For many wargamers on the East Coast, the real holiday is not Christmas, when you never get the games you want anyway, but the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, when Winter Offensive is held in bucolic Bowie, Maryland.
This venerable Advanced Squad Leader tournament, held annually by Multi-Man Publishing, has transformed from a purely ASL tournament to an eclectic gathering of gamers of all stripes. Twenty years ago, a table occupied by a non-ASL game would have been unthinkable, but now, owing in part to MMP’s growing stable of game lines, roughly twenty percent of the creaking, uneven tables in the increasingly crowded conference rooms host other wargames and even a few Euros.
In conjunction with the usual band of misfits (Doug Bush, Chris Chapman, and John Slotwinski), I once again managed to play a grand total of zero games of Advanced Squad Leader. My tally for the long weekend includes a loss as the Russians in The Tide at Sunrise (played using the useless optional Naval Rules), a win as the Russians in Storm Over Stalingrad, a loss as the Egyptians in Yom Kippur, and a second place finish in a three player Le Havre using a civic building strategy that lost to the inevitable coal/coke/steel shipping strategy. A four player Space Empires finished inconclusively, though I must say that my Royal Realm of Red Ravagers was well poised to conquer known space . . .
As ever, MMP put on a good show, with a record attendance somewhere north of 120 participants. Any more and they’ll have to open up a third conference room, which would help alleviate some of the space issues. These non-ASL games take up some serious table space.