Perry to the Rescue ...
"Another DonCon has come and gone, and a good time
was had by all. Attendance at the ASL event stayed relatively
low compared to the tourney's storied past -- hopefully this
can be corrected in the future. Maybe we need to get the locals
woofing or something? Personally, I had another good time seeing
lots of familiar faces and playing lots of top-flight opponents
which resulted in good, close games." Bret Hildebran
No big surprise that Bret had a good time, seeing as how he
went undefeated again. Going 23-2 over four years and bagging
a second winner's plaque tends to put a rosy glow on things,
but not all winners are as classy as Bret.
1st place Bret Hildebran (undefeated) GM Perry Cocke (seated) prepares the pairings for
the next round.
2nd place Paul Sidhu (6-1)
3d place John Stadick (5-2)
4th place Jim Stahler (5-2)
5th place Rich Summers (5-2)
6th place Andy Robin (5-2)
Each received a plaque and MMP merchandise certificate.
Tail-End Charlie award to Darryl Wright (0-7) who received
a copy of Doomed Battalions 2nd edition (with a dented corner
to symbolized his beaten but unbowed stature). Darryl was the
defending Charlie this year and could retire the award next year.
The thinking here is that anyone who gets in seven games against
top-flight competition is a winner.
Honorable mention at 4-2 goes to J.R. Tracy, Ray Woloszyn
and Jim Manfredi.
Bret of course is a past champion and the top seeded player
coming in this year, followed by Rich Summers and J.R. Tracy.
Paul Sidhu was a major contender last year (fourth place), J.R.
Tracy is the two-time defending champion of Winter Offensive,
John Stadick has been a force on the regional scene for some
time now, as has Andy Robin. If you don't know who Jim
Stahler is, maybe you need to be reminded that ASL in this context
does not stand for American Sign Language.
The first round saw the majority of players choosing #77
Le Herrison, from Croix De Guerre which split evenly
at 6-5 in favor of the defending French. There were scattered
playings of the other selections but none of G46 Triumph Atop
Taraldsvikfjell. Too bad, it was one of the ASL scenarios
in the last issue of The GENERAL two years ago. The biggest
upset of round one saw local boy Ken Dunn knocking off past champ
Tom Morin in Le Herrison. Ken has been honing his skills
playtesting for MMP while Tom has been busy designing.
The most popular scenario in Round 2 was AP14 Ace in the
Hole from Action Pack #2 which split 5-4 in favor of the
defending Germans, followed by J1 Urban Guerrillas from
the ASL Journal which split evenly at 4-3 in favor of the defending
Germans. The upset of this round was John Stadick beating Rich
Summers in Urban Guerrillas, while Eric Givler beat hobby
legend Jim Stahler in Ace in the Hole.
Round 3 saw matches evenly split between BRT3 Ryan's Orphans,
AP15 Broken Bamboo, A32 Zon With the Wind, and J9 A Stiff
Fight, with slightly more players choosing the latter. No
one played either the cave scenario or the night desert scenario
in this round. Go figure. This is the round where the big boys
started knocking each other off. Rich Summers moved up as spoiler to beat Andrew Robin in
A Stiff Fight to leave them both at 2-1, while J.R. Tracy
knocked John Stadick out of the ranks of the undefeated in the
same scenario and Paul Sidhu did the same to Ray Woloszyn in
grognard Ray's first ever Blood Reef: Tarawa scenario.
Bret continued grinding along, neither getting an easy game nor
coming close to losing yet.
In Round 4, The Prize from A Bridge Too Far
narrowly won "most Popular," closely followed by A98
Crossing the Gniloi Tikitsch and 79 Bridge of the Seven
Planets. This round saw the four undefeated players matched
up in two different historical matches: Bret and Eric Givler
in The Prize and Paul Sidhu vs. J.R. Tracy in Panthers
in the Mist from KGP. J.R. couldn't seem to get much traction
against Paul's all-hidden SS defense, while Bret and Eric had
a wild and swirling up and down battle for the bridge in Arnhem,
with the SS prevailing. Only later did I ferret out the information
that J.R. had been suffering from a bad batch of crab soup that
brought several others down.
1996 Champion Tom Morin (right)
finds the going tougher this year.
Round 5, Thunderdome. Two go in undefeated, one comes out
the winner. As is the custom, the two battling for the championship
get to pick any scenario from the tourney list and select U6
Action at Kommerscheidt from the recently
released GI's Dozen. Paul got the Americans defending in the
board 12 village. One Sherman that set up hulldown on a hill
escaped for a while, but the one with the 9-2 armor leader did
not. Then Paul broke the radio for his 100+mm OBA and then only
got one out of three fighter-bombers and soon it was all over
for the Americans. And all over for Bret Hildebran, who regained
his crown from 1998 as the only undefeated player. But it was
not yet all over for the tournament, or for Paul either. Round
5 saw John Stadick beating Andrew Robin in tourney classic Shklov's
Labors Lost, Jim Stahler barely beating Rich Summers in Smoke
the Kents, and J.R. Tracy beating Eric Givler (who had to
leave that night) in Mayhem in Manila--the latter two
scenarios featuring deluxe-sized hexes.
Round 6. Sidhu, Stadick, Stahler, Tracy, and Woloszyn each
had only one loss, and Manfredi, Robin, Sutton, and Summers were
all still in the running for spots 2 through 6. Summers moved
up again to play Tracy (the highest-rated player with one loss)
and bumped him off in this round's runaway winner U7 Han-Sur-Nied.
Stahler did the same to Woloszyn, and Sidhu
to Stadick, leaving only two players left at 5-1. Manfredi, Robin
and Sutton all won (they didn't play each other due to the scenario
columns they chose), and a bunch of people came away impressed
Final round. Unfortunately, Manfredi, Tracy, and Woloszyn
all had to leave early Sunday morning and couldn't compete. This
round was equally split between the three Stalingrad scenarios:
Guryev's Headquarters, Turned Away, and Oh Joy! The
main match saw Paul Sidhu take down Jim Stahler in Turned
Away to grab second place, while Robin, Stadick and Summers
each won to lock up their top-six position.
Due to the three Honorable Mentions skipping the last round
to leave early, I was able to give prizes to all the 5-2 players.
Special Almost Honorable Mention to Eric Givler (3-2) who had
to run home to look for his missing dog.
Conspicuous by his absence was defending champion Steve Pleva.
Missed you, Steve.
Absent also were any international ASLers, not even any of
our friends from the north. Too bad, because they missed some
hellacious competition. The consensus was that despite (or because
of) fewer numbers, the level of play was better than ever. Sportsmanship
was also up from even its usually high level, as the GM had zero
problems to resolve.
Multi-Man Publishing is committed to helping the ASL tournament
at DonCon thrive. ASL remains the flagship of our growing
line of games, and we want it to be as successful as possible.
(While we also continue to support our other games -- witness
the merchandise certificates worth over $1,000 we donated for
prizes to the various events.) We think there was some confusion
over who was running the ASL event this year and what
the play list would be, along with a lack of publicity that helped
keep attendance down. We are determined to make sure that doesn't
happen again for the 2001 event. I am
personally committed to being the ASL GM again, but from
the beginning this time, rather than at the last moment I am
open to suggestions about format changes. Please drop me a line
if you have any questions or comments.
You can link to the WBC and the Boardgame Player's Association
through the Player Support section of our website