Swedish Friendly Fire AAR Sep 2018 (the overview / information)

JoeArthur

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This is an article written for Pete's VFTT (an excellent publication that I hope you all read). Worth reading if you are thinking of going to this tourny:

After Action Report – Swedish Friendly Fire Tournament September 2018


My holiday plans were going to find me sitting in my car in Denmark in September with either the option of driving back to Calais and home or going to another destination. I looked for an ASL tournament in northern europe in September and the Swedish Friendly Fire tournament popped up. Talking to Magnus Rimvall at Double One he very kindly invited me to stay at his house for a few days prior to the tournament for some ASL. Job done – the Swedish Friendly Fire tournament it was.

Magnus was so far into the Swedish countryside (which from what I saw consisted of trees and rocks, rocks and trees and sometimes trees growing on top of rocks – Magnus stated that Sweden is one big forest) that he did not appear on my satnav. Luckily being old I could use the “stopping and asking people” method I used before satnav’s came out. He has to be one of the few ASL players who can claim to have a moose visit his back garden.

The tournament director of Friendly Fire is Mattias Ronnblom who designs a lot of scenarios for, and publishes the Friendly Fire pack. Mr Desperation Morale is a huge fan of these packs, rating most as “highly recommended”. The tournament is part of a games weekend held by and mainly for the local Linkoping board gamers. Looking at what the other gamers were playing over the weekend it appeared to be mainly GMT games. There are far more of those gamers than ASL players (sixteen ASL attendees this year). There were three rooms of board games and one room of ASL. It means that the hotel is booked solid for the weekend by games players and if you do want to stay there you have to book early.

The tournament is held in the Swedish “beauty spot” Rimforsa, which is 20 miles, 30 minutes drive from Linkoping. The reason for this being that for the cost of an average hotel in Linkoping attendees can stay at the Rimforsa Strand hotel, Fredrika Bremers Alle ‘2, Rimforsa, Linkoping (www.rimforsastrand.se) which is next to a lake, has a sauna on the lake edge, and prides itself on the food it serves up. “Moten, Vardskap, Gastronomi” being its advertising slogan – “Meetings, Hospitality, Gastronomy”. They serve their own honey produced by bees kept in the hotel grounds. Home made cakes and biscuits along with a selection of snacks regularly appeared in the coffee area (and were much appreciated by Joe). The Saturday evening dinner was a three course gastronomic affair with a fish starter, steak main and dessert which took two hours twenty minutes to serve and eat. Joe was sitting in the lounge wondering what all these Swedes were doing……………

At ten o’clock on the Friday word went round “time for a sauna”. Joe wimps out because he thought nudity and hitting people with birch twigs might be involved. Whilst hitting some UK ASL players with birch twigs would appeal (So, you won’t use a dice cup Pete? Thwack! You don’t want people telling you how to roll your dice? THWACK!! Hang on Pete – I’m just off to find a thicker birch branch) I had no reason to want to hit any of the Swedish players. The sauna was next to the lake and the idea was to go into the lake to cool off.

It is a posh hotel. Originally the event was held in a school and attendees slept on the floor. As people aged they wanted some more comfort and it has ended up at the Rimforsa Strand. The cost for accommodation and food for the Friday evening through to Sunday morning was 270 euro’s. This is why Joe, not having a job or the Pfizer damages, slept in his car in the car park. If you want to know what the rooms are like I suggest that you look on trip adviser or the hotel website – I have no idea. Given the standard / location of the hotel it is probably one of the few ASL tournaments in the world where your wife / partner would be happy to go to with you. One Swedish attendee had chosen to arrive on the Tuesday and had a little holiday (saunas, rowing on the lake) prior to the games weekend.

It is possible to go cheaper – Magnus very kindly gave me the details of a hostel nearby. Still too expensive for Joe though. It is the Liljeholmen Herrgard Hostel, Liljeholmsvagen 8, 590 43 Rimforsa (liljeholmen.nu). Mr T on gamesquad.com states that this hostel is on the other side of the lake from the tournament venue. This is not a great distance but it is too far to walk. It's in a pleasant building overlooking the lake, single rooms are pretty small but tidy and well-insulated (with a shower room along the corridor) and it costs less than the Rimforsa Strand hotel. Just don't check in too late in the evening otherwise the place will be locked up - however you can inform the hostel in advance that you will be late and they will put the front door key in a hiding place for you.

It does mean that the tournament is tough to get to unless you have a car. Fly in and rent a car is going to be the way to attend. If you do take your wife / partner then they can use the car whilst you are playing ASL. Or maybe you can rustle up enough ASL players to split the cost of the car four ways. This is a point to note for any tournament directors who are after foreign attendees – have the venue near an international airport in a cheap hotel / hostel. This may be why the Copenhagen tournament has so many foreign players attend?

The thing to note about the tournament is that it is a testing ground for the new Friendly Fire pack that is to be issued that year. This is the second Swedish tournament where the pack has been play tested. Earlier in the year, in May, some of the scenarios have been used in the Stockholm ASL tournament - attendees having the opportunity of seeing the scenarios prior to the tournament. The tournament director there is Melvin Falk. The Stockholm tournament usually throws up a few issues with some of the scenarios and they are adjusted / tweaked for the Friendly Fire tournament. Attendees to Friendly Fire have had the opportunity of seeing all the scenarios to be used in advance - there may be some small changes to these prior to the tournament. The scenarios played in Friendly Fire are rarely changed and the pack is sent to the printers shortly after the tournament. This method of play testing is why you have eight scenarios in the pack. There are four rounds in each tournament with a choice of two scenarios in each round = eight scenarios. Lots of the Swedish players (especially Melvin) will also have been involved in the play testing of these scenarios outside of these two tournaments.

It means that the pack has been through a rigorous play testing process with some of the worlds top players involved in the process (Melvin is currently ranked number two on AREA, Mattias number eighteen). It all explains why the Friendly Fire packs are so good – not only have they been play tested but they have also been through two tournaments. Next time you meet a Swedish player make sure that you buy him a beer and thank him – for he has probably been involved in making the Friendly Fire pack the excellent product that it is in some way.

There is one “normal” tournament in Sweden - the supporting fire tournament (supportingfire.com).

If we were to do the same in the UK Toby Pilling, Craig Benn and Mark Blackmore would have to design and play test the scenarios and two UK tournaments would have to be used for play testing. We all know that is never going to happen. It shows how precious the Friendly Fire packs are and how lucky the ASL community is that they exist.

What it means to the player who rolls up to the tournament with no preparation – you are going to get your arse handed to you on a plate by people who will have played these scenarios multiple times. You have been warned…….and yes I came eleventh out of sixteen thank you for asking. In what is becoming a bit of a tradition Melvin won the tournament.

It is also the reason why the attendees are almost wholly Swedish - this year the foreigners consisted of me and a bloke from Norway. Denmark is a short drive away (there is the bridge or ferry service) but no Danes attend. Magnus stated that this is because they sit down at the table and say to their opponent “another Melvin defense?”. I was doing the same – going over to Melvin’s table to see how he was playing / setting up the scenario. I learnt something new about the positioning of guns from him. If you are lucky enough to play Melvin make sure that you are the attacker. You will have a miniscule chance of winning but it is better than the no chance you will have if you let him attack. Melvin, being a play tester and a gentleman, allows his opponent to choose the scenario and side that he wants in this tournament – he waives the tournament rules for scenario selection. What got me was that he wore a suit and tie throughout the tournament – maybe he had no time to pack?

What else to say about the tournament? It is held in one of the hotels large meeting rooms. It was usual to see a bottle of some sort of spirits kept by each attendee’s chair. On the Saturday evening there were a few players who were looking a bit under the weather – not as bad as Gerard at Double One (please see the front cover of VFTT issue 89 for a picture of Gerard trying to play ASL after a bottle of wine – and Pete, that was cruel to put it on the cover…..) but going in the same direction.

The reason for bringing your own bottle was that alcohol is expensive to buy in Sweden. According to Magnus the way that the Swedes cope with that is to buy their alcohol in Germany or elsewhere in the EU and import it. Hence the bottles – buying that much alcohol from the hotel would be very expensive. Mind you on the Saturday morning after breakfast Andreas, the owner of Trojan games (also an ASL player), was sitting down to a bottle of cava (Spanish sparkling white wine) with two other attendees. The alcohol may be expensive but it did not stop some people…….

Everybody appeared to be walking away with a copy of Hatten in Flames – which might explain how Andreas could afford that bottle of cava.

The tournament is four rounds starting with one on the Friday evening (five o’clock), two on the Saturday and one on the Sunday morning. Mattias also has some specific tournament rules.

Mattias does not believe in draws. If the game is not finished he will look at it and apply the following method:

50%-50% Each player makes a DR the player that rolls the lowest wins

60%-40% TD rolls a DR if the DR is 7 or less the player with the edge wins otherwise he has lost.

70%-30% TD roll a DR if the DR is 8 or less the player with the edge wins otherwise he has lost.

71+% or better, no DR is made, the player with the edge is considered the winner

Precision dice must be used if available. Dice towers are required. So no noisy dice rolling in glasses please. That rule might be something to do with the alcohol consumption but you would have to ask Mattias…..

There appears to be one “grudge rule” to stop the practice of “freezing” an enemy tank by driving your tank into the same hex. If you do that and end its movement phase in the same hex your tank is automatically turned into a wreck as if eliminated in close combat – so no smoke or crew survival roll. At least that was my interpretation of this:

Tournament rule for: D2.6 Enemy AFV: A vehicle cannot voluntarily stop or end its MPh in Motion in an enemy’s AFV’s hex (whether Known or not) unless it can do so out of that AFV’s LOS (i.e. while Bypassing a hexside opposite that of the DEFENDER’s Bypass AFV), or unless it can, at the moment and position of entry into that hex, attack that AFV (regardless of its To Hit possibility) and be capable of destroying or shocking it with an original TK or IFT DR of 5 (using a non-Depletable ammo type available to the vehicle). A vehicle thus barred from remaining in an AFV’s hex may not attempt ESB in that hex, and may check if VBM is allowed out of that hex prior to attempting VBM (2.3), if the vehicle still ends its MPh in the hex it is immediately turned into a wreck as if eliminated in CC.

The other thing about the tournament was that it was a joy to talk to the person who designed some of the scenarios and to get his thoughts on them. Mattias’ comments on the scenarios that I played are included in the AAR’s later on. I did thank Mattias for all the packs and told him that one memorable scenario of his that I had played was scenario FrF83 Phantom Army in the blind round of Double One. Mattias thought that was a bit cruel of Derek to use that for a blind round due to the number of SSR’s in that scenario. He stated that it was the most SSR’s that he had ever written for any scenario.

It seemed to me that Mattias was missing an opportunity with his Friendly Fire packs. Unlike the Schwerpunkt packs the Friendly Fire pack has no analysis. This is a great pity for you do not get to see Mattias’ or Melvin’s thoughts on the scenario. For instance there is a scenario in the new pack entitled “Boy Soldiers” FrF99. A bunch of fifteen year old Hitler Youth have to take some stone buildings from the Russians. Mattias tried it with all German conscripts but it proved impossible. Information like that makes the scenario more interesting (at least for me).

Some sort of analysis would stop idiots like me making stupid mistakes as well. In the scenario FrF97 “Wrecking the Rentals” Joe looked at the Sherman counters and said – that’s a 75*, so I can’t take out those German tanks on the front. In fact the star was not a star but an asterisk which pointed you to a note on the back of the counter – DOH! It was a *75 gun. My opponent and I both agreed after the game that it was a piss poor counter design. What I had done was turn a finely balanced scenario that had gone through hours / days of play testing into a dog. Some analysis of the scenario might have prevented me from doing that?

It is also how you learn – seeing how a great player like Melvin does it hopefully improves your game. Unless you go to the tournament you will not see how Melvin plays the scenario. As I said earlier the art of positioning ordnance has changed for me after seeing his tactics.

Out of politeness I let Mattias read this article before giving it to Pete to make sure that what I said was true and his response to my opinion on the lack of analysis was:

“The reason I don’t do scenario analysis is that they are essentially spoilers. It’s more fun for everyone if the players have to figure out that sort of thing on their own”.

This is a valid point. I have been to tournaments where Schwerpunkt scenarios are being played and the defensive set up always seems to follow the analysis provided in the pack.

So that was it. Would I go again? It’s too hard to get to and you need to do a lot of preparation. So the answer to that would be I would like to, but given the expense and time required, I doubt that I will see Rimforsa again. Should you go? Well you now know what is involved and what to expect – the choice is yours.
 
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Mister T

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I enjoyed reading this very British AAR of a very Swedish event. Like you i went once and like you I doubt i will ever come back.
 

ibncalb

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Thanks for that Joe. Who are you in real life?

B e n
 

Del

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If you’re worried about how to get to a Swedish tournament, and don’t want to prepare, then Supporting Fire is the answer. Fly into Copenhagen and hitch a ride north to Borås with the Danes! We were 5 this year. And being an all blind tournament, merely bring your dice and play!
That said, Mattias is a class act and runs a brilliant tournament. There have been a lot of Danes there over the years, I’ve been there several times but sadly not the last two years.
I can wholeheartedly recommend either of the two tournaments, and having lost to both Mel and Mattias more than once, I can only emphasize the quality of play.
 

M.Koch

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Francois Boudrenghien told me a story about Melvin. Melvin was in the final of the Grenadier tournament and turned to his opponent and said “I have played this scenario before and it is biased – I will remove three of my squads”. He won the game. Francois was impressed at this display of fair play. None of us are perfect though and apparently Melvin has been known to occasionally argue loudly over the rules.
I think Francois mixed things up here...Melvin was playing his fellow countryman Christoffer in the final at GRENADIER 2011. I don´t know anything about removing some squads from his OB. It doesn´t matters anyway since it was clear right from the start that Christoffer was going to win the tournament. So he did.
 

JoeArthur

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I think Francois mixed things up here...Melvin was playing his fellow countryman Christoffer in the final at GRENADIER 2011. I don´t know anything about removing some squads from his OB. It doesn´t matters anyway since it was clear right from the start that Christoffer was going to win the tournament. So he did.
Michael - it could and probably is me that is wrong, something might have got lost in translation..............maybe it was not the final?
 

Martin Mayers

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Ironically Toby, Mark, and Craig were all at 'Bounding First Fire 2018' just ended over here in the UK. They were playing unpublished Bounding Fire scenarios which it appears need little balance (every round a tight split in victors).
 

klasmalmstrom

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OK - thank you. So who arranges it / organises it all please?
Just a couple of guys... Mikael Rydfalk is the primary "suspect" - he is the one who has all the contact with the hotel, IIRC.

I.e., there is no club/organization involved.
 

JoeArthur

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Ironically Toby, Mark, and Craig were all at 'Bounding First Fire 2018' just ended over here in the UK. They were playing unpublished Bounding Fire scenarios which it appears need little balance (every round a tight split in victors).
Hope the tourny went well Martin - who won? Is it all on the website or Facebook somewhere?
 

Mister T

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To add a very minor point, the Liljeholmen subsidiary accomodation is on the other side of the lake, not very far but a car would be necessary to get there from the tournament venue. It's in a nice building overlooking the lake, single rooms are pretty small but tidy and well-insulated (with shower in the corridor) and it costs less than in the hotel. Just don't check in too late in the evening (or inform them in advance so that they put the key in a hideout).
 

JoeArthur

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To add a very minor point, the Liljeholmen subsidiary accomodation is on the other side of the lake, not very far but a car would be necessary to get there from the tournament venue. It's in a nice building overlooking the lake, single rooms are pretty small but tidy and well-insulated (with shower in the corridor) and it costs less than in the hotel. Just don't check in too late in the evening (or inform them in advance so that they put the key in a hideout).
Thank you - article changed.
 

Matt Book

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Are the scenarios for the Swedish tournament always playtests for Friendly Fire given to players when they arrive at the tournament or are they given to players in advance?
 

Fiedler

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Are the scenarios for the Swedish tournament always playtests for Friendly Fire given to players when they arrive at the tournament or are they given to players in advance?
Yes they are sent out in advance. Some small changes may occur before start of play.
 
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