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Which interpretation of orcs across all media comes closest to your mental picture as your read Tolkien’s books? I’m not a fan of Peter Jackson’s orcs and Uruk-hai, especially the Moria scenes in which orcs are climbing down columns and walls like so many spiders. Researching SPI’s board game, War of the Ring, I came […]

Last week I was asked if I knew any Battle of Hürtgen Forest simulations. Short answer is I never played,  but know that a few board games were produced. For computer simulations, I am unaware of any unless someone developed a scenario or mod within a game engine. For those unfamiliar with this costly and […]

To supplement my blog post on the Volks-Grenadiers a couple of the weapons mentioned: Sturmgewehr (Assault Rifle) 44 Hitler was opposed to the development of an assault rifle as he was afraid widespread use would cause a strain on ammunition supplies. The original version banned by Hitler was the Maschinenkarabiner 42(H) so the German Army […]

Writing (Erindor Press): There’s this thing about new writers. They’re very tentative and they’ve yet to embrace any sense of authority over their writing and choice of career or hobby. You can tell by the way they interact with other writers, often being deferential in the extreme to those of us who have published something. They eat […]

The last quarter of the 19th Century saw the several European powers carve up any territory they could annex around the globe. Previously, the Dutch, French, and British Empires would be territory in the Caribbean basin for producing raw materials such as sugar and indigo. There would be some trading posts or ports in the […]

A lot of ink has been spilled on trying to categorize science fiction into hard and soft categories, whether at the Castalia House blog, other online sites, and in print. What quickly emerges is how fluid the definitions are. Hard science fiction may refer, depending on the speaker, to fiction addressing the physical sciences, adhering […]

Viking astronauts, grounded mech pilots, and stranded colonists are featured in this week’s roundup of the newest releases in science fiction. Alliance Rising (The Hinder Stars #1) C. J. Cherryh and Jane S. Fancher For years, the stations of the Hinder Stars, those old stations closest to Sol, have lagged behind the great megastations of […]

If This Be Utopia… by Kris Neville appeared in the May 1950 issue of Amazing Stories. It can be read here at Archive.org. Kris Neville’s “If this Be Utopia…” is a classic example of one of those “warning what the future will be like under this or that political system” sci-fi fables. In a future […]

I have been following China’s naval ambitions and aggressive sphere-of-influence expansion with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it is a return to normalcy as they are a neighborhood powerhouse with which our foreign policy elites are still coming to grips and considers it a strange thing indeed, but on the other, I laugh at the […]

When reading Morgan’s post on J.R.R. Tolkien’s birthday I was reminded of an old favorite, SPI’s War of the Ring. Alas, my copy is MIA due to a nomadic life and used copies fetch a pretty price online so I cannot give a detailed game overview. Basically, it was two games in one.  The main game […]

Wargame Wednesday will return to the Ardennes next week. I have been looking for good references on the Volksgrenadiers and discovered one with excellent background info.  As I conduct research new facts emerge. Unlike the scenario’s starting positions, the 106th Infantry Division’s 424th Regiment was deployed on the front line and not in reserve at St. […]

RPG (Modiphius): Horrors of the Hyborian Age is the definitive guide to the monstrous creatures inhabiting the dark tombs, ruined cities, forgotten grottos, dense jungles, and sinister forests of Conan’s world. This collection of beasts, monsters, undead, weird races, and mutants are ready to pit their savagery against the swords and bravery of the heroes […]