Navegador drew a lot of new players this year! The first heat, held just after the demo, drew many of those who had learned there, and several of them showed up for the following heats as well. The more experienced players were very gracious about helping the newer players remember the nuances of the game, and some new players advanced to the semifinals. One of my favorite things about this tournament is that it draws both veteran and new players.
In the first heat, some unusual things happened! One game was a tie between newcomer Uffe Gram Christensen, who was playing a colony/shipyard strategy, and veteran player Randy Buehler, with a factory/church strategy. Uffe won the tie, but Randy came back to play in the second heat and won there. Two games in this heat were won with factories and shipyards, that’s one way to turn money into points! Additionally, this heat saw our first-ever adjudication.
Heat two saw a game in which two different players scored thirty points each for navigation tokens! There was also a five-player game in which Micah McCormick nevertheless managed to run away with most of the churches.
The third heat, a smaller one, had fewer unusual games but there was one game in which Nicole Yuhase won with many points from both churches and shipyards, funded by staying even with most of the other players in the number of colonies and factories she had.
Although the turnout for this tournament was very close to last year’s, 56 to last year’s 50, we had fewer double winners and thus, more winners overall. Thus, for the first time ever, we were forced to turn heat winners away from the semifinal.
In the semifinal, one table consisted of Brandon Bernard, Romain Jacques, Mike Kaltman, and Anthony Lainesse. Romain got stuck competing with Brandon for factories and churches, not the best position to be in, as Brandon went ahead of him in the turn order. Mike emphasized the navigation tokens, picking up many colonies along the way and bolstering this strategy with some shipyards which he split with Anthony, who followed in his wake scooping up the colonies. Anthony won and advanced to the final table and Mike got the sixth-place laurels.
At the second semifinal table were Nicole Yuhase, Micah McCormick, Andrew Emerick and Pierre-Luc Ramier. This turned out to be a low-scoring game, in which four areas went unexplored. Pierre-Luc and Nicole got a quick start on the colonies, although Nicole only ended up picking up five of them, while Andrew caught up in colonies later. Overall, Andrew played an exploration-heavy strategy but ultimately ended up with just a little of everything, while Pierre-Luc did a more classic colony/shipyard strategy and Micah focused very heavily on factories. But Nicole, whose biggest point category was the churches, with some factories and a few points in the other categories too, was the winner, narrowly defeating Micah.
At the third semifinal table, DJ Borton, Tim O’Flynn, Randy Buehler and Andrew Martin played. Early in the game, Andrew used Henry to sail in two different directions. The other players didn’t adjust well. Tim managed to dominate the gold colonies, while Andrew and Randy competed for the sugar colonies, but Randy got the gold factories. DJ dominated the factories overall, however. This arrangement worked out well for Tim, but Andrew ended up poor. Tim’s advantage in the market, along with quite a few points from colonies and shipyards, won him the game.
Lastly, at the fourth semifinal table, Marvin Birnbaum, Dennis Mishler, Uffe Christensen, and Evan Davis played. Marvin and Uffe successfully built up their colonies while Dennis went after factories and won.
The final table was set with Tim O’Flynn, Nicole Yuhase, Anthony Lainesse, and Dennis Mishler. Each of these four players reached the Navegador final table for the first time this year!
Tim and Nicole opened with the usual sailing moves, Tim to Bahia and Nicole to Guine, while Anthony and Dennis went for workers. However, Tim and Nicole did not colonize immediately, opting instead to buy two workers each. Dennis was thus able to sail to Bahia using Henry and scoop up two sugar colonies. Nicole picked up a gold colony and Anthony built a sugar factory. Each of the players went for an early privilege, churches for Anthony, colonies for Dennis, factories for Tim, and shipyards for Nicole.
As the players built up their economies in reminder of phase one, Dennis focused on gold factories and sugar colonies. Tim, although he’d picked up a sugar colony after Dennis sniped some, soon switched to sugar factories. Nicole followed up her purchase of a shipyard privilege by buying a shipyard, and proceeded to build some ships and go after additional gold colonies. Anthony went for an economy complementary to Dennis’s, with gold colonies and sugar factories. When Nicole sailed into Cabo to begin phase two, nobody had yet built a church.
At this point, Dennis had the strongest economy and started to get the big markets. Anthony built his first church soon after that, but Dennis was close behind him and built a church of his own. The fresh privileges, of course, were snapped up quickly, Nicole stuck with shipyards and Tim with factories, but Anthony picked up the second factory privilege to fit his focus on sugar factories, while Dennis went for the church privilege. At this point, Dennis started going after churches a little more aggressively. Tim sent some ships into Mozambique, but overall, sailing slowed considerably, while players focused more on building and gathering privileges and workers. Anthony started building multiple factories at a time, while Dennis built a church and a gold factory in the same turn. Nicole picked up the last colony privilege while sailing with Henry. Dennis’s market payouts only got bigger. At one point, he burned a ship to go to market twice and went on to buy colonies, factories, and even a shipyard. Anthony also spent a lot of time at the market, burning ships twice to get there and continuing to build factories.
Between Anthony and Dennis, the buildings quickly depleted, until eventually Dennis ended the game by buying the final spice factory. Tim, with his final action, discovered Zanzibar. Nicole also sailed, while Anthony and Dennis bought workers with Dennis getting the rebate.
Consider what a building-heavy game this was, not only did phase three not happen, but spice was introduced only in the final round of the game with zero spice colonies were ever bought!
In any case, Dennis’s economic domination carried the day, along with his high point totals for his colonies and churches. Nicole’s shipyards brought her second place, while Anthony, who had focused heavily on factories, came in third. Tim, who hadn’t really specialized in anything, brought up the rear. The final scores were Dennis Mishler at 93, Nicole Yuhase 88, Anthony Lainesse 74 and Tim O’Flynn 61.
Overall, this was a great year for Navegador. Although we just held steady on attendance, 56 players to last year’s 50, it was really great to see so many new players in the tournament and to have players who had been playing this tournament for a while make the final table. I am looking forward to next year!