Or, It Never Rains, But That It Pours!Those visitors who have been following my regular ramblings on "Map and Counters" already know that computer problems forced me to temporarily stop posting new material several weeks ago. Initially, although this unwelcome setback was a bit irritating, I really did not expect to be side-lined when it came to my blogging for more than a few days or so. This assumption, unfortunately, has turned out to be wildly optimistic; mainly because, shortly after my computer decided to gasp its last, my residential air conditioner also decided to go on strike: a problem, needless-to-say, which is no trivial matter when it comes to surviving in Arizona during the summer months! That being said, I have finally resolved my air conditioning woes (more or less) and am now ready to resume my quest for a new (and more reliable) computer; however, even while I have attempted to deal with my several unexpected travails, I have not been completely idle when it comes to developing future essays for my website. Thus, I suppose that, at least in this one sense, my temporary halt in publishing has not been a total waste.
Interestingly, one benefit of not being under the constant pressure to write new material for publication is that I have had the time to visit other sites (using my wife's computer) and to participate in a number of different gaming forums. This interaction with other gamers, in turn, has encouraged me to revisit a number of titles that, for one reason or another, I have largely neglected over the last two years. A perfect example of this is Avalon Hill's venerable old classic STALINGRAD: long dismissed by most gamers in favor of newer, more historically satisfying titles, this game has none-the-less retained a small, but dedicated following among both grognards and (based on the ongoing comments at Consimworld) even a few newer players. The fact that interest in this dated but very Chess-like game seems to extend beyond the ranks of a few "old-timers" like me, Randy Heller, Ed Menzel, Lou Coutney, and Joe Angiolillo, has encouraged me to review my own copy of the game with an eye towards starting a new set of STALINGRAD Notebook entries (like those that I have already posted on AFRIKA KORPS) for those relative newcomers to the hobby willing to give this challenging old classic a fresh look.
Along with STALINGRAD, my recent break from blogging has also given me the opportunity to revisit another long-time favorite of mine, WATERLOO. I actually began a series of essays on this game a long time ago, but somehow got side-tracked and discontinued the series after posting the opening installment on the game. At long last I am ready to return to this topic and, given the tournament rules changes that are now a part of competitive play at the WBC Convention Tournament, I am hopeful that a few readers, at least, will find an examination of the grand-tactical nuances of this old title useful, or at least modestly interesting.
In addition, other essays (in various stages of completion) are waiting in the wings, ready to be published as soon as I have my new computer up and running. For example, I continue to plug away at a fairly detailed (and, hopefully, somewhat intriguing) historical narrative on wargames and wargaming. Also in the works is a discussion of the profound impact of the PANZERGRUPPE GUDERIAN Game System on the work of a variety of different game designers in the decades that have followed Dunnigan's ground-breaking new treatment of "armored warfare" from 1976. And, of course, I still have a piece or two left to publish on WAR IN THE EAST: a subject that, whether because of frustration or nostalgia, I seem to be incapable of letting go of, once and for all.
Finally, I am also contemplating a number of new "Game Profiles" with special attention to those designers (like Kevin Zucker, Irad Hardy, Mark Hermann, and John Hill) that I have given rather less attention to, thus far at least, than they probably deserve. This all, not surprisingly, leads to the obvious qustion: Where do things stand now? The answer, such as it is, is that my wife (bless her heart) is presently working to transfer files from my old computer to its replacement; which means that, if everything goes off without a hitch, I should finally be back up and running within a day or two. On the other hand, given my luck thus far, this process of transition could well end up taking a lot longer than either she or I currently expect!