empire builder  

Updated 11/30/2009

2009 WBC Report   

 2010 Status: pending 2010 GM commitment

Mark Kennel, DE

2009 Champion

Offsite Links

  Rio Grande Games

Event History
1999     Steve Okonski     64
2000     Bill Navolis      61
2001     Jim Yerkey      44
2002     Jim Yerkey      43
2003     Donna Balkan      57
2004     Tom Dunning      64
2005     Tom Dunning      49
2006     Rich Meyer      52
2007     Eric Brosius      62
2008      Harald Henning      66
2009      Mark Kennel      56

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Jim Yerkey         MD    03    110
  2.  Harald Henning     CT    08    100
  3.  Tom Dunning        NY    08     97
  4.  Eric Brosius       MA    09     95
  5.  Richard Meyer      MA    06     82
  6.  Mark Kennel        DE    09     78
  7.  Donna Balkan       on    04     61
  8.  Debbie Gutermuth   TX    08     60
  9.  Steve Okonski      MD    02     60
 10.  Bill Navolis       PA    00     50
 11.  Eyal Mozes         NY    09     46
 12.  Dave Steiner       DE    08     40
 13.  Paul Van Bloem     MD    03     40
 14.  Chuck Foster       TX    06     34
 15.  Mike Zorrer        DE    09     30
 16.  Greg Mayer         MO    00     30
 17.  Tedd Mullally      NJ    09     29
 18.  John Haas          DE    04     24
 19.  Olin Hentz         CT    03     22
 20.  Cliff Ackman       PA    07     21
 21.  Kyle Greenwood     HI    09     20
 22.  Tom Wade           IN    08     20
 23.  Bill Duke          MD    07     20
 24.  Mark Franceschini  MD    00     20
 25.  Mike Backstrom     MN    05     16
 26.  Rich Shipley       MD    03     16
 27.  John Clarke        FL    06     15
 28.  Bryan Eshleman     NC    07     10
 29.  Winton Lemoine     CA    06     10
 30.  Ken Good           OH    05      9
 31.  Brian Smith        NY    02      6
 32.  Debbie Otto        MO    99      3

2009 Laurelists                                               Repeating Laurelists 

Mike Zorrer, DE

Kyle Greenwood, HI

Eric Brosius, MA

Eyal Mozes, NY

Ted Mullally, NJ

Past Winners

Steve Okonski, MD

Bill Navolis, PA

Jim Yerkey, MD

Donna Balkan, ON

Tom Dunning, NY

Rich Meyer, MA

Eric Brosius, MA

Harald Henning, CT

Mark Kennel, DE

Paul van Bloem points out a route for his next connection.

The finalists gather to decide the wood.

Do the Loco Motion

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.

 GM      Tom Dunning  [5th Year]  NA 
    traingamertom@gmail.com   NA

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