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.)