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Lessons on Taking Hamburg to Victory in AoR
Contributed by Kevin Sudy on July 7, 2001.

Kevin Sudy placed 4th as London in the Age of Renaissance final held at the 2001 World Boardgaming Championships (WBC) in Baltimore from June 26 to July 1, 2001. Following is his write-up of the game:

“Put to rest the myth that Hamburg can't win. (None of last year’s 21 six-player games were won by Hamburg.) This year’s Age of Renaissance champion showed us how.

“Amid the background noise of gunboat Diplomacy players, a constant flurry of deal-making was taking place at the AOR table. The first two turns were fairly standard, except that players dumped a total of seven commodity cards. Genoa declared that he routinely plays all cards every turn to save on stabilization costs.

“On Turn 2 Hamburg played a military card and took Norwegian timber over the protests of London. A shortage of stone netted Genoa a card. Then on Turn 3, Parisian Crusaders provoked Genoese pirates and a $32 payout of Wool to London convinced Hamburg to instigate a Civil War. Next, Barcelona played Wine for 80, provoking an ill-fated war by Venice. As a result, Barcelona gained one domination marker with zero tokens. Preparing an extended home area that would remain inviolate the rest of the game, Hamburg placed nine satellites.

“On Turn 5 a double shortage of Wine netted two additional cards to Barcelona. Hamburg was convinced to buy off both shortages and was rewarded by other players with two Timbers. He then played the third Timber himself. London agreed to not sell Barcelona any fool’s gold in exchange for the Spanish oracle revealing an upcoming commodity play, but half the Fur was out of reach of the English six-boat. Hamburg and Genoa bought Cathedral. With few tokens, Hamburg's purchase is viewed as defensive, and CNN headline news moves from Barcelona to Genoa.

“Venice, owning the bulk of the two-spots, bore the brunt of two turns of London military advantage. With a tenuous presence in the east, London agreed not to attack the Spice merchants in Acre if Paris agreed to leave the peasants of the Levant satellite alone. At that point, Black Death arrived in the Central Med (however, it ended up having little impact on the outcome of the game).

“On Turn 7, London played Alchemist’s gold on the perceived leader, Genoa. Afterwards, Hamburg played Copernicus, Galilei, Prince Henry, Columbus and Oldenburg (too many for golf, not enough for a baseball team), revealing the reason Hamburg had not been able to participate in commodity deal-making of previous turns.

“Timber paid out for the fifth and sixth time, bringing Hamburg’s total Timber revenue for the game to something like $225. Wine-for-Wool and other deals proliferated, including effective extortion by Venetian Rebellion-mongers for much-needed Cloth payouts. The total value of advances owned by the six players fell within a slim 80 point spread; but everyone realized that Hamburg, playing third, was carrying forward hundreds of dollars of patronage to the final turn.

“On Turn 8, Venice played Civil War on Hamburg and the usual squabbling for final Spice and Silk payouts ensued. Such trinkets were beneath the Timber lord: with zero payouts in final card play. Hamburg retained the lead.

Final Statistics
1st place - Hamburg - 1779 (bid 0 choose 6th)
2nd place - Venice - 1742 (bid 4 choose 2nd)
3rd place - Genoa 1681 (bid 3 choose 4th)
4th place  - London 1591 (bid 3 choose 3rd)
5th place - Paris 1471 (bid 3 choose 5th)
6th place - Barcelona 1401 (bid 4 choose 1st)

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Last updated by kae on July 18, 2001.