Only seven players entered the tournament - which by BPA rules
is insufficient to be accorded official tournament status for
anything other than teampoints and the existing plaque. Future
status is now in the hands of the membership voters and/or a
2004 marked my first visit to the World Boardgaming Championships,
and I was very impressed with every aspect of the convention.
Zev Shlasinger (the publisher of Z-Man Games) had been doing
a great job of introducing Ideology to those visiting the Exhibit
Room, and I also had the chance to demo the game to many players
the night before the tournament.
During the first round on Saturday, we ran two tables of Ideology,
which included a mix of brand new players and those who had played
a few times before. I was very impressed with the sportsmanship
exhibited in these games. The more experienced players were patient
in helping the new players grow accustomed to the rules, and
even offered friendly strategic advice to them during the first
few turns of the game. At the end of the first round, the top
two players from each game, as well as one "wild
card" (the top scoring third place player), moved on to
the second and final round.
advancing to the final round of the tournament was very excited
because they knew that they would definitely be receiving a trophy
(at our Ideology convention tournaments, we award small trophies
to those who place 2nd - 5th in the tournament, as well as a
larger plaque to the winner). In honor of this being the World
Boardgaming Championships, we engraved the winning trophy with
the words "WORLD CONQUEROR". Needless to say, that
set the mood for the game, as each player now had some experience
under his belt and no quarter was going to be asked... or given!
I randomly handed out the Ideology cards: 1) Geoff, a new
player, received Capitalism; 2) Tim, who had played only one
demo game the night before, received Communism; 3) Steve, an
experienced player who had played in the Origins tournament,
received Fascism; 4) Chris, a new player, played Imperialism;
and 5) Ron, who had played two or three times before the tournament,
received Islamic Fundamentalism.
The game began with the immediate development of everyone's
Starting Region to Level 4... except for Tim (Communism), who
was having some trouble getting the influence he needed for the
first few turns of the game. The first several Independent Regions
were Level 1, which might have inspired Imperialism to go out
and colonize. However, Chris (Imperialism) decided to go for
a more conservative strategy by spending his first several turns
boosting up Great Britain all the way to a full Development Level
of 6. Chris enjoyed the immediate card advantage, but soon began
to regret his decision. The other players had scooped up the
early Level 1 Regions and now Level 2 Regions such as Israel
and South Africa were entering play, making Imperialism's Global
Colonization ability all but useless.
Geoff (Capitalism) and Ron (Islamic Fundamentalism) took advantage
of Communism's early influence troubles by seizing the early
Independent Regions. Steve (Fascism) lost a struggle against
Islamic Fundamentalism for one of the early Regions, so he decided
to make Iran pay for it by sending some Fascist culture into
Iran. (DESIGNER'S NOTE: Early in the game, players expect you
to conflict them at the Independent Regions or even at newly
acquired Controlled Regions. But when you attack someone's Starting
Region, well... that's when things start to get personal!) The
Islamic Fundamentalist was not pleased with this move, and returned
fire by sending his culture into Germany the following turn.
Meanwhile, the Imperialist player had gotten a sudden break.
Even though the Level 1 Independent Regions weren't coming out
any more, France (a Level 2 Region adjacent to Great Britain
and Germany) did. Thus began a struggle between Fascism and Imperialism
for control of France. This is where Great Britain's developed
muscle came in handy. Fascism was still only a Level 4 Region,
while Great Britain was Level 6. With that much more firepower
on the side of Imperialism (coupled with Fascism's struggles
against Islamic Fundamentalism), France soon became a province
of her majesty, the Queen of England.
Tim (Communism) had such a tough time of it in the beginning
of the game that he was largely left ignored. He was therefore
able to carefully manage his resources to acquire Level 2 Advancements
and use them to acquire Israel. Having invested so much in the
Level 2 Advancements gave Communism the extra boost it needed
to seize control of South Africa as well. This was a surprising
turn of events, as Communism normally tries to acquire regions
that are much closer to home. Nonetheless, the Communists had
suddenly lept forward in the game from last place to first place
through Tim's sudden gain and immediate development of both Israel
and South Africa.
This was a turning point in the game, as the other powers
had developed such a mutual animosity (at least, in game terms!)
that they were reluctant to work together to slow down Communism.
Geoff (Capitalism) had mostly stayed to himself this game, and
did not seem interested in changing course. Rather than involve
himself in a messy entanglement with Russia, Geoff focused his
attention on Canada, which had come up late in the game and which
provided him an opportunity to gain a healthy Level 2 Region.
However, the Islamic Fundamentalist player contested him for
control of Canada and successfully seized control of it.
Having given up on France, Fascism decided to catch up at
home by building Germany up to a Level 6 Region. But the Islamic
Fundamentalists had not forgotten their old feud, and decided
to pull their culture out of Germany that same turn, keeping
Germany a Level 4 Region for yet another turn. This essentially
put Fascism out of the running to win the game.
As the players prepared to enter what they knew could be the
final turn, there was no shortage of declaration of war. Many
of the players stood on the threshold of victory, and this was
not to be a friendly turn! Capitalism and Islamic Fundamentalism
set the mood of the turn by developing Weapons of Mass Destruction,
putting them both in a position to win the game. Communism finished
developing South Africa and Israel, putting him in the win position
also, and still had plenty of cards left to wage war. Imperialism
developed France fully, putting him in a stronger position to
attempt victory as well. Fascism redeveloped Germany to a Level
6 Region, and had a few cards left over to seize whatever he
The Islamic Fundamentalists knew they would lose the tie-breaker
for victory, so took it upon themselves to deal with the spread
of Capitalism. In a move which surprised everyone (and which
had never occurred before in any game I had ever seen or played),
the Islamic Fundamentalists launched a nuke into the United States
from nearby Canada. The Capitalists were devastated, and might
have launched a retaliatory strike against Canada, but chose
restraint rather than lose their dearly purchased WMD, especially
because the loss of the Islamic Fundamentalist's WMD took Islamic
Fundamentalism out of the win position as well.
At the same time, both the the Imperialists and the struggling
Fascists tried to seize fresh territory, spending precious resources
that might have been better spent waging war against the Communists,
who were now the only Ideology in the win position. The Fascists
succeeding in acquiring a new Region, but that was the last of
their cards, and the new Region would only put the Fascists up
to a Global Influence of 7. At this point, the Capitalists, Imperialists,
and Islamic Fundamentalists agreed to an uneasy truce to try
to take down Communism.
But Communism had seized yet another region, putting them
well above the line for victory. Although the other players were
able to snatch this new acquisition from him, the Communist player
was able to successfully defend all of his key regions (Russia,
Israel, and South Africa). The Islamic Fundamentalists planned
a final Jihad attack against Russia, and this would have succeeded,
but the Islamic Fundamentalist player suddenly realized that
Russia was too far away now that he no longer possessed Technological
Supremacy (which had been sacrificed to create the WMD). This
ensured the final victory of Communism.
The game was over, with Tim (Communism) victorious, and the
players immediately revealed their true sportsmanship by donning
the air of friendly gamers once again. It was amazing and rewarding
to watch this sudden transformation, for during the tense final
moments of the game, it had truly seemed that the players had
become possessed by an insatiable desire to conquer the world.
1. Communism (Tim)
2. Imperialism (Chris)
3. Islamic Fundamentalism (Ron)
4. Capitalism (Geoff)
5. Fascism (Steve)