San Francisco or Bust ...
the second year of this event, 22 engineers set off to see who
best manages the western trains. We split up into six tables
with the winners and top two second place finishers (percentage
of the table winners score) advancing to the next round.
The first round produced three very close games. One ended
in a tie and the other two were decided by a mere three points.
The defending champion Andy Lewis, was barely edged by Tom DeMarco
on percentages to advance to the semi-finals. Winning scores
ranged from 174 to 217 points.
In the semi-finals, there were two games of four with the
top two from each game advancing to the finals. This round produced
two very different games with very close races for second place.
The first game ended early with Doug Smith sensing he had the
lead took the 4 in 1 train to dead-end the last train before
any of the short trains had entered the game. The turn before,
Tom Stokes used the 4 in 1 train to connect Spokane, Seattle
and Portland to collect $14 in a bold move taking second from
yours truly by two points to advance. In the second semi-final,
the game went the maximum. The city deck was exhausted and the
game went for another two turns with no one able to end the game.
This extra card phase allowed Tom DeMarco to play a 6 point city
card while rivals Stuart Tucker and Donna Balkan were both out
of city cards. Tom Saal won and Tom DeMarco took second, four
points ahead of Donna.
Semi 1: 130, 117, 115, 79
Semi 2: 161, 149, 145, 143
The final produced a very exciting game to watch and wasní'
decided until the final turn. The jockeying for train position
began right away as the trains raced west. Very few city cards
were played early as two trains were fully exhausted by the 5th
turn. The game could have ended on turn 6 with Doug's move, but
wisely sensed he wasn't in the lead. Different strategies were
used throughout the game. Doug played a money game by taking
the 2X train six of the first seven turns, collecting $46. On
the other hand, Tom Stokes played city cards seven of the first
ten turns. Tom Saal and Tom DeMarco played a balanced game between
playing cards and running trains. The key move occurred on turn
14. Tom Stokes used the 2X train to connect Las Vegas for which
he held both cards and pitched three cards. On the draw, he drew
Los Angeles which was connected with three trains for 21 points.
This final play pushed him over the top to win. Tom DeMarco finished
a close second only six points behind.
Tom Stokes 158
Tom MeMarco 152
Doug Smith 134
Tom Saal 131
I would like to thank everyone for playing this year; especially
the finalists for staying up to play the final game that night
rather than trying to reschedule. Next year I will look for an
earlier start time and add a second round to avoid conflicts
with other train games and hold each round to a strict 90 minute