As Maxim 168 says: "L'espérance, toute trompeuse qu'elle est, sert au moins à nous mener à la fin de la vie par un chemin agréable."
"I'm not allowed to say how many planes joined the raid, but I counted them all out and I counted them all back." Brian Hanrahan
"The bravest man I ever knew," said Harry Potter. Requiescat in Pace
, you wonderful, wonderful, man. Thank you for all the joy your brought into my life, and the lives of others.I would like to sell at least HALF my games in order to help simplify my life. Please make me an offer, whether the game is listed as being for sell or trade or neither. I know that some of my posted prices will seem high; please do not excoriate me; there are games that I really do not want to sell, but at the same time I really could use the extra income because of personal reasons, greed not being among them. You can always make a counter-offer if you do not like the price.
If BGG has turned into this:
It is because of the people who act like this:
The image that follows illustrates the perils of speaking about certain
games or certain
designers in ways that are less than adoring and worshipful:
In the image of Walter Skinner, from The X Files
, he is telling the Smoking Man to "pucker up." [/c]Excerpt from Walden - Henry David Thoreau
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear, nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life . . .
Before you read any further, be warned: according to Natus, I am the "self-appointed mandarin of all that is wargaming." Pretty cool, eh? But this was later added by Jon Williamson/Capt S. He calls me o'Dark Arts Maestro. Really cool.
Thanks to the amazing work of Joe Grundy, aka, JoeX, for his fine work on my animated Severus Snape avatar. Cool, cool, cool!
I am he of the green goo:
My top ten list includes those games that have, so far, been the most satisfying and enjoyable experiences. The list should be longer--perhaps another ten games.
My latest interest is in The Wars of the Spanish and Austrian Successions, games and books. It seems like I am on a three year cycle in terms of my reading and gaming interest. It highlights my finite mortality, and deepens my hope that such things will be found in heaven.
This is "borrowed" from my review on Hellenes, but it seems apt to describe the reflective philosophy I have formed around wargames, history and reviews, given my present realities.
By way of a most long-winded introduction:
Given my realities—full time teaching, part-time student, and all around mental—my tendency is to “come late to the dance.” By this I mean, when I write a review of a popular game, I am usually a Johnny-come-lately who finds himself entering late in to the discussion. Such was the case with Richard III; such is the case with Craig Besinque’s Hellenes.
Before I get to the review itself, let me comment on my fellow geeks and commentators. Among some, a noisy few, I notice a tendency to express shock & awe over other gamers who love or hate a particular design. A few of us have a “who dare you, how could you be so stupid as to love/hate this great/awful game?!!” Sigh. We are an opinionated lot, we devoted gamers, beginning with this Mandarin.
With precious spare time, I write reviews because I enjoy entering in to discussions of the history relevant to the wargame in question. I like discussing aspects of historical “accuracy,” and how well, or unwell, the design matches my, and your, understanding of the history in question. I like tweaking the egos of the ego-centric, while having mine tweaked in return. I enjoy pulling a face at the humourless, and testing the thin-skins of certain designers, my preference for which should be clear to anyone who cares to follow my passions and peeves.
In the end, the questions I raise have no real answers. Uber-Mandarins like Richard H. Berg will remind us that none of the wargames in question are historical simulations. We all know that these designs, regardless of the game in question, are abstracted to a degree that not even the designer can appreciate, unless he or she can travel back in time to the history in question.
If, if, if, I had more time to write more reviews, I would; but part of my reluctance, even if, if, if, I had more time is I want to say something worth saying. I am not impressed or satisfied with my Richard III review, but I had a couple of hours to go before bed and a strong itch to say something. And what can be said after the Uber-review by EndersGame? With the use of many images, arrows, and what not, you have the most instructive review of how to play a game. For other reviewers, it is the equivalent of a surgical nuclear strike. Yet, this great review does not stress what I like most: history, accuracy and how the design reflects both. I do not normally write reviews to teach others how to play, perhaps, in part, because I give my audience credit for being able to read (or have someone read it to someone who needs it read, if this is the case).
Listening to the beat of a different ratings' drummer, let me quote from the historian, F.E. Adcock,
"My purpose is interpretation, and as interpretation must be, in part, subjective, so it must be, in part, hazardous. All I can do is to give you the picture that has formed itself in my mind, without asking you to accept it when your own judgment does not find it acceptable."
I am calling my ratings' system--system?!--the Yay-Meh-Blech system. The idea comes from Paul Bravey, and I thank him for it.
For those who care about such things, this is how I "rate" games: If I give a game a "10," it is because I like it very much; if I give it a "5," it is because I am so-so about it; if I give it a "1," I do not like the game; and finally, if I own a game but don't rate it, it is because I am not sure how I feel about it.
I feel life is too short to bandy around game ratings on a one to ten scale. "Gee, do I give it a 6.5? a 6.8? or a 7?" Duh. Is time so abundant in a person's life to justify such exercises in futility? And then there are those Geeks who love statistics, who love to make something out of nothing. Just how much emptiness in a person's life justifies making nothing out of nothing?
A more accurate understanding of how I feel about individual games can be found in my comments (though they tend to be brief), and in my reviews. I would like to write more, but it takes time & effort to write anything worth saying or, even more challenging, worth hearing.
Here are a few quotes that have gaming or historical significance for me:
Leach exclaimed "Because if we do not, or if we pussyfoot in our actions and do not achieve complete success, in another few months we shall be living in a different country whose word counts for little."
"Failure? The possibilities do not exist." Margaret Thatcher 04/1982
"There is a BIG difference between Reality and Historicity. Many games have a nice amount of the latter; NONE have any of the former." Richard H. Berg
"As for, as someone above said, the claim that the game has "too many rules", that's like the straight line from The King (what, Frederick II?. III?) in"Amadeus" about a Mozart opera. "Too many notes". PAX has all the rules it needs to present to the players the skeleton upon which they will hang the muscle of their decisions. There is far less fat on PAX than there is on most of those who will be playing it . . . or designign it, for that matter." RHB
" . . . while cleverness is appropriate to rhetoric, and inventiveness to poetry, truth alone is appropriate to history." Procopius of Caesarea History of the Wars: Book I The Persian War
"One of the disadvantages of Geekworld, and The Net in general, is that it provides naysayers with a platform . . .naysayers being the group most likely to publicly state their position, as it provides them with a false sense of being "part of the process." RHB
It was enjoyable to have my Snape ego tweaked on April Fool's Day, 2010
Newly crowned admin for BGG TROLOLOLOLOLOLO
Excerpt from Ulysses - Alfred Lord Tennyson
Come, my friends,
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Bent Larsen was my original inspiration for my moniker: he is much missed, will always be missed.
I am grateful that I met him in North Bay, Ontario, in 1995.