All Hail the Champ VII
Rails Across the
Sea: Eric Brosius, Japan's Alihisa Tabei, Italy's Fabio Pellegrino,
and Lane Newbury.
More Rails Across
the Sea: Bob Strauss, Tom Browne, and
Finland's Antero Kuusi
bring WBC's reach to the far north.
Ken Gutermuth, Austria's Herbert
Gratz, Andrew Roosen and Tom McCorry engage in more international
Global Economy be damned; Lane
Newbury and Eric Brosius
are not inclined to give nationality
53 railroad gamers came to the pre-convention to play 18xx
series games, a 33% gain from last year, and the most in 17 years.
25 players entered their first 18xx tournament, with seven
winning preliminary round games. None of which prevented Bruce
Beard from continuing his mastery of the 18xx series,
sweeping through the tournament unbeaten with six wins.
There were four preliminary rounds, with 18EU and 1846
added to the more widely available 1830, 1856, 1861, and
1870 in competition. 1830 was the most popular
preliminary round game, by 15-6 over 1861. There were
four games each of 1846 and 1856, and two games
of 1870 and 18EU played. Four of the 1830
preliminary games ended in bankruptcies, as did an EU
and a '56 game.
Nine tables of 38 players began play in the first round Saturday
morning, with five 1830 games and two games each of 1861
and 1846. That number climbed to 11 in the second
round, requiring expansion to another room. 43 players contested
all six of the allowable games in this round, with returnees
winning eight times. Sunday morning brought the third round,
with seven 4-player tables playing all games but EU. The
final prelim on Sunday afternoon was the last chance to win a
semi-final slot. 26 players matched up in two games of 1830
and 1856, and one game of 18EU and 1861.
The 33 preliminary games produced a quadruple winner, two triple
winners, four double winners, and 15 single winners. Six of those
victors did not appear for the Monday semi-final, leaving exactly
16 winners to compete. Only six of 2010's 16 returned for the
semis. Players were allowed to pick which game to play in the
semi-final, resulting in one game of 1856 and three of
The first 1830 semi featured perennial champion Bruce
Beard against returnees Lane Newbury, Pierre LeBoeuf and newcomer
Vien Bounma. Vien pushed the diesels early, forcing Pierre to
sell stock in B&O, allowing Bruce to take over the highest-priced
company with a 5-train. Bruce pulled away for an easy win from
Lane as a result. At the second table, returnees Henry Dove,
Ken Gutermuth, and Chris Hancock squared off against newcomer
Bob Strauss. Bob's purchase of the last 4-train right before
a stock round set up Ken's C&O for the first 5. This train,
combined with the D&H private teleport and token placement,
gave Ken access to both sides of New York. Ken also got a 6-train,
and then held on another RR to get the 4-train trade for the
first diesel. This train and station advantage was instrumental
in creating his huge win. The third 1830 board pitted
Italian newcomer Fabio Pellegrino against Japanese returnee Akihisa
Tabei, Andy Roosen, and Craig Reece. Only two railroads started
initially, but they bought all the 2-trains and the first 3 in
the first operating round. Akihisa was later able to dump the
C&O on Craig, leaving him with three railroads, no permanent
trains, and no significant money. Fabio tried negotiations with
several players to forestall the bankruptcy, but Craig ultimately
went down. Fabio snuck past Andy by $4 for a berth in the Final.
Only five RRs survived the CGR formation in the 1856 game,
with Daniel Barnes's THB having the top stock price and best
overall value. This stock advantage was unable to overcome Spencer
Hamblen's cash lead, however, giving Spencer a narrow $163 win
over Daniel, Finn Antero Kuusi, and Joshua Gottesman.
The Final thus matched (in turn order) Ken Gutermuth, Bruce
Beard, Fabio Pellegrino, and Spencer Hamblen in 1830.
This was Fabio's first WBC appearance in 18xx, and only the prohibitive
favorite had breathed the rarified air of the Final previously.
In the private auction, Bruce took the M&H for $145, Fabio
the C&SL for $50 and the C&A for $215, Ken the SV and
the B&O private at cost, and Spencer the D&H for $90.
Ken set the share price of the B&O to $90, so he could float
it in SR 1. Bruce then set the Penn's share price at $90 and
opened it. Spencer opened the last of the first round companies,
the C&O, at $67. Fabio waited until the second stock round
to sell his Penn share and get his first company started, the
NYNH at $67. Spencer bought the last three 2-trains and the first
3 in his C&O, then started the B&M, putting three 3-trains
in that. Each of the other players bought only a single 2-train
for their first company. Spencer started three RRs, adding the
NYC to his first two companies. Fabio started the Erie and CanPac,
in addition to the NYNH, and later took over the B&M as well.
Bruce held twice with the Penn to buy a 5-train, but the stock
price was able to recover due to a late lengthy train stall.
The other permanent trains went to Spencer's NYC (5) & C&O
(5); Fabio's B&M (6), Erie (6), NYNH (D), & CanPac (D);
and Ken's B&O (D). Bruce's better stock value compensated
for his fewer shares, allowing him to pull away late for an easy
victory over Spencer - and thereby extend the WBC's longest current
championship streak to seven years.
Daniel Barnes, the newest "sandman"
and one of 16 players to compete in all four heats, watches with
GM Pierre LeBoeuf as the Final unfolds in an empty Lampeter Hall
before the auction gets underway with finalist auctioneer Ken
Bruce Beard poses with his seventh
straight 8XX shield to retain
WBC's longest current winning streak.
Settling for "loser" wood was
Italy's Fabio Pellegrino
(3rd) in only his second WBC and
BPA's Chairman of the Board
Ken Gutermuth (4th).