GAMING NEWS: Ancients Wargaming, Channukah & A Little Fantasy!
It's been an interesting week or so since my last post... lots of gaming to report:
The big game to keep an eye on for the past two weeks has been "Battlelore," another in the Richard Borg game series that started with "Battlecry" (American Civil War) and later gave us "Memoir '44" (World War II) and "Command & Colors: Ancients" (Ancients Warfare). I've seen "Battlelore" all over the place... it's been a big hit with local gamers.
"Battlelore" uses the same basic system as the rest of the series:
- Point to point movement
- D6 dice-based battles
- Simple terrain modifers
- Units with limited numbers of hits
- Historically-based scenarios
Where "Battlelore" differs from its predecessors is in the following details:
- A somewhat random card-based magic system
- Magic points (lore) and spells that are gained every turn
- Combat based on medieval warfare
- Weapons are adjusted from other games (bows have a slightly longer range than C&C:A)
Overall, I like the game, but still prefer "Command & Colors : Ancients" although I like the Medieval historical theme of "Battlelore"...
Who wouldn't like Scottish Highlander dwarves and Goblin Saracens?
And who couldn't say that an Orc cleric looks out of place?
I stopped by my sister's place a weekend or two ago and visited with her, my brother-in-law and three of their five children. I helped out with wrapping gifts for the little ones until the kids arrived home from their mother's place (they're my sister's stepkids). My two nephews from my sister's first marriage were with their father... they have a complicated family arrangement. We dined on pizza and had family game / movie night. I'm rather proud that they have a family game / movie night... you see, because it used to be simply family movie night. After many months of playing Settlers of Cataan, Settlers of Canaan, Formula De and most recently Ticket To Ride, I finally got them... and their friends... hooked! Don't say that I'm not doing my part to create the next generation of gamers!
Next we played "Simpsons Clue," which my brother-in-law handily won. The two little ones tried guesses, but were off a bit. And of course, it ended up being me "Witherspoon" who did the deed with the jelly donut! It was fun and I've obviously forgotten how to play. The clue to "Clue" is to make guesses where you have two of the three clue items identified... Doh! And, of course, the highlight of the game was getting to say all of our favorite Simpsons sound bites... I had no idea my sister could do such a good Marge... let alone my brother-in-law!
I think that I'm going to bring "Command & Colors: Ancients" and "Memoir '44" by this weekend to see if I can get the nephews and niece interested... and maybe the brother-in-law too!
And lastly, the holiday season is here: Christmas is around the corner and Channukah is already here. I was lucky enough to celebrate one of the eight days of Chanukkah on Saturday with my friends Mike, Donna and Donna's "adopted Jewish family." The Latkes (potato pancakes) were good and the company was even better! Thanks, Mike and Donna!
"Chanukkah In a Nutshell"
Chanukah, the eight-day festival of lights that begins on the eve of Kislev 25, celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, of purity over adulteration, of spirituality over materiality. More than twenty-one centuries ago, the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who sought to forcefully Hellenize the people of Israel. Against all odds, a small band of faithful Jews defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of G-d.
When they sought to light the Temple's menorah, they found only a single cruse of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks; miraculously, the one-day supply burned for eight days, until new oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity. To commemorate and publicize these miracles, the sages instituted the festival of Chanukah. At the heart of the festival is the nightly menorah lighting: a single flame on the first night, two on the second evening, and so on till the eighth night of Chanukah, when all eight lights are kindled.
On Chanukah we offer praise and thanksgiving to G-d for "delivering the strong into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, the wicked into the hands of the righteous."
Chanukah customs include eating foods fried in oil such as Latkes (potato pancakes) and Sufganiot (doughnuts), playing with the Dreidel (a spinning top on which are inscribed the Hebrew letters Nun, Gimmel, Hei and Shin, an acronym for Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, "a great miracle happened there") and the giving of Chanukah Gelt, gifts of money, to children.
That's the story told with a few religious overtones, but nevertheless the Chabad "Chanukkah In a Nutshell" really captures what Chanukkah is all about:
- Celebrating the triumph of light over darkness
- Celebrating of the triumph of purity over corruption
- Celebrating the triumph of of spirituality over materiality
- "Delivering the strong into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, the wicked into the hands of the righteous"
In other words, it's a right/wrong story saying that it's wrong to impose one's faith on others.
And this ties back into my gaming hobby / obsession since the Maccabean Revolt was one of the most important battles of the ancients time period for this reason:
The first time elephants were used in battle was by the Syrian-Greeks during the Maccabean War; but, to everyone's amazement, Elazar the Maccabee killed the lead elephant single-handedly.
How's that for ancients warfare trivia?
Do you think that "Command & Colors: Ancients" needs some Maccabean Revolt scenarios?------
Have a great Tuesday!
And Happy Chanukkah!
Many thanks to the Chabad organization and Boardgame Geek!
Notes regarding photos / pictures: These are not all my images. I am using various images from around the web, mostly from public sources and/or private sources used with permission. I have tried to include only images under public domain, creative commons, or fair use. If I have inadvertently violated any copyrights, please inform me and I will remove your image/s (if it is indeed an infringement).