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April 11th, 2012

07:43 pm - Historical Strategy Games - Crusader Kings 2

So, friends of mine recommended Crusader Kings 2 to me a couple weeks back, and I have to say, while it has many things in common with Medieval II Total War, I'm finding it far more engrossing than the latter. The Total War series spends a lot of time and development cycles on the tactical maneuvers in individual battles, which I've frankly never found as compelling or interesting as the campaign world itself.

Crusader Kings 2, however, abstracts those combats further, focusing instead on succession law, intra-realm strife, and the politics of the world. As a simple example, you cannot arbitrarily attack someone; you need to put some work behind justifying your attack, however flimsy that justification might be. That is, you need to have a disaffected vassal with a claim on that title that you can press, the enemy needs to be a heretic or pagan (no arbitrarily attacking Catholics!), or you need to send your Chancellor to the province to manufacture a claim by manipulating documents and bribing various vassals.

Most compelling, I think, is the fact that I can honestly say that I've learned a great deal about northern European geography and medieval succession laws that I simply didn't know before. It's kinda cool.


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April 8th, 2011

04:47 pm - An Email From My Wife
My wife? Insane. In a good way.

Date: Fri, 8 Apr 2011 19:37:27 -0400 (EDT)
From: swan_tower
To: kniedzw
Subject: A Special Report from the Castle N Laundry Commission...Collapse )

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December 9th, 2010

10:45 am - Kim Philby Honored
Thanks to moonandserpent for the link that Kim Philby just got a plaque at the FSB headquarters. This tickles me.

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December 2nd, 2010

04:16 pm - No Useful Content For You!
Cleaning up the tabs on my webrowser, while I do actual writing elsewhere.
  • Via my friend Ken, San Francisco documentary filmmakers were apparently looking for time travelers. Skeptics need not apply.
  • For those math geeks in the audience, a Klein bottle bottle opener, for the cheap cheap price of merely $78, plus shipping and handling! (Still looks cool, though.)
  • Via Reddit, a flowchart to decide where to go drinking in New Orleans, which is kind of awesome.
  • For those who want stupid amounts of cute, Jack the eyeless kitty cat, who is nonetheless filled with spunk.
  • For those who don't follow Order of the Stick, you should. ...but today's is good enough that it doesn't even really matter if you've read any of it before. It's amazing.


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November 28th, 2010

09:13 pm - Food Thoughts: Journeyman Restaurant
So, my lovely wife and I were in the Boston area for a primarily family-oriented trip, though we did make one side-trip to our friends' recently-opened restaurant, Journeyman. They have past menus up on their site, so I suspect, as a result, that they'll have this past week's menu up soon enough. Detailed breakdown of the meal followsCollapse )

Overall, an excellent dinner, and I can recommend Journeyman unreservedly to anyone in the Boston area who wants an extended localvore dinner. I believe I'd do so even if I wasn't friends with the owners, though I suppose you should take my advice with a grain of salt.

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November 25th, 2010

11:32 pm - Cross-Genre Interactions in oWoD White Wolf
...are remarkably messy. I just finished a first draft (barring a few bits about geographical concerns) of a document aimed at storytellers who want to introduce Changelings into their oWoD game. The working title, of course, was "Why You Shouldn't Use Changelings In Your Game, But What You Need To Know When You Ignore This Advice."

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November 22nd, 2010

10:42 pm - The Grandparents
Today was a trip to my paternal grandparents' grave with my parents, my sister, and my three month-old nephew. There were a lot of emotions to unpack there for various reasons.

Vaguely emo Kyle after the cutCollapse )

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November 18th, 2010

01:31 am - Possibly the Biggest Pomegranate I've Seen
Purchased at the San Mateo Farmers Market today. Whoa howdy.

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November 14th, 2010

08:16 pm - The CIA and Abstract Expressionism
I didn't know this until this morning, or if I had previous to then, I had forgotten, but apparently the CIA funded abstract expressionist exhibits during the Cold War. Surreal, that, but not entirely surprising.

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November 11th, 2010

12:16 pm - Free Books! (Good ones, too.)

Apparently Baen Books has released a CD with Lois McMaster Bujold's Cryoburn which includes the entire Vorkosigan Saga in various eBook formats. Personally, I've gone through the audiobooks for several of the Vorkosigan books, and while I occasionally have moments of, "Oh dear god is this a Gary Stu / Mary Sue moment," they're quite enjoyable and well-written. I highly recommend grabbing them.

This isn't the first time Baen has pushed a fairly progressive policy on electronic versions of their books, as they had launched the Baen Free Library a while ago to much acclaim. Kudos to them.

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