Squad Leader Academy announced the Boardgamer Player Association 2004 Cross of Iron Play by Email Championship Tournament in October of 2003. Play commenced 1/19/04 in a single elimination format. Players were seeded, top vs bottom rank, by AREA ratings. The VASSAL application using the VSQL module will be used as the standard interface for this event. This Sun Java vehicle, authored by Rodney Kinney, combined with SQLA 'a VSQL version 2.5.1 enables both step based PBEM and real time server play. VSQL version 2.5 possesses full Cross of Iron functionality. The key features include: its free, files are computer platform independent, and the server interface is built in. All VASSAL/VSQL components are available either via the Vassal Engine Website, within the SQL site (main page side menu, VSQL), or upon request to Squad Leader Academy, a installer CD (a $5 contribution to Wargame Academy is encouraged to offset time/cost). SQLA has VSQL mentors standing by to bring any interested party up to competency using the VSQL interface.
The player field has been fixed at 16 members, qualifying as a BPA sanctioned event. This field defines a 4 round event. All participants must have 2004 BPA memberships. See the Boardgamer Player Association website for the 2004 membership form ($10 Associate membership entitles you to entry any BPA event starting in 2004). . Plaques will be awarded at least to the first place finishers with all BPA accolades.
Although planned as a 5 round event, a 16 player field made it a perfect fit as a four round event. It was intended that each round to be completed in two months after round start with delinquent games to be adjudicated for and binding tournament. Matches were recorded in for matches in both the SLlist ladder and AREA result. Players unable to complete due to personal priorities were expected to concede. Players were allowed default a round with no AREA impact if real life prevents them from starting a round. For each round, the surviving players will be ranked by AREA rating (year end 2003 ranking). If a player bows out of a round, they will be replaced with the highest rated loser from the previous round until the spot is filled. That player will be treated as a previous round winner suffering no handicap relative to the other remaining players other than being seeded in the bottom position. This did occur in the finals as one player suspended play then went MIA. Ultimately he was replaced by his semifinal opponent. Combined wiht limited availability of the players in the final, due to night school and other life priorities, the pace of the final consumed in excess of one calender year.
VASSAL and VSQL was the common interface (initially vassal 1.2.3. and vsql 2.5.1 then VSQL3). Mentors were identified to help VSQL novices to become proficient with this application. Although the first round scenario will use standard boards 1-4, subsequent round scenario utilized higher number boards which are contained in the VSQL application resources. Scenarios utilized were SQLA designs. The objective of tournament scenarios is to allow player skill to be an advantage rather than a 'dice war' and minimizing PBEM play inhibitions due to HIP, concealment, high number of vehicle movement .
SQL4th edition and COI4th edition rules augmented by SQLA rule conventions and compiled Question & Answers were utilized. SQLA rules Czar and alternates were identified for a prompt binding rule interpretation as needed. Players were encouraged to confer with each other or resolve any issue. However once a czar ruling is requested, the result is binding. House rules from one's house have no merit. From extensive SQLA tournament, most rule issues with potential problems have already been incorporated into the SQL rule conventions.
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