Unsure about your game?  ASLOK is newbie friendly - Maneuvers offers ASL training plus an ASLSK mini on Saturday...
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What if you're THE WORST tactician newbie?

by "Wild Bill"

     Probably you're jumping from ASLSK to ASL-so you go Tuesday** for maneuvers to be ready for THE MARK NIXON MINIS on Wednesday. You're a bright guy and you beat the locals so you wonder how you stack up against real competition.
     You arrive on an after-work flight, van to the motel, quickly unpack,and rush to the gaming room at 8:30 P.M. You didn't sign up for maneuvers  but it's informal so you can join in progress! You find it really is informal-all the other gamers who wanted maneuvers WROTE in that they had morning flights so maneuvers was generously moved to 1:00 P.M. instead of 7:00 P.M. to accomodate them. They are all presently happily esconced in their first ftf of the week.
     Well...there are a bunch of interesting games so you watch(respectfully, unobtrusively) and although you could get in a shortie you opt, like everyone else, to get your sleep and be fresh for tomorrow.  You talk tactics,(gosh-it's great to be around people with your shared mania) check out storage systems, get a few tips from fellow observers, then head for bed.
     At 8:05 you get to the game room as the TD is pairing  minis. You don't hear your name called so you were either too late with your application to
get into your requestid mini or your name was one of the first called. No problem. After all the pairings the TD makes up a new mini from one of the day's options for the extra gamers, but you don't get in it! There are still several gamers unpaired so the TD makes another mini...
     You're optimistic because you don't yet know you're the worst gamer present. You snatch a bit of breakfast during your opponents set-up and the
first wind DR drops at 8:45. You're trashed at 10:15!!! HUH !! "What happened?" you ask. Your opponent points out one avenue of approach was
covered by only one squad, so he broke it and waltzed through... WRITE IT DOWN-that's part of  the ASLOK experience.
     No one else has finished but...at only 10:30! you see another glassy-eyed novice stagger from defeat. This nice player is a better match for you so you play awhile and go to lunch together. He beats you, but there's endgame tension. You pick up a few more tips.
     It's 3:00 and you see another tactician standing around and offer to play. No, he's waiting for setup. On your third try you find an opponent.
     He's a good person with experience which you are too newbish to evaluate. You want to give him a solid game,so you setup, analyze, and play very methodically. You notice he talks with passerbys during your move and makes frequent strange references to his rulebook...in fact, although you're playing ETO, he seems to have reread ALL of chapter G. Because we all lose awareness of time during play, you haven't noticed your move takes an hour while his takes 10 minutes..and you're the defender!!   He beats you in three turns.
     6:30 is a good time to find opponents returning from supper. Several turn you down. Some have reasons which have nothing to do with you, but you take it personally. Some have already heard you're a slow player and they want to be fresh for tomorrow's minis.
     After 15-20 minutes you ask the TD for help finding an opponent. He knows the players and picks out a gamer who's newbie-friendly casual sort.  This time you play..not fast..but faster and you trade a bit of repartee, share a snack, drink some refreshment and relax as you are absolutely crushed.
     At 1:00 A.M. you have some good memories for lullabies.
     Thursday, Friday, and Saturday are similar but one day you play a monster scenario that goes until 5:00 A.M. Needless to say you miss the next minis and someone is delighted to take your place.
     Sunday you play a scenario before your flight and think you've won until find 4 uncounted CVPs under a level counter...but it was close.
     You end up 0-15!* WOW!!! You got to play 15 GAMES!!! IT WAS GREEEAAAT!!! AND the wonderful prople you met sharing your mania! Discovered a gamer within driving distance of your home or talked to vets who could link you up with gamers near you.
     0-15! AND THEN you go home and obliterate your buddies with what you've learned (until they wise up so you're now REQUIRED to return to ASLOK next year for upgrading ;-) You didn't expect to learn how to read the rules like a programmer. That's BIG.
     So you reread the ASLRB, practice with locals, and come back to win ASLOK!!! NOT!!! But you do win some games next time and keep improving and meeting more great gamers!!!

*I know at least one guy who was 0-15 at his first ASLOK. He's A LOT better now and HAS had a winning ASLOK record. What will the future bring?

**   Of course if you can't make it ASLOK weekend, come the prior weekend and play through thursday.

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