no match for three Canadians ...
Susan Waterhouse, Bruce Hodgins and
Marc-Andre Imbeault participate in the first heat.
Daniel Farrow IV, Barb Flaxington
and Richard Irving take part in a preliminary game.
After seven years of Canadian dominance, it looked like there
was a chance that the streak could have been broken as three
of the regular contingent from Quebec could not attend the convention
this year leaving only 3 members of the group in attendance.
However, when all was said and done, the plaque still managed
to find itself heading north of the border again.
The tournament started on Friday night with 5 different games
taking place on 4 different maps. The only 5-player game of the
tournament took place on the Rust Belt map that comes with the
game and was won by 2010 champion Marc Imbeault. Another game
was played on the Rust Belt map in this heat with 3-time and
defending champion Pierre Paquet winning by 27 points, the tournament's
largest margin of victory. The game on the Germany map created
by Winsome Games was won by Eric Melancon, had a separation of
6 points between first and third place and produced the only
bankruptcy of the tournament. Richard Irving, the 2004 champion,
pulled out the victory on the England map produced by Warfrog.
The final game took place on the Mexico map created by the Steam
Brothers which Ben Stephenson won.
The second heat occurred on Saturday afternoon and had only
3 games in which most of the players did not seem to have a preference
for the map that they played. The GM ended up setting up one
game on the England map that Chris Palermo managed to win. The
other two games were played on the base Rust Belt map and saw
Woolly Farrow V win one game and Daniel Farrow and Barb Flaxington
tie for the victory in the other.
With one of the qualifiers not being able to make the Saturday
evening semifinal, there were eight participants separated randomly
into two 4-player games. The map used for these games of the
choices offered by the GM was the Rust Belt map as voted on by
the players. The two winners of the semifinal games along with
the two closest runners-up as a percentage of the winner's score
were to qualify for Sunday morning's final. By luck of the draw,
all three of the Canadians ended up at the same table in the
semifinal making the path for them to the Final that much more
difficult. Both games ended up very close with 4-point victories
for each of the winners over second place. In the first game,
Marc Imbeault defeated Pierre Paquet, with Pierre's score ending
up at 95.35% of Marc's score. In the other game, Ben Stephenson
squeaked out the victory over both Richard Irving and Barb Flaxington
who tied for second place. Richard and Barb's score was 95.60%
of Ben's score allowing both of them to qualify for the final
with Ben and Marc. However, Ben had an early flight on Sunday
morning and asked to move the Final to Saturday evening. Two
of the qualifiers didn't want to play right away so Ben missed
the Final and Pierre played as the next alternate.
The players had the choice of the Rust Belt or England map
and the Rust Belt map was chosen for the Final. Barb's main problem
in the game was that she started off on the western portion of
the map which doesn't have many towns or close cities so it is
more difficult to get long runs and the player can fall behind
in income. This happened to Barb and she wound up trailing in
income the whole game.
There were some other items of note from the Final. Marc wound
up winning the bid to be the first player in all of the turns
of the game except the first turn in which Rich won the bid.
Two times in the game a player abandoned spurs of of towns that
they had built (Marc on turn 2 and Pierre on turn 4) and Rich
claimed all four of the abandoned spurs eventually. Rich had
the Turn Order ability in the fourth turn but still ended up
going third as the bidding was more active and aggressive that
turn. Even though Marc won the bid for first player in the fifth
turn, he still took the First Build ability to assure his track
build. The fifth turn also saw Rich became the first player with
a 6-link locomotive. Finally, Evansville and Springfield didn't
get an additional production until the seventh turn of the game.
When the game was finished Pierre had $37 in income, 15 shares
and 23 track segments for 89 points. Marc also had $37 in income,
14 shares issued and 26 track segments for a final score of 95
points. Rich ended at $32 income, 14 shares and 27 track segments
for 81 points and Barb had $25 income, 15 shares and 25 track
segments for 55 points. This gave Marc his second title in 3
years in the event.
Marc built an impressive rail network in that it was very
compact in the middle of the board and yet he still managed to
get high income deliveries. He didn't build further north than
Chicago and Michigan City until the last turn, he didn't build
further east than Cincinnati until the last turn and his westernmost
point from turn 3 until turn 7 was St. Louis with Kansas City
eventually on Turn 7.
Eric Melancon, Pierre Paquet and Marc-Andre
Imbeault ride the rails.
GM Peter Staab oversees his finalists.