the Rails ...
The Empire Builder Series tournament was run differently
this year. Instead of having heats that lead to a semifinal,
the tournament switched to a swiss format. Players who won two
games during the first three heats advanced directly into the
The first heat saw five games of Empire Builder and
two of British Rails. I was hoping to have a copy of the
new edition of British Rails available to play, but a
shipping snafu prevented that. I did bring the new boxed version
to the later rounds for people to see.
The second heat featured three games of Eurorails and
four of India Rails. This is the first time the alternate
game has outdrawn the standard in a round (Empire Builder
and Eurorails were the original games voted in to
form the tournament). Winners from the previous round were grouped
together in two games. Defending champion Jim Yerkey won his
India Rails game and past champ Steve Okonski prevailed
in Eurorails to secure their repeat trip to the finals.
I thought that attendance might decrease in the third heat,
since players that had not already won a game had no chance to
advance, but player participation stayed steady at 28 per heat.
Four games of Empire Builder and four of Iron Dragon
were played in this final heat. Previous winners were again grouped
together and three of these games were played to decide the rest
of the finals table. Harald Henning was the winner in his Iron
Dragon game, while Debbie Garver and Eyal Mozes advanced
with Empire Builder wins.
The five-player Eurorails final was a close game, but
went slowly and unfortunately had to be called for time. Next
year's final will use a timer (with monetary penalties for going
overtime) to keep things moving. When time was called and the
money was counted, Jim Yerkey had repeated as champion. Efficient
track building and long runs were his keys to victory.
tournament will use the same format next year, but I am planning
on having all three preliminary heats take place during the evening.
Rob Stribula demonstrated his upcoming Lunar Rails from
Mayfair during the con and that may be in the lineup for next
year's event. Everyone is invited to test their railroading ability
in the 2003 tournament!
Finalists Harald Henning, Jim Yerkey, Debbie
Garver, Eyal Mozes, and Steve Okonski prepare to do battle over
the rails at right.