Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Great Gaming Venues #1: Nick's Flat

Location: 7/10 A fairly respectable leafy street in West Cardiff. When I visited I wasn't mugged once and my car wasn't even stolen. Nearby attractions include The Robin Hood (Charlotte Church's local) and an excellent Chinese takeaway.

Architecture: 7/10 A pleasant flat in a large Victorian stone-built terraced house. Nick's enormous collection of history and archaelogy books graces the walls.

Facilities: 5/10 The gaming table is a little too small and has rounded ends. So the corners of the Europe Engulfed map stick out over the edge. Don't bring your own copy - let Nick's corners get bent.

Catering: 9/10 Nick is a genial host and an excellent curry chef. Prepare yourself for heavy alcohol consumption.

Soundtrack: 8/10 Cocteau Twins, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, The Who

Games available: 5/10 Nick has a smallish collection of superannuated Avalon Hill games such as Republic of Rome and Hannibal (which he shamefully fails to look after properly) and a few Euro games like Settlers of the Stone Age and Attika.

Other inhabitants: 8/10 Dani is Nick's attractive and intelligent girlfriend. She is a challenging opponent at Euro games. She is also German so please don't mention the war too often.

Drawbacks: If you even think about stopping gaming/drinking and going to bed before about 2am you will be repeatedly called a "big nonce".

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Workshop finally came to a close last weekend - until we start again in September. Here are some photos from Sunday. It was a happy day, but sad too to say goodbye to all the students.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Just one attack, and it comes very close. I have a friend who knows someone who lost a leg, and another friend has two neighbours who died. What must it be like in Baghdad at the moment, when 800 Iraqi civilians a month are losing their lives in terrorist attacks? What kind of an impact does that have on a society?

The trauma can offer a breathing space; and in that space there is the possibility of recognising that we have had an experience that is not just a nightmarish insult to us, but a door into the suffering of countless other innocents, a suffering that is more or less routine for them in their less regularly protected environments. - Rowan Williams

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I worry that we are being a bit premature congratulating ourselves on our British stiff-upper lip in the face of terrorism. I wonder how stoical and restrained we would be if we were getting about one major attack a week like the Israelis were in 2002?
I went to see Star Wars Episode 3 last night. Portentious, dead-in-the-water script mixed with cut-scenes from a video game. Lots of pretty stuff to look at, emotional involvement nil. The best bit of the evening was the trailer for The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe which looks surprisingly promising. I just hope thay don't over-Jacksonize the battle scenes, if you know what I mean. Battles in Narnia are very small affairs, a typical army is a handful of humans and a few hundred talking animals at the most.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Here are some initial thoughts on Empire of the Sun from John:

I have just finished a game of Empire of the Sun with Dave. Worked quite well, though I wouldn't have designed it that way. Some missed opportunities, the cards are more of a random element to a conventional game than the exquisite torture of competing strategic priorities that you get in POG. Plus putting all the cards into one big pot means that 1945 things can happen in 1942, which is a bit odd to those who actually know what is supposed to happen. Can't help but think that PoG plugs a few more of the 'oh I'll just send the complete German Army off to Turkey' type problems. Infrastructure was pretty critical in the Pacific and took time to organise, the length of the Allied supply line to the SW Pacific was phenomenal - 8000 odd miles if I remember correctly.

Good thing though is that it handles the airpower and fluidity of the Pacific theatre well and the one year scenarios are actually playable in an afternoon - well a long afternoon anyway. Japanese tactical victory today, for the 1942 scenario, though they didn't take Burma or the place with the funny name on Java, so the Dutch East Indies were holding out - complete with a poor, isolated US Corps. Though the collective wildlife of the Aleutian islands was learning Japanese and Guadalcanal was safe for Emperor-worship.