From TD Steffen Knippel
The 16th annual Canadian ASL Open (CASLO) took place at the Viscount Gort hotel in Winnipeg Manitoba on May 18-20, 2012.
The festivities began the night before at the hotel bar, Average Joe’s, where Blair Bellamy introduced our newest competitor, Shane McKenzie, to his first-ever game of ASL in a playing of S1 Retaking Vierville. Several of us, including a past president of the Winnipeg ASL Club (WASLC), Bill Bird, enjoyed a few friendly libations and shared ASL and other stories. Team Suderman (4 of them) joined us late, straight from the airport (they drank much too little).
The next morning Military Police Sergeant Dave Hall (also a WASLC and CASLA member) chaperoned a two-hour tour of the 17 Wing air base, where eleven other CASLO participants had the opportunity to visit 435 Squadron and its CC-130 Hercules aircraft, and the 17 Wing museum.
The CASLO kicked off at noon with our traditional ceremonial toast. We again toasted the late Jim McLeod, who co-founded WASLC and CASLA, and who began the CASLO tradition for all of us. (Someone needs to learn a Gaelic toast, on Jim’s behalf.)
The first round of the main CASLO tournament opened with 16 players, from Calgary (3), Montreal (2), Toronto (2), Ottawa (1), Barrie (1), Victoria (1), Los Angeles (1), and of course Winnipeg (5). Surprisingly, of the 8 first round matches, 7 pairings chose J103 Lenin’s Sons (5 German wins; 2 Russian wins).
The second round began at 7 pm on Friday and ended at 12:30 am. Unfortunately, 4 matches had to be adjudicated. The rookie Tournament Director and Assistant Director (yours truly and Paul Suderman, respectively) learned their lesson, and will pay closer attention to scenario size/length in future. In what might be considered an upset, the adjudicators awarded Erik Lindblad’s Russians the win over Adrian Earle’s Germans in AP48 Up Inferno Hill. (Adrian had won CASLO XV in Ottawa the previous September.) OA18 Parry and Strike was the round’s most popular scenario choice.
Saturday morning saw the beginning of the McLeod Memorial Mini tournament and the ASL Starter Kit (ASLSK) Mini, in addition to round 3 of the main tourney. CASLO participants with at least one Friday loss were permitted to enter the McLeod Memorial Mini, and two pre-registrants faced off in the ASLSK Mini.
Seven players entered what might be the last McLeod Memorial Mini (Bill Bird, Paul Suderman, Blair Bellamy, Derek Lofthouse, Ron Levreault, Dave Hall, and Norm Wieser). This Mini featured 9 scenarios designed by the late Jim McLeod, thoroughly play-tested and revised by WASLC and reissued as the “Elite Canadians” scenario pack, which included 3 previously unpublished scenarios. WASLC donated 8 Elite Canadians scenario packs to CASLA for use in the Mini and as prizes. Additional copies were sold on-site for $16 each as a fundraiser for WASLC.
Tom Wilson and Shane McKenzie faced off in CASLO’s first-ever ASLSK Mini. It was only Tom’s 3rd or 4th game, and Shane’s 2nd (after his Thursday night introduction to ASLSK in the bar). Tom won as the defending Americans in S1 Retaking Vierville, and after a brief conference, Shane agreed that Tom should join his family fishing at their cabin on Lake of the Prairies (a 4.5 hour drive). The TD stepped in to give Shane another lesson in S2 War of the Rats. Tom was awarded a set of 4 precision dice, donated by Chris Doary’s BattleSchool KitShop. (Tom was heard to say that they would be great for resolving arguments about the dice in Settlers of Cataan…)
The main tourney’s 3rd round tested the participants’ knowledge of the PTO rules – every scenario involved the Japanese. Not surprisingly, there were no upsets in this round – the grognards won every match.
By this time, some of the participants staying in the hotel had “borrowed” table lamps from their rooms to improve the conference room’s rather meagre lighting. (We had approved an emergency upgrade from a conference room just half the size on Thursday – late registrations had made it worthwhile, and in retrospect, it was absolutely necessary.) When those players had to return their lamps to their rooms before the Sunday checkout, the hotel stepped in to replace the lamps from their reserve inventory.
The 4th round started at 5:30 pm on Saturday. By this time, only Steve Slunt and Darren Kovacs were undefeated, and so they faced off. Darren’s Russians successfully defended against Steve’s Germans in J94 Kempf at Melikhovo. (Your TD wishes he’d watched this short, sharp, scenario played out.)
Meanwhile, Blair Bellamy’s Canadians upset Bill Bird’s Germans in the 2nd round of the McLeod Mini in the newly published scenario MLR09 Overrun (using the new-ish board 1a, which Jim McLeod had never seen), securing a spot for Blair in Sunday’s final against Paul Suderman.
The hotel hosted a wedding reception on Saturday night, and its rambunctious attendees partied all night in their many rooms. Unfortunately, Brad Hunter was encircled by these celebrants, and he had to bow out of Sunday’s play due to complete lack of sleep. (Brad left us a warm, congratulatory, note that reassured us of his attendance at future CASLOs.)
While Paul Suderman duked it out with Blair Bellamy in the McLeod Mini final (Paul held out as the defending Canadians in the new MLR11 Only the Beginning), there was potential drama brewing in the main tourney.
By Sunday morning, Darren was undefeated at 4-0, while Adrian Earle, Steve Slunt and Erik Lindblad were all at 3-1. If Adrian defeated Darren, there would be 3 players at 4-1, necessitating all sorts of tie-breakers and potentially bringing the victories achieved by their opponents into play. But Darren’s Germans blocked Adrian’s British from fulfilling their Victory Conditions, and Darren’s long car drive from Victoria was rewarded with a first place finish.