An Alternate Prevails ...
Defending champ Inger Henning was
unable to repeat her winning performance this year.
This year's Final ushered in three
Congratulations to Tom Dunning, this year's Rail Baron
champion. No stranger to railroad boardgames, this railroad owner/engineer
out-steamed, out-bought, and out-rolled his rivals in a game
that ended in a slightly calmer finish, compared to many earlier
tournaments. Finishing second was yours truly, your GM, Ron Secunda.
Coming in third was Norm Newton, and fourth, Chester Lanham.
Chester made it to the Final by winning a Semi-Final game that
he was seated at as an alternate. Finishing 5fifh and last was
Mark Kennel, who appeared to be having lots of fun and really
enjoying the game in spite of struggling. Speaking of struggling,
as usual, I suffered from really pitiful dice rolls, at least
during the first 3/4 of the game. It was so painful, Norm gave
me his dice to use and Mark even rolled one region and city destination
for me. Of course, I didn't own a Northeast railroad, so naturally,
he rolled Portland, Maine as a destination for me (Thanks for
trying, Mark). As you can see, it was a very friendly game. Rail
Baron Tom Dunning owned the following RR's: PA, UP, SOU, MP,
and RF&P. I owned: ATSF, SLSF, ACL, GM&O, C&NW, and
NP. I also had the N&W, which I had to auction off. Norm
held the NYC, CMST&P, SP, IC, and my N&W. Chester held
the B&O, CRI&P, D&RGW, GN, L&N, NYNH&H. Mark
had the C&O, SAL, CB&Q, T&P, WP, and B&M.
This year, only 40 players hit the rails, and no one player
won all three first-round-heats. Only one player, Paul Bean,
won two of them, so everyone who made it into the Semi-final
(with two exceptions) did so by winning only one first-round-heat.
The two exceptions were Chester Lanham, who was seated as an
alternate, and Alexandria Henning (the defending champion's daughter),
who graciously sat in as an emergency alternate when another
player gave up their seat at the semi-final.
Summary of Final game:
The 2007 Final was an interesting 5-player game that produced
a clear winner despite four players having networks serving between
50 and 60% of the cities in the game. The city of Portland, ME
was surprisingly important. It was Ron's home city, and
Mark's second destination. Fortunately for Mark, he had
just purchased the B&M, so his trip was fee-free. (And
he felt even more fortunate when his fifth destination was Portland
ME, also. The city came up twice more late in the game.)
The first two unfriendly destinations rolled were Boston by
Chester at the end of Round 9, and Albany by Tom in Round 10.
Since Norm had bought the NYC in Round 7, the table consensus
was that Norm was doing well. This thinking was reinforced
when Mark again rolled Portland, ME in Round 15; he owned the
B&M, but had to take Norm's NYC to get from the C&O to
the B&M. Tom rolled Detroit in Round 21, but was careful
to take Mark's C&O rather than Norm's NYC.
When the last railroad was sold, railroad ownership stood
Norm Newton: SP, NYC, CMStP&P, IC, N&W (reaches 53% of
Tom Dunning: UP, PA, MP, SOU, RF&P (58%)
Mark Kennel: C&O, CBQ, SAL, T&P, WP, B&M (39%, leaving
out unconnected B&M and WP)
Ron Secunda: ATSF, SLSF, CNW, NP, AC, GM&O (51%)
Chester Lanham: CRIP, B&O, L&N, GN, DRGW, NYNH (50%)
Mark was clearly trailing, and true to form ended in fifth
place, but the others seemed to be pretty close. However,
the power of the Pennsy became evident as the game continued.
Mark paid the PA to get in to Pittsburgh in Round 29, and again
to get out in Round 30. Chester paid in Round 38 on his
way to Portland ME; his good rolling let him get away with paying
Mark's B&M only once, and he paid the NYC on his way out.
Meanwhile, Tom managed to avoid rolling many unfriendly cities;
he had three in the first half of the game, but his next unfriendly
destination was his home city of Albany when he went home and
Tom announced going over $150k in Round 48. Since no
other player was much over $100k, this led to immediate jockeying
for second place. Surprisingly, players paid to ride Tom's
UP and PA to avoid paying another player, with the result that
Tom arrived in New York in Round 57 with $237k. Ron arrived
in St. Louis and announced he had broken $150k, but Tom had no
trouble rolling a 2 to reach his home city of Albany on the next
The final order of finish, with dollar and RR value totals,
Tom Dunning: $227 + $115 in RRs = $342 net worth
Ron Secunda: $154.5 + 111 = 265.5
Norm Newton: $140.5 + 114 = 254.5
Chester Lanham: $130.5 + 98 = 228.5
Mark Kennel: $71 + 76 = 147.
Thanks again to Paul for the Final report. Additional details
of the Final game will hopefully be available at the Rail
Baron Fanatics website.
Thanks again to my assistant GM's, Paul Van Bloem and Chester
Lanham, to my wife and Chester's wife for their assistance, and
to all the players who make this such a fun event! For pictures
and year-round Rail Baron news see http://www.insystem.com/rbp/wbcrbn.htm