Monday, October 27, 2008

A lucky escape

Iain, Chris, Raphael and I all wasted hours last week reading the rules to The Napoleonic Wars in preparation for our session on Saturday evening. Iain thought I had a copy of the game, I thought Iain had a copy, and Chris and his son just thought someone had a copy. Oh dear. But I think we all agreed that we'd had a lucky escape.

Instead we played Conquest of Paradise, which I enjoyed a lot (but I won so that always improves my opinion of a game). Iain wasn't very impressed - he felt that the game is too long to be so luck-dependent. He was unlucky with his exploration draws, I admit, but he also didn't play very well (although I would never say that to him of course).

Why I hate Facebook

It's slooowwww.
It's too flirty.
For example: why does it keep showing me ads for finding sexy local singles, no matter how many times I tell it I'm not interested?
I'm tired of seeing pictures of drunk people.
The interface is horribly clunky.
For example, I couldn't even figure out how to write on a friend's wall the other day.
It's a huge waste of time.
And most seriously: no-one reads my blog any more, they're all busy Facebooking!

Now Scrabulous has gone, the one thing I still enjoy about Facebook is playing chess with Phil. But there's other places we could do that. And it's sometimes nice to get people's news. But I'm trying out Twitter for that.

Friday, October 24, 2008

No regrets

I will be playing The Napoleonic Wars with Iain and Chris tomorrow, so naturally enough I am rereading the rules, which has brought back to me with pungent immediacy why I sold this game in the first place. On BGG I read quite a lot of comments along the lines of "great game - shame about the rules", but lets face it, the rules are a mess because the game is a mess. Especially the diplomatic rules. But a lot of the other stuff as well - army groups, conquest and submission, the interphase, etc etc. And why so many funny words, can't we call it a "space" instead of a "duchy"??

The developer Don Greenwood (may he live for ever) also developed ASL and Up Front (of blessed memory), and TNW has the same kind of style - exceptions piled upon exceptions piled upon tottering exceptions. Someone at GMT, Andy Lewis or Gene Billingsley, should have stepped in and said "This won't do. It really won't. Simplify it!"

Still, it was one of their biggest successes of recent years, so maybe I'm mistaken. But IMO it could have been so much better a game......

Thursday, October 23, 2008


GMT games have their usual amazing autumn sale this year. As a P500 customer I can get 50% off any two games. It would be criminal not to take advantage of a discount like that (even with the plunging value of sterling). I'm thinking about Successors, with either Napoleonic Wars 2nd edition (even though I sold my copy of the 1st edition after some unpleasant experiences - probably more the fault of my game group than of the game itself) or Saratoga or Under the Lily Banners or maybe even one of Vance von Borries' East Front Series games?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Who you gonna call?

I had a problem (War of the Ring figures still tacky 2 years after applying Games Workshop matt varnish).

I tried to fix it on my own (by dry-brushing over the top of the varnish - no good).

I asked the BoardGame Geek community about it (here).

They suggested an answer (Testors Dullcote).

I tried their answer (ordered a bottle of Testors from here - applied it to a few Isengard orcs - it works! - they look great too).

I love BoardGameGeeks!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Gosh I'm desperate for a wargame. Life isn't the same since my regular opponent moved to Ireland. Sue played Conquest of Paradise with me the other evening, bless her good heart, but only on condition that I didn't do any fighting. In the end I attacked some of the intrinsic warriors on the map, but I think I got away with that - she didn't seem to mind. But I really need a good old-fashioned hex-and-counter stand-up fight with someone......

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Coast to Coast walk was an amazing experience. Nearly three weeks in the open air - we got very fit and healthy. We had a couple of difficult days in the rain, but most of the time we had great weather. By the time we arrived in the Lake District we had become eaters of miles, and found it relatively easy to do the big climbs over Kidsty Pike and St Sunday Crag that we encountered. I picked up a stomach bug and we spent an unscheduled day in Borrowdale while I recovered, so next day we had to do two days' walk in one day to get back on schedule, 16 miles over Honister Pass and down the length of Ennerdale, but we coped with even that. It was a great feeling to finally dip our toes in the sea at St Bees; the tide was out so we had to walk an extra 200yds!

Photos are here if you're interested.