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engineer Al
February 19, 2021

A Little Bit More About Me

FF Updated
There Will Be Games

I come from a time and a place when all board games,  proper board games,  had the Grand Canyon running through the middle.  Pop-o-Matic games were cult-of-the-new trash, fit only for acid-dropping hippies.


If I could summon up the energy to get excited about sport it would be Rugby League Football. You know,  proper football.  None of this nancy boy Association Football (a game Americans think is fit only for girls to play and I'm inclined to agree with them), nor Rugby Union Football (too many rules to enjoy watching and too much broken play to enjoy, er, playing).  Nope,  it would have to be League. "Would" except for Rupert Murdoch and his big money ways. It now has to fit into his TV schedules, it's now a summer sport, it now has cheer-leaders and mascots, and the teams now have stupid names.  What was wrong with "Wigan" or "Leeds"? Why do we have to have "Wigan Warriors" or "Leeds Rhinos" or, God help us "Wakefield Trinity Wildcats". Why? Because any type of top flight football, no matter the form or code, is big business, mass entertainment.  Gone is any sort of civic pride or common spirit.  Anyone anywhere could claim to a "Bulls" supporter, buying (or not) the merchandise, and to blazes with the good folk of Bradford who spent Sunday after miserable,  sleet-sodden Sunday supporting their beloved team prior to the formation of the Super League.  Is Bradford R.L.F.C. a going concern?  I no longer know nor care.

I do, however, recommend this YouTube delight.



Lately I have been listening to late Baroque and early Romantic, leavened with the lighter Modernist offerings and, since I turned 50, the music of my youth: X-ray Spex (I was there),  Siouxsie and the BansheesMagazine,  Joy Division, and of course The Fall. It might be of interest to anyone with the initials “M” and “B” that I first saw The Fall back when Mark E Smith still had teeth.



Waste-of-time sack-of-shite.





I’m embarrassed to say that it has been a long time since I read a novel. I tend to go for audio books from the library or listen to Radio 4 on the BBC iPlayer. I used to be an avid reader, but sharing a bed and the change from Myopia to the need for reading glasses since the cataracts has pretty much put an end to reading for pleasure. Prior to the cataracts I was enjoying Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Mark Twain. “Treasure Island” is an all time favourite


From the age of 12 to about 29 I read almost exclusively Science Fiction. Some detective, some horror/Lovecraft, and, except for Terry Pratchett , no fantasy. Fantasy is something I never “got”. Like many 9 year olds I read “The Hobbit”, but “Lord of the Rings”? Unmitigated arse gravy.


S.F. versus Sci-Fi


If S.F. is 90% crud, then Sci-Fi is 100% crud. I loathe and detest the very word (phrase?) “Sci-Fi”. Forty years ago Brian Aldiss wrote “Only would-be trendies use ‘Sci-Fi’”. Nowadays Sci-Fi seems to be Pseudo-Science Fiction written by those who neither know about nor care for science, to be consumed by a mass market which dislikes science fiction anyway. PDK is dead, alas.





I’ve worked for over thirty years in I.T. one way or another, and have never felt it necessary to have a Blog. Until now. Nor I have deemed it a must to carry a mobile/cellular telephone. I don’t trust any computer I’ve not assembled myself. Apple products are infuriating with their auras of smugness.



Fashion and Dress Sense


I’ve started wearing grey cardigans and brown brogues, often at the same time. With my dad’s gaudy 1970s cuff-links.





A bollock’s hair’s width away from Type 2 Diabetes. Hey! It’s genetic, okay?





I have always liked playing most board and card games. Having said that I hate with a vengeance any game where you throw dice, or whichever, and do whatever the square or card tells you to do, and have done since I was four years’ old.


I have always been attracted to strongly themed games, with masses of bits, but was always disappointed by the game-play. I have never played a science fiction game that has not left me feeling somehow cheated and let down by its false promise of S.F. goodness. Most pirate games are a let down, and fantasy themed games hold no attractions. I prefer competition over co-operation and direct confrontation (it’s an Aperger thing) .


I so desperately want find that thematic game that scratches my eurogame itch, without the tedious spreadsheet calculating of Caylus or the programmed procession of Princes of Florence. I want drama and fuel for the imagination. Whenever I read Lovecraft  as a child I always wondered why, after letting the sense of dread and foreboding build up in the reader he pissed it all away by describing the previously “indescribable horror that lay beyond…” . I don’t care how well crafted that Cthulhu figure is; it’s never going to be a good as the Cthulhu of a 13 year old’s imagination, besides which this game is clearly “a theme with a pasted-on game”. Want a winning strategy for Axis and Allies? Throw lots of ones. And anyway a war-game is only a war-game if it has hundreds (thousands if it’s Napoleonic) of properly painted figures in 20mm (6mm seems to work well for ACW).


So why come here?  Well thanks to the cataracts of 2007 I missed the Great Casting Out of the Unbelievers from Another Website (although the schism had been apparent for 2 or 3 years prior). Maybe here I can find that elusive Thematic Euro-like Bottom-Kicking Board Game. Or maybe I will learn to happy with my lot.


I have a lot of mediocre games I cannot bring myself to get rid of  (it’s an Aperger thing) .


I also have a few games I enjoy greatly: Martin Wallace economic-industrial-historically themes integrated into the game and turn-of-the-century Reiner Knizias. I’ve even been known to play Doom (as the Invader, natch).


There Will Be Games
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