Once again, I had the great good fortune to be able to attend the Kansas City ASL March Madness Tournament. This was my second year in a row to participate. It's about a five hour drive from Tulsa (I go up the back roads of Eastern Kansas, which is a terrific drive through John Brown Country with some impressive vistas of Kansas plains and rolling hills.) The drive is just one of the perks of attending this Tournament.
The location for this year's madness was located at the Hollis Renewal Center (http://holliscenter.org/). A single lane road led to this place at the bottom of a small wooded valley right out of Board 24. Overall a great location and it was certainly in a beautiful area. Leaving at night was a bit tricky...as it was dark...the NVR was like 2 or something...but in summary - kudos to the KC ASL Group for selecting a great venue.
There was plenty of parking and the weather was fairly brisk this year. A stray snow flake floating around was not uncommon. The Wind Change Die Rolls were fairly active!
I admit...I really wanted to check out the Labyrinth and had it been a little warmer...yeah...I would have scouted that out!!! Maybe next year!
The road leading back to civilization and work...oh how I didn't want to take it...couldn't I just stay in the warm comfort of the ASL Retreat??
Round 1: AP114 A Lion in the Field
versus Jim Burris
My Round 1 scenario was a lesson in offensive tactics as I watched Jim Burris' 10th SS Panzergrenadiers punch right through the center of my defense and proceed to encircle and then systematically eliminate my strong points. By Turn 4, I was ready to find my Round 2 opponent.
Of course I knew the game was off to a bad start when I drew both Red Cards from my OBA deck back to back..effectively eliminating any chance of using my badly needed OBA. (Jim and I did goof though as the tournament rules specifically state that the first OBA draw is black. Oh well...live and learn...got to remember to read the rules...all the rules...)
Dan Best and Jim Burris, two great guys and great ASL players. It was a real treat to sit across from Jim Burris. I just wish I had given him a better game, but maybe next year!
We used Jim's custom made and laminated boards, which had a bit larger hex size. All in an enjoyable way to play the game, but it did require a bit more table space.
My Round 2 game was J166 Maximum Aggression against Richard Burton. It was great to play FfF against a fellow member of the Facebook ASL Group. Richard drew the Malayans and the British, while I had the Japanese.
The Malayans set up in the center of the objective area. Just a 7-0 with 2-1/2 4-5-7's. These dudes would confound my Japanese throughout the scenario and even survive my first ever Banzai Charge. They would be the difference in the scenario. They managed to delay and damage my Japanese sufficiently that by the time the British reached the objective area, my forces were just not strong enough to hold up.
A first in ASL for me...the BANZAI CHARGE!!! Oh what terrific fun that was!!! If you haven't experienced it...well you are missing out. Make sure that it is on your ASL bucket list!
I would launch two Banzai charges during the scenario and they really did help the Japanese cause. In fact, I wished that I had simply done that on Turn 1, when my forces were at their strongest. Lesson learned. Banzai early and often!!!
Richard's British relief force moved rapidly to the rescue, but his armored car was stunned by Japanese small arms as it passed along the jungle road CE. This would impact the usefulness of the Armored Car for the balance of the scenario as the added +1 to die rolls rendered many of it shots ineffective.
The game came down to the final Close Combat of the final turn and the final Hand to Hand die Roll. My Japanese missed their roll, the British made their roll and it was game over and a well earned victory for Richard Burton and his British.
Richard celebrates the victory and the conclusion of a very fun game!
At the conclusion of Round 2, Richard Burton, Jim Burris and I decided to scout for some pizza. So off we went up the dark and twisty road. I was in the back and struggled to secure my seat belt. Within mere minutes, I was thoroughly car sick and ready to lose my cookies big time...
I managed to keep it together as we struck out on the pizza search and settled for a place called Good Cent Deli Subs.
Not a bad place, but the staff was clearly in clean up and close it down mode. So they were so excited to see three hungry ASL players (one of whom was clearly green in the gills...me...)
Despite our disrupting their early closing plans, the staff treated us great and got our orders out pretty quickly.
But the MUSIC...OMG...the MUSIC in that place was blaring...LOUDLY
It really was awful. So there I was, car sick, my head is swimming, my stomach is rebelling and now this ear-splitting music is about to send me over the edge!!!
All I could think of, was that soon I would be lying in my King Size Bed at the Holiday Inn Express...serenity would soon be mine!
Tournament Note - I don't seem to do well with the whole food thing...may need to brown bag it all in the future!!!!
Saturday morning found me, refreshed and ready to tackle Round 3 against Alex Key.
Alex and I selected Schwerpunkt SP245 Matira's Secret which pitted a King Tiger against a Pershing Tank.
SP254 is a fast scenario of 4-1/2 turns. The Americans have to clear at least two of three multi-hex buildings of Germans. Not an easy task, with a limited amount of time.
This is a scene of a moving King Tiger Tank. This is not from our scenario...as my King Tiger promptly rolled 12 on its first turn start up roll...immobilized...the crew bailed and would later be cut down by advancing US troops. Ah...a King Tiger...that wonder of German technology...if only it would start.
When in doubt blame the dice...I ALWAYS DO!!!!
The first would be my German Sniper taking out the US 10-2. Really unbelievable and that kind of thing that makes ASL ASL.
With the 10-2 KIA'd, the Americans were reeling a bit and then a German 4-3-6 rolled snake eyes on the To Hit with a Panzerfaust against the Pershing. The Pershing was knocked out, and the crew failed their survival.
Alex surveyed the situation and realizing that with only a 1/2 turn of movement remaining, it would be nearly impossible to win the game. So the concession was given and I had my first win of the tournament.
That was the end of my March Madness Tournament. With impending Business Travel, I said my goodbyes and headed home to Tulsa with a 1-2 record and three great games of ASL played. My thanks to Jim Burris, Richard Burton and Alex Key for awesome gaming and great competition.
Here are some additional pictures from the tournament.
Here's to next year!!!