Microarmor game: Israel vs. Syria

The local game club ran a Cold War Commander game last month.  It was Syria vs. Israel 1967 with modern equipment.  Due to a twist in the scenario, the points favored the Syrians who advanced on the Israelis in good order.  Syrian Taskforces 1&2 destroyed most of the Merkavas of Israeli Taskforce 2, while Taskforce 3 flanked the Israelis and routed their support elements without suffering a loss.  You can see pictures of the game on Flickr and as a slideshow.

It was my first time playing Cold War Commander.  CWC seemed to have far too many die rolls for too little effect.  Afterward, one group tried out a small engagement using GHQ's microarmor rules, while the other, including me, tried a smaller CWC game that we played to completion.  While I liked the order system of CWC, with a few mods, I still prefer Fistful of TOWS 2.

ACTA EA/ISA vs. Drakh Game

We had an ACTA EA/ISA vs Drakh Game at the local game shop.  Since there were two of us, we first ran a small game of two Earth Alliance Chronos Frigates vs. two Drakh Light Raiders.  It took about four or five turns, but we ended with each side with a ship running adrift without crews, the remaining Raider undamaged and the last Chronos ailing.  You can see a picture of the final state here.

For the second game, another joined us and we ran a game where a Drakh taskforce was running from an heavier EA taskforce.  We split the EA taskforce among two of us and I ran the Drakh.  Earth had:

  • 1 Warlock Advanced Destroyer
  • 1 Marathon Cruiser
  • 1 Omega Destroyer
  • 2 ISA Whitestars

The Drakh had:

  • 1 Cruiser
  • 1 Light Cruiser
  • 2 Fast Destroyers
  • 3 Light Raiders

The game began with the Drakh Cruiser and Light Cruiser attempting to high tail it out, while the Light Raiders and the Fast Destroyers turned to engage.  The Marathon bore the brunt of the Raider fire, but managed to weather it.  One of the Raiders went down, and another was heavily damaged.  The Whitestars and other EA ships closed as quickly as they could.

By the second turn, Cruiser and Light Cruiser slowed down to engage the Warlock.  The Raiders ended up out of range of the Marathon, but the Fast Destroyers engaged the Marathon and scored the first Reactor Explosed.  Still the Marathon persevered.  Between the Marathon, the Warlock and the Whitestars, the Destroyers and Raiders went down.  Each of the Fast Destroyers suffered Reactor Explosions and were soon running adrift without a crew, trophies for Earth.  One Raider remained, practically unharmed by the Aurora fighters attacking it.  The Omega was not able to engage any targets.

The game ended there.  The two Drakh cruisers were going to try to outrun the Earthers, but with two thirds of their force gone, their chances look slim.

Pictures of the game are up at Flickr and viewable as a slideshow.

EA Thunderbolts done

I glued my eight Earth Alliance Thunderbolts to their stands last night.  This proved to be more time consuming than I expected since the holes were too large for the mounting pin on the fighters and often the mount hole went straight through the stand.  This feature required that I hold the fighter until the glue set.  I tried two types of glue, but Crazy glue set faster so I used that even though the bottle kept sealing up.

Still, with the two Aurora Starfurys I did as well, that is enough fighters for the Drakh-EA/ISA game I will be running.  Hopefully, I'll finish the Auroras one evening soon.

Nearly done with Earth Alliance Ships

I am running an EA/ISA vs Drakh game soon.  While most of my Crusade era EA ships are done, I didn't have any of the fighters.  I am happy to say that I am nearly done with them.  I painted them up and sprayed them with dullcote.  Now I just need to glue them to their stands.  Thankfully, I was able to spray the EA capital ships with dullcote at the same time.

Dullcote does not appear to protect the miniatures as well as I had hoped.  I think I'll need to switch to a stronger clear varnish.

Harry Potter: Less Draco, More Snogging (& Fighting)

Uncharacteristically for us, we have seen about four first-run movies in June and July. 

The latest was Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.  I can certainly say that I liked it better than the previous installment of the series.  I finished the 5th book just prior to watching that movie and as a result felt that the movie was a pale imitation of the book.  This go round, with the book firmly in my distant memory, I found that I was able to keep the comparisons to minimum and appreciate it more.  That said the general consensus of my wife, son and I was: 

Less Draco, More Snogging (& Fighting)

I feel for Draco with his dilemma about graduating from a bully and braggart to a cold blooded murderer of one of the most loved characters, but did we need to see his anguish so many times?  Plus, was it really necessary to see Draco with the cabinet: the meeting, an apple, a bird, etc.  Yes, yes we get the point, can we move on now?  If we see a gun, or in this case a cabinet, in act 1, it will be used in act 3, we get it!  Did the director need to waste three minutes of time on the cabinet, when the story completely fails to explain why Ron was so worried about a Quidditch match or why Harry received no punishment for the spell he inflicted on Draco or even get questioned on where he got the spell?  Context, continuity, any of these ringing a bell?

That all said, my wife wanted more snogging, and my son wanted more of a final battle.  I would settle for a plot without loose ends, middles and beginnings and wasted opportunities.  I really hope the final movie(s) prove to be better.

The other three movies are: Ice Age 3, the latest Star Trek movie and Up.  Ice Age 3 was no where near as good as the previous two movies and gave Ellie, the lone female character, very little dialogue.  Star Trek flubbed it on the science, but was pretty exciting and had good characters.  Of the three, Up was clearly the best, with terrific character setup and development, lots of humor and a good story.  That said, Up continued Pixar's trend of few non-white characters.  Come on Pixar, its the 21st century, can't you add more diversity to your characters.

The latest Star Trek flick prompted me to show my wife and son ST: Wrath of Khan and St: The Voyage Home recently.  Khan held up, but The Voyage Home, while talking about saving whales, a subject near and dear to my heart, didn't so well. 

Speaking of whales, the NY Times Magazine has a fantastic article on them.  I highly recommend it.

Project Sweet Tooth Progress – February-June 2009

It has been a long time since I blogged about my project sweet tooth.  I have been diligently recording my efforts to cut down on eating sweets and sleeping more.  Though, based on this night you would no doubt be sure that I am failing at the later objective.

So here is a table of my progress over the first half of the year:

Month Days w/o Sweets 8+ hr Nights
January 23 5
February 19 9
March 23 10
April 16 6
May 20 7
June 20 7

So things have bounced around a bit. Clearly I need to get more sleep, and I should cut down on the sweets better. Still, I haven't had a soda in over half a year and I consider that an accomplishment.

The incentives haven't worked out terribly well, since at this point I have 42 hours of hobby time unused. I think I need to reduce the payoff to provide the incentive I need.

Finished merging of GRP database

It took me 23 months of long nights, with many fits and starts, but I am happy to say that I am finally done with merging three different GRP databases.  I handed off the final merged data set off to the GRP Membership Director.  Since I resigned from the State Committee and any of the other committees I was on, that concludes any direct involvement I have with workings of the Green-Rainbow Party at the state level.  Both scary and exhilarating.  New projects await.

My recommendation to anyone who maintains a party or non-profit database is to just have one.  I recommend CiviCRM, though there are many others.  If you must integrate other data sources, say a voter list on a periodic basis, then keep past versions of the data set around, extract the new records and merge those into your data set.  Any conflicts will be easier to handle.  If you do not have just one data source, then look at the brief notes I kept.

Treasurer Tim to leave the Democratic Party

WBUR reported this morning that Massachusetts Treasurer Tim Cahill will be leaving the Democratic Party.  It was covered by 35 news sources based on news.google.com, including The Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, and others.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised that his departure from the Democratic Party would receive at least an order of magnitude more coverage than his apparent conflicts of interest.

Good luck with the party change, Tim.  Its a lot more fun outside of a party that controls the 80% of the legislature, but still socks it to the poor with a sales tax increase while not halting the decrease in the corporate income tax rate. 

Yes, you heard that right, the 9.5% corporate income tax changes to 8.75% in 2010, 8.25% in 2011 and 8% in 2012+.  Financial institutions rates will change from 10.5% now to 10% in 2010, 9.5% in 2011 and 9% in 2012+.  My how "progressive" these Democrats are.

UPDATE: Apparently Steve Grossman, former head of the Massachusetts Democratic Party and a past candidate for Governor, will run for Massachusetts Treasurer.