Tournament Complete!

The 2017-2018 PBEM Tzolkin tournament is completed.  Like last year, we had twenty-eight players, which worked out to give us all four player games.  Unlike last year, we introduced on new rule, which was that in the semifinal and final games, some handicaps were applied to help address perceived player order imbalances.   The first player’s score was reduced by 5 points and the fourth player raised by 2 points.   This was in lieu of bidding, which would have been very difficult to implement in the online format.   The adjustments only changed one result (switching two players between 3rd and 4th places), so the impact was pretty minimal this time.


Strategies that max out the Resource and Architecture tracks are still very popular and successful.  The next most successful strategy was Theology .  (Indeed, four of the five semifinal/final games were won with a Theology strategy.)   We also saw a number of players using just the Resources track, or Resources combined with Theology.   We only had one Agriculture win, and no wins that avoided technology entirely.


There were no perfect records this year, but Keith emerged from with the highest ranking with 5 wins and one second place.  The players going into the final were David Borton, Gordon Rodgers, Keith Dent, and newcomer to the tournament, Allan Jiang.


For the final, all players started out a decent amount of corn (9+).  David had a little less “stuff”, but 1 level in Architecture, while Allan started with fewer resources, but had 1 step each on the brown and green temples.


The starting monuments were:

– 2 per building/monument

– 4 per corn tile

– 4 per monument

– 4 per green building

– 4 per blue building

– 9/20/33/33 for reaching level 3 techs


Gordon started off, placing all three workers on Uxmal.   Over the first quarter of the game, he gained two additional workers and climbed two steps on the Resources track.  David got one worker and also gained two steps on the Resources track, with the help of some buildings.  Keith acquired all the levels in Resources and 1 building.    Allan got two workers and gathered resources, and was the only one to get a bonus on Food Day (a single stone).


In the second quarter of the game, Gordon started using Tikal 5 (2 temple levels for 1 resource), hitting it four times.   David got another worker along with 1 level each in Resources and Architecture.  Keith snagged all three of his remaining workers.   Allan studied all three levels of Theology, grabbed three skulls (Theology level 4 and Yaxchilan 5) and claimed three spaces on Chichen Itza.   In the mid-game scoring, Gordon led with 21 temple points and Allan was just behind with 18 points.


In the third quarter, Gordon hit Tikal 5 once more and got a farm building.  David got his last Architecture level, built four buildings in same turn, and a bit later got the Technology monument.  Keith ran up all three levels of Architecture, eventually building eight (!) buildings and the monument (2/bldg&monument).  Allan got more skulls and claimed two higher spaces on Chichen Itza.  On Food Day, both Allan and Gordon got decent amounts of resources, including a skull.


In the last quarter, Gordon used his skull to snag the top Chichen Itza spot, and hit Tikal 5 one more time, also getting a couple of blue buildings to push up in temples a bit more.  David got two more buildings, the monument for four per blue building, all three levels in Agriculture (to pump up his earlier monument) and hit level 4 of Architecture a couple of times.  Keith bought two monuments (4/monument and 4/green), one more building, and managed to get one skull out.  Allan bought the 4/corn monument, got two more skulls on Chichen Itza, and even managed to get a couple more skulls for points.


At temple scoring, Allan was now in the lead with 37 points, while Gordon had 31, and the others much less.  Keith dominated the monument scoring with 70 points, David had 50, while Allan had 24.  Allan also had over 10 points in leftover resources.   But the biggest scores came during the game, where Allan had gotten 7 of the 9 skull placements for over 50 points, along with all the temple scoring that brought on.   In the end, he had gotten 136 points with his Theology strategy, while Keith’s Resources/Architecture/Monuments got 110.   David and Gordon were much further back with David getting a slight edge with his two monuments over Gordon’s temple scoring.


Final Standings:

1)  Allan Jiang

2)  Keith Dent

3)  David Borton

4)  Gordon Rodgers

5)  Ben Scholl

6)  Blair Morgen


Thanks for playing!   Let me know if you want to play again next year.





Semi-Finals complete!

Allan Jiang won both of his games, and David Borton and Gordon Rodgers got one win each.   Since we have a double winner, Keith Dent will also advance to the final table with two second-place finishes.

Signups Closed

We have 29 players.    If you somehow got word late (with the BPA September newsletter mailed in October), drop me a line, I might be able to accept a few more stragglers, will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Tournament Complete!

The 2016-2017 PBEM Tzolkin tournament is completed.  Twenty-eight players battled through the preliminary rounds in order to advance to the semi-final games.   Jeff Meyer was the only player to have a perfect record in the early games this year.

Three games were decided by less than one victory point.   Ryan Kruger edged Alex Bove by half a point in Game 1-14.  Eric Freeman beat Scott Burns by a quarter of a point in Game 2-5.   Eric Freeman was then on the losing end in Game 1-8, where he tied Gordon Rodgers, but then lost on the tiebreaker rules.  In addition, Game 1-1 was perhaps the closest grouping of scores I’ve seen, with all four players falling within 6 points of one another at the finish.

The competitors for the final game were Moon Sultana (who won at the WBC in 2016), Jon Senn (who had been at the final PBEM table both previous years),  and then Steve Le Winter and David Borton, both who were new to the PBEM tournament this year.

David started off the game with a Level 1 in the Architecture technology, and a free Farm.  Steve started off with Level 1 in Theology, and a Crystal Skull.   Moon and Jon started off with lots of corn.   Moon, in the first seat, placed all her workers on Uxmal, and slowly worked her way up to 6 workers and level 3 in Resource Extraction and Architecture, getting it all in place by the halfway point of the game.  She also managed to edge ahead in the brown and green temples, snagging those point bonuses.

David worked on getting Level 3 in both those technologies as well, but got one fewer worker (stopping at 5) and building a little bit more along the way.   Steve built up his Theology, also managing to get both of the four-wood farms by about 1/3 of the way through the game, taking care of his food costs.   His skull placements got him in the lead in the yellow temple.

Jon got up to the end of the Resource track by the end of round 6, but that’s all the technology he would get.   In round 8 he built a monument, the one that gets you 40 points if finished in the first quarter of the game.

Moon’s engine started to gear up.   She snagged the coveted technology monument, and eventually got the 33 points out of it by completing the Theology track.   She also managed to keep the lead in the brown and green temples during the game.  Steve managed to keep control of the yellow temple, and got some bonuses out of the green temple.   David managed to get the Blue Building monument and a number of supporting buildings.   Near the end he also bumped up his score using the Level 4 bonus on the Architecture track.

Jon continued to gather resources, and during the last half of the game, bought three more monuments and a few supporting buildings.   He scored negative in temples, but the points from the monuments put him three points ahead of Moon at the end.

Final Standings:

1)  Jon Senn

2)  Moon Sultana

3)  Steve LeWinter

4)  David Borton

5)  Eric Freeman

6)  Jeff Meyer

Summary at

Some comments about the games:

1)  Uxmal Start / Player Order – The “Uxmal start” was still commonly used this year, and was used in 40 of the 47 games played, but only 16 times did that player end up winning the game.   This along with general player order issues was raised.

In particular, the first player does seem to have an edge, and the last player a disadvantage, but it’s not a huge one.   I am considering some handicapping for advanced rounds next year, but it would only be a few victory points.

2)   Technology Strategies:  how well each rough strategy fared:

Agriculture: 3 levels in Agriculture with little else

Resources:  3 levels in Resources with little else

Theology:  3 levels in Theology with little else

(there were not many who tried just building, I lumped them in with Other)

Resources/Building:  3 levels in Resources and Buildings

No Tech:  no technologies at all

Low Tech: 1-3 technologies, usually all level 1

Other: did not fit neatly in any of the other categories

Here’s a list of # of times a strategy was used, and the number of times that strategy won a game

(19 /  1) Agriculture

(24 /  5) Resources

(22 /  9) Theology

(87 / 27) Resources/Building

(  7 /  3) No Tech

(  9 /  1) Low Tech

(20 /  1) Other

I was a bit surprised at the dropoff in Low Tech / No Tech strategies, I think they can compete rather well against the typical Resource / Building strategies.   I think part of the problem is that there’s a bit less space in that part of the game.   If you can’t get at least two of the three temple bonuses while on that path, it gets tough.

People seemed to play the Theology strategies better this year.   They are getting more “pure” in that those who won were often building little or not at all, and that can work out pretty well.   Yours truly had the sole Agricultural victory.   (It can work, really!   Well, in the right circumstances.)