So what have I been up to instead of writing? Here are some quick thoughts on how the last month has gone, and answers to some questions people have had for me.
1) Playing at the World: I spent most of my vacation free time cutting through this monster of a book, and I reviewed it earlier this week. Judging from my referral stats, seems like I persuaded a half dozen of you to buy it. You won’t be disappointed. In casual conversation with other people, PatW has proven a difficult book to really describe. How I explain it to my historian friend, my RPG critic friend, my local bartender and other folk in my circle demonstrates both that the real scope of the book defies easy summary and that there is really something in there for almost everyone. Maybe I’m just a good salesman, but people to whom I’ve described the book all come away curious about it. I think part of it is the power of imagination, something Peterson spends a good deal of time on in his chapter on immersion and pretending – I tend to attract and be attracted to people with strong imagination, so it’s natural they’d find something of value. Do pick it up – you won’t be disappointed.
2) Europa Universalis IV: Yeah, I haven’t written about it here, though I did cover the announcement for the corporate blog. Yes, EU4 is a client, and it’s an honor to be working on it. As a fan, the information in the developer diaries is interesting, especially the return to some form of historical events (though context and not date dependent) as well as Johan’s thoughts on maps. Still a year away, of course, but I look forward to getting deep into it and working with the marketing and PR team.
3) Alea Jacta Est: Another game I would write more about if AGEOD hadn’t just hired us to promote it. It’s quite similar to the rest of their titles (American Civil War, Napoleon’s Campaigns, Birth of America) with a focus on command structure and supply. For me the big thing is that it has the Sertorian War and a couple of the wars against Mithridates. (If you haven’t read The Poison King
, do so.) These are two fascinating conflicts, the first a pseudo-guerrilla war where a lighter more dispersed foe avoided pitched battles unless forced to and compelled Rome to both its typical Spanish horror show and some winning of hearts and minds, if through fear; the latter a series of wars in Asia Minor against a seemingly implacable enemy with endless reserves of wealth and men. It’s very cool to see them given some attention.
4) Science series: Holy crap it’s been a long time since I’ve updated that. And the next entry is an easy one. Next week. Promise.
5) Three Moves Ahead Page: As 3MA matures, grows and becomes a solid fixture in the Idle Thumbs network, we have an official web page for the show now. We need to update the text, and I’d like to get images for all of the back catalog. The three shows on the network now are quite different from each other, but I am thrilled to be a part of it. Slowly but surely, the podcast posts here on FoS will turn into “New show is up. Go read about it over at X” so that Rob doesn’t have to write it up in many different places, each with a different CMS. But new shows will always be announced here, so don’t worry about losing that information if you consider this blog your primary source of that information.
6) Road to Enlightenment: My copy arrived a few weeks ago and it is really an amazing looking game. We’d love to set up a PBEM game, but if you are local and want to try a four or five player game sometime this month, drop me an email. The cards are a sweet collection of historical leaders and it’s nice to compare Knemeyer’s list of important people to the Europa Universalis advisor list. Some neat parallels and divergences. Great components, huge ass board and oh so many blocks. Don’t miss the errata/clarifications on BGG.
7) Flash of Steel TV: No, I have not forgotten to do this. I have a script, I have game video, I have my adorable face. What I don’t have is a really great idea of how to record or edit this stuff together. I’ll figure it out before the end of October. I hope.
8) Orcs Must Die 2: This is a great co-op game, and a brilliant tower defense title. Tower defense has become more than a mini-genre, and is a strategy offshoot with more variety than I thought its meager shell could hold. Gratuitous Tank Battles adds more customization and unlocks for both attackers and defenders, Anomaly Warzone is a strictly tower offense game, and Orcs Must Die adds a player character that can directly intervene in defense as well as a perspective that is not top down or isometric, which changes perception of risk and situation analysis. (Plus, it’s a little funnier).