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The Puffing Billy

Etiquette and Cheating

The purpose of this page is to eliminate confusion as to proper etiquette and the general rules in force during a Puffing Billy Tournament. It is our hope that this guide should increase the enjoyment of all train gamers playing in a Puffing Billy Tournament. Expect to see printed versions of these guidelines available at PBTs taking place around the country.


We expect courteous behavior and good sportsmanship from all train gamers at all times! If PBT participants display any behavior not in keeping with this expectation, disciplinary action may be taken against them. Disciplinary actions may include disqualification from the game, the game category, the Puffing Billy Tournament, and, in particularly egregious cases, future TGA sanctioned events.

The following rules are part of our player's etiquette and infractions may be penalized as above:

  • Players are expected to be continuously present during the play of any event in which they are scheduled except during predetermined or agreed upon breaks. Players are responsible for timely arrival at scheduled events. No player may play in more than one game at the same time.

  • A player may not intentionally engineer a bankruptcy in order to end a game in which the player is doing poorly or for other inappropriate reasons. A player who wins a game while engineering the bankruptcy will not be penalized.

  • A player may not quit a game before it has finished (except for reasons such as illness or other emergencies), especially with the intention of playing in another event. If this should happen, then the offending player will be disqualified from both the categories of the game he/she quitted and the one he/she entered after quitting the first game (where applicable).

  • No kibitzing except where expressly allowed by the game. Players may communicate with each other but only over the board where all present can hear. It is unethical to make agreements before the game and players may be penalized if this behavior is discovered by a Puffing Billy Conductor. Under no circumstances may any player play another player's position nor may he/she delay play while trying to convince another player to take specific actions. Secret agreements are not allowed. Gentlemen's agreements are never binding.

  • At no time may insults or physical violence be offered to any participant of the convention. Such behavior will bring immediate expulsion to the offending player and may cause him/her to be reported to the local police.

Other Rules

Cheating and other forms of circumventing both the rules of individual games and the rules of the Puffing Billy Tournament will not be tolerated. If players are found to be doing any of the above, then disciplinary action will be taken against them.

  • All players are to obey all rules involved in the play of the game.

  • Absent a Conductor's mandate no moves may be reversed after the next player has started taking his or her turn.

  • ALWAYS PLAY TO WIN THE GAME. A player should not take any action for the sole intention of reducing another player's Puffing Billy score. An example: Player A knows that Player B is going to win the game of Empire Builder which they are both participating in. Player A also knows that the win will advance Player B ahead of him in the Puffing Billy standings. Player A suddenly starts running on Player C's rail line in order to reduce his own money total and to throw the game to Player C, thus, reducing Player B's Puffing Billy score. This is cheating and is not allowed under the Puffing Billy rules. This type of behavior will be penalized as severely as any other type of cheating. If there are any doubts about this sort of play, our maxim is "Always play to win the game!" Any other type of play is suspect.

  • Each player has a responsibility to ensure the rules of the game and of the tournament are followed. Each player is responsible for reporting irregularities as soon as they are discovered. Players must protest illegal actions as described in the game rules or as above promptly to a Puffing Billy conductor. A player may not later protest illegal actions taken by another player unless those actions were not discovered until the present turn. PBCs can do nothing about illegal actions after a game has finished so report infractions promptly!

  • All rulings of the Puffing Billy Conductors shall be followed. If a player disagrees with a judge's ruling, he/she may ask for a second opinion. The first Conductor then will select another PBC with whom to consult. The two can consult with anyone else they deem appropriate and make a joint ruling, but their ruling is final. Disciplinary action may be taken at the Conductor's discretion against anyone arguing with a final ruling, particularly if the arguing participant disrupts and wastes the valuable time of other participants.

* Our thanks to Dean Washburn, Jay Tummelson, and Wayne Williams for their contribution to the rules outlined here and in the TGA's Gamer's Guide to Puffing Billy Tournaments.


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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 16:34:17 CDT .