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Trans America (TAM) WBC 2017 Report
Updated March 22, 2018 Icon Key
72 Players Robert Murray 2017 Status 2018 Status History/Laurels
2017 Champion Click box for details. Click box for details.

Trans America Earns Legacy Status!

2017 saw another record turnout for TransAmerica. Whether it was due to increasing interest in the game, higher availability of game sets, the rescheduling of the TTR quarterfinals to Saturday, or the simple fact that there are only two tournaments beginning on Sunday morning, 72 people signed up to play. About a half-dozen of these were veterans of the junior's TransAmerica tournament and these were all strong players.

The initial seating proved difficult for the GM, who was underprepared for the large turnout. A normal deck of cards is simply not suitable for seating 18 tables of 4 or 5 players each. Assistant GM Janet Ottey has promised a brilliant plan to organize next year's tournament more efficiently. Regardless, the first round was started in a reasonable time with few complaints from the understanding players.

Due to the straightforward nature of the game and the excellent demo session held earlier Sunday morning, there were few questions or delays in completing the first round. However, one question was asked for the first time in memory, is it legal to place no track during a turn? The answer is no.

Due to time constraints, no ranking was done after the first round. All heat winners were taken to a semifinal round. This included players who tied for first, giving the awkward number of 19 players for the round. This included three of the junior players and so an early prediction of an all junior final by Aaron Kaltman seemed like it might not be so far off the mark.

Four tables were seated for the semifinal. It was decided that since the top 6 players would need to be ranked for Laurels anyway, the top 6 players would be taken to the final. Fevered discussions about the best method of ranking runner-ups were rendered moot by the fact that two of the tables ended with a tie for first. Therefore, the final was made up completely of semifinal winners.

The six finalists for 2017 were Roni Brezi, Joel Lytle, Rob Murray, Chad Martin, Patrick Shea, and David Wolfe, who had learned the game only a couple of hours earlier during the excellent demo session. The Final Round of TransAmerica features the Connection Completion Bell. By the time of the final, which comes at the end of a long week of gaming, players are tired and the option to use the bell instead of verbally announcing connection is much appreciated. Since tournament Transamerica requires a round for each player in the game, a 6-player game can take some time. Another typical feature is the Junk Food Buffet, as the final is not completed until mid-afternoon, and people are hungry.

Seating order was randomized to ensure complete fairness. For those who are interested in learning how smart people play, here are the selections for starting position in the first round:

  • Roni – Just west of Cincinnati
  • Joel – New Orleans
  • Rob – East of Dallas
  • David – West of Kansas City
  • Chad – Just across the river from Memphis
  • Patrick – Denver

As can be seen, the traditional strategy of all players starting toward the center of board has seemingly fallen in popularity.

The first round went to Rob Murray, with Joel Lytle coming in only 1 point behind. The game stayed tight in round two with Joel winning and Rob falling behind by a point. Round three was won by Roni with no other player losing more than 2 points. At this point, every player seemed to still be in the race for victory. Round four ended with Chad winning to stay in contention. Patrick began to fall behind, losing 5 point in the round, but the others all stayed close. Round five was also close, with newcomer David Wolfe winning, again proving the high quality of the demo session.

The final round featured some tension, as Rob reached for the bell, nearly rang it, and then realized that his connections were not fully complete. The round was finally won by Roni but this was not enough to give her the game. Steady play by Rob, who did not lose more than 2 points in any round, gave him the win. Joel and Chad ended up tied for second and so a tie-breaker was finally needed.

The final standings were Rob Murray followed by Joel Lytle, Chad Martin, Roni Brezi, David Wolfe, and Patrick Shea. TransAmerica is a perennial trial tournament and so only one square plaque is given. Remember to vote for TAM in 2018!

2017 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: 1
Joel Lytle Chad Martin Roni Breza David Wolfe Patrick Shea
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th

Trans Ameria contiues attendance growth

Enjoying one last game before heading home

Game for all ages

Connecting across America

Trans America Junior 2017

Crystal Shipley gathered 23 junior train engineers in Fox Den to build their transcontinental railroads. Teagan Boralo proved he is ready to decide on his engineering major as he captured the junior Transamerica Championship. Teagan was followed by Aaron Kaltman in second, Zacary Morris in third, Preston Saccenti in fourth, Charlie McNally in fifth, and Darwin Killin in sixth.

Trans America Junior Finalists with GM and
new Juniors Coordinator Crystal Shipley
Trans America Junior Champion Teagan Boralo
with Crystal
GM  Dave Bohnenberger [5th Year]  NA
 dweeb01@Gmail.com  NA