Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Rhinos and Soldiers and Planes, Oh My!

My mind is racing with several different things right now. So rather than write one meaty, in-depth post about a specific subject, I'm going to swipe a couple of quick brush strokes across a variety of topics tonight. Call this one my Eclectic Moments post.

Why are rhinos on my mind? Or more specifically, what in the Hell do rhinos carrying baseball bats have to do with me? Well, I'll tell ya. Rotisserie baseball nuts across the world are likely experiencing a mixture of anguish, euphoria, and relief this week. Why? Because the Major League baseball regular season, the one that counts for roto geeks, just ended on Monday (October 1st). As it turned out, my rotisserie baseball team, the Sevy Rhinos, just won the coveted HARL Championship. Yesssss.... Wooohooo.... Who's the Man now Dog? So I'm squarely on the euphoria end of the spectrum.

The HARL league is one that I've been playing in and running for 21 years. Yes, you read that right, TWENTY ONE YEARS. It's a crazy love affair to be sure. And this year's HARL championship marks the 7th time that I've won the league. That's really, really hard to do, especially in a competitive and somewhat advanced league such as ours. So I'm basking in the afterglow of a great season. Thank you to those stud Rhinos who helped drive me to victory this season. Take a bow Jimmy Rollins, Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, Pat Burrell, Kaz Matsui, Todd Helton, Jeff Francis, Oliver Perez, Tom Gorzelanny, Kevin Gregg, and the rest of the cast who slugged and hurled their way into the fantasy promised land. We'll be handing out golden horns soon enough. Now if my beloved Philadelphia Phillies can just do the same thing!

Toy Soldiers
I just received the HMGS East newsletter in the mail a few days ago. It's hard to believe, but the final miniature wargaming convention of the year, FALL IN 2007, is just over 5 weeks away. Fall In is being held in Gettysburg PA, at the Eisenhower Convention Center from November 9 through 11.

I've gone to this convention for many years, although I missed it last Fall because I was away on a European cruise (Oh the pain! err... NOT!). I fully intend to go to the con this year. For those of you who have never been to Fall In, I highly recommend making the drive down to Gettysburg for at least 1 day and checking out the fun. Unlike Historicon in Lancaster PA, which is always super-crowded and often stifling hot, Fall In is a more laid-back convention with smaller crowds and the benefit of cooler temperatures. There are still plenty of games to play and watch, and a sizeable Dealer's Hall (which is the main reason I go to HMGS East cons to be honest).

Having just been forced to shell out beaucoup bucks on car repairs last week (needed to get my A/C compressor replaced), I need to find a way to scrounge up some spending cash for the con. Maybe I'll eBay some old board games that I don't play anymore. I've been wanting to unload the Russian Campaign, Gettysburg, Dark Emperor, Blue Line Hockey, Rogue Trooper, and some other titles for awhile now but have never gotten around to it. Maybe this will spur me on. Or maybe I'll sell my plasma. Yaneverknow.

I'm not talking about Physics 101 -- a ball rolling down a plane. And no D&D'ers, I'm not talking about the Ethereal Plane or the Nine Planes of Hell. I'm talking about airplanes. Up until this point in my life, I've never gotten involved in gaming with miniature airplanes. I've always thought that air combat games looked pretty cool when I've seen them played at conventions. And I even owned a few tiny, diecast planes when I was a kid. Heck I used to play the hell out of that oldtime classic Red Baron arcade game in the 1970's. It was before true video games came into existence. The more planes you shot down, the more Red Baron tokens the machine would spit out. Ah, the fondness of my youth!

Anyway, plane-based wargames were something that just never caught my eye long enough to really pay attention to. But my thoughts on this are changing. That's due in large part to two games centered around airplane combat that have been recently published.

The first game is a World War I air combat game called Wings of War, by Fantasy Flight Games. This is a card-driven wargame of tactical airplane combat where your goal is to shoot down enemy bi-planes such as Fokkers and Sopwith Camels. Kewl doobs! What's even better is that the game has a line of pre-painted miniature airplanes (in 1/144 scale) that are quite attractive.

You can buy these planes for roughly $9 bucks apiece from ThoughtHammer. Each plane comes with its own customized "maneuver deck", so getting game cards & model plane for under $10 bucks seems like a very fair deal to me. I'm very tempted to take the plunge.

The second game is a board game called Duel in the Dark, by Z-Man Games. This is a World War II era wargame that pits British bombers making bombing-runs over cities in Germany. I won't get into all the nitty gritty details of the game here, but the reviews that I've read of the game have been overhelmingly positive and the mechanics of the nighttime bombing raids are very slick and make for a tense game. Plus, it only takes about 45 minutes to play a game, so that's quite attractive for a wargame. Check it out.

That's all for now.... Expect more eclectic ramblings to come!

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