ASLOK IX Champion Mike McGrath!
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  1994 ASLOK Archives

1994 Tournament Winners

Grofaz Top Finishers


Name W/L Home
1st Mike McGrath 8-0 VA
2nd Steve Pleva 7-1 CT
3rd  Mark Nixon 6-1 OH


Thursday Theme Tournaments

Tournament First Place Second Place
DYO Steve Pleva  
Deluxe Mark Nixon  
Night Perry Cocke  Bill Hayward

An amusing side note is that Perry's Night plaque was awarded at ASLOK XXI.  A mere 12 ASLOKs (and 2 TDs) after the fact.  Who said good things don't come to those who wait?

1994 AAR by Mark Nixon
PDF of Mark's AAR

PDF of Mark's PIS & all 26 or so games (which he may have failed to turn in it seems)

1994 Recollections by Bret Hildebran
ASLOK IX saw ASL's biggest tourney return to Youngstown after two years in, uh, call it the more "interesting" side of Cleveland.  Rumor had it that Fish & Action Burke were worried about attendance growing too large and thus returned ASLOK to its roots in Youngstown, far enough away from a major airport to give some attendees pause.  No idea if the rumors were true, but it makes for a nice story.  ASLOK IX was only my third ASLOK and my first in Youngstown.  The following are my recollections of the tourney, 13 years after the event to provide at least some flavor of the first decade of ASLOK.  Any errors are my own and likely due to a faulty memory.

'94 was a tumultuous, yet exciting time in ASL.  Avalon Hill's support of ASL was on the wane, at least for the near term, with the cancellation of the '94 ASL Annual and reallocation of key ASL resources like Bob McNamara towards computer games.  Into this breach, many third party publishers were just beginning to leap.  MMP had just released Backblast #1, an amazing bargain at $5.  Critical Hit had just been formed combining Rob Wolkey's Fire For Effect with Ray Tapio's once published newsletter, Trailbreak.  With the principle parties from MMP, CH & AH heavyweights like Charlie Kibler in attendance, it was a veritable "Who's Who of ASL".

Bill "Fish" Conner and Darryl "Action Burke" created, organized and ran ASLOK and really did an amazing job in building ASLOK to be the destination ASL tourney for the masses.  Between just the two of them they provided 24/7 TD services which by week's end left them quite worn down.  Back in the day it seemed like there were a ton more rules questions than now, keeping them quite busy interpreting the tome for ASLers.  The gaming area was split into two rooms, one a conventional convention space, but the other was more like a cafeteria which was far more spacious, but somewhat lacking in lighting unless you managed to snare a window seat providing natural light, quite a novelty for an ASL tournament, for at least part of the gaming day.

Drove over bright and early Thursday morning w/Chris Farrell and managed to make it in time to slide into the DYO mini being run by Mark Nixon.  Back then it was a little more flexible getting in a mini as they did NOT tend to go off right at the crack of 8 AM like today.  We drew playing cards for pairings amongst the 8 of us and I drew Rodney Callen in round 1.  Mark walked us through the rules for "Son of Squad Bleeder" which was a fairly ingenious, partial DYO setup where each side had limited knowledge of the opposition's forces and had purchase points to choose from various OB groups.  Even the boards were randomized as you'd take two boards and then roll to randomly pick which two half boards to play on and then the direction was randomized too.  You scored based on CVP and how many VP you had on your opponent's half of the map at game end.  Unopposed armor caused your ELR to drop, giving you incentive to buy tanks and keep them alive.  Really it was an innovative design that was great fun - it would be nice to see it redone for a new mini.

In the first scenario my British managed to get by Rodney Callen's Germans.  The second match saw me paired with Steve Pleva.  Unfortunately Steve randomly got the board with the L2 building while I got the grain fields to attack across.  My Americans struggled as Steve's Germans sat in overwatch and peppered them to death in the grain.  After the game we decided that making the buildings all ground level would go a long way to making things fairer, but that at least gave me a good excuse for losing to Steve, beyond the simple fact that he's the better player.

Friday I matched up with Stephen Frum in Totsugeki!  My Chinese couldn't protect the guns and I was out of the Grofaz running.  Next I squared off with Brian Laethem in Panzers Marsch.  In four tries I still haven't won that early Tactiques classic and this was the one time I lost as the Germans.  Next I matched with Darryl Wright in End of the Ninth.  My little odd French gun tore up his German armored cars allowing me to decisively win the armor battle and take the game.

With 3 games under my belt on Friday and a 1-2 record in the Grofaz, I settled into playing Charlie Kibler's epic fog of war miniature battle.  Charlie acted as the "game master" while Perry Cocke and I took the Germans against another duo (that I think changed a couple times as the day wore on).  IIRC the Germans did well, but the only highlight I remember is one of our Panthers getting smashed by a Russian AT gun firing special ammo which had a TK of 22.  Given the fog of war we had no idea what it was that could pack such a punch, but severely questioned what it could have been.  Later after suppressing the mystery AT gun we realized it was merely a Russian 76L which our opponents had accidentally misread the APCR TK chart having American APCR ammo rather than the correct Russian 14 TK variety.

Saturday I played Larry Halpern in Going to Church and managed to pull out a tight win as the Germans.  I had the German 1 ABS balance in the BackBlast version which gave some concealment which was crucial in the early stages.  I also matched up with Russ Hall in Cold Crocs.  My Brits were able to overcome thanks in part to a heroic 10-2 which allowed him to avoid a few key pins.  Saturday night I matched up with Warren Smith.  I had just watched Warren lose a heartbreaking game of Among the Ruins as in the heat of battle both sides managed to forget the Americans have to exit between the roads.  Warren had the 20L flak gun and at least one firelane setup to cover the exit area.  It was tragic to watch and avoid kibitzing, but I kept quiet.  After the tragic loss and long after A.2 kicked in, I mentioned Warren may want to read the VC again.

After such a tragic loss, karma was on Warren's side in Zon with the Wind.  My Germans came close as I had a firelane setup on the board edge, but Warren was able to run a hero to and fro until the LMG broke and get off with just enough VP for the W.  Sunday I paired up with Jeff Wasserman in Whoa Mohammed! a Tactiques scenario still in its original French.  It was a little different having to rely on your opponent to read all the SSRs and VC for you, but it was a decent scenario with the Germans fighting a fallback defense in the face of attacking British paratroopers (who I think were Gurkhas).  Ironically the other time I had played Jeff was in the same type scenario as he had the Russians in Fighting Withdrawal.  Much like that time, he played an excellent fallback defense & I was never able to breakthrough. 

All in all it was an excellent ASLOK with the highlights being Mark Nixon's "Son of Squad Bleeder" & Charlie Kibler's miniatures battle as they presented some fog of war which you seldom get a chance to partake in...

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