Saturday, December 04, 2010

Latest RK Banner

Another sign of life post, this time to show that not only am I 'here' still but also life is going on in Renaissance Kingdoms. Will fill in more in future, but for the moment put up this, the latest banner.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The smell of Mirkwood in the morning

As long time readers might remember, I have been a fan of the Total War series of comp games since the release of 'Medieval' a few years ago. Since then, there has been Rome, Medieval II (using the new engine from 'Rome' on the medieval theme), Empire (18th cent?) and Napoleonic. I haven't played the last two, and most enjoyed the original 'medieval'. Although I put many hours into Rome, and some into Medieval II, that was mainly due the wow factor as the game evolved and the fact that the system itself is pretty good. But they lacked the magic of the 'medieval' experience, at least to me they did.

It's hard to pin down exactly what the 'magic' is, that thing that draws us back to our old favorites time and again. In the world of flight sims, there was an old Amiga game from twenty years ago called 'Wings', but you could 'smell the avgas', until 1942 Pacific War (mid nineties) there was nothing like it. Ilyushin filled the void, but not quite the same.

In WWII tactical games, the Talonsoft classic East Front seems to 'catch the essence' of this type of gaming, and has warranted various continuations of its existence from different 'publishers' in an almost unchanged format. Not bad for a game that itself seems to take off from where the orginal Avalon Hill boardgame Squad Leader left off. Not that surprising, perhaps, considering that several of the team from Avalon Hill were involved in the project.

Anyway, Medieval II didn't to me catch the edge of seat feel of its predecessor.

So, I was pretty pleased to find in one of my random surfs on the web this link to a series of mod's (modifications) to download and patch onto the original game program to make it a recreation of the War of the Ring. It looked pretty good. So I went out and got the necessary expansion to my copy of Medieval II ($7 for the upgrade, the game itself cost $12, both from the local second hand game trader) and then downloaded about 2GB of mods, spent an afternoon installing them (a couple hours) and was well surprised.

It's great. I'll write more of it later as this post is long enough, but suffice to say that Third Age: Total War has all the flash graphics and smart engine capacity of this leading edge game, and has managed through cunning use of graphic and audio reference to the shared reality we all share from book and film to create a 'believable' environment, and that the design of the game itself leaves a lot of excitement to be discovered. To me, the mix is right and one can smell mirkwood in the morning.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Renaissance Profile

Below is the profile of my character in Renaissance Kingdoms. You can read between the lines for getting onto three years of Role Play adventure. Just thought I'd record it here for posterity, and for your interest (as I haven't posted much in last few months)...

Born on 18 August, 2007

Last known address
Country : Kingdom of Scotland
County : County of Glasgow
Town : Ardencaple

Level : 2
Reputation Points : 250
Money : 6

Dracmuller is a blacksmith.
Dracmuller has one sheep field.

Last connection 27 May 2010 at 15h33

Role Play description

Chief of Clan MacTavish yet a humble soul, I am learning about the world of society. If I unintentionally offend thee, I beg thee thy forgiveness!


A foundling, with but the inherited rags of my father's loincloth to clothe me, a thistle, and an old parchment from my McTavish mother, I started out by showing myself to be a diligent worker and enterprising soul.

Reward came my way despite famine and fraud and I soon found myself spending much time on my farm, where I raise pigs. I joined the Galloway Regiment and swore my allegiance to our king, James II, my country, and its people.

I built MacTavish Hut in October 1455 and enjoyed spending time there with my kin. I was acclaimed Chieftain of Clan MacTavish, and had the honour of representing us when the status of 'Founding Clan of Scotland' was bestowed - November 1, 1455.

On my longer trips these days I am generally accompanied by, Arnawlf, the black pigdog who I found on the doorstep of my cottage on Christmas morn, 1455. She isn't fully grown yet, but already is large enough to cause worry in the eye if she snarls.


1 February , I first fire my forge.
6 February, I meet a witch and Arnawlf proves her worth. I take up reading.
27 March, I open the Guild of Scottish Blacksmiths.
9 April, I first enter the Privy Chamber of the Regent of Scotland.
4 May, I am struck down by a nasty virus. My paperwork is destroyed by flame.
30 May, while guarding Dumfries Castle I lead a tour of the catacombs beneath.
26 June, I try peacekeeping in Kirk. My blue bonnet takes on new meaning.
2 - 26 July, I enjoy a tour of Scotland with my clan.
9 August, I am given custody of Blackwind, ancestral sword.
10 August, I open the Council of Chiefs.
27 August, I take part in the Battle of Muirkirk.
11 September, I bump into robbers and vow revenge.
3-6 October, I enter retreat for the first time in a year, returning refreshed.
9 November, I am promoted to General of the Galloway Regiment. Jah be with me.
1-22 December, Participant in Kirk's chaos week, witness Battle of Three Armies at Dumfries.


2-3 Jan, Battle of Whithorn
9 Jan, Assassination attempt, Dumfries.
11-28 Jan,'The King James', Dumfries.
5 Feb, Elected Steward of Scotland. Wow!
6-28 Feb, Inaugurate the High Court.
1-26 Mar, Tour the three counties.
31 Mar, Retire to clan and army duties.
9-13 Apr, Easter in Drummore Mine
21 Apr, Return to Whithorn
2 May, Ambushed (Girvan).
3 May, Wigtown Veteran's Hospice
17 June, Return to duty
July, RSA Operations - W.Galloway
August, RSA Operations - E.Galloway
13 Sept, Deputised Field Marshall, RSA
18 Sept, Whithorn visit
19 - 25 Sept, Northern Campaign.
26 Sept - 3 Oct, Working Holiday,Glasgow
9 Oct, Wedded Arien von Mainz, Girvan
28 Oct, Commissioned RSA Field Marshall
6 - 17 Nov, Security Patrols, Drummore
25- 28 Nov, Security Patrols, Whithorn
1 - 16 Dec, Borderwatch, Dumfries
24 - 31 Dec, Kelburn Castle, Largs


1 - 18 Jan, Kelburn Castle, Largs
4 Jan, resign commission from RSA
21 Jan - 12 Feb, Dockwork, Ardencaple
14 Feb, Valentines in Ol' Glasgow Town
15 Feb - 15 Mar, Confined to Stirling
16 Mar, Angelic Intercession
17 Mar - 19 Apr, Largs Volunteers
20 Apr - 13 May, Dockwork, Whithorn
21 May, Move to Ardencaple on Clyde
27 May, Take up sheep farming

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Frank Frazetta (artist).
Ronnie James Dio (musician).

Frazetta helped frame the visual side of fantasy RP, Dio provided the soundtrack of many a game in the golden age. For this, they are part of our (or my, at least) history. Thanks to Big Lee and Grognardia for the links.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Renaissance Rambles

I am spending a lot of time playing Renaissance Kingdoms again. In brief, have gathered a bit of my clan together to defend a town against possible attacks by any of four armies wandering around the landscape. We are doing it because the mayor of the town is in our clan and her town was a little open to bullying. We have held the wall for a month while the town has gotten organised and increased our fame in the process. All good. More later.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Gamers Unite

How lucky are we here in Adelaide when in the usualy drum roll of politicians heading to our state election there's a wee political party of GAMERS who are standing for election as GAMERS?! Funniest thing, they're getting more votes than predicted. For me, the way these fairly smart lads and lassies are directing their preferences isn't too far from the way I would do, and the closest to my view of things of all the parties, so is actually easyish for this little gamer to give them a tick.

I mean, seriously, if the Attorney General in your state said that he felt more under threat from gamers than from bikers, wouldn't you want to vote for them?

If you're interested, here's prbly the most complete blurb I've yet found with these guys explaining what they're about. By the way, their preferences (determined after the interview) went green.

Seriously weird. If it wasn't real I'd say you'd be joking!

End of political hacking, I'll let you know the results of the vote down the track when they roll in but will revert to my more usual apolitical self for future posts.

Happy gaming.

Friday, March 12, 2010

World Day against Cyber Censorship

March 12th is the World Day against Cyber Censorship. The fact you are reading this says that you enjoy the benefits of access to the web. We use it to pursue our passions, our hobbies, our games. The community we forge is real. In the broad community of netizens around the globe there are growing numbers of people locked away in countries throughout the world for online reportage and networking activities. Not that that will likely involve the readers of this blog in the foreseeable future, but who knows what the future holds?

In Australia we are about to get a government run filtering system to block sites the administrators deem 'unsuitable'. No choice. And in South Australia we will be losing access to many games as our Attorney General refuses to participate in a national classificatory scheme for the hardcore games (the 'R' rating). Not that I particularly like most of those games, but if they get away with this, what next? Social networking sites? Militaristic hobbyists? Who knows? If you recall the various panic waves and crusades against Dungeons and Dragons you'll know that the most innocent of activities can lead to crazy situations if the censors move in.

To show how ridiculous it can get even in this 'civilised age,' in an election campaign occurring here and now our Attorney General has been publicly grabbing headlines saying he is more at threat from 'gamers' than from 'bikies' (against whom he has passed anti-association laws). The logical next step would be to stop gamers from associating, and then what would we do?

Anyway, to break the non political nature of this blog for this one day of the year, I just wanted to spread the word and ask everyone to think for a moment of the joys we have with a web on which we can write what we want and read as we feel. And to cherish that.

If you're interested, check out the site of Reporters without Borders (Reporters sans frontiers).

If you wonder why I'm posting this, my beloved country is now being ranked with various totalitarian states such as China, Iran, etc because of the internet filtering 'service' our government is about to ram down our throats. It has me rather upset. Back to normal transmission after this post...

Monday, March 08, 2010

The Claws of the Tiger

The Claws of the Tiger is a simple East Front scenario I just completed with Rick from the Blitz site. 10 turns, complexity 2. Russian armoured battalion with 2 attached submachine gun coys advances on Gertova, must surmount german roadblocks to do so. German has a company dug in across the road after it crests a rise, and a couple tiger platoons coming up from the west (with a PzIV platoon in support). I was the axis.

I sent my tigers around western flank to hit russian in his side as he bogged in front of my roadblocks (1). PzIV around the north to support lone AT gun protecting a lateral road, hopefully to buy enough time for me to work out something if this was the main axis of russian advance (2).

Russian sent his main force on a tactical flanking mission on the main roadblock (1), two coys of tanks and the infantry. He detatched a company of T34s to try (unsuccessfully) to hold my tigers off the flank of his main force (3).

The tigers played merry hell with any russians that remained visible on the crest or who tried to work around their own flanks. The PzIV skirmished with a russian recce, then fell back in case needed to fight delaying actions. When realised didn't need to, came back to hit the main russian effort to the east of the roadblock. Meanwhile, the infantry defending the roadblock slowly withdrew under close pressure in the surrounding woods to the main positions on the road (3). Although they had all nearly run out of ammo by game end, they didn't break. Their attached AT guns swept the open area in front of the trenches, preventing russian tanks charging across the open to hit the germans in the flank while engaged by the russian infantry coming through the woods (2).

Game end, major victory to the axis. Russian managed to throw his main weight against my main positions, which was bound to be a tough call. Suspect Rick not yet worked out the true value of SMG squads he had. I was worried enough by his recce on my left flank to pull back the PzIV as well as pull platoons out of the main line to guard the rear objectives in case that turned out to be his main thrust. Luckily for me, not to be.

To show the lineage of the game we play now (Matrix version of Talonsoft's East Front II), this scenario was designed by Don Greenwood, who was a play tester (?) in the old Avalon Hill Squad Leader board game. IN fact, this scenario is based on the Squad Leader scenario, "The Tiger's Paw."

AAR - March to the Front

My first foray into an official game on the Blitz Ladder resulted in a Major Victory. I don't know if I'll always do an After Action Report, but thought I would for this at least. To left is a 2D version of the map used. Highlighted with MS Paint are main axes for German and Russian.

1 Inf Coy with MG support advance into village against russian opposition of aprox 1 battalion and initial light tanks forces. The bulk of the russian infantry retreated back to Andrey, the tanks also. The Gn Coy spent the last half of game securing against a lone russian company at the top of the farm and lining the orchards to the East (1a), threatening to adv to the town while securing against a counter attack.

2 Inf Coy secure initial deployment site, maintain artillery observations from hill top (2a) and then advance to take half of the next state farm. Advanced about 3 kms in the open, through hill, ravine, mines, artillery against russian battalion. The number '2' also shows the location of where I parked onboard artillery battalion.

3 Last Inf Coy of the 1st Battalion, assist to clear up harassing activities of Russ armoured cars during deployment turns, then advance to seize road junction behind russian tank penetration. Finish game holding southern flank against light russian pressure.

4 Tank Company, 3 platoons of PzIIIs, one of PzIIs (HQ). Delay initially to clean up russian rear raiders (4a), detach one platoon to bolster defences of state farm (4c) and hold the central approaches (4b). This last also cleaned up the russian armoured penetration of the mid game after they came north (rather than keep going to my undefended rear lines).

While I'm on the subject of 4b, I should speak a little about the impact of air power in the scenario. I tried to use my single air attack early in the game when could see russian armoured reinforcements arriving (southern point of R1). For some reason (probably the spotting unit becoming disrupted) the mission didn't arrive and was canceled (not replaced with another). The russian flew in one air support mission, it struck my PzII HQ tank as it moved up to support the first two platoons on the central corridor. One of those platoons and the commander had, coincidentally, just moved from the spot as the PzII arrived. Loss of its company HQ platoon makes it more difficult for a platoon to recover from disruption so I played my armour different from that point.

5 Battalion of infantry reinforcements, sweep around to secure northern hill line (5a), block off threatened armoured sweep (5b) and threaten to take northern state farm (5c).

As to the Russian, he was pushed back to defending the Eastern half of the map. R1 shows the general flow of his reinforcements, which I think were pouring into defending the high VP township against my 'threatened' assaults. The greatest threat he made was the penetration of an armour company (R2). Lucky for me he swung this north to its eventual destruction at the hands of my PzIIIs, rather than keep going west and clean up my artillery which was undefended and scrambling to limber up as he approached within a couple hexes (was hidden from him by buildings). That took nerves.

Was a great game. Although the last 4 of 16 turns were a bit of a german procession, until my Pz IIIs had cleaned up the armour penetration I had the feeling that it could have bogged into a draw as I had no reserves and everything was committed. The grand deception of threatening the township (never in my sights) was perhaps what saved me.

The wrap up was Major Victory to the Axis. On the Blitz ladder we have both moved out of Bootcamp with the completion of our first ladder game.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Dice Roller

As we draw to the end of the game in the Marching to the Front scenario the mind turns to the next one. In choosing the next East Front scenario, we have a list of them in historical order and are playing through from the start, randomly selecting the next from the list according to a 1D6 roll (re rolled if it is too one sided, too big, played before, etc). So, here was I, sending of the last turnfile to my opponent looking at the list of scenarios in late 1941, and I couldn't find a dice. Shame on me.

So, I used this handy dice roller. I've put in my sidebar for easy reference.

Saturday, March 06, 2010


I've just added Lair of the Ubergeek to my blogroll. Great miniatures wargaming site by a dude with a sense of humour. Terrain, models, after action reports, nice photos, enough personal posts to humanise the author, and not too highly stressed.

While I'm praising blogs, check these cartoons out at Iron Mitten, 'Judgement Day' and 'Brits Abroad.' Excellent work!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


I've joined The Blitz Wargaming Club, an online community which has been helping fans of various combat strategy games (eg. Campaign Series (East and West Front, Rising Sun) and The Operational Art of War, etc). It has 'ladders', and seems to neatly link up players for games against each other by PEBM. It's been going over 10 years in its current guise and has some very dedicated gamers. A lot of scenario design, and history stuff in the background. I actually joined a few days ago, but only just started my first actual 'ladder' game.

It's a 1941 East Front scenario, 'Marching to the Front' (complexity of four). Late October and Barbarossa is running out of steam as winter approaches. It's the grab to secure the food and position in open cultivated plains scarred by small ravines and state farms, before the snow closes in. I won't say too much more here about the game until the scenario is properly decided for fear of giving too much away.

Sorry, lizard king :)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

East Front - Surprise for the 17th Panzer

Am presently playing the final stages of a EF low-moderate complexity 1941 scenario, "Surprise for the 17th Panzer". Again, playing by email exchange of turns. This one looks like it will be a major victory for the Axis (me).

Later edit: major victory for the axis (me).

Broad situation: a 10km penetration to the East by german armoured and recon battalion through scattered woodland and potato fields, taking highway towns and intersections as they go. Late arrival of russian light tank regiment, with a company of T34s and a KVI to assist, hitting the german in the northern flank of his extended line. So far, as we enter the final couple of turns, the german has captured the high value central built up objectives and all major road intersections along the highway.

Highlight to me has been the daring sweep of main force of recon battalion (M/C, A/C and support units) along secondary southern road to join in pincer movement, with detached company of armoured cars that snuck through several kilometers to the north, to capture and hold deep objectives.

This is the second game in a row where I have managed to coordinate an assault with units that are marching isolated for up to six turns (in the last game, it was the remergence of survivors from early attacks from their hidden pathways in forest and fen in the final turns of the game, to threaten recently won russian objectives and divert valuable units from the final assault in the centre). Pleasing.

I am also finally getting the hang of how to use anti tank guns (after all these years). An 88mm looking down the main road with automatic weapons hosing down any threatened infantry attacks against its position, 50mm's setting themselves up in objectives newly seized by columns of armoured cars and motorcycle troops, smoke still in the air. Very useful support for light armed mobile units.

Perhaps the most enjoyable moment, though, was the complete destruction of a BT7 company by a lurking Jagdpanzer I (!) unit in some wheatfields to my rear. Coming on late, the JgdPzs (under armoured and undergunned for close in swirling tank combat) were detatched to rear security duties along most likely axis of any potential russian deep flanking sweep. They were actually going to sweep up around the area themselves, but became aware of strong russian forces moving in their direction due the fleeing soft transport from a 37mm AT company that had been overrun while acted as a northern outpost. Even at this stage of the war, these guns were virtually useless.

Its heavy AT guns having been sent to join up with the armoued companies, the JgPz company changed its mission from driving up the northern road to waiting for something to drive down it. Having just enough time to organise themselves, they watched a company of BT7s burst from the woods and (not seeing the tank hunters in time) drive within point blank range. Eliminated before they knew what hit them. The JgPzs then pulled out of sight as heavier tanks blundered past and are presently securing an 'industrial' village against desperate attacks by fragmented russian light armour units.

This will probably be the last game we play with our old EFII disks as Wayne now has a copy of the Matrix version of this classic game.

East Front - Sabres in the Sun

You may recall that I was playing a PEBM (play by email) game of East Front with Wayne at the start of this year. It was a moderate complexity scenario, Sabres in the Sun, featuring a the attack of a russian cavalry regiment and armoured battalion against a series of scattered german outposts in rural countryside. The germans had a few Stug IIIs to help them, but not much chop against the T34s and KVIIs of the soviet.

The game took us about two months or so to complete, mainly because we had several week long breaks through the silly season. After initial resistance, the soviets punched through and shattered the german front line outposts before any reinforcements could reach them, pushed on towards the inner belt of objectives. As they pushed the germans back, however, resistance toughened, and was shored up in the nick of time by the arrival of the Stug company. The battle slowed down into a slugfest for the latter part, until the last five or so turns of the 21 turn game.

At that point, the germans pushed back into the 'State Farm' with their infantry on the Eastern Flank of the battlefield, somehow catching the russian asleep in the sector and making a daring dash across the open to break their way into the russian lines and retake the farm with minimal losses. They couldn't have done this if the russian hadn't gotten a bit cocky and sent some of his cavalry forces away from the site towards the centre of the map (where a lone german company had held out under close range armoured bombardment for most of the game, they crumbled in the last two turns).

The other excellent fun thing from my perspective was the way I managed to pull together several platoons that had been shattered and scattered in the initial soviet assault, shepherding them through woods and swamps out of sight of the russian, to emerge in the final three turns and threaten to retake at least one of the previously lost objectives in the west of the map. The russian had to divert a company of tanks to hold those locations, reducing the amount of resources he had to throw at the final redoubts in the north. Subsequently, the germans held the core objectives against the final russian assaults over the open.

End result? A close fought draw, not determined until the last turn of the game.

Secondary MMPORGs

Besides playing Renaissance Kingdoms, I also am active in two other MMPORGs. The site owners of RK have started a new world called Shogun Kingdoms, in which I have a humble buddhist peasant who spends all day in the temple, regularly starves himself, and whose only present ambition is to own his own rice field in the not too distant future. I'll put a link on my sidebar to the site very shortly.

The other MMPORG is the Tribal Kingdoms, where my Aztec peasant continues to make obsidian clubs in his home village towards the day when he too can have an army and devestate neighboring tribes. Recently they upgraded the site so that I now can visualise what I look like (these are all text and menu driven browser based games).

All three of these 'Kingdoms' games are run by the same crew with the same game engine. I'm not sure what their business model is as they seem to have backed off of advertising in outside sites and cannabilise players from RK to these other new worlds they have set up. This is not a long term proposition, i suppose, but then again, RK is going strong into its fifth year so who am I to criticise?

My dedication to RK varies between fanatical and keen, spending between 20 min and 5 hours per day on it still, after two years. This is not an unusual pattern. As to the Aztec and Nippon characters, about five minutes each per day. In regards to these later, I see my participation as being somewhat of a public service as the Kingdoms need peasants and 'commoners' to go about the daily grind while those who get into the running of the world manipulate and scheme to determine our futures.

It's kinda relaxing after the intensity of RK.

RK update

Above is my new banner for use in Renaissance Kingdoms, the ongoing online role playing world I'm involved in. The present situation of my character is that he is in the northernmost town of the Kingdom (Stirling). He is stuck there because the local warlords have placed him on a kill list of an army to my immediate south, mainly due the fact that my character seems to have a cutting tongue that upsets tyrants and brigands. Have almost renounced all responsibilities not to do directly with clan duties. The Kingdom is brewing up to a big war, with irish mercenaries arriving by sea to join the rebels and robbers who run glasgow county for their promised assault on Ayr county to the immediate south. While this is happening, a Campbell dominated Galloway is pushing for independence of the southern counties from national institutions, and the Royal Scots Army is gathering in the centre of the land to fight their old enemies in the north.

It is a bit different not being stuck in the thick of it. In fact, I am really on the margins for this coming war, allowing me time to do things other than organise troops and rally the people. Will probably spend the time organising the clan for the coming disintegration of a unified scotland so that we can look after our own in the dark ages to come.

Settlers Game

In the first week of January (just shows how long I can wait before posting if I'm busy elsewhere) Nancy, Shaun, Paul and I played our first game of Settlers of Catan. We all agreed it was good fun, took us a bit over two hours. We played the recommended starting set up for a first game rather than use the randomisation of geography etc which gives the game its newness on each play. Using the standard set up, I presume, gives each player a roughly equal chance to win while displaying some of the different 'styles' required to master the game. In this trial, Shaun (White) won with an expansionist approach, Nancy (blue) came close with her trading approach, I (orange) kept myself happy with a coastal network and Paul (red) got frustrated by playing an expansionist style when he should have concentrated on internal development. All good fun and hope to play again in not too distant future.

Civ Game

The above picture shows the situation at the end of our game of Civilisation from the Dog Days (sorry about the blurry picture, forgot to use the flash). It was a rollicking good six player game that went for 13 hours. Babylon (Jess) won in a close tussle down to the last turn, with Illyria (Nancy) coming second and North Africa (Jarrad) a close third. Minor places were taken by Egypt (Paul) , Assyria (yours truly) and Thrace (Wayne). A great time was had by all. Most noteably, at different stages in the game everyone was under a fair bit of pressure to the point of being upset, but no one said anything they regretted and we all shook hands at the end. In the pressure cooker of a thirteen hour game, that's pretty good.

Below is a link to a slideshow showing the rise and decline and rise of the Assyrian Empire in the game of Civilisation we played at the end of last year.

Assyria - Civ Dec 09

In the slide show you'll see how Assyria expanded into Asia (Anatolia), dealt with a warlike Babylon pushing from the East and various minor coastal invasions in the South (North is to the bottom of the picture). Although I tried to keep the centre of the asian peninsula free of cities (allowing me internal lines of communication to deal with my war like neighbor and exposed coast ) I eventually had to build cities there to secure the position. In the latter part of the game you'll also see a barbarian (pink) influx into Babylon territory. I included it here because it was a nice thorn in the side of an aggressive opponent playing what is usually a passive people.

Victorious Babylonian

Monday, January 04, 2010

Holiday Gaming - online GRAW, EF, RK

Over the past two weeks I've dabbled a bit in online media for gaming. Surprise surprise.

Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter - classic shoot 'em up for the thinking player. Have had it for a year or so and played single player on desktop, not the best at it (still haven't finished the programmed scenarios). High tension game, however, big maps and difficult scenarios with good sound and graphics. Here is the link to a user video on youtube which shows someone playing through the mission I have gotten stalled on (in the mass fire fight at the end). This dude makes it look easy.

Anyway, after maybe a year of having the game I finally 'patched' the game with the official patch and had a look at the multiplayer function. There seems to always be a dozen or more games going on online at any time, most of them being cooperative games on usergenerated missions. It's a game of small interlocking fire teams and rests a lot on observation and tactical movement. Good fun. Also of some interest is that one can make one's own machine act as a server. This is especially useful here in Australia considering the usually high 'ping' penalty we pay for living here (most game servers being on the other side of the planet).

East Front II - continue into turn 3 of the 1941 scenario of what looks like a russion cavalry brigade and tank regiment attacking a string of isolated german company's at a number of crossroads etc. The russian tanks appear poised to 'overrun' in the next turn.

Renaissance Kingdoms - Since I last wrote of this here I have done a stint as Field Marshal of the Royal Scottish Army, backing on to a term of about two months as Deputised Field Marshal while my predecessor underwent court martial procedures. My own time as Field Marshal was marked by a Court Martial of none other than my ingame wife, with me having to determine penalty once the Military Council had determined guilt. My penalty managed to upset nearly everyone to some degree for some reason. That was before Christmas. After Christmas I faced a vote of no confidence amongst the army as a result of the High Command being mighty upset at what they saw as the leniency of the penalty I had handed down in the court martial.

The no confidence vote was taken in each of the three regiments, the officer corps and the high command. These five results were tallied, equally weighted, and I ended up losing my job by one vote. The High Command voted against me and the officers did, but galloway and glasgow regiments supported me. There was only one vote cast in Ayr Regiment and it was against me and effectively determined the whole show. Ironically, this voter made clear that he thought the decision was fair and just but that I shouldn't have been the one to make it due my relation to the accused. I won the majority of the votes but lost in the tactics of it over the xmas new year break. So my character gets to live a normal life again after over a year as general of a regiment and then effectively as a warrior lawyer in the military courts as field marshal.

An unexpected turn indeed.