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Dom Mooney's Website

May 2012

A Good Day

It's surprising just how fast the day goes when it is packed full of things to do. It started early, with Aidan waking in the early hours as it was so hot, and ending up in bed with me to try and settle him while Jill grabbed some sleep on Nathan's lower bunk. By 7am, Aidan was wide awake again (having been very restless ever since he came in to me) and bouncing on me, demanding that I read him a story (he's very attached to Thomas the Tank Engine at the moment) and generally be fun.

Fortunately, Jill woke up and started to entertain him (and soon after Nathan) and I got a chance to get a little sleep back.

We headed down into Wetherby, as we had a few errands to run. Nathan and Aidan both needed some sandals sorting out - Nathan's being a change from those bought the night before as they were too big without socks. (See, that's why socks and sandals have an uncool meme). I spent an hour or so buying the essentials, then caught up with the shoe shopping party who were still in the shop. There'd been a huge queue; the shop assistant said that they had been mad busy all week since the sun decided to arrive in force!

We rushed home, and went separate ways. I took Nathan to a birthday party, and Jill took Aidan swimming to Waterbabies (which he enjoys even if he can be a little too laid back with his thumb in while swimming)!

The party involved a soft play area, and then party food and games, while the mums and dads tried to relax and at the same time watched the kids like hawks to make sure they behaved! It was Star Wars themed, so Nathan really liked that.

I'd hoped to stop off at the Muse Bar in Wetherby on the way home for a cold alcohol-free Erdinger, and Nathan was angling for a pint of lemonade with ice (it's the latter he was really hankering for), but it was mostly shut due to a wedding. Instead, we went to the supermarket and bought supplies, avoiding the need to explain to Jill.

On arriving home, it was 'gentlemen, start your barbecues' as Jill had bought supplies. I cooked without burning (and can recommend Debbie & Andrews 97% sausages as the lack of fat makes them cook well!) and Nathan was really happy as he'd requested the BBQ. Unfortunately, while I was cooking he managed to crash off his push scooter, racing the lad next door, as he hit a stone. Big graze to the arm, very upset little boy, and lots of TLC needed.

As I write this, Aidan is asleep, and Jill & Nathan are watching Eurovision. All in all, it's been a good day, a normal day.

Meanwhile, the house extension continues...

The rant I mentioned

At the start of May, I mentioned in a post that I had a rant that I intended to post. I’m not going to post it now. Things have moved on somewhat.

The rant was about the bigoted and discriminatory campaign that the “Coalition for Marriage” has been running opposed to the present consultation on the marriage laws in this country. It systematically shredded the campaign’s reluctance to present any evidence despite claiming to have a substantive and extensive selection at its fingertips. This has changed a little recently, as they have posted some supporting documents. Having read through these, I do find it amusing that in some cases they are relying on evidence as far back as 1866 to make their point, but I accept they have now built a more substantive argument.

It’s an argument that I can’t in any way agree with. The present “civil partnership” definition was a fudge put in place by the last Labour government to avoid causing offence. Well-meaning, but fundamentally discriminatory. Exactly the same case could be made for extending the provisions of civil partnerships to include heterosexual couples as can be made for extending marriage to homosexual couples.

I find it offensive that, until recently, C4M was relying on a petition to demonstrate its case rather than participating in the open - and formal - consultation process being run by the Home Office. They are now advocating that the supporters only answer the 2 questions that they feel are most relevant, rather than actively supporting the process.

Letting homosexual couples marry isn’t going to end the world.

It isn’t going to undermine the fabric of civil society.

It doesn’t have any bearing upon the religious and their rights to hold their own views and practices.

It affects a specific part of civil law that will allow 2 people who love each other to marry and have the same recognition for their relationship as the rest of society.

If you feel strongly, either way, then you can find the consultation online here:
http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/about-us/consultations/equal-civil-marriage/ I encourage you to take the time to fill it in before it closes on 14 June.

Rain stopped PLAY

We decided to take the boys out for the bank holiday as a treat and headed off to 'Play!' at Harewood House. This was a child-friendly event, with a Lego stand and lots of rides and play-buses etc. Ideally stuff for a bank holiday weekend to keep the kids entertained, really.

It was expensive (with £10 per adult entry), but we had fun in the Lego room. Then, as we had lunch the weather changed to cold, icy rain, so we decided to head home.

On reflection, I don't think I'd rush to go to this again - the Lego was nice, but nothing special. A trip to the Discovery Centre at the Trafford Centre would have probably made more sense. Most of the activities – the fun bus, the train, and the carts - had extra charges beyond the entry at Harewood, which I think was a bit cheeky.

Anyway, having got home, Jill & Aidan are napping, and Nathan is chilling out...

Unleash the OGRE!

OGRE was my first true science-fiction wargaming love. It shares its birth year - 1977 - with Traveller, the granddaddy of science fiction roleplaying. I'm not certain if it was my first wargaming love, but it may have been. I certainly purchased it around the same time that I was reading Charles Grant's seminal 'Battle: Practical Wargaming' from the local library in the sleepy commuter village of Holmes Chapel in Cheshire. I can remember going into the local toyshop - back in the days when the village still had one - and seeing a small selection of Metagaming's pocket wargames and Basic Dungeons & Dragons (the blue book box before the red box). I was so excited.

I can remember buying OGRE - it was a toss up between that and a game called
Chitin, but the tanks won - and starting to save to buy D&D. I'd been tempted towards that as well by the book 'What is Dungeons & Dragons?', a Puffin book written by some public school types that hooked me into the whole idea of roleplaying. I was gutted when it was bought by someone else (unbeknownst to me, my parents for my Christmas present).

One of the other reasons I think I bought it was the fantastic Winchell Chung picture on the front which promised one hell of a fight.

Anyway, OGRE. The principle is simple. A huge, nuclear shell lobbying cybernetic AI tank attacts a Command Post guarded by a mix of hovercraft (GEVs), missile tanks, heavy tanks and infantry. Either the OGRE will die, or the CP will. The game is simple, the sole rules reference being needed is a combat results table combined with the ability to work out odds. I played this game again and again, both solo and with others. Although its very simple, there is enough randomness and strategy variations to make you want to keep coming back for more everytime you play it.

When the game was rereleased around 2000, I bought back in and purchased pretty much everything, except for the second scenario book that I just found out was printed in 2005. The whole game, counters, rules and dice with all the expansions fits nicely into a VCR case. Perfect to take away when travelling. Unfortunately, the arrival of the two boys has meant that it's been neglected for the last 5 years.

I was very excited when Steve Jackson, the author, announced that he was going to be bringing OGRE back in a huge new 6th Edition 'OGRE Designer's Edition'. It's always had a special place in his heart as it was the first game that he designed. When I say huge, the game has a monster box with an estimated weight of around 15 pounds (7 kg) due to the component quality and numbers. Have a look at the box in the video! I was then instantly disappointed when I found that the Kickstarter campaign was going to be US-only, unless some practicable way could be found to ship the package at a reasonable cost. This has since been fixed, but as you can probably guess, shipping that kind of weight air freight isn't cheap. It's around $90 to the UK!

The Kickstarter campaign (a win-win way for the publisher to gauge support) has taken on an OGRE-like approach, massively exceeding the $20,000 initial target and crushing all the stretch goals in sight. What's a stretch goal, you ask? This is when the publisher (or Kickstarter campaign creator) pledges to do extra things in the event that funding reaches certain levels. For example, additional components, better quality product and so on. As I type this, the campaign has broken through $570,000 with 5 days to go.

Isn't it amazing that a 35 year old board game can attract such support? There's a lot of love, excitement and nostalgia driving this.

Zombicide, another boardgame but a new one, has - in its last 12 hours - just broken the $720,00 barrier having trailed behind OGRE until the end of the week. It's great to see boardgames prospering in our digital media world, powered by a digital campaign system and the buzz on the internet.

Now I just need to find some time to play this kind of thing. Or wait another couple of years for Nathan to be old enough!


PS There are missing posts from April, including a rant. They’ll appear in due course.