Russian Railroads

Updated Feb. 10, 2016

2015 WBC Report

2016 Status: pending 2016 GM commitment

Henry Dove, MD

2015 Champion

Event History

2015 Henry Dove 75

Laurels

 Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
   1.  Henry Dove         MD    15     30
   2.  Riku Riekkinen     fi    15     18
   3.  Raedie Smith       NC    15     12
   4.  Keith Dent         IL    15      9
   5.  Anne Norton        NJ    15      6
   6.  Tom DeMarco        NJ    15      3

2015 Laurelists

Riku Riekkinen, fi
2nd

Redie Smith, NC
3rd

Keith Dent, IL
4th

Anne Norton, NJ
5th

Tom DeMarco, NJ
6th


Rob Kircher, Keith Layton, David Earle and David Buchholz

Doug Mercer, Tom DeMarco, Jay Fox and Riku Riekkinen

Redie Smith, Anne Norton and David Stoy

GM Tom DeMarco and his finalists

New Challenges ....

I had been very excited about this game as soon as I played it in February 2014. My wife and I played it at almost any opportunity, and I taught the game probably 20 times. I knew it would be a popular game at WBC, and applied to run the tournament in November.

After it was chosen as a Trial event in January 2015, I, as GM, had duties to perform, starting with writing a Preview for the website. Because the game does not have a tiebreaker, I needed to devise one that wouldn’t distort the game by giving the players any reason to play any differently than they would without the tiebreaker. I decided that the player that was later in Turn Order at the end of the game would win a tie. I also decided that the qualification for the semis among all players with one win would be by the winner’s percentage of the sum of all players’ scores. And I had to create score sheets that would be fairly easy for the players to complete but would give me the maximum amount of information that I could get toward writing the After Action Report. Finally, I was ready and eagerly awaited August and WBC.

At the first Demo on Monday, Assistant GM Anne Norton taught eight people while I got the room ready and prepared to do signups at the first heat. 44 entered the first heat, and were assigned to tables. I cautioned the players about finishing within the 2-hour time slot, as I was concerned that there might be games not finishing on time. As it was, nearly all the games finished well within the timeslot with only a couple going a few minutes over. On Wednesday, the second Demo was well attended, with an impromptu strategy session after the tutorial filling the hour. The second heat was held in the Marietta room and during the first hour was enlivened by the boisterous Pirate’s Cove heat already in progress. There were 51 players, 20 of whom had played in Heat 1. This gave us a total of 24 games played thus far. Asst. GM Anne and I were the only two players with two wins, the other 20 winners were ranked, with Riku Riekkinen leading with 34.6% of his game’s VPs down to Kyle Smith at 27%. The top 14 (plus Anne & I) were listed as semifinalists, the other six were designated Alternates.

When the time came for the semifinal, 12 of the 16 qualifiers appeared. Three of the remaining four had told me they wouldn’t make it. This was great news to the four Alternates who appeared and now made it in, but not for the four runners-up who were denied a second chance.

At the first table, Keith Dent won by 30 VP over Herbert Gratz, Ed Gilliland, and Pierre-Luc Ramier. Keith started the game first in Turn Order, chose for his (?) card the engineer + coin, only advanced black and grey track, and had no engineer bonus. At the next table, Henry Dove also¬† won by 30 VP over Dominic Blaise, Akihisa Tabei, and Kyle Smith. Henry started second in Turn Order, chose for his (?) card the 9 engine, had no engineer bonus and didn’t advance past grey track, but had three end-of-game bonus cards. At the third table, Redie Smith won by 36 VP over Anne Norton, and by at least 125 VP over Andrew Martin and David Stoy. Redie started second in Turn Order, chose the engineer + coin, got the 20 VP engineer bonus, and advanced up to white track. And at the last table Riku Riekkinen tied with me and scored more than 50 VP over Jay Fox and Douglas Mercer, but advanced as his end-of-game Turn Order was third to my first. So I was defeated by my own chosen tiebreaker rule. Riku started first in Turn Order, chose for his (?) card the engineer + coin, advanced to white track, and received no engineer bonus. So in the semis, three of four winners took the (?) engineer, but only one got any (20 VP) bonus, and all four winners had a start-of-game Turn Order of first or second. Looking at who would get the Tournament fifth and sixth place laurels, I assumed that I would have fifth, since I had tied with Riku. Calculating the other three semis I saw that Anne had the best percentage of the sum of her table’s score over the runners-up finishes of Herbert and Dominic, so I accorded her the 6th place laurels. But later I calculated my percentage and discovered to my horror that my tie wasn’t as good as Anne’s 36 VP loss. If I had ruled that the criteria to advance was percentage of the winner’s score, I would have gotten those fifth place laurels for myself instead of having to settle for sixth place laurels! So I was defeated by my chosen advancement rule.

The initial turn order for the Final was Henry (Green), Redie (Blue), Riku (Yellow), and Keith (Red). For his Starting Bonus Keith chose a coin, Riku chose a black track movement, and Redie chose an industry track move. On the first turn Henry started off by hiring engineer 2 (1 industry track and +3 VP), Redie took the two coins, Riku the two temporary workers, and Keith moved two black track spaces on the Kiev line. By the end of the first turn Keith was able to unlock the extra worker on his Kiev line, Riku had grey track out, Redie had two doublers, and Henry had a number 2 factory and three industry moves. Scores were Riku, Henry, and Redie at 6 VP, and Keith at 5 VP.

During the second turn Redie was the starting player. He hired engineer 3 (1 black and 1 grey track) and got grey track started. Keith got both the 2 coins and the two temps, Henry got a 2 and a 3 factory and had a clear path to the (?) space on his industry track, while Riku got brown track started. Henry led at the end of Turn 2 with 22 VP, helped by 10 VP he earned on the factory track. Riku was in second place with 17 VP, Redie had 12 VP, and Keith had 9 VP.

From the starting player position on the third turn Henry took the 2 coins, then was able to trigger the (?) space on the industry track. He chose the (?) bonus cards for his advantage and took the 9 engine and had first choice from the end-of-game bonus cards. Riku hired engineer 4 (1 doubler and +3 VP) and earned the extra worker on his Vladivostok line. Redie started building brown track, while Keith triggered the first (?) on the St. Petersburg line and gained the bonus black worker and an end-of-game bonus card. Henry jumped up to 57 VP, getting major VPs on both the Kiev and industry tracks, Riku and Redie were tied at 27 VP and Keith advanced to 15 VP.

Redie was the starting player again on Turn 4. He hired engineer 8 (redo of previous one-worker space) and earned the extra worker on the Trans-Siberian line. Keith advanced grey track and on the industry track. Henry triggered the first (?) space on the St. Pete line and got the Kiev medal, though he still needed more grey track on the Kiev line to get VP for it. Riku started advancing the bone tracks. Henry increased his lead to 97 VP to 66 VP for Riku, 44 VP for Redie, and 36 for Keith.

Turn 5 had Keith as starting player. He hired engineer 9 (2 industry track moves), earned both the Kiev medal and the extra worker on the Trans-Siberian line. Redie got started building white track. Henry got the grey track he needed to power the Kiev medal. Riku just advanced a lot of track. Scores were Henry with 173 VP, Riku 115, Keith 98, and Redie 97.

On Turn 6 Riku started white track and, reaching the second (?) on the St. Pete line, took the Revaluation token. Henry and Keith both got their third (?) - Henry took the second industry marker and Keith took 3 doublers, while Redie, though fourth in turn order, was able to hire engineer 14 (2 black track) and continue to push white track. Scores were Henry with 266 VP, Riku 214, Keith 177, and Redie 158.

For the last turn Keith started by hiring engineer 11 (1 of any track and 1 black track) and was able to complete his industry track. For the first (?) space on the St. Pete line Redie received the +1 doubler+1 industry+1 black track+one of those 3 bonus and got an end-of-game card, while for the second (?) space he took the Revaluation token. Riku continued to push the white track, while completing the St. Pete line. Henry concentrated on industry track moves, finishing the track with the first marker and getting the second marker to the halfway point.

Along with his Turn 7 points, Keith scored 20 for the second place in engineers and 30 for his end-of-game bonus card (up to 30 VP for 3 extra workers) to total 340 VP and fourth place. Redie scored 40 VP for most engineers and 20 for his end-of-game card (10 VP for each line completed) for a total of 350 VP and third place. Riku scored 19 VP for his end-of-game bonus (sum of all engines) and made it to 376 points to nab second place. Henry only got 21 VP for his end-of-game bonus card (7 VP for each (?) earned), but didn’t need more to win the championship with 409 VP.

Henry confessed that he was able to use the same strategy to win all three games he played—he hurried on the industry track to the (?) space and grabbed the 9 engine while everyone else was too busy doing their own thing to push up to the 4 engines and so trigger the (?) spaces on the St. Pete line. My wife Anne and I have tried to use that strategy since then, but it doesn’t seem to work as well if one player is pushing for the 4 engines and grabbing the industry movement spaces when another player is trying that strategy.

Statistics:
There were 29 games played. The winning scores ranged from the 338 VP of David Stoy to the 492 VP of Pierre-Luc Ramier, and averaged 412 VP. Nearly every player of every game (107 out of 115) cashed in a (?) space for a (?) card and end-of-game bonus card. The 9 engine was the most popular (?) card chosen, being taken in 28 of 29 games. The extra black worker was next most popular at 27 times, followed by engineer 1 (any 2 track advances) plus a coin at 26 times, the factory and 2 industry advances at 16 times, and the doubler-industry-black track-plus one more at 10 times. More than half of the game winners, 15 out of 29, had the 9 engine, while the engineer and the extra worker were each held by five winners, the doubler-industry-black track bonus by two winners, and the factory plus 2 industry by one winner. Dominic Blaise was able to win his game without a (?) card, but six of the eight players that didn’t take a (?) card finished in last place. Looking at Turn Order position, in ten of 29 games the player that started the game first in Turn Order were winners, in 11 games the winner started second, while there were six games and two games for winners who started third and fourth in Turn Order respectively. Perhaps there is too much of a starting player advantage? How about the bonuses of 40 and 20 points for hiring the most engineers? The player that took 40 for the most engineers won seven times, the earners of 20 points won 11 times, with the other 11 winners getting no engineer bonus; so getting some bonus for most engineers may be even more predictive of winning than getting the 9 engine (although it’s true that half of the players get some bonus). How about track advancement? Nearly half (14 of 29) of the winners had unlocked white track, while almost a quarter (seven) only got up to grey track, five players got to brown track, and my two wins in the heats were the only victories where the winner only got to the bone tracks.

GM Tom DeMarco [1st Year] 720 Wood Lane, Cinnaminson, NJ 08077
TomAnneTim@Comcast.net NA

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