Thursday, February 5, 2009

So now it's February

Time just flies lately, it seems. I woke up yesterday morning to two inches of snow on the ground and a temperature of 18 degrees. This morning, the snow had melted off yesterday except a few isolated patches, and the temperature was down to 14 degrees. Must be that global warming, you know.

Speaking of which, on a non-gaming related note, I recently read that NASA's center responsible for reporting on climate trends, which is one of a handful on which the UN and others base climate decisions, had to admit to both reusing old data and falsifying records. More than once. Apparently, the record high temperatures they reported didn't actually exist; it was actually a cold snap. The arctic ice they reported melting is actually 30% larger this year than the same time last year. And the 1990s that they said were the hottest decade actually weren't. The hottest was the 1930s. It is a serious problem when world governments are making policy decisions that affect the freedom and economies of all of us based on falsified data from people trying to guide those decisions to suit their own agenda.

OK, rant over, back to wargaming. Let's talk books.

I mentioned in an earlier post that Wargames Tactics was on its way, and it did indeed arrive. I've not read every page, but it's an excellent little book by the great Charles Grant. He writes with an engaging style that adds interest to the information within the book. He starts out with a general overview, and then begins a series of sections each describing tactics of one particular period and followed by an account of a game set up to illustrate those tactics. The action reports not only help illustrate the information in the text, but also are entertaining in their own right.

Not previously mentioned is an acquisition in trade from a good friend who was reoganizing his own library, Stuart Asquith's "Military Modeling Guide to Solo Wargaming". Again, I've not read every page, but I've skimmed through most of them. It's a remarkably small book for the amount of information you feel like you've gained from it. There's a good bit of information on how and why we go about solo gaming, what things you need to think about when doing it, how you pick what you want to do, etc. Then there are a series of solo scenarios, with suggested scenario-specific rules, information on what problems they pose for the gamer, and various options as to how much or little of the game you want to control. Most have both an Ancients and a Horse and Musket troop roster of suggested forces. The book also includes one Programmed scenario from Charles S. Grant. This was an unexpected bonus, and it makes me all the more eager for book number three to arrive, which is hopefully wandering its way through the post from the UK.

Book number three, also not previously mentioned, will be Programmed Wargames Scenarios by Charles S. Grant. I managed to find a copy of this for about half the price it normally runs, and it timed conveniently to a small influx of funds, so I ordered it. More on that one once it gets here, but I'm expecting a very good review based on the one scenario in Mr. Asquith's book.

The Ambassador figure from Cavenderia has also arrived since my last post. I hope to take a photo of him soon and provide a little fiction to go with it. He's a lovely little figure, and survived the mail with only minimal paint chipping on a couple of raised spots.

I imagine all of you have already seen Stokes' blog with the ending of our game, but if not, you need to go see it! He's promised some further end of game photos as well, and is already setting up for a new game with Jeff Hudelson of the Saxe-Bearstein blog. It was an excellent time, and I highly recommend something similar to anyone who has the opportunity. I know of at least three games in progress inspired by it.

Stokes has alluded on his blog to the fact that we have a joint project underway. I shall do nought but confirm that we do indeed, and I'm looking forward to it. It may be a while before we get it all put together. Wish us well and godspeed!

Hopefully, the near future postal service shall also deliver some additional figures acquired at discounts I couldn't quite resist from fellow gamers culling their own collections. The sad part is that in at least one of those cases, it's economic hardships that are prompting the cutting. One of my online groups has a fellow having to sell off a 60-year collection due to having lost his job, and needing the funds to keep his family going. He's not the only one in similar straits. I don't have a lot of spending cash except in little spurts, but I'm blessed to have a business with my father that's been growing the past two years instead of shrinking, and is paying all the necessary bills including some repairs and replacements needed for equipment that's been soldiering on far longer than it really ought to in order to get to this point.

Tip of the day: If at all possible, get out of debt. Even if you can only pay a few dollars off the principal each payment, try to be sure you're doing more than just covering the interest on any debts you owe. We've become used to buying what we want now on credit and paying it back later. This is dangerous at any time, but *very* dangerous in tough economic times when your job could vanish overnight. We use credit cards for convenience, but we have a rule in our house. Nothing goes on the credit card unless the money for it is in the bank. When it does go on the credit card, the price of it is deducted from our checkbooks *then*, so that it doesn't get spent on anything else, and can be paid in full when the bill comes. Sit down and calculate up how much you pay in interest in a single year on balances you carry and debts you owe, and figure up how many miniatures that is you could be buying if you weren't paying interest; that's a good motivator. ;) Cutting out interest is a remarkable way of adding fresh cash into your economic situation without actually gaining more income. Check out for a great resource for good financial practices. Our family have learned a great deal from them over the past several years.

Public service announcement over. :>


ColCampbell50 said...

I agree with you about Charles Grant's Wargame Tactics. It is a very nice little book and has me already thinking about using some of his battles as scenarios for our own group, but not necessarily in the time period and/or locale for which Grant does.


Stokes Schwartz said...

Morning Jonathan,

A lively, varied, and interesting posting there. While the environment and its preservation are certainly important, I too have wondered of we are getting the whole story with global warming. Happy you like the books. All three are great reads and full of neat ideas as you now already. Very sound financial advice there too. I have that list of questions I mentioned in my reply e-mail the other day, which I'll do my best to get to you later this afternoon after work hours have concluded. Stay warm!

Best Regards,


Capt Bill said...

Isn't is idea of actually sending someone an Ambassador a wonderful thing! I really enjoy mine...Bill

Bluebear Jeff said...


I must correct something in your post.

It is not I, Jeff of Saxe-Bearstein, who will attack Stokes' Stollen Sawmill, but my "evil twin", the vile Stagonian Jeff, who will launch his foul minions against the beleaguered Stollenians.

-- Jeff of two Imagi-Nations

Fitz-Badger said...

I've had a copy of the Programmed Scenarios for years (since it was first published, I think). Finally got around to playing one of the scenarios last month! (with modifications to suit my table space and minis) I've been told by one person that the scenarios aren't "balanced" (whatever that means), but I had a lot of fun with the one I played and look forward to playing many more.

Andy Mitchell said...

I am interested in your climate change data: especially since it goes against everything I have read. Can you please point me to where you got it from?

Snickering Corpses said...

Andy: I don't think this is where I initially picked it up, but here's one reference to it, from a Telegraph columnist.

The article links to original blog sources of a pair of US meteorologists, who apparently were the first to question the GISS data and force it to be revised.

Andy Mitchell said...

Well, at the immediate level of reporting you have the Daily Telegraph - I heard that referred to as the 'Tory Trash Mag' some thirty years ago and it hasn't gotten any better since then.

Worse still the next two links are a bit like discovering smoking is good for your health based on the testimony of a tobacco scientist and a man who claims to be a Doctor but isn't.

One blogger is a 30 year veteran of the oil and gas exploration business - part of the 'extract carbon and burn it to create CO2' industry. The other is a 'meteorologist' who according to the American Meteorology Society, erm, isn't a meteorologist.

The basis of the story is that as more and more data is collected some temperatures in the record go up, some go down. The bloggers aren't forcing anything - its all part of the data collection process. The key thing here is that with all the 'corrections' referred to there has been no significant change in the global temperature record.

It would be lovely if it was true, but I'm afraid its just another 'Great Global warming Swindle' job.

Andy Mitchell said...

At the risk of labouring the point here's a story the fills in the facts for the whole thing: