March Madness was held March 13 - 15, 1998 in Americas heartland of Kansas City, KS. Sponsored by Kinetic Energy, the publishers of Time on Target, the tournament was ably run by the magazines editors Mike Reed and Mark Neucom. It was suppose to be a six-round tourney, one game on Friday night, three on Saturday and the last two on Sunday. It was to end 5 PM on Sunday and those opting to take late flights back, choose well - it did run until at least then.

March Madness 1998

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That's me standing. Mike Reed, ToT publisher and March Madness tournament director is seated. I had other pictures including me and Mark Neucom (also of ToT) and Cloyd Angell (the designer of Ambeleve, a monster game our Houston group spent a year and a half playing). They were destroyed in film processing.

KE certainly rewarded the people that showed up. The controversial leaders counters were distributed upon signing in. I got all four sets: US, German, British and late-war Romanian. Coincidentally, they also distributed the late-war Romanian counter set along with nine scenarios and a Allied minor Chapter H insert for the new weapons. They also offered a cool T-shirt with the participants of last year's tournaments represented as leaders. I hope all the attendees bought one so they can proudly display the Delwood 9-1 leader. Two door prizes were offered: a set of black SS counters with German gray borders so they can be placed under ? counters more effectively. Seattle's, Kentucky's and CH!'s own Jeff Newell donated a mouse pad with the 'Dzerhezinsky Tractor Works' map on it.

For the most part the tournament went smoothly. The most notable problem was starting games on time. Twice the number of people as last year showed up and the ones starting late actually had a hard time finding table space to play. Eventually an entire round was lost.That might have been a problem with the crowd size. Saturday afternoon was the most extreme, losing two hours of prime-time play. Curiously, the scenarios were the same as last year. However, players could substitute the some new Romanian ones during each round. The rounds were categorized as short (<4 hours), medium (<6 hours) and long (>6 hours).

I will let each player tell his own story but I went 3-2. Unlike last year, the ones I lost were very close at least. 'Panzers to the Rescue' depended on a long shot, literally, on the last turn. I hit but failed to Kill. 'Angels of the Airfield,' an insane scenario where attacking hordes of American Second Line and Green troops rush an airfield defended by dug in Japanese with MMGs and captured US HMGs. Doug Cruezt, a fine player out of LA, held it but it came down to the last turn as my leaders, heroes and a few MMC dove into Japanese positions for one last, desperate CC. It was a reverse PTO situation. My last game, one of the new Romanian ones, against Mark Evans out of Colorado, went down to a mediated decision by Mark Neucom. I was credited with the victory in what had to be a tough decision, only because I had a slight positional advantage on turn 5 of 7; by no means a victory I can brag about.

A Houston buddy of mine, Phil Swanson, came up and got to play Seattle's Del Martensen in 'Frazens Roadblock' in round three. While Swanson ended up with a 2-3 record, he did take him the tournaments Most AFV Kills (19); something he values much more anyway. Since I am now from Seattle, I made him an honorary Seattle Marauder, although thinking about it now, I should have made him an Honorary Berserk Commissar. And speaking of those yellow-bellied Portland girlie-men, none had the guts to show up, so we never had the chance to do some real whuppen.

If you never attended a national tournament before, I would highly recommend going. It lets you see different styles of play and new perspectives on the game, rules and challenges. More importantly, you can actually meet some of the people from the ASLML; not always good, but interesting nevertheless.

As always, I encourage discussion. If you agree or disagree, feel free to write me.

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