Iiiiiiii ain't the champ-yun, my frie-iend... but I did get second place.

A smallish number for this year's ASL tourney in Sioux Falls, as part of MageCon North, only 10 or 11 of us. But, certainly fun to see familiar faces.

I hadn't played hardly any ASL since last year's Sioux Falls tourney. I need to be more diligent about getting together with the Twin Cities crowd, but since adopting a little boy from Russia last fall, I hadn't got any gaming in whatsoever, so this was a welcome opportunity to throw the bones again.

My first game pitted me against David Hansen, we settled on Deadeye Smoyer (Schwerpunkt 43), with me leading the Germans. I managed to put up a stiff fight in the building, and effectively blunted his attack there. Also, in a move he probably wanted back, he brought his Pershing one hex onto the board and stopped it, close to where I had two concealed units. One of those was a conscript halfsquad, who eventually managed to find the panzerfaust issued to them that morning as they were dragged out of a cafe, given uniforms and pressed into the lines. The faust found its target, and the Pershing was no more. David also broke the MA on his Sherman. Broke it twice in fact. Busted it, on the next rally phase, repaired it, but in the very next action, took a shot with it and broke it again. Argh. So, with his two tanks not much of a factor, and my infantry holding the building, he tipped over his king, and my Panther never needed to get into the game. 1-0.

The second game matched me up with Lee Conner. Lee is a great guy, and a lot of fun to play. We had played twice before, and I had never beaten him. Lee doesn't make mistakes, so I knew I'd have to be on my toes. We settled on 3rd RTR in the Rain (Journal 43). There was a heavy rain, and that extra +1 LV really helped. In those conditions, woods actually become a defensible position. I had the Brits, attacking across board 17 the long way into some buildings held by the Jerries in May 1940. The Brits had 5 AFVs, those only-the-Brits specialties that looked like something created in an explosion in a tank factory, with odd parts stuck together.

The Germans had 3 AFVs, and an AT gun with a wicked rate of fire, seemed like he always got rate anyway. His weakness though is only 5 squads, to the British 9 squads.

My thinking was I'd be willing to trade tanks for infantry, since with just the 5 squads he couldn't afford to lose any, so I didn't take care to keep my AFVs safe like I normally would. However, in the case of the game there were two, maybe three, instances of extreme good luck that I think led to my victory.

He broke his AT gun early on, before it could take out a single one of my tanks. He had a hit or two with it, but I managed to survive the To Kill numbers of 6 or so. With that gun out of the way, which he never repaired, I was able to put more pressure on with my tanks.

Another key moment came on his right flank. I overran a position where he had his best leader (9-1) and a squad (4-6-8) armed with a light MG. He ended up taking a NMC, I think, certainly no worse than a 1 MC, and both leader and squad broke. They eventually ended up eliminated for lack of escape routes. That opened up that whole flank to me, and I didn't lose any infantry coming across that side of the board.

Things did go my way on the other flank. I managed to keep pushing forward, broke a key stack of his, but at a point where I was starting to falter, I got one of my 4-5-7 squads into CC with one of his 4-6-8 squads. Melee for a turn, but on the next cc phase, he rolled first and killed me, I then rolled, a 4! His squad was gone too, and with that, there wasn't much infantry left to hold my infantry back on that flank. I rallied what was broken over there, and kept going forward.

However, his tanks were still very dangerous, I was down to one AFV left, and his tanks could still put tremendous pressure on my infantry, and I still needed to take several buildings. He brought one of his tanks around behind me, got it hull down behind a wall, but with my one remaining tank I spun the turret, and eventually managed to get the turret hit and destroy that tank.

The key moment in the game came when he moved one of his tanks towards a squad I had sitting in open ground. That squad had advanved farther than anything else I had, and was poised to take a couple buildings. I took a shot at his tank with an ATR I had captured from him (to add insult to injury) and the To Hit roll was... snakeeyes! With the critical hit, I was able to destroy his tank, and that pretty much sealed my victory. The final nail coming when his gun crew, after sautering and welding the broken gun to no effect the whole game, broke, giving me a clear shot at the victory conditions. This really is a great little scenario. 2-0.

For the title game, I played Phil Petry. Phil said he had been to the MageCon ASL tournies before, but it had been a number of years. We eventually decided on Friday the 13th (Journal 59). I had the Germans against his Russian, this was similar to the last game in that I was attacking across board 17 in the same direction.

This time, I didn't make much of threat. I couldn't pass a morale check to save my life. Only 6 turns, so the Germans get 5-4-8 squads, and with that high morale they are supposed to walk up to the Russkies and eat some point blank shots. Well, I failed just about every NMC and 1 MC he generated, and with my crybabies running to the rear everytime the enemy said boo, I couldn't get much a sustained attack going.

I couldn't get across the open ground on my left flank, I was perhaps too cautious with my tanks on my right flank, searching for his AT gun, but he put up a strong defense, and Phil was crowned champeen.

Sunday morning, after the official results, Lee and I played Brave Little Emchas. A Deluxe scenario from the Journal, #65. Lee wanted to play it as it related to some action in a book he had been reading. It is heavily unbalanced in favor of the Germans on ROAR, so I wonder what I did so horribly wrong. I lost with the Germans.

Boards a,b,c. Germans set up on a, Russians on c. Victory conditions are Russians have to control a big building on a, or control more stone buildings than the Germans on b. So, the Germans have to attack as well, to take the buildings on b.

I just couldn't get across the road running across b. Again, couldn't pass any morale checks, but Lee was masterful in using smoke. Also, on my right flank, I had a Panther hull down. He managed to get a turret hit, but the TK number was 4 or something like that. So, I was in a good position. Nope, he rolls snakeeyes on the TK, and that sealed my doom. Still, looks like a good scenario.

In the end, for the tourney I had the most snakeeyes, so I picked the HOB pack Tropic Thunder, some PTO scenarios featuring Aussies and Japanese. For getting second place, I picked up another HOB pack about the SS, designed by some of the guys present at the tourney. Burnie Hegdahl, Steve Swann and Bruce Rinehart are working with HOB, and this pack features scenarios designed by them.

As Lee and I were playing Sunday morning, at some tables next to us there was a *large* Warhammer fantasy miniatures battle going on, sure looked interesting. Orcs and Goblins taking on pretty much everybody else.