age of steam   

Updated 11/15/2010

2010 WBC Report  

 2011 Status: pending 2011 GM commitment

Marc-Andre Imbeault, qc

2010 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
2010    Marc-Andre Imbeault     34 
 Laurels

 Rank  Name               From  Last  Total
   1.  Martin Sasseville   qc    10    120
   2.  Pierre Paquet       qc    09    114
   3.  Mario Veillette     qc    10     60
   4.  Marc-Andre Imbeault qc    10     48
   5.  Richard Irving      CA    07     39
   6.  Nathalie Malenfont  qc    10     24
   7.  Michael Holmquist   WI    05     24
   8.  Peter Staab         PA    04     18
   9.  Craig Moffitt       NJ    06     12
  10.  Keith Altizer       FL    04     12
  11.  Eric Melancon       qc    10      9
  12.  John Karr           PA    09      9
  13.  Charlie Kersten     OH    06      9
  14.  Ilan Woll           CT    04      9
  15.  Cody Sandifer       MD    10      6
  16.  Michael Kaltman     PA    08      6
  17.  Charlie Hickok      PA    06      6
  18.  Franklin Haskell    NH    05      6
  19.  Bruce Hodgins       on    09      3
  20.  Barb Flaxington     NJ    08      3
  21.  Alex Bove           PA    06      3
  22.  Andy Joy            MD    05      3
  23.  Doug Smith          PA    04      3

2010 Laurelists                                          Repeating Laurelists

Mario Veillette, qc
2nd

Martin Sasseville, qc
3rd

Eric Melancon, qc
4th

Nathalie Malenfant, qc
5th

Cody Sandifer, MD
6th


Past Winners

Richard Irving, CA
2004

Pierre Paquet, qc
2005, 2008

Martin Sasseville, qc
2006-07, 2009

Marc Imbeault, qc
2010

Bruce Hodgins and Jack Stalica joined the Canadian contingent in this event this year, but the Quebec crew says those from Ontario need not apply for the winner's circle.

Age of Steam has remained the property of Quebec - since its debut. No other region has so dominated a game at WBC. Marc Imbeault became the sixth straight champion from the northern province.

North of the Border

After five years of seeing the championship switching between Pierre Paquet and Martin Sasseville, we finally had a different victor this year, although the championship plaque continued its annual return trek to Quebec for the sixth straight year.

The first heat fielded seven 4-player games using four different maps. As usual, the Rust Belt map that comes with the game proved to be the most popular. Eric Melancon, Michael Holmquist and Pierre Paquet all managed to win their Rust Belt games. Martin Sasseville, the 3-time and defending champion, won on a China map. An Italy map was won by Cody Sandifer. This game also produced our first bankruptcy as Ben Stephenson bowed out early. The game played on the England map provided the largest victory of the tournament as Mario Veillette defeated his closest opponent by 56 points. Marc-André Imbeault gained the last victory of the heat and the fifth by a resident of Quebec as the usual contenders flexed their muscles early.

The second heat saw 18 players trying to advance to the semi-final round on Saturday participating in four different games on as many different maps. Jack Stalica won the 5-player Western United States map produced originally by Winsome Games then republished by Warfrog. Hany Hebisha won the 5-player Rust Belt map. Nathalie Malenfant punched her ticket to the semis in a 4-player Germany map. Bradley Keen secured the last win on a 4-player Korea map.

We had 11 qualifiers for the semi-finals. However, two-time champion Pierre Paquet declined advancement to create the opportunity to have two 5-player games for the semi-final. This ended Pierre's five-year streak of making the Final. The players had a choice of several maps that could be used for the semi-final and the majority chose the South Africa map produced by the Steam Brothers. Since there were only two games to be played, the top two finishers in each were going to advance. The first game resulted in a Sasseville win as Martin qualified for his sixth consecutive Final. Eric Melancon finished second, two points behind Martin to qualify in his first WBC. Nathalie Malenfant was third, 5 points behind Eric and became the odd "man" out of his Quebec trifecta - nonetheless securing fifth place laurels. The second game had Marc-André Imbeault and Mario Veillette tie for first place, allowing both of them to advance. Cody Sandifer was 25 points behind the two of them to finish in third place in the game and take sixth place laurels. This game also saw the rare occurrence of a player finishing with negative points because he had a lot of loans with a low income and low number of track segments.

For the second time in the past three years, the Final was an all-Quebec affair. Must be something in the water up there. Mario Veillette qualified for his fourth Final appearance while Marc-André Imbeault qualified for the second year in a row along with 3-time champion Martin Sasseville and newcomer Eric Melancon. For the Final, the GM allowed the choice between the Rust Belt and Germany maps with the finalists opting for Germany. The initial setup made it seem as though it would be a rough game as there were few deliveries of goods available in the first turn. Loans were kept to a minimum on the first turn with Eric and Mario each taking two shares while Martin and Marc-André each issued one share. However, the bidding for Turn Order was fierce as Eric started the bidding at $4, followed by Martin at $5 and Mario at $6. Marc-André passed to start the game going fourth, followed by Eric and then Martin. Mario started by taking Urbanization, then Martin chose the Locomotive action, Eric chose the First Build and Marc-André took the Pass (Turn Order) action. Eric made a build from Berlin to Hanover via the town of Magdeburg. Mario then upgraded Hamburg to a purple city with tile F and built a loop amongst Oldenburg, Hanover and Hamburg. Martin then built track from Hanover to Dortmund to Koln and finally, Marc-André built away from the others by going from Stuttgart to Munchen to Nurnberg. Mario, Eric and Marc-André all used their first goods delivery turns to upgrade to a 2-locomotive while Martin did a 2-income run on his own tracks on his first delivery run. Then Mario and Eric both did 2-income runs, Martin increased the size of his locomotive again and Marc-André only got a 1-income run during the second set of delivery runs. Everyone ended up owing a net $4 at the end of the first turn's income/expense phases.

As usual, the second turn saw a large infusion of cash as players issued many shares to give themselves the opportunity to bid for turn order, build track and pay their expanses later in the turn. Mario and Martin both issued three shares while Marc-André and Eric each issued two shares. Given the cash situation, the bidding for Turn Order was surprisingly high as Mario started the bidding at $4, Martin went to $5 and Eric went to $6. Marc-André used the Turn Order from last turn to avoid bidding anything while not necessarily having to go last. Mario then upped the bid to $7 so Martin passed to go fourth without having to spend any money. Eric then went to $8, Marc-André also passed to get away without paying anything this turn for Turn Order and Mario wound up going second. Eric wanted to assure his build and took the First Build option this turn. Mario followed with the Locomotive, Marc-André got Urbanization and Martin went with the Turn Order option given how the bidding went this turn. Eric wound up building from Hanover to Dortmund via the town of Kassel. Mario built track from Hanover to Berlin. Marc-André upgraded Freiburg to a city accepting black cubes and then built from Stuttgart to Freiburg and also from Nurnberg to Stuttgart to create his own loop. Martin then built track from Koln to Frankfurt using a dead-end town in Frankfurt at this time. For the delivery phase, Eric first increased the size of his locomotive then ran a delivery for 2 income. Mario, having upgraded his locomotive in the action phase was able to run to 3-income deliveries in this turn. Marc-André first increased his locomotive and then ran a 3-income run. Martin settled for a 2-income run and increasing his locomotive instead of completing a second run. It turned out that Eric probably paid too much to go first this turn because he only got $4 income and owed $9 in expenses which resulted in his taking a $4 income reduction leaving him at $0 income going into the third turn. Mario, in the meantime, had $8 in income and owed $10 in expenses leaving him with a net loss for the turn of only $2, giving him a slight advantage over the other players.

In the third turn, Eric issued three shares since he had no cash and no income with expenses of $9 to try to stave off bankruptcy. Mario also issued another three shares himself while Marc-André issued only one share and Martin took two more shares. The bidding for Turn Order this time was much more subdued as Eric started off at $1, Mario went to $2, Marc-André passed to go fourth and Martin used his Turn Order advantage from last turn. Eric then passed to go third and keep a decent amount of cash. Martin ended up second while Mario won the bid at $2. Mario took the Locomotive action again, Martin chose Urbanization, Eric went with the Engineer even though he was in a bad cash position and Marc-André got the Turn Order action. Mario built from Oldenburg to Dortmund to Koln to make the track even more congested and give Eric additional competition. Martin improved Frankfurt to a city that accepted red goods and then built from Frankfurt to Stuttgart to disrupt Marc-André's network, then built from Dortmund to Frankfurt with a double-straight crossing track. Eric built from Berlin to Konigsberg via Stettin to give him some areas without competition and Marc-André built from Nurnberg to Dresden. Mario made two 4-income deliveries and Martin two 3-income deliveries in this turn while Eric and Marc-André both increased their locomotives and then ran a 4-income delivery on the second round. Eric only had income of $4 and owed $13 in expenses without the cash to cover them, bankrupting him and giving him fourth place in the tournament. In the meantime, Mario had $16 of income and expenses of $14 putting him in the black already for the game with a net profit of $2 this turn.

On the fourth turn, Mario still issued one share even though he had made money the prior turn, Martin issued two shares and Marc-André issued three more shares. The bidding for Turn Order was really subdued as Mario started the bidding at 1 and won it there when Martin and Marc-André both passed immediately. Mario chose to Urbanize, Marc-André got the locomotive increase and Martin took the Engineer for this turn. Mario upgraded Rostock with the yellow city tile and then built from Hamburg to Rostock to Berlin. Marc-André ended up making a connection from Freiburg to Zurich and Martin connected to Rotterdam from Koln in this turn. Mario and Martin both increased their locomotives and ran on the second delivery for 5 income each. Marc-André made two deliveries for 5-income and 4-income respectively bringing his income closer to Mario's. Mario and Marc-André both netted $3 profit this turn while Martin broke even.

Mario decided that he didn't need any additional cash for Turn 5 and so took no loans while Marc-André issued another three shares and Martin issued two. Mario opened the bid for Turn Order at 1 and Marc-André increased it to 2. Martin dropped out of the bidding but it then got really aggressive as Marc-André eventually won the right to be the first player for $11 and Mario paid $9 to go second. Marc-André took the locomotive action getting him the first 6-level train. Mario once again chose Urbanization and Martin chose the Engineer again for their actions. Marc-André built a connection from Dresden to Berlin. Mario then upgraded Magdeburg with a blue city tile but didn't build any track after the high bidding for first player. Martin then built his own connection from Freiburg to Zurich and also built from Nurnberg to Munchen. Marc-André made two 6-income runs giving him the same income level as Mario after his two 5-income runs. Martin decided to also get the 6-level train and then ran a 6-income run with it on the second delivery putting his income $8 below the other two players. Mario ended up with a net $11 profit, Marc-André had $9 profits and Martin ended up with a $1 profit at the end of the turn.

Even though everyone was turning a profit, they all felt that they wanted additional cash and each issued one share on Turn 6. Marc-André started the bidding for the first player at 1, but Mario increased the bid to 2 and won it at this level when Martin and Marc-André both decided to pass. Mario chose the locomotive action to also get him to the 6-level train. Marc-André chose to build first and Martin got the Urbanization action. Marc-André built from Dresden to Breslau and also used a crossing to build from Magdeburg to Rostock. Mario built track from Berlin to Stettin upgrading Stettin to complete the link. Finally, Martin improvedWurzburg to a black city tile and built from Frankfurt to Wurzburg to Nurnberg using a crossing tile as well. Mario made two 6-income runs while Marc-André's deliveries were for 6-income and 5-income putting him one income behind Mario. Martin ran two 6-link runs, but the second run used two of Eric's old links and thus only increased his own income by $4 leaving his income level 8 below Mario. Mario netted $17 profit, Marc-André netted $15 and Martin netted $8.

On the penultimate Turn 7, Martin was the only player to issue any shares and he issued one more. Mario started the first player bidding at $1 and Marc-André went to $4. Since Martin did not have the income base of the others, he once again passed immediately to go last in the turn. Mario increased the bid to $6 and won the right to go first. With it, he chose Urbanization for the turn while Marc-André got the first build and Martin took the Engineer again. Marc-André used the first build to build from Magdeburg to Dresden via the town of Leipzig. Mario improved Stettin to a black-good receiving city and built track from Rostock to Stettin to Konigsberg. Finally, Martin built track from Zurich to Munchen. Marc-André managed to make two 6-income runs while both Mario and Martin did 6-income runs followed by 5-income runs. This brought Mario and Marc-André back to the same income level with Martin $6 behind.

No one needed to take additional shares the last turn so the bidding began. Mario started the bidding at $1 and Marc-André jumped straight to $6. Martin still didn't have the desire to compete for the first player at these levels and dropped out immediately. Mario increased the bid to $7 and Marc-André jumped all the way to $20 where Mario was willing to let him have the bid. Marc-André chose the Urbanization action, Mario took the Engineer and Martin decided to build first. Martin used this to build track from Magdeburg to Wurzburg. Marc-André declined to use the Urbanization action and build track from Stuttgart to the town of Saarbrucken. Finally, Mario built from Breslau to Warschau via the town of Gorlitz. Everyone completed two runs of 6 income each leaving Mario and Marc-André with the same income at the end of the game.

When the final scores were tallied, Mario and Marc-André had again tied just as in their semi-final, this time at 99 points. Using the GM's tiebreakers, they were still tied after the first tiebreaker with $38 income. The second tiebreaker was number of track segments built and Marc-André took the championship on the strength of 24 track segments to 21 for Mario. The final component of the scoring was Marc-André's 13 loans issued versus the 12 loans that Mario had issued. Martin ended up with income of $34, 14 loans issued and 23 track segments for a total score of 83 points to take third.

It is impressive to me how much better the competition is getting in this tournament in general as only three of the 14 games had a double digit margin of victory -- all in the first heat. There were some complaints about slow play, but hopefully they will prove to be a one-year aberration and not an ongoing problem. Please note that the games are scheduled for three hours and generally take at least 2.5 hours so plan your schedules accordingly if you choose to play.

Next time, I will again be limiting the number of tracks available in each heat as I have done for the past three years. If you have a track that you really would like to see included in the tournament, please email me by June 30, 2011. I hope to be making my selections by that time, although I will have started considering which tracks to include much earlier than that.

I hope this year's players enjoyed the tournament and I hope to see all of you plus some new players next year.

 GM     Peter Staab (4th Year)   700 Bayridge Ave, Pittsbugh, PA 15226-2112 
   pestaab@comcast,net   412-343-5937

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