I started playing ASL in 1990. My brother Dylan and I would play as often as we could (this was before he discovered World in Flames and all but deserted ASL). As is so often the case when only playing the same person, our understanding of the rules were half missing and the other half wrong. But we still had a blast playing each other. In one of the General magazines, it advertised the upcoming 1st Annual Avaloncon to be help in Camp Hill PA so Dylan and I decided we would make the trek from Montreal. I didn’t own a car so we were going to ride down on my motorcycle. Our mom didn’t want both of her children to die, so she rented us a car (thanks mom!). This was a bonus as I could bring my kit in the trunk. We arrived and it was more than I hoped it would be. One gigantic room with all of the Avalon Hill titles being played in tournaments and a smaller but still very large room with nothing but ASL. I still remember playing a total of eight games that weekend with a record of 3W 5L. I will describe the events surrounding the one game that I remember best. Not because of the actual game but because of what transpired afterward.
I was paired against a young man (I do not remember his name nor would I publish it if I did) who suggested we play Cibik’s Ridge as he was a play tester for the upcoming ‘Gung Ho!’ module. I explained that I had never played PTO (I didn’t own Code of Bushido) so he advised that I should take the Marines. For any of you that are not familiar with this scenario, a large column of Japanese stroll up a hill on a path right into the jaws of Hidden MG totting Marines. In two turns it was over. Dead IJA everywhere. I think this was more due to him not disbanding the column then my great expertise in jungle warfare. As we were finishing putting the pieces away, I noticed that my dice were missing. Now let me say that there were nothing special about these dice, not precision, or expensive or anything but they were my lucky dice. Just a couple of Avalon Hill dice that came with one of my games. A green one and a black one. In any case they were no longer on the table. So here is an excerpt from the conversation that followed as best as I can recall:
Derek: Have you seen my dice?
Derek: Can you check your dice box in case you put them in there by accident?
Him: I didn’t.
Derek: Can you please check?
-at this point, he opens his box and there sitting on the top of the pile are a green and a black die.
Derek: That’s them.
Him: No those are mine.
Derek: My black die has some of the paint missing on one of the #3 pips.
-He pulls out the black die, studies the #3 face for a few seconds…
Him: hmmmm, I guess this one is yours.
-He then hands me the black die, closes the lid to his box and continues packing up his stuff.
Derek: Ummmm- can I have my green die too?
Him: No, that one’s mine.
-Now I know a lot of you would have handled this very differently but I found myself frozen and unable to think or act. I ended up saying ‘thanks for the game’ and walking away. To this day I wonder what has become of that die or who that person was and if I have met or played him since. I sometimes wonder if I find out who it was, would I ask for my die back? I think I would and I would probably start using it again so I could bore all of my opponents with this story while pointing to the dice.