I’d been on the fence about getting into Warlord Games’ Cruel Seas since it released in late 2018. The game focuses on small-craft naval engagements in World War II featuring such vessels as the American PT boats and German Schnell-boots (“fast boats,” or S-boats). I’d read about various issues folks had with the game, but eventually I put it on my wish list and received the starter boxed set as a gift during the holidays. I’ve played a few solitaire games to familiarize myself with the rules (though I haven’t managed to paint the ships yet), enough to formulate some opinions. Most of my issues with the game relate to elements I feel might have been handled differently, primarily from the perspective of catering to newcomers or improving the product quality. Despite the expense to buy into the game, Cruel Seas offers a beginner-friendly, accessible wargaming experience for those interested in this kind of WWII naval skirmish.
Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
About 20 years ago I created a fantasy version of the D6 System for my own use, unimaginatively titled Fire & Ice. Those were the days after West End declared bankruptcy and laid off its staff, but a few years before its acquisition by Purgatory Publishing and the release of the D6 System trilogy D6 Fantasy, D6 Adventure, and D6 Space. This was the time in my life I refer to as my Desperate Freelancing Days as I scrambled to line up freelance game-writing work while holding down a part-time office job. Luckily I had a solid local gaming group to provide some imaginative diversion to my real-world troubles; so it was here that, seemingly on a whim, I returned to play around with my favorite D6 System in a more casual setting.
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
I finally got around to changing the calendars from 2019 to 2020 and – goodness gracious me! – realized I already have a number of gaming events lined up for the first two months of the New Year. Ten years ago I had several conventions I’d attend, primarily running roleplaying games. I’ve had to cut back on cons, particularly those farther afield. But with a son with an interest in history and gaming as well as my greater involvement in historical miniatures wargaming, I’ve settled into a general routine of regional conventions and events we can both enjoy. As my schedule shows, however, I’m not above testing the waters with new events to possibly add to my slowly growing repertoire of conventions.''
Tuesday, January 7, 2020
On January 7 we slip past the 12 Days of Christmas and back into the cold, dark, drudgery of the New Year, facing numerous tasks postponed by a month-long holiday preparation and celebration plus the inevitable disappointment when we break our New Year’s Resolutions (a ritual I’ve long since abandoned). It’s easy this time of year to descend into the depths contemplating the misery of reality, to allow the real-world anxieties to wash up over our temporary yet festive bulwark of holiday jubilation. So forgive me if I reflect on the fun game-related bits of this passing yuletide celebration in a futile attempt to prolong the uplifting spirit of the season.
Monday, December 30, 2019
Should Old Acquaintance be forgot,
and never thought upon;
The flames of Love extinguished,
and fully past and gone:
Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold,
that loving Breast of thine;
That thou canst never once reflect
On old long syne.
At this time of year we naturally look back on the past months and even the past years at what has occurred in our lives and the world, at our gains and losses. We particularly remember what no longer exists among us beyond memories, to enable the spirits of these things to live on by various acts of commemoration.
Humans forge their own significance to their individual lives, their families, their communities, and even larger entities. Our perceptions and meanings form our realities; this affects the scope of our commemorations of things past. For some their awareness reaches only a little beyond the mass media’s tedious reflections at this time of year, beginning even before the yuletide holidays with constant lists of those who passed in the last year or, worse yet, annoyingly ubiquitous “Top 10 of the Decade” lists for every subject imaginable. The flood of such easy content can overwhelm us, distracting us from more pressing news and dire action.
Friday, December 20, 2019
“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another
with no loss of enthusiasm.”
– Winston Churchill
In my earliest days in adventure gaming I tried desperately to recruit my cousins, particularly when our families gathered at the holidays. As kids cousins often fulfill the role of natural playmates, especially when close in age as my cousins were. We’d indulged in traditional board games when we got together, but roleplaying games seemed a bit more advanced; although we often had plenty of time together, the interest and focus just wasn’t there. It certainly didn’t help that the adventure games available to us at the time were probably more complex than our age group. The holidays – with their gatherings of friends and family – seem ideal times to introduce non-gamers to our hobby; yet our ambitions often fall short.