You do not have to be an expert player to join the fun in this classic train game, which mixes luck with more strategy than you think! Last year’s tournament winner learned to play during the Demo, lost badly in the first heat while he figured out some strategy, then ran the table for the first-place plaque!
There are three first-round heats; you can play in as many as you like. With 32 or more total players, the top 16 first-round players will advance to the semifinals. With fewer players the GM will post the number of semifinalists during the third heat. Four semifinalists will advance to the Final.
Win any heat and you likely advance to the semifinal, but no guarantees, and you could get in without a win. The Heats Most Wins - Timing Standard Tiebreakers will be used to determine advancement. Check the standings on the event kiosk to determine your chances of advancing, and please inform the GM if you are likely to qualify but do not plan to play in the Semifinal or Final.
The ideal number of players at each table will be 4, with 3-player games, as necessary. The number of players per game and the number advancing will be determined by the number of players.
Boxcars is preferred but players may use Rail Baron boards instead in the heats. Regardless of which board is used, all tables will use the current rules, destination chart and corrected payoff chart. The approved app is recommended to look up payoffs, and the GM will provide corrected paper charts.
Detailed tournament rules will be available to each player, but generally we are playing by the same hybrid rules we have used for the past few years, primarily Boxcars rules with a few modifications. Feel free to email the GM if you would like the full details prior to the tournament. Highlights:
- Ride your own railroads for free. The $1000 user fee is only paid for turns when you ride a railroad owned by the bank. Payments to other players have not changed.
- To determine your initial Home City, roll for Region then choose a unique city in that Region.
- The Home Swap variant is in play. This may result in duplicating another player’s home city.
- A track segment may only be used once per destination run (Rail Baron rules). Following a successful rover play, declarer and chasers can re-use the minimum track necessary.
- Establishment rule: Your train is simultaneously established on every railroad that passes through the dot on which you ended your previous movement turn. No declaration required.
- Bonus Turn (third die): In all rules sets, if you have a third die for any reason, you are not allowed to know the value of that third die until you have moved your first two dice. If all agree, this rule may be relaxed ONLY when you have a clear, pre-announced path for any roll up to 18. If you roll all three dice, you MAY NOT think about or veer off that path in any way.
If a game is called for time, each player’s score will be their net worth (cash plus value of properties excluding value of trains). Ties are broken by reverse seating order.
HEATS: MOST WINS - TIMING (HMW-T):
- Most Wins (e.g., total in all heats entered)
- First Win
- First Heat played
- Second Heat played
- Third Heat played
- Fourth Heat played
- Fewest Heats
- Most Second Places
- Fewest total points behind first place in second place finishes. Not playing in a heat counts as an N/A for this criteria, not 0 points
- Fewest total points behind first place in all finishes. Not playing in a heat counts as an N/A for this criteria, not 0 points
- Highest total points ahead of second place
- High dice roll.