rail baron   

Updated 11/17/2011

2011 WBC Report  

 2012 Status: pending 2012 GM commitment

Sue Lanham, MD

2011 Champion


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Event History
1991    Chuck Foster        28
1992    Kevin Quirk        29
1993    Kevin Quirk        38
1994    Bill Fellin        37
1995    Heikki Thoen        63
1996    Heikki Thoen        46
1997    Kim Lemmons        94
1998    Eyal Mozes      100
1999    Heikki Thoen       58
2000    Steve Okonski       69
2001    Steve Okonski       56
2002    Ed Wrobel       75
2003    Mike Zorrer       59
2004    Doug Galullo       66
2005    William Duke       53
2006    Inger Henning       46
2007    Tom Dunning       40
2008    Eve Secunda       49
2009    Mark McCandless       35
2010    John Henry       34
2011    Sue Lanham       36

Rank  Name               From  Last  Total
  1.  Mark McCandless     LA    09    122
  2.  Steve Okonski       MD    01    120
  3.  Ron Secunda         MD    08    101
  4.  Mark Kennel         DE    11     80
  5.  Doug Galullo        FL    05     80
  6.  Brian Conlon        OK    04     74
  7.  Inger Henning       CT    10     66
  8.  Angus McDonald      on    11     60
  9.  William Duke        MD    09     60
 10.  Chuck Foster        TX    08     60
 11.  Ed Wrobel           VA    02     60
 12.  Stan Buck           MD    02     60
 13.  Heikki Thoen        qc    99     60
 14.  Eve Secunda         MD    11     55
 15.  Donna Balkan        on    10     54
 16.  Charles Davis       WV    02     54
 17.  Sue Lanham          MD    11     50
 18.  John Henry          on    10     50
 19.  Tom Dunning         NY    07     50
 20.  Mike Zorrer         DE    03     50
 21.  Harald Henning      CT    10     45
 22.  Chester Lanham      MD    09     35
 23.  Bill Crenshaw       VA    03     30
 24.  Larry Kratz         ID    04     24
 25.  David Weinstein     NY    02     24
 26.  Ed Rothenheber      MD    00     24
 27.  Norm Newton         on    07     20
 28.  TJ Halberstadt      IN    06     20
 29.  Phil White          MD    04     18
 30.  James Wicht         NC    00     18
 31.  Paul van Bloem      MD    10     17
 32.  John Karr           PA    11     15
 33.  Sun Lanham          MD    10     15
 34.  Tony Newton         on    09     15
 35.  Gary Chamblee       GA    08     15
 36.  Mike Mullins        MD    05     15
 37.  Mike Brophy         NC    04     12
 38.  Mark Oldfield       CA    02     12
 39.  Eyal Mozes          NY    01     12
 40.  Dee Gehring         IN    99     12
 41.  Brian Smith         NY    11     10
 42.  Dave Steiner        DE    06     10
 43.  Stephane Dorais     qc    05     10
 44.  Carl Walling Jr     PA    03     10
 45.  Malcolm Robinson    NY    00      6
 46.  Roderick Lee        CA    05      5
 47.  Charles Ellsworth   NY    03      5

2011 Laurelists                                                 Repeating Laurelists:

Angus McDonald, on

Mark Kennel, DE

John Karr, PA

Brian Smith, NY

Eve Secunda, MD

Past Winners

Chuck Foster, TX

Bill Fellin, CT

Heiki Thoen, qc
1995-1996, 1999

Kimberly Lemmons, TX

Eyal Mozes, NY

Steve Okonski, MD

Ed Wrobel, VA

Mike Zorrer, DE

Doug Galullo, FL

William Duke, MD

Inger Henning, CT

Tom Dunning, NY

Eve Secunda, MD

Mark McCandless, LA

John Henry, on

Steve Okonski was present in spirit again - sending along his desktop published deeds as a special prize.

Brian Smith, Paul Van Bloem, Inger Henning and Sue Lanham ride the preliminary rails.

Women Rule! ...

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.

The 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% coverage
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 next year...

GM Ron Secunda gives his better half
her consolation prize from the far north.

GM Ron Secunda and assistants Paul Van Bloem
and Chester Lanham with their finalists.
 GM      Ron Secunda  [9th Year]   NA
    ron@secundaland.com   NA

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