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RailCon '95 Review

RailCon '95 had so many firsts that it is hard to describe them all. Of course, it was the first national train game convention where 72 train gamers from Canada, Australia, Austria, and all parts of the U.S. came together in Denver to train game exclusively. It was the first national Puffing Billy Tournament. RailCon '95 hosted the first TGA Annual Awards and Banquet and it ran in conjunction with the first railfanning tour to be sponsored by the TGA.

That's a lot of first-time concepts to try at one time and a lot of us came back from RailCon '95 with good memories and wonderful stories to tell. Elaine Wordelmann, TGA board member and train gamer extraordinaire, won her Eurorails final in less than forty five minutes. I am sure that she could tell you exactly how many turns it took to best Darwin Bromley, president of Mayfair Games and one of the designers of Empire Builder. Ken Ward and Leigh Hyde, two train gamers from Australia, delighted in finding train games (and playing them) that were not available in their home country. The Canadians, lovingly known as the Vancouver Sharks, came and were bested, vowing to win back their national supremacy at RailCon '96. Or Leonhard "Lonnie" Orgler opening for business and selling all his 1837s in less than twenty minutes.

My memories of RailCon are many. Because I was the con coordinator, I was under a lot of stress, but so many of the gamers made my convention experience a worthwhile one. The Vancouver Sharks presented to me an honorary team t-shirt. Leigh nearly
moved me to tears at the TGA Banquet when he gave me a gift of appreciation for my time and effort on his and Ken's behalf.

And best of all, I made new friendships which continue to last.

Still, we should always learn from our experiences, and I certainly did. While many things went right at RailCon, many did not. I would like to go over how RailCon works and the changes the TGA has implemented for it to become an even better experience. Many of these changes were made because of suggestions made by train gamers attending RailCon.

RailCon was implemented as the national Puffing Billy Tournament and train game conference. Initially, the TGA envisioned three tiers of competition: Invitational, Masters, and Open. The Invitational level was open to any PBT champion or TGA member who had accrued the requisite number of TGA points. Masters was meant only for individual tournament winners, and Open was for any train gamer who did not fit the first two categories. Quite frankly, this system didn't work, especially the old Masters level which we have removed. The two levels left are the Invitational, which has been renamed the Masters, and the Open. There is no tourney level for individual game winners any longer.

Also, the TGA has decided to limit the number of seats at the Masters level. Any berths not taken by PBT champions will be assigned to TGA members with the highest yearly points. Some TGA members will be invited as alternates.

There will be no pick-up games at RailCon. Pick-up games can skew results and allow the more hardy train gamers among us to pick up wins late at night when the rest of us are enjoying our sleep. The TGA believes that the level of competition is high enough that each train gamer should be able to prove his or her worth within the schedule parameters already laid out.

At RailCon '95, there were three separate competitions occurring concurrently: the Puffing Billy Tournament, the Empire Builder International Competition, the 18xx Competition. These three competitions will remain but one will be added due to player demand?the Iron Man Competition. The Iron Man requires that a player qualify in every category offered at RailCon '96.

The TGA will assign points on a slightly different formula than at other PBTs. Instead of one point for every twenty train gamers, participants at RailCon '96 will receive a point for every ten players. Both the Masters and the Open will receive points based on this criteria.

 


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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 Tuesday, 16-Jun-1998 12:38:45 CDT .