empire builder [Updated October 2002]

EPB  6 prizes  Mult Ent Sing Elim Scheduled 
  Rnd1 Heat1 18    Rnd1 Heat2 12
  Rnd1 Heat3 9        
     Round 2 9 Final

   Rnd1 Heat1  Rnd1 Heat2 Maryland 4   Rnd1 Heat3 Round 2 Maryland 2   

Jim Yerkey, MD

2001-2002 Champion

2nd: Eyal Mozes, NY

3rd: Harald Henning, CT

4th: Steve Okonski, MD

5th: Debbie Garver, TX

6th: Brian Smith, NY

Event History
1999     Steve Okonski     64
2000     Bill Navolis      61
2001     Jim Yerkey      44
2002     Jim Yerkey      43

AREA Ratings

GM: Rich Shipley

Past Winners

Steve Okonski - MD

Bill Navolis - PA

Jim Yerkey - MD

Riding 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 finals.

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.

The 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.

 GM      Rich Shipley  [4th Year]  1241 Linkside Dr., Baltimore, MD 21234
    rich@rtgames.com   NA

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