Angkorfest 2017 – Photos

Victoria Angkor Hotel

Victoria Angkor Hotel

Prayers for the dice gods

Street Food : Spiders!

The Venue

Schrolinger’s Snake Eyes

Photo by Ivan Kent

Photo by Ivan Kent

Photo by Ivan Kent

The Champ

1st Runner Up (Photo by Ivan Kent)

1st Runner Up

The Top Three

2nd Runner Up & the Organiser

Sniper Elite

Hand to Hand Combat

A HUGE thanks to our Sponsors!

Trophies

Batisse, who did the fancy VASL mapboards (vasl.batisse.free.fr), designed our tshirts!

Our Top Model

Tut Tuts, or motorcycle wagons (we need a counter?)

Photo from Ivan Kent

Angkorfest 2017 The Book of Five Kings

Sunday 29 July 2016, Mayhem in Manila

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

Siem Reap, does seem to be a top notched idea. “Snake eyes in the shadows of Angkor Wat.” I can see that slogan already!

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 at the ASL tournament means the both of you didn’t have too bad a year. It’s a blessing really.

See you there again in the Summer of 2017. Have a good year!

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The dice I took to Angkorfest

Thursday 27 July 2017 Inflight

Almost exactly a year afterwards, I got up at 0430 and is on my way to Siem Reap. I worked my travel kit over and again and is proud to say that it’s less bulkier than last year’s. I got everything in a backpack that I will bring up to the cabin with me. However it is still frightfully heavy. My clothes are in cargo. I guess between my clothes and my ASL gear, I can risk my clothes.

Direct flights to Siem Reap don’t run every day. I have to switch flights in Singapore. It will be the same thing on the way back, apart from the fact that I will spend the night in Singapore before boarding the second leg. I plan to hit the Kinokunya in Takashimaya that evening and load up even more on my military history library.

As it turns out, there will be 12 participants this year. There will be 5 rounds over the next 3 days. The last round will be a mystery round. Scenario-wise, I am definitely not as well prepared as I was last year when I played through every one. This year, life is busy and I am more relaxed towards the notion of tournaments. I am just gonna go and play some ASL. Besides, have you seen the field? These are not 12 uncles off the street, these are the most fanatic across Asia (and we even got one from the UK). I am going to get my butt royally kicked and I am going to look graceful in the process.

Alright, I should take a look at the victory conditions again.

Thursday 27 July 2017 Siem Reap

The Victor Angkor hotel, the venue of the Angkorfest is simply a scene out of the movies. The whole French Indochine atmosphere looks fantastic, from the lighting to the decor. Raphael Ferry said he’s going to meet up with me at the hotel and take me shopping for a local sim card and a few “kramas”. Kramas are long cotton scarves that differentiate the Cambodians from their neighbours. It’s also known as the Khmer “Swiss Army Knife” ‘cause it’s simply used for everything – from neck wrap to wrap to baby hammock to padding for heavy loads to backpack. Raphael introduced me to his motorbike and for a town like Siem Reap, there’s no better way to experience it than from the back of one.

If Raphael doesn’t know everyone around downtown Seam Reap, he certainly looked like it. We stopped and talked to everyone: shop keepers, shoppers, ladies sitting outside cutting hair, little kids with a puppy, restaurant staff having dinner before their shift in the back alleys. At one point I found myself having a beer on the street with a group of tuk tuk drivers while Raphael chatted away in Khmer, French & English.

Friday 28 July 2017 J76 Ultimate Treachery vs Ivan Kent

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A picture from my earlier AAR to give a sense of the situation. However when we played this earlier, we didn’t enforce the idea of Location Control.

This is IJA versus French, March 1945 in Hanoi. The IJA has to control 45 out of 74 building LOCATIONS in 4.5 turns. We generally feel it’s pro French especially when there seems to be barely enough time for the IJA to walk through 45 locations unopposed in 4.5 turns. (No Quarters is on and therefore Mopping Up is off.) Ivan Kent got the French though.

I have been to three tournaments with Ivan but have never played him FtF. He’s A TON OF FUN to play though.

At the end it was a very tough reach but somehow for a moment, not giving up seems to pay off. Then the French sniper pinned one of my squads that was supposed to Advance into a new location (45!). In the next second, the situation brighten up again when one of my IJA HS went berserk and piled into a much needed location unscathed!

The berserk unit lost the HtH (idiots) and Ivan hit my CVP cap with me being 1 location short.

Friday 28 July 2017 DB92 The Streets of Kharkov vs Aaron Cleavin

Kharkov

Picture from an earlier game to give an idea of the layout

Really? I am playing the Grofaz? My life was about to go from good to even better.

This is a terrific gem from the Bunker crew where the NKVD attacks the SS bridgehead with 2 to 1 superiority. Both sides have offensive options.

I was the Russian attacker. Aaron’s setup was very focused. The two roadblocks put his Marder in hulldown next to the left bridge. He focused the rest of his OB on the big building in the middle and the two smaller ones on the right.

Two T34s found his AT Gun on my right when Aaron screams “APCR!!!!!!” and promptly blew up one of my T34 while it scooted into a factory. The other one took a CH (Aaron: “WOOOOOOOSSSSH-KAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!! And the turret flew off the T34!!!!!!!”) He had Darth Vader (10-2) on Level 2 across the river with an HMG getting rate after rate as NKVD bodies stacked up. We were decimated by the end of Turn 2. Thank goodness I managed to put an OBA on his Vader dude by Turn 3 but it was too late. (I drew Red on the first OBA chit and the SRs kept wandering into Russian lines.)

I can still see Aaron making “wwwwooooooooooommm, wwooommmmm” laser sounds and sweeping his fingers left and right as he looked for the next target. Those guys subscribed to a lifetime supply of bullets.

Talking about the scenario afterwards Aaron feels that I should always consider “Russian Smoke” – burning tanks. Even if it gets knocked out it provides cover for the NKVD to Advance thru. If the Germans use Panzerfausts and burn the AFV, it gets even better. The NKVD commissar rallying workflow needs to be worked out nicely as well.

Saturday 29 July 2017 SP223 Road Warriors vs Eres Ba

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Picture from an earlier game to give an idea of the layout.

This is German motorcycle gang + armor vs 2 x French Waffys and a couple of AT assets lying in ambush.

I got the French. I had the 37 Infantry Gun and the ROF3 AT gun on my left and the 2 Waffys on the right, right after the depression. Eres saw my layout the left and hence focused on my right. Eres lost an Panzer when he tried to VBM my squad. I then blew up two others but that wasn’t enough. I couldn’t put enough fire to keep him in the depression. The motorcycle gang came up and killed my 2 Waffys as they tried to get away. My 25LL AC came in and overran his lead bikers. Unfortunately one AC is not enough to stop his reinforcing AFVs.

In hindrance I should use a fixed AT asset together with a Waffy on each side. That way neither side is more vulnerable.

Saturday 29 July 2017 FT139 Ride of the 200th vs Peter-James Palmer

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Picture from an earlier game to give an idea of the layout

Pete and I met in my first tournament, the Malaya Madness in Singapore. He couldn’t make it to Mayhem in Manila last year and so it’s good to see him again.

This is Chinese armor attacking an IJA position in a mountain gap on the dry desert lands of western China. The scenario is only 5 turns long and Vehicular Dust is in play. Traditionally, best way to attack a mountain gap is to go via the hills but the AFVs couldn’t make it up Abrupt Elevation Changes and it’s going to take time for the infantry, not something I can afford in a 5 turn game.

I need to do Platoon Movement better and work out the use of Vehicular Dust. I managed to put up cover for the infantry over open ground but some invariably got shot. When they broke they could only Low Crawl one hex back since there’re hardly any Rally Destinations. On top of it there were only two leaders (on each side really), one was on the hills, and so the other one was trying to get to the scattered troops over open ground on the flat lands. I was happy that I was able to execute a VBM in Motion with a platoon and then encircle a IJA squad in a hut (yay – textbook exercise). We striped the IJA in question even but CC with IJA is always a gamble. Without a Dare Death squad, you need to pile enough troops in to kill the IJA in one go. Otherwise the Melee will turn HtH (or worse, if you got ambushed) and the IJA will kill everyone even on a 1:2. Well we did kill the IJA in one go but our Point Blank fire in the Advance Fire phase started a Flame which promptly bursted into a Blaze (low kindling for huts and very dry conditions). We had to vol break the victorious pile and add to the terrified rabble on the plains.

At the end we went out of time, we were about 2 to 3 huts short of the 11 required but man, it’s good to play Pete Palmer again. He taught me a lot about PTO when we played BFP30 Melee Near the Coast a while back. He recommend that I do a lot more early war French / Russians so that I can fight with Platoon Movement properly. I also made the mistake of platooning the radio tanks with the radioless tanks. While the radio T26 with the 45L can support the little radioless L3/35, none of my tanks could run free.

Sunday 30 July 2017 Mystery Round FT168 By Dawn’s Early Light vs Jon Cole

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Dawn

Germans attack from top to bottom. We can either win by getting 4 multihex building or by controlling the big stone one.

This is a Mystery Round that is made known to the participants only this morning. It’s 1944 Ardennes when the Germans with 2 StuGs and 3 PzIVJ went up against a Hellcat, a Sherman, bazookas and a pair of 75 Artillery with Cannister and HEAT. The scenario is only 4 turns long and the Germans can either go for one big stone building or 4 multihex buildings. I am a PTO guy but I really like this one.

I went all out as the Germans with riders and armoured assault, HIP’d guns or not and we quickly ran through a couple of “big” dummies that I correctly guessed aren’t tanks. I also went up point-blank against one of his guns. One of my 548 survived a CH from the gun, went Fanatic and generated a hero. The gun crew broke was captured. Unfortunately his leader led MMG did the number on a few of our 548s which never seem to pass any MCs all game, 3 broken squads and a leader was kicked further and further down the street like a dented tin can. On the right side a pair of Pz IVJ found the Hellcat and the other gun, one got promptly destroyed and the other after Jon fired his AAMG down the street to test LOS (note to self : classic textbook procedure to remember). The battle turned the other way briefly went his Hellcat (with 24 MPs!!) went behind my pair of STuGs. One of my STuGs laid sN smoke and the other went into motion (saw him for 4). The Americans forgot that Dispersed Smoke disappears the next turn and stayed in sight. I spun that StuG around and acquired the Hellcat! Burned him in Prep.

A pair of 548s arrived at the Sherman sitting in the big stone building. One couldn’t find a panzerfaust but the other one with a 9-1 leader could. So the 9-1 made an executive decision to brave the backblast. The 9-1 broke in the backblast but the shot connected!! The Sherman BURNS.

The Germans broke into the big stone building but unfortunately can’t isolate our target in classic urban combat fashion. The Americans managed to pile into the building as well. (Remember troops with Winter Camo can Advance into Open Ground without losing Concealment). I am out of time: I just couldn’t clear out the blocking Americans.

Great game.

For the Record

Tournament Champion : Will Fleming

1st Runner up : Aaron Cleavin

2nd Runner up : Alan Smee

Sniper Elite : John Knowles

HtH CC : Peter-James Palmer

Sponsors

  • Le Franc Tireur
  • ASL BattleSchool
  • Lone Canuck
  • Bounding Fire
  • Kansas City ASL

Tournament Director : Alan Smee

Tournament Organiser : Raphael Ferry

VASL Map Production : Will Fleming

Marketing & Sponsorship : Jackson Kwan

Scenario Special Rule

  1. When travelling in a “tuk tuk” (a motorbike drawn wagon) on a sunny day in Siem Reap, Vehicle Dust F11.74 is in effect.

Aaron Cleavin & I ate sand & dust all the way in the 30 min trip to the airport. I had sand between my teeth until we met up with Will Fleming & Alan Smee for a quick lunch before our flights.

Note to Self : Take sunglasses and use a krama next time

Kinetic Energy & the excellent Time on Target packs

tiger

I found a bit of history today, related to the third party publisher Kinetic Energy that produced the famous Time on Target packs.

Fellow “ASLers,”

In light of the tumultuous events in our mutual hobby over the past year or two, Mark Neukom & I have made a rather tough decision. As of June 1st, 1999, Kinetic Energy Productions, Inc. will cease design, development, publication, and sale of all products that support and deal with the Advanced Squad Leader(tm) game (including all of its Modules).

There are myriad reasons for this decision, and I will not burden you with the details here. In a nutshell, it can be summed up as a case of the amount of personal gratification that we draw from our work not being enough to overcome the amount of “grief” we receive (an unfortunate byproduct of being a Third-Party Manufacturer in today’s hobby). That, along with the stark financial reality of operating in the “red” for a couple of years running, is all the justification we need. Rather than have this overflow to the point where we would cease enjoying the game itself altogether, we’ve decided to “case the colors” of Kinetic Energy Productions, Inc., as outlined in this announcement.

Mark & I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have supported Kinetic Energy Productions over the past six years. Extra special mention goes to KE Co-Founder John Knowles; KE Staffers Brian Abela and Chris Castellana; our volunteer Web-Master Bahadir Erimli; and Playtester suma cum Laude Fritz Tichy. We personally thank ALL of our other playtesters as well. The fruits of their labor show through in every one of our products, and are a key element of the success we have enjoyed in the past. These fine folk are too numerous to mention here, but you can find them listed in the credits of all our magazines & scenario packs. Finally, to those of you who purchased Time on Target magazine, and our March Madness scenario packs in the past, and/or attended the March Madness Tournament in Kansas City, our thanks as well. You helped keep our labor of love afloat for quite some time. We are quite proud of our track record, in quality and presentation, for every product we have published. In some ways, we feel gratified that our efforts have “raised the bar” and spurred others to better themselves as well, a good side-effect of the Third-party market that we sincerely hope will be allowed to continue in our absence. Further, we hope to see/hear AARs of “The Dogs of War” and other fine KE/TOT scenarios for quite a long time. However, please don’t take this as a license to freely copy & distribute KE/TOT “stuff.” Kinetic Energy Productions, Inc. (and in the case of its absence, Mark Neukom) reserves all rights to copyrights on the three issues of “Time on Target” magazine, all of the “March Madness” scenario packs, the “British Rare Vehicles” pack, and all unpublished Kinetic Energy projects (e.g., playtest packages & materials). Please respect our wishes in this matter.

Finally, please understand that Kinetic Energy Productions, Inc. will honor all orders that have been placed as of this date, and those that are postmarked on/before June 1st, 1999. Any distributors or individuals desiring to place any bulk order please contact me at mreed@sky.net ASAP. Orders postmarked after June 1st, 1999 will not be processed and will be returned to sender.

Regards,
Mike Reed
Kinetic Energy Productions, Inc.

Here are the responses from the ASL community.

This is the Christmas sales pamphlet, for 1999 – check out the prices!  

Enjoy!

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

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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…..red 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!

You Should Fly to Manila This July to Play ASL

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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 https://mayheminmanila.wordpress.com/tourney-booklet/

If you register before May 1st, the registration fee is USD45.  After May 1st the registration fee will be USD65.  Please register at http://www.meetup.com/Asia-Pacific-ASL/events/227777002/

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)