Thursday, March 28, 2002

Nick Denton on blog etiquette. I've worried about some of this stuff too, especially: What to do about the fact that I'm always repeating myself? I was chatting to a friend the other day, and realized that every topic of conversation was something about which I had already blogged. And he reads my weblog, occasionally. Should I ask whether he has read my weblog recently, and how recently, or would that be presumptious? And should he pretend that my stories are new, or disclose that he's already read them?

Wednesday, March 27, 2002

Nick's email Diplomacy game has reached a crucial point. See Diplomacy 2000 - Jack Russell Adjudication (Spring 1913) for details (Nick is Turkey):

Italy is on the back foot as Turkey kicks him out of Trieste... France and Germany combine to drive Turkey out of Moscow... it's all exciting stuff...

Tuesday, March 26, 2002

If you want to come down to London on Saturday 27th April for Salute 2002 with James and me, you only have a few hours left to contact us! (Unless you want to queue for your tickets at the door, anyway.)
It seems probable that nimrods are much more numerous than we thought. Or at least crypto-nimrods or proto-nimrods. Phil regularly every Wednesday visits his friend Will, along with Will's dad Nigel and Nigel's friend Polo. What is their usual activity on this laddish sociable evening? Watching football? Renting a video? Getting drunk? No, they pull out Settlers of Catan. By all accounts they're hooked, playing extremely competitively, and several games an evening. They even have one of the expansion sets.

I'd like to chat to Will and his dad about Settlers and introduce them to the wider world of gaming. They could be new recruits, fresh blood, budding nimrods! But Phil has forbidden me. Actually I'm not allowed to speak with any of his friends, because I'm not cool enough apparently......
My involvement with the GMT P500 program is getting serious now. At the end of February my credit card was charged $47 for The Napoleonic Wars, and will shortly be charged again for Barbarossa to Berlin. The Napoleonic Wars will probably ship at the end of May, and Barbarossa to Berlin some time after that. Meanwhile they've got my money. Still, I am getting (eventually) these very exciting titles at a knock-down price, and I can feel warm inside about supporting a great game company. Without the P500 model to keep their cashflow going they really wouldn't be able to stay in business.

Monday, March 25, 2002

A new wargames magazine Against the Odds - each issue includes a wargame, S&T style. Issue one featues Hegemon about Philip of Macedon's wars to control Greece. Looks nicely done.
Read Andrew Sullivan - this leading light of the blogging movement is gay, Catholic, conservative, and scarily intelligent. Reading his stuff always breaks up and rearranges a few more of my lazy preconceptions. How could he do otherwise?

It has always seemed to me that the natural politics for homosexuals is conservative-libertarian. Homosexuals have historically never done well under repressive leftist or rightist regimes; they are far more likely to flourish under limited government, low taxes, and a robust foreign policy. What the current war has further done, I think, is reveal how those alleged allies (in leftist fantasies) of gay people in the developing world are nothing of the sort. The "oppressed" of the Islamic world, with whom the gay left identifies, would throw most actual homosexuals off tall buildings or bury them under rubble. Islamo-fascism is one of the most powerful and terrifying homophobic movements since Soviet and Cuban communism and Francoite or Nazi fascism. So how on earth have some gay leftists instinctively sided with the allegedly oppressed other? The first political principle for any gay movement worthy of the name is freedom. That's what the left doesn't understand; and that's why their hold on the gay population is tenuous and eroding fast.

Friday, March 22, 2002

SPI Died for Your Sins - this rather gloomy article is valuable for an excellent brief history of hex-wargames.

It is hard for those of us who grew up with wargames, who loved them, who spent so many years studying them and taking them seriously as works of scholarship and art, it is hard for us to acknowledge this. We keep on hoping for some last minute reprieve, some renaissance; how could so much effort, so much inspired work, go for nought? How can it be that all of our labors will be forgotten?

Well take a look at GMT - the renaissance is here.

Thursday, March 21, 2002

The extravagently bizarre Uncle books by JP Martin have been a big feature of my imaginative world ever since childhood. But I never in my life met another person who had even heard of them, let alone was an acolyte like me. Until now. Recently I picked up the new paperback reissue of the first two books and within a day Phil had spotted it on the coffee table and bought his own copy. "I need this in my life," he said. That's my boy. But it makes me wonder - is there a genetic predisposition to this stuff?

The other day I was telling him about JP Martin's background as a Methodist missionary in Africa. "He obviously spent his time licking toads," said Phil.

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

At this stage it's just an idea, but I was thinking, just thinking, about running a Down in Flames campaign over the Easter weekend, perhaps on Good Friday afternoon. We could spend an hour or so running though a dogfight to get up to speed with the rules, then go into say the Dambusters Raid or the Schweinfurt Raids, which would probably take two or three hours to complete. Would need three or four players to make it work. Any interest?

Down in Flames, by the way, is a fast and fun card game about World War 2 air combat, sort of Up Front! in the sky. The game is designed for multiple players, especially the campaign games, where one player would take the bombers, another the escorting fighters, and others one or more groups of interceptors.

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Stephen Pollard in the Independent: Last week, President Bush informed Ariel Sharon at a press conference that "frankly, it's not helpful, what Israel has recently done". It is, you see, a moral and political imperative for the West to fight terrorism. But not for Israel. When the United States is attacked by suicidal terrorists, the rest of the free world quite rightly joins together to hunt down and destroy them. It's called fighting a war against terrorism. When Israel seeks to defend itself from suicide bombers, it's called being unhelpful, and the wrath of that same free world descends on her.

Monday, March 18, 2002

Caterina: The other night we were skiing, and I was completely present, you know, totally there, experiencing it as if I were a little kid or an alien or someone who'd never done it before. And I said, isn't it weird how we drove 20 miles in a car and put on skis and are now sitting in this chairlift going up the mountain just so that we can ski down the mountain overlooking the twinkling city and have an incredible amount of fun? It's wondrous and strange when you think about it.... Wow! Life is grand. It's almost like it's set up for fun.
Just back from an excellent week in Austria, skiing in the Schladming area. A very friendly bunch of people, as always with Oak Hall trips. My falling over statistics: SUN 9, MON 0, TUE 0, WED 1, THU 1, FRI 0, SAT 0. Boiling hot weather, cloudless skies every day, skiing in Tshirt and fleece. Somehow the snow-machines and the piste-bashers kept the runs open for us.

Games played: JENGA - I fell in with a bunch of obsessive Jenga players with their own house-rules ("No middles!"), and SHITHEAD - taught to us by the holiday's Bible-speaker for the week!

Friday, March 08, 2002

Salute 2002
DATE: Saturday 27th April 2002 - 10:30 to 17:00
VENUE: Olympia 2, Kensington, London, UK.

James is proposing to take a car down, sharing petrol and parking costs should be a lot cheaper and more convenient than rail. I intend to go - please let me or James know ASAP if you want to come along too. James will order "Queue-Buster" tickets before the end of March. Should be a great day out, and a chance to ditch lots of old wargames at the bring-and-buy!
Nick Denton points out the doublethink behind Bush's steel tariffs: How the hell can the US administration lecture the developing world on the virtues of free markets if it is unwilling to take on its own steel and textile lobbies? If aid is ineffective, and trade doesn't play well in West Virginia, what is left of US policy towards the developing world? Sell them Disney and remaindered drugs, and crush the towel-heads every decade when they rise up. (via Matt Welch)
Caterina muses on hobbies - as a nimrod this subject is close to my heart obviously.

I've always had this idea that hobbies were dangerous, a distraction from my real work.
An illuminating Wilderness War game review from Steffan O'Sullivan includes a useful reference card for troop type differences - James (as he owns the game) would find this useful. Lots of other good stuff on his site as well, including a review of my all-time favourite first-to-grab-when-escaping-from-a-fire wargame Up Front!

Thursday, March 07, 2002

The webcam at Hauser Kaibling. This is where I will be skiing next week. Take a look while I'm away - you might even spot me! Look for a short guy in a green jacket with a sort of nervous crouching stance....
I just love driving home late listening to Late Junction on Radio 3.

A laid-back, esoteric mix of music from across the globe, ranging from Mali to Bali, and from medieval chant to 21st-century electronica.

The way they slip seamlessly across music genres and cultures is endlessly fascinating and surprising. And - mmmmm - Verity Sharp.....

Would it sound so good at 5:30pm? Probably not - there's something about this relaxed eclectic mix of jazz, world, pop and offbeat classical that requires darkness, the late-night atmosphere, the hypnotic lights of the motorway...

Tuesday, March 05, 2002

At Schladming Piste state: Packed - so what's new?
Salzburg is forecast rain on Thursday and Friday (hopefully this translates to snow on the mountains) followed by sun on Saturday (when I arrive!)
Nevertheless, have a look at TruthMiners, especially if you are tired of being forwarded stupid urban myths and Harry Potter scare stories by your Christian friends (via
I had a dose of blogger's block yesterday. I didn't write a thing, and got an all-time record (for my site) of 18 unique visitors. What's that telling me? If I want more visitors - write less, or preferably nothing at all?

What are the reasons for this (temporary I hope) drying of the blogging juices? I guess mostly it is increased busyness at work, so there is very little time for surfing in spare moments at the office. My colleague Darren departed for his native Oz in January, and since then there has been an increased workload for me. The last couple of weeks there have been several database crises that kept me working through the evening, so less time for wargaming and less to report on the nimrod front. And I am getting ready for a skiing trip to Austria next week - when I'm looking forward to being in the Alps in a few days time (real mountains not just JPGs of them!) somehow the web seems less compelling......

Friday, March 01, 2002

Since I first linked to it John Foley's Battle Cry site has grown into something very special. Loads of resources - scenarios, extra map tiles, reference cards, modelling tips, flags, and lots of variants, including an ancients one designed to be played with DBA figures.
Stupid computers.

Stupid Microsoft.

Stupid SQL Server.

Stupid NTL.

Stupid getting stuck at stupid work all stupid evening when I was meant to be playing Clash of Giants with Dave!