Kevin Scores 3rd Indy Title
Only four players have ever notched a trio of Indy Squadron championship titles, and Kevin Richeson is among them after a dominant performance in the 27th annual Indy Squadron Armistice Day Fits Tournament.
Dory Oda, Sopwith Dolphin
Bob Meister, Sopwith Dolphin
Stephen Dale Skinner, Camel 130
Stephen Skinner, Sopwith Dolphin
A. J. Meister, Fokker DVII 160 h/c
Ethan Skinner, Pfalz DXII
Rick Lacy, Fokker DVII 160 h/c
Kevin Richeson, Fokker DVII 160 h/c
Dory's Dolphin would ultimately become the only outright kill in one of the most unusual title games in squadron history. Her luck started out bad and then got worse. She moved first on the first turn and was hit hard by Rick's DVII and Ethan's Pfalz. After flying more than half the game with critical damage and one of her twin Vickers guns jammed, her pilot was hit by a burst from Kevin's Fokker.
The result was a critical arm wound which would eventually cause the Dolphin pilot to pass out, over-stress the wings and die in the ensuing crash. Sole credit for the kill went to Kevin, and Dory later accurately observed, "This was the first really pivotal point in the game and it really changed everything."
The game was typified by poor coordination on both sides. At one point midway through the contest all eight competitors were scattered across three separate game boards spanning almost 80 squares. This was partially due to unusual movement sequences and a lack of intent by the pilots.
It was also due to two vital moves that changed the game. Stephen Dale, flying the only Sopwith Camel in the game, suffered a jammed elevator on his airplane that forced him into a dive. Before he could resolve the issue three turns later, he had left the tournament box, dove nearly 2,000 feet below the fight and drawn several other planes off the board in the same direction. Stephen Dale later called this "the weirdest championship game I've ever seen."
Late in the game, as Bob's Dolphin was battling single-handedly against the German fighters of Ethan, Rick and A. J., the two remaining British pilots faced a difficult decision.
Stephen and Stephen Dale both suffered the same odd critical hit (engine 4/6) which indicated an upper engine oil leak. The penalties were severe. Both planes were smoking badly, and both pilots were forced to add +1 to their initiative roll and their firepower effectiveness was reduced by two tables. In other words, they couldn't out-roll anyone and they couldn't do any real damage to anyone. Worse still, Stephen Dale's Camel was reduced to 70 mph of turn speed and could make no right turns or banks.
Rather than wait for the fight to resume and allow their certain demise to award more points to the German team, Stephen and Stephen Dale chose to escape the combat and land their planes on a road behind Allied lines. Both survived the combat.
A. J. and Ethan flew well but, like their Allied counterparts, were unable to summon any real offense. Rick and Kevin were able shoot consistently against the scattered and damaged Allies, and were the only players in the game to mount a real offensive threat. It really was, as Rick later observed, "the Kevin and Rick show" when it came to scoring points.
The final score surprised no one, with Kevin putting on a clinic in a runaway victory with Rick a distant second and Stephen, the highest scoring Brit, an even more distant third.
Everyone had a great time, and it was great fun to watch Kevin return to the gaming table for his third title. We followed the game with our traditional champion's toast, and then all the participants signed the bottle as a keepsake for the winner. The festivities wrapped up with the presentation of the Indy Squadron's most coveted honor, the Victory Medal.
Rick Lacy Fokker DVII 160 h/c 63
Stephen Skinner Sopwith Dolphin 47
Ethan Skinner Pfalz DXII 39
Stephen Dale Skinner Sopwith Camel 130 39
Bob Meister Sopwith Dolphin 33
A. J. Meister Fokker DVII 160 h/c 33
Dory Oda Sopwith Dolphin 10