Generally, the rules were following those implemented at the past World Championship. They played with speed-die rules throughout the tournament. There was no cost to enter the tournament nor the convention. You also didn't need to be a French citizen to compete; however, the title of 2017 French Champion (and medal) would only be awarded to the highest placing French player. Hasbro also provided Monopoly sets to the quarter-finalists, bonus sets for the semi-finalists and another bonus set for the finalists.
On Days 1 and 2 (February 24th and 25th), players competed in 1-hour, 4-player games to earn points. A total of 119 unique players competed in games over those first two days. You could compete in as many consecutive games as you could during the time that the doors were open. Your cumulative point total across all the games you played on Friday and Saturday were tallied. The 32 players with the highest points were then invited to play in a 1-hour quarter-final on Sunday (Day 3). The top 2 players at each of the 8 tables then advanced to a 1-hour semi-final round. The winner of each semi-final round then competed in the final match for the title.A total of 67 games were played across all 3 days.
All 32 quarter-finalists received a copy of Monopoly Empire from Hasbro. The 16 semi-finalists also received an Electronic Edition of Monopoly. The winner received a gold medal made for the tournament, the other 3 finalists received a silver (for 2nd place) or bronze medal (for 3rd and 4th place), all four received a Monopoly Token Madness Edition set and a copy of Monopoly Deal.
Here is a recap of the tournament from champion and judge Pinoli, edited for clarity:
119 players took their chances, some often playing in six or seven games, others less, sometimes only one game, but sometimes it was enough to qualify. Back in 2015, I qualified for the quarterfinals with only two games played on the Saturday and only one win (same tournament structure); 28 points were enough to advance. In the 2016 Nationals last December, with only 42 players, the last person to qualify for the Quarter-Finals had just 3 points, finishing 4th in his only game, winning the tie-breaker over the other players with 3 points. Nohman Mouala nevertheless went as far as semifinalist that year, and he competed again in 2017.
With this year's 119 players and 67 games, the qualification cut went higher as 21 points were needed for a sure slot among the top 31. Thus even a victory with all 4 players left in the game, earning you 19 points, was not enough to guarantee you would advance. Among the 11 players tied in 32nd place with 19 points, only 1 got an automatic slot, in the asset total tie-breaker. All the remainders were placed in the waiting list, waiting for a player to forfeit by not showing up on Day 3.
11 women and girls qualified for the quarter-finals, more than a third of the quarter-finalists, proving Monopoly is for both sexes!
Among the 32 quarter-finalists:
- Four out of the six referees, allowed to participate, including Romain Fauroux, my best friend and a semi-finalist last year; Sébastien Jacques, a quarter-finalist in 2016 and Franck Reynier, whose only true opponent was his clockwork and myself, two-time national champion.
- Five other 2016 National contenders (eight in total though amongst all 2017 players): Nohman Mouala; Anne-Claire Pichard, still highly motivated; Yanis Athamnia, 2016 semi-finalist at my table; Ionis Sigalas, 2016 quarter-finalist; and Yann Guerrier.
- Several 2015 Nationals contenders, who also competed here in Cannes where the 2015 championship was held, including Jérôme Robert, who this year was joined by his son.
As your ranking from the preliminary games would have a huge effect on your table seeding in the playoffs, the battle was fierce until Saturday’s last minutes of play, either to reach the 32nd slot or to avoid the best players as long as possible. Every update of the ranking board was passionately expected and discussed. Last year’s very last qualification game among four friends gave us three quarter-finalists and two semi-finalists. Thanh St. Martin is this year’s last-second qualifier as he had an outright victory in a terrific game against me and two of his friends with the green set.
The final ranking of the preliminary games was announced Saturday night at 9:30PM, and I texted the 32 lucky ones to let them know that they were qualified for the quarterfinals and had already won a Monopoly Empire game as a prize. In case of players not being able to return for the final day of competition, 10 other players were invited to join us on the tournament site in case of a forfeit.
Almost all of the known favorite players qualified with a decent slot. I managed to get the top seed tied with the surprising Franck Reynier, both of us with 90 points earned. I had outright victories (28 points each time) in my only two games on Friday, as I was very busy by the setup, tournament organization, and banking for games with players new to the speed dice rule. I obviously had already won enough points to qualify, but challenged by the board’s updates and jokes by my fellow referees who soon passed me in the rankings and dropped me to 6th place, I found the time to play in four Sunday afternoon games.
I met several players we would see later in the playoffs. First the young and shy Brigitte Fortani, so careful in her house building, who finished 2nd behind me in a 3-players left game for 12 points, ahead of her friend Nathalie D’Andrea. Seduced by the speed of playing with the speed die and a 1-hour time limit, like almost all contenders, they both played two more, and qualified for the quarter-finals, with Brigitte in 18th Place and Nathalie in 31st place.
I then met two motivated families whose three boys spent their entire time at the Games Convention playing Monopoly, with a lot of success. They were all very motivated and gifted -- I finished in 2nd behind Théo Bosset, 13 years old, and ahead of Enzo Porquet, also 13 years old, and his friend Anthony Leroy. We agreed on a rematch and Enzo bankrupted the whole table, granting me my first zero points game in a national tournament since my first game in the 2015 championship. Beware, this boy is a dangerous fellow. I then persuaded three other young players to take their chances trying to qualify against me in the last game of the preliminary days. Thanh St. Martin quickly mastered the rules of the tournament and bankrupted us all in the last minutes as he knew he needed an outright victory to gather enough points to get a guaranteed qualification; he did so with the green set!
Sébastien Jacques, who dreamt of getting another top seed in the playoffs, like he did in 2016, ranked 3rd with 87 points, only 3 points behind Franck and I, at the end of the preliminary games.
Nohman Mouala, now a big fan of the game after to his Cinderella run in 2016, brilliantly finishes in 5th place and guarantees he won’t play me before the final. My friend Romain Fauroux, who finished in 8th place, should have this honor in the semis, as he put a bounty of my head in the tournament! Anne-Claire Pichard finished in 6th place, even more impressive than her 2016 5th place, as that was out of just 42 players. Léon Robert, son of Jérôme, finished in 7th place.
As far as the other most dangerous contenders were concerned, Enzo Porquet was in 11th place, Emeric Prime (who came from Paris and thanks to him for his banking help in the semis) was 15th, Jérôme Robert was in 16th, my good friend François Prates qualified with 18th place, but alas, he could not return Sunday and forfeited his spot to the waiting list. Thanh got the 22nd place spot with his last second, solo victory. Yanis Athamnia was back in the playoffs in 24th place. Ionis Sigalas finished in 27th but forfeited his spot, as did Yousri Hammami.
On table 1, I joined my old rival Jérôme Robert, another old fellow opponent, Yanis Athamnia, and Jordan Tavares who came off the waiting list, and took the spot of 32nd place. With less expertise than his three opponents in deals, Jordan allowed me to complete light blue and yellow sets, and Jérôme ended up with the pink, Yanis with the dark blues and Jordan with greens, 2 stations and both utilities. With two players on GO, I went all-in on the light blue properties, investing all of my whole money on 10 houses. And bingo, Jérôme lost the houses he just built in front of me and that I just passed safely…he bankrupts soon after. Jordan twice visits Yanis’ Park Place then my light blues and ends up in a critical situation with only one unmortgaged green property and two dozen in cash. As Yanis and I are in the driver’s seat for another semifinal, we only have to wait for Jordan to go bankrupt. Surprisingly though, Yanis twice visits my hotels, the last one two times thanks to a Mr Monopoly, and Jordan, definitely this year’s Cinderella, joins me in heading to the semifinals, in just a 32-minute game. Where there is life, there is hope!
Table 4 advanced two lovely ladies, Olivia Wattrelot and Gaëlle Delayer, who took out the dangerous Anthony Leroy, who had been in 4th place after the preliminary rounds. Gaëlle was supported by her family of Monopoly fans, and in her only qualification game quickly understood she had to ruin her son to reach the playoffs. Good call!
Both the top seeded players at table 7 survived, as Léon Robert and Patrick Leroy, the only remaining Leroy of the three Leroys in the quarterfinals, "gentlemanly" get rid of their two female opponents.
My table (Table 1) gathered Patrick Leroy, Johannata Levy and Nathalie D’Andrea. This ended up as one of my best ever games, and here is how. After 15 minutes, without any Mr Monopoly rolls, I was stuck with only two properties, States Avenue and Indiana Avenue, while my opponents got between six and seven properties each. As there was no full set available, I felt my end coming, and started to make jokes about it. "My luck has left me for good." Then I got triples. Understanding this was certainly my last chance, I thought about it and grabbed the last remaining pink property. I then took control of the deals, trying to make myself an unavoidable trade partner. When the dust settled, everybody had a full set, including me, the pink one! All in all, I owned three properties, and that was it. I quickly went to three houses and fortunately soon was able to go to 3 hotels. Patrick Leroy gave me the laugh of the day offering me his utilities to settle his $750 rent for landing on St Charles. He soon died with dignity on Virginia Avenue. Once Nathalie D’Andrea finished, I was face to face with Johannata and her Orange set with another final in my view. My three Mr Monopoly rolls in a row give her a true chance as she didn’t get one for a while. The game was close to turning again. Another Mr Monopoly and I would have had to sell hotels and she would get hers. Then she finally gets one, and the game was soon over. It was very close, but it’s never over til it’s over.
There was an epic battle on table 3 as Gaëlle Delayer gathered a natural Dark Blue set. Romain Fauroux (8th Place) and Sébastien JACQUES (3rd Place) managed to deprive her from making too much income so that she cannot build her killer houses. Sébastien was very close to the final when, surprisingly, his Brown hotels forced Gaëlle to mortgage her dark blues. Romain finally got his slot for the final on the last dice roll, as Sébastien rolled a Mr Monopoly, sending him towards Kentucky, making him pay $800 and finishing $500 behind Romain.
The very young Enzo Porquet (who advanced in the seeding to the 9th seed), won a challenging table where Nohman Mouala (4th Place), Léon Robert (5th Place) and Thanh St. Martin (14th Place) all saw their dream of the title vanish.
The final gathered yours truly (1st Place in the Prelims and two-time national champion, i.e. the man to beat), Romain Fauroux (8th Place) who dreamt of taking me down and superseding me, Franck Reynier (2nd Place), and Enzo Porquet (11th Place in the Prelims), the boy wonder, as a pretty amazing set of finalists!
While my luck intially boosted my chances in the final from the start as my first dice roll got me a Chance card that sent me to GO, it would soon quickly turn sour. My very second dice roll would already be with the speed dice. I quickly gathered more properties than my opponents but they all avoided going to Jail, unlike me. My three rivals cheered at seeing me in Jail, happy to see my luck leaving me. Chants were coming from the table and the crowd -- "The champion – in prison!!!" (more on that later.) They all soon gathered as many properties than me, but the game wasn't over yet as no full sets were gathered and I didn’t get any opportunity to make a deal for a full set.
But when Franck Reynier rolled a triple and got a natural Orange set, I felt close to the edge of the cliff. Facing this fate, I offered Romain the dark blue set to help me get at least one set, the green one unfortunately, quite an unbalanced trade though but I was hoping to avoid Romain and Franck making a deal first that would keep me out the game. I also had no money left too. Young Enzo Porquet was in a no-hope situation, with no monopoly nor impact on deals, which the two others refused to include him, of course. I took benefit of this and his situation in offering him the missing red property for money and a few interesting properties, to give me a chance to try to win with the greens. He at first refused. But when I saw an interesting token placement on the board, I convinced him he had no chance at all without a monopoly. I changed my offer and offered him instead the green set against his two reds, two other property cards and $100. He accepted, as he really had no other choice, but tried to counter me on the amount of money, so I asked for $100 more. Not more though, especially not his beautiful $500 banknote as I wanted this deal and a chance for the three-peat. He took the deal, and I went all-in on four total houses. Someone in the crowd then noticed that I was down to just $21 in hand. I immediately collected rents, upgraded to six total houses, and then managed to go back to jail, where I built up to 10 total houses. Franck bankrupted on a combo of landing on Kentucky and Indiana. Enzo died on Park Place and Romain soon realized the situation.
He has three houses on Park Place, and two on Boardwalk, I’m on my last turn in jail, own 3 red hotels, so he will need a few Mr Monopoly-less dice rolls. He missed on the first one, and I got out of jail for $50 and then saw the familiar face of the lovely man on his next dice roll…and won again, in just 31 minutes of game time, the French national title for the third time in a row.
- A player passed GO for the first time after 51 minutes! Was this a world record?
- Most of our Cat tokens disappeared from the boxes.
- A great game for old-timers to play, as one woman shared that she used our favorite game to help her wheelchair-bound husband to recover.
Philippe Pinoli is next organizing an open Monopoly tournament during the Palais du Jeu et du Jouet in Toulon in October 2017 and then the 2018 French Championship will be back at the International des Jeux 2018, still in Cannes, on February 23-25, 2018.
The 32 Quarter-Finalists and their Final Place
Ranking after Preliminary Rounds
|Total Preliminary Points|
|Philippe Pinoli||01 - Champion (also the 2015 & 2016 French Champion)||1||90|
|Romain Fauroux||02 - Finalist||8||60|
|Enzo Porquet||03 - Finalist||11||47|
|Franck Reynier||04 - Finalist||2||90|
|Sébastien Jacques||05 - Semi-Finalist||3||87|
|Johannata Levy||06 - Semi-Finalist||20||32|
|Gaëlle Delayer||07 - Semi-Finalist||22||28|
|Nathalie D'Andrea*||08 - Semi-Finalist||33||19|
|Patrick Leroy||09 - Semi-Finalist||10||51|
|Agathe Marcade||10 - Semi-Finalist||12||47|
|Nohman Mouala||11 - Semi-Finalist||5||71|
|Léon Robert||12 - Semi-Finalist||7||61|
|Caroline Adam||13 - Semi-Finalist||9||51|
|Olivia Wattrelot||14 - Semi-Finalist||13||44|
|Thanh St. Martin||15 - Semi-Finalist||23||28|
|Jordan Tavares*||16 - Semi-Finalist||35||19|
|Anthony Leroy||17 - Quarter-Finalist||4||77|
|Anne-Claire Pichard||18 - Quarter-Finalist||6||61|
|Rodrigue Lemayer||19 - Quarter-Finalist||14||43|
|Emeric Prime||20 - Quarter-Finalist||15||43|
|Jérôme Robert||21 - Quarter-Finalist||16||38|
|Josiane Perrin||22 - Quarter-Finalist||17||36|
|Brigitte Fortani||23 - Quarter-Finalist||19||34|
|Walid Soussi||24 - Quarter-Finalist||21||29|
|Nicolas Montfort||25 - Quarter-Finalist||24||27|
|Yanis Athamnia||26 - Quarter-Finalist||25||25|
|Alexandre Bordin||27 - Quarter-Finalist||26||25|
|Marion Hayet||28 - Quarter-Finalist||27||25|
|Ramy Djeridi||29 - Quarter-Finalist||29||24|
|Sophie Leroy||30 - Quarter-Finalist||30||24|
|Cédric Perez||31 - Quarter-Finalist||31||24|
|Jordan Picco-Nacci*||32 - Quarter-Finalist||34||19|
* Note: Nathalie, Jordan T, and Jordan P-N made it into the Quarter-Finals round because at three players with higher assets did not attend on the final day. They were tied with 11 others with 19 points but had fewer assets than the original 31st and 32nd ranked. Their ranks of 33-35 after the preliminary round is an estimate based on information provided. The three players who qualified for the Quarter-Finals but did not attend were François Prates (Rank 18 with 36 points), Ionis Sigalas (Rank 28 with 24 points), and Yousri Hammami (Rank 32 with 22 points).