Monday, March 31, 2003

GMT are building up an archive of articles from their C3i magazine (and here). Lots of good stuff here, in PDF format. As most of these magazines are out of print and hard to find, this is a valuable resource for fans of GMT wargames.

Friday, March 28, 2003

Greg Costikyan brings news that Settlers is soon to become an online game on the Sony PS2. What times we live in!
At Piecepack the winner of the "Changing Landscapes" game design contest is "Alien City" by Michael Schoessow. This game uses pieces from two generic game kits - Icehouse and Piecepack! The rules of the competition specified that the game must have a mutable board.
A scary view of the future. "Practice to Deceive" by Joshua Micah Marshall: Ending Saddam Hussein's regime and replacing it with something stable and democratic was always going to be a difficult task, even with the most able leadership and the broadest coalition. But doing it as the Bush administration now intends is something like going outside and giving a few good whacks to a hornets' nest because you want to get them out in the open and have it out with them once and for all. Ridding the world of Islamic terrorism by rooting out its ultimate sources--Muslim fundamentalism and the Arab world's endemic despotism, corruption, and poverty--might work. But the costs will be immense. Whether the danger is sufficient and the costs worth incurring would make for an interesting public debate. The problem is that once it's just us and the hornets, we really won't have any choice. (via Nick Denton)
Chrononauts: Mysteries of the Timeline explores some of the questions prompted by this clever time-travel game, such as "Why Would a Zeppelin Factory Stop the Korean War?" and "Why Would the Titanic Cause the Stock Market Crash?"

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Don't miss David Warren's latest essay roundly criticizing much of the media coverage of the war so far: On the large scale, we have the persistent display of doubts about tactics and strategy from journalists without any qualifications to judge them: who know no military history, indeed hardly any history at all; nor are they in possession of many current facts.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

A long and fascinating Interview with Reiner Knizia on Funagain Games:

SG: How did it feel the first time you held a boxed game with your name on it?

RK: Absolutely marvelous. Overwhelming. That's what you're aiming for. You see all these games in the shops and you hear about these great publishers and suddenly you're part of that world -- it really fascinates me. There's always a celebration when I publish a game or a book, but now that I have 150 boxes it fades away a little bit. I still look forward to every new game because they are all my children and I put a lot of my heart into these games. I'm always anxious about the final product -- What does it look like? Will it all be nice? Is there anything which I don't like? And so on....

Monday, March 24, 2003

I had a pretty tiring but very stimulating and interesting weekend at Workshop in Clapham. A really good sequence of lectures, as well as an Open Book Reflection - which was basically writing an essay under exam conditions. I was getting nasty flashbacks to A-levels. As Phil said: "Why are you paying money to take exams Dad?"

Nevertheless it was a good weekend, and especially good to get away from the newsfeeds and forget the war for a few hours.
Excellent! - GMT have finally posted a new version of the Living Rules for Barbarossa to Berlin.

Friday, March 21, 2003

You have to feel sorry for someone who ended up at nimrods after typing "stupid celebrity antiwar protesters" into Google. Hopefully I match none of those 4 keywords....
Take a deep breath - Steven den Beste recommends a philosophical approach to breaking news:

For any of the following reports, allow at least six hours before you even begin to take them seriously:
    Any report of a Scud
    The first three reports of mass casualties by anyone

For these, wait 12 hours:
    Any report of an attack against a city outside of Iraq
    Any report of use of chemical weapons
    The first two reports of mass surrenders
    The first two reports of use by the US of "wizard weapons"

For these, wait 24 hours if not even more:
    Any report that a "name" in Iraq has been killed, captured or has defected
    Any claim by the government of Iraq which looks good for them or bad for us
    Any report of atrocities
    Any report of Iraqi "scorched earth" destruction, especially oil well fires
    Any report of mass Iraqi civilian casualties

For all of these, the proper response is to go take a nap. I know it's tough, but that's the best thing you can do.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Via Chris Brooks' review of Laser Squad Nemesis - the Grenadier's Bible: Crank's brilliant masterpiece of strategy and tactics. In depth advice for Marines and Grenadiers in particular, but spilling over into all areas of the game. Warning: This is not a beginner’s guide! It is a technical resource for players who are already familiar with the game and who are interested in improving their level of play.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

I'm not alone! BoardGameWiki - Blogs About Games
In today's Guardian Bill Clinton: Trust Tony's judgment:

In the post-cold war world, America and Britain have been in tough positions before: in 1998, when others wanted to lift sanctions on Iraq and we said no; in 1999 when we went into Kosovo to stop ethnic cleansing. In each case, there were voices of dissent. But the British-American partnership and the progress of the world were preserved. Now in another difficult spot, Blair will have to do what he believes to be right. I trust him to do that and hope the British people will too. (via Andrew Sullivan)
Dave brought over his new copy of Victory: Blocks of War last night. It was great fun - especially as I won every battle - and ideally suited for a weekday evening, being rules-light and fun. It brought back long-dormant childhood memories of Blitzkrieg - possibly the first Avalon Hill game I ever played - which is similarly a WW2-style battle fought over an imaginary landscape. Victory, with all it's expansion sets, seems to generate a lot of fannish enthusiasm. Here are a few websites I dug up this morning:

Monday, March 17, 2003

Against my better judgement I have been making more use of my Playstation 2. I recently acquired Final Fantasy X and have been gently sucked in by the amazing beauty of the imaginary gameworld, as well as the interesting turn-based combat. But it is very Japanese, even though the characters have vaguely Western looking faces and American voices. And the scriptwriting is weird.
    A Typical FF dialogue

    Guy: Huh?

    (Long pause)

    Girl: I'm really sorry. I shouldn't have said tha.....

    (Long pause)

    Guy: Huh?
I visited my lovely parents at the weekend. My Dad has been making lots of architectural models downloaded from, including a model of the twin towers in New York that Dad assembled a few years ago.
Starships Unlimited is a shareware game of the "Masters of Orion" kind. Developed by one man - not a multi-million dollar development team - apparently it's a cult classic.

Friday, March 14, 2003

Caring for Your Introvert: The worst of it is that extroverts have no idea of the torment they put us through. Sometimes, as we gasp for air amid the fog of their 98-percent-content-free talk, we wonder if extroverts even bother to listen to themselves. Still, we endure stoically, because the etiquette books—written, no doubt, by extroverts—regard declining to banter as rude and gaps in conversation as awkward. We can only dream that someday, when our condition is more widely understood, when perhaps an Introverts' Rights movement has blossomed and borne fruit, it will not be impolite to say "I'm an introvert. You are a wonderful person and I like you. But now please shush." (via Wunderland)

Thursday, March 13, 2003

I'm researching geek culture for a piece of coursework I am doing for Workshop. Here are some links I have come up with:
William has provided this list of typical excuses for stabbing an opponent in a multiplayer game:
    Dave 'No it is a good thing, it is in your back to fix an itch you thought you had'
    John 'I added it up and it was the only way I could win, sorry'
    Wayne 'Hey, it was you or me pal'
    Peter 'Sorry, but I thought it might help us both out, am I still losing?'
    Steve 'Sorry, what am I meant to be doing with this knife'
    Nick: evil grin, failed attempt at innocent look.
    William 'I know I stabbed you but John's still the bigger threat'

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

I always still look at Nimrods and was concerned when you stopped posting for a while. Your quotes from the WWW and your observations give me something to look forward to at the end of the day, said James in an email yesterday. You have to feel sorry for him, if nimrods is all he's got to look forward to....
Dismal thoughts today from Andrew Sullivan: I'm left with the conclusion that we will only get such a consensus in favor of pre-emption after the destruction of a major Western city, or a chemical or biological catastrophe. In this sense, Blair and Bush may simply be ahead of their time. And what they see as the potential threat is so depressing and terrifying that it's perhaps only understandable that the world for a while will wish to look the other way.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Chris Farrell's Ranking of Strategy Card-based Wargames - lots of interesting comment. He pans Thirty Years War and The Napoleonic Wars.
A powerful piece from Greg Costikyan about the malaise in the computer games industry: The mood at the Game Designers Conference this year was, fundamentally, one of despair. To even the blindest apologist for the silly, if monstrous, construct the game industry has become, the handwriting on the wall was clear.
What's on the Stove? at Looney Labs, including news of a popular Icehouse game Zendo packaged up and sold as a stand-alone package.
Britannia In Scale using 15mm figures: I figure 4.6 km (2.8 mi.) by 8.1 km (4.9 mi.) is about enough for a properly sized map. This is just 37 sq. km (12.8 sq. mi.) or about 8,800 acres. A map of this scale would give you a good feel for what it takes to march an ancient an army to battle. I figure the plains near Fargo, North Dakota or Winnipeg, Canada would be an ideal site for the board. Depending on the lay of the land, we could use Jeeps or quadra-track cycles to find and move our pieces around the board. We would also need some room around the edges for our chairs and snacks.
The Ten Commandments of Board Gaming For example the 6th commandment decrees: Thou shalt be mindful of game owner's concerns and consume thy libations accordingly.
I've just booked accomodation in Hay-on-Wye for the first ever Nimrods Books, Beer and Boardgames weekend. We are staying at a big old place called Celtic Lodge, near the centre of the town, from Friday 9th - Monday 12th May. So far Nick and Ann, Dave, Simon, John and myself have committed, while Steve, William and Robin are thinking about it. I have not had any luck contacting James - if you still read this drivel James, and you fancy coming along, get in touch.

It should be fun - mooching around the second-hand bookshops, checking out the local pubs, walking in the Black Mountains, and of course, playing lots of games. Lets hope we get through the weekend without murdering each other.......

Tuesday, March 04, 2003


I got beaten at Hammer of the Scots again by Dave last night. Last time we played it I was the Scots, and got beaten. Thought maybe the game was unbalanced. So this time I took the English. Made no difference - I still lost. This game is all luck.

Only kidding - it's a fantastic game actually. Great fun, fast, easy to learn, loads of historical flavour, lots of strategic options to puzzle over. A classic.