Thursday 6 October 2011

A new day dawns

Having been reassured that I'd played two of the best players at the tournament I was almost relieved to hear that Tuesday morning's match up in the Mini tournament had me facing an unknown name to me, Wes Vaughn.  The tournament was the house rule special, the use of Steve Pleva's special set of rule tweaks that give an added twist to the game.

Most people have heard about Steve's idea of the Red OBA chit (+1) going back in the draw pile but there are others that give a different flavour to some scenarios that are sometimes a little predictable.

For example, one rule adds the ability for broken units to effectively fire at half fire power, with a +1 drm, as a FPF shot.  Another removes the +2 drm to the CC attack of an AFV in bypass, whilst also allowing a unit to still fire adjacent.  The 3rd rate of fire dice is something that takes some getting used to (Roll a 6, 1, 4 and try to figure out if it's a great shot or awful) but the visual "excitement" of rolling 1,1,1 is hard to beat!

Back to Wes - coming from Arkansas (I had no idea how to spell this one) - he turned out to be a pretty decent player.  His record at last year's tournament was 11 wins to 1 loss (that's three ones I was less happy to see) and certainly knew his stuff.

We played Shopino Struggle, which is a 'From the Cellar' scenario [FT 165] - and features a Russian rush to 3 sets of buildings.  The Germans defend with next to nothing against the 10 squads and 4 T34s but 3 decent tanks come on at the death for the Germans along with 2 more squads to try to save the day.

We both fancied the Germans, so rolled for sides - I won, so we gave Wes the Russian's and balance. 

I'd set up quite far forward, which seemed to split the opinions of the other guys playing the same scenario.  Wes attacked hard and fast, and it seemed to be going his way until my leader snake-eyed a Close Combat against an unsuspecting T34.

We got to the last turn and I think Wes thought he'd lost.  It came down to me having to just run into one final building hex, take out a squad in a wooden building with a Tiger or knock out a squad and a half from another.  My heavy hitting stack were adjacent, ready and waiting.

The prep fire phase was predictably cruel, the squads shrugged off a 20+1, a 16+1 then an 8+1. The Tiger missed its shot and intensive fire shot too.  It was left to the half squad rush, or failing that, close combat.

Wes, smiling inside about that PTC
The half squad rushed, reaching the hex adjacent.  The T34 fired - a PTC. The squad failed, rolling higher than the magical 7 - pinning at the end.  It would come down to the last close combat.

I advanced in, needing a 5 or less - I rolled high and the game was over.

Wes felt he got lucky, and to some extent he did, but he also made his own luck and in truth my leader taking out his T34 early on helped me immensely.

He was a blast to play against, with a good quick playing style and easy going thoughout.

0-3 now, and I'm getting worried.  It was time to focus on some of the finer aspects of the trip - and where better than to do that over a beer and a sandwich!  Before I did, I hooked up with Jeff Coyle.  He's scanned every scenario into his iPad, a man after my own heart - so we took the top scenario off his 'want to play list', Baw Drop.  We diced for sides and I believed I'd got the Japanese, so I said I'd grab a bite to eat whilst Jeff set up the British.

Time ground to a halt as Derek and I waited for lunch, but being polite Englishmen, we didn't complain.  30 minutes later Jeff came across and needed to check whether I was setting up - as he'd thought he'd got the Japanese too.  Who knows?! 20 minutes later (a mere 50 minutes after ordering the BLT) Jeff returned to checked I was actually still around, and to let me know he'd set up, but that it was wrong, so he'd do it again! I felt pretty bad but the timing worked well.  Eventually the BLT arrived, but now it was time to skype Vicki - so I dashed off and made the call.

It wasn't what she was expecting but I brought the laptop up to the gaming room.  The family got the full panoramic view complete with lots of willing greetings from the 70 or so players that were already playing.

Far too long after we decided to play Jeff and I got started.  The scenario features the British defending 7 huts and 5 portable supply drops which can be moved around.

Jeff has an interesting background within the software industry and had spent a lot of time in the Philippines.  He was telling me about the crazy lifestyle one could have out there, with a great story about how a colleague had sent out four married and one single guy on a project out there.  4 came back wanting a divorce and the other married!

Jeff's oversized laminated boards
Back to the scenario, Jeff's dice deserted him from the start whilst I rolled my way through the first few turns to cope with the odd set-back.  I essentially banzai'd my way across the bottom of the map and Jeff's luck continued to be poor.  He gamely carried on until the last turn, when I broke his two remaining stacks on two 2+1 shots.

Jeff wondering why he didn't just roll low
The man could only take so much, despite me buying him a beer to aid the morale and I sensed he was just happy to get the counters back and put this one behind him.

My first scenario win at ASLOK. 1-3 and to get ready for tomorrow's mini, our English contingent took Jeff out to dinner.  I doubt it cheered him up, but once again, it was an enjoyable scenario and Jeff was a good sport throughout.

Evan and the gang, in team colours
I finished the night up by grabbing a couple of copies of Schwerpunkt and Rally point from the Tampa guys (right).  Then I caught up with the ESG guys to grab a couple of copies of the new Design pack.

The room's getting busier, space is getting tighter and the competition is heating up.

On the bright side the Rest of the World beat the USA for the umpteenth year in a row.  No thanks to my 0-2 showing though!


  1. Well done on the first win and congrats to you for taking out the two best US players in the rest of the world competition. If wasn't for your brave sacrifice one of the Scandinavians might have had to fall...

  2. Victory! Love it. If you come back with a winning record I'll buy you an 'aslrox' license plate.