Yellow Baron! ...
Christina Schoose makes ace against
The circus heats have become a target
Pete Noteman is seen from the cockpit
view of Paul Weintraub.
GM Dan Lawall with his Final circus
round robin finalists.
2014 tournament used the same format as the ten that preceded
it. However, the original tournament's Free Form scheduling was
predicated on playing games of opportunity throughout the week.
The scheduled "heats", dubbed circuses, were added
as an afterthought to provide a target rich environment for dogfights,
allowing opportunities for players to qualify for the Final encounter.
This year, the four circuses generated nearly all of the sorties
flown. The six top qualifiers became the finalists and then flew
a round robin series of dogfights at the Final to determine the
2014 champ. In addition to the four circuses, there were two
Flight Schools (game demos). Both Flight Schools brought in several
new players and future contenders.
One new feature was the opportunity to earn the distinction
of Ace Pilot status. In order to become an Ace, a player must
score five victories (shoot downs) against five different players.
Six players earned that honor: Steve Boone, Bill Burch, Richard
Irving, Christina Schoose, Chris Villeneuve, and Bruce Young.
Each circus had a good turnout with pilots logging flights
well past the scheduled time allotted for each heat. In the end
four former laurelists and two newcomers qualified for the Final
(our six Aces as it so happened). The former laurelists included
Chris Villeneuve and three previous champions: Bruce Young, Richard
Irving and Bill Burch. Only Burch had managed to return from
the previous year's Final. The two newcomers were Steve Boone
and Christina "Tailgater" Schoose.
Both newcomers proved their mettle by taking on prior champions
and logging excellent scores overall. Additionally, Steve Boone
demonstrated an ability to get inside other players heads, especially
when playing several side games of Skulls... but that is a separate
story. Christina Schoose earned the nickname "Tailgater"
after a particularly exciting Flying Circus where she proved
over and over again her ability to get behind other players after
a few short maneuvers. She said the phrase "... and I'm
tailing you" so frequently that everyone in the heat would
repeat it in unison after her.
Unfortunately, Christina was unable to return for the Final
round, opening the door for an alternate, Bill "Bullet Sponge"
Burtless. A relative newcomer to the game, Bill earned the dubious
nickname of "Bullet Sponge" for sustaining record levels
of damage, more than any other player, in his qualifying flights.
2012 champ Bill Burch soon took a commanding lead in the Final
and won easily as he swept five straight duels. Richard Irving
and Bruce Young both managed three wins, and Steve Boone two.
Bill Burtless and Chris Villeneuve each logged one win.
John Keating tangles with Chris Villeneuve
who returned to WBC after several years absence.