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On 'The Russian Front- a hit of that digital rush

John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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Opening the offensive
I said back in June that I was "going to master the first Operation on CCIII:TRF if it kills me". I procrastinated, as is my wont but eventually got down a couple of weeks ago to 'Blitzkreig: the War Begins', which links together the first 3 maps with which I am well familiar from previous battles with Close Combat: The Russian Front. I felt a bit intrepid: five days across 3 maps with a campaign system metagame of whose workings I have the barest clue- a whole new level of digital gaming ambition for yours truly. Sure, I can win the first map on autopilot, probably the second one too, but what unknown equipment might the Russians bring to the table, and what about factors like attrition, and resting and refitting? I could soon find my small platoon sorely depleted.
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Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:47 pm
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Hacking through the endless jungle

John McLintock
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Lanarkshire
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In full retreat
So, Badger was round last Friday for our regular Combat Commander session, which we had carefully planned to make sure we’d have time for 2 games. Committed as we are to playing all the official GMT scenarios at least once, we turned again to Battle Pack #4: New Guinea for Scenario M4. Templeton’s Crossing. This is a time and place we've visited before: Scenario G. Bitter Creek from Combat Commander: Pacific is similarly set around Eora Creek in October 1942, when the Japanese were fighting to withdraw their overstretched expeditionary forces back up the Kokoda Trail.



The Japanese advance down the Kokoda Trail

The battles of October and November 1942 in Papua New Guinea were the last phase of a campaign which had begun in July of that year when the Japanese landed on the north coast of the southern end of the island of Papua. Their objective was Port Moresby on the coast some 150km to the southwest, from where they planned to launch an invasion of Australia. To reach Port Moresby the Japanese had to cross the Owen Stanley Range, which rises to over 3000m. The Kokoda Trail was essentially the only route suitable for military forces and the Japanese troops spent 2 months struggling through jungle and across ravines as the Australians fought a series of delaying actions to save Port Moresby. Eventually the Japanese fell foul of the perennial problem of over-extended supply lines and were then forced on the defensive as their strategic position in the Pacific was undermined by the Americans’ early gains on Guadalcanal.
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Wed Jul 10, 2013 6:40 pm
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In the eye of the storm: June gaming roundup

John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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More games than you can shake a stick at
June saw a glut of games after the recent months’ paltry pickings I noted a few weeks ago- a total of 21 games played in 15 sessions. The Saturday crew turned up again for the first time in several months, and Przemek made a return appearance too. But it was 13 games of Combat Commander which turned regular hearty fare into a veritable whirlwind of boardgaming, thanks largely to the enthusiasm with which Gav and Liam took to the game after I’d managed to persuade them to give it a go: fully 10 of those games were games of CC against Gav and Liam.

Alien wars and other inhumanities
Eclipse: new gaming horizons in the penumbra

I picked up a copy of this hot new 4X multiplayer game (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate) early in 2012. It was an instant hit with my players and has seen play matched in recent years only by Battlestar Galactica and Cosmic Encounter, a fact that is all the more noteworthy when you consider that Eclipse is a pretty intense game which can take as long as 4 hours or more when you’re not familiar with it. This familiarity has to be hard-won by repeated play and the Saturday crew have proved willing to play often enough to achieve that. So when we got together for our first Saturday games group in some 6 months, everyone was keen for another adventure in space, and I was primed to introduce the new material from the game’s first boxed expansion- Eclipse: Rise of the Ancients.Read more »
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Fri Jul 5, 2013 1:26 pm
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September games round-up: not writing, gaming!

John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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Getting back on track
Write-ups of gaming sessions have been a staple here at RD/KA! since the earliest days (the first use of the ‘got game’ label dates to my 5th post back in August 2005, and the label itself is second only to ‘boardgames’ as the most used label). As well as being satisfying to write, these posts have also driven the development of my use of graphics on the blog, which in turn means that they have been the engine of my learning how to use the GIMP. These posts don’t come without their problems:
- They’ve taken ever longer to prepare the more graphic-intensive they’ve become.
- Writing them is very much ‘of the moment’; ie. they have to be written very soon after the gaming session, when my memory is fresh.
- Taking notes during a game- for the sake of adding detail to a session write-up, can be more than just distracting: it can also disrupt my enjoyment of a game and my attention to the flow of the game- at the expense of my decision-making.
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Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:17 am
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Celebrations and felicitations!

John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
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Edinburgh Games Hub: so hot it’s cool- it’s Official!
My enthusiastic response to my first visit to the Edinburgh Games Hub means that readers should be unsurprised to hear that I kept my promise and turned out for the EGH’s official Grand Opening on August 31st. Gav joined me on the bus ride to Edinburgh for the day and we arrived around lunchtime to find the cafe already thronged and buzzing. Needing to relax a bit after our journey, we promptly plonked ourself down at the nearest convenient table- which just happened to be the one upon which Zia (Shaz, the proprietor’s mum, remember?) had laid out all the special munchies she’d prepared for the day. Soon enough we got to talking with the guy already sitting there, who was there with his young son.
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Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:46 pm
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'Death Ray Manta': indie, still psychedelic after all these years

John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
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“Like, cosmic, man!”
The origin of Death Ray Manta
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Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:37 am
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My geeking summer #2- True North

John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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A hot time in the old town: the Games Hub Edinburgh
This post could also be subtitled ‘fB strikes again’ because, exactly as with last month’s encounter with Mark Millar at Plan B Books, this story all began on Facebook. If I recall correctly, what happened this time was that a couple of months ago I followed through on a link that a friend had liked and lo, there it was: the Games Hub Edinburgh, a fB group for an upcoming games cafe in Edinburgh. Frankly, I was gob-smacked. What an awesome idea! What a risk to take. Just WTF! More seriously though: the Games Hub Edinburgh strikes me as an idea whose time has come, and as the most important thing to happen in the Scottish gaming community since I don’t know when. OK, starting G3 back in 1998 was totally exciting, and no small achievement for all concerned, but what we have here strikes me as being different by a whole order of magnitude. GHE, after all, won’t be a club meeting weekly for some 4/5 hours. It’ll be open 12 hours/day, 7 days/week. See what I meant about awesome, and the risk?
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Sat Sep 1, 2012 2:14 pm
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Just when you thought it was safe to venture back onto the internet...

John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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It lives!
Site-visitors who’ve tracked the ‘Recently played games’ widget on my Blogger sidebar (or on my BGG profile page) during the months of this longest of bloglags will have been aware of continuing activity there throughout all that time. Regular readers will be quite unsurprised to hear that the recent reappearance of Up Front is particularly gratifying to yours truly. But it is the unexpected return of the Cylon menace which I must bring to your attention today.

Another random assembly of nuts, cranks and scrounged body-parts
I hosted a boardgaming stag-night for Badger last August. Seven of us played Cosmic Encounter and Dominion, which both went down very well in a company of mixed gaming interests and enthusiasms; a success sufficient to generate demand for repeats, which themselves have happened often enough to establish a definite new games group. And so last Saturday 6 gamers assembled for a much-anticipated session of games and grub, with the prospect of playing Battlestar Galactica: the boardgame adding unknown and challenging expectations to the already familiar atmosphere of pleasant anticipation.]

Another co-op horrorshow?
Regular readers will remember the heavy Sunday-session action BSG saw back in 2009-10, and my searching analysis as I strove to convince myself that this game wouldn’t turn out to be an easily solvable solitaire puzzle after the fashion of Arkham Horror. Pitching BSG to Badger had brought all this back to mind. You see Badger hates co-op games with a passion, so I’d already had to reassure him that BSG is nothing like the other co-op games he’s played, that he should give it a try and if he didn’t like it that would be that. And, although Gav was as keen to play BSG on Saturday as I was, I couldn’t help but remember that he’d remained sceptical about the game after his previous experience. My reassurance- that he hadn’t played Cylon yet, was an unpersuasive simple truism.
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Mon Jul 2, 2012 10:09 am
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My first (and last?) game of 'España 1936'

John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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A long time coming

Regular readers will be well aware that I'm not a negative reviewer as a rule. It's too easy to find negativity on the web, and the first editorial decision I made way back in 2005 was that I wasn't going to contribute to it here at RD/KA!. Also, when I review anything, I've paid for it and therefore have a good reason to want to like it. Every so often though, something comes along which disappoints me sufficiently to prompt a distinct lack of enthusiasm to which I cannot but give vent. Antonio Catalán's game of the Spanish Civil War- España 1936, is a case in point. 

Dust off and dust-up
España 1936 is a game I bought on sight when I saw it in Static Games, an FLGS: the subject of the Spanish Civil War interested me and the box ad-copy showed nice-looking components. It then joined my collection of dust-gatherers, where it stayed for a good three years. Only recently, with Liam's newfound enthusiasm for strategic boardgames, did I begin to think that I might finally get a chance to bring España 1936 to the table. My thinking was this game would serve as a useful bridge between Labyrinth and Twilight Struggle on the one hand, and games like Unhappy King Charles! on the other.

And so, on Wednesday night Liam and I sat down to have a go. Five hours later, I'd won the game, but España 1936 had lost the vote of confidence.
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Sat Jul 16, 2011 3:02 am
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A bit of this and a bit of that

John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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Technical problems stop the Panzers in their tracks
Badger came round last night for what was supposed to be another session of Fighting Formations and perhaps some Combat Commander. Unfortunately events were to intervene in the form of the shiny new desktop PC which I had taken delivery of just the previous day. I hadn't had time to set everything up that Thursday, so on the Friday I decided just to wait for Badger's arrival so that he could offer his assistance. It's not that I'm a complete tech-idiot or anything but there are always risks associated with transferring your old system to a new machine, so I felt it would be useful to have Badger on hand.

Just as well too it turned out.

It all began when I foolishly simply yanked the USB connector for my external hard drive from its socket in the back of my old machine. When I had the new computer all set up, it kept telling me that I had to format the external hard drive, on which is stored all the work I've done in more than 10 years. You can imagine then, dear readers, how I was feeling at that point. Badger leapt into the breach and, a quick internet search later, he had diagnosed the problem: namely that I had forgotten to 'safely remove' the external hard drive. Apparently it's rare that this will produce problems which, to be blunt, was little comfort for me at that moment.
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Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:12 am
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