Holiday Gift Guide 2009: Fortress of Redemption

Suppose you’re planning for the apocalypse and you need a scale model of a fortification to defend your worldly possessions. Suppose too that you need this model to double as a base for your tiny toy soldiers. There is only one solution and it is the Dark Angels Fortress of Redemption

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Holiday Gift Guide 2009: Monsterpocalypse

If you haven’t grown up on the ‘Godzilla vs.’ movies, you’ve at least grown up on the ‘Godzilla vs.’ video games. I don’t exactly know what primal, destructive urge we satisfy by pitting leviathan against behemoth in our own cities, but it seems to be as powerful as hunger or love.

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Super Awesome Day 2009 Holiday Gift Guide

If Christmas has taught us anything, it’s that gifts are an extremely important measure of one’s self worth. Super Awesome Day, now in its fifth awesome year, is even more focused on commerce. Its convenient location on the calendar a full 24 hours after December 25th makes it ideally suited for last minute shopping.

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Byzantine Empire in Europa Universalis, part 6

Several wars later, the Byzantine Empire (“New Rome” didn’t test well, according to our marketing department) secured the Balkans, wrapped around the Eastern Mediterranean coast, and stretched to Tunisia. I settled in to assimilating these new provinces and contentedly watching Europe devour its children. Spain thrashed Aragon and, unsurprisingly, Portugal. England tamed Scotland, Eire and Brittany. France pushed into Central Europe. Sweden conquered Scandinavia.

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Byzantine Empire in Europa Universalis, part 5

It’s difficult to explain to your 15th century kingdom what a crash to desktop error is. Needless to say, they learned a little French as we deja-vu-ed ourselves into Mamluk territory again. Things didn’t go quite as well this time. [Continue Reading...]

Byzantine Empire in Europa Universalis, part 4

I applied the same method of instigating internal revolt and waiting for the proper timing to my next war against the Mamluks. The proud history of the Mamluks is a long one–and proud, hence the adjective at the beginning of this sentence. They controlled Egypt and portions of the Middle East for almost three centuries. Their name echoes the sound one makes when accidentally swigging a gulp of sour milk, but don’t say that to them unless you’re prepared for war.

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Byzantine Empire in Europa Universalis, part 3

Fresh off a (lucky) stomping of the Ottoman Empire, “Just barely!” became our new battlecry. Once my new territories had stabilized, I considered the future. The Portuguese cowardice really spoke to me. I could fight a costly succession of wars against the Ottomans, or I could let others do it for me. Others. Definitely. Man, the proud Empire was beginning to look a lot like Portugal.

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Byzantine Empire in Europa Universalis, part 2

I bribed a couple of Cardinals to take control of the Papacy. What can I say, I have a Pope fetish. First order of business was declare a Crusade against the Ottomans. I learned an important lesson while playing my dearly beloved (yet cowardly) Portuguese: don’t fight a war you can let others fight for you.

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Byzantine Empire in Europa Universalis, part 1

Preamble: I enjoy grand strategy games, particularly historical ones, but I don’t pretend to be a great player of them (see my Portugal campaign). I have my inspired moments as well as my bad. I sometimes like to modify a game file or two to reflect a radically unhistorical circumstance. I dig history, but these write-ups are more on the fun side. So if you get offended by something or think I’m a doof for making light of a “serious” game, go play in traffic, okay? I assure you it isn’t worth your getting flustered.

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Portugal in Europa Universalis, part 3

“Onward, cowards!” General Poltroon cried. Portuguese soldiers, decorated in chicken feathers and yellow shields, charged into the open plains of Mali, long deserted by real heroes who were fighting a civil war to the west. “Let’s go east!” sounded the regimental horns, an impressive feat considering how chapped their lips were from the African sun. [Continue Reading...]