ASLOK XXXI Official TD AAR

synicbast

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Next year, Thunderchief and I are both attending ASLOK, so that's a few Ks for the US in the World Cup.
I will admit that usually I'm struggling to play more than 1-2 games a day by the wednesday and ASLOK for me is about catching up with friends for the most part, friends I made through ASLOK. Plus there's the chance to occasionally be a sacrificial victim for some of the big names. Maybe next year I can actually play some of the Euro-ASLers - they're usually operating at a much higher level than me during the minis and during Grofaz
 

Bret Hildebran

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Saturday Grofaz Update:
  • Randy Shurtz is the first to advance to 5-0 as he downed Dave Deresinski in one of the new PiF scenarios which sports a Polish FT. BFP114 Engineering Defeat. Deresinski had the Poles and was obsessing over a Polish hero but it sounded like all his HOBs led to the more typical Minor Surrender rather than Polish glory.
  • John McDiarmid are still battling in an MMP playtest of In Deadly Combat. John has the Germans.
  • Bill Cirillo is playing Panzer Graveyard as the Brits against Rich Domovic. It's not looking good for the Brits at this point - apparently turret hit duds on OVR prevention isn't a great strategy? Who knew?
 

Bret Hildebran

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Friday Minis Update
  • Best of 2016 (Grofaz Mini) - Randy Shurtz shuts down Dave Deresinski in BFP114 Engineering Defeat to become the first to advance to 5-0.
  • Best of the Best (Grofaz Mini) - Steve Pleva & John McDiarmid are playing a playtest in the final.
  • Rumble in the Jungle - Stan Jackson downs "Big Bad" John Stadick for PTO mastery.
  • Schwerpunkt Catch #22 - Chip Wertenberger takes home wood at the expense of Al Fitzpatrick.
  • Biggest Loser No More - Pete Shelling knocks off Kurt Berger in the finals to garner his first wood in 26 ASLOKs - granted Pete spent more of those years running playtest minis instead of playing, but he was due for wood and collected.
  • Rumble in the Jungle #2 - Clevelander Kevin Killeen knocked off former Clevelander Rich Jenulis to take home the plaque in an all Cleveland Final.
  • Heavy Metal Poisoning - Rob Loper triumphs over Darrell Wright in the final.
  • I'll Be Back! - Hennie van der Salm wins over Dave Perham in the final.
  • Candygram! for Mongo - James Taylor delivers the goods knocking off Michael Rodgers for Wood.
  • Heavy Metal Poisoning #2 - Neil Dennis downs Ed Fritz in the finals
 

ActionBurk

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I believe it is no surprise that the World consistently dominates the US.
People willing to travel from the World to the US need to invest a significant amount of funds for the journey. And I think that World players not really dedicated or very deep into the game will be less inclined to do so compared to the average US attendant. That way, the US in general might have to face way above average World players, which is mirrored in the results.

Yet the very best players might still be from the US. The air is very thin in the top ranks, and there are not that many different GROFAZes. Furthermore, most US GROFAZes, so I guess, will attend every year (and thus have a shot every year). For the very cream of the World players, it might be not as easy to make the longer voyage and cover the costs every year (and thus they might have less shots for the ultimate victory).

Seems to make sense to me, but hey - I am only an average player! :dontknow

von Marwitz
I think you're right on the money here. The US is well represented in the Grofaz by some perennial bad ass players. IIRC 21 of the 30 ASLOK Tournaments ( Weekend or Grofaz) have been won by 3 players, McGrath, Fortenberry or Pleva. Face any one of these three in a tournament and you can expect two things: a great game and congratulating them for the win. These guys are among the best the game has ever seen. Is it any wonder that even the finest " overseas " players find them to be a serious obstacle on the path to Grofazness?

Honorable mention to Bob Bendis as the only other player to have won it more than once. How in the f did you pull that off?!?

Lmao, sorry Bob, just kidding. Pete Rose, Fish and you, all great hitters!!
 
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Tooz

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Despite the hotel rubble I still thoroughly enjoyed my time. To be honest, when you are just looking for an ASL venue who cares about the surroundings? I believe all guests there were us ASL guys and that was different.
The rooms were great but my toilet made some strange demonic sounds when flushed--and this only happened at night. However, it was very quiet at night and the only think that kept me awake was my brain not shutting off. I always average six hours sleep no matter how much I drink.
Bret did his usual outstanding job and must be recognized and applauded for his hard work. I really appreciate how he works so hard to allow this old man to have the time of his life.
The hotel staff were most helpful and understanding.
Now we need the new hotel to show us some loyalty and not overprice us out of the hotel in the future.
I also finally found some time to get out and do some exploring. There are two parks nearby, the one off of Lorain Road heading west was magnificent! Great weather and a surprisingly nice park were custom made for a break from playing and get some walking done. I also found the deer in the park that were not afraid of me. I got as close as I could without being within tick range and they just kept munching away without concern. Felt like watching those animals in a zoo.
As the years go by and another ASLOK comes and goes I always sit back and take in the experience. As always, I had the best time I could when I am away from home and the missus.
To all that showed, let me say that for one week a year, you are all my best friends.
Look forward to seeing you all again next year, God wiling.
 

Brian W

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Finally! A photo from ASLOK! Complete with the infamous missing ceiling panels. Thanks for sharing this, Mr. Bendis and congratulations to Steve.
I hadn't thought of it before, but you're right, there haven't been many photos.
 

Jacometti

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Peter Struijf defeated Hennie van der Salm in the all-Dutch final of the Best Kid in Town Mini tournament.

The final was played on Sunday, scenario was Resignation Supermen, and the Germans managed to eek out a win by blasting a Melee in the final Turn, hitting it with a Panzerfaust critical hit, random selection selects both German and US unit, the broken US halfsquad misses the 3 MC by one pip.

Fantastic scenario and highly recommended.
 
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Perry

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Congrats to Steve Pleva, a true champion and a class act.

Thanks to Bret Hildebran for another well-run tourney, even with the hotel falling down around us.

Great to see old friends and meet new ones.

Special thanks to Steve Tinsley and Neil Stanhagen for ASLSK PTO PT.
 

MajorDomo

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Thanks Bret, congrats to Steve and the Saturday night ASLOK pizza was very tasty.

Rich
 

Steven Pleva

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Thanks, Bret. Great job as always. The hotel wasn't ideal, but it was quite serviceable, IMHO...
Steve
 

Bret Hildebran

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Thursday Mini Update
  • Night - Wes Vaughn knocks off Kevin Meyer in the Friendly Fire night classic "Bad Moon Rising" to become the first non-Rossi Night champ since 2010. Ed Beekman deserves a shoutout for ending Randy Rossi's reign of terror in the Night mini as Randy had won 5 straight before Ed defeated Randy's Americans in Old Hickory by burning down the VC building to keep Randy off of Level 2.
  • Pacific - Dave Reenstra triumphs over Aaron Cleavin in the final to take home a prestigious Pacific mini from a star studded cast of PTO studs.
  • Deluxe - Rich Spilky downs Don Holland in the finals to become king of the big hexes.
  • Tincans & Popguns - Andrea Pagni garners his 2nd wood by defeating Brian Wiersma in the finals.
  • Tincans & Popguns #2 - Jonathan Kay takes home the double jeopardy challenge over Derek Pulhamus winning both the mini & advancing to 3-0 in the Grofaz. Derek had the Brits Commonwealth Aussies "Losers" in FrF72 Mubo Decision.
  • Paper Tigers - Dave Deresinski wins his second plaque of the week with a win over Rich Domovic in the battle of the bad troops.
  • Battling Buckeyes - Native Buckeye Bill Cirillo triumphs over two-time Grofaz Champ Bob Bendis in Pete Shelling's newest SP offering. Bill is now apparently a gaudy (and amazing) 6-0 over Bob all-time. A truly monumental accomplishment.
  • Bringing It All Back Home - Georges Tournemire garners the win in a hard fought battle over Brian Sullivan. Amusingly, I twice misunderstood people and had originally recorded Georges as the winner around the time they had setup on the Mini boards & then misunderstood Georges when he reported that he won, issued errata putting Dr. Death up as the winner only to have to rescind that. I will claim a lack of sleep as my best excuse, but the good news is Mr. Tournemire received his plaque and the $10 while Brian got a souvenir pic of his name up as a Champ...
  • Friendly Fire's Greatest Hits - Neil Stanhagen downs perennial Grofaz Champ Steve "Gor-Gor" Pleva in an epic battle of Dying For Danzig (FrF52) where a single German squad nuked both of Steve's OT-34's. Neil wins his 2nd mini & has shown the rest of the field that Gor-Gor bleeds...
  • My Little Ponyri - John Bays becomes the King of Ponyri with his win over Randy Glesing in Pete Shelling's Historical playtest mini
 

Bret Hildebran

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In an odd occurrence the Grofaz finale was Saturday night.

We were down to 2 5-0 players as we headed into Saturday night:
  • Rich "Destroyer of Grofaz Dreams" Domovic knocked off Bill Cirillo's Brits in Panzer Graveyard which meant we were down to only 2 undefeated.
  • Steve "Gor-Gor" Pleva knocked off John McDiarmid in a playtest version of something - I initially thought it was MMP, but it may have been a FrFire. It looked grim for the defending Grofaz for awhile as glancing at the mapboard, admittedly w/o knowing the scenario well, I and others thought Steve was on the ropes, but Gor-Gor does not go down lightly and managed to come back for the win.
That setup a final of Steve Pleva versus Randy Shurtz and they picked a playtest version of a new Friendly Fire scenario from Peter Struijf & Chris Mazzei with lots of colors in the name involving Romanians attacking Russian factories in 1941 on a terra-formed board 1. Looks like an interesting scenario that was getting good reviews already. Randy had a great turn 1, but Steve's Russians stemmed the tide and his mostly conscript force held on long enough for the Russian reinforcements to arrive and stem the tide for a Russian win.

Steve wins his 10th Grofaz title in 31 years which is a rather amazing accomplishment and Randy finishes 2nd in his first return to ASLOK in 14 years.

In a first, the battle for 3rd & 4th place plaques was a 3 way duel of J171 Whom Gods Destroy. We had 3 players at 4-1 all interested in playing for a shot at 3rd/4th (which yields a plaque & $50) rather than going to tie-breakers and/or a dice off to see who got to play for 3rd, a 3 player scenario was suggested. Whom Gods Destroy ended up the winner as the FB one likely would have presented a slight advantage to Mr. Cirillo who designed it. Early Bill's troops were pounding on Aaron which effectively precluded Aaron from having a real shot at winning while John moved out in front. At that point Aaron decided to play for a plaque and Bill moved to play for the win and John slid from the front to the back of the pack. It sounded like an epic 3 way battle which resulted in Bill Cirillo placing 3rd, Aaron Cleavin 4th & John McDiarmid 5th. Dave Deresinski places 6th at 4-1, but had a flight to catch and thus missed a shot at a 4 player scenario...

Final Grofaz Standings
  1. Steve Pleva 6-0 [CT]
  2. Randy Shurtz 5-1 [KS]
  3. Bill Cirillo 5-1 [VA]
  4. Aaron Cleavin 4-1-1 [Australia]
  5. John McDiarmid 4-2 [Canada]
  6. Dave Deresinski 4-1 [CA]
When I left Sunday Peter & Hennie were still dueling for the last Mini plaque and there were 3 or 4 other games still going as ASLOK XXXI was winding to an end. Wild Bill pointed out we had 4 games going at 7AM Sunday including the annual Epic "Battle for Rock Boy" which raged all night. Once again Tommy Cvetinovich & Pete Mudge triumphed in To the Last Man over Wes Vaughn & James Taylor in their annual overnight battle of somewhat drunken ASL which always yields some epic stories and exciting moments.

Official Attendance ended up at 145 which is pretty good for the year after a milestone ASLOK like XXX. The hotel was a little rough around the edges, but overall a good time was had by all and after a long tiring week full of ASL everyone seemed to head home dreaming of returning next Oktober for ASLOK XXXII. It will undoubtedly be October 1st thru 8th officially in 2017 although the site is still TBD. Hope to see you there...
 

Carln0130

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Thanks, Bret. Great job as always. The hotel wasn't ideal, but it was quite serviceable, IMHO...
Steve
Congrats Steve. You too Bret on another successful ASLOK. Randy, nice job on second at ASLOK.
 

Gunner Scott

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Hi-

Had a lot of fun this year and played some great ASL games. The hotel was fine and as always, a great job by you and the crew.

Scott
 
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