Archives for games


One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence [Book Review]

One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence My rating: 5 of 5 stars If you love Stranger Things then you are very likely to love this book. It's a little geeky and features a bunch of roleplaying teenagers as the core cast. Unlike Stranger Things it's set in London, mainly the suburban SW, in the 1980s, also there are no weird creatures, although there is some weirdness, just of a different nature. One Word Kill Cover of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition with a set of dice on it (photo: James Kemp) One Word Kill was very relatable for me, as much because I'm the same sort of age as the protagonists (not now, but I was a teenager in the 1980s). I'm also running a D&D story for my son and his friends, so I've watched those teenage roleplayers…
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Destructive & Formidable by David Blackmore [Book Review]

Destructive and Formidable: British Infantry Firepower 1642 - 1765 by David John Blackmore My rating: 5 of 5 stars Destructive and Formidable is a quantitative look at British infantry doctrine using period sources from the British Civil Wars of the seventeenth century up to just before the American War of Independence. If anything you can see the constancy, which drove the success in battle of British forces, even when outnumbered. Destructive and Formidable This has got all the detail you need to model infantry battles in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. There are comparative weights and rates of fire. Measured hit rates based on range, and commentary on doctrine and how certain tactics worked in certain situations but not others. In short everything you need to design a game (although there's clearly a morale factor, which Destructive and Formidable covers…
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Days of Fire by Samuel Katz [Book Review]

I picked up Days of Fire as part of my background reading for the Divided Land megagame last Saturday. Samuel Katz was a member of Irgun in the mid 40s, and Days of Fire is his story of how Irgun pushed Israel into being. Days of Fire Days of Fire is aptly titled, Palestine from 1944 until the end of the British Mandate was a turbulent place. Thousands of people were killed or wounded in the violence and more were dispossessed. Even before the British withdrew there was a civil war. Irgun were an extremist breakaway group of the Revisionist Zionists. A bit like PIRA three decades later. Mostly they tried to cause chaos and avoid killing people, although sometimes their warnings went unheeded, like the bombing of the King David Hotel. Katz started as a secretary to the South…
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What if? Building an alternate history

Photograph of Lord Halifax, British Ambassador to the United States, with an unidentified officer, at the - NARA - 199243 (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Last week I had dinner with a friend who asked me a "what if?" question that set me thinking about building an alternate history for a game and a story. We were talking about SOE in the spring and summer of 1944. The period is rich in possibilities and decisions for players on a game. However there's an awful lot of hindsight getting in the way of being able to properly game the period. The Problem with Hindsight The invasion is inevitable, and even when previous games have given the allies latitude over where and when the German players don't act the way the Germans did. It's impossible to create the same uncertainty in the German High…
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2018 Resolutions

English: New Year's Resolutions postcard (Photo credit: Wikipedia) I have been posting my new year resolutions in the blog for the past four years, so I'm going to continue this with my 2018 resolutions. But before my 2018 resolutions I think we should look at how well I've done on the 2017 resolutions. 2017 Resolutions I had a few 2017 resolutions. However I must have been feeling overly optimistic in January 2017! Here they are: Finish my Open University degree (in June if I pass both courses) Design a megagame (1689, in the latter half of the year) Write 50 blog posts, edit Perfects and Noren, write another novel (probably NaNoWriMo 2017) and a history book Get my weight into the 12 - stone range and keep it there. Finish my Degree I did this, it was a lot of…
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