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.”


Bryan Martin said...

So close!

My Russian & German dice sets need some company.

Ian said...

Man that was cruel. I saw my dice tower and thought I had won!!!!!
Weldone Olli. That dice tower is now three years old and still looks brand new (it was well over a year when I took the pic)

Chris Doary said...

I think we will need to include a set of American and Commonwealth BattleDice in the December raffle. ;)

Sorry to get your blood up mate, but I thought that your dice tower was such a marvellous example of Olli's work.

Better luck next time to the both of you.

Ian said...

Chris, no worries. I'm fairly sure that pic has sold him a few towers since it was first used. He has a whole bunch of them now all part made so maybe now is a good time to ask him for one. It's also good to point out that the cap badge was added by myself but if you send him one yourself he will fit it for you.


Matt Purvis said...

There is always next month.

I'm a new squad leader this month. Great job with the blog.

I'm hoping for a set of battle dice in my stocking this Christmas. I have set your site as the homepage for my wife's computer. I hope she gets the hint.

Chris Doary said...

Thanks for joining Matt. Good luck in the draw, and with your plan. ;)

We have had a few wives purchase dice this month. The regulars tend to come before Xmas and birthdays with "wish lists" in hand. Helen has offered to gift wrap, but so far no one has taken her up on her offer.

Whit R said...

In the pull-out blurb about Olli there's a photo of someone's AFV storage solution. That looks like a sweet setup. Is that Olli's? Is that a custom solution? Or is that using a Raaco?

Chris Doary said...

Re AFV storage question:
You are looking at a picture of one of Oliver's German AFV Raaco boxes.

It is a custom Raaco solution. :)

He is using standard A75 inserts in a PSC4-01 Handy Box. There are five compartments in an A75 insert, which are perfectly sized to store 16mm counters on edge as shown. PSC just stands for Professional Service Case, by the way.

I use A78 inserts for my AFVs. I keep AFV separated so that each of the eight compartments in a A78 has a unique AFV.

With 16 A78 per handy box, this gives me storage for 128 vehicles, each in its own compartment within an A78. This works well for the Germans and other nationalities with a high vehicle count. I keep Infantry, SW and ordnance in a second handy box. Most people use one box for both. Olli probably uses more than two boxes for his Germans alone. But then he has a lot more counters than I have.

Steve Webber said...

So how does one go about purchasing a dice tower from Olli?

Chris Doary said...

Re contacting Olli about a dice tower, just email me at battleschool@rogers.com and I will put you in touch with him.