Navegador experienced a slight bump in attendance from a year ago, though its future as a Century event remains in limbo. In total, 43 players took on the role of would-be trade dynasties building up the Portuguese colonial empire.
Nineteen games were played over the course of three Heats (7 games in Heat 1, 6 games in each of Heats 2 and 3). 17 players won at least one game, with 2 players, Andrew Emerick and Michael Swinson, winning two games each. As was the case last year, the majority of Heat games ended by the purchase of all buildings (13 games out of 19; in the 6 games ended by exploration, 2 games also ended with all buildings purchased). And as was the cast last year, this trend would be more pronounced in the elimination Round games; all 5 such games (4 Semifinal, 1 Final) ended by the purchase of all buildings; in two Semifinals, though, all exploration tokens were claimed as well. Stranger still, three Heat games ended before Stage 3 even triggered, and in one of those games, exploration never made it to the spice colonies at all.
We had 17 different winners, but the absence of one such winner for the Semifinal round left us with an even 16 players, perfect for four 4-player games with winners advancing to the Final. Had the 17th winner showed up, I was prepared to take 3 alternates on so we’d have an even number of players; it has since been suggested to me that, with more than 16 winners (but no more than 25), we should have unbalanced 4- and 5-player tables and no alternates; going forward, this will be the rule. (With fewer than 16, I will still take alternates to get up to a ‘round’ number, such as 12 or 16.)
At Table 1, Ryan Feathers utilized a three-prong strategy of colonies (9), shipyards (3) and navigation tokens (6), together with a whopping 8 points off endgame cash, to edge Rob Flowers (who opted for a factory-shipyard combination) by a score of 98 to 94; the other players weren’t far behind with scores of 87 and 85. Rob’s close 2nd was enough for him to earn 6th place overall.
At Table 2, Aaron Blair scored big with factories, finishing with 12 that scored him 48 points alone; combined with assorted other points, and due to the quickness of the game (5 exploration tokens went unclaimed and the game ended well before Stage 3), he won fairly convincingly with a score of 95; the other scores at the table were 81, 79, and 77.
At Table 3, Chris Wildes won with colonies (9) and navigation tokens (6), racking up 72 points from those categories alone, His final score of 108 easily eclipsed the other scores of 97, 93, and 85.
The most competitive table by far was Table 4, where the range of scores from first to last was only 7 points. In that game, defending champion Chad Martin scored big on factories (10) and churches (4), while also finishing the game with 7 ships on the board and 7 points from endgame cash; his final score of 114 narrowly bested Andrew Emerick, who finished with 112 due mostly to his 13 colonies and 5 navigation tokens.
The order of players for the final table: Aaron, Ryan, Chris, Chad. Aaron and Ryan begin by sailing to gold and sugar, respectively. Aaron would eventually get 5 colonies but otherwise invested heavily in factories, buying 8 (3 sugar, 5 spice) before game’s end. Ryan would only get three colonies (all sugar) for the game, but he also got all the gold factories and four churches along the way. Chris got a bit of everything during the game (4 colonies, 5 factories including his starting one, 3 navigation tokens, and 2 shipyards and 2 churches to go with his starting lot), while Chad became the colony baron, racking up 13 colonies.
All players had exactly one navigation token by the end of phase I; and all colonies were claimed from the phase I areas before phase II triggered. From phase II onward, only Chris and Chad would explore the new areas; Chad finished with 5 navigation tokens to go with his colonies, while Chris finished with 3 such tokens. Chad also ended phase II with 6 ships on the board, ready to push the big builders for triggering the endgame; though the game did end on all buildings being built, only two navigation tokens remained on the board.
Chad only got a single privilege during phase I (for shipyards, which did not net him many points); by game’s end, though, he had maxed out his colony privilege column and added two privileges (including his endgame one) for navigation tokens. He scored a total of 82 points off those columns alone, which made up the bulk of his final score of 114. Ryan, for his part, got one church privilege each phase, also maxed out his factory privilege column with help from his endgame one, scored 80 points for those columns, and finished with an oh-so-close 113. (With one point more, Ryan would have won due to being closer to the Henry card.) Chris’s ‘bit-of-everything’ board (he got at least one privilege in every category but colonies) got him up to 93, while Aaron’s factory-heavy strategy (45 points off factories) netted him 87.
Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all who made this event a success!