From across the distant marshes of time, through the mists that shroud our memories, comes a voice that whispers ďok, remind me again why I play a game that uses dice?Ē


Actually, I had another most enjoyable time at the 2004 MageCon South in Sioux City. (technically speaking, South Sioux City, NE) This year, Rhonda and John and Hanna came with to the Marina Inn, to make a little holiday of it. While I was hunched over ASL boards, they went swimming, played in the park, visited with Rhondaís relatives, etcÖ


Lee Conner again did yeomanís work in running the tourney. Thanks to him. Here is a brief AAR of my tourney.


In Game 1, I played Dave Hansen. Weíve met before on the field of battle. We played Valour on the Bou (SP64). I had the Brits, Dave the Germans. Here, the Brits cling to a hilltop position, and the Germans attack on two fronts. To the front, I set up strong, and indeed held up the German advance there for pretty much the entire game. On the British left flank, the Germans were pesky, kept a squad of mine over there broke off and on, but mostly I kept them in check. My doom in this scenario was the dice. My big mortar didnít do too much. I couldnít do much at the end on the IFT when he made his final charge, and Dave was passing morale checks like a champ. In the end, like Iím sure happens most of the time in this scenario, it came down to close combats at the end. I had to win all three or four, and didnít. So, 0-1.


Game 2, I played Byron Lukowicz, a fellow Twin Citian. We played Men of Stone (Z24 from the Rout Report). I had the Japanese, Byron the Americans. In this one, the Japanese have to attack across some odd terrain, into some well-armed Americans. The goal is a hill position in the American middle. When I play the Japanese, I like to be aggressive. Just charge ahead, they wonít break, so what if you have to flip a counter or two over. So, thatís what I did. Again, didnít get along too well with the dice. I had set up my gun on a high hill position so I could pepper him. Of course, that meant he could see me and got a critical hit on hit with one of his mortars. His rate of fire with those mortars, and machine guns, just ate me alive and made a huge difference in this game. In the end, those mortars, plus his tank, just raked me over, and I couldnít get enough up the hill to push him off. 0-2.


Game 3, I played Len Hillhouse. We played Turned Away (RB6). I had the Germans, Len the Russians. This takes place in a corner of the Red Barricades map. The Russians have a secret HQ in one of three buildings, the Germans must find it and control. After we started, we discovered we both missed the special rule that gave the Russians three fortified locations. Oops. That wouldíve helped the Russians. My Germans just kept steadily pushing in, concealed as long as possible. The Germans are fairly well armed, and I was never severely pushed back enough to threaten a loss. I made my way through the first two buildings, his hidden HQ forces werenít there, so that left the third building. Again, I surrounded him with too much force, and won my first game. 1-2.


By then the winner of the tourney had been decided. Paul Lauger won, a fine gentleman. Sunday morning then, he and I played Holding the Hotton Bridge (SP2) for fun.  I had the Americans, Paul the Germans. In this one, the Germans must make sure American guns arenít around to threaten a bridge. (I think the VC was no manned gun, with a LOS to bridge within a certain number of hexes or something like that) Here, my dice decided to make up for all the previous bad luck Iíd had. I diced him. Although, to give myself credit, I made the most of my setup. The Germans get 4 tanks (Panthers) a mortar halftrack and another halftrack. This one could be tough for the Americans. The Amis only get one tank, and a couple of guns, a mix of good and bad troops. I set up the tank on my far left, behind a wall so it was hull down. The tank didnít stand a chance if a Panther got a hit on it, so I was hoping the wall would protect me. And indeed it did. He put a Panther or two up on a hill, and proceed to fire away at me, and got several hits, but all were hull hits. He never got the turret hit necessary to roast me. On my right, I set up my AT gun hidden, pointing back to the middle, with the idea being Iíd try and get some side shots as he headed for the bridge, and also to set up a crossfire with my tank. That crossfire is what won it for me. He was properly cautious at first, but as the turns progressed and he headed for the bridge, I got the sideshots I was looking for. My AT gun earned some medals. I got hits, and every To Kill shot I needed fairly low numbers, like 5 or 6 or less, and I always made the roll. I didnít miss a single To Kill shot. When he came after my gun, he presented a side target for my tank, and my tank picked off some Panthers too. Again, didnít miss a To Kill shot. When my reinforcing tanks came on, he had to attack with his infantry across open ground, and my tanks mowed them down. He did manage to get a squad across the bridge, but it would be broken later, and all his other squads he tried to bring across were either broken or pinned down.


Friday night I was going to GM a tournament module for the RPG game Top Secret, but got no takers. I did it to see if there was any interest, if so would probably have done others. I played that game a lot in my early years. Oh well. Lee and Byron and I ended up playing AHís History of the World. A Risk-like game. Lee made burned and pillaged his way across the world on his last turn, and got enough points to erase a lead I had held for a good chunk of the game.