Monday, 6 January 2014

Not the battle of the magazines!

or perhaps the battle of the not magazines

Having re-entered normal life after Xmas I find myself easily diverted and not quite ready to get into planning mode for this year. In fact I have been arsing about. However, in doing so I have stumbled across a couple of publications which are entirely new to me. Both are PDF documents and both are part of a long running series of similar publications so in my mind they are pretty much magazines.

Christmas Special 2013, Two Fat Lardies, 167pp, £6.00

2013 Christmas Special

I don't have any Lardy rules but I am familiar with IABSM and have read about Chain of Command (ChoC). So why did I get this? Well, simply because it is absolutely packed with stuff. Yes, it is largely Lard related but it contains some great material on the Spanish Civil War (army lists, tanks and improvised tanks), 76mm Shermans plus 1914 infantry tactics. This is just the stuff I'm interested in. I'm particularly pleased with the interview in the mag with Richard Clarke. On the basis of this I will be strongly considering getting ChoC. I have havered over Bolt Action and decided eventually that I want to take tactical decisions not game decisions. Until now that really has only left PBI as a contender, not being happy with Rapid Fire or FoW. So, I'm catching up on reviews on ChoC and putting on my thinking sombrero.

I understand that Summer and Christmas specials have been produced by the Lardies for some years so that will be something else to catch up on.

Simulacrum 32, 75pp, £3.51 This is an occasional board game e-zine. There is no doubt a professor of history, who, if not too busy disputing nonsense with Michael Gove, might offer some advice on how to pronounce this. Coming from the eastern area of London my natural difficulty with vowels and the letter l probably mean that I am saying something rude in Swedish.

I happened across this through Consim World. What engaged me with it is the involvement of Brian Train, game designer of some repute, and the fact that is contains a game about N Africa, Panzergruppe Afrika to be precise. The magazine is the work of John Kula, a Canadian, and obvious expert in the world of board wargames. It can only be described as eclectic, off the wall and quite mad. It contains a chronicle of wargames from 3500bc to date, some nice disputation about C G Lewin's book on the history of wargames, a brilliant photo of two top Stalinists playing a board wargame in the 1930s ((looks like Napoleon's War: The 100 Days to me), the rules for Kurt Vonnegut's GHQ game and a board game dictionary. Wacky. I haven't evaluated the game (pnp of course) but it has a really novel combat system that looks interesting.

Find this edition at worth five bucks of anyone's money.

Talking of bucks, if you go to Wargame Downloads,  which I do a lot, you will find:

1. A free game published as part of Draken Game's latest catalogue, Santa and the Goblin War, featuring evil snowmen, polar bears, elves and goblins. Nice.

2. A bargain basement ($4) copy of the original Vietnam Solitaire game, shortly to be re-issued for some money by White Dog games. This is not to knock White Dog who seem to be developing some really interesting solitaire games, (Dunkirk anyone?). Well worth watching.

3. A finally, Two Buck Games, yup, games for $2.

And another thing, if you go to Web Grognards you will find Trenches in the Tropics, a free game on the battle for Dien Bien Phu. Really nice.

Oh, by the way, who is the winner? Well, its me and you basically.  There is simply so much inventive, funny, free/cheap and interesting stuff going on that we are really lucky. 2014 is looking good so far. Hurrah.