The ongoing purpose of the Train Gamers Association (TGA) is to facilitate and promote the play of train games. We sanction and run Puffing Billy™ Tournaments at large and small conventions throughout the year.
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Railcon National Championship 2018
Puffing Billy Winner: Jeff Jackson
Challenger Class Winner: Robert Rich
Iron Man: Ken Gutermuth
Puffing Billy Top 10
1. Jeff Jackson
2. Ken Gutermuth
3. Michael Cheng
4. Ken Bachman
5. Chris Meyer
6. Robert Rich
7. William Spear
8. Bart Pisarik
9. David Belew
10, Janet Bromley
Iron Man Top 10
1. Ken Gutermuth
2. Charles Hooks
3. William Spear
4. Anthony Medici
5. Ken Bachman
6. Debbie Gutermuth
7. Brian Martin
8. Lauren Shaw
9. Roger Jarett
10, David Belew
Railcon 2018 was (as usual) an intense, well-fought competition, and a great time. Ken Bachman, the defending Champion, was decimal places out of first place on Saturday night, but he incompetently failed to make the Eurorails final, leaving it open for a new Champion. All four players on the top Eurorails table had a chance to take the title if the order of finish worked out right, but the other three let Jeff Jackson win to grab the National Championship title. Jeff finally pulled off his first Railcon victory after way too many second place finishes! And we now have a new target for next year…
21 people posted five category wins. Robert Rich won the Challenger Class, as the top finisher who was not a previous major tournament Puffing Billy or Challenger winner.
Ken Gutermuth won the Heather Barnhorst Memorial Iron Man plaque. In other news, the sun rose. The previous two sentences were repeated from last year’s mailing, because why not? Ken has now won for the ninth year in a row. After becoming the second person ever to post wins in all nine categories just last year, he became the first to repeat that feat. At least more people are trying to stop the juggernaut. A record seven people posted scores in all nine categories (up from six last year), giving us all hope.
Railcon National Championship 2017
Puffing Billy Top 10
1. Ken Bachman
2. Bart Pisarik
3. Roger Jarrett
4. Michael Cheng
5. Charles Rucker
6. Jeff Jackson
7. Michael Jacobs
8. David Belew
9. Trella Bromley
10, Samantha Orosz
Iron Man Top 10
1. Ken Gutermuth
2. Charles Hooks
3. Chris Meyer
4. Debbie Gutermuth
5. Bart Pisarik
6. Anthony Medici
7. Phil Cotrell
8. Eve Corbin
9. William Spear
10, Lesley Bradley
We just wrapped up the 2017 TGA major tournament season with our 23rd annual National Championship.
This was our second year running Railcon in Schaumburg IL as a stand-alone event. We had another solid turnout – slightly up from last year.
We started Wednesday evening with our second annual celebration of the life of Peter Bromley - an excellent excuse to drink wine at Darwin’s expense, and to remember Pete and all his contributions to the TGA. We also acknowledged the passing of train gamersRobin Halberstadt, Thomas Raybern, and Donna Balkan.
The main event was, as usual, a great time. It was also looked like the usual close competition for the finals bonuses - at first. But, as the tournament progressed, Ken Bachman just kept on doing annoyingly well in all of his finals, and it was all over but the prize selections by Saturday. Ken posted a ridiculous 1.4 Final Bonus score to secure his second National Championship victory, and earn him the coveted “target” designation for next year.
A record 28 people posted five category wins. Mike Jacobs won the Challenger Class; he was the only one in the top 12 who was not a previous Puffing Billy or
Ken Gutermuth won the Heather Barnhorst Memorial Iron Man plaque. In other news, the sun rose. OK, this
one was also ridiculous, as Ken won for the eighth year in a row and became the second person ever to post
wins in all nine categories (duplicating the feat of the Honorable Wayne Williams). The good news is an increasing number of people are trying to give him a run for his money. A record six people posted scores
in all nine categories, and we’re hoping for an even stronger competition next year.
Gen Con 2018
Puffing Billy Winner: Ken Bachman
Challenger Class Winner: Brian Martin
Iron Man: Charles Hooks
Gen Con 2018 did not match last year's record attendance. We were down about 6% in games played, and almost 20% in total participants. Much of that can be explained by the venue – we were put in Lucas Oil Stadium, which is pretty far off the beaten track, losing us a lot of walk-in participation.
Still, we had a great competition, with over 600 participants, several close finals finishes, and at least three people who had a chance to win it all if only the Eurorails final went just right.
An old hand won Puffing Billy yet again! Ken Bachman won the overall at the ripe old age of 65 - a slight change from the age of last year's winner (18). His win followed his 2nd Puffing Billy victory last Railcon. Ken also served as Head Conductor, so he presumably did some work that weekend also! For this year's Railcon participants, you know your target!. He went into the final game with a good but not insurmountable lead, and sealed it by winning Eurorails.
Dave Beery took a 3rd place in Eurorails due to an unfortunate gale in the Atlantic on the last turn, preventing him from a 40 delivery which would have put the two in a close tie for the overall Puffing Billy.
A newer face (in every way) won the Challenger class. Brian Martin won the Challenger class, and finished 2nd overall. He was basically tied with Ken for the overall going into Eurorails, but did not have a Eurorails win, so he had to sit it out. Still, a very notable achievement!
Finally, in the Iron Man we had another repeat winner. Charles Hooks took this one down again for the umpteenth time. Charles decided to show off by getting a win in all nine categories, even though only eight count for Gen Con! He edged out Anthony Medici by a point.
Overall, 20 people achieved their four category wins and we had a number of first time plaque winners in various tournaments. Congratulations to all.
Puffing Billy Winner: Roger Jarrett
Challenger Class Winner: Anthony Medici
Iron Man: Chris Meyer
COMPETITION. It was an incredibly fun weekend with some great competition. Three people finished within 0.007 points for the big prize. Going into Sunday, Tony Medici held the lead at 12.9 but he did not make the Eurorails final. Jeff Jackson started the day at 12.7, with Roger Jarrett and Dave Beery at 12.6,. As usual it all came down to the top Eurorails table, and the 0.3 and 0.2 points it offered to first and second place.
EURORAILS FINAL. This was a most memorable game. You wouldn’t have known it from the peals of laughter that regularly came from that table, but it was a close, fascinating battle set to the theme of “floods”. TGA ventured into the world of LARP when one unnamed player spilled a 48 ounce soda all over the floor just before the Danube flood card. Affectionately dubbed “Lake Roger”, this live action event led the second table to speculate about what might happen for a derailment… After much back and forth, Roger and Jeff were neck and neck going into the home stretch. Jeff seemed to have the game (and the PBT) won as he arrived in Sevilla with the winning load, but continued the theme by drawing the Rhine flood, which gave Roger two more turns to pull out a close win (256-252).
RESULTS. That was just enough for Roger to capture the Puffing Billy title by 0.0007 points over Tony, and by 0.0068 points over Jeff. That’s two Origins wins in a row for Roger. Tony Medici took home the Challenger plaque. The rest of the top ten were Michael Cheng, Dave, Phil, Charles, Jen McConnell, Mark Liberman, and Brian Martin. 18 people came in with four category wins. Chris Meyer diligently plugged away to get eight category scores and win his first Iron Man plaque. Pasquinel Boussery was a first-time winner of the Ticket to Ride tournament. Trella Bromley erased a curse by winning her first EBI plaque in more years than she cares to admit (along with the Eurorails plaque to sweep the category). And to everyone’s shock, Bruce Beard won the 18xx tournament (where does he keep all those plaques?).
Gen Con 2017
Puffing Billy Winner: Raechel Sanger
Challenger Class Winner: Samantha Orosz
Iron Man: Mark Liberman