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news & opinion with no titillating non-news from the major non-news channels.


I am: progressive, not a wild-eyed Progressive; liberal, but shun liberals and Liberals; conservative, but some Conservatives worry me; absolutely NOT a libertarian. I am: an idealist, but no utopian; a pragmatist, but no Machiavellian. I am a realist who dreams.


I welcome all opinions.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

And now, for something Completely Different!:
   Gamers and Bit-heads

I don't know what step in the 12-step process is confession, but, Hi. My name is Jay and I am an unrepentant Gaming addict and consummate Bit-Head.

Axis and Allies. Diplomacy. Civilization (the board game, dummy!). Champions. Bismarck (with scale models spread across the barracks floor, not pegs on a plastic board). Takamo.

Star. Fleet. Battles.

I am starting to salivate.

I grew up playing games. CandyLand. Chutes and Ladders. Monopoly. Life. Stock Market. Chess. Risk. All before the age of Ten. My younger siblings long gave up playing games with me. I like to win too much. And I did. Win, that is. Last Christmas, as my little one opened up her present, which happened to be a game she had been begging for, my sister said, "Samantha, don't play with your Papa!"

No respect!

When Jobs and Gates created the PC industry, me and my cohort flocked to all the cool 8-bit computer games that would run on an incredible 64K computers. The Vic-20. TI's excellent but poorly marketed PC whose name I can't even remember anymore. Intellivision. (Atari sucks!)

The Amiga.

And then we started writing our own. A geek-friend even got a BASIC sub battle program published in one of the burgeoning mags (Byte, I think).

But my world opened up when I found a gaming group when I was stationed in Germany. Dudes. We would start getting set up Friday after work, be ready to start Saturday morning, and by Sunday afternoon realize that we were getting hungry and make a chow hall run.

My favorite story is when this supply weinie (we were all mechanics and technicians) wanted to "play with the big kids". Now, I was fairly new to the group and hadn't yet come to realize just how hard it can be to get and establish gaming groups on base, given duty rotations and such. I didn't like the guy and couldn't understand what had blinded my cohorts to his obvious shortcomings.

So, when he was given the choice of selecting the first game of the weekend, and he chose Risk (groan! c'mon! that is like organizing a poker night and playing ol' maid or go fish!), I prepared my strategy.

Laying down our initial allotment of troops, I made sure to place my pieces in countries adjacent to the weiner. When it was my turn, I stacked all my reinforcements onto one country and proceeded to mow down his countries. He was dumbfounded. "Hey", he whispered, "Doesn't Jay know how to play the game? He is spreading himself out too thin!" Of course, he was probably more concerned that I was playing poorly at the expense of his troops. Yet no one made a comment. They understood only too well.

Please understand, when it comes to The Game, there are no friendships. It is kill or be killed. After my turn was over, after I had grossly thinned out the weiner's line as well as mine, the next guy, who happened to be my best friend, plowed through the both of us like flatulence through a crowded room.

The weinie never came back and I never had to explain my 'poor' strategy to my cohort.

Strategy is about attaining objectives. I got mine. The weiner never understood this because he failed to understand my objective.

Ok, I can be a bastard. Get over it.

Anyway, the whole point of this tirade, the whole point of missing the early bus and the regular bus, and nearly the last bus, is to tell you about a great Internet strategy game. Space - Glory through Conquest. It is a killer build-stellar-economies-conquer-the-galaxy turn-based strategy game. Well, it is a killer game only because of the kind of game it is. The user interface sucks, and I can think of a couple dozen changes I would make, but I am hooked.

Check it out @ space.coldfirestudios.com.

No, I am not getting anything for this. I just want to meet you on the field of battle and wipe the universe with what victuals I leave you.

Gotta go. My four year old said she wanted to play another round of Dora's CandyLand when I get home.


Anonymous kat said...

Have you played Settlers of Catan? Great game. There are all these super complicated, strategic, hard thinking board games made by the Germans that you can get at speciality game stores. I highly recommend.

1/25/2006 1:56 PM  
Blogger Jay Cline said...


You are, in fact, the second person to mention that to me in the past week. I can't recall from my heydays if we played that, but I have never heard anything but good (great!) things about the game.


1/26/2006 11:56 AM  

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