Fuel is Plentiful ...
Evan Davis and James Fleckenstein
flank Tom Bissa who was one of only three players to play in
all four heats, but lost the Frequent Flyer Award to James' son.
Defending champ Kenny Rothstein finds
the going not so easy against Virginia Melton - one of five flying
Meltons - who finished third after five games.
With a banker's cash roll of "1", and several early
recessions, cash was scarce during the early part of the game
as the finalists jousting for the latest Air Baron title
launched their fledgling empires from Norfolk, West Palm Beach,
San Diego, Sacramento, and Indianapolis. The two West Coast players
- Jimmy Fleckenstein in LA and Virginia Melton in San Francisco
- battled each other as they tried to expand east, preventing
either from gaining many hubs. Meanwhile, the East Coast players
- Andy Gardner in Miami and Stephane Dorais from his early concentration
in Atlanta - started their bids to expand northward as Kurt Miller
spread through hubs in the Midwest and Northeast.
By mid-game, the cash crunch had eased for most players, fueled
by a rapid increase in the value of the bid for contract and
many high-value chit pulls. Stephane, aided by cash from chit
draws of his dominant hubs of JFK and Atlanta, successfully moved
north, gaining control of the New York, DCA and Detroit hubs.
Andy tried to slow him with repeated attacks on Atlanta. Out
west, Jim talked Virginia into halting attacks on him and deploying
a Jumbo against Stephane in Norfolk - drawing the charge from
Stephane that she was acting as a "meat puppet" for
the interests of others. When a counterattack by Stephane expelled
Virginia's Jumbo from Norfolk, Jim dropped his own Jumbo into
Stephane, seeing the other players uniting against him, went
into fare wars and tried for market share wins first in Atlanta,
which failed, and later in the Chicago hub, where he fell one
spoke short of victory. The West Coast battle then resumed under
cries of "Tucson has got to DIE" from Virginia as she
ejected Jim from Phoenix. Kurt, having bided his time and hoarded
cash in the Midwest, now retook Chicago, gained control of Houston
and attacked Atlanta - making his own bid to win. Then it was
Andy's turn for a big push as he finally completed the Miami-Atlanta-Houston
southern triangle and established dominance in Dallas-Ft. Worth.
While there were potential opportunities for several players
to win, Lady Luck intervened and two quick chit pulls of JFK
totaling $54 sealed the game for Stephane as he went into fare
wars one last time and grabbed three spokes in the Chicago hub
giving him dominant market share there and a win with a score
of 341 for his first WBC championship. Andy was second with 255,
followed by Virginia with 208, Jim with 161 and Kurt with 55
in a game where the dreaded Fuel Hike never showed its face -
even though it was the third disaster placed in the cup.
The Frequent Flyer award went to Jimmy Fleckenstein who played
in all four heats and both elimination games to log a maximum
six games in the air. GM Scott Fenn and Tom Bissa also flew in
all four heats but were unable to advance to the Final.
Bruce Bernard, Erica Kirchner and
Rob Sohn take on Evan Davis, the game's designer in semi-final
Finalists Andy Gardner, Virginia Melton,
Stephane Dorais, GM Scott Fenn, Jimmy Fleckenstein, and Kurt