07 December 2011

Naughty or Nice

New Years Day, will mark six months of blogging, and latent carpal tunnel syndrome. Coincidentally, 1 January 2012 will also mark the biggest Sitrep giveaway to date.
Sitrep launched on Canada Day, 2011. Compliments and support expressed by ASL players from around the globe since that time have been welcome and encouraging. We would like to hear from more of you, especially those who are not native English speakers. Feel free to post a comment in your own language.
For our December raffle, Helen and I want to give away something a little more grand. We also want to give Squad Leaders a choice of prizes. Therefore, the winner of our last raffle of the year will receive one of the following gift packs:

Contest rules
You must be a Squad Leader—a follower of Sitrep—as of 31 December 2011 to qualify for the raffle. The winner is determined by a dice roll. The Squad Leader with the lowest dice roll after any tie-breaker rolls wins. Helen has volunteered to roll the dice.
Anyone who joins Sitrep after 7 December will receive one “ballot” for the raffle. A ballot is equivalent to one roll of the dice. Note that you must become a Squad Leader to qualify. "Subscribing" to Sitrep does not give you a ballot.

Those who were Squad Leaders as of 7 December 2011 will receive a bonus ballot, or roll. In addition, Squad Leaders who joined Sitrep before December will receive an additional roll for each month that they were Squad Leaders. For example, if you joined in November, you would be eligible for three rolls: 
  • bonus roll for being a Squad Leader on 7 Dec 2011;
  • one roll for being a Squad Leader in Dec 2011; and
  • one roll for being a Squad Leader in Nov 2011.
The draw will be held on New Year's Day, 2012. 

We will also have a bonus prize for a "qualified" runner-up. Everyone who is following Sitrep using their real identities—real names and avatars with their portraits—is eligible for the bonus prize. The prize is a set of our new American and Commonwealth dice, or a $20.00 gift certificate—winner's choice. Thanks to Chris Dawson, Matt Purvis, and Ogi below for championing the bonus prize. :)

If you have not figured it out yet, joining Sitrep sooner rather than later will give you an edge in future contests.

Good luck!
Bonne chance!
Viel Glück!
¡Buena suerte!
Lycka till!
Buona fortuna!
Hodně štěstí!
Held og lykke!
Boa sorte!
Veľa šťastia!
Sok szerencsét!
Καλή τύχη!
Mult noroc!

01 December 2011

Fourtune Favours the Brave

The results of our November raffle are in. To liven things up, I decided to roll our “gold-edition” BattleSchool dice in Helen’s new dice tower. There were over 100 Squad Leaders in the raffle this time around. That is a lot of rolling and counting, even with just three dice. Some 90 minutes later we had broken in Helen’s dice tower.1 We also had a winner.
It’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an “Tommy, go away;”
If you were brave enough to sign up as a Squad Leader, you had a chance to win a set of five 9/16” (14mm) precision dice. Because I opted to use three dice for the raffle, eight people tied with a low score of four. 
The "gold edition" black and red dice were hot, with heaps of “double bayonets.” But for some reason, the white die refused to sing along with his chums. Not once in 400 rolls did the regular “Tommy” produce a “one” at the same time as his golden squad mates did. Reluctantly, I have decided to give this particular white die to the winner of this month’s raffle. Just kidding, I will keep it aside for Helen to use when she plays me. ;)

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
I went into a public-’ouse to get a pint o’ beer,
The publican ‘e up an’ sez, “We serve no red-coats here.”
The girls be’ind the bar they laughed an’ giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an’ to myself sez I:
O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, go away”;
But it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play.

Of the eight Squad Leaders with a low roll of four, five had joined Sitrep in July. Clearly, there is an advantage to becoming a Squad Leader sooner rather than later. However, for those who have recently found the blog, there is hope. Mike Ledlow joined in November, and was among the eight finalists. The other two finalists joined in September, which brings me to the winner of the tie breaker.
Tin Man 
Bryan Martin, who joined in July, narrowly missed winning the tie-breaker with an “average” roll of ten. But Oliver Gray’s luck held out, and he managed to eke out a win with a commonplace “nine.” Oliver wins a set of five precision dice, and a $20.00 gift certificate for KitShop. Merry Christmas!
Oliver has been playing ASL in Scotland since the dawn of ASL. You can read a bit about his playing career, gargantuan ASL collection, and his engineer ingenuity in the box below.2 Suffice it to say that Oliver does not believe in half measures when it comes the The Game.

Click to enlarge

Oliver will receive three 9/16” (14mm) BattleSchool dice. We had some white dice left over, so we had a few of the popular black and dark-red produced to match them. But rather than use silver foil, as in the original design, we thought we would try gold. Helen is a big fan of them. They remind her of Christmas, her favourite time of the year.
Bundled with these BattleSchool dice are a Sniper! Effects die, and a Rate of Fire (ROF) die. These speciality dice are the same size as the BattleSchool trio. The Sniper! die is bright red, which works well with the white foil of the designs. The Sniper! die is designed to be used whenever a player gets a Sniper Activation. You can learn more about the design of this die in my Sniper! post.3 
The ROF die is a stunning contrast of metallic foils on black acetate—the light-weight material used in precision dice. The one-spot features a “Sherm” in gold, the two-spot a “Pak” in silver, and the three-spot a Soviet 82mm mortar in copper.
The ROF die can be used in lieu of a coloured die when playing. Alternatively, it can be used “heretically” as a third, ROF-only die. Steve Pleva, a prominent ASL player, pioneered this alternative house-rule at various tournaments in the United States. Used in this latter fashion, a ROF die removes the automatic twin benefits of rolling low and maintaining rate. Thus it is possible to miss your target, yet maintain rate. It also reduces the impact of Critical Hits, because obtaining a “crit” does not guarantee that a weapon will also maintain rate. But however you choose to use the die, its striking graphics are hard to miss. In other words, a big benefit of the metallic foils is that you are less likely to miss a "rate shot."4 
Given that Oliver has an extensive ASL collection, I cannot imagine what he will need to spend his $20.00 gift certificate on at the moment. But with more ASL releases just around the corner, I am certain that he will think of something. But please, no more Raaco until after I receive mine. 
Congratulations Oliver!

Click to enlarge

1. In truth, Helen had given her dice tower a good work out almost two months, at ASL Oktoberfest. She is pleased to have her very own walnut dice tower. The tower was crafted my Mattias Ronnblom’s father. Mattias, for those who do not know, is the man behind the Friendly Fire scenario packs, and the Friendly Fire ASL tournament. The tournament is held in Linkoping, Sweden. The tournament runs in late summer, usually in late August, or during the first weekend in September. The scenario list consists primarily of scenarios due to be released in the Friendly Fire pack in October of the same year.
Custom Olli Tower
2. Some years ago, Oliver broke his original dice tower. Clearly, the first tower was not rugged enough. An aircraft engineer by trade, he reasoned that aluminum was a far more robust construction material than either plastic or wood. And so it began. In the past few years, Oliver has manufactured and sold dice towers to players in more than a dozen countries worldwide, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. 
However, Oliver’s inventive streak did not end with dice towers. He wanted to protect his laminated, unmounted mapsheets from damage. 
Map Case Spine
At one time, it was possible to purchase an unmounted mapsheet of each ASL mapboard from Avalon Hill/Multi-Man Publishing (MMP). Some players preferred the unmounted mapsheets over the mounted boards. The mounted boards typically suffered from the “bends” due to the need to fold them along the Q-row. In contrast, the unmounted mapsheets could be laminated and thereafter kept stored flat. 
So Oliver conceived of a large, aluminum binder, or folder, to house the majority of his map collection. When MMP released the map bundle, the utility of Oliver’s storage system increased. Like the older mounted boards, the newer Starter-Kit style boards were usually shipped and stored folded. But when MMP released the map bundle earlier this year, the company decided to ship the bundles as they had received them from the printers. While the new boards have a crease along the Q-row, they are not folded. Instead, they ship in a long box. (I know this first hand, having failed to find a better spot than my game room to store a dozen map bundles.) Players around the globe scratched their heads, and debated the wisdom of folding the new maps. Some decided not to fold their maps, and devised ingenious ways to store them. Oliver must have chuckled. His aluminum folders were standing by.
3. Here is the executive summary:
In addition to the grave marker design, the one-spot includes text to remind players of the possible effects of a “1” on a Sniper Activation roll. They are “Elim” (or KIA) for a SMC, “STUN” for a CE, fully-armored AFV, “Break” for a MMC or the crew of a partially armored/unarmored vehicle, and “Immob,” or immobilization for an unarmored vehicle. 
The two-spot features a red cross, which reminds players that a SMC will suffer a wound result. The other results are: “Stun” for a CE fully-armoured vehicle, and “Pin” for a MMC or the crew of a partially-armored/unarmored vehicle.
4. And here is a bit more detail until I can find time to finish my “Got Rate?” post:
The four-, five-, and six-spots have pips. The other faces have the following:
The one-spot has a Sherman tank in gold foil with a “1” encased in a square beside it. If you roll a “Sherm,” any weapon with a ROF of 1-3 has got “rate.”
The two-spot has a German anti-tank gun in silver foil with a “2” encased in a square beside it. If you roll a “Pak,” any weapon with a ROF of 1 or 2 has kept “rate.”
The three-spot has a Russian 82mm mortar in copper foil with a “3” encased in a square beside it. If you roll a mortar, any weapon with a ROF of 3 has “rate.”