you're looking to score (on average) about 42 + points per game. Obviously, if you're looking to be competitive at this game, you should be completing at least seven missions, bearing in mind that three of this year's finalists completed eight.

Now, as to the potentially 'life-threatening' attendance at this year's tournament and the scheduling that seems to have contributed to the 50% drop in numbers. . . I try to leave the scheduling to the proverbial 'powers that be,' assuming that if every GM submitted a demanding, deal-breaking schedule, the BPA would be unable to schedule anything. What GM or potential participant wouldn't want a schedule that fit every heat of a game into an early or late evening slot and didn't conflict with anything? The issue here is interest. If Louis XIV is a game that enough people want to attend, then the 9 a.m. slots for the heats (we had two of them) shouldn't be a problem. You want to play badly enough, you'll show up at the scheduled time. If other games (and/or time slots) are more important to you, then you won't. Simple. For a variety of reasons, I'd like to see Louis XIV continue as a WBC event and I'd sign up to GM again in a minute. But if the numbers aren't there to justify its continued existence, then so be it. Those of you who played are encouraged to vote for it and I'll be doing my best to drum up interest in the game and voting process through the fall and into the winter voting time.

Hope to see you all (and more) next year and I promise to improve on my GM organizational skills (with the help of John Weber) in the meantime. Feel free to reach me via e-mail with any questions.
I'd like to thank both John Weber (who apparently didn't have enough to do running Puerto Rico) and Beth Raphael for their able and much appreciated assistance in running this event.

 GM      Skip Maloney [1st Year]   NA
   skipm624@aol.com   410-602-8111

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