Do the Loco Motion
Paul van Bloem points out a route
for his next connection.
The finalists gather to decide the
After three straight years of attendance increases, I'm sorry
to report a drop in attendance at this year's Empire Builder
Tournament. The heats had relatively even attendance with
seven tables in Heat 1, eight in Heat 2 and six in Heat 3. Empire
Builder with Mexico was the favorite again with five plays
in the heats followed closely by Empire Builder without
Mexico with four plays. Eurorails, Lunar Rails and Martian
Rails were each played three times. Lunar Rails was
played twice and British Rails brought up the rear with
a single play. This year we were able to limit all tables to
either four or five players during the heats. 4-player tables
were again the norm with 16 4-player tables and five 5-player
tables during the three heats. We had four multiple Heat winners
with Mark Kennel, Chris Goff, Ted Mullally and Bob Stribula each
winning twice. Chris Goff earned the number 1 seed.
After reducing the number of winners by the number of multiple
wins, we were looking at a smaller semi-final round. We opted
for five 4-player games instead of the 5-player games of recent
years. A roll call of the winners appearing for the semi-final
left three spots open for alternates. Everyone who appeared for
the semi-final was seated save one, your GM Tom Dunning, who
failed to make the cut for the first time in six years. The lesson
here is to arrive for the semi-finals if you're a high alternate.
You never know how many openings will be available.
The semi-finals were all decided by between 38 and 51 points,
neither decisive nor close wins. Instead, they were somewhere
in between. At Table 1, newcomer Kyle Greenwood bested former
Finalist Paul Van Bloem. Table 2 saw former Finalist Mark Kennel
defeat another former Laurelist Bill Duke. At Table 3 Mike Zorrer
punched his first ticket to the Empire Builder Final with
a win over Ilan Woll. Table 4 saw frequent Finalist Eyal Mozes
defeating veteran laurelist Ted Mullally. but his high second
place finish earned Ted Sixth Place Laurels. Table 4 also had
a cautionary tale of railroading woe. Claire Brosius crossed
the Mississippi into Duluth with only $1 in hand. The River flooded
and Claire had only Steel on board. Rather than draw cards looking
for the one card that she could possibly deliver in the deck,
Claire resigned. The moral of this story is always save $3 in
case of floods. Former Champion Eric Brosius earned the right
to try for another title by besting Norm Newton at Table 5.
In his third trip to the Final, Mark Kennel got the shield
he was after. Mike Zorrer was a close second.
We had a couple of special things happen at this year's WBC.
The first was Mayfair released Assistant GM Bob Stribula's Martian
Rails not at Origins, not at GenCon, but here at WBC. The
Mayfair booth sold out their limited stock shortly after opening.
The second special thing that happened was Larry Roznai, President
of Mayfair Games, dropped in to check out our tourney. Larry
said Mayfair Games was considering support for Mayfair Games
tournaments held at WBC. We may have some nice prizes next year.
The Final this year used Empire Builder without Mexico
for the second year running. The new Eurorails doesn't
look to be as Spain dependant as previous editions. I am considering
changing the Final back to Eurorails. Please email me
your thoughts on the new Eurorails or original Empire
Builder without Mexico as the venue for next year's Final.