Riding the Rails ...
was great to see the returning faces in this third Empire Builder
Series tournament. Special thanks to assistant GMs Steve Okonski
and Greg Mayer. There were ten games of Empire Builder,
five of Eurorails, two of British Rails, two of
Iron Dragon, and one of Australian Rails played
in three heats.
Notables qualifying for the Eurorails semis were 1999
champion Steve Okonski with a record of 2-0, Jon Kwiatkowski
& Debbie Garver with records of 2-1, and 2000 champion Bill
Navolis. Close contests produced four finalists: Steve Okonski,
Paul Van Bloem, Jim Yerkey (alternate for Harald Henning), and
Donna Balkan. The first three were finalists in 1999 and Donna
made the Empire Builder final after getting to the semis
Jim's starting network went from Denver through Kansas City
to Atlanta and up to Knoxville where his first delivery of lead
earned $19. Donna started with a line from Philadelphia to New
York through Chicago to Kansas City and delivered imports there
for $19. Steve's initial rails went from San Francisco through
LA and east to Kansas City where he delivered sugar for
$28. Paul began with track from Detroit through Chicago and Kansas
City and down to Tampico, Mexico where a load of cars earned
the tax card came an hour later, Jim had $19 and his track went
to Mexico City and over to Phoenix. Donna had $0 with track that
extended to Mexico City. Steve also had $0 and had worked his
way up the coast to Seattle. Paul was in the lead with $40 and
a beltway between KC, Chicago, Atlanta, and Houston. Two hours
into the game Jim had $115 with six cities, Donna had $14 with
five cities, Steve had $29 with six cities, and Paul had $12
with five cities.
Jim won with $259 thanks to a delivery of textiles to Portland,
Maine for $37 and what he said was "the best set of cards
I ever had." His track went to all major cities except Seattle.
Paul came in second with $217 also bypassing Seattle, Steve was
third with $206 skipping Mexico City, and Donna was fourth with
$159 without LA.
Finalists (left to right): Jim Yerkey, Donna Balkan,
Steve Okonski and Paul Van Bloem
Eden Studios provided a license for their excellent computer
version of Iron Dragon to the winner. In 2002, the alternate
games will be British Rails, Iron Dragon, and India Rails. Hope
to see you there!