Voyages of Marco Polo 2021 Event Report

The 2021 Voyages of Marco Polo PBEM tournament saw 25 participants play a total of 45 games over three rounds.  In each round, players completed four simultaneous games and were ranked according to the cumulative results using a 10-6-3-1 scoring system.

During the first round Rob Flowers finished atop the standings, winning all four games.  Chris Wildes, Peter Ran, and 2020 PBeM champion Michael Swinson each won three games.  A total of thirteen players advanced to the semifinal round.

Peter and Michael led the way in the semifinal with three wins each to advance to the final for the second year running.  Three additional 2020 finalists: AJ Jiang, Connie Vogelmann, and Dominic Blais joined them along with Chris Wildes and Martijn van der Vlag.

In the final round, the top 3 finishers from 2020 retained their places, albeit in a different order.  Connie, Michael, and AJ earned two wins apiece.  Michael and AJ had 2nd place finishes in each of their other two games, meaning the champion would be determined via tiebreaker.  With a tiebreaker advantage of 114.35 to 110.98, AJ claimed the victory in this year’s tournament.  The top 6 finishers were:

  1. AJ Jiang
  2. Michael Swinson
  3. Connie Vogelmann
  4. Peter Ran
  5. Chris Wildes
  6. Martijn van der Vlag

Unlike in 2020 when Michael used one character in all of his wins (Wilhelm von Rubruk), AJ used three characters to earn his 5 wins (Wilhelm von Rubruk, Niccolo & Marco Polo, and Mercator ex Tabriz).  As in 2020, Wilhelm von Rubruk once again posted the highest win rate of any character at 42.11% and tied for the 2nd most wins at 8.

Niccolo & Marco Polo had the 2nd highest win rate at 34.78%, while Mercator ex Tabriz earned the most total wins with 10 and had the highest average finish at 1.97.  On the other end of the spectrum, Matteo Polo managed only a 9.52% win rate, while Rashid ad-Din Sinan once again placed last, failing to win a single game.

Comparing this year’s tournament with data from 2020, Kublai Khan showed the largest improvement, going from a 13.64% win rate in 2020 up to 31.82% in 2021.  Berke Khan fell the furthest, dropping from 32.26% to 14.81%.

31.11% of winners had the most contracts (or tied for most).

53.33% of winners had the most points from destination cards and 73.33% of winners had at least 20 points from destination cards.  Three winners (6.67%) had fewer than 5 points from destination cards and all occurred while playing Kublai Khan.

51.11% of winners placed all of their trading posts.  This includes 75% of Wilhelm von Rubruk winners who placed all 11 trading posts.

42.22% of winners were first to get to Beijing, and 93.33% of winners did have a trading post in Beijing.

Once again congratulations to AJ Jiang and to all of the laurelists, and thank you to everyone who participated in the event.