Category Archives: Realpolitik

Musings on Cannon Fire at Dusk, as I walk across the parking lot to an old minivan


(repost from Airy PersiflageThis is something of a wayback machine episode– I recorded it without thinking on an Ipad the week before the Inauguration and forgot about it.  I  kind of like it, however, and decided to post it.

I’ll admit this up front, I recorded this on an Ipad on the way home the week before the Inauguration, 2017, so it’s in the future tense. Our President has been in office for about two weeks now and I just found this audio Snippet on my Google drive.

I should know better when I hear cannon fire at the work place.. I left my job on the 13th of Jan that night and heard the steady syncopation of BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM and it took me a few minutes to realize what I was listening to. The Old Guard Saluting Battery, practicing for their big moment of giving the new President a 21 gun salute. Someone has to do this.. and if they are going to do it, they are going to do it right. I’ve seen this many times, and they are a good outfit– thoroughly professional. In the short gloomy dusk of a Friday evening in January, it completely mystified me for a moment. Only in Washington!

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News and Snippets


Just a few items of note, crunched into a post.

Jim Van Verth, the co-creator of the free REALPOLITIK Diplomacy adjudicator is already a minor hero in my book because he pours so much time into making a damned useful tool (realpolitik) for free. I had some problems with RP during my last DIPLOMACY game run on here (SINGULARITY ONE) and had to switch to JDIP to save the game, but I still like the general look and functionality of RP better than JDIP.

So Jim really didn’t have to lift his pinkie to add to his exalted status of selfless people that I admire from a distance (not that that will get you even a cup of coffee!).

Vintage Gamer podcast

Now it turns out that Jim is running one of my favorite gaming podcasts going right now. VINTAGE GAMER is not known for its frequency of publication or the dynamic audio presence of Jim (who speaks in a rather quiet and “monotonal” speaking voice). VG is, however, one of the few game podcasts out there that feeds my nostalgia impulse. Very few of the games that Jim covers in his shows were published after the mid-90s. Therefore, they land squarely in the middle of my gaming ‘youth’ and have receded into a dim misty memory of pleasant past experience. See my Microgame Index if you want an explanation of that impulse. Recent shows on DEMONLORD, CAN’T STOP and especially DIPLOMACY were excellent. I recommend this show for all of you folks who “remember when”.

Bringing back Barbarian Prince?

The latest ‘cast is on one of my favorite Dwarfstar games of all time, BARBARIAN PRINCE. As Jim is wont to do, he goes through the basic mechanics of BP, in depth. It’s a very good episode. A while back, maybe almost two years ago, I published a session of my last solo BP adventure and it eventually found its way up to the Boardgamegeek, HERE and HERE. I’m tempted to post another solitaire adventure on here at some point, that’s a fun exercise.

Skullcrusher Mountain

Also on a tip from Jim, I found Jonathan Coulton’s site and downloaded “Skullcrusher Mountain” last night. This is a hysterically funny ‘love’ song as sang from an evil villain from a James Bond picture’s point of view. My favorite lyrics:

I made this half-pony half-monkey monster to please you
But I get the feeling that you don’t like it
What’s with all the screaming?
You like monkeys, you like ponies
Maybe you don’t like monsters so much
Maybe I used too many monkeys
Isn’t it enough to know that I ruined a pony making a gift for you?

I laughed so hard, I gladly sent the guy a buck.

Costikyan in the latest ESCAPIST

I got my normal email blurb from THE ESCAPIST that they have a new issue out. I’ve mentioned them on here before, which apparently hacked off the author enough to write in. Well, I’m not taking cudgels to this issue, and actually am strongly recommending Greg Costikyan’s “IT ALL STARTED WITH PAPER” article, a broad survey of board gaming. Very well written. I have disagreed with some of Costikyan’s conclusions before, but can’t argue with this piece. Check it out.

A Random Gnome’s Lair

Found a great blog from (who else? Jim!) called the GNOME’S LAIR. Dunno who’s running this but I like his style– very nostalgic in places, especially about “retro” computer games. And if you read here regular, you know I’m ALL about nostalgia.

Little Ol’ Me? In a Podcast?

Last thing: I’ve agreed to assist Tom Vasel in future podcasts for THE DICE TOWER, contributing samllish bits mostly dedicated to wargaming as a sort of “replacement” (though not really) for the outgoing Joe Steadman. I’m calling my section THEORY AND PRACTICE, because I don’t really want to focus solely on reviewing titles or what passes for “gaming news” in wargaming. For one thing, I won’t be on often enough to have anything “newsworthy” to say, and for another, it gets done to death elsewhere. So I thought it might be fun to illustrate wargaming CONCEPTS, like why we do what we do… that way I can sneak in miniatures material along with my boardgame stuff. It should be fun.

So stay tuned.