Women Rule! ...
Steve Okonski was present in spirit
again - sending along his desktop published deeds as a special
Brian Smith, Paul Van Bloem, Inger
Henning and Sue Lanham ride the preliminary rails.
There must have been an unusual alignment of planets in our
solar system in early August. This year, only three vastly outnumbered
women played Rail Baron and they dominated the preliminaries
over their testosterone adversaries. Sue Lanham, Eve Secunda,
and Inger Henning were the only players to win two out of three
heats. Additionally, Sue Lanham out-engineered her male competitors
to capture the title of Rail Baroness. Even Eve Secunda was a
final winner of sorts - she captured the prize of visiting the
most "hostile" destinations (14) in a single game.
Her luck was so bad in her semi-final game, another player, Norm
Newton, awarded her with a (Canadian) Turkey Hill brown paper
bag whose contents were labeled "Crottes d'orignal sauvage
canadien," or, in English, "Canadian Wild Moose Droppings."
(And, in smaller letters, "Chocolate Covered Almonds.")
So, I guess we should admit, "women ruled" at this
year's tournament. Not that they haven't previously "ruled,"
as both Inger and Eve have also held the title of Rail Baroness...
A review of each game played at this year's tournament revealed
some interesting observations of winner's RR holdings. In the
NE, eight winners, held the PA, which is not surprising. However,
the next most popular RR was the C&O, with seven winners.
The B&O was next with four, and the NYC was last, with three!
In the SW, to no surprise, the AT&SF led with eight winners,
the UP seven, the WP six, and the SP, which despites it's highest
price and far reach, still gets little respect - it only provided
five winners. In the NW, the CMSTP&P led the pack for seven
winners, followed by just a few each for the GN and NP. In the
SE, it's no surprise that the SAL got high marks for nine winners,
but the L&N matched that number! The ACL and SOU each trailed
with four, and were beaten by the
N&W and RF&P, which each helped six winners. In the center
of the U.S.A., the C&NW had the highest count of all, helping
ten winners. The D&RGW, MP, and GM&O each were held by
seven winners, the CB&Q six, the SLSF and T&P each had
five, and the least-sought-after RR, the IC, was held by only
three players. Ah, you're probably wondering about the remaining
three RR's. Well, the much sought-after NYNH&H and B&M
did not seem to have much of an impact, helping only four players
each to victory. The RR with the poorest showing in the tournament
was the CRI&P, which despite its high price and supposed
desirability, was held by only two victors.
The Final game:
As is often the case, the Final was more interesting than the
average 4-person game. Five players pretty much guarantees several
players will be struggling, with a good chance for railroad auctions.
Sue was the only player to take advantage of the home swap rule,
changing her initial home city from Portland, OR to Oklahoma
City. The remaining players' Home cities, in turn order, were:
John - Washington DC, Sue - Oklahoma City, Mark - Louisville,
Gus - Kansas City, and Brian - Chicago.
Gus was the first to make a major purchase, having arrived
at Tampa from Kansas City. While he wanted to purchase the PA,
he was slightly more conservative and bought the NYC. He was
not quite conservative enough, however, as his next destination
could not have been much worse for him. He gave it a valiant
try, but was not able to make it to Seattle before running out
of money. He sold his NYC back to the bank, at a loss of $14k.
Mark arrived in Butte, but didn't have enough to purchase the
NYC. He bought the L&N instead; this made Nashville an unfriendly
destination for Brian. Sue arrived in Portland, OR from Oklahoma
City; allowing her to buy the Pennsy. Gus then arrived in Seattle
and promptly bought back the NYC. Mark completed his third trip
(and first long one), and immediately invested in the B&O.
Brian arrived in unfriendly Nashville, and bought the C&O,
completing the sale of the main four Northeast railroads.
The big Western railroads went unpurchased for a while. Gus
was first, buying the AT&SF followed by the D&RGW). John
bought the UP (which went well with his WP), and Sue got the
SP right afterwards. This left Brian to buy the CRI&P on
his next arrival. Mark was left out of the Southwest, except
for El Paso, served by his T&P.
Mark had to auction off the SAL before all the railroads were
sold. Sue bought it, for $20k, and found it useful on later trips
to Atlanta, Charleston, and Birmingham, though she had to go
via the N&W. No one went to Miami during the game, however.
Shortly after all the RRs were sold, Mark was forced to auction
the GN. Although this was his only railroad to the Pacific, it
was not connected to his network, and so was not as useful as
it might have been. It went for $30k to John.
Gus was the first to announce that he had over $150k. As is
usual, that meant that everyone stopped riding his lines whenever
possible. Sue benefited from that, and was the next to announce
breaking $150k. None of the other players had made it much past
$100k, so the race was between Gus and Sue.
Unfriendly destinations played a big role, as is often the case.
Sue and Mark managed to avoid unfriendly cities for a while.
In fact, of Sue's 16 destinations, only one was hostile (Spokane).
Mark's luck didn't hold, however. Of his 21 destinations, ten
were hostile. This let Mark beat Brian in this un-contest, as
Brian had "only" eight hostile destinations out of
19 cities. John ended with three hostiles in his 12 destinations,
and Gus had six out of 16.
end was a bit anti-climactic. Gus did not have enough cash to
declare for Kansas City when he was in Cleveland, so he rolled
a new destination and got Jacksonville, which was unfriendly.
Sue traveled from El Paso to Birmingham, and by this time, had
accumulated enough money, and found herself close enough to make
it to Oklahoma City. She "Declared" in Birmingham,
needing a 9, and rolled an 11, paid the $20k in use fees, and
ended with $231.5k in cash. The other cash totals were: Gus $194.5,
Mark $102.5, John $21.5, and Brian $46.
Player's networks at the end (in finish order):
Sue PA, SP, MP, CB&Q, N&W, SAL - 71% coverage
Gus NYC, AT&SF, D&RGW, CMSTP&P, SLSF - 55%
Mark B&O, GM&O, L&N, T&P - 35% coverage
John UP, GN, WP, C&NW, SOU, RF&P, IC, NYNH&H
- 58% coverage
Brian C&O, CRI&P, NP, B&M, ACL - 46% coverage
Speaking for the under-achieving men in the field, there's always
GM Ron Secunda gives his better half
her consolation prize from the far north.
GM Ron Secunda and assistants Paul
and Chester Lanham with their finalists.