Well, ASL fans, Enfilade 2009 is over. And what a tournament it was. Bruce Billett eeked out a win over Rob Wolkey in a last turn last phase CC. A nailbiter if there ever was one. I am going to give a brief AAR of my experience (including my first EVER win - a team win - against Sam Belcher and Larry Spangler). I say brief because I don't have much free time right now. I'm packing for my move to Lubbock, TX. Over the holiday weekend, I received and accepted a job offer as a Project Engineer for Caprock Manufacturing. I start on June 10. Unfortunately for this blog, that means that it's time as the "unofficial" (or maybe by now it's the "official") home of the Spokane ASL club has come to an end. As I am able, I will continue to post to this blog my ASL AAR's, however, I will be working around 55 hours a week now, so my time for that even will be limited. I refuse to give up my hobby though and hopefully will be able to find some players in Lubbock.
And now, for your reading pleasure, our feature presentation......Enfilade 2009: A Rookie's Rerspective. (For the visually inclined, pictures can be found here courtesy of Brian Pickering. Thanks, Brian!)
Enfilade for me started on Friday at about 7pm. The convention started at 2pm and I actually got into the area around 3pm, but we stayed with some friends of ours and they wanted us to have dinner with them. It was BBQ chicken, BBQ corn, fresh fruit and vegetables. What was I supposed to say? It was BBQ!!!
I got there, registered and found the room. This year since we had more than 9 (there were around 20 there this year), we got our OWN ROOM. How cool is that!?! When I got there, there were already 4 or so games going on. Bruce Billett was not playing anyone and I had never played him (although I was gunning for friends that I'd made last year and wanted to play one more time before I wouldn't have the opportunity - in case I moved - a good thing I DID that). We decided on AP18 - Village of the Damned from AP3. I'm going to preface this whole thing by saying I never had any intention of playing to "win". I'm don't care that much about winning, though, I will certainly bring my "A" game when I play, I'm more interested in the playing. That being said, against Bruce, I chose the Italians. Why? I'd never (not even once), played the Italians, so I figured I'd try. I need to remember not to make that mistake again. They just flat out suck. Their infantry is brittle and they can't hit a darn thing. That being said, the scenario calls for a mixed bag of Italians and Germans and many are walking wounded. Even with those handicaps, I held out until the last half of the last turn. There was a berzerk squad that just wouldn't quit. Last Russian turn, he surrounds me after my charge. I'm going down anyway and he tries to add insult to injury. He surrounds me with squads and the vehicle I charged goes to leave, turn around and Overrun. I stop him. Since I'm just in it for the fun, I say, "Bruce...no, no, NO. If you're going to do it, do it RIGHT. Start for one, move for two. Stop for three. Start in reverse for four. REVERSE MOTION overrun for eight." We both start to laugh. When you are about to die a gruesome death in ASL it stops being about mechanics and statistics and it starts to become about Style Points. I suppose that is why when Pete Shelling designs a scenario, he so often adds into the VC stuff about caputing AFV's for double CVP's. I mean, how often, have you EVER seen anyone capture an AFV? But it's about the Style Points, Right??? Bruce was great, even if he is into 14 year old cheese (I'll never understand that fascination - sorry Bruce).
Saturday AM saw me facing off against my last-year nemesis Brent Morris. We selected another AP scenario, AP52 - Into Vienna Woods. This is a Russian/German scenario. I picked it for two reasons. It had 6 turns so it should have been playable quickly. It also has alpine hills and a pine forest, two terrain features that I never have used. I'm not sure I EVER want to play an alpine hills scenario EVER again. The whole LOS thing SUCKS!!! I tried for height advantage to negate the same-level LOS issues. I should have probably just started everyone except one MG squad forward. They were all going to die anyway and maybe they could have made the Germans pay more for the ground. As it was, the Germans had the hill all but locked by turn 3 and I couldn't dig them out with my blitz on turn 6. I ceeded at the end of my turn 6. Brent, as always was a gracious opponent, but don't be fooled by his calm, soft exterior. He's a tiger on the field of battle and an excellent opponent. If you ever have the opportunity to play him, bring your "A" game. You'll need it.
My game against Brent lasted quite a bit longer than I'd anticipated. It didn't look like I was going to get to play both Happy and Sam. Sam was looking for a game and so was Brian Pickering. Then Larry Spangler walked in and was looking as he had just gotten done running his afternoon 3D ASLSK game. I saw an opportunity. I suggested to the three of them that we set up and play a game as a 4 player. After some indecisiveness (we're all older married men - what do you want?), we settled on A68 - Acts of Defiance. Brian and I took the Germans (he was the Hitlerjugend, Armor, and Assault engineers, and I was the main infantry attack force) and Sam and Larry took the Russians (Sam was the main force and Larry took the Reinforcements - which enter on turn 1). We started around 9pm on Saturday and Finished Sunday at 10 or 11. The game ended on turn 3 after I blitzed the building holding the majority of the Russian troops in the victory area and clobbered them. This was the capstone of a long string of bad events for the Russians. The game started out well for the Russians, we blitzed the setup area. In an impulsive move, Brian ran to the road and tried to ESB to get an extra MP to stop. That immobilized the TD. It DID, however, have a VERY interesting facing and the Russians didn't really have anything to hit it with at the time. I was tying up their infantry and their tanks didn't want to get near it. Turn two, however, things started going our way. We took out a tank or two and the reinforcements couldn't get into place fast enough to bring their .50 cal HMG to bear. I think that sealed their doom. Sam got and kept Radio contact and even brought down some heat on top of my German supermen. It just wasn't enough. That TD kept firing and I was able to blitz the street. They couldn't take out the infantry, and that was it. I got into the building, Brian killed off all but one of the tanks, and Sam ceeded the game. The most interesting thing to happen is the mushroom cloud we saw rising from the board when 2, 36FP Goliaths 'splodied a bridge, limiting the Russian reinforcement entry to a one bridge front. I'm not sure what the Geneva Convention would say about it, but it looked cool.
I hung around for several more hours, even meeting my friend we were staying with and showing him around the room. He was interested enough that he wanted to leave soon....to go home and play. We set up Gavin Take and I ran him through 3.5 turns, showing him the basics of infantry combat. I have heard it said that to the like-minded, ASL is like a rich cut of crack cocaine. Those of us that play new players and introduce people (like the incredible Larry Spangler and his beautiful wife, Diane) are like the pushers. "C'mon, try it. The first hit is on me..." Sure enough, my friend is VERY interested. Even though Rob R. left for New Jersey, I'm leaving for Texas, Chris L is tied up in a new job and Jess is always gone flying, I'm not leaving my good buddy Rob Wolkey destitute. Josh Raymond is going to be moving to the Spokane area in or around August of this year and he has all the contact information and websites necessary to start down the road to ASL-crack addiction. My work here is DONE.
To those in the Spokane ASL scene....Thanks for the ride. Even if I don't know you well, or maybe I do, I am proud to call you all my friends. To those of you that fate may lead to Spokane or the Pacific Northwest, may I say: "Bring your A-Game. We'll leave the light on for you."