Monthly Archives: February 2018

Ambush!

When I was first getting into solitaire boardgames a few years ago I kept hearing that one of the best of them all was Ambush! from Victory Games, so I dutifully tracked it down, set it up on the table, and after playing one mission decided it wasn’t for me.

Boy, did I miss the ball on that one. I think the reason I didn’t appreciate it was because I hadn’t ever been exposed to heavier boardgames, and I didn’t give myself a chance to get used to the play. Now that I’ve been getting into more and more detailed tactical games, I got to questioning my earlier judgment that Ambush! had been fiddly and tedious. Chris Hocking, whose taste I agree with upwards of 95% of the time, kept telling me it was a great game and how he couldn’t believe I hadn’t liked it.

I found myself in the middle of a shelf purge of games I wouldn’t be playing anymore, and with that gaming cash in the ‘ol e-wallet chanced to mention to a gamer I sold one of the games to that I wanted to track down Ambush! again. He had the game and most of its expansions and happily sold them to me. They’re just in fantastic shape (thanks, Glen!). You see, Ambush! has been out of print since some time in the ’80s and it’s unlikely it will ever be reprinted, so the used market is the only place to acquire it.

Secret Project

Last year I mentioned I was working on two secret projects. One of them turned out to be Tales From the Magician’s Skull, but I haven’t revealed project two… until now.

I was the lead writer on Lock ‘n Load Tactical’s Heroes of Normandy: The Untold Stories, Volume 1. I wrote three of the tales in the collection and edited the others, along with some serious help from technical editor Hans Korting. It’s not QUITE available for release yet, but you can listen to an audio of the first few minutes of the first tale in the collection, “The Stovepipe Bluff,” written by yours truly, by going here.

The stories in the collection are all fiction, though they’re based around actual events in WWII, and they feature characters depicted upon counters in the Lock ‘n Load Tactical game series.

I’ll have further updates as the book gets closer to release. Here’s a link to the future ordering page…

 

The Skull Lives

I have the proof — observe, a copy of the issue, back from the printers. Addresses and envelopes and all that good stuff are being printed up and issues should be going out in the next few weeks.

Also, issue 2 has already headed to layout, and we’re now finalizing ads. How’s THAT for some sword-and-sorcery service?

Feast your eyes upon a random page flip, to the right. Oh, look at that. It’s a story by Bill Ward!

This is just the first step. Soon there will be multiple issues of the skull available for enjoyment.

If you missed the Kickstarter, it’s not too late to pre-order an issue.

 

Durandal

It was a late night last night, getting my revision ready for final turnover. Or, at least, hopefully final turnover. The morning that followed was delightful and promising but should remain mysterious for now.

So since I have nothing new to say, here’s one of Lamb’s very best stories, Durandal, as published by Doubleday back in 1931. That’s my personal copy. I very seldom see copies with dust jackets.

Durandal was originally published as three separate novellas, two of which were reprinted by Donald M. Grant Co. in the 1980s. They were planning to finally reprint the third, and I actually supplied them with its text, but nothing ever happened.

I intend to try, before the end of the month, a final time to get the complete collection printed by Bison Books/University of Nebraska Press. It’s criminal that this historical swashbuckler remains out of print. The problem is that Bison seems to have moved away from it’s historical prints. I’m going to give it my best shot, though. Keep your fingers crossed. And have a great weekend!

Paul Pine

Word has arrived via camel caravan that the complete collection of Howard Browne’s stories featuring hardboiled detective Paul Pine are going to be in print, soonish, from Haffner Press.

I actually pre-ordered this collection several years back, because Browne’s writing is sublime. He sounds a heckuva lot like Chandler, and as a bonus his novel plots don’t wander as much as Chandler’s do. The fourth and final Paul Pine novel, ┬áThe Taste of Ashes, is a masterpiece that stacks up well against Chandler’s finest.

In other words, I’m really looking forward to the volume, especially because it contains one of the novels I’ve never been able to find, as well as some fragments.

The art chosen for the cover is certainly evocative and professional, but it looks a little more like it’s from a lighthearted ’80s TV series than the rather somber adventures Paul Pine experiences. Perhaps that cover will help attract new readers, though, and they’ll stay for the prose.

 

Conan in the News

Conan and Belit by Brom.

So here’s a thing. Conan the Cimmerian is going to have a new TV series from Amazon. Good? Bad? I like that those involved say that they’re long-time fans of the character and want to keep him true to how Robert E. Howard wrote him, but I will withhold judgment until I see what they have wrought. Fingers are crossed. Here’s a link if you want the details.

I’ve gotten tired of being in a holding pattern as my in-house editor (i.e. the wife) works her way through the final draft of the most recent novel. It’s not her fault that she has a real job and can only read it on weekends and at night, and she’s made huge progress, with less than a quarter of the book left to re-read. But I’m still tired of being on hold, and as I’ve finished the basement organization I’ve pulled out a Dabir and Asim story and started work on it. Maybe I can finish it this week. Maybe I can actually write enough of ’em this year to do what I planned last, which was to put out another collection of their short stories!

Toys and Memory

I spent a large chunk of last week organizing our basement. Currently it’s nothing but cinder blocks, but there’s enough height to the ceiling it could be finished out into a nice rec space, which is something we’ve been planning to do since we first moved in… a decade ago.

Anyway, while sorting through various boxes I ran across this little collection of catalogs. I didn’t have a Mego catalog lying around, so I tossed Kirk into the photo. If I’d been feeling really ambitious I would have dug out some Lego catalogs too.

Add Legos and some Six Million Dollar Man toys into this photo and that’s pretty much my favorite run of toys from my youth. (I’m not counting board games or books or comic books, obviously.)