New Faces Prevail
Whoa! Pete Reese is a closet rail
gamer! Who knew? Will the CDWers shun him for missing wargame
Stan Buck and Brynn Cmablee check
the payoff as Chester Lanham watches in a Preliminary game.
number of players fell this year, due in large part to the absence
of several traditional Rail Baron families who usually
bring multiple players. Hopefully, we will enjoy their company
next year. Those who did play enjoyed our usual feast of agony
This year, those that made it into the semi-final did so by
wins pretty evenly spread through the three Preliminary heats.
A few players kept playing 'till they got a win, and many good,
experienced players played in every heat, trying for that elusive
win, but will have to wait for next year. A few of you who didn't
win can blame Assistant GM Chester Lanham, who this year joined
a tiny, elite group of players who managed to win all three of
their first-round heats. While he didn't win his semi-final game,
his three wins got him seated at the Final. Only one other player,
Bill Duke, won more than one heat, taking two.
Two qualifying winners did not appear for the semi-final,
as did the top alternate. Tony Newton, one of those who did not
win a first-round heat, took a seat at the semi-final as an alternate,
and won the game, landing a seat at the Final.
The record for the most hostile destinations in the Preliminaries
or semi-final appears to have been won by Scott Chupack. His
first five destinations in Heat 1 were friendly, but of his next
15 destinations, only two were, and the remaining 13 were hostile.
However, he did win his Heat 3 game. Bill Duke had the most destinations
(29) in Heat 2, with Chamblee Shufflebarger close on his heels
with 28 destinations in her Heat 3.
Playing all of our games in the Marietta room was a pleasure,
and scheduling the games for a longer time frame reduced the
stress level for those playing. A few first-round heats went
a little longer than four hours, but did not have to be adjudicated.
I played in one first-round heat that was completed in 3.5 hours,
so with a little effort, many games could be speeded up.
Sadly, not everyone filled in the winner's RR holdings for
the various heats on our game record sheets, but here are some
interesting observations: Very noticeable was that most winners
held the AT&SF, followed closely by the UP. Relatively few
winners held the SP. In the Northeast region, owning the PA did
not ensure a win. The B&O did just as well, followed closely
by the NYC and C&O. In the Southeast, the SAL and L&N
did equally well, and to no surprise, most winners held a Northwest
RR. Only a half-dozen or so winners held the NYNH&H and/or
the B&M, which seems to lessen their importance. Surprisingly,
many winners held the CB&Q and/or SLSF.
Our Rail Baron this year, Mark McCandless, managed to win
our 5-player Final with the C&O, AT&SF, NP, C&NW,
and the IC. The other player's holdings were:
2nd place: Gus McDonald PA, SP, ACL, GM&O, CMSTP&P,
3rd place: Mark Kennel NYC, SAL, L&N, MP, T&P.
4th place: Tony Newton CB&Q, N&W, GN, UP, WP, D&RGW.
5th place: Chester Lanham B&O, CRI&P, SOU, NYNH&H,
Once again, my thanks to Assistant GMs Paul Van Bloem and
Chester Lanham for their help, and thanks to all the players
who enjoy keeping Rail Baron alive.
The finalists chug away as Paul Van
Bloem records the game for posterity.
The finalists get their wood in descending
order of laurels from left to right.