Monthly Archives: December 2009

25 Days of Newman

25 Days of Newman

CLICK ME! To hear the 25 days of Newman! I'm hilarious! Trust me!

Paul and Storm are some funny guys.  They focus on comedy musical stuff, sort of like Steven Lynch but a whole lot more breezier.  They just released a digital song parody collection that pokes fun of the overuse of one Mr. Randy Newman in the film soundtrack industry.  Look, I’m not saying each and every song the feller writes is identical to every OTHER song, per se, it’s just that.. it’s just that… oh hell, just go and give it a listen. It must be heard.  Seriously.



Den Valdron article on the history of “The Asylum”

I’ll start off with a disclaimer: I’m not really obsessing over the John Carter/Princess of Mars movie, either big or tiny budget versions. I was amused at the casting choices for the low-budget “Asylum” version, which I’ve been snickering at here and elsewhere.  However, after reading Den Valdron’s recent Erbzine article on the history and business model of the Asylum, and looking at their body of work, I feel that I should change my tone to one of shocked admiration for their capitalistic chutzpah.  Asylum has been an independent production house since 1997.. cranking out a long stream of indie horror and SF flicks, all of which must be pretty forgettable, since I can’t remember a single one, and I’m too lazy to do the research.  Fortunately, Den Valdron’s article  did all that for me.  As I have mentioned before, Asylum specializes in low-rent knockoffs of major movies, usually produced on the cheap and on the quick to match their release up with an anticipated “blockbuster” release.  There’s even a term for this, called “Mockbuster”.

(BTW, I should insert a parenthetical plug for ERBzine, the webzine of all things Edgar Rice Burroughs, right now.  If you’re even a minor fan of his work, you’ve likely heard of ERBzine.. if not, shame on you, go visit the site now.. it’s a labor of love that is not to be missed.  I’ve been a subscriber for literally years– it’s a delightful, chaotic and enthusiastic read!  They also do a podcast, which I can take or leave, but the parent ‘zine is wonderful)

I won’t quote Den’s article here, it’s well worth a read in itself.. I will just briefly mention just a few highlights.  The Asylum really got into the mockbuster business when Tom Cruise and Steven Speilberg released the big-studio, big-budget version of War of the Worlds (which I personally liked somewhat, although I agree with Den’s conclusions– I found most of the protagonists unlikeable and that often can kill a SF/Adventure story).   Asylum released their own low-budget War of the Worlds (as the story is in public domain, they had every right to do so).  The tie in to the giant, over-the-top Spielburg advertising campaign paid off in spades– they sold 100, 000 units of the low-rent film on DVD, which was an amazing accomplishment for their scale of activity (and I’ll have to disagree with Den on this particular– he thought the l0w-rent version was better than the big budget version, I certainly do not).

Asylum has followed up on this model with a string of titles and whirlwind of activity that would make Ed Wood blush.  I’ll just conclude here with a few poster images, see if any of them seem familiar, and compare them to blockbuster releases in recent years.

King of the Lost World

King K--- who?

Alien Versus Hunter

Pity the movie it was copying sucked wind!

Land that time forgot

Well, of course. It's public domain, ya know?

The Terminators poster

Another gamble, based on Terminator Salvation. Whoooops!

The Day the earth stopped poster

Seeing a pattern here? The "parent" film actually has to succeed.

The Transmorphers poster

Now, well, this is just getting shameless...

Reading up on their body of work, I came to three important conclusions.  First of all, medium range acting talent from the 1980s, especially C. Thomas Howell and Traci Lords, will never lack for work.  Secondly, the SyFy network will never lack for material for feature film night.  Thirdly, and more important, why should I snicker at the Asylum production company?  Aren’t they living the American dream?  They’ve found a niche market (or perhpas a niche of a niche in some cases).  They’ve jumped in and competed on the level they can afford to work at, and overall I think they’ve done rather well.  I admire their honest approach towards making a buck.  Heck, now I want to see this thing, train wreck or not.  That’s my .02, worth what you paid for it.

The Alphabet City, by Scott Teplin

Draftsman Scott Teplin has released a series of limited color prints of an imaginary city where every letter of the alphabet is an architectural drawing of a building.

From the head and hand of master draftsman Scott Teplin comes a series of 26 dream-houses fashioned after our alphabet. Explore in each a bizarre, miniaturized constellation of bed rooms, drawing rooms, fantasy swimming pools, mysterious laboratories, personal ice cream parlors, gambling halls, nuclear reactors, and oozing phenomena of unknown consequence. Each crisp drawing pops from its page in a field of floating color.

Because the artist is selling these images I’m only going to display a few here– I think they are visually stunning.

M building I building S building T building E building R building
N building I building Z building Z building

Click on the individual letters to see the larger pictures of the “Letter Buildings”…. this is pretty innovative art, I think.

To see the artist’s site, visit

The Baen Free Library and the Ipod Touch 3rd Generation

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the Baen Free Library.  This invaluable service has been online for years and provides a wonderful service to SF geeks.

What?? You’ve never heard of it?  Okay, let me help you remove that rock you’ve been hiding under and I’ll describe it in their own words:

Baen Books is now making available — for free — a number of its titles in electronic format. We’re calling it the Baen Free Library. Anyone who wishes can read these titles online — no conditions, no strings attached. (Later we may ask for  an extremely simple, name & email only, registration. ) Or, if you prefer, you can download the books in one of several formats. Again, with no conditions or strings attached. (URLs to sites which offer the readers for these format are also listed. )

Why are we doing this? Well, for two reasons.

The first is what you might call a “matter of principle.” This all started as a byproduct of an online “virtual brawl” I got into with a number of people, some of them professional SF authors, over the issue of online piracy of copyrighted works and what to do about it.

There was a school of thought, which seemed to be picking up steam, that the way to handle the problem was with handcuffs and brass knucks. Enforcement! Regulation! New regulations! Tighter regulations! All out for the campaign against piracy! No quarter! Build more prisons! Harsher sentences!

I, ah, disagreed. Rather vociferously and belligerently, in fact. And I can be a vociferous and belligerent fellow. My own opinion, summarized briefly, is as follows:

1. Online piracy — while it is definitely illegal and immoral — is, as a practical problem, nothing more than (at most) a nuisance. We’re talking brats stealing chewing gum, here, not the Barbary Pirates.

2. Losses any author suffers from piracy are almost certainly offset by the additional publicity which, in practice, any kind of free copies of a book usually engender. Whatever the moral difference, which certainly exists, the practical effect of online piracy is no different from that of any existing method by which readers may obtain books for free or at reduced cost: public libraries, friends borrowing and loaning each other books, used book stores, promotional copies, etc.

3. Any cure which relies on tighter regulation of the market — especially the kind of extreme measures being advocated by some people — is far worse than the disease. As a widespread phenomenon rather than a nuisance, piracy occurs when artificial restrictions in the market jack up prices beyond what people think are reasonable. The “regulation-enforcement-more regulation” strategy is a bottomless pit which continually recreates (on a larger scale) the problem it supposedly solves. And that commercial effect is often compounded by the more general damage done to social and political freedom.

In the course of this debate, I mentioned it to my publisher Jim Baen. He more or less virtually snorted and expressed the opinion that if one of his authors — how about you, Eric? — were willing to put up a book for free online that the resulting publicity would more than offset any losses the author might suffer.

The minute he made the proposal, I realized he was right. After all, Dave Weber’s On Basilisk Station has been available for free as a “loss leader” for Baen’s for-pay experiment “Webscriptions” for months now. And — hey, whaddaya know? — over that time it’s become Baen’s most popular backlist title in paper!

And so I volunteered my first novel, Mother of Demons, to prove the case. And the next day Mother of Demons went up online, offered to the public for free.

Sure enough, within a day, I received at least half a dozen messages (some posted in public forums, others by private email) from people who told me that, based on hearing about the episode and checking out Mother of Demons, they either had or intended to buy the book. In one or two cases, this was a “gesture of solidarity. “But in most instances, it was because people preferred to read something they liked in a print version and weren’t worried about the small cost — once they saw, through sampling it online, that it was a novel they enjoyed. (Mother of Demons is a $5.99 paperback, available in most bookstores. Yes, that a plug. )

Then, after thinking the whole issue through a bit more, I realized that by posting Mother of Demons I was just making a gesture. Gestures are fine, but policies are better.

So, the next day, I discussed the matter with Jim again and it turned out he felt exactly the same way. So I proposed turning the Mother of Demons tour-de-force into an ongoing project. Immediately, David Drake was brought into the discussion and the three of us refined the idea and modified it here and there. And then Dave Weber heard about it, and Dave Freer, and. . . voila.

The Baen Free Library was born.

(“Jim” in the preceding quote is the late and much missed Jim Baen, editor in chief of Baen Books for many years, and a seminal influence on SF publishing in the 80s and 90s).

So, essentially if you have the right platform to read it, you can download as many novels from this giant fiction archive as you like, and have at it.  It’s a wonderful gesture.

I had a Baen novel or two on my old Palm handhelds for the last several years… never was I without one of them.   I recently got an Apple Ipod Touch for Christmas, which has many good reader softwares available for it, including Kindle, of all things.  But I couldn’t just download a Baen Free Book, drag it on to a chip and start reading, as I had in the past.   One has to use the “Webscription” paradigm now, which involves using a reader that can read RSS feads (STANZA in this case), and then it becomes possible.

Baen Free Book on Apple Ipod

It works! It works! Successssss!

It turns out that Stanza (the Ipod software) itself will make the connection (as long as their is a wireless internet somewhere near), link the RSS feed page and download novels it finds there.  Not as simple as the old “drag and drop” method I used from the Palm, but you can’t argue with success!  A whole vista opens up to me now!


Baen Free Library
Jim Baen RIP
Make some Good Kharma for Jim Baen

Found: Production Stills from the *other* Barsoom movie..

God bless the internetz.. here’s some production stills from the John Carter knockoff movie coming up from “The Asylum”, the film studio that brought us Mega-Shark versus the Giant Squid.


Only two arms, not very greenish, and the eyes and jaws are far too humanoid:


A Thark!? Really???

John Carter,as portrayed by Antonio Sabato?? An actor who has done a lot of TV work.  Brooding, hunky and pouty.  Nice tatoo, there, dude.. you’re supposed to hail from the Virginia of the American Civil War.  Maybe this John Carter was a sailor.


John Carter? Seriously?

And of course, the much-discussed.. Dejah Thoris, as portrayed by 80s porn actress, Traci Lords:

Dejah Thoris

Hey, Dejah Thoris has jowls!

Well, he looks kinda like a red martian here..

JC red

No, wait, that's the firelight.. sorry

Based on the rather modern arabic headress and jacket on JC here, I predict they are going to do something profoundly stupid and have Carter hail from our modern time, perhaps as a troubled Iraqi war veteran who stumbles on the way to Barsoom.  Anyone want to place a bet on it?


JC discovers Black martians

Here we have the three major characters doing a size comparison.. yes, they skimped on Tharks big time.

Tars Tarkas, Dejah Thoris and John Carter

Tars Tarkas, Dejah Thoris and John Carter

And we leave you with a full length body shot of our sexy and determined heroine…

Full- Traci Dejah

That's some yummy Helium wench there...


"This? Oh, it's nothing. I faced more dire peril in a Peter North money shot than these so-called Tharks."

What can I say?  It’s impossible to find words sometimes.  In this case a few pictures are worth a thousand of ’em.

Podcast: The D6 Generation, worth a listen


click to visit D6G

I haven’t reviewed a podcast in a long time, since I said some nice things about GAMEOPOLIS on September 3rd (still going strong and still an excellent show, by the by). I might as well make the podcast that I’ve been listening to like an addict these past several months– The D6 GENERATION. In a nutshell, the D6 Generation is an essential listen if you are a fan of boardgames, wargames, or tabletop miniature games. D6G is a team of three individuals named Russ, Craig and Raef. Each of them is a distinctive voice on the show and each of them brings a certain something to the mix. Russ brings the bluster and organization, Craig the snide commentary and Raef, well, MORE snide commentary and a certain level of introspection.

For a podcast to ‘sell itself’, the podcasters have to project their passions and interests onto the listeners. This is one are where the staff of D6G excels. It is evident from the first to the last that they are approaching their show from a certain level of gleeful enthusiasm. One gets the sense that they LOVE this hobby and love to talk about it, and can get enthused about just about anything related to gaming.

The chemistry is very good, and the format is interesting to say the least– every episode is almost a three hour plus bruiser of a show, good for four commutes, easy. There is always a game “feature” to the episode (and sometimes more than one) along with regularly scheduled bits like a Firing Line parody at the start of the show, “Achievements in Gaming” right after, the occasional extra bit from Raef or Russ or Russ’ wife Nicole, and then the big interview or game review.

It is obvious to me that these fellows do their homework, because in both interviews and in game reviews, they raise the bar. They don’t just review a game– they play the hell out of it, go into the minutiae of elements such as mechanics, component quality, even the box art. This is the “serious part” of every show and really the part that sells me on this podcast. Evidence? After listening to their review of ARCANE LEGIONS (to be reviewed here at a future date), I went out and got a starter box to play with Garrett. If you’ve read this blog at all in the past few months, you already know about my liking of the game UNCHARTED SEAS. You can blame the D6G podcast for that. When Uncharted Seas was announced, I googled it and found their excellent Uncharted Seas episode. Their detailed review drove me over the precipice. I’m even considering buying GW’s Rogue Trader, just to read it, after listening to some of their comments on the game.

There’s a few downs for all the ups– the podcast is sponsored, so there’s usually a clever way of fitting one of their many commercial sponsors into the podcast every 20 minutes or so. If you have a high tolerance for commercials, it won’t bother you– and remember, the sponsored bits help make it all happen.

Overall, however, the D6 Generation is definitely THE podcast to listen to for a mixed format gamer that plays a little bit of everything, like me. I highly recommend this one.

Annual Christmas Card for Wargamers 2009 edition

I couldn’t resist making a card out of the conversion picture on the Battlefront games site this week. To all my friends out there (and even those who do not count themselves in that category), I wish you the happiest Christmas possible, and a safe, propserous and healthy New Year.

Wargame Christmas Card 2009, based upon an image from Battlefront Games' website

Click to enlarge. Original Image from

Merry Christmas, Human Scum!

Unnerving Christmas decorations for the office.

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Spartan Games gives us a look ahead towards 2010 for Uncharted Seas

Neil Fawcett from Spartan Games recently posted this on the Miniatures Page:

We know that you have been waiting sometime for this announcement, so I won’t talk too much before giving you the details. 2010 is going to be an exciting year for Uncharted Seas, and one we very much hope you will enjoy as much as we will. What you see below is a breakdown of the upcoming projects for this game.Spartan Games logo

Some of them are quick releases that allow us to balance out our fleets, and these will be the first out of the door at the start of the year. Others have less defined dates, and we will be working with our sales channel to hammer out the best times to release these new additions during the year.

Over the next day or two, we’ll add images of many of these models.

All the best and Happy Christmas!

New Uncharted Seas Ship types, 2010

(I’m editiorializing in red)

Two New Flagships (Early Feb)

  • Shroud Mages Flagship
  • Bone Griffons Flagship
(I presume different from the current flagships)

Three New Heavy Cruisers (Early Feb)

  • Thaniras Elf Heavy Cruiser
  • Bone Griffons Heavy Cruiser
  • Shroud Mages Heavy Cruiser

Iron Dwarves (Early Feb)

  • Bellows Class Dirigible Mk II

(now THAT is interesting.. I wonder if we couldn’t make something scratch built)

Bone Griffons (Late Feb)

  • Pestilence Cruiser

Shroud Mages (Late Feb)

  • Nautilus Class Submarine

Monsters & Beasties (Late Feb)

  • Dragon Lord Elder Dragon
  • Water Behemoth
  • Gimpasaurus
  • The Giant

(how about some actual dragons for the so-called Dragon Lords?  How come the Elves are the only race that actually has a dragon figure?)

Destroyer Class (Mid March 2010)

  • Iron Dwarf Destroyer
  • Shroud Mages Destroyer
  • Bone Griffons Destroyer
  • Dragon Lord Destroyer
  • Orc Raiders Destroyer
  • Thaniras Elf Destroyer
  • Imperial Human Destroyer

(An excellent idea– increases tactical flexibility.  A destroyer should have some special ability beyond being “something between a frigate and a cruiser” however.. like smoke screens or hunting subs or something)

Faction Books

We will be creating a Race Guide for all of our Uncharted Seas fleets. The exact format of these books is yet to be locked down, but you can expect to see more detailed backgrounds, information on our upcoming 28mm range of miniatures, naval tactics, model statistics, painting guides and much more.

The Uncharted Seas Supplement

This book will bring many new rules out for the Uncharted Seas. As it stands, it is a 96-page, full-colour book that sits as an addition to the current core rulebook – not a replacement.

(How about shipping a replacement to those of us who shelled out a lot of $$ for an unfinished rulebook, which isn’t cheap by any standard?)

New Races

  • Pirates of the Skies (Q2 2010)
  • The Kreel (Q2 2010)

Dreadnought Class (Late Q2)

  • Iron Dwarf Destroyer
  • Shroud Mages Destroyer
  • Bone Griffons Destroyer
  • Dragon Lord Destroyer
  • Orc Raiders Destroyer
  • Thaniras Elf Destroyer
  • Imperial Human Destroyer

(presuming Neil means Dreadnought instead of Destroyer in the snippet above)

The Ancients (Second Half of 2010)

The arrival of the Ancients marks an exciting and bloody period in the history of the Uncharted Seas. Watch out for more exciting information on our website. With this fleet comes an exciting campaign guide and new ships for your existing fleets.

(In summary, I’m delighted that Spartan will continue to support UNCHARTED SEAS, a game I’ve grown to like quite a bit in 2009– this is all good news.)

HMGS East Announcement Concerning HISTORICON 2010

Dec. 21, 2009

HMGS Board of Director’s Announcement


HISTORICON July 8-11, 2010 will take place at the Valley Forge Convention Center located in historic Valley Forge, PA.

Here is a snapshot of what attendees can expect for HISTORICON 2010

  • 108,000+ Square Feet of Historical Miniature Gaming
  • 2,500 FREE Parking Spaces
  • 488 hotel rooms onsite – HMGS special rates Single, Double, Triple, Quad/$109.00, Suites/$124.00 (plus Tax)
  • Additional Hotels and Food nearby
  • Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) approximately 45 minutes (shuttles available) to the VFCC
  • Budget Car Rental onsite – no need to rent car for full time or pay 1 way rental fees

For GMs/Gamers

Same great convention, cozy new location “big box” feel
Easy load in/out access to gaming areas
24 hour gaming
Several Bars, Restaurants and Food Concessions onsite.
Bigger Vendor Hall, better flea market, best historical gaming

For the History:
Valley Forge National Park  –
Battleship New Jersey –
Historic Philadelphia –

For the Family:
Famed King of Prussia Mall
Philadelphia Premium Outlets –

Adventure Aquarium, Camden, NJ –
Philadelphia Museum of Art –
Please Touch Museum –
The Franklin Institute –
And much more –

For Vendors:
Non-Union Facility
Good access to load/unload areas
Working Air-conditioning and plumbing
Drayage Services Available

We will continue to post further separate releases and updates for the Historical Miniatures Gaming Society membership, and to the gaming community as soon as additional details are confirmed.


The HMGS Board of Directors

Frank Preziosa
Michelle Preziosa
Orest Swystun
Dudley Garidel
Jim Petrie
Heather Blush
Pete Panzeri

Commentary (my thoughts only, not anything from HMGS-East)

My feelings are mixed.  I am greatly relieved that our convention program is not going to be dismantled, but I am having grave doubts about the cost.  I really need to be certain of a few things before I can muster enthusiasm for the Valley Forge move.  Primarily, are we disengaged from all the poorly negotiated agreements made by one individual with the Baltimore Convention Center this quickly?  Was the BCC that eager to cut loose HMGS-East, regardless of whether they would get a PR black eye from suing a 501.c3 nonprofit or not?  After all, business is business, and the BCC is not full most weekends, from what I hear.  The absolute WORST thing that could happen to HMGS East would be entering into the convention season with TWO very expensive facilities under contract, one of which we wouldn’t even use!  I will ask the BOD members I know how we managed to disentangle so quickly– I thought the legal wrangling would go on well into 2010, personally.  Secondly, I know from some past experience as Cold Wars Director– six months is not much time to execute a convention plan.  Will it be sufficient time to change horses from BCC to Valley Forge?  I don’t envy Historicon 10 director Bob Giglio or his staff– they have a mountain of work ahead– largely thankless, I might add.  They have both my support and my sympathy for being placed in this lamentable situation.

Lastly, and most importantly… have we learned anything at all from this?  Will we make long term fiscal policy changes?  Adopt a more stringent form of cost control?  Try to stay above the cost line, at the very least?  We have a lot of capital to make back after a solid year of overspending (on poorly explained, or non-explained items such as ‘professional services’).  I sincerely hope this disaster has taught us the value of stringent cost control mechanisms and the wisdom of regulating out of control BOD members.

To my friends on the Board of Directors, I congratulate you one and all for arriving at such a speedy resolution, and a big pat on the back for a job well done!

An Embarassment of Dejah Thorises

And when I mean, embarrassment, I mean embarrassment. Bargain basement movie studio THE ASYLUM (makers of such cinematic wonders as MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS and TRANSMORPHERS: FALL OF MAN) are known for jumping on the bandwagon to make a knockoff of an established film in niche genre (though what original film Mega Shark was copying is a mystery to me). Usually the company waits until a movie has been released to copy it. Their new Princess of Mars film does double duty. Their version is already close to finished, and is already being promoted as a tie-in to John Cameron’s AVATAR (what the connection is is puzzling to me) while the straight to DVD release will be on shelves when Disney eventually begins to promote Andrew Stanton’s JOHN CARTER OF MARS.

The Asylum’s strategy works .. for a second. Reading the news of this release, my first thought was “Antonia Sabato as John Carter? NOOOOOOO…. followed quickly by Traci Lords as Dejah Thoris…? NOOOOOOO!!!! Are they out of their minds???” Then I figured out this was a cheap knockoff. Given that the source material has lapsed into public domain, The Asylum can get away with it. Okay, maybe I’ll view this version of a Princess of Mars when it hits the SyFy channel, but I shudder at the thought of this cast.. Sabato is, essentially, a television actor. Lords? Well, I can forgive a lady the indiscretions of her youth, but the fact is she’s a bit of a block of wood when it comes to straight roles. In any event, it should be.. erm.. interesting viewing.

Vincent Price’s Christmas Special

And a sinister Merry Christmas to all!

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Gratuitious Space Battles

With a title like that, I expected something tongue in cheek! My perception matched reality, as we will see. I’ve always enjoyed that “next step back” when it came to space combat games– I’m not much interested in joystick enabled single ship combats, and the “explore/colonize/exploit/develop/research” model of most space combat games seems done to death any more. I always liked the big fleet battle part.. where lines of ships (many of which you have designed) face off with other lines of ships and an epic melee takes place. Cliff Harris – the lone developer at Positech Games, apparently feels the same way. Positech Games latest offering, GRATUITOUS SPACE BATTLES (GSB), pretty much distills the experience down to key elements:

1) Design ships
2) Fight Battles
3) Win them for more honor points
4) Design better ships
5) repeat from step 2.

Design is simple and fast– you have a range of hull types with slots for Attack, Defense and “Other” modules. The actual battle sequence is truly visually awe-inspiring. It reminds me of nothing so much as those giant sprawling Cylon/Human fights from the Remake of the Battlestar Galactica remake. There’s a campaign system that VERY loosely ties things together.

A Gratuitious Space Battle

A Gratuitious Space Battle. It should be moving to appreciate it.

Tactical choices are pretty limited– you have a fleet of ships depicted in 2D overhead view, you line up the ships pretty much across from the enemy fleet and hit the “Fight” button. What happens then is pretty much setting up a set piece engagement over which the admiral (you) seems to have little additional control. I didn’t find that all that much of a setback, as what transpires next is a gorgeously epic-scaled battle sequence that would do justice to the imagination of any SF geek. The sense of fun and creativity that went into GSB is palpable.

This game isn’t going to give any armchair general pause to wrinkle his forehead, but it is very good for what it promises, and the cost is extremely affordable at about 30 dollars. I’m still playing the Demo, downloaded HERE, and having a blast.

In the meantime, check out the game trailer here to get an idea of the tactical scale, visuals and general sense of fun of GSB:

Limited Time Engagement: watch Brian Lonano’s ATTACKAZOIDS, DEPLOY!

You can watch the entire film at the Attackazoids OFFICIAL SITE..


2009 Nigel Clarke Memorial Christmas Game

Circus Santacus crew wishing Nigel Clarke a Happy Christmas

Here's to you, Nigel! Merry Christmas, you are sorely missed! photo: S. Gibson

Circus Santacus, the Chariot Racing game held at the North Pole every year.  Reindeer chariots, yeti, glaciers, and angry Eskimo hunting parties.  It was hilarious.. Best fantasy chariot racing game in a long time!
I got there about 20 minutes late, so ended up with a pretty standard reindeer chariot.  These were a very limiting design by game standards– not heavy enough to ram, only one crewman, not the fastest thing in the world.  Still I pushed it and had fun with it.  The terrain was a nice random factor.  Racing on snow and ice means sometimes the chariot doesn’t go where you say it will, and sometimes that might even mean taking an involuntary dip in one of the water openings in the ice.
As usual, we didn’t even get one lap in.  That is because this game really isn’t meant to be played to “win” as in “win a race”.  You are racing for ‘points’ .. so the race is a measure of your dash, flair, cheekiness and creativity.    Unfortunately there was no way I could top Richard’s heroic death by diving under the ice flow with his entire sleigh, and I didn’t even want to try.