fun


The Coming of the Americans to the Western Front (WWI)

Vera Brittan serving as a nurse’s aide during WWI Vera Brittan lost her fiance, brother and two closest male friends in the first world war. She wrote Testament of Youth as a cry of outrage and agony, so that the futility of their deaths would be remembered. Eighty years on, it remains one of the most powerful and widely read war memoirs of all time. This short read is my favorite section of this book, where Vera and her fellow nurses (French) witness the arrival of fresh American troops in their sector of the battlefield. The contrast between her nervy war weariness, her cautious upswelling of hope where little was there before… it’s just a fantastic couple of paragraphs, and a perfect addition here. document.createElement('audio'); https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/download/v2va6m/westernfront-verabrittan.mp3 Initially recorded for my audio boom account, I am moving it on Airy Persiflage due to Audioboom’s pay policies.

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Scrum Con 2019 T-Shirts for sale

Wow, I get to use a hipsterism now.  Our little convention, Scrum Con 2019, has “merch”.  Yes, that roguishly handsome young man below is modeling our convention t-shirt.   You can find them here, on the Scrum Con convention registration site: https://tabletop.events/conventions/scrum-con-2019 Convention Organizer Joe Procopio wearing a t-shirt test Visit the Merch Page today! Get ’em while they last, 20 dollars each up to 3X What the heck, maybe you can sign up for a laid back, mellow day of gaming while you’re at it. I hear that Junkwaffel game in the morning slot will kick serious butt, but it might just be a rumor. Advertisements __ATA.cmd.push(function() { __ATA.initSlot('atatags-26942-5c43af13d3e26', { collapseEmpty: 'before', sectionId: '26942', width: 300, height: 250 }); }); __ATA.cmd.push(function() { __ATA.initSlot('atatags-114160-5c43af13d3e28', { collapseEmpty: 'before', section

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Starting the Cruel Seas project

Whaaat?  Another Period?  Another Fixation??  I admit it.  Behold part of my Christmas present for 2018.  The big differences between this and other fixations I have written about on this blog are 1) I didn’t drift into this.  As soon as Warlord Games announced Cruel Seas in late Summer 2018, I made an informed decision that “Yeah, I’m going to get into that”.. and the more I learned about it, the more I wanted in.  2) I’m not replacing anything.  Mad Maximillian 1934 is moving forward, and I’m going to be running a game at ScrumCon next month.  and finally 3) This isn’t unprecedented.  I love naval games, although very rarely any set in WW2 or later.  There’s a reason for this.  We’ll get into that. Cruel Seas is set in WW2, both theaters.  It is a small, skirmish level (!) game that loosely simulates the fast, chaotic naval combat of WW2 using small coastal forces.  I knew that this focus on small force size, fast combat would make for rapid, fun inten

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A Visit to Hillwood Estates

Last Saturday, my family and I went on a field trip to historic Hillwood Estates, the home of Ms. Marjorie Post, the American socialite that was a compatriot and confidant of Presidents, Premiers, actors, and gardeners.  Much could and has been written about this formidable woman.  She was a collector and patron of the arts, with a penchant for collecting the very best from 18th century France and Russian arts and artifacts.  In later life she took steps to convert her splendid Washington DC mansion and grounds into a permanent museum housing the treasures and art she collected in her lifetime.  I could write a very long blog post just about Post herself, but I will let Wikipedia do the talking this time.  Suffice to say she was as close to a Dowager Duchess as America has produced. It being a brisk yet bearable day, we drove up to Upper NW to the estate, which is north of the Zoo among the wealthy riffraff and about as far as you can get from the hoi polloi and still be inside the confines of the District of

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The Tale of the Boffin and the Guttersnipe

From BY AEROSTAT TO HOOTING YARD, by Frank Key.  Ch. 12 Having ushered in the New Year with some solemnity, I thought it would be appropriate to diverge from my spell of sadness by recording a piece for 3PoS’s sister blog, Airy Persiflage.  Airy Persiflage is a less frequently tended garden of audio snippets I’ve either recorded or posted over the years and has been around since 2010.  One of my favorite modern surreal writers is Mr. Frank Key, whom I was introduced to by listening to “The Goat God Catechism” on the Drabblecast podcast when I was out of town.  The combination of Frank’s dry wit, mastery of the English language, and droll use of obscure literary references makes for a combination that usually has me sniggering, then guffawing, as I drive in to work in the morning.  Not to mention meeting blank stares and head scratches when I get my colleagues to listen to the funny bits.  I have struck up the occasional long distance correspondence with Mr. Key and he has graciou

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Dark Times in Santa’s Village

I kind of dig Christmas lights, even though I never put up anything more avant garde than a medium sized, dignified Christmas wreath, myself. I don’t see the payoff. That’s not to say I don’t like looking at them. My immediate neighborhood in VA has been pretty muted when it comes to giant Christmas light displays. I’ve seen some ambitious setups over the years, some of them taking up palatial city blocks, some more inspired than others. Displays come and go, and the technology changes constantly– from the lit-from-within plastic nativity scenes and Santa and reindeer from my childhood (and those bigass indoor/outdoor bulbs.. nobody uses them any more) to today’s giant blowup vinyl figures, laser lighting, projection backgrounds, and computer controlled dancing lights. It’s like keeping up with an arms race. So, yeah, I think it’s kind of trippy to look at, but Christmas is more internalized in my case. With that said, I was kind of missing finding a gi

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Scrum Con is launched!

Join US FOR A GAME OF CLASSIC AND NEW TABLETOP GAMING The Second Saturday Scrum Club, my local gaming club, has moved out on our objective to run a small local gaming convention.  This being our first venture into something like this, we have started small.   You can now register to attend.  As I have mentioned previously, our intention is to make this an inclusive, laid back kind of event that focuses on both roleplaying games (RPGs) and Tabletop games (as we interpret the term, “a game where moving miniatures is a major part of the experience”).   The venue is DAVIS HALL, College Park, MD.  There are two “tracks” .. Roleplaying Games and Tabletop Games.. they are both somewhat evenly dispersed over two shifts 10 AM to 2 PM3:30 PM to 7:30 PM Our Guest of Honor is David “Zeb” Cook, of longstanding TSR fame, and you can both meet and play with Zeb in a specially written sequel  to a classic D&D module he w

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A Raging Weiner in the Aftermath

You can’t say I’m not Johnny on the spot when it comes to trends.  GASLANDS (the Osprey car combat wargame in the blue series) has been out for what, like a year now?  I just got around to playing it for the first time last Saturday, despite it being this year’s new hawtness…  GASLANDS has caught on with many communities and has an appeal across age groups and with non-traditional gamers.  I think the appeal is in the easy mechanics and the artisan element with the vehicles.  Everyone seems to be in to converting Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars into Post-Apocalyptic death machines.  Some of them are pretty outrageous.  The thing about kitbashing post-apoc vehicles is it’s habit forming.  I should know, I have about 60 of them.. more than I’ll ever need, but that was for another game.  So when John put the word out for post-apocalyptic death rides, I maybe had a few. The Raging Weiner enters into the fray versus John’s Mon

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Ballad of Black Tom and A Time of Changes reviewed

I haven’t posted any book reviews in a while. What the heck, time to change that trend. The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle My rating: 4 of 5 stars Victor Lavalle is a writer that hasn’t been on my radar screen until recently. I was introduced to him through an ebook sale and picked up THE BALLAD OF BLACK TOM at a decent price. The fact that this is a retelling of Lovecraft’s HORROR OF RED HOOK, although through the eyes of a black resident of Harlem, was a big draw for me. Lavalle’s version– which gives the reader the point of view of how the events of the Red Hook story would look from the eyes of Charles Thomas Tester, the charismatic would be musician that gets recruited into the service of the main antagonist from the Red Hook story (Robert Suydam). The underlying themes of racism, exclusion and xenophobia, which was prevalent in Lovecraft’s writing, become a foundation for LaValle’s wonderful retelling of the same events from a different perspective. A per

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Is SJG banking on nostalgia…?

So, who am I to judge about nostalgia, I backed Melee and Wizard on a Kickstarter, right?  Yet.. in the recent kickstarter update for the Fantasy Trip kickstarter, I noticed this at the very end of the post: More Pocket Box Games With most of The Fantasy Trip under control (Ben and I are still working on the Companion; I have a stack of magazines I’m taking to the office today), we’re directing some of our energy to the upcoming Pocket Box project. For those of you who have missed out on the news, we’ve been working closely with the factory to test scan classic Pocket Box games and determine the viability of reproducing those classic games. The Old Pocket Boxes for OGRE and GEV from the early 80s.. fun, durable (except for the hinged box close tab) and you could put it in your pocket, more or less. All of the tests have gone better than expected, and with the new Pocket Box tooling almost complete, we’re starting to design a Pocket Box project that will launch on Kick

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Scrumcon, the height of Hubris!

The time has come for us all to strap on those wings and fly too close to the sun.  Our tiny gaming group, the Second Saturday Scrum club (see the “Scrummers” tab, above), is putting on our own tiny convention, ScrumCon.  It will be on February 16, 2019, at Davis Hall, College Park, MD.  We encourage you all to come.  Our approach is low key and calm.  This isn’t a “for profit” enterprise so we are just running it for a day, with a morning segment and an afternoon segment.  Given the nature of time and attention spans, there will likely be quicker skirmish style games in play at Scrum Con.  The convention is established as a venue for roleplaying games and miniature games of all sorts (that can fit into the time slots). Our Guest of Honor is Zeb Cook, whom I was pleased to drink a beer with at the recent Fall IN!  Here he is, running a pirate game at the same convention.For details, please visit here:SCRUMCON Google Site What will I be run

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Fall-IN! 2018: The Sinkhole that wasn’t

Or: the toilet that got ideas above its station and tried to be a bidet Standard disclaimer.  I’m not a member of the HMGS BoD.  If I say anything in this post about HMGS plans or policies, it’s just me saying it, and not officially from anyone but me. So another early November dawning, and a cold and kind of rainy drive Northward to Lancaster for FALL IN!  The new pickup truck packed up pretty snug, as I was running a game for the first time in a long time.  The drive was pretty long for a change.  I like to head to Lancaster using the 495-270-15-30 route rather than drive on the Interstate.  It’s a more bucolic drive. This time, there was a pileup at a major intersection along the way, so they closed Route 30 for a few miles.  I got WAIS to help me figure this one out but I did lose time– it was nearly dark when the standard proclamation rang out on the Wright’s Ferry Bridge. Pulling into the parking lot, immediately I was getting a weird vibe from the Host.. for one thing, the

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2000 AD games, a new development

First issue of 2000AD, ca 1977 Post Date: 9/27/2018 I’m impressed.  When I was a stripling, a major source of fun was a somewhat obscure, really difficult to obtain series of comics from a British company called IPC (at first, and later from other owners).  I’m referring to 2000AD, which was the source of some pretty heavy hitting stories all packed into the dense, tiny format favored by British comics anthologies printed back in the 80s and 90s.  Some pretty amazing stories came out of 2000 AD.  This was a hard magazine to find in the US on a regular basis.  I was lucky to find a Geppis Comic World who carried a small regular stash of 2000AD titles.  The ‘hook’ about 2000AD was the intelligent writing; 2000AD routinely played with storytelling conventions; often telling mind-numbingly complex tales with unconventional POV characters that often were more grim than heroic.  Which leads me to the main properties from the early years. First and foremost, in terms of popularity, was JUDGE

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Reprise: Mad Maximilian 1934

I rarely re-blog from another journal on this blog, and as Blogger.com and WordPress.com blogs don’t talk to each other easily, I’ll just post a note pointing towards the recent post on Joe’s blog, Scrum in Miniature.  The Fun and the Fury: Mad Maximilian 1934.   This post is his short commentary on our recent Max 34 game as the September event for the Second Saturday Scrum Club.  Joe is very complimentary to the game (which I appreciate).  The game session was invaluable for me to get the ebb and flow of the mechanics with a group, so I could run it effectively at FALL IN  this year.  I posted on the event recently, myself. One item Joe pointed out that I have missed the entire time.  Eureka calls this game MAD Maximilian 1934 on their shelf displays in their booth at shows.  They use the term on their website.  It’s a cool name. Joe points out the rule book is called, simply “Maximillian 1934“.  I  honestly had never noticed it.  I’m kind of surprised Mana Press fel

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