Designer Kevin McPartland sets the
2008 champ Mark McCandless plots his
The first Conquest of Paradise Century tournament began Friday
afternoon in the Paradise Terrace demo area. An attentive crowd
gathered to listen to the game's designer. Most of those folks
followed along to Conestoga Room 2: a private room for us, off
of the Lampeter main gaming room. Many familiar faces returned
from previous years (including both previous champions).
The mulligan round had five full 4-player games, after both
the GM and the assistant GM joined games as spoilers. It got
rather warm in that full room - reminiscent of tropical climes!
Two of the games were very close, decided by a single victory
point. But in one, our 2008 champion ran away with an easy victory.
The mulligan round also saw the emergence of a new phenomena:
players in one game ran out of Arts & Culture cards before
the end of play. Experienced players recognize the value of these
cards, and do not neglect their purchase during the game!
The first round was held out in the big Lampeter room, but
it was easy to find us, with our big inflatable palm tree! This
round had almost as many players - four full 4-player games going
this time. Not one, but two of these games ended with a tie in
victory points, and a winner had to be decided by tiebreakers.
This round saw the defending champion go down to defeat, but
both PrezCon champions won their games. Meanwhile a newcomer
to CQP decisively won his game; he admitted to the game's designer
that the game's logic "made sense" to him.
The semi-final round had the nine previous winners plus three
second-place alternates to make three 4-player games. This certainly
took the sting out of losing by a tiebreaker! The three winners
were 2008 champ Mark McCandless, Alan Arvold (who won his game
by one half of a victory point!) and Andy Lewis, winning decisively
and breaking Keith Ferguson's remarkable winning streak, that
had stretched back through the previous PrezCon. Unfortunately,
Andy chose to play in the Santa Fe Rails Final instead of continuing.
This set the cast for the Final as Mark McCandless, Alan Arvold,
Jay Laughlin (who came in second in Mark's game) and Steve Simmons
(who came in second in Alan's game). This year, starting positions
were chosen by the players, with the highest seeded player choosing
first. Mark, who had decisively won his semi-final game, chose
Tonga. Alan followed with Samoa, Steve with Raiatea and Jay took
Tonga and Raiatea fought several battles for Hawaii, which
had been discovered between their empires. Samoa attacked deep
into Micronesia, conquering all of the independent islands to
Pohnpei. Hiva's empire of small islands spread out across the
east edge of the map, from Rapa Nui to Lord Howe Island. Hiva
declared victory, but the Severe Deforestation card was played,
forcing the game to continue another turn. Raiatea took the opportunity
to attack Hiva at two of his small islands - Norfolk Island and
Tubuai - winning both battles. This was just enough to put him
over the top, winning by half of a Victory Point over Tonga!
So Steve Simmons, a newcomer to Conquest of Paradise - yes, the
very same first-round winner that said that the game's logic
"made sense" to him - beat three old hands in the Final,
and took home the title.