27 YEARS OF TRADITION CONTINUES WITH INDY'S RED BARON FIGHT
Editor's note - ISD thanks Rick Lacy for essentially writing this issue while the editor is recovering from health issues. And here are the rules for the Oddsmakers column - 1) it's just for fun, 2) don't take it seriously or you'll be given an unarmed RE 8 in the big game.
Red Baron Fight XXVII
Vegas Oddsmakers Edition
Guest column by 2-time RBF champion Rick Lacy
It’s that time of year again…. time for the Indy Squadron to take to the skies and recreate the last flight of the premier fighter pilot from World War 1 – Manfred von Richthofen. As is our tradition, we are presenting a (somewhat) tongue in cheek look at the likely players and their odds for winning.
For anyone wanting to see the rules of the contest, you can read them here. So, with no further ado, the likely attendees are (in no particular order):
Stephen Dale Skinner
Anyone from the Region Squadron
Anyone from Michigan
Anyone from Wisconsin not named George.
Anyone at WhosyerCon who is playing for the first/second/third time.
Long shots – I give anyone in this group the proverbial 99:1 odds. Not that anyone showing up is a bad player, more because they are probably not used to the Indy Squadron House rules and how we play. As for the rest…
AJ Meister – 50 to 1
AJ is a pretty new player. He has shown some flashes of focus and some runs of luck, but like most other new players tends to be aggressive tactically (i.e., target fixated) or lackadaisical (not as focused as he could be at all times). His odds are based on these tendencies, but if he gets focused and gets some rolls, he could be a force to be reckoned with.
Bob Meister – 45 to 1
Bob is a pretty new player also, and in some ways is still picking up the nuances of the game. However, Bob is a gamer from way back, and his intelligence and savvy at gaming in general translates to solid tactical awareness and decision making. His last FitS session saw him record multiple kills and I believe that is a good indicator of upward momentum. Like AJ, if he gets some rolls he will be surprisingly solid and could contend.
Ethan Skinner - 40 to 1
Ethan is the youngest current active player. It shows. There are times where his head is in the game and he is right on top of things, and there are times where he is distracted and unable to help himself or his wingmen. In my opinion, he can be scary sometimes by how well he plays (as reflected by his prior win), but just as often can be baited into making wrong decisions or getting target fixated. His odds reflect his level of experience in the game so far adjusted by his good and bad tendencies.
Dory Oda - 25 to 1
Dory has more overall playing time than just about anyone likely to attend (except Stephen and/or George). She is always focused, rarely makes a bad move, and can be counted on to help both her wingmen and herself with her attention to the game. Unfortunately, all of this is counteracted by her continual run of bad luck in RBF games. I think that in just about every RBF I have played in as her wingman, I have seen her get severely damaged early, take a performance eating critical hit, and struggle to keep up thereafter.
As an opponent, I have seen her have to move early and absorb multiple attackers more often than not. She is always a serious opponent that one should never take lightly. Her odds are more based on this pesky bad luck streak than player skill but she is absolutely due a win. If the dice fall right, it could happen this year.
Michael Morgan – 8 to 1
Michael’s odds are based almost completely on his attendance being a ‘doubtful’. If he shows up, he will automatically move his odds up to like 4 to 1 just because of how he plays the game. Very shrewd player, very detail oriented, and very patient. He is like Iceman from Top Gun – just waits for you to make a mistake.
Kevin Richeson – 7 to 1
Kevin is a player that is capable of focusing his attention on the game and playing to his best advantage no matter the circumstance. The only critique I can throw in is that I have seen Kevin become a bit too focused on getting a kill to the detriment of the overall tactical picture, but that sort of aggressiveness is what wins games - and make no mistake - Kevin didn’t come here to lose. You always know that you have a solid wingman or dangerous opponent when Kevin is at the table.
Stephen Dale Skinner – 6 to 1
Much like his younger brother Ethan, Stephen Dale grew up on the game, and went through his struggles to focus and learn to play as a good tactician and teammate. Having watched his level of play in the last several years however, I can definitely report that he has certainly matured as a player and is every bit as good a player as anyone else at the table. I have seen him do some fantastic things over the last couple of years and if recent play is any indication, he will certainly be a formidable contender regardless of what side he is on.
George Henion – 5 to 1
Likely our only out of town player this year, George brings with him decades of experience and a deep pilot roster. He has played with our group several times and always been an excellent wingman and opponent. George has more recent playing time than anyone else at the table, and this will almost certainly translate into a solid shot at bringing home the victory.
Rick Lacy – 3 to 1
I hate trying to write about myself. Maybe Stephen will throw in some comments when he does the editing. I place my odds at 3 to 1 based almost entirely on the fact that I have played more games recently than anyone else from the Indy Squadron and anyone else likely to play, with the exception of George. However, you can ask George how his French SPAD squadron did against my Jasta in the last online campaign game and he may have a different idea of what the odds should be. If I can get a roll or two, I think I’ll be in the fight to finish first. (He always is, and this is a fair assessment of his odds with no editing or additions required - Ed.)
Stephen Skinner – 3 to 2
What can I say to convince you Stephen is the odds on favorite to win? In the RBF, we take up pilots from our rosters – and Stephen has some of the best ultra-uber-aces in the entire FitS Society. He has won this event 8 - count them - 8 times. He always gets everything he can out of his plane, sticking around with criticals, carefully rationing his shots, always giving his opponents little to no chance to put him out of the game. A true master tactician and probably the most consistently careful player I have had on my wing or been faced off against. Stephen is to the rest of the Indy Squadron what the Patriots* are to the Colts (*minus the cheating of course). If you want to win, you have to go through him. And it’s tough.
That sums up this year’s oddsmakers special. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did putting it together.
I hope to see anyone interested in playing at the gaming table Saturday April 2nd during WhosyerCon!
For the Indy Squadron,
What You Need To Know
Here are three very important things to remember about the upcoming Whosyercon gaming convention, April 1-3, in Indianapolis:
- Red Baron Fight XXVII will be held on Saturday afternoon, April 2nd, at 2 pm. Stephen Skinner is the defending champ, having swept both RBF and the Whosyercon Open last year. However, with the return of Kevin Richeson and the addition of JoJo Schaecher, this year's field may be even tougher.
- RBF is immediately preceded by the 3rd Whosyercon Open, which begins at 10 am on April 2nd. Both of these events are premier games on the Indy Squadron annual calendar.
- Participating in any of Whosyercon's four designated Dawn Patrol game slots (Friday 12 pm & 4 pm, Saturday 10 am & 2 pm) makes a player eligible for the Indy Squadron's championship tournament in November.
The game schedule is as follows:
12 noon, Friday, Apr 1
4 pm, Friday, Apr 1
10 am, Saturday, Apr 2
3rd annual Whosyercon Open
2 pm, Saturday, Apr 2
Red Baron Fight XXVII
submitted by Rick Lacy, edited by Stephen Skinner
As you know, I have been playing fairly regularly online. We just recently finished up the second campaign game (really fun!).
I had one of my 2 Alb D-V aces in the game and was the squadron commander for the scouts, meaning I got to pick the planes for the combat patrol missions. Our squadron was a mixed back of four DrI's, four Albatros DV's, a pair of Pfalz D-IIIa's and two Fokker D-VII's (160hp version). We were blessed to have other aces so I put the aces in the DrI's and it helped us win the campaign handily.
At the end of the campaign, my D-V ace was over 25 missions and up to 6 kills. So I did something I've not done before - I progressed him to the DrI plane group, giving me a double ace in that aircraft.
Mostly I wanted to give you a brief summary of the online action from March 18, 2016. We don't normally run games on Friday but a few of us had nothing to do (I was stuck at home because Pam threw her back out and we couldn't do anything) so we logged on to play.
In the first game, I was up in a Belgian RE-8. We were against a mixed bag of Albs, and the fight was actually pretty even because we outperformed the Albs. The interesting thing is that on the last turn of the game, my observer rolled a 1 to see Carl Priest's Alb through the wings, and then proceeded to hit him for 2 hit factors (one of them passing through Carl's 28 mission pilot for a critical wound). He made it to the ground, but died after landing sadly. This gave me an actual Belgian 2 seat crew and an observer with a kill on an ace. Not a bad start.
Second game had me in a Pfalz D-XII with a 6th mission pilot. We were against American SPADs and a couple of DH4. I killed George's DH4 with a 5/3 forward fuselage critical hit, and both crewmen lived.
Third game was pretty non-eventful. It was an Italian front mission, and I was an Austro-Hungarian pilot in a Hansa Brandenberg D-I 160hp. We were against Italian Nieuport 11s. Quick fight, I jammed my gun and flew off - nothing else really of note though.
Last game saw George and myself both take up Camel aces along with Andy Priest's 8 mission pilot against three Fokker D-VII's and a Hannover two seater. First turn I took out Carl Fritz's D-VII Ace with an engine crit on a 300 foot bottom shot. A couple of turns later, George and I double teamed Scott Kolar's ace from the left side and we each did 3 engine hits, and I won the cut for that one.
A couple of turns after that, I hit Eric Weiss' 11th mission pilot with a mortal wound, giving me the hat trick for the game (first game EVER with 3 kills) and 5 kills in 4 missions for the night. We rolled for a Victoria Cross, missed that, rolled for a Distinguished Service Order, missed that, rolled for a Distinguished Service Cross, and missed that. High command promoted me to Lieutenant instead of getting a medal. Oh well, I don't play the political game well I guess.
It was a fun night. I am looking forward to the Red Baron Fight.