Lady Luck is Fickle ...
Phillip Shea, Bill Burch and Andy
Gardner are no strangers to titles, but none of them has yet
cracked the Air Baron registry.
Departing GM Henry Richardson oversees
a heat. Could Virginia Melton of the frequent flyer Meltons clan
be his replacement?
Air Baron is easy to learn and fun to play, with several
strategies that can lead to victory. Between the drawing of the
chits and the rolling of the dice, Lady Luck can lay waste to
any player's plans! Quite a few former champions come back every
year, trying to repeat their former successes. Several have won
the tournament twice, but we've had no back-to-back winners in
the history of the event. This year's Final was a case in point.
We had two former champions and three perennial contenders at
the table, each well capable of winning it all. Lady Luck definitely
made her presence felt, as time and again Fare Wars were denied
by the first roll.
The Final began with a banker's roll of 1, so starting cash
was scarce. The first spokes were purchased in Miami, Phoenix,
Detroit, San Francisco, and Atlanta.
The Bid for Contract appeared in each of the first seven rounds.
The winners of those seven bids paid $36, but collected only
$17 between them from the contract itself. Four of the successful
bids were snatched away before their holders netted any profit.
From Round 8 onwards, the Bid came out twice more, costing the
successful bidder $23 to acquire while yielding $42 in payouts.
While all five calamities went into the cup, Local Competitor
and Crash were never drawn. We had one Recession, one Strike,
and three of the feared Fuel Hikes. Two of the "oil cans"
were drawn back-to-back, leading to two of the four bankruptcies
in the game.
Brian Stone commenced his run in the San Francisco hub, spread
to the Denver, DFW, and Phoenix hubs, and topped out his market
share at 120 before the third fuel hike did him in. As the game
ended before he could form a new company, he finished dead last
with neither money nor market share.
Brandon Bernard, the 2006 champion, spent all his money in
the first round on a $2 spoke, which was never drawn while he
owned it. Neither was the hub for that spoke, so after three
turns of no cash and no income, he sold West Palm Beach back
for $1, and declared bankruptcy. His second company rose to 120
market share before the back-to-back Fuel Hikes trashed him again.
His late arriving third company finished with $4 cash and no
Bruce Bernard started in Phoenix but quickly moved into Los
Angeles. He eventually controlled the LAX hub and Singapore with
Jumbo Jets fortifying his hold on each domestic spoke to finish
third with 160 market share and $74 cash.
Craig Melton's first property was Detroit. Moving into the
Washington and New York hubs, Craig weathered all three Fuel
Hikes on cash alone. His $270 in cash and market share earned
2nd place laurels.
Stephane Dorais, the 2011 champ and only returning 2012 laurelist,
began his march to the top in Atlanta. Despite the three Fuel
Hikes, the only asset he had to sell was one undeployed Jumbo
for $5. He ran the table on the last turn, with the best Fare
Wars performance of the game (seven successful attacks), to reclaim
his crown with 320 market share and $5 cash. All in all, his
third title game in as many years lasted 15 rounds.
Matt Fagan and John Keating both covet
the Disney corner in Florida.
GM Henry Richardson presents his finalists
to the FAA for inspection.