Snoopy's Roof Needs Patching Again
Grant LaDue (left) and Ilan Woll dogfight
in comfort. Did Richthofen amd Brown have it this good?
GM Doug Porterfield (right) duels
Chris Villeneuve during a late night circus heat.
Goggles were donned, scarves were wrapped, and engines primed.
The WBC Ace of Aces flying battle was on. Pilots
were able to fly throughout the week and dogfight whenever and
wherever they found opposition. Daily scheduled Flying
Circuses provided specific times for target rich environments
in case pilots failed to manage chance encounters during the
rest of the day. The Circuses also allowed new pilots to
learn the game and play in minutes (just like real WWI pilots).
Many dogfights occurred during the week. New pilots
arose and defeated past champions and multi-time finalists. Joe
Belyeu learned during the week and, in his first practice flight,
defeated past Champion Richard Irving, who had just taught him
how to play. In an unusual reversal, Chris Villeneuve went
from being a frequent Finalist to being shot down in six flights
and only missed a similar fate in his seventh dogfight due
to the pilots losing each other in the clouds with him down on
points. Most of his flights were against pilots that made
ace at his expense and thereby qualified for this year's Final
The top six pilots qualified for the Final Circus based on
the results of their earlier dogfights. Each dogfight result
is awarded points and the average result of the dogfights is
used to place the pilots. The Final Circus is a round robin
with each pilot flying against each of the other five finalists
for five rounds of dogfights.
Round 1: Grant Ladue looking to get over the hump and surpass
his previous consecutive 2nd place finishes, started strong
against Craig Yope. Two moves into the dogfight Grant was
up 4-0 and won 7-2. Richard Irving was locked in a tough
duel with Joseph Belyeu, deadlocked at 4-4, when Richard pulled
away to win 6-4. Bill Asbaugh and Michael Schoose had to
go overtime as they fought to a 6-6 stalemate. Bill managed the
next shooting position to win 8 6.
Round 2: Craig rebounded to strike first against Richard for
2 points, but Irving recovered to win 6-4. Michael, off
the overtime dogfight, flew another tight battle against Joseph,
eventually succeeding 6-5. The last dogfight also was tight
as Grant outflew Bill 6-5 to post his second win.
Round 3: Michael flew the best match of the Circus against
Richard to record one of only two whitewashes in the Final Circus
with a 6-0 shootdown that provided Richard's first defeat. Grant
remained unbeaten with a shootdown of Joseph 6-2. In the longest
dogfight of the Final, Craig, flying the Sopwith Camel for the
first time, fell to earth again as Bill won 6-5.
Round 4: With both needing a win to stay within hailing distance
of Grant, Bill flew against Richard. The latter prevailed
7-3. Michael took a 3-2 lead over the unbeaten Grant, but
could not finish off the leader. Grant rebounded for the
rest of the damage and won going away, 6-3. Craig and Joseph traded
damage with Craig eventually taking a 4-2 lead in a protracted
duel. However, Joseph battled back to tie at 4 and then ended
with a victory shot to win 6-4.
Round 5: With fist and second to be decided in the final dogfight,
the others completed their flights for "loser laurels".
Craig bookended three strong but losing dogfights with blowout
losses. Michael ended Craig's quest for his first Final's
victory with a 6-2 shootdown. Joseph flew a strong dogfight
to record the second whitewash of the Circus, 6-0, against Bill.
The last match between Grant and Richard was for the wood.
While Grant entered undefeated, Richard would win with
a victory despite his 3-1 record as the first tie breaker is
the head-to-head contest. Both pilots flew conservatively
and danced around for several turns. However, Richard soon
found an opening and gained a tailing position on Grant. Grant
continued to bob and weave to avoid any damage. Then Grant
tried a U-turn and found that Richard was flying to the same
spot as they both put two points of damage on each other (the
famous page 20). Once again Richard gained the upper hand
and a tailing position. Grant successfully avoided for
several turns and even lost the tail briefly, but finally Richard
found the right maneuver and hit Grant for two more damage points.
Grant again got in a poor position and, after a set of turns,
tried to sprint out and away, but Richard tried a fast, late
left and applied more damage to Grant, now down 4-2. Grant,
still trying to find Richard's weakness, moved in front of Richard. Unfortunately for Grant, Richard decided on a slow, straight
move to find Grant directly in front for the killing shot. With
the shootdown, Richard won his second WBC Ace of Aces
Grant Ladue finished second for the third straight year. Still,
not bad considering he only learned the game at WBC three years
Craig Yope gets the drop on his opponent
during a qualifying circus heat. Craig flew well enough to qualify
for sixth place laurels.
Ace of Aces is
just one of many out-of-print games to live on at WBC, but the
only one that is played out of a book.