advanced squad leader [Updated October 2002]

ASL  6 prizes Experienced Swiss Continuous 
    9   Round 2 16   Round 3  9  Round 4 16   
  Round 5  9   Round 6 16    Final 9  


Paul Sidhu, NJ

2001-2002 Champion

2nd: Gary Mei, NJ

3rd: Kevin Valerien, MD

4th: JR Tracy, NY

5th: Jim Stahler, VA

6th: Ray Woloszyn, NC

Event History
1991    Mike McGrath       91
1992    Perry Cocke      112
1993    Mike McGrath      120
1994    Gary Fortenberry      130
1995    Gary Fortenberry      130
1996    Tom Morin      110
1997    Jeff Coyle       81
1998    Bret Hildebran       81
1999   Steve Pleva       43
2000   Bret Hildebran     42
2001   Paul Sidhu     32
2002   Paul Sidhu     35

AREA Ratings

GM: Perry Cocke

Past Winners

'91, '93: Mike McGrath - VA
1992: Perry Cocke - MD
1999: Steve Pleva - CT

Gary Fortenberry, TX

Tom Morin - MA

Jeff Coyle, VA

Bret Hildebran, OH
1998, 2000

Paul Sidhu, NJ

Once More into the Hunt Campaign

Defending Champion Paul Sidhu accomplished that most difficult feat - the repeat - going undefeated to take home the "wood" and a $60 merchandise certificate from MMP. Holdovers from last year's top six grabbed places 3, 4, & 5: Kevin Valerien, J.R. Tracy, and Jim Stahler, with perennial contender Ray Woloszyn in 6th place - all with records of 4-3. Besides Paul, the only other player not to suffer three losses was runner-up Gary Mei at 6-1. Honorable mention to Scott Romanowksi, Bret Hildebran, and Ken Mioduski all at 4-3 also.

The annual decline in attendance was halted this year, with 35 players participating for at least part of the event. Player satisfaction seemed high again. No games had to be adjudicated this year (always a plus) as a greater emphasis was placed on keeping long scenarios out of the AM rounds and relegated only to the PM rounds. For that matter, even in the PM rounds, players mostly avoided the longer scenarios. Scenario balance worked well, and players generally seemed happy with the scenario choices. With ten choices per round (two columns of five scenarios), players were better able to pick scenarios they wanted to play (rather than avoiding scenarios they did not want to play). Part of the cost involved with that, however, is a possible loss of focus and a lessening of the communal experience, as many different scenarios get played each round.

The first round saw most players avoiding the PTO column, with the popular choice being "Will to Fight.Eradicated"- an early war, German vs Polish, all-infantry classic. Significant match-ups in this scenario saw Paul beating Ken Mioduski, and Gary Mei beating Jim Stahler. Early war battles in Poland predominated in the second round as well. All five of the scenarios in the Polish column got some play, with "Round One" having a slight edge. Gary Mei and Bret Hildebran both won with the defending Poles in this One, while Kevin Valerien's risk-avoidance techniques with his German AFVs led him to victory there. Meanwhile, Paul's Poles in "Round Two" found themselves needing to protect only half as much territory as expected when Bill Stoppel's 150+mm OBA set much of the town on fire. "All the other AFVs are incredibly shy. They dart into the street to try smoke dischargers and then run to hide behind the buildings." [Kevin Valerien]

The popular choice in the third round was "Cream of the Crop." Important match-ups in this 1941 combined arms Russian scenario included Paul defeating past champion Tom Morin, Gary Mei taking out past champion Bret Hildebran, and Kevin Valerien beating Scott Romanowski, all in close games. Not many games were played from the Deluxe ASL column in this round, further evidence of the lesser popularity of the big boards (even if it is just to avoid needing to carry them to a tournament). In the past, Deluxe scenarios have been sprinkled into columns with regular scenarios, only to be avoided even more than when segregated. I would be sad to see Deluxe scenarios banished from the tourney, but the players have been voting with their feet over the years. "Gary adjusted well to the attack and brought his infantry over and played the KV aggressively-but 800-pound gorillas can afford to be aggressive when playing against chimps." [Bret Hildebran]

Round 4 saw the four remaining undefeated players engaged in tight battles in the French-Thai combined arms battle "Siam Sambal." J.R. Tracy and Kevin Valerien entered into their first ever tournament game. Kevin's Legionnaires were valiant and his FT-17s were bold (or was it vice versa?), but the Tracy-led Siamese were tough to crack. Prisoners played an important role in the outcome of this match, with guards deploying and prisoners escaping at timely points, and guards who were too busy with their prisoners to interdict a last-turn counterattack. Meanwhile, fellow New Jersey residents ("What exit?") and regular foes Paul and Gary were also duking it out in the groves and fields of Indochina. Gary was eager to be playing his friend the defending champion in a crucial round, but, true to form, Paul eked out a victory with his intrepid French. Gary has made tremendous gains in his game play over the past two years and should be a force to be reckoned with in any future tournaments. "I love playing Paul because he's so relentless. If you have a weakness anywhere, you can bet he'll jump on it and make you pay. I really have to be at my best to have a chance against him." [Gary Mei]

Round 5 matched up the last two undefeated players, perennial contender J.R. "always the bridesmaid" Tracy vs Paul "defending Champ" Sidhu in a battle for the championship and some relief. Not only would the winner of this round win the entire event, but also he would avoid the pressure of having to play in the next round. As customary, the last two undefeated players got to pick any of the scenarios in the tournament. This year I urged them to play something short, however, since the loser would still have to play rounds 6 and 7. Paul and J.R. accommodated me by choosing "Scobie Preserves" a short Deluxe scenario featuring Indian ("British") 4-5-7s with a Staghound and a Sherman who have to push away from the road Greek Communist partisans with molotovs to use against the AFVs and "scobie preserves" to use against the infantry in close combat. This was a real back-and-forth nail-biter, with great play on both sides marred only by an end-game realization that a key line-of-sight they thought was blocked had been clear all along. Mid-game saw J.R. withdraw an important force unscathed from a dangerous close combat and scorch their erstwhile opponents with Prep Fire, only to see a random sniper shot lay that force low. In the end, Paul skillfully maneuvered his partisans in for the kill and then got "hot" with his molotov attacks for the win. Another "wood" for Paul's trophy case, another near-miss for J.R. who would have to keep playing to determine his final ranking.

Other important games this round included Gary Mei's French/Norwegian win over Ray Woloszyn's Germans in the infantry-only "Triumph Atop Taraldsvikfjell" and Kevin Valerien's narrow win as the Marine Raiders over Bret Hildebran in "Bailey's Demise" at the one-log bridge over the Matanikau from Operation Watchtower. "Probably my favorite scenario out of OWT-great tourney scenario and a real nail-biter." [Bret Hildebran]

Despite not having many turns, the championship match of "Scobie Preserves" was tense down to the very end and didn't finish until just before the start of Round 6. So it was understandable that a tired and dispirited J.R. Tracy might want to take a forfeit in round 6 and live to fight another day. Newly re-crowned Paul Sidhu was another matter and he was ready for another game. I knew past champ Bret didn't care where he placed, so I set him up for a fun game with Paul and arranged the other matches for Round 6. So when J.R. finally succumbed to my attacks on his manhood and agreed to play another game, I had Bret in reserve as an appropriate match. In retrospect I should be ashamed for goading J.R. into this game. His Japanese attack vs Bret's Americans was pushed home well and he gave Bret plenty to worry about, but J.R.'s heart wasn't in it, his usual joie de jouer was missing, but he did help his record marginally.

Meanwhile, Paul was put to good use schooling a relative beginner, and Gary was pitted against Kevin in what would become (given J.R.'s loss this round and subsequent events) the match for 2nd place and a rematch from round 7 last year. Gary's attacking Americans were stymied at first when their Pershing tank (the "Ace in the Hole" of the scenario title) was knocked out. Sometimes, however, a good, desperate plan will come together with an improbable set of occurances and overcome the best of situations. Thus it was that Gary pulled out a win against all odds "Gary did a great job sticking with it and getting good use out of all his units during the end game." [Kevin Valerien] "My thanks to Kevin for being the most even tempered and gracious person I could ever hope to play. He was completely calm and a gentleman throughout the final turn as my hot dice robbed him of a victory he richly deserved. The lesson is to never give up a game unless you're mathematically eliminated." [Gary Mei]

Round 7 Sunday morning is a bit of a blur. Kevin stayed home (that 40-minute drive each way can be a killer, especially when three young kids are vying for your attention), Bret left early, and J.R. did the same. Paul and Scott Romanowski started a game of Showdown in Syria that was fun but doomed to end unfinished, while Gary took the opportunity to garner another conquest, this time against Tom Ruta (fifth place last year) in "The T-Patchers." I matched up those two grognards Jim Stahler and Ray Woloszyn, with Jim climbing to 5th place by virtue of this victory.

A seven-way tie at 4-3 led to a lot of tiebreakers being invoked. In retrospect I may have bilked Bret out of a higher finish, but he had skipped the last round and already left (and I knew he didn't much care). "Ninety percent of life is just showing up." [Woody Allen]

Once again a good time was had by all, with good sportsmanship evident throughout the tourney, and the quality of play better than ever. "The competition was top notch." [Bret Hildebran]

Given that, it was with very mixed emotions that I had to announce I cannot GM the ASL event in 2003. Taking over ASL at DonCon from Russ Gifford has been a blast, and I have been privileged to GM a great bunch of guys each year, but now I have to devote more of my WBC time to other MMP things. Scott Romanowski has agreed to take up the reins. Hopefully the fix is in, and this is a done deal. Scott has assisted in the past, is more organized than I am, and has more time to devote to the tourney, so he should be able to help ASL continue to regain some of the attendance it lost under my 6+1 "leadership." "You need a write-up by when??"

 GM      Perry Cocke (MMP)  [5th Year]    1664 Forest Park Ave., Baltimore, MD 21207     (410) 944-3342

View the Icon Key | Return to main BPA page