I woke up

It has been quite a while hasn’t it. I had a nice spurt of posts in early January and then nothing. Don’t know exactly the cause. Probably a combination of things as usual. Here’s a few.

Hurt my back. Don’t know what caused it, but one morning bending over the sink, a twang of pain shot through it and then things just didn’t seem right. Supposedly I had lumbar strain/sprain. After getting it worked on, the pain traveled up my back. Things are finally feeling somewhat back to normal, other than the normal aches and pains. This squelched my lunch basketball exercise program for a few weeks. I just started getting back into it this week. Gonna play with the a smaller gang on Mondays and Wednesdays and with the normal professional group on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Needless to say, the stiffness is back and my ankle is hurting. It really stinks, mentally I’ve committed myself to sticking with it and getting into shape, but my body is failing me. Dammit, I’m not getting old!

Well, after having the most prolific December of game playing ever, January was quite anemic. I think I got 2-3 games in and those didn’t come until the last two days of the month.

The eldest girly-wog has been sick for like the past week and half. She had high fevers and was worn down. She usually is talking a mile a minute and moving around with ants in her pants. So we could tell she wasn’t feeling good, because all she did was lay around not doing anything. We were starting to think she somehow had mono, but it turns out it was an ear infection. The school delays and cancellation have been very helpful in keeping her caught up on her homework. Hopefully she can get back there tomorrow. It was very sweet, on Monday her class sent home get well cards that they each had made. It really made her day.

I’ve started taking an online class on C# at http://www.acm.org. Membership gives you access to all these neat courses plus whole libraries of computer books. So far, C# looks almost exactly like Java with a few different key words here and there. I’ve been trying to speed through it so far, since everything seems familiar. Haven’t got to anything challenging yet. I found a book in their library about C# for Java programmers. It might be better to start going through that. The ASP web stuff is really where I need to get to as quickly as possible. It’s hard to justify sitting and learning this stuff while at work, but it is more exciting to learn than a lot of things that need done. šŸ™‚

I’ve been really enjoying my PBEM game of The Mighty Endeavor against Shindo. It is so much more fun playing against someone than the solitaire method. Don’t know how I’d rate my progress in this game compared to my first playing of it. I’m happy with some things and not happy with some things. So far, it seems my dice change every turn. I can’t complain too much. I haven’t had a turn yet where they are below average. I’m four turns in and I think three turns have been average rolls and one turn was very good. Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to cause good damage to any big armor units. But I’ve been ferociously exterminating the straggling German infantry at every opportunity. We’re not getting the input and discussion that we hoped for in the forums, but I think it will be interesting once we’re done to look back and see what each other was thinking along the way.

As soon as I get my initial turn out, I’ll be starting another PBEM game of TME, this one against Knightblades. I’ve got basically two ideas for the strategy to use in this one. My initial game against KB, I used probalby what is the best Allied strategy. I ended up 3 victory points short of victory, ending in a draw. A few boneheaded manuevers I attempted made me lose some valuable time at the West Wall. Of the two strategies, the one I’m most interested in I don’t think has a chance at all. The second, which I’ll probably go with, doesn’t interest me as much, but given the right circumstances may work. I’d rather execute the second strategy differently, but I’m pretty bored with that approach by now. Oh well, I just need to force myself to sit down and run the initial turn, and then I’m committed. I want to do some different and entertaining, but I want to at least give myself a chance to win.

I’ll probably not do a blow by blow replay of the first game I played against KB, because it could tip Shindo off on a few things. šŸ™‚ Plus, I’d have to piece things together from the photos we took. But I will my thoughts on the game itself. First off, I love the game. I have very few complaints about it. Of the two complaints, one is environmental and one is probably needed to give the situational feel to the Allies. The first is how few quality beaches there are to land your beach invasions. Obviously, the game is meant to be historic so the beaches need to reflect the historical reality. But it does dampen your ability to run an innovative attack. The best landing potential is in Normandy, so most games will involve an assault originating there. Obviously, the Allies chose the best beaches. I’m starting to talk in circles here. I guess this isn’t a complaint with the game, maybe just distress over my inability to think outside the box.

My other complaint is another that I can’t really complain too much about, because without it the Germans would be walked over. Plus, this aspect is pretty much standard fair in this level of wargames. I’m talking about keeping the Allies in supply and also needing to be in range of an Attack HQ for attacking. Regular supply needs to be traced from each unit back to a truck or HQ that itself can trace back to through trucks if needed to a beach port or a taken port city. These separate links need to be within 5 movement points of each other. The Attack supply needs to be traced like regular supply from a beach port or taken port. Each can create one Attack HQ, which conists of flipping an HQ over. Early on, there’s not much to worry about in either case. But as you push toward Germany these things become a logistical pain. As much as I try to avoid it, I’ve been known to suffer from “analysis paralysis” on occasion, and I would bet in my face to face game, half my later turns were spent fretting about supply. To make matters worse, some city ports can’t be used for Attack supply when others are. Toward the end of the game, I was swearing that I would never play the Allies again. There just aren’t enough trucks to do everything you want to and you can’t place them perfectly without diligence. Toward the end game, keeping lines back to those ports for Attack supply is a nightmare.

But when the dust cleared and the game ended, you know what? I missed it. I came away with a much greater appreciation for logistical situation that the Allied Commanders had to contend with. Believe it or not, I felt somewhat lost for the next two days, feeling like I wasn’t complete without having those situations to work through. It was quite an odd feeling. One thing that might have added to it also, was that in all the years I’ve considered myself a wargamer, that was really the first campaign style larger game that I played from beginning to end. It was very rewarding and I look forward to continuing this trend. It was probably that feeling of loss that made me look into VASSAL again. And I’m glad I did.

On a related front, I’ve joined a Historical Simulation Club at the University. It’s run by a history professor and we’ve started meeting once a week. The first time we played a desert scenario in Memoir ’44. We were supposed to play a Stalingrad scenario this week but couldn’t with the weather. We may try to get together yet this week but it may not work for me. After that, we’re going to do Twilight Struggle which I’m really excited about, but I need to start reading the rules. It’s pretty cool. There’s only one student though so we’re quite small. But still it gets me some gaming time. We only meet for a few hours, so we probably won’t be tackling anything huge.

Quite some surprising weather. I actually left work early yesterday and we were closed today. From what I hear, that’s a pretty rare thing. I don’t know why I always end up working for presidents who believe keeping offices open is more important than putting people out in the risk. Oh well, I won’t go there.

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