Havoc with the Tribune


Yehuda is really good at explaining rules of games, even complex games. At the session he hosted this week, John, Laurie, Sheer, and I sat through his explanation of Tribune. At the end, I thought to myself: I don’t have a bloody clue what this is about or what I am supposed to do. Looking round the table, I was not the only one. But we are hardy gamers, and off we went. Continue reading

Normandy ’44 – Turn Four


Bad news for the Germans as it’s another clear day (Clear – 5) with the consequential loss of mobility for German mechanized units, and Jabos on the prowl.

German Turn

The 12th SS switches to the western flank of Caen, while other Panzer Lehr reinforcements make their way towards Omaha.

The defenders at Tilly pull back and are joined by odds and sods to form a solid base at Villers Bocage.

Meanwhile, around Omaha, The defenders pull back to avoid the inevitable attack from the Allies and their reinforcements.

And at Utah, the defenders try to pull back a bit and stiffen their line.

Given the weather, and the lack of worthwhile targets, the Germans do not launch any attacks this turn.

Allied Turn

I now realized that I had been shortchanging the Allies with their reinforcement schedule. In Clear weather it is 6 points of reinforcements for the US and 6 for the Commonwealth. Maybe that explains the trouble the Allies are having in matching the historical progress at Utah and Omaha? Anyway, we’ll keep going and put it down to the friction of war.

As an aside, closer rereading of the stacking rules seems to suggest that even with the beaches fully stacked, I could have brought in more troops. Had their attacks out of the beach failed, however, the overstacked units would have died. So, probably not a risk I would have tried. But some would.

Allied reinforcements are units of British Guards Armoured Division at Juno and Gold, CCA of US 2nd Armored Division at Omaha, and a couple of TD battalions at Utah.

At Utah, the Allied forces attempt a drive north. Attacks by the 9th Division are stalled, but 101st Airborne successfully clears another strongpoint on the coast.

At Omaha, the effort is to get across the Aure River. The German defense is not yet stiffened with the Panzer Lehr units, and backed by naval and air support, the Aure river line is breached.

In the vicinity of Caumont, Commonwealth units pounce on the Panzer Lehr’s (strategically moving) Panzer Jager Battalion, catching it in transit. The Panzer Lehr unit is wiped out, but not before making the attackers pay a bitter price.

Commonwealth forces attack Caen but are bloodily beaten back. However, led by the British 3rd Division, the Allies take Epron and continue to exert serious pressure on the city, threatening to cut it off.

Commonwealth forces, striking in the Reserve Phase, clear the last of the German defenders from west of Bayeux, and so effectively joining Omaha with Gold, Juno, and Sword.

A reasonable turn from an Allied perspective, but the limited progress at Utah and Omaha threatens the success of the operation. The Allies may need to gamble a bit more in the coming turns.

Rules Highlight

There is an optional rule about the German naval gun batteries which I am using. In essence, if the Allies do not take out certain gun battery positions, they forfeit some naval support as the Allied ships have to suppress these gun batteries instead. The incentive is there for the Allied player to clear the gun batteries as soon as possible.

It’s not a difficult rule, and it adds good historical flavor for not much effort. It works for me.

And now for the pictures


Gold, Juno, and Sword, and the action at Caen. The Allies have almost cleared the Germans from the west bank of the river.


Omaha, showing the Allies south of the Aure River. Unfortunately, Isigny looks as if it should hold out fro a bit longer. Note the British 50th Division units responsible for connecting the beaches. Note also the Panzer Lehr lead unit, whose arrival surely means trouble is on its way for the Allies.


Utah, showing some progress in the north, but little sign of the ring of defenders being broken.


Near Caumont, Commonwealth forces surprised the German reinforcements and eliminated a Panzer Jager battalion, at some cost though.  The Strat Move marked German unit is about to lose the marker. Note the modest accumulation of forces for the Germans at Villers Bocage (bottom right) which may be where a stand will be made against the Allied thrust.

Replay Links

Turn 1Turn 2 – Turn 3 – Turn 4Turn 5Turn 6Turn 7Reflections

The dark side of Mahmoud Abbas

Source: Wikimedia/Matty Stern

Source: Wikimedia/Matty Stern

Mahmoud Abbas’ 1982 doctoral thesis:

  • Doubts the existence of gas chambers
  • Questions the number killed in the Holocaust
  • Accuses the Zionist movement of secretly working with the Nazis, and supporting the extermination of European Jewry.

As Ynet puts it:

Since then, Abbas has decisively rejected these accusations, claiming that his words were taken out of context and that the accusations were based on biased translations of only parts of the introduction, rather than a reading of the full text.

But as Ynet also says, referring to Abbas’ book based on his doctoral thesis:

It’s important to note that when the book and the topics mentioned in it were discussed in the Arab media, Abbas spoke differently than he did in the Israeli or American press.


…more thorough research, conducted in the past six months by Dr. Edy Cohen, a research fellow at the center for international media at Bar-Ilan University, found that there is a wide gap between the more or less clear-cut statements Abbas makes, declares and publishes in English, and the things he writes in Arabic and that are published by the Palestinian Authority and appear on his personal website.

The fact the books were recently reprinted with funding from the Palestinian Authority and are recommended on the PA president’s official website, negates the claims made by Abbas and his associates several times that this is just a thesis paper released over 30 years ago.

It’s an old trick from the Arab world. Say one thing in English to the western world. Say another in Arabic to the Arab world. Any similarity in meaning is typically accidental. Or, to put it another way, people like Abbas have no qualms about lying, lying, and lying to the west. (Anything to keep the donor dollars flowing.)

And when the smoke clears, the hate and incitement remains alive and well and thriving in the Arab world.

Here’s something about one of the conspiracy theories Abbas promotes in his work:

Abbas also claims that anyone who tried to tear this mask of lies and conspiracy with the Nazis off from the face of the Zionist movement paid for it with his life.

For example, he claims that Mossad abducted Adolf Eichmann from Argentina after he revealed the details of this plot to the American magazine “Life”. In other words, it was not Eichmann’s responsibility for implementing the Final Solution that led Mossad to its abduction mission in Buenos Aires, but the desire to silence the high-ranking Nazi on the subject of who was behind the execution of the Holocaust.

Incidentally, Abbas ignores the fact that this argument is rendered invalid due to its basis on an incorrect sequence of events: Eichmann was seized in Argentina on May 11, 1960, after a long-lasting Mossad operation to catch him, and it was only five months later that his two-part Life interview was published.

Good old time travelling Zionist assassins, eh? What a nutty, racist, and hateful conspiracy theory.

The Ynet article (read it all, here) has some good material, including information about the sources of Abbas’ output – the former Communist Bloc has a large part of the responsibility.

But after you have read it – something I encourage you to do – you may wonder about certain things.

For example, how do world leaders take him seriously? Why would anyone believe a single word he says or writes? Why doesn’t the west – wake up at the back, Obama! – call Abbas out on this? Why isn’t he called to account for his dark side?

Laziness? Because it does not fit the Guardian/BBC style agenda? Ignorance?

This article is a small contribution to exposing the darkness, but there needs to be more done. The prospects for any meaningful peace are not helped, to put it mildly, by allowing Abbas the freedom to maintain the incitement, all the time while smiling sweetly for the western camera corps.

Hidden agendas


Newcomer John joined Susan and I for a game of classic Dominion. Susan’s favorite card, Militia, was included in the available Action Cards and so it saw a lot of, er, action. John wasn’t shy about using it either. I saw myself falling behind and unable to generate enough money, so I went for multiple small buys with the intention of adding Gardens cards and fluffing up my score.

John looked to be powering ahead as he secured the fist 6 victory point card (Province?), but Susan was keeping pace with him. John and Susan were both doing a good job of chaining action cards to acquire enough money to get what they wanted. Fortunately, neither of them went near the Gardens cards.

At the end, John did not have enough of the big victory point cards to challenge Susan’s score. But, rather surprisingly, I won by a point or two thanks to a veritable mountain of Gardens. (That is today’s mixed metaphor, folks.)


John and I then played a game of Netrunner. I knew things were going to be bad when John made an early run on my draw deck and stole an agenda in the first of his turns… Things went from bad to worse as, despite what I thought was a decent set of defenses, John charged through and stole another agenda. He was one agenda away from winning.

At that point he had run out of money, however, and I took the opportunity to score a couple of agendas, while trying to trap him. I had the game won with a brilliantly executed trap. Unfortunately, I forgot to keep enough money to pay for the trap to operate. Oh dear.

Having blown that chance for victory, it was now a race against time for me as I was running out of cards. I beefed up my defenses, installed an agenda and went for it. But John ignored that agenda and instead made successive runs on my draw deck. I think it was the second or third that secured him the final agenda needed for the win. Well done John.

The more I play of Netrunner, the more I like it. And I know I am only scratching the surface, because I have done no deckbuilding and haven’t removed any of the expansion cards from their boxes. In short, I hope to play this a lot more. But I will need to sharpen my play if I am to beat John, by the looks of it.

Renewable energy sucks

Windfarms are ugly. But they are supposed to bring jobs and renewable energy. So far as the Scottish experience suggests, my understanding is that the only jobs created were for the foreign based manufacturers. And as for the renewable energy, even with optimistic forecasts and favorable accounting treatment, the amount concerned is so negligible as to be invisible. For most scientists and thinkers who have kept away from the herd like thinking on the subject, this is not news. But it is not openly discussed. Until now, perhaps.

The Register reports on an article at IEEE Spectrum by Ross Koningstein and David Fork. These guys are top of the line Google engineers “who have spent years studying and trying to improve renewable energy technology [and] have stated quite bluntly that renewables will never permit the human race to cut CO2 emissions to the levels demanded by climate activists. Whatever the future holds, it is not a renewables-powered civilisation: such a thing is impossible.

One solution mentioned in the Register’s commentary is nuclear power. Ah, but you say, nuclear power is dangerous and expensive. But is it really?

The Register’s piece makes some interesting points to refute the commonly held position about danger and expense. For example, the expense is because of (allegedly) excessive safety protocols and waste disposal regimes.

As another example, the numbers of dead directly attributable to nuclear disasters is (allegedly) much smaller than is commonly perceived. The Register has this:

The Piper Alpha gas rig explosion of 1988 on its own caused three times as many deaths as the nuclear power industry has in its entire history. Bizarrely though, no nations ceased using gas.

The Register commentary is here.

The full IEEE Spectrum article is here.

While I suspect the case for nuclear power is somewhat simplified and infused with universal rose-tinted optimism, these items are fascinating and thought provoking reading.

The Register makes the point that Europe has tended to ignore the scientific reality of the uselessness of renewable energy. But Europe also has a history of listening to Google. So maybe there will now be a change in approach.