There was a time when Age of Renaissance was one of the most popular WBC events, drawing triple digits three years in succession at a time when such large events were not as common as they are today. It also had 13 dedicated mini-cons where you could play it exclusively for three days straight. I would be willing to bet that this feat will probably never be repeated by a multi-player game taking five hours to play.
Those days are long gone as Age of Renaissance fell out of the century last year and drew an even lower turnout this year. Despite this, in addition to the usual diehards, we had a couple folks play who just felt like giving it a go after having not played in several years. We would very much like to see you again next year! If the event is voted back in again, I will change the event’s rating back to B and offer a demo to attract some new blood. I am also considering keeping the event entirely on the opening weekend. Also, to just give people a chance to play, there is the option of returning to enlightenment style scoring, offering three or four heats without a Final). This option would incentivize folks who are trying to win the tournament to play more than one heat.
Heat 1: At Table 1 things were relatively peaceful with the only early spat being John Stevens’ Hamburg playing War on Winton Lemoine’s London. Warren Day’s Venice offered peace to Eric Monte’s Paris after a failed assault on Vienna on Turn 3. Warren pointed out that Paris was set up to buy Seaworthy and should maybe focus on that instead. Paris backed off, bought Seaworthy and Venice proceeded to collect an income of over 100 for several turns. This went relatively unchecked since Warren was holding Civil War and used this to keep everyone at bay. However, everyone perked up when Warren was the recipient of two metal payouts, fur, cloth for 125, and grain. He was then promptly hit with Alchemy, Rebellion, Black Death, and Pirates.
Mason Murray started off slow as Genoa without a boat the first turn. He was slowly able to claw his way back and was the recipient of a couple larger sized payouts. John Stevens was able to stay out of the fray but was hit by War on the second to last turn (wishing maybe he had not played it earlier). When the scores were calculated John had edged Mason by a single point. The game was relatively close from top to bottom with only 300 points separating first from last.
Table 2 featured fortunate card draws by several players late. On Turn 6 Richard Curtin’s London was able to pick up two wool cards and pay them out the same turn for 196. Peter Eldridge’s Hamburg eventually held three timber cards but could muster only three such doms. Eugene Hourany’s Venice was maybe the most fortunate, playing Columbus for himself and then buying Ocean Nav and New World in the same turn. He topped that on the next turn by drawing two silks with three already on the board to claim the win by 200 points over Peter Eldridge.
Heat 2: We were only able to muster six players for a third game with assistant GM Mark Smith overseeing the start and bowing out to let others play despite being a huge fan of the game. John Coussis, Jeff Mullet, Eugene Hourany, Winton Lemoine, Peter Eldridge, and Jon Anderson manned the table. Jeff was able to secure his seat at the Final with a 1719-point win over John Coussis’ 1397. This second place finish would qualify for the Final also.
Since we had only three preliminary games, all winners and runners-up were eligible to advance. John Stevens, Eugene H, and Jeff Mullet won their tables with Mason Murray, Peter Eldridge, and John Coussis qualifying as runners-up. However, Eugene and Mason bowed out of further play. As such, we had a 4-player Final with two-time former champion Jeff Mullet snatching up Paris with the highest bid, Enlightenment champion John Coussis playing Barcelona, former finalist John Stevens as Genoa, and Peter Eldridge, making his first Final appearance, Venice.
4-player games can run long with someone typically buying all the advances by game end. However, John was able to buy everything in under four hours after cashing in two spice, a silk and cloth payout for 628 dollars. That crushed Jeff by nearly 1500 points with Stevens trailing Jeff by a few hundred points for third. Peter was in the red zone on the Misery Track and finished with a truly memorable score. For reference, I’d suggest the works of Douglas Adams.
The turning point came when Peter tried to invade typical Paris territory and hit him with Rebellion. Jeff, feeling as though hostilities had been declared, returned fire with Civil War and didn’t feel bad taking away doms from the player with the lowest income. Satisfying as that may have been at the time, it would all come back to hurt him at the start of the Third Epoch as Jeff was hammered by events—including Civil War—courtesy of Coussis. Another notable play occurred when Jeff hit John with Pirates for three wine doms to get his wine card out of his hand, after they were unable to make a deal for the wine payout. With a decent amount of misdirection going on, John was able to sail his way to his first WBC AOR title.
We hope to see more new faces, as well as some familiar ones next year. Hope springs eternal and if the stars align we may not have seen the end of AOR at WBC.
|The four finalists are ready to battle