Monday, April 30, 2001

I think perhaps that people who don't understand might think I have plumbed new depths of hobby craziness. Today I picked up two sheets of 2mm clear plastic to hold down game maps with. Teed Tools in Fisherton Street cut them to size for me and didn't charge me for wastage - still, they set me back £32. That was something I loved Avalon Hill for: mounted gameboards.

This is good: Top 10 reasons why kittens are better than babies. Especially as I am currently funding 2 nearly grown babies through the last, expensive stages of their educations.

Friday, April 27, 2001

The Americans have some great words, for example blowhard. Can't think of a UK English equivalent, but opinionated twit conveys the sense. This is a behaviour pattern that nimrods seem especially prone to, unfortunately. Have a look at Consimworld's GMT forum for recent examples - various blowhards condemning GMT's upcoming Decision at Kasserine on the basis of nothing more than a preview of the counters. I'll say it again - blowhards!

Wednesday, April 25, 2001

St George’s Day has sent me off on a major Elgar kick. Today I have reached the Elgar-Payne 3rd Symphony, Naxos recording – wonderful, and a bargain too!

Keith Jones, a friend of James, responding to my recent raves about Down in Flames writes: “Are you aware that DiF is now on GMT's P250 list? Please tell everyone because I want a copy and it's not getting many committed buyers.”

I’ve never actually tried out the GMT P500 program myself, but I am drooling over the list, especially Thirty Years War - very tempted to give it a go. Have a look.

By the way, P500 is a method employed by GMT to work out which games are likely to sell. You preorder (at a substantial discount) and when they have got 500 takers they commit to producing the game. Your credit card gets debited a few weeks before they ship. P250 is the same idea for reprints of existing games.

Talking of drooling, I just received Paths of Glory. A grand theme, lots of strategy, rules are fairly simple, and it looks luscious. Should have the rules taped by next week, then I’ll be looking for an opponent!

Tuesday, April 24, 2001

Mike Nagel has a great website about the Down in Flames series (Rise of the Luftwaffe and 8th Air Force). It includes an excellent reference card which is a big help with the most confusing aspect of the game – who can shoot at whom when, and with which cards.

Monday, April 23, 2001

I'm celebrating St George's Day by listening to the Elgar Violin Concerto at work (Nigel Kennedy's wonderful 1984 recording). And that's as far as I'm willing to go. As Simon Esler pointed out in today's Independent, the whole point of being English is that you don't make a fuss about such things.

Sunday, April 22, 2001

Yesterday met up with Nick and Simon for coffee in the moribund (thanks to Starbucks) Cafe Parisienne. This led to a snap session at Nick's place in the afternoon. A BattleCry tournament (which I won) followed by two games of Rise of the Luftwaffe. This is GMT's fantastic Up Front type cardgame about Battle of Britain era air combat. First time it was Simon and Nick with 2 Hurricanes each against my 2 FW190s. I downed one of each. Second time they took Spitfires instead and I shot down both of Nick's. Took a bit more damage to the paintwork but nothing fatal. Shows what a powerful weapon the FW190 was. What a great game, fast and furious!
Conversation today with my son, Phil (17)

Me: Have a look at my new website, Phil!

Phil: What's so different about it?

Me: It's a weblog. Cool eh?

Phil: It's rubbish.

Me: It might help you get to know your Dad better. See him in a new light?

Phil: Not like this, Dad. Not like this....

Friday, April 20, 2001

Have you been watching Spaced? If not, shame on you, you've just missed series 2. Have a look at the fansite instead. I love this show because it features lots of nimrods (mostly in the shape of the same character - Tim - mind you) - SciFi nimrods, comic nimrods, Star Wars nimrods, PlayStation nimrods, robot nimrods, paintball nimrods, even TA nimrods. It's so refreshing and, yes, validating, to see nimrod-type behaviour depicted so accurately and lovingly on the box. OK, no boardgame nimrods (yet) - but a nimrod is a nimrod! Come to think of it, Mike is strikingly reminiscent of Dave Cook!

A great games website I discovered recently is boardgamegeek. It inherits from the (now defunct) games dumpster lots and lots of errata, helpsheets, variants etc But the really nice thing about boardgamegeek is - it's got pictures! Many of the entries have photos of the game in question unpacked and laid out on a table in all its glory. So if you want to see what, say, Columbia's new block-game Pacific Victory looks like, this is the place. Feed your habit!

Thursday, April 19, 2001

I’m so excited! Paths of Glory is in the post from The Games Store, I should get it tomorrow!

I’m also a bit concerned about my games collection, which has overflowed its bookcase and is now spreading (above eye-level) across the tops of other bookcases. Time to get rid of some that I never play. Candidate list of potential victims:

Pacific War

Stellar Conquest


Battle Hymn

It was really hard to compile even such a short list. These are old friends, even if I never play them. It’s like deciding to have your pets put down….
Krieg! is a monster. OK, it's only a little monster, but still, it required me to set aside most of Easter weekend to refight World War 2.

Nick and Dave turn up Friday evening, keen to start the conflagration. Nick as Germany is determined to stay off the drink to maximize his chances. This resolution lasts all of...oh....5 minutes.

Nick scrapes into Poland, then turning West, declares war on Belgium/Holland months before he is ready to invade. Dave has plenty of time to prepare, and in Summer 1940 Nick batters himself against a solid wall in the Lowlands. Meanwhile I have persuaded Bulgaria to join the International revolution.

By Saturday afternoon Total War has given me the opportunity to pour into Eastern Germany, only slightly hampered by armistice. Nick concedes at 4pm.

We immediately start again, Nick and Dave swapping places. Dave plays very efficiently on historic timetable. He collapses France in short order, then turns on me in 1941. We are playing without Emergency Mobilization, and I have a tough summer playing a fighting retreat. I have a better winter blitzing the Krauts, but summer 1942 is even harder, and I lose Leningrad. Meanwhile Dave has assembled a big team: Italy, Spain, Yugoslavia, Greece, Finland and Turkey. He even spends a few turns in Southampton! Having taken Sunday off it is now Monday evening and we agree to finish. I think Dave is winning, but Nick is not so sure.

Good grief, I need a few weeks off from boardgaming! I'm exhausted!