Tuesday, October 14, 2014

ASLOK XXIX October 1-12 Loot

 The final list of loot. I didn't think I would have much difficulty getting it back weight-wise, but space was at a premium. I need to work on my luggage system still. I have the weight allowance but not the room.
  • 3 x Dice towers from Jack Daniels
  • Schwerpunkt 20 x 3 (Aaron C, Jackson Kw)
  • Friendly Fire 9 x 4 (Aaron C, Jackson Kw, Ivan K)
  • Rally Point 9 x 2 (Jackson Kw)
  • ESG Dezign Pak 10 
  • Panzerknacker, Molotov, Dust Devils, Sniper, and ROF dice
  • East vs West 12mm 5 dice set (Ivan K)
  • Tweezers x 2
  • 300 x US sized page protectors
  • Overlay Binder and Inserts
  • Travel Board Binder
  • 2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm deluxe counter cutters
  • Festung Budapest, Decision at Elst, Rising Sun
  • ASLOK XXIX Tees x 5 (Aaron C, Jackson Kw)
  • ASL Open Tees x 2 (Jackson Kw)
  • Plano 3601 low-profiles x 5
  • Longstreet: A Biography by Jeffrey Werts
  • Guadalcanal by Richard Franks
  • Gettysburg: the Second Day by Harry Pfanz
  • AVRES in Normandy by Richard C Anderson Jr 
  • Pleva HIP Trays x 3
  • Ops Spec Ed vol 4 and Vol 5
  • Board 68 x 3  (Aaron C, Vlad S) 
  • Miscellaneous Critical Hit modules (mainly desert and winter)
I gave away one of the Pleva trays to an ASLer who has been doing it tough, and one set of tweezers was passed on to another ASLer.

Sadly I managed to lose a pair of Battleschool dice (green and white 14mm plain) as well as the little counter picker, but they are easily replaced.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Malaya Madness - February 2014 - In Retrospect II

Summation and Aftermath

All in all, the inaugural Malaya Madness was a resounding success. Although limited by the exigencies of the venue and the short notice any new event has before kick-off, the actual tourney achieved a great deal more than it set out to do.  What happened in Singapore gave the Asia-Pacific community a jump start on finding itself and discovering an identity.

I’m not sure that saddling the tourney with a Championship label does it any real favours however.  The ASL community in Asia is still very much in its infancy as a collective and with so many coming from alternate gaming backgrounds, “Championship” and “Competition” have very different connotations from that considered the norm in ASL where it’s more a convenient label to hang on a long weekend or two weeks away from home playing games rather than a strict representation of the focus.

I know I’m fortunate that I don’t have the  domestic responsibilities to consider when attendance at an ASL event occurs, however I will admit to some disappointment with the disinterest shown in the event from the Australian ASLers. Timing was certainly an issue, with CanCon (which is an expensive event to attend) only occurring some 4 weeks prior. Also the unproven nature of the event was always going to count against it with such limited advance notice.
As for the future of the event, if it can be placed on a sound financial underpinning in a more central and less rustic venue, I’m certain that it can build into an event of some significance in this area of the ASL world. What I don’t want to see is all the hard work that George Bates put into this event end up as a single occurrence footnote in ASL history.

To that end, I’m going to commit to underwriting 2016 and 2017 event for venue and some other ancillary hosting costs. I had hoped to do this for 2015, but it’s only now, at the end of September, that circumstances permit the corresponding application of funds, and I feel the event needs to have at least 12 months lead time for proper planning and fiscal certainty. It’s not a case of build it no matter how and they will come, more a case of having an integrated venue, commitment and solid format ready to go with a core group of confirmed attendees. And that is where the extra lead time is all important for people, so that travel and leave can be arranged, particularly as international travel costs are such an influence on this event.

George and I have already mapped out a couple of prospective venues in Singapore, and yes the cost is a factor, but a central, comfortable location with good facilities and ease of access will make this a much better and stronger event.

I do feel strongly that Singapore is the best location moving forward for a regular Asia ASL event, as it is more centrally located by comparison than say Hong Kong or the Philippines  to a greater  number of potential attendees. The actual structure of the event itself is less of an issue I feel. I used to think that the tourney itself was the raison d’être of the event, but I’m seeing that like ASLOK, it’s about celebrating ASL by playing rather than winning. 

Whatever happens though, I’m so glad I attended. I’ve made some damn good friendships out of Malaya Madness and I’m proud as hell to have contributed in a very small way to helping the ASL community grow.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Malaya Madness - February 2014 - In Retrospect I


While I may have played well below my own expectations and those of my peers, there is and was a definite upside. I met fellow ASLers, got to know some of them quite well, and I was able to offer encouragement and tangible support to those starting out. I hope I didn’t stress my own opinions and prejudices regarding ASL too much. 

The social aspect of an ASL event is the sine qua non of why I attend, and is the real strength of the ASL community. This social aspect has an impact on the development of sound play and rules awareness that is not always given enough credit. Despite the length of time I’ve been playing, I’m no more than a mediocre to average player, but since 2010 when I first started attending ASL events with some frequency, my play has progressed exponentially so that I’m consistently trending towards average.

I noted this improvement immediately after ASLOK XXV where I played more people than I had played in the preceding 25 years and I could recognize I had become more consistent. But when It comes down to it, it’s the friendships that have been made that I take away the most satisfaction from. 

Forget about the so called “Competitive” side of ASL events. Instead focus on the people themselves and you’ll come away with a lasting enthusiasm for the ASL Community that will stay with you even as you pump more money into Raaco, Scenario Packs and Dice/Dice towers and counter clippers.



I love the place. It’s been over 40 years since I was last there (similar to Hong Kong) and it’s just a special place. I wouldn’t want to work there (the corporate ethos is just too much for me) but as a place to regularly visit, hell yeah.
The Pod is located in the Bugis area and as an inveterate pedestrian, I loved being able to walk around in the evenings soaking up the ambience and atmosphere, especially along Beach Road.

Now you can take the boy out of Western culture, but you can’t delete certain aspects so it was no surprise to anyone that the first place I stopped between Bugis MRT and the Pod was the Starbucks at Raffles Hospital. Admittedly I was already in need of a rest to acclimatise to the 30 degree heat, so when in doubt I go for what always works: a Venti Latté with one sugar.

If anything I think next time I’ll allow more time to do some shopping and perhaps more of an effort to take in a relaxing evening at places like Albert Court. Plus there’s the whole thing about visiting various museums and sites of historical significance. Maybe one such site per Malaya Madness can be budgeted for in terms of an extra day in Singapore.

ASL wise, I really don’t think Singapore is too expensive as a venue. Sure it’s going to be a significant cost to get a decent venue at a Hotel but then again, it’ll be worth underwriting it just so we can say: This is Asia ASL!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Malaya Madness - February 2014 - the Games II

The Games

Game 3

J45 Strongpoint 11 vs George Bates

I have very little memory of this game other than it was a no-contest pretty early on. I really didn’t offer George a good game to my regret.  I owe him a much stronger game next time.


Game 4

J128 Opium Hill vs Zeke Crater

I’d forgotten that I’d played this game until I read an AAR from Zeke. That’s not an indictment of the game or of Zeke, just reflecting my poor health over the last few months which left gaps in my memory. Rather than try and comment on stuff I can’t recall, I’ll quote Zeke’s AAR. Sad really as what little I can recall of the game was overwhelmingly positive.

New Zealand's Pete Palmer and I next played J128 Opium Hill. Once again the dice were kind to me but cruel to my opponent. Pete had perfectly positioned his leader directed MMG up on the only hill, dominating the IJA entry zones. Pete's first shot broke the MMG and my armor assaulting IJA moved on in relative safety. A few more equally bad dice rolls for Pete and great dice rolls for me whittled down Pete's Malayan and British troops, delayed his AFV, and Xed his MMG repair roll. As we neared the end game Pete graciously conceded.”

This was where I doubled my Boxcars for the tourney…Snakey Pete was but a dim, distant creature of mythology by now.

The Quick and the Dead.

I swear I play worse at Tourneys than I do normally. I might manage one good game out of 4 or 5 but the rest are generally atrocious displays of tactical ineptitude and poor decision making. However, as per usual the pace of gameplay was pretty good. My natural style of play is conducive to a fast game and even being below par physically didn’t seem to affect this, thankfully.

I will admit to a somewhat skewed sense of pride at being considered a fast player, but I feel that all too often ASLers get too wrapped up in their comfort zone and play at a snail’s pace because they do not know any better. The strongest players I’ve faced are usually among the quickest as well. So I tried to demonstrate for some of the new players that you don’t need to analyse every possible outcome but as you get more comfortable with the core structure of the system, go with your gut.

A fast game is usually a good game, and if you can eliminate some of the ancillary time sinks ahead of time by creating and sticking to a plan, as well as some self-belief in your own play, then you will tend to play faster and smarter. It’s not about your game so much as making your opponent do the hard yards in response to the dilemmas you set. 

But there is one vital corollary to all this:

Speed is Fine, but Accuracy is Final.

Malaya Madness - February 2014 - the Games I

 The Games ( Rounds 1 and 2)

I only managed to play 4 games instead of the planned 5/6, thanks to a stress induced illness that blindsided me completely. Of those four games, I lost three and won one. So my results were pretty dire compared to my pre-tournament expectations. But really the results were immaterial in the wider scheme of things.

Game 1 (Mulligan round)

G46 Triumph Atop Taraldsvikfjell vs George Bates

George and I had both played AP08 A Bloody Harvest previously so I think we decided to opt for this one as neither of us had played it previously. 

I started out pretty well, but a couple of tactical no-nos on my part and George’s consistently efficient play put this one to bed pretty early on. I didn’t pace my game properly and it caught up with me.  I think I played the attacker but my memory is very vague at this remove of time. It seems I played the Germans. 


Game 2

J103 Lenin’s Sons vs Stanley Neo

This game was a complete 180 degree change for me. I’m really not a good enough player to teach ASL and I’m not suited to teaching. Or so I thought. I felt a bit for Stanley, as this scenario is my Gavin Take/Totsugeki – I’ll play it at the drop of a hat. I modified the pace I play at so that there would be time to go through the whys and wherefores of ASL with Stanley if he wanted to ask questions. 

As it happens, Stanley has a solid grasp of tactics and he can focus…so time was always available and yet we played at a good solid pace. I did the usual Soviet blocking detachment + Commissar in the woods and despite a couple of scares on the ineffective Small Arms dicerolls, pretty much had the game in hand. What this did was allow me to show Stanley why I set up the way I did and what a German Player can do to mitigate the inherent strength of the Soviet wood defence.


The pic doesn’t quite show how shattered Stanley’s Germans were at the end of the game but it does show the channeling that I created.