Tuesday 20 April 2021

Now this is an interesting game: Atlantic Chase - GMT Games

From the moment I saw this game advertised on the GMT P500's I knew there was something special about it and after wantonly staring at it over several visits I finally subscribed, six months later a very heavy thud on the doormat announced the beast had arrived (see below, lovely box art of "you know who" as they are making their breakout run into the Atlantic in search of convoys):   

Oh, it has not disappointed me, in fact I feel very invigourated as it shows a fresh new approach to naval campaigning .. but more of that later. The rules are beautifully laid out and theer are accompanying explanatory videos. Even better, I had the great fortune to receive great 1-2-1 tuition via Table Top Simulator (TTS) at the recent Connections Online Conference hosted by the Armchair Dragoons for the Connections family based in the US. 

I must give a shout out to Karl and Tom for their sterling work in instructing me on the nuances of the game as we hunted down the Bremmen! Now that was one German ship I do not have in 1/3000 scale as she is a fast liner!

Tuesday 13 April 2021

The Finished Minotaur .. I am gong to call him Finbar

The finished "beast" (see below, pity the poor fool of an adventurer who tries to take him on alone, in a disorientating underground maze): 

I toyed with the colour scheme, originally having him much browner but my eldest son convinced me to go more "fleshy" and I am glad he did (see bellow, looking rather Spartan with his bare buttocks): 

A bit of bounce off glare perhaps spoils the total effect but up close and personal this dude is going to tear hit points off you):  

Scratch this one off the bucket list, but maybe I need one with an axe too?

Sunday 11 April 2021

Play Secure Online - One Heck of a Conference, Wargaming with Attitude with Real-World Benefits

Hats off to the organisers of the "Play Secure Online Conference" (25th to 28th March https://playsecure.mssconference.com/) as this was one heck of a thought provoking conference. A conference that affected the 'deep ways' in which the processes the brain tick. You came away "thinking much differently" about Security and the Organisations you work in than you did before it. Spooky in many ways. It challenged, enlightened and gave stark warnings of how things could easily be if left to their own devices and not actively worked on. All teh above are marks of a good conference in my book (see below and link above, not online gambling but Internet Cyber Security with professionals engaging with the concept of "play" to harness creativity and ingenuity): 

The takeaway is that Cyber Security "does not stand alone" and is far "too serious a level of risk" for it to be under the provenance of Certified Professionals Only, it's holistic thing easily compromised. The comfort zone for many is "not to think about it". Cyber Security is holistic and inclusive .. the alternative is a passive bunker mentality that is a "minimal spend (or rather a known unchallenged under-spend)" and a "let's hope it does not happen here". It is a scary thing to think about, however put a bit of fun into things and the creativity oozes out of people and it did so in buckets. No better example of teh power of creativity in that the unique Gather conferencing tool that had been configured to work like a video game - avatar and arrow key movement and bumping into people to say hello (see below, it was very retro '90s avatar in style.. I was one of many of the white snowmen (the most popular avatar) distinguished only by the wearing of a different coloured scarf [mine was green], others were friendly Snoopy style character avatars - note the snapshot of the empty room was taken while everybody was rushing to the main lecture hall without personal avatars names showing):  

Kitsch and cool at the same time. The content of the conference was hard-core or put another way gold-dust (and very, very wargaming related). How "hacking" (in the original MIT sense of the word - of open exploration of the world) is critical to learning - people teach themselves far better than any other method known to date. Simple game concepts stimulate this such as: What's in the Box?; Escape Rooms; Capture the Flag; How do you Open a Lock without a Key?; How can you Destroy a Light Bulb in 10 Different Ways? The realisation that simple Social Engineering is the easiest (and perhaps the most deadly) but psychologically trickiest to spot Red Attack Tool. Importantly you learn (more, much more) from your failures rather your successes. Adversarial games stretch you more. It was also humbling to hear some of the back stories of some of the people and how they had overcome adversity, no more so than the programmer Peter Moore who was unfortunately taken hostage in Iraq. Throughout there was a hidden message of integrity. You have integrity if you are prepared to test yourself, test others (including 'systems') and accept the findings, the implied limitations and most importantly act. The most important message I took from the conference was "Never bend the knee" on a matter of principle that is critically important to who you are. Otherwise you become no better than a slave and regret it later as you will undoubtedly need to carry through actions with conviction. That was a very powerful message that certainly echoes back in time to the ancients in a more wargaming sense. 

Once again many thanks to the organisers for a fantastic thought provoking conference. I really enjoyed all those conversations. It was also very good to see some of my Wargamer Developer friends from Connections UK and CoW there! I honestly believe there is a strong need for wargaming design concepts to be shared and adopted.