There were ten games played in the first heat and eight played in the second heat, with 18 people playing in both heats. 2016 tournament finalist Dominic Blais and 2016 champion Keith Dent both won their games in each heat, so there were 16 players who had won a game. Everyone was a bit surprised when all 16 of the winners showed up for the 16 semifinal slots, much to the chagrin of the three alternates, Chad Martin, who had lost his first heat game on a tie breaker, Haakon Monsen, and Tom DeMarco.
In the semifinals, Matt Spencer used a Trans-Sib concentration, no engineer bonus, and the doublers end-of-game bonus to score 409 points in his win over Ed Gilliland at 396, Herbert Gratz at 386, and Mike Schultz at 329. Aaron Blair also used a Trans-Sib concentration with the extra worker to score 437 points, beating out Devin Smith at 406, Francois de Bellefeuille at 383, and Andrew Martin at 343. Dominic Blais had the bonus 9 engine and 21 points for the ? bonus card to score 420 points in beating out Jay Spencer with 407, Henry Ho with 351, and Robert Griffiths with 315. Keith Dent needed the 40 point engineer bonus to score 436 points and edge out Nick Henning with 432, Anne Norton with 387, and David Platnick with 350. It was proposed and agreed upon that the final would be played two days later on Saturday at 6 PM instead of immediately.
The initial turn order for the final was Aaron, Dominic, Keith, and Matt. Aaron unlocked the extra worker on the Kiev line in the first round, while Dominic hired Engineer 3, and Keith chose to become starting player for the next round.
During the second round, Matt unlocked the extra worker on the Trans-Sib line, Keith unlocked the extra worker on the Kiev line and hired Engineer 6, while Aaron and Dominic chose to be first and second on round 3. At this point Matt had a small lead with 22 points and Dominic was second with 20 points.
During the next round, Aaron was first to achieve a (?) bonus, taking the extra black worker and the black track end-of-game bonus card, Dominic scored a (?) second, taking the extra Engineer and gold coin, the doublers end-of-game bonus card, and hired Engineer 4, with Matt getting third choice and taking the 9 Engine and the 7 points for each (?) marker end-of-game bonus card. Keith chose to start on round 4. After round 3, the scores were Keith at 41, Matt at 40, Dominic at 37, and Aaron at 29.
In round 4, Keith hired Engineer 9, Matt and Dominic unlocked their bone tracks, and Dominic chose to go first in round 5. The scores at the end of round 4 saw Keith starting to pull away with 98 points, Aaron moving into second place with 83, with Matt and Dominic following at 71.
Dominic hired Engineer 12 during round 5 and unlocked the white tracks along with Matt, while Aaron unlocked the bone track and Keith moved to be start player on round 6. Keith’s score after round 5 was 191, followed by Matt at 145, Aaron at 143, and Dominic at 141.
In round 6, Keith hired Engineer 8 and increased his score to 304, followed by Dominic with 248, Matt with 236, and Aaron with 223.
For the final round Keith was able to hire Engineer 14, giving him the tie breaker toward the most Engineer bonus, while Aaron unlocked his white tracks. Keith had used a (?) marker earlier in the game to start the second industry marker and during the seventh round was able to activate two number 1 factories on his industry track scoring 37 points for each one. Those 74 points, along with the 40 points for the most Engineers, 24 points for his end-of-game bonus card, 55 points from his two industry markers, two end-of-line bonuses for 20 and 45 for his Kiev line ballooned his final score to a fabulous 575 points! Dominic got the 20 points for the second-most Engineers and 30 points for his doublers end-of-game card to finish second with 441 points. Aaron scored 33 points for his black track end-of-game card and finished third with 385 points. Matt scored 21 points for his (?) marker end-of-game bonus card and finished with 368 points. Keith’s win was pretty impressive but he was greatly helped by the fact that only Aaron competed with him on the industry track and only Dominic competed with him for Engineers, while he kept out of the fray while everyone else competed against each other on the Trans-Sib track.
Statistics after 3 years:
- There were 73 games played including the semifinals and the final
- The winning scores ranged from the 299 VP of Patrick McGavisk to the 575 VP of Keith Dent in this year’s final
- The average winning scores have risen each year to 430 this year and averaging 419 VP over all three years
- At least ninety percent of the players of every game, 264 out of all 291 players, cashed in a (?) space for a (?) card and end-of-game bonus card
- The 9 engine was the most popular (?) card chosen, being taken in at least 71 of the 73 games, and by 29 out of 73 winners
- The engineer-plus-coin options was taken 65 times total and by 21 of the winners
- The extra black worker was taken 63 times total and by winners 21 times
- The factory-plus-2-industry-advances option was chosen 41 times total with only 4 of those times by one of the winners. Two of those four times were by powerhouse Keith Dent
The doubler+industry+black-track+one-more option was chosen 24 times total and by winners 3 times
- Looking at starting turn order, the player starting in the second position won about a third of the time, 25 times, followed by fourth with 17 wins, first with 16 wins, and third with 14 wins
- How about the bonuses of 40 and 20 points for hiring the most engineers? The player that got 40 points for the most engineers won 21 times while the earners of 20 points won 20 times, so that’s only a little above average
- How about track advancement? Over half, 40 of 73, of the winners had unlocked white track, while about a fifth, 15, got up to brown track and another fifth, 14 of the winners, only got to grey track. Only 2 winners unlocked the bone track without unlocking the white track
- If we look at most wins in three years, far and away the best is Keith Dent, who has won 9 times out of 10 games, only losing the 2015 final to Henry Dove who had 3 wins in 3 games that year
- Next are spouses where Anne Norton and Tom DeMarco have each won 4 times out of 8 games