age of steam [Updated October 2007]  

2007 WBC Report  

 2008 Status: pending 2008 GM commitment

Martin Sasseville, QC

2006-07 Champion

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Event History
2004    Richard Irving     34
2005    Pierre Paquet     40
2006     Martin Sasseville     36
2007    Martin Sasseville     40


 Rank  Name               From  Last  Total
   1.  Martin Sasseville   QC    07     69
   2.  Pierre Paquet       QC    07     66
   3.  Richard Irving      CA    07     39
   4.  Mario Veillette     QC    07     24
   5.  Michael Holmquist   WI    05     24
   6.  Peter Staab         PA    04     18
   7.  Craig Moffitt       NJ    06     12
   8.  Keith Altizer       FL    04     12
   9.  Charlie Kersten     OH    06      9
  10.  Ilan Woll           CT    04      9
  11.  Marc-Andre Imbeault QC    07      6
  12.  Charlie Hickok      PA    06      6
  13.  Franklin Haskell    NH    05      6
  14.  Cody Sandifer       MD    07      3
  15.  Alex Bove           PA    06      3
  16.  Andy Joy            MD    05      3
  17.  Doug Smith          PA    04      3

2007 Laurelists

Pierre Paquet, QC

Mario Veillette, QC

Richard Irving, CA

Marc-Andre Imbeault, QC

Cody Sandifer, MD

Past Winners

Richard Irving, CA

Pierre Paquet, QC

Martin Sasseville, QC
2006 - 07

French Canadians again command three of four seats in the Final.

Martin Sasseville repeats as champion while his Quebec contingent finishes 1-2-3.

Northern Invasion Continues

 The first heat saw a record number of participants in the 4-year WBC history of this event with 32 players participating in eight games.  Five used the standard Rust Belt map, two used John Bohrer's Germany map and one the Steam Brothers' China map.  Marc-André Imbeault won the China game, Cody Sandifer defeated the defending champion, Martin Sasseville, and another of the French Canadian contingent, Pierre-Luc Thiffault in one of the Germany games.  The other Germany game was won by Nathalie Malenfant.  In one of the Rust Belt games, Anna Maria Palermo had a rough turn 2 in which another player connected to one of the cities in which she was already connected and delivered the good that she was planning to deliver which left her too low in income and unable to pay her expenses.  This forced Anna Maria into bankruptcy on this turn and eliminated her from the game, which was eventually won by Debbie Gutermuth.  The other Rust Belt winners were Mario Veillette, Bruce Hodgins, Ilan Woll and Pierre Paquet.

The second heat had five 4-player games, four on the Rust Belt maps and one on John Bohrer's Western United States map.  Doug Smith won the Western United States game in his first heat attempt. Meanwhile, the four Rust Belt winners - Chris Palermo, Akihisa Tabei, 2004 champion Richard Irving and defending champion Martin Sasseville - were playing in their second heat. 

The GM gave the semi-finalists a choice of four maps.  For the third straight year, the players chose the Germany map.  The two heats produced 13 winners but as so often happens, some chose not to advance. So the semis consisted of three four-player games with the top runner-up qualifying for a 4-player Final. Defending champion Martin Sasseville totally dominated his game to advance  In the second semi-final, Richard Irving lost $3 of income on the second turn to reduce him to $1 income at that time, but he came back strong to qualify.  In the third game Pierre Paquet won tby a small margin over Mario Veillette, but Mario also managed to advance with his second place finish. 

The Final was a defacto invitational game since all three of the former champions had qualified along with Mario Veillette, who was also a former laurelist.  The game was played using the basic Rust Belt map.  After the setup, it was apparent that it was going to be a rough game as there were very few good deliveries available on the first turn.  In addition, the Eastern and Western portion of the map did not have the right type of goods available for runs in either the initial setup or for potential future runs so the central portion of the board had the potential to be crowded.  The random turn order for the first turn was Pierre, Mario, Martin and Richard.  The first turn was a preview of thingsto come with high cash and bidding for turn order being the norm.  The first turn started with each of the players taking two additional shares in order to raise $10 more in cash.  The bids for turn order on the first turn were Pierre bidding 4 right away and then everyone else passing in order resulting in a turn order of Pierre, Richard, Martin and Mario for the remainder of the turn.  Pierre then chose the Urbanization ability, Richard chose the Engineer, Martin chose First Build and Mario was left with the increase to his Locomotive with the last choice.  The fear that the center of the board was going to get crowded came to fruition as Martin built from Evansville to Cincinnati via the town in Indianapolis with a spur heading toward Chicago.  Pierre then enlarged Green Bay with the yellow new city tile (tile E) and built from Chicago to Green Bay via the town in Milwaukee.  Richard built track from Detroit to Cincinnati via the town in Toledo.  Finally, Mario built from Chicago to the town in Rock Island and then continued toward Springfield with a spur from Rock Island heading southwest with a choice to build toward either Des Moines or Kansas City.  For runs, everyone increased their locomotive size the first round of moving goods.  In the second round of moving goods,  everyone but Mario had a 2-length run they had available to them and they each took that run while Mario did not make a second run.  This meant that Pierre, Richard and Martin had $2 income at the end of the first turn while Mario had $0 income.  The second turn saw Pierre and Mario each issue three more shares to raise cash while Richard and Martin each issued two more shares.  Pierre then bid $6 to try to go first, Richard bid $7 and everyone then passed in order making Richard first, Pierre second, Mario third and Martin last this turn.  The major occurrences on this turn saw Pierre upgrade Terra Haute to a city with Tile H (one of the four black new city tiles) and then three players built track to Terra Haute.  The builds included Mario abandoning his southwest spur from the first turn to build to Terra Haute.  Richard and Mario both increased their locomotives to a size 4 which Mario used on the second run to run four lengths of track only on his track.  After the income phase, Richard did not have enough cash to pay his interest and expenses and so he took a $2 reduction in income, leaving him with $3 income at the end of the turn while the others all had income of $4.  On turn 3, Richard and Pierre both issued another three shares, Mario issued four more shares and Martin started to try to keep his loan amounts down by issuing only one additional share.  After Richard built track from Evansville to St. Louis in his build phase, he had two potential 4-runs from Detroit to St. Louis.  However, Martin shut down Richard's distance 4 runs by urbanizing Toledo with the red new city tile (Tile A) which stopped the goods that Richard was planning to deliver to a distance of1 track.  Then later in the turn Mario started building track from Detroit to Toronto starting in Detroit cutting off the last build Richard had that would have been contiguous to his original track eliminating Richard's ability to generate larger potential runs.  These two events effectively eliminated Richard from contending in the game and made his ability to avoid bankruptcy very difficult.  During the runs phase, Pierre, Richard and Mario all increased their locomotives to size 5 with one of the two runs.  Richard lost 4 more income during the maintenance phase, leaving him at $0 in income at the end of the turn while Pierre, Martin and Mario all had $8 income at the time.  In turn 4, Richard decided that he was going to have trouble avoiding bankruptcy and so he decided to not actively influence the game and possibly be a kingmaker so he took 0 shares and went bankrupt at the end of the turn.  Highlights of the turn were Martin starting the Pittsburgh to Toronto connection via Buffalo.  Mario urbanized Milwaukee with the purple new city tile (Tile F).  Mario also increased his train to size 6 on the first half of the Move Goods phase and then completed a run of length 6 on the second phase with Pierre getting $1 of income and Mario getting the other $5 of income from the run.  The total income at the end of this run was Martin and Pierre at $14 each and Mario having $11 of income.  On turn 5, Mario increased his loan situation to the maximum 15 loans and Pierre issued more shares to have the total amount of loans issued at 14 while Martin only had 11 loans at that time.  The bids for first turn started decreasing with Martin winning the bid for $2.  Mario cut off some of Martin's abilities to make runs by improving Buffalo to a city with the black G tile.  Pierre updated his locomotive to a size 6 train this turn and everyone had $18 of income by the end of the turn.  On turn 6, Martin won the bid to go first for $1 and made sure his build would not get cut off by taking the First Build action to assure that he could complete his build from Kansas City to St. Louis that he had started on previous turns.  Mario improved La Crosse with the blue new city tile (Tile B) trying to cut down Pierre's abilities to make runs as Pierre had connected to La Crosse during this turn.  Martin and Pierre had the advantages in runs at this time and started pulling away from Mario as Pierre had $25 in income, Martin $24 and Mario $22 by the end of the turn.  In Turn 7, Mario improved Fort Wayne with a black new city tile (Tile C).  Martin gained $10 in income during his two runs, Pierre gained $9 of income and Mario gained $9 of income including $1 in income from the final run that Pierre did in the turn which pushed Mario up to the next level of income reduction.  With Pierre's "help" to Mario, each of the players ended up experiencing $6 in income reduction at the turn.  Finally, Turn 8 saw the bidding for first player increase again as Martin started the bid at $1, Pierre bid $2, Mario bid $4, Martin bid $5, Pierre bid $6, Mario passed and paid nothing to go last, Martin bid $7, and Pierre passed.  In the action phase, Martin chose Urbanization, Pierre took the First Build action and Mario chose the Engineer.  Pierre completed his track from La Crosse to Des Moines, Martin improved Cleveland with the last remaining new city tile (Tile D, a black new city) and then built from Pittsburgh to Cleveland to Toledo while Mario completed track from Minneapolis to Duluth and from Chicago to Michigan City.  Martin started the runs and made a 6-run to get himself $6 in income, Pierre completed a 6-run that got him $5 in income and had $1 income payable to the bank while Mario did a 5-run to get himself $4 in income and Martin $1 in income.  The second set of runs saw Martin gain $5 in income and Pierre also gained $5 of income on their runs while Mario gained $4 in income and gave $2 of income to the bank on his final run.  At the end of the game, Martin had $34 in income and 12 loans and 24 track segments built during the game to end up with 90 victory points and the championship for his second consecutive year of winning the tournament.  Pierre had $32 in income, 14 loans and 20 track segments for 74 victory points and second place for the second year in a row.  Finally, Mario had $27 in income, 15 loans and 27 track segments for 63 total victory points and third place.

Dominance in the card driven wargames may come at the kneee of Master Pei and Nappy Wars/Up Front crowns may go through Greenville, but the French Canadians command Age of Steam. Can anyone give them a game in 2008?

In past years, I have allowed any of the expansion tracks to be used in any of the heats and gave the players choices of four possible tracks for the semi-final.  Next year, I am considering limiting the choices of tracks available for the two heats to probably 8 to 10 of the available expansion tracks for each heat and probably increasing the choices for the semi-final to six different tracks while eliminating Germany from the choices for the semi-final since this has been the choice for the past three years to try to get some variety in the semi-final.  If you have an opinion about this concept, please contact me to discuss the tournament format for next year.

 GM     Peter Staab (2nd Year)   NA 
   pestaab@comcast,net   NA

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