We had a strong contingent of players join us from as far away as Ohio, New York, Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. We love to have such diversity at our tournament. Foreigners, as we Texans call 'em, add a lot of character and spice, while we reciprocate with a ton of Texas hospitality and some (hopefully) challenging ASL! To make sure that everyone gets a chance to get in on a piece of the available prize action, we incorporated some additional mini-tournaments, as players kicked off Thursday battling in two playtest mini-tournaments using scenarios supplied by Pete Shelling and Mike Seningen. These minis gave us a chance to play some new scenarios, and get a feel for some of the new products that should hopefully hit the streets by next year's event. As always, we had our Saturday Texas Heat Mini Tournament -- and as in every year of late, it was sponsored by our good friends and BBQ caterers, Pok-e-Jo's on 5th Street. Our local group meets there for lunch every other Friday, and they've been catering our event for the last 5 years. Nothing like coming to a Texas tournament and getting fed some great Texas BBQ! Sure hits the spot after 60 some hours of ASL, and you still have 24 more hours left. Other sponsors this year included Boulder Games, MMP, and Austin-based Dragon’s Lair. We really appreciate the prize contributions provided by these fine retailers. We encourage you to direct business their way and please let them know that their support was recognized and appreciated.
So enough about the boring details – who won?
The Team Tournament was won by Zeb Doyle (Austin) & Bryan Register (Austin). Zeb and Bryan were riding a close second to Wes Vaugn (Arkansas) and Brett Smith (Houston) going into Sunday afternoon. As always, the final tense confrontations on Sunday were needed to sort things out. Wes and Zeb were both undefeated going into Sunday morning, and went head-to-head to determine the winner of the coveted 10-3 award for the best individual performance at the tournament. Even with Wes’s loss to Zeb in that encounter, a win by Wes’s partner, Bret Smith, against Matt Shostak (Austin) would still seal the team victory for them. But Bret’s hard fought playing of The Chernichivo Shuffle [SP110] against Matt came up short and they slipped into second place, with Matt Shostak and Glenn Schools (Fort Worth) pulling up into third. (Now Bryan has a dice cup large enough to handle those huge dice he was flinging to that little cup all weekend.)
Wes Vaughn’s loss on Sunday also made him the bridesmaid for the 10-3 award. Wes was gunning to take the 10-3 out of the state of Texas and back to Arkansas with him, but he ran headlong into the 2005 Central Texas ladder champion, Zeb Doyle. Zeb blew through the competition compiling a perfect 5-0 record and capped off a stellar year by making it a clean sweep taking home both the overall individual and team championship trophies as well. Congrats, Zeb! Gary Trezza (New York) rounded out the top tier of 10-3 finishers coming in third.
Our 8-1 XO award, which is given to the best performance by an up and coming ASLer, was also decided on Sunday. Chris Buehler (Houston) was duking it out with first timer Mike Cadieux (Oklahoma) in Radio Wars [HP13] for this prize, with Chris coming out the victor. We hope to see both of them back next year vying for the 10-3.
The Major Johnson Award goes to the player who plays the most ASL, calculated by scenario size and complexity. The premise of the award is to recognize the enjoyment of ASL by playing ASL. And this year, the award went to the person who made it his singular mission to make sure that prize was his. John Hyler (Fort Worth) epitomized the essence of the Major Johnson recipient with his determination, spirit, and enthusiasm for the game throughout the weekend. John started out play first thing Thursday with Beast at Bay [KGP11] and never looked back. He eventually compiled a record breaking 4841.25 Major Johnson points on his way to claiming the prize, bettering second place Bryan Register by almost 2300 points!
The ASL Team Tournament also offers a Saturday only, one-day mini-tournament, punctuated by a full BBQ dinner provided by Pok-e-Jo's on 5th Street. We call it the Texas Heat. It is a unique format where players are pitted against each other not only across the playing board, but whose combined results are compared with their fellow Axis or Allied commanders. A field of 16 played two Mike Seningen playtest scenarios: Last Gasp of the Wacht on Rhein and Breaking Out Of The Cauldron. Bob Chandler (Sugarland) wound up as the top Allied Commander and Clint Howell (Carthage) garnered the top Axis Commander accolades. Several other mini-tournaments were also played during the weekend; Jesse Boomer (Kansas) won the Mike Seningen playtest Mini, and Mike Rose (Kansas) won the Pete Shelling playtest Mini.
The final prizes of the tournament went to the players with the best and worst luck for the weekend as measured by the number of 2’s and 12’s, respectively, rolled over the course of the tournament. The Audie Murphy award goes to the player with the hottest dice and went to Bryan Register with a total of 17 snakes. Brian Roundhill (Austin) came up the winner (loser (?)) of the Col Klink award by rolling 24 boxcars. I think it is time to ceremoniously crush those dice, Brian. Though he did not win the Audie Murphy, my hat goes off to Greg Schmittgen’s (Kansas) luck in our playing of Slaughter in Heaven [TAC43]. It was a slaughter alright. Greg kept a record of the number snakes and SANs (a 4) he rolled against me, not to mention the threes. By the end of that game we were both laughing our a**es off at his ability to constantly roll really low.
As we closed the books on the 13th Annual ASL Team Tournament, the last of the gear was packed, and most folks had already headed back to the real world, I am realizing how enjoyable and exhausting an event like the Team Tournament is to pull together. I have been coming to this event for a few years now, but this is my first year to help behind the scenes. It is really incredible to have all these great players get together for several days of competition, camaraderie and just plain ol’ fun. Without your support and presence the ASL Team Tournament wouldn’t exist. We hope that you can join us next year as we look to see who will be the champions for our 14th ASL Team Tournament. Before we even finished cleaning the game room, we secured the booking of next year’s event returning to the La Quinta Inn, Round Rock. For you foreigners, we would love to have you join us for some great ASL fun. To all, please mark your calendars for June 22nd through June 25th, 2006 for the 14th Annual ASL Team Tournament!