Monday, 19 April 2010

Typo extra-ordinary!

Just in case you don't follow Chef Hermes latest post I thought I'd post directly. I think that Penguin Australia are now looking for a new proof reader! And another one spotted, but since corrected was from the Telegraph:

After a meeting of Cobra, the Government's emergency planning committee in Whitehall, the Prime Minister announced that HMS Ark Royal and HMS Ocean were being made available to help thousands of Britons strangled, most notably in France.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Best board game?

I have a confession to make. I am a games-playing fanatic; but only certain sorts of games. I like games which require some intelligence. Challenge me to a game of Scrabble and, provided I agree with the dictionary in use (and not to use the ridiculous new rules that allow proper names - take it for granted the vitriolic rant that would take over this post, flay the skin from the publishers, see their blood tumbling down the slopes of a Mayan temple - oh, that's D&D, isn't it, or conceivably the Call of Chthulu.) I meet up with friends of mine every so often and over the last 20-30 years certain games have stood the test of time; there's just two or three of us most of the time, so we're precluded from playing things like Diplomacy which is better played by post anyway. The games that make the shortlist are: Dallas (not the horrible M&B board game, but the company owning diamond shaped board version, which is also known as Cartel), Britannia, Shark (a financial abstract shareholding game), sadly, Acquire makes my list but not my friends list, The Game of Quotations (not recommended for anyone born after 1972 - it was published in 1987), Hare and Tortoise, Elephant Parade (without the sound effects, purleese).

It pains me to say it, but the one which I love is Britannia, where you have a number of races and nations who make their appearance over time; being made of stern stuff, we're quite happy playing for about the 6-7 hours it takes for history to unfold from the Roman invasion to the potentially devastating end of game invasion of the Normans. It is actually quite difficult to see who is winning until quite late on (a bit like Dallas) and for that reason, your interest is sustained quite easily. The reason why it pains me to say it is that Lew Pulsipher is responsible for the design of the game and he and I have history ;-( ... You do need to be something of a games fanatic to play it though as the rules of the game take a lot of reading and re-reading and even on the last outing we realised we'd been playing one interpretation wrongly. What is really clever, is that it is not necessarily the big invasions that provide the best return in terms of victory points, but sustaining the small races like the Welsh, the Caledonians (who the hell are they?) and the Brigantes - all tough nuts to crack because of mountain ranges.

But if you're not into die-hard games playing, then I can really recommend Shark - this is because it has a combination of strategic elements that are very simple in operation, but which repay thought. Or for the sheer fun miring an opponent's elephant in a water crossing, then Elephant Parade, is the game - but don't play it with anyone who treats it as real life!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Still fighting the machine

I haven't gone away; I spent a weekend reloading everything only to find that there are three unrecognised device drivers. So the machine limps along waiting for me to have another spare weekend! I have got rid of the wretched Nero though. Meanwhile I've been adding to other blogs and to the DS fora (it's right but it sure looks wrong). Pondering a game post... (not food, but about the excellent Britannia).