age of steam 

Updated 11/14/2009

2009 WBC Report  

 2010 Status: pending 2010 GM commitment

Martin Sasseville, QC

2009 Champion

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Event History
2004    Richard Irving     34
2005    Pierre Paquet     40
2006     Martin Sasseville     36
2007    Martin Sasseville     40
2008     Pierre Paquet     32
2009    Martin Sasseville     36
 Laurels

 Rank  Name               From  Last  Total
   1.  Pierre Paquet       qc    09    114
   2.  Martin Sasseville   qc    09    108
   3.  Mario Veillette     qc    09     42
   4.  Richard Irving      CA    07     39
   5.  Michael Holmquist   WI    05     24
   6.  Marc-Andre Imbeault qc    09     18
   7.  Nathalie Malenfont  qc    08     18
   8.  Peter Staab         PA    04     18
   9.  Craig Moffitt       NJ    06     12
  10.  Keith Altizer       FL    04     12
  11.  John Karr           PA    09      9
  12.  Charlie Kersten     OH    06      9
  13.  Ilan Woll           CT    04      9
  14.  Michael Kaltman     PA    08      6
  15.  Charlie Hickok      PA    06      6
  16.  Franklin Haskell    NH    05      6
  17.  Bruce Hodgins       on    09      3
  18.  Barb Flaxington     NJ    08      3
  19.  Cody Sandifer       MD    07      3
  20.  Alex Bove           PA    06      3
  21.  Andy Joy            MD    05      3
  22.  Doug Smith          PA    04      3

2009 Laurelists                                          Repeating Laurelists

Pierre Paquet, qc
2nd

Marc-Andre Imbeaalt, qc
3rd

John Karr, PA
4th

Mario Veillette, qc
5th

Bruce Hodgins, on
6th


Past Winners

Richard Irving, CA
2004

Pierre Paquet, qc
2005, 2008

Martin Sasseville, qc
2006 - 07, 2009

Nathalie Malenfont was the lone lady in the field, but as a Canadian she was far from alone - giving Jon Anderson and his friends from the lower 48 all they could handle.

Age of Steam has remained the property of Canada - or more specifically, Quebec - since its debut. No other region has so dominated a game at WBC.

North of the Border

My pappy told me never to start a snowball fight with eskimos, and by the same logic I'm beginning to suspect I shouldn't challenge anybody from Quebec to a game of Age of Steam! It has been many years since I was in school, but I think I'm going to have to brush up on my high school French classes if I want to follow my finalists' conversation.  Once again, three of the four finalists were from Quebec, making this the fifth year that the majority of the finalists were French Canadians.
 
The first heat had 32 participants in eight 4-player games using four different maps.  Five were played on the Rust Belt map that comes with the game.  The closest game of the event occurred in this heat with Mario Veillette tying Ben Stephenson and winning on the fewer loan tiebreaker.  In another nail biter on this map, Richard Irving, the lone American champion, defeated Kevin Wojtaszcyk by one point.  Other Rust Belt winners were Marc-Andre Imbeault, Ilan Woll and Bruce Hodgins.  On the Western U.S. map, defending champion Pierre Paquet defeated Chris Palermo by five points.  Two-time champion Martin Sasseville won easily on the India map.  In the final game of this heat, Jesse Dean also had a relatively easy victory on the Germany map.
 
We saw a big increase in players staying for the second heat this year with 22 players (up from 14) in five different games.  Ben Stephenson won a 5-player game on the Germany map by three points over Cody Sandifer. Michael Holmquist won a 5-player Rust Belt game and John Karr took a very close 4-player Rust Belt contest with Ryan Sturm and Jack Stalica just one and two points off the pace.  Dave Metheny won a South Africa game handily while the other game on that map saw Jon Anderson top Brad Keen and Dan Tekely by one and two points respectively for their tickets to the semi-final.
 
13 players qualified to advance, but schedule conflicts claimed one so we had three 4-player games in the semi-final with the top runner-up joining the three victors at the Final. The Rust Belt map was chosen and the games instantly became more ruthless with the first two bankruptcies of the tournament occuring in this round in the same game.  In that bloodbath, Pierre Paquet defeated Bruce Hodges by the largest margin of the week (38 points) to reach the Final for the fifth year in a row.  The second game had Marc-Andre Imbeault defeat Mario Veillette by four points for his first Final appearance.  The third game turned out to be the closest of the tournament with scores of 81, 80, 79 and 77.  John Karr managed the victory by taking only seven loans compared to 14 and 15 for the other players to overcome a huge income deficit.  Martin Sasseville finished second in this game to also qualify for the Final for his fifth year in a row.  Michael Holmquist and Jesse Dean were the other close competitors in this game.
 
Again the players chose the Rust Belt map for the next round.  The players were conservative at the start with Martin issuing two shares followed by Marc-Andre issuing the same number.  Then John did not issue any shares and Pierre issued one.  The bidding for Turn Order was also subdued with the first turn going for only $2.  Surprisingly, no one took the Locomotive action with Marc-Andre starting by taking Urbanization, Martin choosing Engineer next, Pierre opting for First Build and John grabbing the Pass (Turn Order) action.  Pierre made the first build from Evansville to Cincinnati going through Indianapolis and having a spur headed toward Chicago from Indianapolis.  Marc-Andre followed by placing a black city tile in Cleveland and then building from Wheeling  to  Pittsburgh  to Cleveland.  Martin built from St. Louis to Chicago through Springfield and having a spur started from Springfield to Evansville.  Finally, John built from  Chicago to the town in Michigan City and continued on toward Detroit.  Marc-Andre, Martin and Pierre all used their first goods delivery turns to upgrade to a 2-locomotive and then did a 2-good run on their own tracks with the second delivery turn while John passed on both delivery turns. 
 
With cash very tight after the first turn, the game opened up somewhat on the second turn.  Marc-Andre and Pierre each issued two shares while Martin and John issued three.  The bidding for Turn Order also opened up as John won the bid for $5 and Pierre took second for $4.  John improved his Locomotive this turn, Pierre chose Urbanization, Martin took the Engineer again and then Marc-Andre took the Production action.  John built only two tracks to finish the connection from Michigan City to Detroit setting himself up for a couple of goods deliveries.  Pierre quashed this hope, however, by upgradingMichigan City with the red city tile stopping John's planned runs earlier than planned.  Pierre then built track from Indianapolis to Michigan City, making a very impressive tile lay by using a tile with two disconnected gentle curves to complete the build into Michigan City while also setting up a second link out of Michigan City with another tile lay.  Martin built from St. Louis to Kansas City abandoning his spur out of Springfield and Marc-Andre built from Wheeling to Cincinnati.  John only managed two $1 income runs this turn putting him into a cash bind that lasted the remainder of the game.  Pierre made a run for 2 income then improved his locomotive while both Martin and Marc-Andre improved theirs and made deliveries for 3 income.  In the Income Phase, Pierre took a $1 income reduction because he could not pay his expenses.
 
In Turn 3, players still took huge loans with John and Martin issuing two shares apiece while Pierre and Marc-Andre went for three.  Marc-Andre bid $5 to go first this turn and Pierre paid $4 to go second.  Marc-Andre chose Urbanization, Pierre improved his Locomotive, John went for the Turn Order option and Martin took Engineering for the third turn in a row.  Marc-Andre placed the purple city tile in Buffalo, then built from Cleveland to Buffalo and started track from Detroit to Toronto.  Pierre built from Michigan City to Evansville through Terra Haute and leaving a spur from Terra Haute southwest.  John then built from Toronto to Buffalo, leaving him and Marc-Andre with track intermingled for making runs in the future.  Finally Martin built from Chicago and Des Moines toward Rock Island and also started track out of Kansas City.  Marc-Andre made two deliveries for a total of 5 more income.  Pierre completed a 4-income delivery and with his second delivery, he ran over three links giving Marc-Andre an additional 1 income to push Marc-Andre to 11 income causing income reduction that turn.  John could only manage two more 1-income deliveries and Martin made a 3-income delivery and increased his locomotive.  When expenses had to be paid, John took a 2 income hit leaving his income at $2 with everyone else at 8 or 9.
 
On Turn 4, Marc-Andre issued only one share while the others issued three each.  The bidding for Turn Order was furious as Marc-Andre started the bidding at 4 and Martin taking the bid at 9 with Marc-Andre dropping out at 6 for second choice.  Martin increased his Locomotive this turn and Pierre took the Engineer.  Martin connected Chicago and Des Moines by building a connector in Rock Island and he also built Kansas City to Des Moines.  Marc-Andre upgraded  Lexington with a black city tile and built to Lexington from Cincinnati and completed the connection from Detroit to Toronto.  John built a crossing to connect Detroit and Cleveland while Pierre also made a connection between Lexington and Cincinnati, finished the link from Terra Haute to Springfield and started track from Lexington to Evansville.  Martin ran two deliveries for 5 income each, while everyone else used their first run to increase their locomotives.  Then Marc-Andre and John made deliveries for 3 income while Pierre ran a delivery for 5 income.  Marc-Andre had income of 12 and took a 2 income reduction for expenses, which allowed him to avoid the income reduction in the next phase.  John took a 1 income reduction for this turn and Martin, with income of 18, showed a net profit of $1 dollar after expenses.
 
However, Martin was not satisfied with his small profit and still issued two shares the next turn as did Marc-Andre.  Pierre and John both issued one share for the turn.  Martin opened the bidding for first player at 4 and won easily as no one else bid.  In selecting actions, Pierre increased his locomotive to have the first 6-link train.  Marc-Andre took first build and started building track for future considerations.  Martin placed the yellow city tile in Milwaukee, built from  Chicago to Milwaukee and built track for the future.  John started building from Milwaukee to LaCrosse (only two segments) and Pierre completed his link from Lexington to Evansville and started track for the future.  Martin ran two more runs that gave him 5 income each, Pierre completed two runs for 4 income each, while John only managed two runs that gave him 2 income each and 1 income to other players (once Martin and once Marc-Andre).  Everyone but John turned a net profit while John ended up with 4 income reduction due to expenses.
 
Martin's income was great enough at this point that he could stop taking loans while Pierre issued one more share and the others issued two.  Martin tried his 4 bid for first player again, but Marc-Andre bid 5 to take first player.  Marc-Andre chose the Urbanization action, John increased his Locomotive and Martin chose First Build, which he used to complete links from Milwaukee to Rock Island and Milwaukee to Minneapolis.  Marc-Andre placed a black city tile in Toledo to complete a link from Cincinnati to Toledo and build more incomplete links for the future.  John completed a link from Milwaukee to Minneapolis via LaCrosse for his build and Pierre upgraded the town tile in Springfield to complete a link between St. Louis and Springfield and started building from Evansville toward St. Louis.  Both Marc-Andre and John used one of their deliveries to increase their locomotives while Martin and Pierre both completed delivery runs that increased their incomes by 5 each with Martin getting 1 from one of Pierre's deliveries as well.  John took a $7 income reduction this turn putting his income at 1.
 
Marc-Andre issued one share this turn and John issued two, maxing out the loans available to both of them.  Martin bid 4 to go first and chose to maximize his locomotive with his action.  John took First Move for the first time that action had been chosen in the game.  Pierre used Urbanization to upgrade  Springfield  with a black city tile and built track to complete the link between Evansville and St. Louis and then built a link from Springfield to Rock Island.  John didn't build any track this turn and Marc-Andre added track to Fort Wayne to complete a link from Cleveland to Fort Wayne.  Martin managed to make two delivery runs that increased his income by 6 per run.  Martin made a $24 net profit on this turn while John still was experiencing income reduction, this time of $4.
 
Martin started the final bidding at 2, Pierre upped it to 3, and Martin and Pierre kept increasing the bid until Martin won the bid at 6. Pierre took the Locomotive again even though he already had a 6-link locomotive, just to keep it from the others.  Marc-Andre made his last build from Minneapolis to Duluth using three tracks, Martin urbanized Indianapolis with the last city tile (the blue tile) and completed his link from Minneapolis to Des Moines and Pierre built from  Toledo  to Grand Rapids while John skipped building.  John then upgraded his locomotive to a 6-link train on his first delivery and ran his second delivery for $5 to himself and $1 to Martin.  However, this wasn't enough and John went bankrupt at the end of the turn.  Martin's two deliveries generated $6 each for him, Marc-Andre's runs generated $5 each for him and Pierre's runs generated $4 each for him plus $1 for Martin on one of the deliveries.
 
At the end, Martin had income of 41, 14 loans issued and 27 track segments for a final score of 108 points for his third championship in the past four years.  Pierre finished second again with income of 30, 13 loans and 26 tracks for a score of 77.  Marc-Andre had a score of 67 from 29 income, 15 loans and 25 tracks.  John had 15 track segments on the board when he went bankrupt.
 
Pierre mentioned that he was impressed by the improvement in competition and that he and Martin had to step up their games n order to advance this year. John Karr's performance was especially impressive in that he had only played twice before the tournament, although his lack of experience did show in the Final as he left himself vulnerable a couple of times and got hit hard as a consequence.
 
I will again be limiting the number of tracks available in each heat as I have done for the past two years.  If you have a track that you really would like to see included, please let me know by email by June 30, 2010.  I will be making my final selections by that time, although I will have started considering which tracks to include much earlier than that.

Ryan Sturm and Jack Stalica stand for a better
view of the action during the qualifying rounds.

Hey! - who let the Yank in? John Karr (left)
is the only non-resident of Quebec at the Final.
 GM     Peter Staab (3rd Year)   700 Bayridge Ave, Pittsbugh, PA 15226 
   pestaab@comcast,net   412-343-5937

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