Monday, June 17, 2024

2024 Texas Team Tournament - Let Loose the Dogs of Ferocity!!!

 My modern day ASL journey began under the smiling eyes of a Texas sun in 2013. I had been playing SL since 1978 and ASL since 1989. But until Texas 2013, I was just a beer and pretzel wargamer at best. I was two years into my blog and still trying to find my voice as a blogger. I had a single opponent and was at an impasse. Continue playing watered down ASL from time to time or become part of the larger ASL Community and begin the journey to a more serious-minded player. Before, my Texas awakening...I had logged 104 games of ASL. My record was dismal as was my experience with night, PTO, DTO and any 3rd Party Publications. And today, after my initial Texas Tournament, I have logged 761 games of the finest ASL I could have ever imagined. I have sat across board 3 from the likes of Dan Best, Dave Mareske, Paul Works, Randy Schurtz, Dave Lamb, Wes Vaughn, Craig Walters, Alex Key, Roy Connelly, Matt Shostak, Jeff DeYoung and scores of other top-rated players and tournament champions. I am not the same player that nervously entered the game room in 2013. 

This time, I entered the game room knowing a great many of the attendees and believing myself capable of playing a credible game of ASL...even if losing would be my primary accomplishment.

I played 7 games at this year's event. And from the first game until they last, they were all a blast to play.

Thursday 6/13/24
  • Last Train to Leningrad 290      vs. Dan Best (FEROCITY FEST GAME)  Result = Won 
  • Hohenstaufen Hoedown SP244 vs. Jeff DeYoung                                        Result = Lost
Friday 6/14/24
  • Mius Mischief SP205                  vs. Matt Shostak                                       Result = Lost
  • One-Eyed Jaques WO33             vs. Roy Connelly                                      Result = Won
  • The Fraternal Grave                    vs. Chris Kubick                                       Result = Lost
Saturday 6/15/24
  • Gunning for Gas SP261             vs. Dave Mareske                                      Result = Lost
  • The Golden Arrow SP247          vs. Dave Lamb                                          Result = Lost

I was fortunate to play some extremely high caliber players...certainly above my ASL pay grade.

This year's venue would be at a new property - a Marriott Courtyard. The rooms were pretty nice overall, and the room was good size, especially with the large number of attendees (63). There is a restaurant of sorts on site for food and drinks as well as a bar. Two-bathroom locations on the first floor was an added plus. The hotel staff was great and this property seems to have been an excellent choice and the likely location of the 2025 Tournament. 

The location seems well situated as well with many restaurants in the area as well as a large mall that I saw off in the distance. Olive Garden is right next door and McDonalds and Curry in a Hurry are an easy walk past the Olive Garden...although I am not sure that Curry in a Hurry is the best choice for sitting in a crowded room. 

The Mall is across the way and was fairly large. Great place for any family that might accompany you to next year's Tournament.

And heck...even a Dentist if you chip a tooth on some dice...

Texas is a team tournament...guess you might have guessed that already. Here are the three-man teams for this year's event. Of course, team members don't play each other for scoring purposes. This year's winning team was the Team I with David Lamb, Don Fenton and Charles Stampley.

The winning team is memorialized on the Austin Memorial of the most impressive tournament trophies I have seen. 

The next major award is of course the Major Johnson Award for most ASL played over the course of the tournament. I actually finished in second place in 2013 behind my good buddy Dan Best, who won it handily that year. 

This trophy records the annual winner of the Major Johnson Award. The most awesome aspect of this award is that any player can win this one. Even a low-grade player like me can get a fair shot at this prestigious award. Last time I checked before heading home, I was in 5th Place...but not sure of my final ranking. I'll have to wait until the next Banzai E-Zine for all the results. Jim Bishop won this year's Major Johnson.

The only downside to playing a lot of ASL is that you can hurt your team. In my case I gave my team 1 win and 5 wasn't particularly helpful.

What can I say...two wins is my limit...

Did you think we were done talking about awards ?? Dudes...this is Texas...there always more in Texas. Here we have the big daddy of individual awards - the 10-3 Award for best overall player during the Tournament. As you might already have guessed...I don't know much about this award. All I know it usually goes to those guys, whose names are on all of the other tournament shirts. (I secretly believe they print them in advance...cause...well you know.) Yes...a wee bit of snark. Gary Fortenberry would win this year's 10-3 with Jay Harms as the 9-2 Runner Up. Jay was a previous multi-time winner of this award.

We aint' done yet!! Here are the Allied and Axis awards for the Ferocity Fest winners. Very cool awards. Dave Lamb would win the Axis Ferocity Fest award with Larry Zoet as the runner up. Gary Fortenberry would win the Allied Ferocity Fest Award with Roy Connelly as the runner up.

Ferocity Fest is one of the great aspects of the Texas Tournament. It takes place on Thursday and everyone is playing the same scenario and yelling out the absurd, funny, and politically incorrect statements as indicated above. Dan called me an @## hole so many times...I was starting to take it personally...

Now...I will pat Dan and myself on the back...cause we were loud and proud in our Ferocity Fest exclamations. Ya'll know it's true! You know like singing at church...some folks just kind of mumble their way through the hymn...and then there's Dan and I...and you're wishing we would be quiet.


There are a lot of awards at the Texas Tournament. It's great, because a lot of folks have a shot at winning something. Cause you know...most of us haven't got a slot reserved on the shirts.

Here are the remaining Award winners...(can't believe Dan Best got rewarded for calling me an @## hole so many times...)
Audie Murphy (most snakes): John Garlic 
Col. Klink (most boxes): Paul Works 
Close Combat Award: Dan Best 
Starter Kit Champ: Tracey Love 


**(I might have a shirt with your name on it...)

Okay, that was a lot of stuff about awards, etc. So, now, I'll go over the seven games and my thoughts on those and tournament take-aways.

FEROCITY FEST GAME - Last Train to Leningrad 290 vs Dan Best

Rick helped everyone out by printing copies of the map with the overlays already on the map. This scenario is out of the new Twilight of the Reich Module. Lots of overlays in its scenarios as well as variable OB choices. Which begs the question...just how do you actually playtest a scenario that has variable OB selections...just asking for a friend.

Our game would be a pretty bloody and oh yes...FEROCIOUS affair befitting a Ferocity Fest game. Lots of close combats and other cool stuff! 

As the defending Germans, I went with an upfront defense. I bought lots of concealment, two roadblocks, an HMG and LMG's. Dan would come right at me on Turn 1. My Germans laid down huge firepower that successfully staggered the Russian attack. Dan's Commissar would cap roughly two squads in subsequent rally phases. My 50L AT Gun would knock out two tanks and another would fall prey to my grenadiers. Dan would MALF the MA on one of the KV-s. Danny managed to turn my lightly defended right flank and pushed up the middle. But my Alamo on the left remained intact and my reinforcements garrisoned it for the eventual German victory. Very fun game!

Game 2 - Hohenstaufen Hoedown SP244 vs. Jeff DeYoung 

Jeff and I have attended several events at the same time, but never had the opportunity to play one another. Jeff would be the defending SS with a Panther and 3 x Jagdpanthers. was game over before it started. My Russians would lose two tanks on the first movement phase as Jeff's Jagdpanthers spit death a long range. My infantry would human wave it in the open for two turns. Yeah...that turned out how you might expect...with most of them dead and broken. Sometimes picking the scenario can pretty much decide your fate. Now Jeff would make it interesting by MALF'ing the MA on two of his Jagdpanthers. This gave me a shot, when I really should not have had one. At any rate, Jeff would go on to win this game handily.

So...some basic common sense when choosing scenarios to play in a tournament. Avoid ones that allow your opponent to have Jagdpanthers.

Game 3 Mius Mischief SP205 vs. Matt Shostak  

Matt and I played once before at the 2013 Texas Tournament. I was the attacking Russians then and again in this scenario. I suck as the Russians...I mean badly. I'm lifetime 40% winning as the Russians. I can't even beat myself as the Russians. Of all my games played during the tournament, this would be my weakest effort. I would have to concede around Turn 3. 

It actually started fairly well for me. I managed to slip around the German left and casualty reduce the squad holding that side. The half-squad would escape, but my boys were on the flank. In the center, I would roll snakes on the first CC and take out a squad. Then my troubles would begin in earnest. 

I would shock one of Matt's 150 doo hickey assault guns, but it would come back and destroy one of my T-34's. Then Matt's MKIV's would knock out three more of my T-34's on the left side. ON the ride side, my infantry would be broken in a location that I thought couldn't be seen. happens. then the Germans counter-attacked and had able assistance from the Armored Car. They all went down for failure to rout. My right flank attack had been crushed. I was tankless in the center and out of gas on the left. So, I gave the concession as no need to waste time when the conclusion was not in doubt. 

Matt and I headed over to McDonalds for lunch and some awesome discussions about the US Civil War (the old one), politics, and a host of other topics. Good times!

Game 4 One-Eyed Jaques WO33 vs. Roy Connelly  

Roy and I also had last played one another at the 2013 Texas Tournament. This would be my only non-Russian Front game and easily the most fun scenario that I played over the weekend. I would be the attacking Germans against Roy's French.

The Germans have two options for winning the scenario. 1) get more dudes on the back hill than the French or 2) take control of the factory in the center. Honestly, the Germans should always go for the back hill. It looks like a fairly easy way to win. Naturally, I would go for the harder option.

Our game would be epic with lots of close combat and tanks that went into the factory to fight out on the factory floor. I harbored no illusions of wining this scenario and then suddenly, my Germans were in the factory, and it all came down the last close combat. The Germans would prevail for the win. ASL at its very best.

Game 5 The Fraternal Grave vs. Chris Kubick

I forgot to get a picture of Chris sitting across from me. I was pretty nackered after the two previous games. Three tournament games in one day is tough. My attacking Russians (yeah you already know I lost this one right...the whole Russian thing.) My weak-@## Russians were attacking SS with a Tiger Tank, two MKIV's and a 75L AT Gun. Of course I lost. It was a fun game though. I was actually pretty proud of my attack into the village. I managed to take nearly all of it. Too bad it wasn't an an ojective!!! HAHAHAHH... Chris did a great job of falling back and avoiding CVP. His dice were also uber hot and caused me a lot of grief.

Game 6 Gunning for Gas SP261 vs. Dave Mareske

My very good friend, Dave Mareske and I have played many games over the years since our first at the 2017 March Madness Tournament. I'm 5-14 lifetime against Dave. So, yeah I usually do lose. Dave has a much greater grasp of the rules than I do...although I have to admit...most people do.

Dan Best and I had played Gunning for Gas earlier this year, but our playing ended prematurely when the Germans were dealt an early crushing blow that led to a concession. This is a really...really interesting scenario. It has a lot of moving parts, a lot of chess movement and great combined arms actions. Both players will find it a challenging game. Dave and I played a tight, intense battle. It was great fun by any measure. We both had ups and downs, but Dave was able to crush me on the Northeast side and take three objectives. This would give him six and he would only need three more for the win. Dave would send a flanking force to hit the three rear buildings. I would successfully check that movement, but at the cost of precious resources needed in the fight for the four buildings in the center. By Turn 5, Dave would succeed in taking those for the win. Another great game between us. My dice would also inflict serious damage on me in this game with a total of 6 boxcars. Can't usually win any game when you hurt yourself that much.

Game 7 The Golden Arrow SP247 vs. Dave Lamb   

Dave's reputation is certainly well-known as one of the best players out there. I was finishing my tournament strong. It's always good to play against as many top-rated players as you can. Texas is a great venue for that, because they are not brackets that usually prevent lower ranked players from having an opportunity to play the best. Our game would be a nice back and forth game. I would make some dumb decisions (I usually do.) that would cause me some grief, but my dice would give me a plethora of "3's", which would inflict some damage on my opponent. Our game went the distance and I only had to concede at the end of Turn 4, when it was clear that I had lost the game. 

Dave would effectively use his M-10's smoke mortars on Turn 1 and then VBM freeze my best leader, a 5-4-8 and LMG. I would roll a 3 though from a 2-3-7 with the Panzerschreck and destroy the M-10.  After that I became stupid and decided to break and run the 9-1 and squad. They would become prisoners the following rout phase. I should have stayed and fought the Close Combat, but I was certain, Dave's numbers would eliminate me in the CC. 

Whew...I think we need a break...let's head to Mickey D's for debrief.

After losing to Dave on Saturday, I headed over to McDonald's. I needed to recharge. As an introvert, I can get pretty overwhelmed and fatigued in group settings for too long. I was about the only person there, so got the time alone that I needed. 

So now for my thoughts. Overall, I really enjoyed the tournament. I had the opportunity to both play 7 games and against some very good players. I would liked to have won a couple more games, but winning is just frosting on a cake of playing ASL with your friends. That is after all, why we are there.

After my game with Dave Lamb, I quietly packed up my kit, loaded my car and spent the remainder of the evening in my room, playing computer games that had nothing to do with ASL. I headed home on Sunday and got back to Tulsa in about 7-1/2 hours. 

Here are some other pictures from the 2024 Texas Team Tournament:

11 years ago, I was at a crossroads. Continue to play subpar ASL or possibly none at all...or go outside my comfort zone and enter a brave new world of ASL. Looking back, I know I made a life altering choice. ASL is a rewarding and amazing component of my life. I have been able to take my hobby to so many new places. 

And yes, I'm a better player today than in 2013. But my skill level will never see my name on a shirt, a trophy or a shell casing...


I am Grumble there's that...

1 comment:

  1. Hello Scott. It was great meeting you at the TX ASL tournament. Per our discussion please send me the contact info for the person looking for an opponent in Tulsa. My email is