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Rail Baron®
World Boardgaming Championships
at Lancaster, PA - August 3 to 9, 2015

What is Rail Baron? - Illustrated Description and History
How to attend the WBC and play in the Rail Baron tournament

Tournament News

Chuck Foster returns as GM.

This is the officially-sanctioned Rail Baron® tournament of 2015.

Tournament Format

There will be three first-round heats; you can play in as many games as you like. The top 16 or 25 (depending on size of the field) first-round players (typically, that's everyone who wins at least one game in the first round, plus a few alternates) advance to the semifinals. The top five semifinalists advance to the Final. The ideal number of players at each table will vary with the round. For the Round 1 heats, the target is four players, for the semis - four, and for the Final - five players.

Win any heat and you advance to the semifinal. Alternates to get into the semifinal will be selected by ranking of highest net worth (cash & RR property) from the heats. Semifinal game winners advance to the Final. Alternates for the Final will be selected from: 1st - anyone winning all three heats, 2nd, anyone winning two heats. Highest net worth will be used to determine ranking in case of multiple winners. If no one wins more than one heat, Alternates for the Final will be selected by highest net worth of non-winning semifinal players. The number of players per game and the number advancing to the semifinal and Final will be determined by the total number of players attending the heats. Check the Alternate list on the event kiosk to determine your chances of advancing as an Alternate.


The following is the preliminary schedule and is subject to change:

Demo Wednesday August 5th 4 pm Wheatland
Round 1, Heat 1 Wednesday August 5th 6 to 10 pm Wheatland
Round 1, Heat 2 Thursday August 6th 6 to 10 pm Wheatland
Round 1, Heat 3 Friday August 7th 9am to 1pm Wheatland
Semi-finals Friday August 7th 6 to 11pm Wheatland
Final Saturday August 8th 5 to 11pm Wheatland

The exact schedule is determined by the BPA; the durations are estimates.

Prize List

The WBC will give five wooden plaques for the top five finishers. There will be an additional award for the player with the highest net worth over his or her best three games in Round 1 and the Semifinal. The “Survival Award” will be given to the player with the least amount of cash and property and avoiding bankruptcy. Other smaller prizes will be given for players who “favor” a certain city and visit it five times during a game.

Special Tournament Rules

Five rule variants will be employed for the tournament, as follows:

  • 1) ride your own rail lines for free. You will not pay the customary $1,000 if you use entirely your own RRs during a turn. Riding the bank's RRs for any portion of a trip costs the usual $1,000. The remaining rule variants are basically unchanged from the past few years:
  • 2) Super Chief upgrades from an Express are free (Round 1 heats only).
  • 3) Roll three dice all at once when you have a Super Chief.
  • 4) The "Roll-and-move-immediately" courtesy rule will not be enforced.
  • 5) Home Swapping is allowed. If you dislike your first destination, before moving you can opt to exchange it with your home city.

Rules Interpretations

The GM will rule on all needed interpretations according to the official Rail Baron rules combined with the five special tournament rules. If a ruling needs to be made on a game involving the GM, an assistant GM will make the call.

Late Arrivals, Long Games and Byes

The GM will make every attempt to begin each heat and round in a timely fashion. Please be early to sign in for each round and get your table designation. Games that exceed the time limit will be adjudicated unless all players agree to play until conclusion. Any adjudicated game will end with an equal amount of turns, and the player with the highest cash and property value will be declared the winner.

2014 Tournament Results

updated 18 August 2014

The finalists at the 2014 World Boardgaming Championships Rail Baron tourney:

2014 finalists

From left to right: Brian Conlon (2014 champ), Brian Smith, Jeff Jackson, Donna Balkan, and Sue Lanham. Picture above courtesy Paul Van Bloem, account below courtesy Ron Secunda.

This year's tournament was quite exciting. For one thing, the number of players who won two of the first-round heats was the highest since I have been GM. Congratulations to Brian Conlon, Paul Van Bloem, John Henry, Donna Balkan, and Sue Lanham. Also, one player in the Final got close enough to victory to taste it twice, only to have it disappear twice!

The holdings for the Final players when all properties had been purchased were: Brian Conlon: AT&SF, CMSTP&P, CB&Q, SOU, IC. Brian Smith: PA, NYNH&H, B&M, UP, RF&P, SLSF, T&P. Jeff Jackson: NYC, SP, L&N, C&NW, NP. Donna Balkan: B&O, WP, D&RGW, CRI&P, GN, ACL, GM&O. Sue Lanham: C&O, SAL, MP, N&W.

One player in the Final went bankrupt. Sue's future looked bleak early on when, sitting in Seattle, she rolled San Diego as a destination, while the AT&SF, UP, and SP had already been purchased. From there, things didn't get much better. Surprisingly, it was Brian Conlon, not Sue, who first had to auction railroads. The first was the IC to Jeff for 15K, and then his SOU to Brian Smith for 29K. Sue had to auction her MP off to Brian Smith for $27.5K, and her downward spiral continued. She auctioned off her N&W to Jeff for $12K, her SAL to Donna for $10K, and her last railroad, the C&O, to Brian Conlon for $10K.

Jeff was the first player to announce $150K. Jeff subsequently found himself in Chicago with $213.5K, but then had to travel to two hostile destinations, Boston and Des Moines. At this time, Jeff's only competition (cash-wise) was Brian Smith, who announced $150K. Jeff's next destination after Des Moines was New York City. After reaching New York with plenty of cash on hand, he declared for his home city of Charlotte. Unfortunately, whereas he needed a 10 to win the game, he only rolled a 6, and retreated northward, where he was rovered near Albany anyway by Brian Smith, who had rolled a 16! Now, Brian Smith had $221K, but was on his way to a hostile Detroit. Jeff proceeded to his alternate destination, San Antonio, and had $201.5K upon arriving. His next destination was Boston, and Brian Smith, fearing Jeff would again be in a position to return to Charlotte, began an epic journey through several regions on an assortment of owned and unfriendly railroads to stay nearby. Meanwhile, Donna announced over $150K, and Brian Conlon had arrived in Los Angeles and announced with $175K. Eventually, neither Jeff nor Brian Smith could declare for home, and they both had to head to destinations out west, Jeff to Los Angeles, and Brian to Spokane (with $266.5K) on board.

At this point, Jeff, with way over $200K, rolled for his next destination and, as fate would have it, rolled SW. He chose SE, then unbelievably rolled his home city! Brian Smith, with nothing to lose at this point, declared for his home in Dallas. Brian Conlon amazingly rolled an 18 on his way to hostile Cleveland, and then proceeded to Fort Worth, where he arrived with $203K. Jeff had been moving along his SP toward Charlotte, and was finally just 10 spaces from his home city (again), when Brian Conlon declared for his home city, Chicago. He needed a 13 to arrive, and rolled a 14, to win the game. Talk about coming from behind! For those of us who had a less than stellar tournament, there's always next year. Me? I bought new dice. It was that or sacrifice a chicken...

Ron Secunda

Prior Champions

2014 Brian Conlon, 2014 tournament info
2013 Trella Bromley, 2013 tournament info
2012 Donna Balkan, 2012 tournament info
2011 Sue Lanham, 2011 tournament info
2010 John Henry, 2010 tournament info
2009 Mark McCandless, 2009 tournament info
2008 Eve Secunda, 2008 tournament info
2007 Tom Dunning, 2007 tournament info
2006 Inger Henning, 2006 tournament story
2005 Bill Duke, 2005 tournament story
2004 Doug Galullo, 2004 tournament story
2003 Mike Zorrer, 2003 tournament story
2002 Ed Wrobel, 2002 tournament story
2001 Steve Okonski, 2001 tournament story
2000 Steve Okonski 2000 tournament story
1999 Heikki Thoen 1999 tournament story
1998 Eyal Mozes 1998 tournament story
1997 Kimberly Lemmons 1997 tournament story
1996 Heikki Thoen
1995 Heikki Thoen
1994 Bill Fellin
1993 Kevin Quirk
1992 Kevin Quirk
1991 Chuck Foster


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