Canadian Perseverance ...
Roderick Lee, Sam Packwood, Eyal Mozes
and Mike Mullins
2008 champ Eve Secunda, Bill Borys,
and Stan Buck
Yet again, a dedicated group of players turned out to play
a game that has not been in print for many years. And, once again,
one of our Canadian neighbors went home with the "Gold."
My personal congratulations go to Donna Balkan. I won't mention
how long she has been pursuing this prize; I'll just say that
persistence has earned its reward.
constantly remind players to check the kiosk to see if they may
have qualified as an alternate to play in the elimination rounds.
This year, three qualifiers did not appear for the semifinals
and were replaced by alternates, and one finalist also declined
to advance. The first alternate was Assistant GM Paul Van Bloem
due to winning two heats, the only player to do so. However,
none of the next three alternates that had been listed were present
for the Final. I understand that our five semifinal winners usually
follow through -- but not this year. It reminds me of my very
first semifinal game. I didn't bother doing the one-hour drive
up to Hunt Valley the following day, thinking it would be a waste
of time. Unfortunately, it cost me a chance to play in the Final
(a word to the wise).
Donna's final RR holdings were: NYC, UP, CB&Q, WP,GM&O,
and B&M. All were her own purchases, except for the WP, which
she bought at auction when John Henry ran out of money coming
out of a hostile Cleveland. John, who brought the "Gold"
home to Ontario in 2010, just didn't fare as well this time.
He was initially plagued with short runs (between the NE, NC,
and SE), eventually reaching a total of 24 destinations (six
more than anyone else), 14 of which were hostile. John ended
up auctioning off practically all of his purchases (WP, C&O,
T&P, IC, and SAL), and at the end of a long day, held only
Paul began his runner-up glory by purchasing the PA, followed
by the NP, SP, MP, N&W, and RF&P. Paul was able to secure
John's SAL at auction, just barely out-bidding Sam Packwood for
it. Sam, who finished third, started his purchases with the D&RGW,
B&O, GN, C&NW, CRI&P, ACL, and SOU. Sam added to
his RR holdings by buying John's T&P at auction.
Roderick Lee started his collection with the NYNH&H, followed
by the AT&SF, CMSTP&P, L&N, and the SLSF. Roderick
initially seemed to have a good start, but, by game's end, he
had traveled to ten hostile destinations out of 18. After purchasing
the SLSF, he was forced to auction his NYNH&H, which Paul
happily added to his collection. However, Roderick later secured
John's C&O at auction.
By comparison, Donna traveled to only three hostile destinations,
Sam four, and Paul five. Toward the end of the game, Donna completed
runs from Philadelphia to Portland, OR, to Los Angeles, to New
York City, to San Francisco, and then back across the country
to Boston, where she declared for her Home city of Pittsburgh.
Her winning totals of RRs and cash were: $331.5 compared to Paul's
$363.5, Sam's $298, Roderick's 223.5, and John's $31.5.
SEE YOU ALL NEXT YEAR!
Empire Builder GM Bob Stribula and Norm Newton
The finalists display their swag.