Fortunes at Low Ebb
Jon Anderson and Rob Davidson consider
Eric Wrobel (left) wins his heat to
As befitting a year in which the game fell out of the Century
after a 13-year run, there was a lot of chaos. Three players
chaosed out and they all seemed to share a table with champion
Ted Simmons! Conversely, in the qualifying heats there were three
Buy Outs at 2100 in Advances and two more in the Final for a
total of five out of 32 player starts. There are rumors
of the event seeking a pre-con slot to reverse its declining
fortunes should it return by membership vote.
Those were not the only interesting developments. One game
saw practically everyone take a different path on Turn 5, with
players choosing Cathedral, Ocean Navigation, Industry, and low
misery as separate points of emphasis. Industry proved the best
path in that instance. Other unusual events were someone owning
Middle Class before purchasing Overland East, London not leaving
the Island until Turn 5, and an unusual Barcelona Caravan strategy.
Many people appeared for the demo despite the game's age and
then put what they learned to the test in a heat. Since there
is such interest in the community, I decided to focus the remainder
of my write up on the first few turns of the Final to see how
a real championship game develops.
The players started by bidding for capitals. Kevin & Ken
both bid 3, Eugene 1, and Ted and Eric 0. After a roll off to
break the ties, Kevin chose Barcelona, Ken - Paris, Eugene -Venice,
Ted - Genoa, and Eric - London. The players then placed their
initial token bids with the following results: L-12 (1st), V-13(2nd),
B-14(3rd), P-17(4th), and G-24(5th). Only two cards were played:
V - Mysticism (+4 misery for all) and B-Stone (+$1 to Paris).
Paris bought Caravan and the rest bought boats for $10 in the
Purchase Phase. Paris could not stabilize and took another misery
During expansion, London bartered with Paris for St Malo,
and claimed Portsmouth, York, and Edinburgh on the island, Venice
bartered with Genoa to take Florence in exchange for Genoa taking
Milan & Rome, then proceeded to take Vienna and Dubrovnik,
and sail to Belgrade using Galley 2. Barcelona expanded to Toledo,
Basque, Montpelier, and Valencia and sailed to Granada. He then
bought an additional card for three tokens. Paris used Caravan
to extend to Cologne, Bruges, Basel, Strassburg, and Dijon which
establishes a border with Genoa. Finally Genoa expands to Lyon,
Marseille, Milan, Rome, and sails two tokens to Naples. With
his remaining six he purchases a card.
The expansion goes to Barcelona as the first with five new
dominations. The Shortage/Surplus rolls produce a surplus of
Metal which has majority ownership split between Genoa and Barcelona,
and a shortage of Cloth, which is also split at two apiece between
Paris and Venice.
Token bids are as follows: P-10, V-10, L-11, B-12, G-13. Paris
played Famine (L/P/V +3 misery for one Grain), B/G +4 misery
for no Grain), Barcelona played Revolutionary Uprising (P+1 misery
for Caravan) and Stone (B/L/P/V $1 ea / G $4), and London played
Timber (V+$3). The four players continued to improve their boats,
and B/L/V supplemented even further by buying Heavens. Paris
expanded to Bordeaux, Nuremburg, Prague and a satellite in St
Gali. Venice took Budapest, Salonika, Crete, and Tripoli, London
entered the Med with a satellite in Oran, and took Chester, Waterford,
Iceland, and Bergen. Barcelona claimed Seville, Lisbon, Fez,
Algiers, and West Africa. Genoa completed Naples and claimed
Tunis, Sicily, and a satellite in Athens, and bought a card for
three tokens. Barcelona received another expansion card and a
double shortage of Timber was rolled.
Round 3 bids were V-7, B-9, L-10, P-13,and G-16. London placed
Walter the Penniless in the box protecting him from other players
patronage. Genoa, solicited some patronage by offering a Wool
payout and asking $7 in patronage fees for Dionysus Exiguus.
Both B and L bought Patronage and used Exiguus to discount Written
Record, London was also able to afford Overland with Walter's
discount. Venice ignored the leader and bought Overland at cost.
Paris entered the seas with Seaworthy, and Genoa was able to
convert the patronage money to get Written Record, and Nationalism.
B/G/L also paid to ugrade their boats.
The race to the East was on! Now you can guess where everyone
might have expanded, who would use Crusades, and who had military
advantages in Turn 4. You can see how things turned out in the
Mark Smith, Kurt Miller and Ted Mullally
admire Kurt's artwork. Kurt did all the art for the game when
he worked for Avalon Hill - from box cover to map to counters.
Ted Simmons (standing) completed his
Age of Renaissance education by winning it all, 11 years
after attending his first Enlightenment mini-con where he and
his father have been regulars.