age of steam  

Updated 11/28/2008

2008 WBC Report  

 2009 Status: pending 2009 GM commitment

Pierre Paquet, QC

2008 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

 Rank  Name               From  Last  Total
   1.  Pierre Paquet       QC    08     96
   2.  Martin Sasseville   QC    08     78
   3.  Richard Irving      CA    07     39
   4.  Mario Veillette     QC    08     36
   5.  Michael Holmquist   WI    05     24
   6.  Nathalie Malenfont  QC    08     18
   7.  Peter Staab         PA    04     18
   8.  Craig Moffitt       NJ    06     12
   9.  Keith Altizer       FL    04     12
  10.  Charlie Kersten     OH    06      9
  11.  Ilan Woll           CT    04      9
  12.  Michael Kaltman     PA    08      6
  13.  Marc-Andre Imbeault QC    07      6
  14.  Charlie Hickok      PA    06      6
  15.  Franklin Haskell    NH    05      6
  16.  Barb Flaxington     NJ    08      3
  17.  Cody Sandifer       MD    07      3
  18.  Alex Bove           PA    06      3
  19.  Andy Joy            MD    05      3
  20.  Doug Smith          PA    04      3

2008 Laurelists                                          Repeating Laurelists

Nathalie Malenfont, QC

Mario Veillette, QC

Martin Sasseville, CT

Michael Kaltman, PA

Barb Flaxington, NJ

Past Winners

Richard Irving, CA

Pierre Paquet, QC
2005, 2008

Martin Sasseville, QC
2006 - 07

Charley Hickok appears to be keeping a lookout for the Canadians as the Yanks try to sneak in a qualifier during the Preliminaries.

Richard Irving (right), the lone American champion, is muttering something under his breath about "Canucks needing passports".

Northern Invasion Continues

It has been suggested that maybe we should just shift the site of the Age of Steam tournament to Quebec to save our finalists a trip.  However, since I don't want to go to Quebec to run the tournament, I guess that we will just keep it in Lancaster.  I'm sure our northern friends won't mind.

The defending two-time champion, Martin Sasseville, managed to qualify for the Final again this year, but could not pull off a third championship... settling for fouth. Instead, his Quebec neighbor 2005 champion Pierre Paquet bettered his runner-up finishes over the past two years to win his second WBC title.   

The first heat saw seven 4-player games using four different maps of the seven eligible choices for the heat.  It also had some players reacquainting themselves with the game as the only two bankruptcies occurred in the initial heat.  Three games were played on the Rust Belt map that comes with the game.  This proved to be the unforgiving map which fostered both bankruptcies.  The Rust Belt map had the biggest margin of victory as Michael Holmquist posted the highest score for the year of 133 points to win by 35.  This map also had the closest game as Cody Sandifer beat the GM on the second tie-breaker with Pierre Paquet only 5 points behind each of them.  In the third game on the Rust Belt map, Glenn Pierce took the most loans, but earned much more income to finish ahead of Charlie Hickok.  There were also two games played on the Western US map where Mario Veilette took the fewest number of loans of anyone in the tournament, 5, to earn a victory.  Barb Flaxington defeated Ian Nowland by 4 points to win the other game played on the Western US map.  On the Germany map, Richard Irving defeated Rick Dutton by a single point to qualify for the semi-finals and Martin Sasseville took his first step toward his third championship by winning on the South Africa map. 

The second heat drew only 14 players and thus three games, all on different maps.  In a 5-player game on the Rust Belt map, Nathalie Malenfant earned the victory.  In a 4-player game on the India map, Pierre Paquet earned a final income of $42, the largest of the tournament, to cruise to an easy victory.  Finally, Mike Kaltman came back from a bit of a tough start to win convincingly on the South America map.

With only 10 players winning in the heats, the GM opted for two five-player games in the Semis with the top two finishers in each game advancing to the Final.  The same map was going to be used for the round with the players choosing from a selection of 5 maps.  The map chosen was the Rust Belt map.  The two semi-final games had very different styles of play.  In one, players were bidding a lot for turn order causing large amounts of loans to be taken.  In fact, with three turns still to be played, three players had maxed out their loans at 15 while the remaining two players had taken 14 loans and then maxed out on the penultimate turn.  Martin Sasseville won to qualify for the Finals for the 4th straight year while Mario Veillette finished three points ahead of Mike Kaltman for second place and his third Final appearance of the past four years.  In the other semi-final game, the bidding was more subdued. Three players didn't max out on loans and everyone ended within 17 points.  Pierre Paquet earned his 4th consecutive appearance in the Final with a win even though he had the fewest number of tracks at the end of the game.  Nathalie Malenfant finished 2 points ahead of both Barb Flaxington and Michael Holmquist to earn her first Final appearance.

The finalists had a choice to play on the Rust Belt or on the Germany map and opted for the latter.  The game started off rather conservatively with two players taking two loans and the others taking one.  In the first turn, Nathalie started the ball rolling by building from Berlin to Hanover going through Magdeburg.  Mario then built track from Nuremberg to Stuttgart to Freiberg, which had been promoted to a city via the Urbanization action.  Martin built track from Hanover to Dortmund to Köln and then Pierre built track from Oldenburg to Dortmund to Köln. At this point the other players congratulated Mario on his victory since he was alone in the south while the other three players were fighting it out in the north. All gave up one of their runs in the first turn to increase their locomotive and the game was on.  The second turn saw Pierre build disconnected track over to Antwerp from Köln and start infringing on Mario's southern territory with a build from Stuttgart to Frankfurt.  All players again increased their locomotive by one more link, Pierre through the locomotive action and everyone else by skipping their first run. Martin used this advantage to complete a 4-link run to generate additional income, but he still was cash poor and lost 2 income at the end of the turn to pay expenses. Money was tight by the third turn as two players decided to take 3 shares and the other two took 2 shares.  Pierre connected his two disjointed track segments with a build from Frankfurt to Dortmund while the other players continued to increase their existing networks.  Martin took the locomotive action to get to a 5-train by the third turn and the other players all skipped their first opportunity to ship goods in order to increase to the 4-train.  On his second run, Martin could have had another 4-link run, but instead took a 2-link run which ended up costing him another dollar of income at the end of the turn in order to meet expenses.  Mario took 3 more shares on Turn 4 while Pierre only took 1 share and Martin and Nathalie each took 2 more shares.  Mario skipped a chance to ship goods to get to the 5-train and then made the first 5 link run of the game on the second round of shipping goods.  On Turn 5, Pierre did not take a loan and would not borrow for the remainder of the game while Nathalie had to take 2 more shares this turn.  Mario took the locomotive action to get to the maximum 6-train while Nathalie and Pierre each used a ship goods action to increase their trains again getting Nathalie to the maximum train level as well.  During these past two turns, Nathalie and Martin were building parallel track causing them to fight for the same goods each round.  By the end of this turn, Nathalie had income of $19 while all of the others had income of $18.  However, there were big differences in loan amounts making the game less close than the income seemed.  On Turn 6, no loans were taken although neither Martin nor Mario built any track during this turn.  Martin did make two 6 link runs during this turn although he only generated $5 of income from each of these runs with Nathalie getting the only $1 of income from each of them.  On Turn 7, Mario took the last 2 shares of loans that any of the players took while Pierre became the last to max out his train by taking the locomotive action.  Both Mario and Pierre completed two runs of 6 links with each of them getting all $6 of income on both runs.  On the final turn, Pierre generated $6 of income on one of his two runs while Mario generated $6 of income on both of his.  When the game ended, Pierre, Nathalie and Mario each had $34 of income to Martin's $29.  However, Pierre had only issued 7 shares of loans versus 11 by Nathalie, Mario 14 and Martin 12.  Even though Nathalie had the most track segments (21), the major difference in loan amounts gave Pierre a 10-point victory over Nathalie.  One of the problems that Mario had was that Nuremburg, one of his start cities, never got any additional goods leaving Mario an early income void since he had no goods to ship from there.

It seems that some have started to believe that our Quebec friends are unstoppable.  On one of the heat results, one player's comment was that "Martin played" indicating that he believed that the game was determined before it even started. Even I fell into this trap - feeling satisfied that I came in ahead of Pierre in the first heat even though I didn't actually win the game.  This kind of thinking can lead to a defeatist attitude before the game even starts - making the favorite's job much easier so I'd recommend coming in with some confidence and you never know what may happen.  My goal for next year is to actually make my own semi-final and I won't be satisfied with any lesser result.

Finally, I want some input for next year's tournament.  First, I will have to send in a preferred time schedule for the event by February 28, 2009.  This year, we moved our Saturday sessions to 11:00 a.m. and the semi-final at 3:00 p.m.  In the previous year, the second heat began at 2:00 or 3:00 p.m. and the semi-final was either 6:00 or 7:00 p.m.  If you have a preference for the time, please send me an email message by January 31, 2009 and I will take that into consideration when making the schedule.  The second item is that I again plan to limit the number of tracks available in each heat to either six or seven choices.  If you have a track that you really would like to see included in the tournament, please let me know. 

Good thing Peter Staab is the GM or he wouldn't have a seat at this all-Quebec Final.

I haven't seen this many Canadians since the Maple Leafs came to town.
 GM     Peter Staab (2nd Year)   700 Bayridge Ave, Pittsbugh, PA 15226 
   pestaab@comcast,net   NA

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