Eylau

Division level combat in the age of Napoleon, using area movement, lots of step reduction, and buckets of dice for its combat. There’s a command system layered on top which gives a decent impression of the real thing (as I assume it to have been) and little touches of chaos. For example, engaged formations risk not being able to activate in the next turn. And each side’s turn to activate uses a die roll to determine how many formations they must activate. So, perfect planning soon falls apart.

Eylau has scenarios for the opening encounter, the main day of battle, or a two day all out effort. I have been playing the opening encounter scenario through again and again to familiarize myself with the rules – they are not complex, just different – and work out some tactical approaches.

Of course, it also set me off on a mission to read up on the battle…

Celebrate BBC – Bye Bye Corbyn

Oh joy. Celebrate like it’s 1979. The bad man has gone away. The good man – and I’ll come back to that – has triumphed.  But first, some random thoughts.

  • This campaign stiffened my dislike of the Guardian. Any institution that can admit the Labour Party had a serious problem with antisemitism but still recommend people vote for it is a deeply flawed body.
  • Chief Rabbi Mirvis got his intervention spot on. The last thing he would have wanted to do was become involved in national politics, but he believed it was wrong to stay silent. His noble behavior in the face of the storm of criticism directed his way after his statement simply cemented the belief (sic) of many, that he’s a decent man doing a difficult job very well. Long may he continue.
  • One response from the losing side has been slinging mud at the Tories suggesting that they have a problem with Islamophobia. Expect more of the same. I also expect Boris to put his own house in order, as required, and to deal swiftly with any such instances that arise.
  • I registered for a postal vote. I’m still waiting for the ballot to arrive. (Thank you Israel Post!) It would have taken another 6,000 votes like mine to see off the SNP who, sadly, took Renfrewshire East.
  • The election is a bad result for Scotland. It’s created a false expectation of independence that the SNP cannot deliver. I presume Johnson will stand resolute. So far as the rationale is concerned, there is no longer an economic argument for Scottish independence. And there is no prospect of Europe wanting Scotland as a member without the rest of the UK. Despite those inescapable facts, it seems likely that there will be a huge waste of time and energy and money – public money – wasted on campaigning for an independence referendum.
  • The markets do not like uncertainty. Well, this election result should sort that out. Whether you like it or not, Brexit is going to get done.
  • Note the following quotes from Dominic Cummings which should make uncomfortable reading for many:

“After the shock of the referendum MPs and journalists should have taken a deep breath and had a lot of self-reflection of why they misunderstood what was going on in the country but instead a lot of people just doubled down on their own ideas and fucked it up even more. That’s why something like this happens against expectations.

All these better than average educated remainer campaigner types who have waved around for eight weeks, for the last four months and didn’t understand what was going on and didn’t understand they were driving everyone mad.

Hopefully now they’ll learn because it’s not good for the country, the whole dynamic to carry on. MPs need to reflect, the media needs to reflect and they need to realise that the conversations they have in London are a million miles away from reality.

Finally, Boris. I have never met him, am never likely to, and have no burning desire to make him out to be a hero. He can be very clever. He can be nasty. He can be entertaining. He can be cruel. He can be charismatic. He can be sly. In short, he is not perfect. But none of us are. And many of those who sling stones are too quick to criticize (and name call) instead of arguing principles, ideas, and so forth. They shoot first and think later. He is also not a dictator. He has a party to keep him on track and, more importantly, an electorate who will not forgive him if he fails to deliver on his promise to be the Prime Minister for everyone. (For the many and not the few?) In this case, I am an optimist. I am happy to leave the PM alone and let him get on with the job.

Bye bye Corbyn, and let’s go Boris!

Death Valley

This is a bumper package in the GBACW series now on my table. It features the battles in the Shenandoah Valley of 1862 and 1864. So far, I have played 1st Kernstown and 1st Winchester. Smallish scenarios that are good fun.  I’ll never make it all the way through the battles provided, but I am impressed at the quality and quantity of the content in the box.

One sad aspect is that the designer of the core system, Richard Berg, recently passed away. It’s a tribute to the strength of the design and the interest in the topic that GMT can see a continuing market for developments of the system and more battles. And kudos to Greg Laubach, the credited designer here, who seems to have done a terrific job of making a top notch product.

 

Fiction – November 2019

This was the month I went back to the Spenser series with a vengeance.

First of a projected trilogy, this fantasy novel was slow to take off, but eventually got its act together. It may have suffered from needing to set so many base lines for future plots as it failed to grab me the way Abercrombie’s other work has. Still well worth reading, and I’ll be looking out for the next one.

Number 16 in the series. Our man – or ‘educated thug’ – Spenser is tasked with looking into allegations of corruption in a college basketball team. Is the star player being paid off? Inevitably Spenser comes up against those who do not want him to find out what is going on. Through it all, Spenser delivers his trademark smart alec dialog with no concession to political correctness. Our hero gets to show off just how good he is in this better quality encounter.

If this type of stuff is of interest, don’t start midway. A chunk of the value in reading the books is seeing how the character and his accomplices and foes develop. Start here.

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