Field Commander: Napoleon is a solo war game from Dan Versen Games. I traded an earlier copy of it away, thinking it wouldn’t be tactical enough for me to enjoy. But I ended up regretting the exchange and traded for another. I’m glad I did. The game simulates both strategy and tactics during the age of Napoleon… which, oddly enough, has never especially interested me. It’s ancient history that I truly enjoy. Yet this game is an awful lot of fun.
There are a lot of adventure novels out there with complex battle scenes that aren’t very well described,or thought out (or simply devolve to a siege — although I should say that there also are some great novels about sieges). I’ve spent a lot of time over the years reading about ancient campaigns, but reading is one thing. Actually testing out the strategies and moving armies and units around in a system that simulates a battle or a campaign is a pretty nifty way to get an even better grasp of what a story might require, or how a general might marshal troops.
I still mean to write some thoughts about the Dickens novels I read; and soon I’ll probably go into more detail about why, in particular, I enjoy this game. For the next few evenings, though, I”m likely to be busy playing the game rather than writing about it.
If you’re a regular site visitor it might seem that I suddenly dropped off the Earth. I know I’m always curious when a site I like stops having regular updates. Has the person running it moved on to other things? Is the person alright?
In my case, I’m just trying to find a little more balance in my life. For the last few years I’ve spent a lot of time running from deadline to deadline. I’m trying, now, not to be writing morning, noon, and night, and the weird thing is that I’m still getting quite a lot of good work done.
Over the last few weeks I’ve written about 25 thousand words on a new secret project. I’ve finally gotten around to reading David Copperfield, which I liked well enough that I read a second Dickens novel, Bleak House. Now I’m reading Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamour in Glass (up for a number of awards) and my old friend Joe McCullough’s Dragonslayers. And over the weekend I finally sat down to try my hand at the solo wargame Field Commander: Napoleon. It’s even more fun than I had hoped (although I haven’t figured out how to beat the Egyptian campaign yet!)
That’s not all, though. I’m also spending more time with my wife and children– playing music with them and playing games and watching movies as a family. I am enjoying life, and it is good.
That pic up at page top is the cover image for my upcoming Paizo Pathfinder novel, Stalking the Beast. I don’t yet have the information on the artist, or I’d post it, and will do so as soon as I am able. If you click on it, you can see a larger version.
A few weeks back I mentioned my inclusion in a nifty writing anthology, Writing Fantasy Heroes (where I share a table of contents with some pretty talented and famous writers) and an essay about the book went live this week over at the blog of the talented William King, probably best known in North America for the creation of Warhammer’s famed Gotrek and Felix.
Not only is the essay (by editor Jason Waltz) of interest, there’s an ongoing discussion in the comment section about the nature of heroes that might well be of interest.
In other news, I stumbled onto a new review of The Bones of the Old Ones, this from The King of the Nerds. The majority of reviewers seem to agree with me that the second book is better than the first (and the majority of them seemed to really dig the first as well, which makes that kind of statement even more pleasing to the ear).
Last week I received the newest version of The Desert of Souls from my UK publisher, Head of Zeus. It’s a little smaller in height than the American version which gives it a slightly greater heft. I think it’s a pretty snappy look, and it’s always a pleasure to receive a box of your own books.
Note below that Mighty Max, Norman, and Virgil showed up to admire the books as well.
In other news, Justin Landon of Staffer’s Book Review seemed to dig my first Paizo Pathfinder novel, Plague of Shadows. Amongst other compliments, the one that brought me the biggest smile was “by its conclusion I feel that Jones could write a sporting goods shopping list and I’d be riveted.” You can find the whole thing here.
I don’t often have a sporting goods shopping list, but I could send him a copy of my supply list the next time I head to the lumber yard prior to fence repair. I’m guessing he’d find it less riveting than he supposes. Although, given the kinds of stuff I’ll be picking up, I suppose he could say that I “nailed it.” Hah!
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