The first heat drew 40 players including many from the previous tournament. 15 of those returned for another try in Heat 2 along with 13 new players for a total of 17 preliminary games. Eric Engelmann and Tom DeMarco won twice, leaving us with 15 qualifying winners for advancement. The semifinals attracted ten of the 15 qualifiers and four alternates so it was decided to advance 12 to the semifinal, allowing alternates Dominic Blais and Jay Spencer to join the winners.
Francois de Bellefeuille scored 454 VP using the bonus 9 engine and a bonus card that scored 21 for three (?) markers but received no engineer bonus in his win over Dusty Usner (335), Eric Engelmann (301) and Jay Spencer (292).
Jay Boring scored 462 VP using a Trans-Siberian strategy with the extra black worker, the bonus card that scored 24 for black track and no engineer bonus in his win over Anne Norton (400), Tom DeMarco (351) and Peter Tu (313).
Keith Dent, the lone 2015 finalist to return, again made it to the Final with his win of 470 VP using the 9 engine, the bonus card for sum of engines (28), and a 20 VP bonus for engineers, beating Dominic Blais (415), Matt Spencer (379) and Patrick McGavisk (341).
Dominic had the best runner-up performance and therefore joined the three winners in the Final. The other runners-up claimed fifth and sixth place laurels with Anne Norton repeating her fifth place finish from the year before.
Jay, who would be the last to move on Round 1 of the Final, took a coin as his starting bonus, followed by Dominic taking an industry move and Keith taking a black track advance. Starting player Francois hired engineer 2 (one industry advance +3 VP) and advanced along the industry track. Keith took the two coins and was able to get his brown tracks unlocked during the first round. Dominic advanced on the Kiev line and unlocked the extra worker there. Jay took a mix of stuff; a doubler, a 2 engine, a couple of track moves, and Turn Order. At the end of Turn 1 Francois led with nine VP.
For Round 2, starting player Jay hired engineer 3 (1 black + 1 grey track advance) and got his brown track started. Francois took the coins, bought an engine and a factory, advanced track and industry, and unlocked the extra worker on the Kiev line. Keith started advancing his brown track, then got an engine on the Trans-Siberian to unlock the extra worker there. Dominic took Turn Order, a factory and industry moves and led at the end of Round 2 with 24 VP.
On Round 3 Dominic took the two coins, unlocked (?) markers on the St Pete and industry tracks and received a factory and 2 industry bonus along with the second purple industry marker. Keith hired engineer 7 (black track +3 VP) and got his bone track started. Jay took the extra black worker for unlocking a (?) marker and also got bone track started. Francois was able to unlock the (?) markers on the industry and St Pete tracks with a single placement, taking the 9 engine and four track advances. He was also scoring leader at the end of Round 3 with 62 VP.
Keith started Round 4 by hiring engineer 14 (2 black track), then unlocked the (?) on the St Pete line to get engineer 1 (any 2 track advances) +1 coin. Francois took the two coins and got his grey track started. Dominic continued to develop his industry track. Jay unlocked the second (?) on the Kiev line and got the track reevaluation tile. Francois still was in the lead with 107 VP to Keith’s 87, Dominic’s 82 and Jay’s 75.
Dominic hired engineer 9 (2 industry) to start Round 5, then took the two coins and unlocked a (?) marker for the Kiev medal. Jay unlocked his white track. Keith used the engine + factory move to convert his 1 engine into a 1 factory. Francois unlocked another (?) marker to get his Kiev medal. Francois’s lead was shortened again as he advanced to 177 VP but Jay jumped to 164, Dominic to 155 and Keith to 148. Everyone was quite close, actually.
Keith started Round 6 by hiring engineer 15 (brown track + 5 VP), nailing down the top bonus for most engineers, then added another 1 factory to his industry track. Francois took the two coins, then advanced a bunch of track. Dominic continued to push the industry track hard. Jay unlocked the (?) on the Trans-Siberian track and took three doublers, then continued to advance his white track. Jay now held the lead with 276 VP over Francois with 269, Dominic with 245, and Keith with 225.
Francois started the last round by hiring engineer 10 (black track + 1 industry), then pushed his industry track. Jay took the two coins, then pushed track to advance his white track by two spaces. Keith unlocked a (?) marker to advance his industry marker five spaces. Dominic just advanced track. At the end of the round, but before the end of game bonuses were paid, Jay led with 428 VP over Keith at 417, Francois at 384 and Dominic at 376. Adding the bonuses, Dominic got 24 more VP for black tracks to reach 400 VP. Francois had the extra engineer bonus card which gave him a 20 VP bonus for engineers for a total of 404 VP. Jay got 30 VP from the bonus card scoring extra workers, ending with 458 VP. But Keith got 24 points for engineers with his bonus card and 40 VP for having the most engineers for a winning score of 481 VP. His second Final appearance proved to be more successful than the first as he became top laurelist with the title.
There were 21 games played. The winning scores ranged from the low 299 of Patrick McGavisk to the high 504 of Matt Spencer, and averaged 417 VP. The 2015 winners’ scores had ranged from 338 to 492 with an average of 412.
90% of the players cashed in a (?) space for a (?) card and end-of-game bonus card. The 9 engine was again the most popular (?) card chosen, being taken in all 21 games. The extra black worker and the engineer-plus-coin options were each taken 19 times, the factory-plus-2-industry-advances 13 times, and the doubler-industry-black track-plus one more four times. But this year more game winners chose the extra black worker (10) than chose the 9 engine (6), the engineer-plus-coin option (4), or the factory-plus-2-industry option (1). In contrast to 2015 where the player who started the game moving last won only twice in 29 games played, this year the player who started the game moving fourth won the most (nine out of 21 games), followed by moving second (7), moving third (3) and moving first (2).
How about the bonuses of 40 and 20 points for hiring the most engineers? The player that took 40 for the most engineers won eight times, the earners of 20 points won four times, with the other eight winners getting no engineer bonus. As to track advancement—over half (12 of 21) of the winners had unlocked white track, while a third (7) got up to brown track, and only one winner got to grey track.