Bounding (First) Fire Blackpool - November 2018

Martin Mayers

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A copy of the circular I've just sent out. If there is anyone on here whom wishes adding to the contacts list, please message me your email address and I shall make it so...

Hi everyone. I hope you are all well and will forgive me for the delay in my follow up email. It's been a busy time involving the birth of a grand child, LOTS of testing for the tournament, the creation of a website, organising sponsorship/prizes, and so forth. Hopefully I cover everything by way of the following update. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to message back.

Website
The address is Bounding (First) Fire Blackpool
It's amazing. And I truly wish I could claim the kudos for creating it. But I am utterly useless with IT. Whereas my co-organiser Simon Staniforth has far too much time on his hands, and created this from scratch (thank you Simon !).
We'll gradually populate this with further details of the tournament, including prizes, rules, an outline of the tourney scenarios, 'the accounts' etc. In short it's an ongoing work in progress and I urge you to check in on occasion and see what's going on.

Registration
We currently have around 15 people now registered, most of whom have booked their rooms. Registration details on the website (Registration details).
The early bird discount remains in place until the end of September £10, as opposed to £15 at the tourney.
I urge as many as possible to take advantage of the five quid saving as there will be a brief draw prior to tourney commencement for all those whom did, and the prize will be meaningful. The winner WILL be happy that they took the effort to cough up early!
The reason I'm pushing this is that Simon and I have made some fairly significant financial outlays along the way (web design/hire costs, postage charges for tournament prizes, the MAIN tournament prize, etc.) It saves considerable earache from my better half if I'm funding such stuff from subs already paid. Simple as that. We are taking no money whatsoever from subs for ourselves. Every penny paid in, will fund this and future tournaments (hence the 'accounting' page referenced above).
It goes without saying we need good attendance. Charles literally opens his doors just for us guys and, as I'm sure those who attend Blackpool regularly know, goes above and beyond to accommodate our requirements and look after us. I cannot over-exaggerate how nice it is to have the 'run of the hotel' sans-any other guests. We need to reciprocate by filling his coffers as it's a very busy and popular hotel and I know he could easily fill it on a weekend with stags and hens, Blackpool being, ahem, Blackpool.

Rules
These will be put up on the website in the next couple of weeks. We don't intend to make these too onerous but we do want to follow the overseas lead of a more structured set of rules for the tournament including time limits for play. There are a significant number of prizes on offer for this one and we'd like the tourney to finish on time (mid day Sunday) to ensure that all attendees are there for presentations. The only way to guarantee this is to avoid slippage. That's our driver. Plus, it's ultimately fair(er) and avoids those testy situations Saturday evening when one player wants to go out for a meal, or have a few beers, and t'other wishes to finish the scenario which was started six hours earlier :).

Structure
Yet again, more detail is available on the website (you'll be beginning to feel a theme developing here !).
But the tournament will be many layered and will include :
  • Friendly pay (of course)
  • Battleschool Minis - Beginning on Thursday. Thematic. They will continue to run through the entire weekend, therefore allowing people who chose, or could not, enter the main tournament, to engage in more competitive play. Sponsored by Battleschool dice who have kindly provided prizes (photos and details on the website).
  • Bounding Fire Tournament - The main event. Sponsored by our very generous friends at Bounding Fire Publications across the pond. 2 Rounds on Friday and Saturday. The final played Saturday morning. All five scenarios unpublished but fully play tested for inclusion in future BFP releases. You guys are the first people outside the play test teams to ever play these scenarios (which feature at least one completely new board). All for some truly amazing prizes. Please keep an eye on the website as Simon will be posting up pictures of the prizes on offer over the next few days. I'm tempted to post pictures here, but I want to drive traffic to the website :)
  • Starter Kit tutoring/tournament - Unconfirmed as yet, but I have a tentative offer from someone to offer tutoring, or potentially even a formalised mini-tournament, based on SK rules if there is interest in this. More meat on the bones required on this and updates will be posted in due course.
  • Surprises - There will be a number throughout the weekend. For example, a one-off scenario for general play "whenever", with prizes provided to us by the scenario designer. A little bit 'left field', but.... More on this in due course
  • Second Chance Games will be setting their stall up at some point over the weekend.
Contacts
I've tried to ensure everyone on the UK scene is included in this circular. If anyone knows of anyone I should add to the list, could they please confirm their email addresses? Thanks. I'll also be messaging these updates on Gamesquad, Facebook, Boardgamegeek, and the like. If anyone knows of any other websites, ASL related, which I can 'spam' with all this information, please confirm.

Any Other Business
Feel free, at absolutely any point, to provide your comments and structured feedback, suggestions, criticism etc. Always remembering that Simon and I are new at this :)

I'd also really appreciate it, even if you do not intend to formally register just yet if you could come back to me confirming your intention to attend. Again, along the themes of ensuring that we are going to have the numbers and enabling us to structure the tournament in advance, rather than on the fly (I could explain...but it's complicated).

I'm also interested in anyone who might fancy some Starter Kit play. I've had a number of enquiries specifically asking about this (and from people I've never come across before which is uplifting for the future of the hobby!) and of course, if feasible, I'm keen to try and welcome new blood to the tournament. Yet, I don't want to go back to people and say "yeah, course you'll be able to find opponents" if that's simply not the case.

I hope everything is in order. If I've missed anything important I'll fill in on future emails.

Kind regards and see you all in November.....

M
 

Toby Pilling

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Well done for trying something completely different, Martin. The Scandinavian Open had a 'mystery' round of three play-tested but unpublished scenarios a few years ago, which I very much enjoyed. A minority of players didn't like it; one complained that it was a 'play-test' round - maybe that was just because they hadn't grokked it well enough at first sight and lost. I do know that the organisers, Bo and Michael, found it very difficult and time-consuming to organise, so later ditched it for a 'surprise' round of classics, which I don't think works as well.

Bravo too on amassing such a bevy of lovely prizes - who are the kepi clad attackers alongside the German tank in the diorama?

It will be interesting to see how a five round 'mystery' tournament progresses, and how the lack of choice each round will effect things - more time will be spent choosing sides and setting up, possibly. I'm not sure if I'll be able to attend, but if I can I will.
 

Martin Mayers

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Well done for trying something completely different, Martin. The Scandinavian Open had a 'mystery' round of three play-tested but unpublished scenarios a few years ago, which I very much enjoyed. A minority of players didn't like it; one complained that it was a 'play-test' round - maybe that was just because they hadn't grokked it well enough at first sight and lost. I do know that the organisers, Bo and Michael, found it very difficult and time-consuming to organise, so later ditched it for a 'surprise' round of classics, which I don't think works as well.

Bravo too on amassing such a bevy of lovely prizes - who are the kepi clad attackers alongside the German tank in the diorama?

It will be interesting to see how a five round 'mystery' tournament progresses, and how the lack of choice each round will effect things - more time will be spent choosing sides and setting up, possibly. I'm not sure if I'll be able to attend, but if I can I will.
Thanks Toby.

And yes, it's been very challenging but I think we are nearly there. The blind scenarios are bound to cause some upset but hopefully people will climb on board and roll with the spirit of things.

They are Senegalese Tireulliers. And they're wearing Fezzes rather than Kepis. Yes, really. Fezzes :) Very brave fellows they were too apparently. And treated very poorly by both their own side and the Germans also.
 

STAVKA

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Ain't it funny, that the secret round of the "playtest" scenarios seems to be unbalanced even after the playtest 2013, 8-2 record and 9-3 record and not even popular.
The third scenario in that secret round have had 3 different VCs and they settled for a re-written new one 2016.
The Scandinavian Open had a 'mystery' round of three play-tested but unpublished scenarios a few years ago, which I very much enjoyed. A minority of players didn't like it; one complained that it was a 'play-test' round - maybe that was just because they hadn't grokked it well enough at first sight and lost. I do know that the organisers, Bo and Michael, found it very difficult and time-consuming to organise, so later ditched it for a 'surprise' round of classics, which I don't think works as well.
My score of winning when playing secret tournament scenarios are today 22-2, I am sure no other player even came close. But my complaint about secret scenarios are if TD pick out non-balanced non-secret scenarios , then I can adjust myself by either delete it or give balances to the other side that needs it.
 

Martin Mayers

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Ain't it funny, that the secret round of the "playtest" scenarios seems to be unbalanced even after the playtest 2013, 8-2 record and 9-3 record and not even popular.
The third scenario in that secret round have had 3 different VCs and they settled for a re-written new one 2016.
My score of winning when playing secret tournament scenarios are today 22-2, I am sure no other player even came close. But my complaint about secret scenarios are if TD pick out non-balanced non-secret scenarios , then I can adjust myself by either delete it or give balances to the other side that needs it.
All valid and it's a risk. But, I know the players on the UK scene pretty well and I think they'll climb fully into the spirit of it. And hell, if it's not as popular as we would like, then we tried, failed, and will go again next year.

Fact is Intensive Fire, originally the premier tournament in the UK has been dying on it's arse for years. We needed to try something different to try rejuvenate it. We could have tinkered round the edges, but given that it's our first tournament organisation we had lots of ideas and felt the need, and felt justified, in jumping in with both feet.

Funnily enough (and no doubt I'm about the start a flame war) I believe 'balance' is an almost 100% flawed concept anyhow. I've played scenarios that I've felt are impossible for one side which check out 50 50 on ROAR. I've played scenarios which I've rated as some of the best I've ever played, which are "well known unbalanced dogs". Almost the only people I ever hear talk of balance during tournaments are people who lose (including myself.....I do not exclude myself from using "balance" as my excuse when in reality "I played crap" was probably nearer to the mark.)

I (and others not taking part in the tournament) have played these scenarios to death. We love them. I don't think there's any gamble at all when people get down and start playing them. Both me and my opponent (I lost), judged an Italian/Yugoslav scenario, which I'd originally looked right past, as THE best infantry only scenario we had ever played. It was literally brilliant. We loved every minute.
 

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But my complaint about secret scenarios are if TD pick out non-balanced non-secret scenarios , then I can adjust myself by either delete it or give balances to the other side that needs it.
There is no doubt that just because a scenario has been play-tested and is in (or near) it's final form, it can still be unbalanced. However, picking the right side in a scenario that one has just laid eyes on, and bidding correctly for it - 'grokking' it - is also a skill. Secret rounds with previously unseen scenarios are the best way to test that skill.
I played 'Broken Wings' at Copenhagen when it was unveiled, and bid for the Germans - my opponent bid for the Russians (as I recall). I won, and looking now on ROAR it is listed as 10-2 favouring the Germans. I guess I passed that skill test!
 

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Toby, perhaps you find much excitement in pre-play bidding for a dog scenario and get to play with the dominating side, most players I play with would like to play scenarios that are not dogs and do mistakes during 5-6 hours play instead of during the bidding process of 10 minutes for secret "playtest scenarios".
 

Toby Pilling

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Toby, perhaps you find much excitement in pre-play bidding for a dog scenario and get to play with the dominating side, most players I play with would like to play scenarios that are not dogs and do mistakes during 5-6 hours play instead of during the bidding process of 10 minutes for secret "playtest scenarios".
To be honest, it didn't feel un-balanced but rather a tense scenario that my opponent and I both enjoyed. I'd happily take the other side - with some balance, of course.

In a way, playing newly-published scenarios is a great leveller, as it means no-one can gain an advantage by having played them in advance. Other so-called 'mystery' rounds which feature 'classics' also favour experienced players who can draw upon a vast pool of completed scenarios.

Rounds of 'virgin' scenarios may have their flaws, but it is exciting to contemplate a whole tournament of them. I can think of nowhere else in the world where this occurs (though may well be wrong).
 

Martin Mayers

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To be honest, it didn't feel un-balanced but rather a tense scenario that my opponent and I both enjoyed. I'd happily take the other side - with some balance, of course.

In a way, playing newly-published scenarios is a great leveller, as it means no-one can gain an advantage by having played them in advance. Other so-called 'mystery' rounds which feature 'classics' also favour experienced players who can draw upon a vast pool of completed scenarios.

Rounds of 'virgin' scenarios may have their flaws, but it is exciting to contemplate a whole tournament of them. I can think of nowhere else in the world where this occurs (though may well be wrong).
Yup. I want to find out who is the best ASL player at the tournament, rather than who has most spare time leading up to a tournament to play the hell out of the nominated scenarios.

A different skill set I'd say, especially during setup as you've quite eloquently hinted towards.
 
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Martin Mayers

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There is one such tournament and been going strong 6 years, been there 3 times.
http://www.gamesquad.com/forums/index.php?threads/supporting-fire-2018-november-16–18.148514/
Credit to them. But the Blackpool tournament is different and is, I believe (thanks to Bounding Fire Publications) the absolute first of it's kind.

It's feasible that people will have played some of the scenarios at Supporting Fire. And in that sense, one could fall lucky, especially if you're fortunate enough to play lots of ASL. Especially when given multiple choice of scenarios.

No-one at this tournament can possibly have played ANY of these scenarios. They are TOTALLY blind.

That's the originality. In the case of two scenarios at least (including the Final) no-one will have ever seen the map board being played on before !!

What a test eh ?
 

bo_siemsen

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To be honest, it didn't feel un-balanced but rather a tense scenario that my opponent and I both enjoyed. I'd happily take the other side - with some balance, of course.

In a way, playing newly-published scenarios is a great leveller, as it means no-one can gain an advantage by having played them in advance. Other so-called 'mystery' rounds which feature 'classics' also favour experienced players who can draw upon a vast pool of completed scenarios.

Rounds of 'virgin' scenarios may have their flaws, but it is exciting to contemplate a whole tournament of them. I can think of nowhere else in the world where this occurs (though may well be wrong).
Just to dispel the myth of these scenarios, our objective was not to make it a "playtest" round but more of an "unpublished scenarios" round. Calling it "playtest" bothers me a little bit. The scenarios we had those years were to my knowledge all (or almost all) later released unchanged compared to how they were played at ASO. Some of them have been used A LOT in tournaments as far as I know and so far look balanced according to ROAR. Some of the scenarios we used were really REALLY good tournament scenarios in my opinion. Scenarios like Rage against the machine, Katyusha's embrace, Hart attack, Out of their element are really good scenarios.

Some of the years it was quite time consuming to get the scenarios ready. But also rewarding. There was a lot of good feedback, but also some who didn't like them. Personally I would like to return to that kind of round. Especially if we could find some of the excellent designers of the ASL-world who has a finished hidden gem that remains unpublished.
 

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Calling it "playtest" bothers me a little bit.
Hey Bo - you do realise it wasn't me calling it a "playtest" round, right? Nothing could be farther from the truth - I thought it was a great idea and would support it being reintroduced. As you say, some of the scenarios that were first unveiled at the Scandinavian Open are absolutely superb - particularly 'Rage against the Machine' and 'Katyusha's Embrace'.

Anyway, I'm still trying to make Bounding (First) Fire next month in Blackpool - fingers crossed...
 

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Credit to them. But the Blackpool tournament is different and is, I believe (thanks to Bounding Fire Publications) the absolute first of it's kind.
.
For the record I shall mention that the first tournament i attended (i believe it was in 1991/92 and it was the first tournament ever organised in France) featured four blind scenarios designed by the Tactiques team under the leadership of Theophile Monnier. One mandatory scenario per round, four rounds. They were subsequently published in the 'zine.

Further down the road, the Provence Pack was unveiled in a 1997 tournament featuring only its scenarios near Toulouse, France. 3 days, 6 rounds of scenarios fully blind from the pack, gathering 27 players.
 

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Hey Bo - you do realise it wasn't me calling it a "playtest" round, right? Nothing could be farther from the truth - I thought it was a great idea and would support it being reintroduced. As you say, some of the scenarios that were first unveiled at the Scandinavian Open are absolutely superb - particularly 'Rage against the Machine' and 'Katyusha's Embrace'.

Anyway, I'm still trying to make Bounding (First) Fire next month in Blackpool - fingers crossed...
Hey Toby.
I am aware that you didn't call it a playtest round. I replied to the wrong post by accident :)
 

Toby Pilling

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For the record I shall mention that the first tournament i attended (i believe it was in 1991/92 and it was the first tournament ever organised in France) featured four blind scenarios designed by the Tactiques team under the leadership of Theophile Monnier. One mandatory scenario per round, four rounds. They were subsequently published in the 'zine.

Further down the road, the Provence Pack was unveiled in a 1997 tournament featuring only its scenarios near Toulouse, France. 3 days, 6 rounds of scenarios fully blind from the pack, gathering 27 players.
That's interesting. It sounds like there was a lot more experimentation in the early years, after which things pretty much evolved into the standard format. Were there any huge complaints about balance at the time?
 

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First off best of luck for tomorrow Martin and Simon.

My game tomorrow has fallen through. Does anyone fancy something a little larger tomorrow? I've got a hankering for American Tragedy. Will be there early if necessary.
 
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