WWF VI Berserk Commissar AAR.
A couple of weeks ago on the 24 of August, Bruce Billett and myself boarded a flight to the Denver area to attend one the best ASL tournaments this side of the Mississippi. I found myself thinking of my play list. Last year at WWF V Steve Pleva expressed an interest in giving me chance at upsetting him at WWF VI. Tom Repetti a known BC slayer, also expressed and interest in playing. Visions of upsets filled my head as the plane touched down rather roughly at the Denver International Airport. The shuttle arrived in a timely manner and we were whisked off to the Holiday Inn on the outskirts of Denver.
Almost as soon as we had checked in Bruce had found a game and was busy setting up in our room. Since I did not yet have a game I decided to visit Marty Snowís room to check out the three games going on in there. After watching a couple of turns of Action at Khommerscheidt which Marty was playing Steve the phone rang and I had a game. Randy Shurz from Plano Texas was up from some pre tournament play.
As I entered the elevator to get to Randyís room I ran into Tim Wilson tournament director, who didnít recognize me a t first, Pete Schilling and a legend in the game Mark Nixon. Wow I was a little taken back but then was thinking how cool it would be to get a chance to play Mark sometime during the weekend. I also offered Pete a rematch from two years ago when we battled to a draw but then for tournament purposes I was awarded the victory. With that little reunion and unexpected pleasure I proceeded on to Randyís room. Upon getting to his room we selected the scenario "Will to FightÖEradicated". I have always wanted to play the Poles in ASL and this was my chance. I was able to be very aggressive with the Poles and was able to encircle the starting German force and eventually wipe them out. The German reinforcements however were a different story. The Poles could not stand up to the firepower that the SS can bring to bear. As it turned out I had taken enough ground that I was able to give up ground and keep a fighting force in front of the SS and hang on for the win. To bad this was not the opening game for the tournament however I was feeling a little more confident as I had played well and breaks had gone my way.
The morning of the tournament came early and I was anxious to get to the room and see if I was going to be able to get a game with Steve. As luck would have it Steve was ready and looking for a easy victory in the first round. I presented a glider and semi-standard German and Russian scenario called "A Stroke of Luck". Neither interested Steve so we then looked through the scenario books and found one. "Commando Kelly", a rather meaty scenario from Scherpunkt. As it turned out I set up first as Americans. The trouble I have with Americans is that they break and run to easily, Their armor is big and generally not as good as the German counterpart. The first two turns went fairly well at least I was able hanging on. As we all know this can be deceiving and thing can change drastically in a fire phase or two. That is what happened with Steve. Steve was able to get some low percentage hits and then kills on three of my six Sherman that entered on turn one. That spelled the end for me by the end of turn 4. I had a fun time playing Steve and learned just from watching him play. The most fun came from the Bingo game that Tom Repetti had included as a side bar in this years tournament. Basically on the bingo board are things like, CR while fire Faust, Schreck or BAZ from building, Shoot down enemy plane, etc. If you get a bingo you some sort of prize. During the scenario with Steve I had a long range BAZ shot to the rear of one of his Mark IV. Since it was on the Bingo list I took the shot and ate the backblast. The result, CR a hit and a kill. It was the only tank I destroyed during the scenario but it was worth the block on the bingo sheet.
Now out of the tournament I sign up for the mini the next day. There was still lots of time to play so since Marty Snow had lost his opener we decided to play "The Hornet of Cloville". While Marty was setting up I went upstairs and got a bite to eat and a couple of beers. Now that I had got my first loss out of the way I was ready to get my first victory of the tournament. It was not to be however as I was attacking with the 6 morale Americans. I hate American troops in ASL. Marty had set up a good defense but I did get an opening when he gacked his 88LL on the first roll to hit. I just made to many mistake and exposed my low morale troops to to much firepower. They wilted away as he was able to come out of his defense and cut off my rout destroying 4 to 5 squads with one hero. Altogether a humiliating defeat to a worthy opponent that was very nice and apologetic as he rolled eyes several times at the right time to make the defeat even worse than it was.
Now starving for a victory my next opponent was Fred Novy. We decide on a scenario from the Province Pack called "Peak Hour at Golf Hotel". As the Germans (finally Iím not Americans) I must defend the Chateau on bard 6 with a mixed bag of troops and leaders, lots of wire, 60 mines and even a tunnel. The Free French attack with approximately 18 6-4-8 good leadership and automatic artillery that attacks on the 12 firepower column and lays WP smoke at the same time. Things go a little rough for Fred as he stumbles into several minefields and is rebuffed by some accurate fire from my heavy on the second floor of the guest building through the vineyards. Time passes quickly and by the time turn 4 arrives Fred must leave for the evening. Even though the is still time left Fred concedes due the fact that he must leave and ,at this point in the game I have the advantage. A win, a win not the way I would have liked but a victory. I can now say technically that I wonít get skunked over the weekend. I would have very much liked to play this one out as I think the ending would have been very intense. Thanks Fred for the win by default. Will give ya rematch anytime.
Thus ended the first day. I was a little disappointed about not still being in the tournament but hey at least I lost to the tournament champion. My only win was by default so my confidence had taken a hit but tomorrow was a new day and I was signed up for a mini. So after a beer or two off to bed I go looking forward to a new day.
Awake and ready to play in the mini I am paired up against the first person I ever played in tournament play Brian W. Sorry Brian canít remember how to spell your last name. The scenarios are of Pete Schilling design of the Eastern front. The first one a fog of war where some units are picked similar to the General scenario called "The Liberators". As I ended up with Germans again(one win so far) I wait for Brianís set-up. I proceed with an wide avenue of attack. My objective three of the five multi-hex buildings spread across two boards. One in the middle, two up close on the left flank and two in the middle rear. My plan, to take the one in the middle and then the two in the middle rear. The reason for this plan is that I believe that he will try and defend the two up close on the left rather heavily and leave the one in the rear lightly defended. Wrong ! After a couple of turns a HMG placed in the building in the rear opens up and cuts off one of my approaches. Things get even worse as I forget to bring on my reinforcements at the proper time. It all works out as I am able to crash through the wire with my tanks and half tracks into the small village area. Brain concedes with a half turn left as I will easily satisfy the victory conditions.
The second scenario of the tournament is a deluxe city fight between Russian Guards and SS. My opponent Mark Greenman a person I have not played want to bid for sides. As it turns out we both want Germans but in the end I lose the roll and get the Russians with the balance. The balance an extra ISU-152. I advance aggressively with the Russian units and take ground but loose both of the ISU-152 to some good fire form the German defender. There is a lot of give and take in this game as my luck hold in close combat and his critical hit swings the momentum back and forth. His last turn is amazing. He VBM freezes two of my big stakes so that he can easily take back a four hex building. He is then able to get plenty of units into the critical building that during the advancing fire breaks the a squad, so that all I have left in the building is an 8-0 leader and he makes sure there is no where to withdrawal to if I happen to ambush his units. Itís over except for the rolling. No ambush but wait the close combat roll a 12 I am only reduced a 1-4 on the wound severity table and I hold him in melee and he does not control the building. The roll a 1, I win a close game that by the odds I should have lost. Off to the championship game, oh no itís got cavalry.
Playing a game late at night in a room with nobody else but a group playing race card racing game is a little unnerving. But on I played but the result was known to everybody there including Mark Nixon. I didnít know the best way to play cavalry and I think my fate was sealed from the start. Things went bad when a fire lane was declared and Bill rolled nothing less than a six on several rolls as my cavalry moved through the fire. I gain a respect for people who know the rules. At the next few opportunities I will be playing Calvary scenarios for my further championship chances.
My last scenario played against Mark "Snave" non tournament. This scenario is swherpunkt number one. We play it as I have set this up for a game that myself and Bruce can play if delayed in an airport as the pieces are already ready to go. Things go well as I defeat Snaveís force of Japanese in detail however I canít fine the last half squad. When it is revealed I feel I have searched the hex and Snave agrees that might have happened and gives me the win but I canít help but feeling Snaved. Fun no the less.
A success by my standards. I met people I had not met before who share the same interest that I do. I met people who can play the game better than I can at this point in time. I met people that I enjoyed teaching the game of ASL. This is a time where I learned, was taught and met people I wish to meet again in my struggle to play one of the greatest mind games that most everyone else will not understand ASL.
Clayton Queen BC