Tuesday, June 29, 2004

I only noticed this today, but Jim Dunnigan's classic text The Complete Wargames Handbook is available online.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Once upon a time I loved this house
Now I'm thinking bout burning it down
And I'll be long gone when the fire burns out
On the way to another town

Steve Earle on "Transcendental Blues"

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Also there is a 20% discount on everything at Columbia Games until 5 July. I have never actually bought anything direct from Columbia but have heard nasty rumours that you are very likely to get done for import duty on their games, because they cannot be classed as paper and books apparently. Sadly buying direct is now the only way to get Columbia's latest titles.
If you are at all interested in wargames get yourself over to GMT Games and download their latest flyer. There are some bargains in their sale, and also lots of interesting new titles to pre-order on their P500 scheme. I have voted for Twilight Struggle, a PoG-style game about the cold war, along with Manoeuvre, a simple horse and musket era game, and BattleLine, a reprint of a classic game that I missed first time round.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Just a couple of weeks now until NimrodCon - what looks set to become our annual visit to Hay-on-Wye for books, beer and boardgaming. Pretty much fully booked now with 8 guys signed up, so unless you're a beautiful woman with unconventional tastes you've probably left it too late for this year.

Almost the best fun is planning what games to take along. Here is my current list (but subject to extensive revision over the next fortnight):

Scarab Lords (for the pub)
Finstere Flure (silly horror fun)
Wilderness War (a taste of wargaming that won't take too long)
Hammer of the Scots (another taste of wargaming??)
Euphrat & Tigris (can never get enough of this)
Amun Re (haven't tried this out yet)
Zendo (for the pub)
Memoir 44 (if I have managed to buy it by then)
Lord of the Rings: the Confrontation (oh dear the boot's full)

Monday, June 21, 2004

Just a tiny bit of gaming to report. Simon came up on Friday as he was planning to visit Workshop, and we played a couple of games of Lord of the Rings: the Confrontation. Great fun, always felt like you wanted to try it one more time to see what would happen if you used a different strategy. Definitely one for NimrodCon.
Tiring but very satisfying weekend on the Workshop team. We were desperately short-handed but everything seemed to get done somehow. I invigilated 2 Open Book Reflections (fancy name for exams) over the course of the weekend.

Best moments were both to do with worship....

First was Saturday morning worship done by Nick Fulcher and his group, an alt.worship-style set of installations on the theme of circles. Especially moving was the invitation to paint a circle with kiddie-type paints and then reflect on what your heavenly parent thinks of your efforts.

Then after packing up Sunday night we had a 30 minute wait to kill while the van turned up. We were all feeling pretty drained. Philip suggested breaking bread, Linda and Balacz allowed their shopping to be plundered for wine, and we had a wonderful nourishing time sharing the Jesus meal together.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

As some of you may know, I'm currently on the road back to Canterbury. Today I got hold of Common Worship: Daily Prayer, which is the Church of England's new liturgy for personal use. It's beautifully presented, with red pages marking the sections, and lots of instructions and options and rubrics and tables of dates and seasons and readings. I don't know whether I want to pray with it or play with it. The same part of me that likes writing code or figuring out the rules to a new game enjoys all the technical bits of this prayer book. Slightly worrying? Liturgy for geeks?
You're the only one I want
I've never heard your name
Let's hope we meet some day
If we don't it's all the same
And I'll meet the ones between us
And be thinking about you
And all the places I have seen
And why you were not there

Townes van Zandt
as sung by Lyle Lovett on "Step Inside This House"

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

It's all been a bit of a social whirl the last few days. Thursday was Book Group with Helen in Richmond. (This month's book was Fingersmith. Observation - women feel as uncomfortable discussing lesbian sex scenes as men do with gay sex scenes.) Friday was Scottish country dancing at St James the Less in Pimlico (Rob McGovern who features in my blogroll was there with his wife Roberta). Followed by crashing at Abi and Esther's place in Tooting. Snatched a few hours at home on Saturday before rushing over to Salisbury for dinner party hosted by Catherine and Shaun. Shaun cooks a fantastic curry. Stayed over and visited Harnham Free Church on Sunday morning. Had 20 minutes at home before Dave arrived to complete destroying me at Europe Engulfed. Quiet Monday night, thank goodness (except spending most of it on the phone to Fiona), but off to Salisbury again tonight for a barbeque at Bill and Maggie's place.

As an INFJ I badly need a few days of solitude to re-energize myself....

Monday, June 14, 2004

At last I've found it! Victory in the Pacific - 2nd Edition Rules. My copy of this game is the first edition, with its confusing and misleading rules.

Friday, June 11, 2004

I completely redid my garden this week - which I have been negelecting for months. On Monday I spent about half an hour removing dead plants and completely digging it over. And on Tuesday I spent about £9.50 at the garden centre and 20 minutes planting out my garden. It looks great. Are you impressed? Am I some sort of gardening super-hero? The Charlie Dimmock of Farnham? Perhaps I should mention that my "garden" is a 5'x4' balcony with 3 plant boxes and three terracotta pots. Even so, it's now a very pleasant place to be.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

I'm slowly piecing together a local gaming network for myself. On Sunday I went to the Alder Valley Games Society's monthly boardgaming afternoon. Last time I visited the society I was a bit discouraged to find that they concentrate on RPGs and CCGs. But this time I got to play Battle Cry (lost), Settlers (missed winning by one turn), and Ra (lost badly). Genial opponents, and a fun afternoon. I'm looking forward to the next one.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Ow! Ow! Ow! My shoulders hurt (practice Parachute Landing Falls). My face hurts (too much sun). My upper arms are bruised (riser straps). My thighs and calves hurt (repeatedly walking up a hill). My head hurts (PLFs and dehydration). My feet hurt (running fast trying to inflate the wing). My hip is bruised (PLFs). The back of my neck hurts (PLFs?). The front of my neck hurts (chin strap). My balls hurt (harness).

Yes, you've guessed - I went paragliding yesterday (at Green Dragons). And I just can't wait for the next session!

Friday, June 04, 2004

Looks like a very comprehensive guide to blogging tools at THEOOZE (via jonny baker)
And the Guardian agrees with me! Guardian Unlimited | Arts reviews | The Valkyrie, Coliseum, London: Lloyd's production, with designer Richard Hudson, assembles a muddle of contemporary imagery that adds nothing to Wagner's drama. Why, for instance, is Sieglinde dressed as a muslim woman in headscarf and trousers and her husband Hunding got up in camouflage fatigues? What does that image, with its inevitable suggestions of ethnic and religious conflict, add to an opera in which such themes are absent?

And I was right about the singing: For half of the first act, Per Lindskog was excruciatingly out of tune as Siegmund.

But why am I still so angry about this?

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Amazon.com: So you'd like to... Own The WHOLE Sandman Library.

Well, yes I would, now you mention it. Very much.
Oh weird. I just noticed that my BlogStreet RSS feed is autogenerating. It just takes rather a long time, that's all.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

A good introduction to Go at TradGames.

And Masters Games looks like a good UK online supplier of nice Go equipment.

I played (and lost) Go on BrettSpielWelt last night. Easy to find an opponent with the new BSW interface. But you can only play 13x13 Go.

Next time I might try the Kiseido Go Server instead (as recommended by Mikko Saari).
Actually I was totally unaware of Memoir 44 until I read Chris Farrell's posting. Having looked at the Days of Wonder website I am consumed with geek-lust for this game. It must be mine!
Chris Farrell's KublaCon convention report is well worth a read for his interesting comments on the Europe Engulfed phenomenon, as well as debunking Up Front and giving us some first impressions of Memoir 44 the latest Battle Cry spin-off:

Firstly, I'm glad Europe Engulfed has been successful, but its high profile for a wargame seems to be drawing people who are sort of poking at it rather than taking it seriously. We saw a bit of this with Paths of Glory; many people heard it was great and wanted to try it, but weren't willing to learn the rules or put in the non-trivial effort necessary to learn what is a fairly serious and challenging game. We had several people show up for this event wanting to play, but never having even looked at the rules. This is not the way to go. Europe Engulfed is an absolutely great game, so I recommend that if you want to play, read the rules ahead of time (they're online) and take it seriously. You won't regret it; as I say, it's a fantastic game, and really just not that hard to learn in the main. But you'll get a heck of a lot more out of it by being prepared.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

I went to Camden Lock on Saturday, which was OK, but I did get a bit jaded after a while looking at endless stalls selling crystals, pan-pipes, incense sticks, tin buddhas and other new-age paraphernalia. Found Village Games, which turns out to be about the size of a pantry. Mostly sells chess sets, Go equipment (tempting, but rather expensive) and tarot cards. But does have a few German games (eg Settlers, Samurai) on the top shelf.

Cheered myself up by going over to Playin Games in Bloomsbury, where I picked up a game that I thought was out of print - Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation. Cool!

Then it was over to the Coliseum for part 2 of ENO's irritating Ring cycle. I was duly irritated, by the boiler-plate Valhalla, by Fricka's briefcase, by Wotan's desk toys, by the whole pretentious confusing mess. But I was surprised to be irritated by the music as well - the tenor who sung Siegmund, one of the biggest roles, was - I'm sure of it - singing flat. I overheard a guy in the bar who was more charitable about it, said he had an old-fashioned style of singing. I'm not feeling charitable - he was flat.