Newton Nabs Napoleon
Civilizations evolve in the Wheatland
room during the Pre-Con.
Even our photographer gets to play
for a change.
Attendence rose this year to 38 players, with 25 of them playing
in both heats - making this the biggest year yet for Through
the Ages in terms of games played. The highest scorer in
the heats was newcomer Randy Buehler with 295 points, and the
closest game saw Rich Atwater defeating Michael Rogozinski by
a tiebreaker in the second heat - though both had already won
their first heat games. 22 tables in the heats produced 17 winners
thanks to five double winners (Rich Atwater, Randy Buehler, Rob
Flowers, Joel Lytle, and AJ Sudy) and 12 single winners (Dominic
Duchesne, Kaarin Engelmann, Debbie Gutermuth, Bill Herbst, Bruce
Hodgkins, Kelly Krieble, Sean McCullins, Michael Rogozinski,
Chris Skuce, Brian Stone, Tom Vickery, Phil Yaure). With only
12 slots in the semi-final, several lower ranked winners did
not appear for the semi-finals, and only one person (Kaarin)
had to be turned away. With the average playing time dropping
rapidly as experience is gained, next year it should be feasible
to have 4-player semi-finals as well as a 4player Final.
The semi-final consisted of four 3-player games leading to
a 4-player Final. The closest game saw Herbst upset Flowers (2009
finalist and a double winner) by a single point - playing Caesar/Columbus/Robespierre/Einstein
to Rob's Moses/Napoleon/Sid Meier. The most crushing win was
Sudy defeating Yaure and Skuce 236-150-105 with a Hammurabi/Columbus/Cook/Gates
strategy in what appears to be a relatively peaceful game. The
two other matches saw Lytle beat Atwater and Hodgkins 176-146-101
and Buehler prevailing over Rogozinski and Stone 109-102-97.
Notably, of the seven finalists we've had over the past two years,
only two made the semi-finals (Flowers and Lytle) and only Joel
made the Final.
Randy started the Final with the Hanging Gardens and Columbus
- Columbus came out at the beginning of Age I, and Randy passed
up Moses and Aristotle to grab him. Joel started as Caesar, AJ
with Homer and the Pyramids, and Bill with Alexander the Great
and the Great Wall. In Age I, Randy was left without iron, but
had an early alchemy and was able to peacefully upgrade his government
to a monarchy. At the end of Age I the game looked relatively
balanced with Joel and Randy having a strength lead while Bill
appeared to have brewing science (+2) and stone (+3) bottlenecks:
while he had iron and printing press in hand, a pair of problems
can be a challenge.
Napoleon was the first card in Age II, and Bill fumbled as he
attempted to solve his science bottleneck by drafting Universitas
Carolinas, without realizing that it would take many turns before
he could build it due to his stone situation. He also had to
pass up Napoeleon in order to do that, which would have given
him some breathing room militarily. As Turn 9 began, Joel also
passed Napoleon (a move he later regretted after pulling the
Claasic Army), so it fell to AJ. Randy followed up with a power
move, drafting and immediately building St Peter's Basilica,
essentially solving happiness issues for good. Bill chose Joan
of Arc, which prevented attacks on him but still left him vulnerable
to the event deck, and had to pass up constitutional monarchy
to do it, so in Turn 10 Joel grabbed it. AJ's Napoleon strategy
was off to a frustrating start as he had a handful of aggressions
and wars, but no tactics card, and Bill was able to pick up a
cheap Robespierre at one action.
In Turn 11 Joel reinvigorated the arms race by forming a classic
army, bringing his strength to 21 (while everyone else's was
less than 10. The others did their best to catch up as they ended
the turn between 10 and 15 strength. Bill rejected AJ's offer
of scientific cooperation but accepted Randy's offer of an international
trade agreement; Randy chose Newton - a loser in last year's
statistics - but proved his value by using it to stretch out
his monarchy while waiting for an Age III government. In Turn
12 Joel sent a spy over to AJ, who returned with valuable knowledge
on how to change your government without a revolution. AJ drafted
and built the Eiffel Tower, but was still unable to draw a tactics
card, while Bill, in a strong move, jettisoned Joan of Arc to
play Robespierre and had a popular uprising that swept away the
despot and birthed the republic. But it was too little too late,
as in the final turn of Age II Joel plundered him, which was
the beginning of the end for Bill. AJ offered Joel scientific
cooperation, which was accepted this time , and used it to peacefully
transition to the republic - and finally drew a tactics card
- Napoleonic army.
At the end of the age, Joel had extended his dominant strength
position (26 vs. 10-15) by completing the Transcontinental Railroad.
AJ led the group on culture and resource production but was actually
losing one food/turn. Randy was the only one who was positive
on food production and whose population was not discontent, and
also led the group in science production, followed closely by
As Age III began Randy solved his strength gap with Joel by building
a second conquistador army to reach 24 strength. Bill built a
defensive army, but it only pushed him to 12 strength and he
had to destroy a farm to do it, leaving him negative on food
production. Turn 15 saw AJ build his Napoleonic army (albeit
with obsolete cavalry) and drafted an air force, passing up the
chance to grab computers. Randy saw a window of opportunity closing
and grabbed it - raiding AJ, taking all of his alchemy equipment,
and melting it down for scrap metal, and in an incredible move,
drafts oil, plays it along with architecture and journalism,
and built two journalists and one oil rig - and still found time
to draft fundamentalism, while Bill solved his food problem with
mechanized agriculture. Turn 16 saw Joel and AJ enter a military
pact to try to counter Randy's leading position, which brings
Joel's strength to 30 and AJ's to 29 (once he modernized his
In Turn 17, AJ declared jihad on Bill, which caused Bill to use
the "honorable withdrawal" rule to dissolve his empire
at the start of his turn before the war actually took place.
This rule is an essential balancing mechanism to disincent players
from declaring war against a player in a hopeless position -
and trumps the general WBC rule of not leaving a game partway
through. Before Bill resigned, Randy was able to get in one more
aggression - getting enough stone to let him build computers
The arms race continued in Turn 18 as Joel and AJ both built
air forces taking their strength to 46 each. Each drafted an
Age III wonder - First Space Flight for Joel and Fast Food Chains
for AJ. Randy, for his part, played Sid Meier to bolster his
culture production and became a fundamentalist state. On Turn
19, the penultimate turn, Joel, seeing that Napoleon was about
to die, declared a war over culture with AJ and picked up Einstein,
while Randy picked up his wonder (Internet). At the end of Age
III, all three players were between 70 and 75 culture.
The final turn was a scoring bonanza as usual. Joel's won the
war with a 12-point swing vs. AJ, played an armed intervention
against him for another 7-point swing, and Einsten's leadership
helped him outrace the Soviets for the first space flight (and
another 32 points). AJ completed fast food chains for a cool
20 and colonized the Historic II territory for another 11 points
by sacrificing his entire army - a decision that cost him significant
points in the event scoring. Meanwhile, Randy took a page from
Al Gore's playbook and invented the internet for 34 points.
The scores going into the final events were Randy 165, Joel 150,
and AJ 108. The event scorings are shown as follows:
The final scores were Randy 247, Joel 217, and AJ 136.
For those who like statistics, I present the following awards:
Most popular leaders: Einstein 23 (out of 27 games), Aristotle
20, Newton 19. Honorable mention to Columbus 11 as the most popular
Age I leaders.
Least popular leaders: Bach 1, Ghengis 3, Friedrich 4.
Dishonorable mentions to Alexander 7 and Gates/Tesla 5 as the
least popular leaders of Age A and III.
Winning leaders (by percentage): Bach 1/1, Sid Meier/Randolph
11/14, Columbus 7/11, Newton 9/19.
Losing leaders: Bill Gates/Tesla 0/5, Friedrich 0/4, Ghandi
1/7, Churchill 1/7, Joan of Arc 1/6, Homer 2/10.
Most popular wonders: Pyramids 20, Hanging Gardens 19,
Transcontinental Railroad 15. Honorable mention to St. Peter's
11 and Fast Food Chains 14 as the most popular Age I/III wonders.
Least popular wonders: Hollywood 0, Kremlin 2, Eiffel
Tower 4. Dishonorable mentions to Colossus 8, Taj Mahal 4, and
Great Wall 4 as the least popular Age A/I wonders.
Winning wonders (by percentage): Internet (4/5), First
Space Flight (7/12), and Universitas Carolina (4/7). Honorable
mentions to Hanging Gardens (9/19) and Transcontinental Railroad
(8/15) as the best Age A/II wonders.
Losing wonders: Eiffel Tower (0/4), Taj Mahal (1/4), and
Library of Alexandria (4/14). Dishonorable mention to Fast Food
Chains as the worst Age III wonder (6/14) - not including the
Most popular governments: Constitutional Monarchy 42 (nearly
2x/game!), Republic 19, Monarchy 19.
Least popular governments: Communism 1, Theocracy 1, Fundamentalism
Most effective governments (by percentage): Communism
(1/1), Constitutional Monarchy (22/42), Monarchy (5/19).
Least effective governments: Theocracy (0/1), Republic
(4/19), Democracy (2/10).
I would like to thank Assistant GMs Jason Ley, Tom McCorry, and
Michael Rogozinski for their help.
2008 champion Jason Ley battles Jason
Levine and Rob Flowers.
GM Raphael Lehrer records the Final
with his trusty Mac.