air baron [Updated October 2006]  

2006 WBC Report     

 2007 Status: pending 2007 GM commitment

Brandon Bernard, PA

2006 Champion

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Event History
1996    Jack Jaeger      118
1997    James Garvey      110
1998    Fred Minard        94
1999    Ken Rothstein      117
2000    John Coussis     109
2001    Jack Jaeger       72
2002     Chris Storzillo       73
2003    Jonathan Fox       68
2004    Michael Musko       80
2005    Robert Sohn       75
2006    Brandon Bernard       90


 Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
   1.  John Coussis       IL    05     91
   2.  Ken Rothstein      NY    05     82
   3.  Robert Sohn        PA    05     74
   4.  Chris Storzillo    NJ    04     70
   5.  Brandon Bernard    PA    06     52
   6.  Michael Musko      IN    04     50
   7.  Jack Jaeger        VA    01     50
   8.  Jonathan Fox       FL    03     40
   9.  Peter Busch        OH    00     36
  10.  Richard Fox        FL    06     34
  11.  Chuck Krueger      MA    02     30
  12.  Steve Katz         VA    01     30
  13.  Andy Gardner       VA    04     25
  14.  Kyle Snyders       IL    06     24
  15.  Pat Richardson     VA    05     24
  16.  Jimmy Fleckenstein VA    03     24
  17.  Bruce Bernard      PA    00     24
  18.  John Wetherall     PA    01     20
  19.  Gary Presser       NY    00     18
  20.  Joe Pellicia       ME    99     16
  21.  Michael Destro     NJ    04     15
  22.  Pat Mirk           FL    01     15
  23.  Brian Schott       MD    05     14
  24.  Thomas Richardson  VA    06     12
  25.  Dee Ann Gehring    IN    00     12
  26.  Winston Forrest    VA    99     12
  27.  Bryan Eshleman     NC    04     10
  28.  Jim Fleckenstein   VA    02     10
  29.  Brian Stone        NY    06      8
  30.  Shantanu Saha      NY    03      8
  31.  Eric Shaffer       AZ    02      5
  32.  Bob Foster         ID    01      5
  33.  Chuck Foster       ID    06      4
  34.  Tom Bissa          MI    05      4
  35.  John Chung         WA    03      4

2006 Laurelists

Kyle Snyders, IL

Richard Fox, IL

Thomas Richardson, VA

Brian Stone, NY

Chuck Foster, ID

Past Winners

Jack Jaeger, VA
1996, 2001

James Garvey, NY

Fred Minard, PA

Ken Rothstein, NY

John Coussis, IL

Chris Storzillo, NJ

Jonathan Fox, FL

Michael Musko, IN

Robert Sohn, NJ

 Mike Backstrom (right) contemplates his options in an expanding market.

 John Coussis on the prowl in perpetual fare wars as Scott Fenn doffs his hat.

 Anna Palermo leads the ladies in an assault on the glass ceiling of business and gaming.

Fare Wars ... a wargame for capitalists

This year's tournament was a lot of fun, with a family kind of atmosphere. There were parents and kids, aunts/uncles/nephews, couples and singles, adults and seniors. We had 90 unique players who collectively sat down 168 times over 32 boards to determine a winner. I've heard the game described as "part risk and part monopoly," and the wild swings on some of the boards displayed just that.

The goal was to play four heats in a MESE format to qualify 25 to advance to the semi-final round on five boards which would supply five finalists. To complete the game within the three-hour time slot, we prevented the fuel-oil marker from being the first random marker to enter the draw cup and ignored its effects if drawn during the last hour of play. With this safeguard, we had two games which were completed in under an hour and only two went to GM adjudication. Most were completed in 1:45 to 2:15. During the heats, the scores ranged from a high of 352 in a six-player game to a low of -30. Three winners had exactly 290, the minimum score to win.

A game in the first heat had Carmen Petruzzelli in fare wars on the attack, needing to win just one more roll on two occasions, and that failed. Then, Bob Sohn was two rolls away from victory in fare wars twice and was beaten both times. Naturally, they got a lot of attention from the other players and soon faded. Then, Derek Landel (the eventual winner) missed a payout for victory while in fare wars. The game was well-played and very balanced, and was dubbed "the best-played game of Air Baron ever" by one player, and "the longest ever" by another. This game had to be adjudicated (with all of the misses on wins is it any wonder?). At least all the players agreed on the leader in all phases of position and possibilities, as well as ahead in raw-market share and cash. For future tournaments, avoiding adjudications and having a more objective guideline are goals to seek.

Some other tidbits from the heats were:

* Best recorded payout of $67 to Luke Kolezar and many players getting nothing turn after turn.
* John "fare wars" Coussis being drawn for last player turn on four of the first five rounds in one game.
* Carmen Petruzzelli on one fare wars rampage getting modified dice rolls of 13 or more on seven straight attacks in Heat 2 after missing the Heat-1 win twice.
* One game in which only two players got beyond a second fare wars attack: one to three and one four. All other attempts by allplayers failed on the first or second try.
* Ken Rothstein drawing the strike chit on three consecutive turns.
* Scott Fenn having the cash on hand for victory at the beginning of his turn, but drawing the fuel can to prevent his win.

During the heats, no winner started in SF0 and DIA. Multiple wins by hubs were MIA and DTW with three each, DFW and ORD with four each, and LAX with six.

After all flights had landed from the heats, 24 unique board winners qualified for the semi-finals, including four in the last heat. However, only 19 showed for the semi-finals, which left room for six alternates, which as fate would have it, included the 24th alternate.

The semi-final games had little of the zaniness of the former heats and were mostly straight forward games. In one, there were three bankruptcies-two by the same player. Only one game had grouped scores, with the last-place player scoring 124. Three had negative scores, one of them being -40. The five winners each started things off by controlling different hubs-one win each at SF0, LAX, PHX, HOU, and MIA.

On Sunday morning, one of the finalists, Chuck Foster (who had to catch an early flight to Idaho), was missing, so an alternate, Richard Fox, was added after the roll was called twice. Players were seated and the game began as a higher-ranking alternate appeared too late.

The Final quickly became a game of survival, with Brandon Bernard as the winner. The fuel can was the first random marker into the draw cup and refused to stay there. It was drawn on each of the first three turns it inhabited the cup, and also appeared twice more. All of the players except Brandon (who started with control of HOU) had to liquidate holdings on the first draw to pay the bill, and he rode that advantage to the end. Incidentally, Brandon qualified by winning a last-round heat game, and the third-place finisher, Richard Fox, was the alternate added to the final. "Never give up! Never surrender!" could be a slogan to go with the MESE tie-breakers. Keep showing up and playing, even if you don't win at first.

Meanwhile, Thomas Richardson and Brian Stone went toe-to-toe at the LAX hub. It changed hands five times between their battles and liquidations. The hub missed payouts three times when drawn-twice immediately after liquidation and once when Brian was in fare wars. This left Kyle Snyders to work his way up between Richard and Brandon for second place.

Thanks to the assistant GMs, Patrick, Thomas, and Henry Richardson, and Andy Gardner for their help and support; to those who brought copies of the game; and to the participants. It was a great group and a fun journey!

 GM      Barry Shutt  [1st Year]   NA
    NA   NA

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