…The faceless black doors opened, and a gush of warm air washed over me, inviting me with soothing comfort into the arms of the dark-way before me. I entered without fear. I would say that I walked, but more I was drawn inward despite my will, yet my will could not counsel against it.
Once beyond the gates into the darkness, the walls seemed to fall off and I was in a boundless passage of unknown dimension. I kept going straight lest I fall off some unknown precipice just steps away. Looking ahead I could see neither an end nor any light. But soon light came, not from an opening, but from the images emerging up to my right and left, images of battles and men long forgotten, of the great wars and the bravery and courage that moves history. It seemed so real yet distant as it played out before me, to wit:
Hours I walked? Timeless was my trek, and before my I could even sense it, the darkness broke and there was the light of the wholesome spring sun and the trill of songbirds on a mountain valley prairie. Held my hand up at first to cover my eyes from the light, and then after a minute pulled it away… and then I saw him:
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It was the sided The Six Sided Cognoscente himself! I had arrived. My joy was beyond measure.
I approached him. I he did not acknowledge my presence. I introduced my: “I am Curt, Lord Curtmungus. I’ve come…”
“I know why you’ve come… and I know what you can do! Can you show me something I do not know?” he almost giggled.
Suddenly I saw a laptop on the ground, open with Triple A fired up and ready to go.
“G1 awaits your scram orders on out-of-the-box second edition at fifty bid! Your bid has been placed! Do you object? Say it now!”
I swept the laptop up and sat with it. I studied it, but knew instantly I had no objection.
“Go!” I said.
“Very well,” the learned one said.
I’d like to say we fought for hours, days even, but truth be told only an hour passed and this was his victory on round 4:
He laughed and called it the “Caribbean Sting.” It was brilliant, a true A&A masterstroke of set play.
We played again, and this happened:
He called it “The Rising Sun-Whip,” and indeed I felt the sting of the lash.
We played on. Fifty, sixty games? we played, never needing food or rest. Every time I lost, but every defeat was a victory of knowledge–new moves, new ways of seeing the board, of seeing through the board.
“You must be able to play with he board in your mind,” my master said. He gently closed my laptop, sat down across from me, and we began to play without machines or pieces or dice or boards or anything physical, just calling out moves and resolving combats according to probability.
Every mistake I made, he slapped me across the face, my cheeks becoming swollen and red with the lessons of the Open Hand. But then, a miracle. Days (months?) of pain, and the training paid off. He was the Axis and was pursuing a German naval strategy against Russia, the drip, drip convoy to Leningrad. But he amazingly failed to see that I could nuke his unguarded transports by taking Denmark w/USA to unlock the channel and then extend the range of my British fighters by attacking his superior fleet off Denmark with 1 DD on the theory that I could win that battle and thus push my Brit carrier through to land my British fighters on. To wit:
He leaned back and did not hit me, he did not grow red or fly into a rage, but a smile broke across his face and he laughed a deep laugh, a laugh of profound relief. “Finally, someone to take on the burden,” he said with mirth. For he, more than anyone, saw that destroying his transports meant USA control of Norway and thus and endless supply of fighters to Russia. There was no way he could win. I had won!
The Six Sided Cognoscente got up and took my hand, rising me to my feet. “You are the one,” he said. He explained that several years ago another young man had braved the mountain to come to him, a young man from Arizona who had trained under AxisDominion. He called himself “Wagner.” But he wanted more, he wanted total dominion over the game, total victory, a victory so final, that no one would ever play it again. The Six Sided Cognoscente tried to explained to him that no such victory was possible, but the young man balked, took The Six Sided Cognoscente’s best secrets and fled. "He’s now in Northern Idaho, outside Sandpoint… he leads an Axis & Allies following that follow his every command, no matter how crazy the order, no matter how absurd the strategy. He has a Youtube channel, he spreads lies about the game, recommends disinformation, such as the Axis neutral crush, Japan 5 DOW, Russia all mech, UK Spain landing, German South America Landing. He’s raised an army of neo-Nazi, mutant-werewolf men to crush anyone who refuses to play him.
I looked him skeptically, and flexed my massive pecks, showing him that I, Lord Curtmungus, was confident I could pound whatever dressed up nerds this Wagner could send my way.
The Six Sided Cognoscente smirked, “We have footage,” he said. He opened his laptop and played some local CCTV footage, to wit:
“Holy shit!” I gulped.
“Yes, he must be stopped,” he said, “defeated before he brings final shame to the game, a lasting stain that ruins it forever. You must go and defeat him, defeat him with extreme prejudice.”
I asked why he didn’t get rid of this freak himself. The Six Sided Cognoscente told me he was bound to the mountain top. He had made a bargain with the Dice Gods: they gave him the power of “ultimate game awareness” but in exchange he could never leave the mountain top. “A cruel joke,” he said. “I am tired and ready to go now. 7,000 G40 games is enough for any man. I am done.” He got up, put on his best suit, glasses and hat, said it was time to go, and walk me down the mountain. At a certain point down the slope, the Six Sided Cognoscente seized and stopped. Smoke started to rise from under his hat. He laughed and his beard flashed off in flame. And then this happened:
“What an A-hole,” I thought as I watched my mentor melt into the moss covered stones of the mountain side. Sure, he trained me, but where was the Busch Light? Plus my face still hurt from his strikes, and I don’t like to lose, even if it is to a great teacher. For what is a good loser but someone who is good at losing. Not me!
My thirst for the Busch Light ambrosia was beyond reckoning, and I hastened back to my car below in Nelson. I popped the trunk and immediately drank 17 beers. Feeling whole again, I thought I would just cut a beeline back to Bellingham, but some unknown force of my will caused me to turn south, south to Idaho, to Sandpoint and the layer of this “Wagner.”
For a day I drove, pounding the Busch, my heart thomping, replaying the games I had lost on the mountaintop. Soon, I was in Sandpoint, and I wondered how I would locate this “Wagner.” I should have known it was not I that need to locate him, he was already aware of me.
Apparently a scout of his, who went by the name of “Guerrilla Red-Crotch,” saw me and lumped her shit-ass body on the hood of my car. I stopped, and then she did some sort of ceremonial dance, to wit:
What lump-shit freak! But I guess I understood and followed her to Wagner’s Keep. I drove my car right in:
I got out and was ushered into a ceremony–Wagner himself was about to awake from his slumber to address his Axis & Allies minions. “My timing could not be more appropriate,” I was told. As we approached the hall, I was told to hang back, by the order of Wagner himself. Something told me to follow this order.
A ceremony with martial trumpets began, and Wagner emerged from his crypt “to address” his followers:
After the massacre, he set aside his rifle and said, "I had to clear the deck of these tiresome losers before you and I met. They think customizing is the equivalent being good at the game. Fools… I’ve been waiting for you, Lord Curtmungus. My spies have been watching you. I know you’ve been to the Mountain! I’ve been there too. But I doubt what you’ve learned is any better from what I learned. And I am sure that old fool told you a lie, told you I fled the mountain. In reality, he expelled me, expelled me after I beat him time after time, out rolled him, showed him flaws in his ‘ultimate game awareness.’ He thought he was somehow blessed by the ‘Dice Gods’ but I laughed at him and told him his Dice Gods were dead. He flew into a rage and shoved me down the mountain.
But then I lied. I know the Dice Gods. I see them, they talk to me. I see the Dice Gods are with you Lord Curtmungus, but you are not a champion yet! Best of three! You have no choice…"
At that he leapt forth to table at his side: G40 2nd, OBB, waiting and ready, no bid. He started to move as the Axis. I had no choice but to defeat him or die.
I was already at a disadvantage playing the OOB 2nd Allies without a bid. But my Taranto raid was good and slowly I was able to stiffen my Allied defenses to his Axis onslaught. At first, I was a little underwhelmed. His strategy was straight ahead kill Moscow. And I focused on the Pacific, eventually collapsing Japan. But he did take Moscow, which at first I thought was not a crises. I expected at least two turns for the allies to secure London. BUT NO! He had lulled me into a state of complacency. Under my very nose he pulled the “ITALIAN BOUNCE!” One of the oldest tricks in A&A history! He managed his German air so they could land in Northern Italy a turn after the Moscow attack, and then “POP,” the Italians built an airbase under them so they could hit London next turn! I was caught with my pants down. To wit:
I was going to lose and be torn apart by werewolf Nazis! But the Dice Gods intervened:
Combat - Germans
Battle in United Kingdom
Germans attack with 7 artilleries, 3 bombers, 9 fighters, 13 infantry and 9 tactical_bombers
French defend with 1 fighter and 2 infantry; British defend with 5 aaGuns, 1 airfield, 1 armour, 1 factory_major, 1 harbour, 19 infantry and 1 mech_infantry; Americans defend with 8 bombers
Germans win with 0 units remaining. Battle score for attacker is -88
Casualties for Germans: 7 artilleries, 3 bomber, 9 fighters, 13 infantry and 9 tactical_bombers
Casualties for French: 1 fighter and 2 infantry
Casualties for British: 5 aaGuns, 1 armour, 19 infantry and 1 mech_infantry
Casualties for Americans: 8 bombers
But the Dice Gods intervened! A total mutual wipe out! London would not fall today! I was delivered from shame and humiliation. Wagner looked like he was almost going to explode!
Poor Wagner chewed on his mustache and growled. He would have sicked his wolf-minions on me, but such was his confidence he just silently reset the board now as the allies, but with a 24 bid! I balked; he laughed. “You won; you’re better; I need a bid to even it out…” He smirked. I rested my complaint and just played on.
Right away I knew I was in trouble. My Axis play was shit. My G1 was terrible, end of G1:
I soldiered on, tried to put something together with Japan, but it was all down hill. I quickly lost.
I was ready to take back the Allies with a bid this time, but Wagner laughed, “No! That was a dice game, so you really haven’t played me as the Axis. You are Axis again. I shall reduce my bid by 5. That’s a fair fight.”
So we played.
This time G1 was much better, and Wagner made a mistake. He tried to pull the “UK Open Legs” strategy by plunking a MIC in Egypt and less reinforcements in UK. Germany bombed the living-S out of UK G2 and mounted a Sealion. The dice were with me! Wagner tried to defend, but London fell like a ripe virgin into my arms. He started to panic and went all in against Europe. His USA/USSR play against Germany was spectacular. He moved in quickly, contained Italy, and got USA to occupy Egypt and take back other Italy gains that now fell to US occupation instead of going back to UK. An uneasy stalemate soon ensued in Europe. Japan was able to expand, but even then encountered stumbling blocks. My only hope was a decisive victory in Europe. My only chance was a 50/50 battle in Romania, in one of the biggest battles in A&A History!, to wit:
*Combat - Germans
Battle in Romania
Germans attack with 44 armour, 43 artilleries, 1 bomber, 10 fighters, 59 infantry, 11 mech_infantrys and 3 tactical_bombers
British defend with 2 armour, 2 artilleries, 5 fighters, 3 infantry, 1 marine, 1 mech_infantry and 2 tactical_bombers; Americans defend with 1 aaGun, 3 armour, 1 artillery, 3 fighters, 4 infantry, 6 mech_infantrys and 1 tactical_bomber; ANZAC defend with 5 fighters; Russians defend with 4 aaGuns, 1 airfield, 29 armour, 10 artilleries, 1 bomber, 1 factory_minor, 1 fighter, 25 infantry and 53 mech_infantrys
AA fire in Romania : 2/14 hits, 2.33 expected hits
2 fighters owned by the Germans lost in Romania
Germans roll dice for 44 armour, 43 artilleries, 1 bomber, 8 fighters, 59 infantry, 11 mech_infantrys and 3 tactical_bombers in Romania, round 2 : 65/169 hits, 61.83 expected hits
Russians roll dice for 5 aaGuns, 34 armour, 13 artilleries, 1 bomber, 14 fighters, 32 infantry, 1 marine, 60 mech_infantrys and 3 tactical_bombers in Romania, round 2 : 61/158 hits, 63.33 expected hits
23 mech_infantrys owned by the Russians, 25 infantry owned by the Russians, 1 mech_infantry owned by the British, 1 bomber owned by the Russians, 1 aaGun owned by the Americans, 59 infantry owned by the Germans, 4 aaGuns owned by the Russians, 4 infantry owned by the Americans, 2 mech_infantrys owned by the Germans, 3 infantry owned by the British and 3 mech_infantrys owned by the Americans lost in Romania
Germans roll dice for 44 armour, 43 artilleries, 1 bomber, 8 fighters, 9 mech_infantrys and 3 tactical_bombers in Romania, round 3 : 53/108 hits, 46.00 expected hits
Russians roll dice for 34 armour, 13 artilleries, 14 fighters, 1 marine, 33 mech_infantrys and 3 tactical_bombers in Romania, round 3 : 44/98 hits, 43.50 expected hits
30 mech_infantrys owned by the Russians, 1 armour owned by the Russians, 1 marine owned by the British, 10 artilleries owned by the Russians, 35 artilleries owned by the Germans, 3 armour owned by the Americans, 1 artillery owned by the Americans, 2 artilleries owned by the British, 9 mech_infantrys owned by the Germans, 2 armour owned by the British and 3 mech_infantrys owned by the Americans lost in Romania
Germans roll dice for 44 armour, 8 artilleries, 1 bomber, 8 fighters and 3 tactical_bombers in Romania, round 4 : 33/64 hits, 31.33 expected hits
Russians roll dice for 28 armour, 14 fighters and 3 tactical_bombers in Romania, round 4 : 15/45 hits, 24.83 expected hits
2 fighters owned by the ANZAC, 28 armour owned by the Russians, 2 tactical_bombers owned by the British, 8 artilleries owned by the Germans, 1 tactical_bomber owned by the Americans and 7 armour owned by the Germans lost in Romania
Germans roll dice for 37 armour, 1 bomber, 8 fighters and 3 tactical_bombers in Romania, round 5 : 18/49 hits, 25.17 expected hits
Russians roll dice for 12 fighters in Romania, round 5 : 7/12 hits, 8.00 expected hits
1 fighter owned by the Russians, 3 fighters owned by the ANZAC, 7 armour owned by the Germans, 3 fighters owned by the Americans and 5 fighters owned by the British lost in Romania
**Germans win, taking Romania from Russians with 30 armour, 1 bomber, 8 fighters and 3 tactical_bombers remaining. Battle score for attacker is 310**
Casualties for Germans: 14 armour, 43 artilleries, 2 fighters, 59 infantry and 11 mech_infantrys
Casualties for Americans: 1 aaGun, 3 armour, 1 artillery, 3 fighters, 4 infantry, 6 mech_infantrys and 1 tactical_bomber
Casualties for British: 2 armour, 2 artilleries, 5 fighters, 3 infantry, 1 marine, 1 mech_infantry and 2 tactical_bombers
Casualties for Russians: 4 aaGuns, 29 armour, 10 artilleries, 1 bomber, 1 fighter, 25 infantry and 53 mech_infantrys
Casualties for ANZAC: 5 fighters*
Germans : 4.67
AA fire in Romania : : -0.33
Russians : -12.67
It was a HUGE victory! Maybe the biggest ever played on A&A! As the dice rolled more and more in my favor, Wagner’s face grew redder and redder. Wagner started frothing and his skin started to turn black with rage. Once the final Russian was killed, he reached down to flip the board to abrogate the game, but I grabbed his hand and then palmed his chest. He fell back. I looked at him and bellowed! I win BITCH! Then weird shit started to happen. The A&A board split asunder and the pieces caught fire. He started writhing, and convulsing. I saw his wolf-minions from the sides start to grab their hairs, scream in confusion and insanely run off to their doom. A great wind blew through hall. The Fall of Wagner was at hand, and the figure of the towering player before me suddenly lost his composition, as if he were full of air and had suddenly sprung a leak. Indeed, the outer crust of him sloughed off like a demented suit made of the skins of vanquished A&A nerds. From the heap of outer-skin emerged a be-speckled sickly nerd:
His pimple face looked up at me. “I’m Mr. Yogen,” he chirped. “You know me! I’m the only A&A player that was ever confirmed to have cheated at a league game.”
“All I wanted was to be the best, the play with the best, beat Gamerman, Me1945, Wheatbeer, Mr. Roboto… but meat-heads like you just wouldn’t let me do it! So I had to become something so terrifying to win by fear!” he screamed and seemed to cry. He mouth frothed and blood began to spill out. His shame was consuming him into death.
“You’re nothing but a goddamn nerd!” I bellowed at him.
“Nerd!” he screamed like a pussy. “I’ll show you nerd!” He then raised his melting arm and started punching away at some large nerd-watch strapped to his hand.
“Oh shit,” I thought and began to run. I sprinted out of the keep and into my car. It strangely was untouched. As I sped away, I saw the end of Mr. Yogen and his keep in my rear view mirror:
Lucky I escaped the blast and got back into Sandpoint without a scratch. I found Guerrilla Red-Crotch crying on the side of the road. I pulled up to her and said, “He’s gone baby, but I got lots of Busch Light!”
She looked up, wiped her tears and said, “I’ll never play Axis & Allies again!”
“That’s ok, honey child,” I said. “I got better games! Get in!” She did, and we drive off into the night. I was the conquering hero, and while I had no trophy at least I had this prize… for what it was worth.
I rode her… excuse me, drove her all the way back to Bellingham. We got in late at night, and I dumped her off at some bar. I told I’d be back to get her, that I had to return some videos. But I never went back, and I never spoke to her again. I went back to my gym, pulled out some foam mats and fell into the deepest slumber a Champion has ever had.
When I awoke I was among familiar faces and the familiar sounds of true men blasting their quads, benching 350, dead lifting 430, talking the true language of slaying hoes and pounding beers.
I joined them and spoke not a word of My Journey, My Triumph to them. At first, I was worried they wouldn’t understand, but then I also worried that maybe it was all just a Busch Light infused dream, psychedelic trip. But then a few days ago I saw Guerrilla Red-Crotch working the street down on the corner of E. Holly and State. I did a double take and almost ran off the road. “It was real!” I told myself.
It took me awhile to let that sink in, and that’s why I am here sharing with y’all. I’m not sure what it really all meant, and maybe sharing it with you, you can help me find the answers? Ha, ha, probably not, NERDS!
I don’t know, maybe the lesson is that y’all shouldn’t take Axis & Allies too seriously? Because if you don’t you’ll end up living on Mountain or turning into a monster? Or maybe that only I could bring balance back to the game and destroy those who would corrupt it?
Honestly, the more time goes by, that last explanation seems to be the most likely answer. And I guess that’ll be my biggest contribution in life: smashing out-of-line NERDS with Beer Power!
Ha, ha, I guess that’s enough for me… and a good work out! See you at the gym, bitches! If you dare!