Thursday, June 19, 2014

Theremin Thursdays - two Mashups, one musical, one wargaming

It has been a while since a Theremin Thursdays entry has been made here at Gaming with Chuck.  This entry is being made because of two different things coming together that I want to write about.  The first is a cool (actual Theremin) mashup music piece I came across, and the second is a gaming item that is as much a mashup as the first.

Mashup Number One - Musical
So the first (musical) mashup is this . . . a room full of lovely musicians, playing Beethoven's Ode to Joy, using Theremins inside Matryoshka Dolls.  It's just so wonderful . . . sort of like Astronaut Bowman looking into the Stargate and seeing all those stars. . .

So, evidently that group is a Matryomin (Matryoshka Theremin) ensemble.  I can't think of two things that are possible cooler to mashup than Matryoshka's and Theremins.  Except . . .

Mashup Number Two - Wargaming
The second mashup here is one of wargaming.  A friend of mine (Geo) and I had been talking about a couple of different 15mm wargaming projects.  These have come together in an unlikely way.

The first one was fictional forces in a modern African setting, with countries, coups, warlords, and international forces bashing over temporary objectives and unlikely ideological clashes - in short, the game "AK47 Republic" by Peter Pig.  We started assembling miniatures, coming up with backgrounds for our forces, and in general securing the ideas for a gaming setting and some battles to fight. 

The second one is wargaming with 15mm science fiction forces in the Traveller universe.  I had recently been running a table top Traveller RPG game (although only a few sessions before my schedule kicked into high gear), with details over at The Collace Rift.  Still in a Traveller mood, we started talking about wargaming - and began assembling forces, painting miniatures, talking about former battles, etc.

Then it happened - local conflicts on worlds within the Third Imperium (Traveller) resemble the brush wars described by AK47 Republic, but with the addition of some different levels of technology, and the attendant science fiction hardware.  But, what if we kept the battles MOSTLY to the tech levels of, say, 5,6,7,8 (corresponding to the military hardware of, respectively, WW1, WW2, 1960s, 1990s) - then we would be right on target for the wide variety of forces found in AK47 Republic.  But, if it was going to be in the Traveller Universe, then it needed a planet.

Enter, Margesi - a world on the edge of Imperial space, that was (until recently) contested, and controlled by the Sword World Confederation.  The world is balkanized, many a bunch of competing governments. After checking what the Traveller Wiki has to say, it appears that there are (conveniently enough) two super powers, the Kingdom of Evariidi and the People's Republic of Gome.  Having also posited that there would be any number of smaller nations, allied to one or more of those super powers, we have the third world setting of Earth, transposed to another world.  To make things even more interesting, we made the two super powers being aligned with the two interested Interstellar Governments - the Kingdom of Evariidi is the current ascendant power, and is backed by the Imperium (clandestinely), but the world's Starport (Margesi Down Station) is located within the Kingdom, and is operated by Imperial Starport Authority.  The other nation, the People's Republic of Gome (representing Brezhnev-era Soviet style rule), is backed (clandestinely) by the Sword World Confederation.

The world of Margesi, in the Vilis subsector of the Spinward Marches
The nations identified on the map are those identified by the last Imperial Interstellar Scout Service survey of the world, and most likely will include any number of smaller entities, and may have shifted or changed those listed.  The world map features hexes that are 160km across, to give you a sense of the size of the planet - somewhat smaller than earth.  Here is a list of nations.

A. Kingdom of Evariidi (major power)
B. Latavia
C. Boruckistan
D. Sinnibad
E. Siluria
F. Nordkapp
G. Geonia
H. Burland
J. Ionus Island
K. Mogumba Island
L. North Windango
M. South Windango
N. Droma
P. People's Republic of Gome (major power)
Q. Snowwald
R. Icetor
S. Sudland
T. Oakstaal
U. Pargonia
V. Zo'Osia
W. Umbongo Freistaat (free states)
X. Termania

Pictures of miniatures and military details to follow . . .

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Lots of Boardgaming recently

There has been a lot of boardgaming in recent months for the staff of GwC.

This includes the local weekly boardgame night at Moxie games (the game store here in Columbus) every Wednesday.

And the weekly Saturday meetup somewhere around town with the Meeples of Columbus.

And, while school was in session, there was the monthly Boardgaming session in the Computer Science department of Columbus State University.

And there was the Atlanta Game-o-Rama - which the entire staff, minus cats, attended for all five days.

Coming up in July, there will be ConGregate, which the staff intends on invading for the purpose of helping out in the Con Suite, and also encourage the proper application of Boardgaming.

Through all this, there have been a number of new titles that have made their way into the GwC repertoire as regular games.

One of the most commonly played, lately, has been Lords of Waterdeep.  Great worker placement game.  Extremely well balanced, and lots of different ways to get what you need - which is victory points from fulfilling quests (achieved by collecting adventurers, by applying your workers to different worker collection schemes).
Waterdeep.  From

Lots of tablet play of Le Havre (on the iPad) had been taking place lately, and a tabletop showing is scheduled for an upcoming Wednesday night.  Speaking of the great Uwe Rosenberg, the staff of GwC recently played some extremely satisfying games of Agricola, including some teaching games (for new players) at Game-o-Rama.  Also, one of the newer Rosenberg titles, Glass Road, is scheduled to make an appearance soon.
I'll take the wood option.

At the most recent (June 7) Saturday meetup, two new games came out of hiding - Suburbia by Ted Alspach, and also Portobello Market, in the Playroom gateway games series.  Suburbia is a great strategy player's game, again with lots of ways to victory.  Portobello Market is a game of building (in this case, market stalls), not too deep, but sort of fun.
Stalls at Portobello Market in the 1950s, fifty years after our game ended.

A recent, coveted acquisition is that of the Mayfair edition of Cosmic Encounter (with the supplement, More Cosmic Encounter).  These two boxes recreate everything that Eon ever did with the original.  One problem?  The cards are somewhat worn.  So, against the usual practice and policy of the Games Archivists and Librarians Guild here at GwC, these cards have actually been put into sleeve protectors.
From BGG - perhaps the best version of the game?

This Wednesday's game night (June 11) is due to include a first time playing of Russian Railraods by Ohley and Orgler.  Definitely looking forward to that.
Real Russian Railroad.  Note the lack of strategy gamers.

Saturday is due to include some Boss Monster, played recently, and fun enough that it is worth promoting and teaching to others.  Also, the new word game, Concept.  Both of these are lots of fun, and worth spreading around.  Concept could easily become a gateway game to those who like party games and word games.
Just imagine how awesome a version of Boss Monster would be with Don Bluth art, a la Dragon's Lair