Thursday, August 23, 2012

Books for your Kindle... #1

...prompted by the post from Bob Cordery mentioning that he's just bought a Kindle (wise man .. ) it struck me that if everyone who owns one occasionally puts up a post giving links to books that might appeal to their follow war-gamers, the world would indeed be a better place.....  so in the first of what will be a fairly occasional series I offer the following possibilities....

First; I recommend Calibre [click here] for managing your Kindle library - I find it very easy to use - you can manage the device files through the normal Windows Explorer type display, but Calibre allows you to handle multiple files, from multiple sources, and liberates you from the Amazon "benign tyranny"...

So - a few suggestions to get the series started.....
...so what else have people found.....??

Friday, August 17, 2012

20 Questions for Reject Ray...

Over on the "Don't Throw a One" blog, Posties Reject member Ray posted a cracking little post asking his fellow bloggers to also answer an interesting set of questions..  so here goes....

1.       Favourite Wargaming period and why? 

That's very difficult as all the periods I wargame in are favourites, but if I had to choose between all of them then probably my favourite would be Marlburian - simply because the period has everything, lots of different troop types, multiple theatres of war, colourful uniforms that aren't too difficult to paint (unlike Napoleonic)...

2.       Next period, money no object?

English Civil War in either 25 or 20mm - I suspect however it will be 15mm in reality - and no idea when I will have enough free cycles to start it... the priority will be finding a set of rules I like - regimental level, properly modelling the interaction between pike and musket...

3.       Favourite 5 films?

These are the films I watch over and over again...
  1. Last of the Mohicans (Daniel Day Lewis version)
  2. Day of the Jackal (Edward Fox version)
  3. Where Eagles Dare
  4. Shawshank Redemption
  5. Bridge Too Far/D-Day Longest Day - a tie.... 
4.       Favourite 5 TV series?
Hmmm.....  a moveable feast....
  1. Zen (what were the BBC up to not commissioning the second series??)
  2. Sherlock Holmes (either Cumberbatch or Brett version - but if only one, then Cumberbatch by a whisker)
  3. Dad's Army
  4. Lewis/Morse
  5. Wallander (BBC/Branagh version)
5.       Favourite book and author?
Patrick O'Brien - any of the Aubrey/Maturin books - "Master and Commander" if I have to pick one..

6.       Greatest General? Can’t count yourself!!
Marlborough - no contest - undoubtedly "Britain's forgotten genius"...

7.       Favourite Wargames rules?
Will McNally's AWI/SYW rules..  never fail to give a good game, challenging, but simple to play...  oh, and free......

8.       Favourite Sport and team?
....sigh....
Never really been that in to team sports bar supporting Bath Rugby in a fairly lacklustre way since the days of Jerry Guscott...

So no surprises given my other interests when I plump for sailing - especially the long distance single handers (Volvo ocean race etc) - endless gob smacked by their tenacity/stamina/intelligence/bravery and skill...  some of them are fairly attractive as well...  though they aren't all as good looking as Sam Davies (left)... 








9.        If you had a only use once time machine, when and where would you go?
Woodstock

10.   Last meal on Death Row?

Roast lamb and all the trimmings followed by Spotted Dick and custard, and accompanied by a few pints of Pitchfork...

11.    Fantasy relationship and why?

...'nuff said...

12.   If your life were a movie, who would play you?

Danny Devito...

13.   Favourite Comic  Superhero?

Chopper

14.   Favourite Military quote?

"It is a good day to die, but the day is not yet over.."

15.   Historical destination to visit?

London, but I have a particular affection for Cheriton...

16.   Biggest Wargaming regret?

Not having started to collect Wargamer's Newsletter when they first came out... and not having travelled the 20 miles to have attended the Wessex Military Society in its hey day...

17.   Favourite Fantasy job?

I don't have one...  a job soon pays paid to fantasy..  best to keep it a fantasy...

18.   Favourite Song Top 5?
  • Baker Street - Gerry Rafferty
  • Kashmir - Led Zeppelin
  • Voodoo Chile - Hendrix
  • Rocky Mountain Way - Joe Walsh
  • Wish You were Here - Floyd
...and on and on....

19.   Favourite Wargaming Moment?

Just occasionally I get the break through second charge with my cavalry - an all too rare moment....

20.   The miserable Git question, what upsets you?

People on mobile phones in public
People who drop litter
Drivers who drive to close to the pavement (I'm a cyclist)
Drivers who cut you up when you're on a bicycle (what's that about??) 

======================================

Cheers Ray - enjoyed that!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Rumours of my death...

... have been greatly exaggerated...

...just back from a few weeks in the sun (Agios Gordios, Corfu), where it certainly put the British "summer" in contrast - sunny every day, 35+C temperatures (on one memorable day we had a 45, and it was still 30+ at 9 in the evening...!)...  but these things never last, and all too soon it was over and we return to grey sky's and rain...  but at least we get a curry...

...for the first time this year I took the Netbook with me so there wasn't really a need to take the pocket wargame set of previous years - I got my fill via the ongoing American Civil War campaign that DG and I continue to fight...  Battle Chronicler provides the "table", and I took a copy of the Regimental Fire and Fury Quick Reference sheet...  didn't even need dice, I used Excel to generate numbers...  worked very well, the only downside being that for a large game the small screen doesn't help - but it's all achievable...

Huge numbers of books read, but regrettably (??) while all of them were hugely enjoyable, none of them were educational!

I started with the new paperback from Angus Donald which is the third in his hugely imaginative Robin Hood "Outlaw Chronicles" series (see my previous reviews here) - set at the end of the 3rd Crusade, this covers the events surrounding Richard's imprisonment by the Duke of Austria, and has an interesting slant on the Blondel story.. Richard’s slim hope of salvation rests on one man – a former outlaw, a vengeful earl, a man who scoffs at Holy Mother Church...  yup, Robin Hood...  superb, looking very much forward to the next book...  9/10...
Moved on to this next which was given to me by my Dad after he'd finished it...  for one reason or another this seemed to be a very Crusade/Medieval holiday..  despite a truly hokum premise (secret order comprising the descendants of the  families of Jewish priests expelled from Israel by the Romans) this was a good yarn... covers the start of the Templar's as the first ever order of warrior monks...  enjoyable but don't get me started on them discovering the Ark of the Covenant in a secret underground room under the Temple Mount... He is good on middle east politics and warfare though...  7/10..  good enough that I utilised the superb Kindle and downloaded the second volume from my sun bed...  brilliant thing...

 ..another Kindle freebie by a completely unknown author...  one of the things I like about the Kindle is that ability to download these free books and give them a try..  if you don't like it you just delete it and move on...  this however was very good...  the story of an Irish Catholic and how he's recruited to the IRA...  trained as a sniper with an Armalite, betrayed, helps to train ETA volunteers, and what happens when he's captured...  very good...  8/10
 So time for a change from the un-remiting diet of Medieval hack and slash and I fund this on the free library shelf in one of the (excellent) restaurants ...  Wilbur is....  Wilbur....  he never changes..  all his male heroes are solid testosterone, all his female leads are beautiful....  and he does some of the best baddies...  for this book (his latest) he does Somali pirates... of all the books I read this one was the best premise for a nice little skirmish campaign....  6/10




This was a Kindle freebie recommended by some of the guys on one of the sailing forums I frequent (Christine Kling - "Surface Tension") and a good read - the fact that it was free was a bonus but I enjoyed it so much I bought number two in the series anyway (from the same sun-bed!). Seychelle Sullivan (the heroine) is the owner/skipper of a salvage tug based in Florida...  the night she takes in tow the luxury yacht skippered by her ex-boyfriend should mean that she's financially secure, but actually marks the start of some seriously bad times...  7/10



Seychelle Sullivan returns, this time her life takes a turn when her tug intercepts with a swamped fishing boat in the Gulf Stream - inside the boat are a murdered woman and a little girl in a white dress. The girl is Haitian, and the story is set against the background of people smuggling.... 7/10

There are others in this series, I'll definitely be returning for more, Ms Kling writes a good yarn...



...another Kindle freeby....  used to read these when I was little...  superb.. William does the best irony of anyone I know... 8/10 








I'm a big fan of the BBC version (with Kenneth Branagh) so thought I would try the books - this is another series I will return to...  having read it I was very impressed with the production of the BBC series- they really have got the feel of his books just right...  and unlike other books, I was even more impressed by Branagh's depiction.. he is Wallander... anyway...  more illegal immigrant action, nascent right wing nationalism, and Wallander needs to find the killers before it all goes pear shaped..  8/10



Second volume of the "Knights of the Black and White"/Templars trilogy - this one is set 20+ years later, and the Templar's have gone 'legitimate'...  despite being a little 'Crusaded' out by now I enjoyed this one - if anything a little more than the first volume as he had turned down the volume on the hokum knob... what we get is a straight forward story of the 3rd Crusade, from both sides, with some interesting and insightful description of the difficulties faced by the heavily armoured knights when trying to do battle with Saladin's lightly armed horse... 7.5/10... PS. Still got no idea what they did with the Ark they discovered in the first book...!


One of the things I noticed about this holiday is how many restaurants had free lending libraries - little'un found me this one though (she clearly knows me!), glad she did as this was an excellent read...  set around the time of Hastings, it describes the events at the end of Edwards life, the rise of Harold Godwinson, and the invasion by the Normans that culminated in Hastings....  Hereward in this book is a bit of a tearaway, but is bought to his 'good side' by the efforts of friends, wife and a monk who he rescues from a truly epic Viking mercenary called Redteeth....  the book ends with Hereward taking to the fens to start his fight back against the Normans- it promised to be a good series!  8/10

...ten books in two weeks - not bad!