Mayhem in Manila, July 29 2016

People profiles

Benji at McDonalds

I got up rather early on the last day and so I checked out, took my luggage to the venue and went down to McD for a nice breakfast. I met Benji there. Benji travelled in from nearby via Uber. He told me how he’s been playing Mark Humphries every Friday evening. As a matter of fact John Knowles told me about Benji earlier and said he’s one of those guys who’s been picking ASL up really quickly. Apparently this is his first tournament and he’s enjoying it. He knows there’s a learning curve to be surmounted and he is focusing on getting through the first 100 games. I, on the other hand, is on my 123rd game and I am no where close to NOT feeling like a beginner. I didn’t tell him that.

The China crew


One of the Dare Death editors with his BattleDice

The China crew showed up with 5 players this year (6 including myself). They have already been playing in regional tournaments so they are no strangers to most in attendance. These guys definitely held their own : after all Kyle, Johnny & Xavier are experienced players. Xavier, aka the X teacher, holds monthly ASL classes in a Shanghai game store. However, since he was never before ranked internationally, he is awarded “The Outstanding Newbie” award. Kyle & Zhen “Richard” Wang, are the two chief editors of the Chinese ASL magazine “Dare Death”. We even came in personalised team t-shirts, designed by Xavier.

Jamie Westlake’s Four Dice

One thing a lot of us noticed was Westlake throwing 4 dice at a time. He came in second in the tourney and so whatever he’s doing must have worked. Either that or it’s his superhero t-shirts. We asked him to explain this “Four Dice System”:

“Hi guys…..Aussie convention… and white first. Blue and yellow second. If multiple morale checks, top unit red and white, next blue and yellow. Then roll again for third and fourth etc. exception: if you roll HOB, blue and white become HOB resolution. If leader creation, yellow is next. When first introduced to this twenty years ago I hated it. Now I love it…..on a to hit roll, red and white is the hit, blue and yellow the kill. Instant gratification….whack!”

All the “other” folks I’d like to thank

Will Fleming

With so many players coming in from overseas and with a good number of new players, we knew there’s going to be an issue with maps and overlays. Will Fleming worked meticulously to put together good solid printouts of scenario maps on thick paper.

George Bates

George Bates couldn’t make the tournament because of real life issues. However, he’s instrumental to the success of Mayhem in Manila. He pushed through a lot of decisions and set the tone we want to bring forth in these tournaments. He was the one who went to Perry at Multi-Man Publishing and asked for sponsorship. That man showed me how it’s done.

Vlad See

Vlad See did the fantastic Mayhem t-shirts, amongst other things like driving players to airports. The graphics on the t-shirt is actually done by a professional design artist, not that it’s not noticeable.

The Sponsors

The sponsors! Oh my god, the sponsors!! They go such a very long way to make this a proper tournament. I can’t be more thankful of their support.

The Blog of Five Rounds

AP89 To the Pain, Bruce Probst

This is a Gary Fortenberry scenario from Action Pack 9 “To the Bridge”. The victory condition is a little out of the ordinary, there are multiple ways you can win. If you fulfil certain number of VC conditions at a certain point in time, the game ends. Otherwise it goes on to the next checkpoint until the 6.5 turn scenario is over.

Bruce Probst was my opponent on this first round. I played him in a Dare Death VASL tourney round before and he’s really one of the nicest chaps you can get matched up with.

If you look the picture above, the locations marked with a “V” are the places that allows the British to score. The arrows show where Probst’s Gurkha Rifles roamed. Probst was probing the left, centre as well as the right. My attention was draw more to the right because my asset allocation was more towards the middle. I don’t worry about the left as much since it’s a much harder terrain to traverse.

Probst took advantage of his mobility and shifted his weight from the left to the centre, where he started focusing on around Turn 3, our first “checkpoint” so to speak. I wasn’t setup very well and so I had no multi-man counters around the middle VC. However, I was confident that I could advance a MMG crew into the area and extend the game to the next checkpoint (from Turn 3 to Turn 5).

As luck would have it, the crew had to roll for an NMC on the Defensive Fire and produced boxcars. It’s easy for me to blame the dice for this but I shouldn’t be in this situation to start with. I should have focused much better on the Victory Conditions.

Focus on the VC!

J150 The Sangshak Redemption, John Knowles

This 5 turn scenario is from ASL Journal 10. Both the Japan side and the Indian / Gurkha’s side get to attack as well as to defend. All the buildings are huts apart from the building in the middle of the VC circle which is a stone church. The IJA wins by winning ownership of the church (even just briefly) and keep two building within the VC circle at game’s end. My opponent was John Knowles, John and I play every Thursday evening, from “Into the Rubble” scenarios to Campaign Game playtests.

Initially, the IJA faced off a weak India setup. I needed to capture the church as soon as possible and to kill those 2 guns, to get into the right positions and to preserve my forces for the Gurkha onslaught. I didn’t move fast enough, I don’t think. I also saw an opportunity to banzai through cover and take out his ordnance. Those ordnance weren’t even pointed towards the banzai’er. Well, that didn’t turn out so well. I was able to pile into one of the Indian squads but neither of the guns.

My guys were off position and then John got a CH on the church from his 76mm mortar.

The expert that he is, he took maximum advantage of the opportunity to push into the church. My IJA couldn’t shoot at all that day, the Gurkhas were stacked and unloading barrages after barrages into the huts that the IJA were holding onto for dear life. In the diagram above, the bottom two arrows were how the IJA made their initial push. The arrows on the top and on the right were the Gurkha reinforcements.

I could have conceded after Turn 3, which was 2 Gurkha Movement Phases after his reinforcement arrived but I fought on. I surprised myself when the battle lasted through to Turn 5 until the necessary IJA forces were KIA’d off the map. To me this is a terrific reason as to why one should never concede. You never know how things will go.

Never concede!

AP59 Taking Heads, Zhen Wang

This is a 6.5 Turn scenario by another Fortenberry pack, Action Pack 6 A Decade of War. My opponent was Zhen Wang. Zhen’s one of the chief editors of Dare Death, the Chinese ASL magazine. The IJA attack down from the top of the map pushing against some ELR2 Philippines Army (“PA”) personnel. They could either win by exiting CVPs off the board, or by a combination of killing US units / capturing buildings (largely to the left of the “Fake HT”.

My issue started before the game even began and is perhaps the key weakness to date in my game. The “weak” Americans also get a 37LL AT Gun and two M3 GMC’s which are halftracks with 75mm guns. If you look at the diagram above, the 2 “bright” red dots are where they were located. The 37LL gun was at the back and never got used. They never really got into the right and is a big reason why I failed to get as many IJA kills as I should when they advance down over the top part of the map. To prevent CVP losses by losing those halftracks, I took them out of play myself. It absolutely obvious but it never hit me until now.

Zhen was able to demolish my PA troops piecemeal all the way back into the village buildings.

Put all your assets into the fight!


ITR1 Debacle at Sungkiang, Akira Lu

I was the defending Chinese in this 6.5 Turn Scott Holst scenario from “Into the Rubble”. My opponent was Akira Lu who is a relative newcomer into the hobby. He came to the tournament with nothing, not even Beyond Valor, but he left the tournament with Mark Humphries’ old Raaco boxes & bag set. I guess he’s finally convinced!

Alan Smee had a quick chat with me about what he saw in my play. He said I need to get as many assets as possible into the fight. I can even fall back into Fortifications but don’t put my assets out of play by putting them the backfields. He told me how he’d do a A103 Mayhem in Manila defence and that point came through loud and clear.

The red points on the map are where I placed my two 76mm artillery.

I put most of my assets forward and engaged the attackers for half the game around the top part of the map. The IJA had to capture 11 of those multihex buildings I won this one by adjudication as we ran out of time. My opponent is a newbie but I could feel the difference from my change in approach.

Push your assets forward, you can always back into fortified positions

AP90 Smashing the Hook, Benji Dayco

This is my other favourite scenario out of Action Pack 9 “To the Bridge”. This is a fast 5.5 turn scenario. The British needed to either destroy both roadblocks or clear IJA units from around the roadblock area.

My opponent was Benji Dayco whom I met that very morning at McD!

I figured we will fight this one in front. I put my 75mm infantry gun on the hill overlooking the first ridge. I had a MMG there in case the gun needed support. I also had HIP units on both sides of the road in front just in case some of these British breaks or if a leader wandered to the wrong place.

This worked out every well. The British seemed torn between running for the first roadblock or fighting it out. I won this one by concession as I had to make for the airport.

Lesson learned.

Defenders can still choose to fight the attackers in the ground of their choice.

Siem Reap, Cambodia?

We did a quick vote towards the end of Mayhem regarding the location of the next tournament. Siem Reap came out to be the winner and Raphael Ferry can’t be more enthusiastic in taking that on.

Siem Reap, home of Le Franc Tireur, does seem to be a top notched idea.

Snake eyes in the shadows of Ankor Wat.

I was chatting with Witchbottles the other day. Given all the issues and problems we have in life, whether personal or professional, to be able to see each other once a year means the both of you probably didn’t have too bad a year. It’s a blessing really.

See you there, Summer 2017. Have a good year!

Dare Death 3 Preface (Original) “What ASL is to me”

Dare Death 3One day in February 2013, I chanced upon a copy of Squad Leader on eBay. I was a Squad Leader player back when I was in high school. Unfortunately when I went to university, I found a few other things more interesting and I forgot about wargames all together. So, decades later, while I stared at the screen, memories of great times came back and I bought myself that copy. The internet connected me with some very active Squad Leader groups. I planned to learn the game again and get back into it.

I then came across the tiniest military bookstore one day. It’s the size of a small walk-in closet, except that it’s wall to wall military books. There it was, up on a shelf near the ceiling, a shrink wrapped copy of the Advanced Squad Leader Rulebook v2. I asked to have a look at it, and I never put it back down.

The ASLRB is not an easy book to read, so I asked to see a live game one Sunday afternoon. The local ASL’rs would have none of it. Erwin Lau & Lorricount Hall shoved a Pz IV my direction and said “Here, you are in charge of this one.” They then proceed to tell me what to do with my Pz IV every step of the way. I couldn’t fathom why people who I have just met would let me break into their Sunday game and spend that much time teaching me the mechanics, but they did.

It was a fun afternoon but it’s not an event I can attend on a regular basis. Nonetheless, the rulebook became a lot easier to understand now that I have context.

One day I got an email from Don Lazov. He said if I want to learn ASL, he could teach. I know then it’s choice between continuing to read the rulebook and solo’ing scenarios or having a mentor and actively playing. It was a choice between being a tinkerer and an active player.

I said “Yes but give me a few weeks to finish up Chapter A and Chapter B.” I wasn’t sure why I wanted to push it off. He asked again “Do you want to do this or not?”

I jumped in with both feet. Our first scenario was “RPT1 Ferenc Jozef Barracks”.

After that I ran into Witchbottles, who helped me get permission from Rodney Kinney (who created VASL) for permission to use VASL graphics in my blog. To me, Witchbottles is the embodiment of the modern day Renaissance man. We play ASL and we spent countless hours chatting about history and about life.

I don’t remember how I heard about “Malaya Madness” the 2014 ASL tournament in Singapore. I didn’t give it any thought at first but both Don Lazov and Witchbottles thought I absolutely must go. I struggled with it for a while. I mean, paying for flight and hotel to play a boardgame is crazy! I brought up the topic to my wife, expecting her to kill it (for good reasons). She thought about it for a minute and said “Yes”.

I rented a bunk bed in a hostel to save money but I went to Singapore for the tournament. There’s something truly magical about ASL that ties people together. Playing 1 on 1 on a weekend is one thing. Being in a room with other ASL’rs and playing games after games is definitely something else!

I got a bigger group of opponents after the Malaya Madness. I went on to help organise and to promote the 2014 Hong Kong ASL tournament, “The Gin Drinkers’ Revenge”. I was in New York City on Dec 2014 and I jumped on the train and stopped by Albany. It is THE Albany, the New York State ASL Championship. Joe Loece and Gary Trezza are simply some of the best hosts I have ever met. I met so many people at Albany. I met a lot of the best known names in ASL. I decided to shoot a video for these guys and leveraged on that to chat with as many people as I could.

That of course open me up to more venues and to more people. I picked up a chat from Carl Nogueira when I was walking down the street at lunch one day and he wanted to know if I want to play and to learn. I was getting so used to jumping in at that point I said “yes” immediately.

So you see, ASL is about people. ASL is about the guy on the other side of the table. ASL is one of the few good reasons in life that pulls guys together periodically, to share identical experiences and to chat about other thing as well. If you do solo play most of the time, you are truly missing the best thing ASL has to offer.

ASL is about playing. That rulebook is not for reading. It’s for referencing and as such, the INDEX is the command central for the ASL rulebook The value of an ASL kit is much higher when used and played than it will ever get on eBay.

ASL is about self discovery. As we compete with others, we learn more about our fears and shortcomings. We learn about our risk management and our decision making processes. The man to overcome game after game is yourself. This not something you will realize from ASL not played or ASL played solo.

Dare Death is an effort to arouse and to maintain that interest. Dare Death is the embodiment of a group of ASL’rs who play on a regular basis and discuss rules and tactics on live chats when not playing. If enthusiasm sells then Dare Death is a powerful force in ASL.

And enthusiasm sells.

Nor’easter XX Anniversary Pack & the Bunker crew

IMG_1514The ASL fanatics in New England got together two years ago and started building a scenario pack to commemorate 20 years of their involvement with ASL and more importantly, 20 years of their friendship via ASL.  

This is truly a pack built by ASL fanatics, for fanatics.  As such, standards are very high as these folks are well know players and scenario designers themselves.

One of the first ones that interests me is YASL#1 Full Immersion Baptism (Designer : Carl Nogueira).  I was involved in its playtesting.  This is the Spanish Civil War, replete with the Republican, the Nationalists, the Condor Legions and Moors with their ability to seek cover in the folds of the ground.  IMG_1226

YASL#4 The Twin Pimples (Designer : Andy Howard), it’s British regulars and commandos pitted against Italians in the desert and at night.  We are talking about 21 Italians & toys against 10 British squads and 9 commandos.  

My first game out of this pack will most likely to be YASL#5 Patrols on the Trail to Hell (Designer Vic Provost) perhaps for no other reason than that I have been a huge fan of Vic Provost’s & the Bunker crew’s PTO design.  This is a 5 turn USMC vs IJA jungle action that looks to be a good introduction for newer folks to the PTO terrain.  

Oh hey, gritty Ground Snow at Dusk, ’44 Eastern front action in YASL#6 Hein Olshana (Designer : Robert “Kedge” Johnson).  I know, you never get tired of ETO.  StuGs (with no radios) vs SU76Ms!  

IMG_1225YASL#8 Ass Backwards (Bob Tufano & Tom Morin) is the only other scenario in existence (according to ASL Scenario Archive) that features the British Archer.  The Archer is a tank destroyer with a 76LL gun pointing BACKWARDS.  This is a 6.5 turner that puts Panthers on the German side and plays on the Riley’s Road Map (from ASL Operation Veritable Historical Study).  

Tanks ONLY action?  You should take a look at YASL#9 Rack’em Up!  (Designer : Ted Wilcox).  This is German vs American (9 on 9), Jan 1945, Falling Snow and burnt out buildings (read : Open Ground).  It’s a fast one with 4 turns.  

Paratroopers on the IJA?  YASL#10 Dropping Topside (Designer : Michael J “Pooch” Puccio).   Two German tank destroyers vs SIXTEEN  T-34s?  YASL#11 Ja, Bix (Designer : Brian “Dr Death” Sullivan).  It’s a 5.5 turn where both parties can vary their OB.  

YASL13 Die to the Last Man (Designer : Joe Gochinski) features the CG style OB purchases that I was hooked onto since St Louis’s China-Burma-India The Lost Theater pack.  The IJA may run or they may fight.  It’s up to the British to figure out.  IMG_1227

Joe Gochinski is also the designer of one of my favorite scenarios – DB099 The Gin Drinkers’ Line, featuring Hong Kong.  

By the way, when I call them fanatics, they are real fanatics.  I don’t just mean they play like there’s no tomorrow.  This pack features some of the best ASL scenario designers.  Carl Nogueira is the designer for CH Dien Bien Phu and for the upcoming Dinant CG, Tom Morin is the designer for Valor of the Guards, Vic Provost (OB14 Pursuing Kobayashi), Stephen Johns, Ted Wilcox, Michael Puccio, Ralph McDonald and Joe Gochinski & the others have long lists of published scenarios in Dispatches from the Bunker, the New England ASL newsletter.  

Vic Provost – SSR: All Occupants of the Bunker Location are considered Fanatic [A10.8]

The Nor’easter ASL Tourney XX Anniversary Pack is truly a scenario pack designed by fanatics, for fanatics.  It’s product that these group of friends can all be proud of.  I am actually quite happy about the production (PDF) and the delivery (free & instantaneous).  I know a good number of these folks personally, out of which Carl Nogueira spent the most time teaching me how to play properly.  I just KNOW I am getting a top notched product.  I also wish to show my support and therefore encourage more of these publishing efforts from other ASL groups around the world.

IMG_1223Who knows?  We might even see a couple starting to come out of Asia!!  

To get your own copy of Nor’easter ASL Tourney XX Anniversary Pack:

The cost of the Pack is $15.00. Please forward your payments to the PayPal account of Carl Nogueira if paying by PayPal or to:
Carl Nogueira
7 Green Street
New Bedford MA 02740
If paying by check/money order, please make payable to Carl H. Nogueira.
If you have any questions regarding any aspect of the scenario pack, please contact Carl at, or here on facebook.

To get our own subscription to Dispatches from the Bunker:

Contact Vic Provost at

(I backordered all copies apart from keeping a subscription going forward, it IS that good.)


Who’s Flying Number Seven? (Player Interview)

DD1Dare-Death is the world’s first Chinese ASL magazine created by Richard “Ferguson” Wang and Grandiose Pz.Kpfw.V Ausf G Driver (or “G Driver”. The term “Driver” in Chinese is the equivalence of “Grognard”.) 

Player Interview – “Flying No. 7”

Our interviewee for our Premier Issue is 飞翔的七号 “Flying No. 7”. He started ASL only 6 months ago and had already finished reading Chapter D. Displaying a remarkable grasp of the rules, he took the championship at our recent ASLSK tournament. Today we invite him to share his insights about learning ASL.

It was love at first sight.

Ferguson : First of all, we’d like to thank you for doing our interview.
No. 7 : You are welcome.
Ferguson : If memory serves not only did you stopped playing wargames for 2 years, you have never played ASL before. Is that correct No. 7?
No. 7 : Right, almost 2 years, that’s when I stopped playing “panzer”. No, I have never played ASL before.
Ferguson : Right. I miss you at DAK2 (laughs).
No. 7 : (laughs)
Ferguson : Well, I stopped playing OCS myself. How did you get into ASL? You decided to play again and you got right into a ASL, I can’t think of a better call.
No. 7 : Life got busy before. When life freed up a little, I missed playing again. I guess having played other wargames I have a better feel for what I like. I decided ASL is a good fit for me.
Ferguson: That’s great! I am always curious as to how people hear about ASL. For me, I learned about ASL from the “Science Fiction World” magazine.
No. 7 (“7” going forward): I don’t remember how I heard about ASL. It was probably from BGC(note: a China board game site). Then I went to an ASL coaching session in Beijing and I was hooked ever since.
Ferguson (“F” going forward): That’s ASL for you! What about you, “G driver”, how did you hear about ASL?
Grandiose (“G” going forward): It was BGC for me too.
F: Which one’s your first scenario?
7: S1
F: Hahaha .. it’s S1 for most people, including me.

Play Lots!

F: 7 do you know why we want to interview you?
7: Because I am new?
F: That’s part of it. The other part is because you are the fastest developing newbie that I have ever seen.
7: Thankyou.
G: Absolutely!
F: Any advice for folks learning ASL rules? I think you are well on your way to become a “human rule machine” (laughs). You have a better handle on the rules than I do.
7: You need to read the rules at least once. Those rules flowcharts we find on the internet help a lot as well.
F: Oh yes, those rules flowcharts are a huge help! I really appreciate the grognards who took the time to prepare them.
7: The most important thing is to play. Don’t worry about getting the rules wrong. You learn the most from playing seasoned players.
F: Right. We make rule mistakes all the time especially when we first started playing but if you don’t play you won’t know which rule you got wrong.
7: Agreed. We didn’t even know we were making rules mistakes when we were going through ASLSK until we played more experienced people.
F: I am still discovering points in the rules that I wasn’t entirely clear about and am often reminded of details that I should know with every new game I play. ASL is a game of fine details.
7: My biggest motivation for reading the rules is so that I don’t lose games because of (the lack of) rule knowledge.
F: Hahaha, this is a great motivator!
G: Avoid getting killed by the rules huh?  This is a big one.
F: Well, reality is grognards aren’t always stumbled by the rules because even they don’t always know they made rule mistakes!
7: Yup, that’s why I like studying the rules.
F: True, you do have a deep grasp of the details inherent in a wide section of the rules.
G: How do you remember all that?
7: Well, at the moment, I am really just keeping the ASL rules in my short term memory, that’s why I remember with such clarity.  I think over time I will lose details. I really don’t have a method to it, I just play as much as I can!
G: I prefer to match up the rules I read to actual game situations. The more sense the rules make, the easier they are to remember.
F: G’s right. Understanding the context of ASL and actual situations being modelled helps one learn the rules better.

I Like to Attack!

G: How many games have you played, 7? Which ones do you like better?
7: About 15. I like scenarios featuring complex terrain like in urban battles, and preferably those with a more balanced OB.
F: Out of these 15, which one do you remember best?
7: I’d say S18 Baking Bread. I was really just starting then (although I am still starting..).
F: I see! What is it about this scenario that gives you such a deep impression?
7: That game went all the way to the wire! The fight was a swirling brawl. It’s also my first win against an experienced player.
F: Oh yes, I love those games that teeters on the balance until the end!
7: S18 is also one of those rare scenarios where both players have to attack relentlessly to win.
F: That’s true, most ASL scenarios draw clear delineations between attack and defense.
G: 7 must feel that’s his tactical style.
7: Attack all & fear none! I am not well suited to ASL scenarios that make clear differentiations between attackers and defenders.
F: I actually think ASL’s designed for the attacker. We have an article in this coming issue around that view.
7: Oh I look forward to reading that!
G: Whether warfare favors the defense or the offense is determined by tactical parameters of the prevailing times. “On War” for example, written in the 19th century, describes a tactical world when battles favored the defense.
7: I actually think ASL rules favor the defense as well.
F: Okay, I agree the rules favors the defense when it comes to the IJA, their troops don’t even need to rally.
7: I agree with that.
G: What do you think of F’s and my fighting styles? (Laughs)
F: Hahaha
7: Well, the two of you are of course well experienced.
F: 7 must really like being the attacker right? “Attack all & fear none!”
7: I don’t like playing defense, no.
F: Why’s that?
7: I haven’t been playing too many ASL scenarios yet. Most of the ASLSK scenarios where I played defence pit Germans defenders against US attackers. I win some and lose some but whenever I win as the defender, those battles were never glamorous. They were really just me dragging things out until time ran out on the attackers.
F: Hahaah .. you are saying defense wasn’t as bold and as sweeping as the attack.
G: I think the mental stress is higher for defense.
7: Especially in S3, I have never been able to win that one as the defense. I don’t even know where to start!
F: True. I am more nervous when I play defense.
G: Well, it’s the same with ASL scenarios as with ASLSK scenarios.
7: When there’s too big of a numerical difference between the attacker OB and the defense OB, I feel especially helpless as the defense. Oh man, when I get all 447 and 436 defending against a mass of 666 and 747, the pressure is horrible!
G: Then again if the defense OB has absolutely no issues holding the line, the game will be hard to balance. The ASL rules though do give better mobility vs the ASLSK rules.
7: I haven’t played ASL that much, but I think “concealment” rules give a big boost to the defense.
F: I just think defense is harder with ASL rules. 7 you have played a lot of nationalities, which one do you like the most?
7: I have used about 5 or 6 and I like playing Germans the best. Then again, when I get a better handle on the IJA, that might be a fun choice too.
F: The IJA sure are special.
7: I really like the Step Reduction capabilities of the IJA.
F: Looks like your next port of call is Chapter G then?
7: Actually no, I’d like to learn AFVs first.
F: Oh yes, makes sense!
7: I have never played AFVs under ASL rules.
F: Yes, take it step by step. One last question : what expectations do you have for yourself in the upcoming ASLSK tournament? Have you set yourself any targets? You can be frank about this one!  (laughs)
7: Most opponents there are experienced players. I will just do my best. If I win even half the games I will be happy.
F: I think you are being modest. That wraps up our interview nicely though. 7, I would like to thank you again for doing this interview and I wish you the best of luck in the ASLSK tournament!
G: Thanks 7
7: You are welcome.

(Translated from Dare-Death magazine Issue 01)

You Should Fly to Manila This July to Play ASL


Dare-Death is the world’s first Chinese ASL magazine created by Richard “Ferguson” Wang and Grandiose Pz.Kpfw.V Ausf G Driver (or “G Driver”. The term “Driver” in Chinese is the equivalence of “Grognard”.) 

You should fly to Manila this July to play Advanced Squad Leader. 

It’s a crazy idea, I know!  You are busy.  You already have a few things planned for the summer.  Your friends and family will think you are nuts to fly to Manila ‘just to play boardgames’. 

You can play ASL where you are.  You can play players around the world on VASL right now.  Why do you have to go to Manila to play ASL? 

This is crazy. 

Crazier still – the more you say it, the less crazy this idea sounds. 

There : I made the first step for you – You should fly to Manila this July to play Advanced Squad Leader. 

I faced the same decision 2 years ago.  I had only started playing ASL for about 6 months at that time.  The Malaysia Madness 2014 tournament (the first Asia Pacific tournament) was coming up.  I didn’t plan to go. 

I thought :

  • I didn’t know anyone there but the other ASL’rs must knew each other already!
  • Why would I want to fly over just to lose 5 straight games?  I could lose all those games just as fast from home.
  • I was a newbie.  The games would be so lopsided that it would just be embarrassing! 

As we drew closer to the Malaya Madness 2014 tournament, both of my ASL mentors, Don Lazov & Jon Halfin said I should go to a tourney at least once.  So I took a leap of faith and it turned out to be one of those decisions that changed my life.  We are not talking about inventing the cure for cancer or anything but my world is not the same after that trip. 

My initial reservations?  NONE OF THEM TRUE. 

  • I didn’t know anyone there but the other ASL’rs must knew each other already!

I thought they were just going to talk and to play with each other.  NEVER HAPPENED. 

I thought that’s because it’s a small tournament.  I went to the NYS ASL Championship (aka “Albany”), one of the highest level ASL tourney in the world at the end of 2014.  DIDN’T HAPPEN THERE either.  ASL’rs are open and friendly everywhere I go. 

  • Why would I want to fly over just to lose 5 straight games?  I could lose all those games just as fast from home, thankyou. 

Face to Face games brings a chemistry that doesn’t exist via other platforms.  The chatter, the shrieks, the comments, the groans and yelps of delight make FtF experiences second to none.  Besides, I got even more opponents to play with and the games got even more fun on VASL after the tourney after we know each other. 

  • I was a newbie.  The games would be so lopsided that it would just be embarrassing! 

The Tourney Director matched players based on their skill levels.  Besides, everyone I met are a total pleasure to play, with or without the context of competition. 

Mayhem in Manila 2016 (Friday July 29 to Sunday July 31) is the second Asia wide tournament.  A lot of people worked very hard to set it up this year.

Players will arrive in Manila on the afternoon of Thursday July 28.  Some will want to play a round of ASL, others will want to do some shopping (perhaps some counter containers for me).  The tournament will start early Friday July 29th. 

There will be 2 games per day on Friday and Saturday, and one last round on Sunday morning.  Players will be matched by the Tournament Director before their first games.  There are 3 scenarios you and your opponent can pick from for each game.  You do that by ranking the 3 scenarios by order of preference.  The scenario ranked #3 by each player is automatically eliminated.  If 2 scenarios remain, the 2 players rank them again, if the 2 players both ranked a scenario #1, they play that scenario.  If they ranked different scenarios #1, then it’s decided by random selection. 

Once the scenario is decided, the two players then bid for sides by the Australian Balancing System described in the Tourney Booklet.  The idea is to accept certain handicaps to gain the right to play the side that you want. 

Each game you win gives you 3 points.  Each game you draw gives you 1 point.  Awards will be given to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd player in points.  There will be a “HtH” award for the player who inflicted the most CVP (Casualty Victory Point) doing Close Combat.  There will also be a “Pacific Sniper” award for the player who got the highest total CVP from kills. 

And do we have prizes!  The Mayhem in Manila 2016 tournament is sponsored by 8 major ASL companies/associations, one of which Multi-Man Publishing. 

For more information, please visit

If you register before May 1st, the registration fee is USD45.  After May 1st the registration fee will be USD65.  Please register at

I have been to a total of 3 tournaments in 3 different countries.  The games were always fun and my opponents were always fair, friendly and helpful.  I learned new tactics.  I saw new approaches to tactical problems.  I gained a group of new friends with which I continue to play more ASL with and even start ASL projects (tourney / design / play testing) with. 

On my way back after the tourney, I messaged Don Lazov from the airport.  Don said :

“I sincerely hope you not only had a lot of fun, learned a bunch of new things, ideas and concepts, but most important (beside/or next to having fun) made some new friends, and many memories. To me that is what ASL is really all about. Playing a great game but playing that game with great friends and making memories.”

Register for Mayhem in Manila today.

(Translated into Chinese in Dare-Death magazine Issue 02)

Dare Death 01 “Preface” (translation)

DD1Dare-Death is the world’s first Chinese ASL magazine created by Richard “Ferguson” Wang and Grandiose Pz.Kpfw.V Ausf G Driver (or “G Driver”.  The term “Driver” in Chinese is the equivalence of “Grognard”.)  In support of their efforts and with their blessing, I will translate articles from Dare-Death whenever possible.  


To all ASL & ASLSK players in China :

ASL developed bountifully in the 30 years since its start in 1985. To date it has more than 10 official modules, addon packs in the hundreds and scenarios in the thousands. Through the support of its fan base, ASL is second to none in the Second World War tactical combat simulation genre. ASL offers a large library of official products and an even bigger array of third party publications and fanzines from around the world.  Unfortunately, there’s no third party product or fanzine from China until now.

Richard “Ferguson”/“爵爷” Wang approached me a month ago about publishing a China ASL e-magazine. I jumped on the idea immediately and hence the first China ASL fanzine was born! The primary goal of this magazine is to serve and to support ASL players in the Chinese speaking world. We will publish new product alerts, AARs, tactical analysis, newbie guides, articles focusing on rules and about historical backgrounds etc. We hope to develop more ASL players and to encourage more game play. We want more people to experience the uniqueness of the ASL system and we hope to promote ASL across China.

Since this is our Premier Issue, both Ferguson and I want to keep a lower profile. That’s why we did all the articles and translations ourselves. Going forward we will try to keep to a quarterly schedule. We welcome all ASL related article submissions. Since we want to keep this a free publication for now, we apologize for not being able to pay any remuneration. Please lend us your support! Finally, we’d like to invite anyone interested in finding out more about ASL to join QQ group 450676993 (a China online chat group). Our ASL chat group is covered around the clock by grognards (aka “old drivers”) who helps with ASL queries and discussions. We also encourage players to look for games online and we might even organise tournaments going forward. Our immediate target is to get more people to play. If conditions allow in future, we will publish scenarios.

By grandiose 开豹式的 g 司机 (grandiose Pz.Kpfw.V Ausf G driver)

(Translated from “Preface” in Dare-Death magazine Issue 01)