BPA Brass Tournament 2019

This is the home page for a Boardgame Players Association “Play By Email” tournament for Brass. It is open only to members of the Boardgame Players Association (BPA). If you attend the World Boardgaming Championship (WBC), and are up to date on your registration fees for 2019, then you are already a member. If not, you can purchase a “Associate Membership” for $10 from this website: www.boardgamers.org. This tournament will award laurels and contribute to the annual Caesar award, all of which is tracked through that same website.

GM: Allan Jiang

AGMs: Bruce Hodgins and Rob Murray

Format

Please note that the format is different from the WBC tournament. All games in this tournament will have 4 players, and players will be randomly be assigned a starting position in each game.

We will use the implementation of the original Brass: Lancashire game at brass.orderofthehammer.com. Rules for this version of the game are available here. This implementation does not include the minor changes made in the more recent Roxley version.

For new users to OrderOfTheHammer, please note that accounts will have to be manually activated by the webmaster here. You may sign up below once you have created an account, even if it hasn’t been activated yet.

Ties: We will use the in-game tiebreakers for finish positions. The 1st tiebreaker is income space, the 2nd tiebreaker is cash on hand, and the 3rd tiebreaker is hypothetical turn order in rail turn 9.

Standings: In each stage, you will be awarded 10 points for winning a game, 6 for finishing 2nd, 3 for 3rd, and 1 for 4th. Any ties in the standings will be broken by average % of winner’s score. Standings will not carry over between stages, although semifinal games will be seeded based on heat standings.

Heat Stage: You will play in 4 simultaneous asynchronous games, all against different participants as determined by a roll of the dice. If we have at least 32 participants, then the top 16 in the heat standings will advance to the semifinals.
 
3/5 Update: We have 30 participants confirmed, so the top 15 in the heat standings will advance to the semifinals.
 

Semifinal Stage: All qualifiers will play in 4 simultaneous asynch games. If we have at least 32 participants, then the 16 qualifiers will be divided into quartiles based on the heat standings. You will play every semifinalist not in your quartile exactly once, according to the game assignments below. The top 7 in the semifinal standings will advance to the finals.

[If we have less than 32 participants, the top half (rounded down) in the heat standings will advance to the semifinals. This is to comply with BPA regulations. In this case, the semifinal game assignments will be adjusted at the start of the tournament. The first priority for these assignments would be to minimize the number of repeat matchups, and the second priority would be to minimize the number of matchups between the top 4 players in the heat standings. The top 7 in the semifinal standings will still advance to the finals.]

3/5 Update: The top 15 in the heat standings will advance to the semifinals. Each of the qualifiers will play all the other semifinalists except for 2 with similar records. Each of the top 4 from the heat standings will play no more than 2 of the other top 4 players.

Final Stage: The 7 qualifiers will play in 4 simultaneous asynch games. Each of the other finalists will be in 2 of them. The top 6 finishers will be awarded BPA laurels.

Pace of Play: You are expected to check your games and take your turns (at least) once per day. It’s OK to have an occasional break of a couple of days, but we expect most games to finish in less than two months. Games that haven’t finished in 8 weeks are likely to be adjudicated, and the adjudication will include demoting slow players to lower finish positions.

Schedule

Registration Opened: January 2, 2019

Registration Closed: March 5, 2019

Heats Began: March 7, 2019

Semifinals Began: April 14, 2019

Finals Began: May 27, 2019

Signups are now closed

Tournament Report

30 BPA members entered the first Brass PBEM tournament, including 8 of the top 10 laurelists in the event’s history. In total, 42 games of Brass: Lancashire were played over three rounds. In each round, each participant played 4 games and earned 10 points for a win, 6 points for second place, 3 points for third place, and 1 point for fourth place. The top 15 in the heat standings advanced to the semifinals, which were somewhat seeded; each participant played once against all of the other semifinalists except for two with similar records to themselves. The top 7 in the semifinals then advanced to the finals, where they played all of the other finalists twice. The laurelists were determined by the standings in the finals only.

Highlights of the heat stage included a win by tiebreaker by Antero Kuusi over John Corrado, and the largest margin of victory in the tournament: a 53-point win by Andrew Emerick. DJ Borton topped the heat standings with 3 wins and a second, and the other “seeds” went to Nick Henning, Mike Turian, and Andrew Emerick.

In the semifinals, DJ Borton set the high score for the tournament; he flipped 3 advanced ports and 3 advanced iron works in the canal era en route to 190 points. But it was Andrew Emerick who had the most dominant round, winning all four of his games! Rob Murray, DJ Borton, Rob Flowers, Allan Jiang, Jack Jung, and John Corrado also qualified for the finals.

The finals were well played by all contestants. In four games, two players used a cotton strategy, one player used a port strategy, and one player used neither. And in the other three games, two players used a cotton strategy and two players used a port strategy. In the opinion of the GM, these are the two most optimal balances between the strategies, and make for games in which all of the strategies are highly competitive. And indeed, the finals did deliver the closest game from first to last in the tournament. Andrew Emerick, using a cotton strategy scored 149 points, to Rob Murray’s 148 (port), Jack Jung’s 147 (cotton), and DJ Borton’s 142 (port).

In the end, there were three double-winners in the finals. All three happened to use a cotton strategy twice and a port strategy twice. So it was the non-win finishes that determined the order at the top of the final standings. By virtue of two second-place finishes in addition to two wins, Rob Murray took home the championship.

Final Standings:

  1. Rob Murray
  2. Andrew Emerick
  3. Allan Jiang
  4. DJ Borton
  5. John Corrado
  6. Rob Flowers

Thank you to Jack Jung and AGMs Bruce Hodgins and Rob Murray for their help in planning and running  the tournament, Randy Buehler for online templates and inspiration for the tournament format, Rich Shay for providing us with a website, and Philip Eve for the implementation of Brass at brass.orderofthehammer.com.

NEW: Online Player of the Year in 2018

The Meeple League is proud to announce that we’re adding a new plaque to next year’s awards:

Online Player of the Year

We will keep track of everyone’s performance across all of our online leagues using the following point system:

  1. You get points equal to the league points you accumulate in every game you play, so the usual 10 points for 1st place in a game, 6 for 2nd, 3 for 3rd, and 1 point for finishing in 4th place.
  2. You get bonus points for each game you win
    1. 1-point bonus for winning a game in Division 3
    2. 2-point bonus for winning a game in Division 2
    3. 3-point bonus for winning a game in Division 1
  3. You also get bonus points for winning your group
    1. 2-point bonus for winning a Group in Division 3
    2. 5-point bonus for winning a Group in Division 2
    3. 10-point bonus for winning a Group in Division 1

One of our goals was to acknowledge the (much) tougher strength of schedule and accomplishment of winning the top divisions, while also making sure you didn’t need to be playing in the top Divisions to win this. Using the points above it works out that crushing a Division 3 Group 4-0-0-0 is worth about the same amount of points as winning 2 games and narrowly taking the Group in Division 1. This is our first year doing an Online Player of the Year, so there’s no guarantee we got all weights tuned correctly, but we feel pretty good about this as a starting point. Meanwhile, it is pure point accumulation, so the more leagues you play in, the more points you can get.
We currently run leagues for 5 games: Agricola, Brass, Castles of Burgundy, Through the Ages, and Thurn and Taxis. If we add any new games during 2018, they will count, too. For whatever it’s worth, we started our first two leagues in January and over the course of 2017 we ran 5 seasons of Thurn and Taxis and 4 seasons of Agricola (counting the two seasons that are currently in progress). We expect to open up at least two seasons for registration in December (Through The Ages season 2 and Castles of Burgundy Season 4) and those will count as the first events of the 2018 year.
Good luck and have fun!

Agricola Online Season 1 Report

Agricola Season 1 Wrap-Up

by Randy Buehler

Season 1 of the Agricola league was a smashing success, with the Meeple League’s largest turn-out for an online event so far and some great matches up and down the ladder. 77 players signed up to play, which meant 11 leagues spread across four divisions. I was the biggest winner, but by the narrowest of margins as I defeated Sceadeau d’Tela for the Division 1-A crown *on tiebreakers* (3 match wins to 2). Congratulations are also due to Bernt Nodland and Steven LeWinter, who won the two leagues in Division 2 and thus earned spots in the top division for season 2. (Steve’s win was particularly close with only 3 league points separating 1st from 4th in his league.) You can see all the standings HERE.

Season 2 is about to start, and the field has expanded to 96 competitors. That means there will be 7 leagues in division 4 and 14 leagues in total. Good luck to everyone as they try to win promotion, and have fun playing.

With season 1 in the books, I thought it would be interesting to see how accurate the initial seeds were. As you may recall, I did the initial player sort first by looking at BPA laurels and then at Elo ratings on boiteajeux. There has been some debate (bordering on trash talk) about how accurate Elo ratings are, and I saved a copy of everyone’s rating before the season began. I then looked at the absolute value of how far each player’s finish position was from the position that would be predicted by Elo or laurels. (In other words, if you had the 5th highest Elo in your league but finished 1st then you were 4 spots away from where you were predicted to be.)

Laurels did a significantly better job of predicting division 1 than Elo did (8 spots off in total versus 18), but in Division 2-A it was the other way around (20 spots off versus just 4). Meanwhile Division 2-B was close to a wash (12 off for laurels versus 10 off for Elo). If you add up all 3 leagues that included at least some players with laurels, Elo comes out looking a little better at 32 to 40 (or an average of 1.5 spots off per player versus 1.9). Meanwhile in Division 3 there were some major upsets, including division wins from each of the two lowest rated competitors, but Elo was a quite reasonable predictor if you ignore those two players (1.7 spots off per player, or 1.1 spots off per player if you ignore the two outliers).

One surprising fact about season 1 is that only one player managed to collect exactly a first, a second, a third, and also a 4th place finish. Ed Fear is apparently the Epitome of Average. Meanwhile the triple winners club included only 3 people and exactly one person managed to win all four of their games: William F, aka wsefranc, from league 4-D.

There were, unfortunately, some players who played too slowly in season 1. The vast majority of games were done by the end of March and I think that two-month timeline is what folks should see as acceptable (we started in the last few days of January). The truly unfortunate part of having a slow player is that they impact four different games. My only real recourse to deal with this problem is to tell those players they aren’t allowed to play in future Meeple League events, and while most of the slowpokes from season 1 did not choose to sign up again, I did decline one registration attempt for season 2. For the handful of matches which haven’t finished, I treated them as 4-way ties when determining promotion and relegation and I will add the real points to the lifetime standings page once they finally do complete.

All of which brings us to season 2, which has quite a few interesting storylines to follow. A few more well-known WBC ringers have entered the league now (Jon Senn, Eric Wrobel, Josh Cooper, Rob Kircher), but they will have to fight their way up from the bottom. Turambar will be the champion of the pro-Elo crowd as he joins Division 1 and is the only player there without a WBC pedigree. Rob Murray and Petri Savola barely missed getting themselves promoted to division 1 and will be trying to finish the job. Meanwhile Daniel Eppolito will have something to prove as he was a consensus pick to finish in the top 2 of division 1 according to the fantasy league participants, but instead got himself relegated to division 2. In my own case, Agricola has not historically been one of my best game but I have invested a lot of time in the last 18 months or so trying to bring my game up to a world class level. I don’t know if I’m there yet, but I will do my best to claim back-to-back titles.

I’m confident there are many other interesting stories around the players I’m not yet familiar with, but that’s the beauty of a league like this. As the seasons go by we’ll get to see who rises and who falls. Good luck to everyone, and have fun in season 2!

PrezCon Winter Nationals Trip Report

By Marcy Morelli

This was my second year attending PrezCon. It’s a bit of a hike from Suburban Philly – especially in the winter. But Amtrak runs right into Charlottesville and that’s a great way to travel. Charlottesville is the home of the University of Virginia and offers some good sightseeing opportunities for those who are interested in Presidential history.

I arrived Monday evening and the Doubletree shuttle picked me up at the train station. It ended up being too late to pick up my badge, but I was able to catch up with some friends.
The Doubletree Charlottesville is a really great spot for a convention the size of PrezCon. The hotel staff are very well organized and seem appreciative of the convention’s presence. A few employees even seemed interested in learning some games.
Besides the shuttle, a pool with hot tub, and the ubiquitous cookie, the hotel also runs a great restaurant. Breakfast offers a large buffet with made-to-order omelets. Lunch and dinner have a tasty menu and you can call in an order and pick it up at the restaurant. There is also a special stand outside the ballroom that offers drinks, sandwiches, pizza, and some special meals throughout the day. In the late evening, 4 or 5 different pies are available. If you have a car at hand, there are plenty of local eating establishments nearby as well as a Walmart.

I’m primarily a EuroGames tournament gamer, and the conference room layout works well for that. Most tournaments are held in either the large Ballroom, or a few steps away in the Gallery Rooms. The food stand is just outside the Ballroom which makes it easy to catch a quick bite if you don’t have many breaks. The vendors set up in-between while open gaming has a large room downstairs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The convention registration desk is organized and well-staffed for the long hours of the convention. Convention Director Justin Thompson is generally floating around keeping tabs on things, but is easy to find if you need him. PrezCon players are friendly and welcoming to newcomers.

Tournaments at PrezCon award plaques to the final table based on the total numbers of players who participated in the game.

Besides the regular tournament line-up PrezCon also holds several mini-cons during the convention: ColumbiaCon, RevCon, and a EuroGames sampler event. The Agricola and Catan tournaments are both regional championships with winners advancing to a National Championship.

PrezCon will also hold a Summer Nationals event in June. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to attend – you’ll have a great time!

TotalCon 2017 Report

Total Confusion 31 was held in Marlborough Massachusetts on February 23rd to the 26th of 2017. The convention moved to a new venue, the Best Western Royal Plaza. With more space and better lighting the board game space was great to play in and the tournaments were held in separate spaces with less noise and no crowding.

New England Regional Championships are a highlight of the convention. Listed below are the first 3 finishes in each of the 9 New England Championships.

GameChampion2nd3rd
ConcordiaWill WarrenKara MorseAndrew Harris
SplendorAndrew MenardIan DembskyMarvin Birmbaum
Ticket to RideNicholas CheungSteve CostaDean Scungio
St PetersburgAndrew HarrisIan DembskyShelly Thomas
AgricolaRichard J ShayRichard M ShayShelly Thomas
DominionJared RushananAndrew MenardThomas Jarrett
Castles of BurgundyIan DembskyWill WarrenKara Morse
Puerto RicoRichard MeyerAdam ShersonRichard M Shay
Power GridSteve CostaThomas JarrettBill Todd
Stone AgeShelly ThomasMongoJustin Roark

Chairman of the Board: Ian Dembsky

Chairman of the Board is awarded for accumulating the best record in different tournament games. Winning and placing in tournament games earns points, but you can only score for your best game in each tournament. Bonus points are awarded for placing overall in tournaments. Ian won Castles of Burgundy and finished 2nd in Saint Petersburg and Splendor. He also played well in other tournaments. Congratulations Ian.
Catan Regional Qualifier: Ian Dembsky


The Puffing Billy group spends the convention playing railroad themed games and has their own tournament format, giving prizes in the following categories:

Overall Champion: Roger Jarrett

1830: Bruce Beard

Empire Builder: Roger Jarrett

18XX: Bruce Beard

Empire Builder International: Roger Jarrett

There is also a Diplomacy tournament held over the course of convention.
Diplomacy Champ (& Best Italy): Brad Blitstein.

BEST GERMANY: Alan Levin

BEST ENGLAND: Rob Premus

BEST TURKEY: Andrew Katcher

BEST FRANCE: Randy Lawrence-Hurt

BEST AUSTRIA: Jay Aloia

BEST RUSSIA: Steve Cooley

Thurn & Taxis Online Season 1

by Randy Buehler, Meeple League Director of Online Events

This page allows you to follow Season 1 of the Thurn & Taxis online league. Everyone starts at zero points, of course. As results come in the standings will be updated, with players scoring 10 points for winning a game, 6 points for second, 3 points for third, and 1 point for fourth.

The first season has 5 total leagues spread across 3 divisions. Each league has 7 players and each player will be in 4 games, facing each opponent in 2 of them. (The full schedule of games is available HERE.)

Players should use THIS FORM to report results whenever a game ends. (Please do not expect the standings to update instantaneously as we are still working on automating that process. For now it’s still being done by hand.)

Once this season is over, league winners will be promoted to the next division up the ladder while 6th and 7th place finishers will drop to the next division down the ladder. (Full rules can be seen HERE.) New players are also welcome to join when the next season starts – if you aren’t already in the league but would like to be notified when the next one starts taking sign-ups, please click here: Online Thurn & Taxis event announcement.

Standings

Here are the 5 divisions for season 1:

T&T Season 1 Division 1 League A

Player NameGame Site NameWinsCompleted games (of 4)Points
Sceadeau d’TelaSceadeau2432
Alex BoveMontu2426
Kyle SmithEmanon1423
Rob MurrayZenvedev1420
Rob Kircherrkircher418
Randy Buehlerrbuehler1415
Andy Lattoandylatto46

T&T Season 1 Division 2 League A

Player NameGame Site NameWinsCompleted games (of 4)Points
Gilbert Quinonezligtreb1425
Haim Hoichboimhaimke2424
Cary MorrisDagKees1422
Volker Kleinschmidtvolkerk2422
Dominic ReberezDefdamesdompi1420
Mats WikstromZegol416
Bjorn JansonDermerlin411

T&T Season 1 Division 2 League B

Player NameGame Site NamePointsCompleted games (of 4)
Steven LeWinterslewinter314
Hilary Smithhilaryd10294
Devan Maggidevan20.54
Marcy MorelliMarcy184
Nick PageZiggyny14.54
Hermann Reschasamat144
Matt Killianmagakill134

T&T Season 1 Division 3 League A

Player NameGame Site NamePointsCompleted games (of 4)
Andrew MenardDragonWargamer364
John Fordbyrdalumnus234
Greg Crowegregcrowe204
Norman HuebnerNormanH163
Christian EschNebresh123
Andrew Drummondardrummo103
Max Jamellilefty33

T&T Season 1 Division 3 League B

Player NameGame Site NameWinsCompleted games (of 4)Points
Richard M. Shaylabratz2432
Chris Wildeswildes2429
John Corradojmc0032424
Lexi Sheasccrymsc58131417
Erik Lankselanks416
David LutesGelatinousGoo414
Dave Blizzarddavebliz48

Questions?

Feel free to email the GM (online_league at meepleleague dot com) with any questions you might have.

Online Agricola Announcement

Agricola Season 1 Sign-ups Closed

Reserve a Spot in Season 2 Below

The Meeple League recently announced our first online event – a league for Thurn & Taxis players – but we’re not done there. We’re also starting up an online Agricola league for those who like their Eurogames a little heavier. Agricola Cover

The format for all our leagues will be identical: players get grouped with 6 other players and put into 4 games (2 with each other player). Games will then be played asynchronously over the course of several weeks and a point system will be used to determine who wins the league (10 points for 1st, 6 for 2nd, 3 for 3rd, and 1 point for finishing last). Winning your league gets you promoted to a higher division for the next season, while finishing in the bottom 2 gets you demoted to an easier one. You can read the full rules for our league format HERE .

For folks who like a complex challenge, Agricola has proven to be one of the best board games ever made. It may not draw the biggest crowds on the tournament circuit, but it is legendary for its consistently shark-infested fields. When it was first published back in 2007 it led the Spiel des Jahres committee to invent a new category (for “complex games”) so it could award a special prize, and as of this writing in early 2017 it is still the #11 overall ranked game of BoardGameGeek.

We’ll be using the online implementation of Agricola on www.boiteajeux.net. Games will be created with the Tournament mode setting (which just means the banned list used in most tournaments is implemented) and “Draft 7” will be used to distribute occupations and minor improvements from all 3 of the implemented decks: E, I, and K, though there are a few cards from the printed version of the game that have not been implemented  (see the article about online Agricola). For season 1, we’ll be using BPA laurels in Agricola (see the Agricola Event History Page) to seed people into the initial divisions.

                If you want to Sign up for Season 2 Agricola, please fill out this form (this will also put you in as an alternate for season 1 in case someone fails to join their games):

You must be 13 or older to participate. If you are 13 to 17 years old, you must have parent/guardian approval.
You must have an account on www.boiteajeux.net to play.
If you have laurels listed on the BPA website that will be used to match players in leagues.
You don’t have to join the Meeple League to play, but we would really like you to join us.

 

Online Thurn & Taxis Tournament

Sign-ups closed for Meeple League's 1st Online Event!

Reserve a spot for the next Season Below

Here at the Meeple League our primary mission is to improve the quality of board game tournament offerings. We are delighted to announce that one of the ways we will do that is by offering our own online events! Just like “live” events, we will use a standardized format so you’ll know what to expect whenever you sign up, but the details for online events will be different from the typical tournaments you might have experienced at a convention.

This article will walk you through everything you can expect from our League format, plus – most importantly – tell you how you can sign up for our first  supported game: Thurn & Taxis!

Our online events will be structured as ongoing leagues, and not as one-shot tournaments. When you sign up you will be placed in a league along with 6 other gamers, and you will be placed into 4 total games (with each other member of your division appearing in 2 of them). All the games will be played “asynchronously” through a specified website, which means players will each check in to see if it’s their turn several times a day at their convenience, and the games will play out over the course of several weeks.

Once all the games are done, we use a point system to see who won each league (10 points for 1st, 6 for 2nd, 3 for 3rd, and 1 point for finishing last). The leagues themselves are divided into divisions and whenever you win a league, you get promoted up to a tougher (but more prestigious) division. Meanwhile, if you finish in the bottom 2 of your league, you get demoted into an easier division for the next season. We’ll keep track of lifetime standings so everyone can see how they measure up, and we’ll also be prominently displaying the names of everyone who wins division one. Click to see detailed rules.

Fans of Terra Mystica may recognize this as the same basic format being used on http://tmtour.org/#/ to govern tournaments run using the online implementation at http://terra.snellman.net.

We think this system will work well for lots of other games, too. Note that in order to seed players for the very first season, we’ll be using the lifetime laurel counts from the Boardgame Players Association – aka, the folks who run the World Boardgaming Championship . You can check your laurels for the game on the T&T Event History Page.

Thurn & Taxis is a nice light Euro-game that has been very popular on the tournament circuit ever since it won the Spiel des Jahres in 2006. It’s actually one of the few games at the World Boardgaming Championships that’s big enough to require a quarter-final round.

Our Thurn & Taxis League will use the online implementation at www.yucata.de. We will use the original version of the game – no expansion content, and no special options. Games are scheduled to start in late January and you’ll receive a schedule in your email once the pairings are ready. If you do sign up, you are committing to checking the website a couple of times on most days (it’s OK if something comes up every once in a while, or if you’re out of town for a weekend (for example), but in general we’re hoping game lengths will be measured in weeks not months.

If you want to play in future Thurn & Taxis tournament, please sign up here:

You must be 13 or older to participate. If you are 13 to 17 years old, you must have parent/guardian approval.
You must have an account on yucate.de to play.
If you have laurels listed on the BPA website that will be used to match players in leagues.
You don’t have to join the Meeple League to play, but we would really like you to join us.