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The Puffing Billy

Conductor FAQ

Many people who have been participating in train games have written to me questioning the validity of allowing Puffing Billy Conductors to play in the Puffing Billy Tournaments that they run, and, in some cases, actually winning or placing highly in these tournaments.

Following is a sample of questions and answers concerning Puffing Billy Conductors and the type of involvement they are allowed to have in a Puffing Billy Tournament.

Are Puffing Billy Conductors allowed to play in the Puffing Billy Tournament that they run?



To explain why PBCs are allowed to participate in their own PBTs, I have to recount some background. In Denver, before the Puffing Billy Tournament and scoring system was created, a group of dedicated train gamers wanted to play train games at the local game conventions. Their problem? None of their group would run a train game, everyone wanted to play. So, Dean Washburn decided to create a system where a train gamer could both run and play in the train gamers offered at gaming conventions. He tried to make the system as objective as possible with as many checks and balances as possible. That system has evolved into the Puffing Billy Tournament.

Is the Puffing Billy Tournament really objective enough to allow a Puffing Billy Conductor to play in his own tournament?

Yes. Read over the rules. The scoring system, itself, puts all players on an equal footing. When it comes to rules clarifications and judgements, the PBT has contained within it a series of processes that allow the Puffing Billy Conductor to take himself out of the judging process and refer rules questions to another PBC or equally qualified train gamer.

Still, why allow PBCs to play in the PBTs that they run?

Out of necessity! Take a look at our roster of Puffing Billy Conductos and you will see that many of them are the top-rated train gamers in the country. If we lost them because we banned them from playing in the PBT's that they run, then we would lose our most experienced and knowledgeable PBCs. Besides, our roster would be reduced to nearly 0. This system allows everyone to play train games and fosters the growth of PBTs around the country.

Do you play in the PBTs that you run?

Sometimes, I do. Especially if they are small and need extra bodies to fill a board. Many of our conductors on the TGA board and the ones sent out by Mayfair Games, Inc will make themselves available to make up even numbers on boards. Sometimes, I have accrued a good enough score to win the tournament but most of the time, I disqualify myself.

Why? It sounds like you are contradicting yourself. Why disqualify yourself if the system allows for the objective finding of a winner?

Very often I run PBTs in parts of the country that are new to organized train gaming or PBTs. I find myself teaching and encouraging people new to train gaming. In that kind of situation I feel uncomfortable taking first place. In other PBTs, train gamers are experienced and know what they are doing. In those cases, I have no problem with our PBCs winning the tournament. A good example is the Vancouver Sharks, some of the toughest competitors on the Puffing Billy circuit. They take turns hosting PBTs so that no one person loses the chance to accrue wins. An emminently sound system in my opinion.

Should Puffing Billy Conductors participate in team events?

I absolutely discourage PBCs from playing in PBT team events. This is just too much risk of appearing to have conflicts of interest.

These are the basic questions that train gamers have been asking about PBCs. If you wish to comment on them, please do. The TGA welcomes your concerns. It is through them that we evolve the tournament to meet the needs of the train gamers participating in PBTs.


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The contents of this Web Site are copyright © 1998 by The Train Gamers Association, Inc. All rights reserved. Designed by Scott Lininger. Last modified Thursday, 11-Jun-1998 16:36:47 CDT .