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Russian Railroads (RRR) WBC 2022 Event Report
Updated October 5, 2023
39 Players Allan Jiang Event History
2022 Champion & Laurels
 

Caesar Rules The Russian Railroads!

One observation from this year’s tournament is that the expansions did not prove as popular as I had hoped. Perhaps it would make sense next year to revert to the base game for all heats. That’s essentially what happened anyway. Of the 15 round 1 games, one was a three-player American Railroads; all the rest were Russian Railroads.

The Semifinal time was difficult (9 am on the second Saturday), both for conflicts with other Semifinals, and in at least two cases that were reported to me directly afterwards, difficulty waking up to make it in time. As a result, only 13 qualifiers appeared and no alternates. We played one four-player game and the rest three-player games.

The closest Semifinal game (and the only four-player game) saw Rick Miller finish 16 points ahead of Aaron Blair, with Rick’s 40 bonus points for engineers putting him over the top. Incidentally, having the most engineers turned out to be more important this year than in previous years for some reason. Here are the statistics for game winners:

  • 40 bonus points – 11 of the 18 recorded games (the GM did not record the details for his own heat games – bad GM)
  • 20 bonus points – 3 of the 18 recorded games

The sweet spot in the past has been to come in second for engineers, but this year first place was best. The notable exception to this was the final, in which the winner received no engineer points, but I am getting ahead of myself.

Finishing out the Semifinal games, Dan Elkins finished 46 points ahead of Dominic Blais, Micah McCormick finished 78 points ahead of DJ Borton, and AJ Jiang finished 126 points ahead of Ray Wolff.

The starting turn order for the final was: Micah, Dan, AJ, Rick. The first three left the engineer for Rick, so he took it for one black track and one grey track. Rick also set himself up to go first on the next round, followed by Micah, Dan, and AJ. Micah grabbed the next engineer, for purple and 3 points. He also set himself up to go first on the following round, followed by Dan, Rick, and AJ (content to remain in the fourth position, collecting valuable points). As AJ was the only one clearly following a top track strategy, he could afford to go later in turn order, and those points did end up making a difference.

The third round saw the first bonus cards being taken. Dan was able to unlock the 9 train, while Rick collected the black track worker. Rick also picked up the engineer for black track and 3 points. It was the last engineer he was to receive. AJ finally decided to make his move for first place for the next round.

Round four turn order was AJ, Micah, Dan, Rick. AJ unlocked the two track engineer plus a coin, leaving Micah without one the top 3. Since Micah was pursuing an industry track strategy, it was not a disaster. It would have been one for AJ, though, with his top track strategy, so he knew he had to make his move then. Dan snagged the engineer for a purple and black track move.

Round 5 turn order: Micah, Rick. AJ, Dan. AJ was not to make another move for one of the first two spots for the rest of the game. His one and only grab for first place was extremely well timed. Receiving bonus points for later position turned out to be a smart move as well, but again I am getting ahead of myself. On round 5, Micah took the engineer for two purple moves. He used it to exceptionally good effect in the end, but as we will see, it was just a little bit short of what he needed.

Round 6 was when Micah finally chose the factory plus two purple track moves. Dan moved first and took the engineer for a black track and another track move, followed by Micah, then Rick, and finally AJ, again bringing up the rear. At the end of round 6, the scoring was as follows: AJ with 274 points, Dan with 273 points, Micah with 251 points, and Rick with 230 points. Everyone had two engineers except for AJ, who still had only his bonus card engineer. Micah assessed that he needed to win the engineer bonus to have a chance, and so he selected first player.

Last round turn order: Micah, Dan, Rick, AJ. Micah quickly took the engineer for a repeat of a single worker action. The rest of the moves played out predictably, with AJ trying hard to hold on (although he did make an interesting single purple move early on, recognizing that he could not get full efficiency out of his engine anyway, and so he might as well block one of the others for a single point rather than move a grey track). Before counting the points at the end of the round, the scores were: Dan with 323 (with 1 factory and track ending moves), Micah with 293 (also with 1 factory and track ending moves, using his engineers to exceptionally good effect), AJ with 288, and Rick with 246.

Scores after counting (but before bonuses):

  • AJ – 428 (love that top track final round scoring)
  • Dan – 411
  • Rick – 383
  • Micah – 373

Engineer bonuses went to Micah (40) and Dan (20), leaving:

  • Dan – 431
  • AJ – 428
  • Micah – 413
  • Rick – 383

It looked like it was going to come down to end game bonus cards – and the reveal was…Micah for 21 points to solidify third place, Rick with 30 points, still not quite enough to catch Micah, and Dan and AJ with 27 and 30, respectively. So, the final results:

  • AJ – 458
  • Dan – 458 Micah – 434 Rick – 413

For the first time in the WBC tournament, the final ended in a tie! The game rules state that both players share the win, but since that is not possible in tournament play, I had already decided to continue the tiebreaker first established by Tom DeMarco and then continued by Dan Farrow: the player who started the last turn in a later position. This gives AJ the victory for 2022 in a well-fought contest that ended literally as close as possible.

I did ask the finalists for feedback about that tiebreaker, and they all acknowledged that it was a reasonable tiebreaker since one had to be chosen. Another suggestion (which would have had the same end result this year) was to use the turn order from the starting turn. The philosophy there is that players have no control over their starting position, whereas they do have a choice about the final turn order. There was no strong consensus, but I figured that I would document the suggestion so that next year’s GM can decide which of the two to use (or perhaps something else entirely).

The final was as exciting a game to watch as I have seen. Well done to four exceptionally good players.

 
2022 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: 1
Dan Elkins Micah McCormick Rick Miller Aaron Blair Dominic Blais
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th

 

Only one interested in the camera! Smiling while he awaits his turn.
A pleasant heat game. Previous GM Tom DeMarco enjoying the game.
 
 
GM  Jay Spencer [1st Year]