If Only I Ran this Airline ....
Thank you for choosing WBC. Has your copy of Air Baron
been in your possession at all times? Has any stranger asked
you to play Air Baron? All unattended copies of the game
will be collected by the GM and may be used in the tournament.
There were a total of 33 games played in the four heats, all
5-player except for one 4-player game in the last heat. Ken Rothstein,
the defending champ, was shut down in two heats, as was last
year's runner-up, Bob Sohn. Jerry Ohlinger, another finalist
from last year's tournament, made it to the semi-finals this
year, but '96 defending champ, Jack Jaeger, did not. Graeme Dandy
from Australia flew the farthest to play in the tournament, complaining
of cramped legroom on his long flight.
The semi-finals consisted of 28 players (four no-shows), including
Max Jamelli who won both his tables in the first two heats. The
players were randomly divided into four 5-player tables and two
4-player tables (using the East version) to provide a field of
six finalists. However, when Sunday morning arrived, only five
finalists showed. Brian Schott did not, so he was given 6th place.
The final lasted 22 rounds (three hours), and to our surprise
the Government Contract never appeared, although the Strike occurred
several times, the Crash twice and the "Oil Can" once.
The pink-and-green flamingo machine, Pete, made his HQ in
Sacramento (hey, isn't Flamingo a Miami airline, son?). He won
control of SFO, including the foreigns, by mid-game, and had
a strong presence in DIA and LAX. He stayed out of debt, but
unfortunately for him, he was terrible at Fare Wars, striking
out three of four times. Although he temporarily held dominance
of DIA and LAX toward the end, he failed to get that flamingo
steamroller going and never capitalized on his two undeployed
jumbos. Final score: 177.
Skyhigh Bruce chose Memphis for his HQ, which he lost halfway
through the game because DFW became the hot hub for takeover
attempts. After being driven out of DFW, he went $40 in debt
to Fare War his way into control of DTW and DCA (driving John
out of Pittsburgh) and dominance of JFK. An Oil Can at the worst
possible time forced him to sell off his spokes in JFK and ORD.
He reclaimed dominance of JFK by the end against little resistance,
giving him 3rd place with a score of 140.
Gary established his Olympic HQ in San Diego and continually
fought with Pete for dominance of LAX, failing three rolls against
Lost Wages. Gary was the first to declare Fare Wars, first to
drop events in the cup, first to buy jumbos, and the only player
to gain a position in seven hubs at one time. He spent more time
in Fare Wars than any other player and went $40 in debt. He successfully
defended Omaha three times before selling it to help pay an interest
loan. Gary fought with Bruce and John over DFW, and gained control
of ORD. But he lost HOU and PHX to John during the mid-game.
Final score: 101.
Toucan Dee Ann began with SLC (which she held the entire game)
and bought strong presence spokes in ORD and JFK while dominating
DTW and then ATL. Dee Ann's poor luck in Fare Wars was equal
to Pete's, and she was the first to take out a small loan ($20).
She was eventually forced out of DTW, JFK and ORD (losing Tokyo,
too), but with help from her foreign in Rio she gained control
of ATL against John, and at the 11th hour she momentarily drove
a wedge into his MIA. Final score: 91.
Jet Stream John bought his HQ in Orlando and had control of
MIA by Turn 4. He was the first to buy foreigns and grabbed control
of HOU and PHX away from Gary. He temporarily had control of
DFW during the mid-game, and was constantly counting his cash
under the table because his chits came out of the cup so often.
On Round 22, John grabbed control of DFW with high rolls, counted
his cash one more time, then went after Omaha (the most contested
spoke during the game) and KC for enough Market Share and cash
to win his team game with a score of 329. That was noon on Sunday,
and John had a flight to Chicago that evening. Because of delays
at O'Hare, he was five hours late getting home. He spent those
hours plotting his hostile takeover, but sadly his new Air
Baron plaque didn't get him off the tarmac any sooner. Where's