asl starter kit [Updated October 2004]  

2004 WBC Report  

  2005 Status: pending 2005 GM commitment

Kevin Boles, AL

2004 Champion

2nd: Allen Hill, MD

3rd: Andrew Maly, MD

4th: Nathan Hill, MD

5th: Alan Dickson, ME

6th: Matt Kirschenbaum, MD

Event History
2004    Kevin Boles     30

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AREA Ratings


Rank Name


 1. Kevin Boles


 2. Allen Hill


 3. Andrew Maly


 4. Nathan Hill


 5. Alan Dickson


 6. Matt Kirschenbaum



The Rebirth : ASL Deja Vu

The tournament was preceeded the night before by a demonstration using the enlarged boards and big foamboard counters. Designer Ken Dunn and I had over 24 students for the first hour. About half that many stayed for a second hour of instruction.

The tourney format was single elimination with one assigned scenario per round that was only announced after match-ups were made. Players were matched randomly (those with copies of the game vs those without) using squad counters for chit pulls. I reiterated my intentions for the ASL Starter Kit tournament: it was NOT intended for players with any significant amount of relatively recent ASL experience. It was intended for players who had played (or were playing) Squad Leader or players who had played some ASL in the past but had given it up a while ago.

Once matched, players determined sides randomly ("1-3, I'm the Germans"). Then, if both players wanted to switch sides, they could. I seriously considered using the ASL Balance mechanism in picking sides but decided that would be more trouble than it was worth, especially if I was going to be the one explaining it.

Round 1 saw 14 playings of S1 Retaking Vierville: nine American wins vs five German, as alternating groups of reinforcement groups (minus support weapons) battle it out for the board y village. Several very close adjudications could have gone either way, most notably against Andres Dunn (son of designer Ken), as his game came down to the last dice roll to see if Alan Dickson could pass a 1MC for the win (he could). Lots of newbie rules questions the whole round kept me hopping.

Round 2 saw 6 playings of S2 War of the Rats, as two first-round winners withdrew. Four Russian wins vs two German, as the Germans have to cross a Stalingrad street to take three buildings from the outnumbered Russians. Lots fewer questions.

Round 3 saw the top six players (above) advance into close combat against each other in S5 Clearing Colleville. The Germans won all three games, and the better player won all three games, as the Americans could not take the heart of the board y village from the Germans and their heavy machine gun. Andrew Maly beat Matt Kirschenbaum with a rate of fire tear from the heavy, Allen Hill beat Alan Dickson in a close game, and Kevin Boles beat Nathan Hill. Andrew had things well in hand fairly earlier on, as he had in the first two rounds as well. He was actually my pick to win the whole thing, as I knew him to be an excellent player of whatever he picked up. He had played his share of SL and ASL back in the day, but hadn't picked up an ASL rulebook in years and hadn't played any of the Starter Kit scenarios. He fit the mold for one of the types of players I was hoping to encourage into the tourney and perhaps back into ASL.

With three undefeated players left, it looked like we were going to five rounds, meaning six more hours on top of the nine already invested. I had said at the start of the third round that I would play one of the winners, but I decided that that would not be fair. How would it look if one of them beat me?

So I recruited the grognardiest guy in the Hunt room, none other than Bruno Sinigaglio, to match with Andrew. I sat down with the three winners to explain what was coming up, but before I could Andrew asked Kevin and Allen how much ASL experience they had. Kevin had only had the ASLSK for less than a month but had been working real hard at it with an experienced player. Allen had played some SL back in the 80s and a bit of Solitaire ASL since then, and had been playing the Starter Kit with his son. Andrew then said that those two should battle it out for first place, as he had way more ASL experience than they did and already had WBC wood, and there was no need to bring in a fifth round. I assured Andrew that we could accommodate five rounds and that there was no need for him to drop out, but he insisted on letting Allen and Kevin play for the championship. I was secretly glad, because I didn't want to go to five rounds, but disappointed that Andrew would not be in the final. Of course, when I told him that I had lined up Bruno to play, he was all ready to go for another scenario off the books.

The final round saw Allen Hill set up the defending Americans in S4 Welcome Back, with Kevin attacking with the Germans. (Kevin: "The one side out of 16 possibilities that I was afraid to play.") Andrew (with another heavy machine gun to man) was also defending against Bruno's Germans, who have to punch through board y the short way and exit through the middle half of the map, with a chance that snow will fall to help hinder attacks.

In both games the Germans split their forces with a big group to the left and a smaller group to the right where the American heavy machine gun threatened to shut things down. In both games the German left flank made good progress at the cost of heavy casualties. On the other side, Andrew conceded the middle (figuring he could collapse on the Germans there), whereas Allen conceded the American far left flank, knowing that the attackers would have to move towards the middle to exit. In both games the Germans had the upper hand entering the end game, only to be stymied by the desperation self rally of a key American squad.

In Andrew's game, his self-rallied squad and flamethrower were then able to toast the enemy surrounding them, leaving Bruno without enough troops to exit. In Allen's game his key self rally over on the German left flank was quickly offset by malfunctioning his centrally-located heavy machine gun that was covering the German right flank. Careful maneuvering and good dice rolling saw Kevin able to exit just enough of his force to win in a very close game.

A great end to a successful event. Tourney highlights include: a father and son team making it to the semi-finals (runner up Allen Hill and 12-year old Nathan); adjudicating a game against Andres, the son of my good friend Ken Dunn-that will teach Andres to beat me in a Euro; watching several relatively more experienced players guide their opponents through the first round game (including newbie Chris Palermo helping clueless newbie Mark Yoshikawa make it through their match); and nominating Andrew Maly for the Sportsman Award.

I was very encouraged by the turnout for the demo and the Starter Kit tourney. I look forward to doing it again next year with Starter Kit #2 in Lancaster.

 GM      Perry Cocke  [1st Year]   NA   NA

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