Thursday, December 09, 2021


 I have played a traditional game for the first time in it seems forever (since before the pandemic was pronounced, anyway).  As you can guess from the title, it was a game of Risk.  I hadn't played classic Risk for years (decades?) so it was quite a blast.

At first I was dubious about whether to play or not.  Memories of all night sessions, juvenile dummy spits, crazy 'rules' being invented and fought over, all these things tend to make me avoid a game these days.  But I decided to take a risk myself, and have a go again.  Afterall, it was the first 'classic' wargame that I played (over forty years ago) so it seemed kind of fitting as a way back into the groove of gaming.

The board was a 'vintage' wooden backed number from the early eighties.  Beautiful.  Cards matched the board.  Rules were 'standard' from then.  Pieces were imported from a more modern 'euro' style iteration of the game, a great improvement aesthetically from the always fiddly and cheap looking plastic bits that came with the older version.  It was a three player game.  Pink, Red and Black.  I was Pink.

My opponents had varied experience.  Both are hooked on phone based Risk MMOs, their favourite app being close but not identical in rule interpretation to the standard rules we used.  The black player had also intermittently played the board game (under some strange house rules at times) for almost three decades.  There was no obvious disadvantage to any of us.

The game took about six hours.  It hardly dragged at all, even in the middle phase.  This was a pleasant surprise.  I came out victor, by acclamation, as my steam roller was about to take off and there was no way the other two could stop it.  I was quite happy to go on for a bit longer, as I wouldn't have surrendered quite yet, but was happy to take the points.  And, of course, the GLORY!

Apart from the shared sociality of a good game, the thing I enjoyed most about the game was realising that my 'strategic brain' seems to have evolved since I last played something.  Reading the shape of the board and the pattern of play, biding time and using other's 'strengths' against them, getting inside their decision loops, all seemed to be much easier and less theoretical than they used to be.    Is it the result of playing only 'Go' and Chess occasionally over the past year, stripping the glitz off of strategy and only leaving the will to win?  Is this me evolving after a long break, having absorbed decades of experience?  If so, I like it.

It might be a while before I do it again, though hopefully not years.  Happy gaming to you all, and stay safe.

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Spawn of Cthulhu

The truth behind the conspiracies?  The dice from hell?  Do you feel lucky?
This post is a sign of life.  Keep safe.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Model making for a living

Are all wargamers modelers?  In my experience, generally so.  That being the case, if you want to turn your hobby into your profession you might wish to stress the modelling aspect.  Here's a couple (sort of) recent articles from Australia about people who make ends meet by making miniatures.  One does it part time, as her first love is the theatre, the second works for the big boys in defence.

I was waiting for a third similar story before posting but it's been a while now and none has crossed my path.  I assume therefore that most professional miniature makers remain unemployed.  Joy.

Monday, July 08, 2019


According to this news article, Role Playing Games have become socially acceptable behaviour, no longer the sole preserve (soul preservative?) of 'geeks' and other social misfits.  This is reflected in the growth, popularity and commercialisation of such practices as cosplay and comic art, recreationists, and its standard's use as a trope (?) in pop culture icons such as 'Stranger Things'.

Fair enough, just goes to show it means something to everyone.

Also mentioned is a Wizard of the Coast employee stating in 2016 that sales of the latest edition of the AD&D Players Handbook had tripled all previous iterations.  If it's profitable, it must be good.  Right?

Digital and communications technologies now provide enhancements of the experience and facilitate the spread of the game into the broader population.  In some ways this works contra to the Wizard of the Coast definition of 'good' (ie. removing the need to buy expensive books and have a maths degree to go dungeon crawling).  On both fronts, a good thing.

Finally, the article draws reference to the growth of grrrrl power and other demographic changes in the population of RPGers.  On reflection, all but one of my RPG groups over the decades had at least one regular female player (and in defence of my first group, at 13 years old we didn't know many girls except for my annoying 11 year old sister).  I'm pretty sure that in those days no one over twenty in Adelaide had even heard of the concept.  I have since played RPGs with younger generations, so that's changed, but I do wonder how many female DMs there are?

All in all, an interesting opportunity to reflect on what's changed and what's not.  I bet first time adventurers still get into a bar fight in their first town.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Memory of 'Bloody Omaha'

It's 75 years since the D Day landings, 25 years since I participated in a 6mm exhibition rendering of the landings at Omaha at the South Australian Historical Wargaming Society's open day.  I was the German CinC and had only one subordinate commander.  I think the invading hordes had at least three commanders at work.

My memories are limited and there are no photos of the game that have come into my possession (though I know some were taken).  I recall endless repetitive waves of landing craft, shore defences being pounded by naval salvos and then swathed in smoke, reinforcements being destroyed on their way to the front by swarms of fighter bombers.  All very depressing, especially when my promised armour never turned up.  Still, an enjoyable game and recalled with pleasure this long time later.  From memory, we had at least a division of americans modelled, and several understrength german battalions across a table measuring at least 8' square.  Amazing what we could do in the days of our youth.

The game inspired me to learn a lot more about this important event in 20th century history.  I'm still learning, could probably write a book or three on the subject myself.  And there's still so much more to take on board.  It's fascinating how an event such as this, huge as it was, is so difficult to get one's head around even now. 

It took me around two hours to recount the tale of the invasion to my grandson (he's taken up asking me for stories about 'real' events and people these days).  It would have been nice if one of the TV networks had shown 'The Longest Day'.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

We're not in Adelaide any more...

You know, a lot has changed since 2013, those dark days when my gaming life appeared to end and most of the rest of it to be unraveling.  Back then, a new boss at work (not like The Who said, this one was worse, way worse), midlife crises, and lots of other stuff going on led to some difficult times.  Thank goodness I discovered ice hockey, running and fitness generally.  And then they offered reasonable redundancy packages at work and then me and the missus found a nice little cottage in a small country town a couple hours north of Adelaide, and ... and ... and ... and I'm sure you get the picture.

Now, all these years later as the gamer in me re-emerges, I realise that this ol' blog's title probably doesn't really reflect reality anymore.  I could change the title, I could start a new blog, I could do lots of things.  But I reckon I'll leave it as it is and just keep going from where I left off.  Tipping my hat to my own legacy, I suppose.

So what does 2019 hold in store.  Well projects in various stages of gestation include finding some opponents to play Here I Stand - Wars of the Reformation (GMT games), getting together some saxons and arthurian britons and vikings and having a go with Dux Bellorum, and getting in a game or two of Stratego - Waterloo.

Oh, and getting the library organised.  I've just finished insulating a big shed out the back which is now lined with book cases, of which one shelf is stacked with games books and a couple crates of rules and scenarios and a few more crates of board games, and a few boxes of figures and scenery, etc etc etc.

We'll see how we go.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Long time gone - time to Go

Ice Hockey stole my life for a few years which really put a dent into my time budget.  Sadly, gaming suffered most out of the 'other things' in life (eg. family, work, gaming).  First to go were board games.  Next, online games dropped in frequency and then almost out of the equation (limited to World of Tanks).  And then I took a redundancy and moved to the country so everything got packed and stacked in boxes and still pretty well remains there (not sure if you'd call my present state one of semi-retirement or not, but I sure have kept busy).  And before you know it, the years have rolled by (take note, young ones).

There was the odd game in the past few years, but very few.  So few, I can recall them!

Condotierre - against the nephews, winning two out of three.
Settlers - against the nephews, winning none, losing two.
Ticket to Ride - against the daughter and grandson, miracle victory as the cards fell my way.

And, recently, Go.  This one has really taken my attention for a couple of months now, playing or studying it for a minimum of an hour a day.  I use an online go site and it has started refreshing my mind back into the gamer's mindset.  Very enjoyable, and a great relief for someone who is hours away from all known gaming opponents!

But, my gaming related interests have continued.  History, and anglo-saxon / viking / early norman periods in particular.  And rules get looked at.  And armies get planned in the spare moments while chopping wood etc.

And I've even had a look at Alcazia again.

And thus it continues...

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Plotting the afternoon away

Played a quick three player game of Condotierre this afternoon.  Nancy (dark purple) won at the start of the fifth 'round' of battles, over Paul (red) and me (yellow).  It was Paul's first game of this little machievellian gem and, in his obligitory 'I'll read the rules for myself thankyou,' we found a couple aspects that I'd missed on our trial run a couple days ago.  This was the situation at the end of the game:

Purple 6, red and yellow 3 each

The nature of the game for three players was noticeably different than it had been with four.  With three players, that classic 'cut-throat' dynamic came into play, with the added bonus that in this game there are so many ways to do over both the opponents while nominally 'helping' one of them.  Paul and I managed to practically 'give' Nancy's second territory of her eventual six to her and she never looked back from there.  It seemed that two out of every three battles were in effect for the game from not long afterwards so that it is with some pride that we held her off for so long.  Well done Nancy!

I'm looking forward to playing this with five or six players.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Why didn't I think of that?

Over at Steve's Random Musings on Wargames and Other Stuff I came across his most recent, culminating, battle from his Wars of the Spanish Succession Project.  His site (hard to just call it a blog) is an old school wargamer's paradise (at least, for those like me who came to the 'hobby' of wargaming via Charles S. Grant and friends), a very good example of what blogging based creativity can come up with.

Anyways, the last photo on the most recent battle report has the following picture on it:

Skype plus Charles S. Grant
When I saw it I instinctively thought, 'wow, of course.'  And then, 'why didn't I think of that?'  I wonder how many other wargamers out there are into this form of gaming, is there a meeting place to find opponents, etc etc.  Maybe TMP?  Hmmm, if I find time will have to go and look.

Sunday, January 06, 2013


As previously advised, I received a game of Condottiere for xmas.  Up until yesterday I'd had to satisfy myself with admiring the quality of the components and reading the rules a couple of times.  Sturdy box, good artwork on the cards, nice practical colourful wooden pieces that look good on the 'cute' foldboard map of renaissance Italy.  Rules are clear, crisp and comprehensive.  The possibilities for good clean dastardly deeds seemed pretty good with this.

Dirty Deeds

Yesterday we managed to try a four player game (Me, Nancy, Shaun, Sharon).  Within the hour we were close to finished, with Shaun playing for the win when he had to go to work (actually, we were all still playing for the win lol) and the game had to end.  My assessment was that the next battle wouldn't have decided it, but the one after could have - with everyone in the running.  

In the hour that we played we had one false start, and still managed to use all of the various types of card (mercenaries, heroines, courtesans, priests, scarecrows, surrenders, drummers, spring and winter), generally to their intended effect.  We had started getting the hang of hand management as well as bidding strategies and strategems.  The game flowed well, was easily learned by our relatively neophyte gamer (Sharon), and posed enough possibilitiy to tie the most devious mind up in knots. 

A tribute to Machiavelli, the Borgias and the Medicis indeed, to match the artwork by Michaelangelo.  And, most importantly, it was fun!

Saturday, January 05, 2013


I forgot to mention that we gave my youngest grandson a copy of Usborne's 'Knights and Castles' snap cards for xmas.  He's developed a fascination for the Arthurian Cycle of tales over the past year, with a concomitant knowledge of fighting equipment and techniques, genealogies and heraldry, geography and mythology, ethics and moral quandaries, so it seemed a perfect gift for a three year old born into a gaming family.

A Gallant Knight

It's turned out to be a great hit, with numerous and many (!) games and sessions with the cards that are too large for his hands to comfortably hold, the pictures that play games with the 'snap reflex' of the players by foreshadowing similar designs for different cards (eg, battlefield, hunting and tournament cards are easy to mistake for each other at first glance), and the inevitable advantage for older more cynical players that goes with a game where the excitement of waiting for the next card slows down the thinking needed to get the snap! hand down before mum's.

A bargain at the price, a great introduction to cards, a tough and pretty physical product and an enduring game formula.  That's my summary.  And, great fun!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Still Gaming!

It's been almost a year since last post.  In that time I have had a busy life with not enough gaming to keep the beast in me satisfied.  A lot of what gaming I have done has been online, World of Tanks.  That's on the backburner a little bit now, though I still like taking my PzIV for a bit of a spin.

About a month ago I did manage to get in my first ever game of Agricola.  If you don't know, it's another Eurogame with lots of bright colours, non combative themes, wooden counters and elegant rules.  Agricola is latin for 'farmer', and the idea is to be the best farmer at the end of fourteen turns.  Players are judged by family size, house size and construction, herd and crop sizes, as well as farm improvements.  I managed to win (30pts), with Julie a narrow second (27), then Nancy (20) and Tony (17).  I've given our copy of the game away for xmas, but will soon get another as it got the thumbs up from all concerned.  Here's a pic from the end of the game:

A hard evening's farming in Agricola.

We gave several games for Xmas, including a copies of Billionaire and Treasure Island to my nephews.  In return, I picked up a copy of Conditierre - a card based bidding game themed around the Renaissance Italian Wars.  I hope to get a couple games in after New Year.

Speaking of the Renaissance, I have brought my character back to a (lower) level of activity in Renaissance Kingdoms.  I'll be posting on the experience in future, but I'll say here that is was kinda nice to stretch my alter ego's legs after over a year of inactivity (just enough to stop him being eradicated).  I am so glad I kept him because now he can be older and wiser.

Finally, my most excellent missus has finally gotten around to clearing out another room in our house for my use in gaming and modelling.  This was needful as the last attempt at doing this was promptly followed by a stream of visitors that hasn't stopped who all use the 'spare' room.  The kids might miss their 'toy room', but I think I'll be able to convince them that it's a fair trade if I get space to model and game.

Anyways, sorry to be away so long.  Glad to see that my blogging comrades have kept up the good fight in my absence.  And, Adelaide Gamer wishes you all a brilliant New Year and many good dice rolls in the one that will follow!

Friday, January 06, 2012

AAD and other things

Well, I hope all those who read this had a safe and fun silly season. We at Adelaide Gamer did, most certainly. Not much in the way of games though, except for a bit of Tanks. And a recce on some modelling, for when I get the chance.

In the World of Tanks I have seemed to shift up a gear in my playing style, although it isn't necessarily immediately obvious when viewing the stat pages I think I am playing a lot smarter than I was a month ago. This is reflected in steady kill ratios of 1 per game or higher, and climbing averages for experience across my stable (T34, T34-85, IS2, SU-85, MS-1(!)).

I have also joined a clan, the ANZAC Armoured Division (2nd Battalion) - or AAD2 for short. The core of the clan consists of committed long term WoT players, it was formed in April 2011. The original AAD is presently 89 members, the 2nd Battalion has 30. The 1st Battalion is the gang who will provide the armies when Clan Wars finally starts up a Asia-Oceania server and fighting the daily round of battles in the quest for World Domination at a time more suitable for oceania timezones than does the present North American based server (early afternoon aussie time).

When you realise the First Battalion is composed of those with top level tanks waiting for the clan wars to start, and that the Second Battalion is for the more relaxed, less developed Tanker, then you'll probably understand that I give no secrets away when I say that the plan is to hit the ground running when Oceania opens up for conquest, grab territory and hang onto it. Apparently there's some well established russian clans with the same idea, so it will be interesting.

On a more mundane level, the AAD runs a basic forum and Team Speak set up which, when combined with a little message discipline and the ingame information streams in WoT, provides good forums, meeting points, communications networks and information storage to run a pretty major operation. The TS server set up is good, with channels for individual platoons, companies, training ground players and miscellaneous use, as well as main lobbies. Very functional and focused, without being neurotic about it. Kinda like us ANZACs (Australia New Zealand Army Corps, from WWI and Gallipoli) like to think we are.

Oh. And I'm chasing down some putty for the T34-85 model, and eagerly awaiting the end of silly season so I can set up and use my new air compressor and spray gun.

And there's a Knizia game of the Hobbit to learn and play.

And S&T is releasing its Germany-Russia 1920 hypothetical game in a couple months.

2012 looks like being a very good year.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The day after the day after

I almost was a xmas grinch by throwing out our old tree when one of the elves dropped off a new one the day before the day before. Instead, I left it out on the roadside verge in case anyone who saw it needed a tree (with a little note saying they're welcome to it). No-one took it, and the bin won't have enough room for it for a week or two to come, but at least I avoided grinchisness.

As for the treasure ... a high grade micro air compressor (variable flow, water trap) and modeling airbrush plus fixtures, models of Fokker Dr VII (biplane) and 1:35 Russian Tank Crew, an Order of Battle of the Red Army's main fronts in WWII and a more detailed history of their armoured forces, and a military history 'daybook'. Treasure for those near and dear included 'The Hobbit' boardgame (a Eurogame designed by Knizia) and a pretty dramatic scaletrix track and cars (slot cars). So, Santa was kind indeed, and at least as perceptive as has been in past years.

And it was nice on the day after the day after the curse of grinchisness was avoided to finally take some time out and settle back into some solid driving on my IS-2 in World of Tanks. More on those adventures later ...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Six hours tankin' it

Just ended what was about a six hour World of Tank session with the Lizard King. My prime tank was initially a KV13 (Tier 7), while he had a T44 (Tier 8). We were striking pretty well, but in the battles where our platoon got knocked out early we then filled the time with our reserve vehicles (T34-85 and M4A3E8 'Easy Eight'). At about H+5 I had achieved the necessary credits to trade in my KV13 for an IS Heavy Tank (Tier 7).

Much as I was a bit sad to sell my KV (over 170 battles I had become quite attached to its nifty combination of speed and heavy armour, albeit its relatively weak 85mm gun was irritating at times), it was nice to move into a heavy tank for the first time in WoT. And I'm within a handful of games of being able to research the T43 from the T34-85, which will make it 'elite' and allow me to hopefully get 100% camouflage ratings on the crew while I accumulate the necessary credits with which to trade it in and actually purchase the '43.

But for now, I love it when a good plan comes together.