Thursday, June 21, 2018

Book Review: Templar

It's been almost a year since I wrote a book review.  The reasons are twofold:  First, I don't have the time anymore to produce content about what inspires my gaming and writing.  And second:  What I've read since last summer has been mediocre at best.  Nothing has really wowed me.

Until now.

Last week, on a rare day my wife and I both had off, we ventured to the local library to renew our library cards and to check out what's inside.

While walking past the fringe of the Young Adult section, Jordan Mechner's "Templar" caught my eye.

This hardcover is actually a graphic novel illustrated by husband & wife team of Alex Puvilland and Leuyen Pham.

The story is about several members of the Knights Templar who managed to survive the Friday the 13th Purge, who band together and attempt to restore the honor of their order.

Well, in an "Ocean's Eleven" sort of way, because despite the show trial and all the forced confessions, the fabled Templar Treasure is still up for grabs.

I'd love to say more about this book I consider the best story I've read in ages.  There were a couple things I wish were different about the finale, but upon reflection, I think the ending was appropriate, and more importantly, satisfying.

I'd love to carry-on but I don't want to spoil any more of the plot than I may already have.

As to the artwork: It reminds me of what one would see in an animated film, which isn't surprising since the artists have actually worked in animation.  The images are neither too detailed or too sparse, and the portrayals of the heroes and villains are delightful to gaze at.

Templar has a nearly a 4-star rating on Goodreads, while it has an average 4.6-star rating on

I loved this book so much, I intend to buy my own copy of what I feel is a 5-star story.

(Image found on:  Mediocrity is the New Genius)

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Enfilade 2018 Fly-By Photo Montage

(Image by:  Studios B3 in honor of Enfilade 2018's theme--Rebels and Rebellions)

While the NHMGS officers are planning next year's Show Theme, I've been sorting through the pictures of my brief sojourn to this year's convention.

I won't rehash my tale of woe, as to how I managed to miss most of Enfilade 2018.  (You can see the previous post for that--and more importantly--links to other gaming blogs).

By the time I did make it to the convention, Time Block D: (Saturday, starting at 2 PM) was in full-swing.

Since I had to start work early the next day, I only stayed until the end of the game period in order to: Snap some pictures, annoy chat with my fellow gamers, and buy items I realized I can't live without from vendors, and at the Enfilade "Bring & Buy" (B&B, a gaming flea market).

The rest of this post is a montage of the pictures I managed to take, and put in some coherent order.

Enfilade 2018 Painting Competition Entries:

I'm not sure who won what, but I thought the figures on display were awesome.

The Games of Time Block D

Here is one set of players who "put to sea" for the Battle of Mobile Bay, game mastered by Steve Thorne.

(The players gathered around "the bay")

(Wooden ships vs. ironclads)

Other naval games were scheduled, but I "missed the boat" so to speak, in that they may have wrapped up early, or were cancelled.

The only games during this period that hearkened back to antiquity were a couple of /De Bellis Antiquitatis (DBA) sessions.

(Chris Ewick, owner of The Game Matrix, running a session of "Big Battle DBA")

I did take a photo of a pair of normal-sized DBA games but they didn't come out.

Advancing through the ages, the "Horse & Musket Era" was well-represented.

A couple of games centered on the American War of Independence.  The next two photos are of Knapton's Trading Post, hosted by Norris Hazelton.

(British troops march on a colonial supply depot)

("Those damned rebels" attempting to hold back the redcoats)

The rematch between America and Great Britain, (a.k.a. The War of 1812), was the topic of one game depicting the Battle of New Orleans.

(British troops attempting to break through the American breastworks)

(They almost made it)
I was surprised no one was playing Johnny Horton's song on their devices.

Looking at the "bigger picture" of the Napoleonic Wars, Bill Hughes broke out his big 6mm collection and his rules, The Conflict, to run a version of the Battle of Kalisz.

(Bill listens to a player asking a rules-related question)

(A close-up of just a part of Bill's collection)

A larger-scaled version of the Napoleonic Wars was also underway.  In this case, it was a composite force of French and allied troops attempting to clear the mountains of Tyrolean "rebel scum" in James Sagen's Alps Aflame!

(An Alpine mountain pass represented by an extra-long table)

(French and allied troops marching in-column)

(Initial contact at the village of "Mittwald")

(French troops and their allies attempt to storm the heights held by Tyrolean "rebel scum")

While the French were trying to take-down the Tyroleans, the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg was being played-out at another table.

(An "eagle-eye's" view of the battlefield)

(Billy Yanks hold the Wheatfield)

(Contrary to the historical outcome, Confederates sweep over Little Round Top)

(A wider view of the battle for the Wheatfield)

While musket & saber-wielding figures dominated the main show room, there were some sci-fi games, along with a 20th Century alternate-historical game being played.

It's the mid-1980s--sort of.  For some reason, the Godless commie hordes launch "Operation Dragonuv" against the decadent imperialists of western Europe--probably because Derr Kommissar was in town.

This micro-armor game was hosted by Lawrence Bateman and Damon Crump.

(Soviet forces concentrate for a breakthrough)

(Soviet tanks and IFVs cross a river)
There was a Flames of War tournament going on in another room, but the games for this particular round had already ended.

Final Thoughts on Enfilade 2018

So that wraps-up my fly-by impression of Enfilade 2018.

My attendance this year was about as short as Enfilade 2012.  That year, I didn't get off work until Sunday afternoon, and had just enough time to get my t-shirt and buy some items from vendors before they closed.

Despite any of my brief stays, I still enjoy showing up and checking out the gaming scene.

See you--maybe--at Enfilade 2019!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Game Convention Fly-By Prelude

(Image:  NHMGS Enfilade 2018 Logo)

NHMGS's flagship convention, Enfilade!, was held over Memorial Day Weekend.

This year's them was:  Rebels and Rebellions.

(Image from the Enfilade 2018 Events Facebook Page)

Due to my work schedule, I was off and planning to attend the first two days of our annual event.

"Planning" being the operative word.

Our section, the Washington State Alert & Warning Center, has been down two coworkers for the past few weeks.  So the rest of us were pulling overtime, while our agency, the Washington State Emergency Management Division, hired replacements.

However, this didn't leave us with any margin for unforeseen events.

Just as I was preparing to leave for the initial day of festivities, (26 May), the phone rang.

It was my boss.

A coworker called-in sick, so I got the "Obi-wan Kenobi, you're our only hope" speech, and he asked me to fill in and pull a night shift--that very evening.

Fortunately for me, and the rest of the citizens of the Evergreen State, the night was fairly uneventful.

I got off duty, went home and because I'm not in my 20s anymore, slept for nearly five hours.

When I woke up, and made myself presentable, I headed down to the convention site at the Red Lion Inn in Olympia, WA.

I spent about two-and-a-half hours, taking some hasty pictures (about 45 total), chatting with several gaming buddies, and of course purchasing items I suddenly realized I couldn't live without.

Even though we now have our new-hires in-place, it will take several weeks of on-the-job training to get them up to speed.  So I'm still busy at work.

Anyway, that's my excuse for not having any pictures posted like my fellow gaming bloggers.

But I'm working on it.

I have some ideas for a slide-show YouTube video, along with some gag-a-day webcomics.

In the meantime, you can enjoy some pics and commentaries via links to the more punctual gaming bloggers reporting on this year's convention:

Convention Coordinator, Alyssa Faden's Best of Show game:  Teutoburg AAR.

Naval Gazing's Enfilade Recap, Part 1 (games everyone else was running), and Part 2 (games he ran).

Portland Little Wars' Enfilade 2018.

I Live With CatsBrazen Biscuits.

From WAB Corner:  An actual gaming post at long last! Live from Enfilade 2018!

And finally, A Gamer's Tale out-did everyone with six posts covering Enfilade 2018 (see 29 May 2018).