Letter from the Editor
(January, 1996)

A very happy New Year to you all!

Well, despite all odds the last month has been even more hectic and strange than the one that preceded it. I still haven't decided what to do next on the job front. The options are many and very interesting. Thanks to all of you that wrote in with offers and suggestions.

Just to complicate matters, Jos and I did a 'rents tour over the Holidays. We spent Christmas in Texas with my family where we played the very excellent, but controversial, Wrott & Swindlers. We also taught my folks how to play 6 Nimmt. They, like so many before them, are still convinced that there must be a winning strategy.

Then, we spent New Year's in England. Upper Heyford, to be exact, the latest off-ramp from the Information Superhighway and home of Jocelyn's parents, also known as my in-laws. My misadventures while wiring their 400 year old house up to the Internet included sliding uncontrollably downhill on a slick sheet of ice while tethered to an umbrella. After a struggle fraught with peril, we succeeded in contacting the Civilized World, email was received, and Upper Heyford, I am happy to report, is safe for democracy.

On New Year's Eve, Jos and I decided that next year we would take in Hogmanay, the Scottish celebration of the new year. The television coverage made it look more fun than shouting "Mildew!" in a roomful of Magic collectors. Consider this fair warning, Stuart: we shall descend upon your fair country one year hence. Siggins will be arranging the girlies leaping out of game boxes (no need for political correctness in ye olde British Isles, mates) and a fine time is assured for all.

While in London, I joined (well, dragged, really) Mike Siggins on a trek to Leisure Games way out at the far end of the Northern Line of the London Underground. Leisure Games lies in Finchley, famous for being Margaret Thatcher's constituency, home to the Raving Looney Party, and site of Becker Bakeries, Jos's family business. Despite many wrong turns, missed stations, dangerous encounters with transit police, and several days travel time, the trip was well worth it. Leisure Games is amply stocked with everything that an avid gamer might want. I passed on the new French game which featured edible ogre turds (no. really.) but I snagged what was apparently one of the last copies of High Society in the English speaking world and a couple of starter decks for Middle Earth (good thing, too, as they have gone incredibly scarce here in Northern California). Unfortunately, I failed to net a single magic ring out of the four packs I acquired while in London. Sigh.

At the end of this incredible journey to Finchley and back, we sat down to a wonderful dinner cooked for us by Richard Breese's gracious wife. I say gracious since we arrived dead on time by California Slug reckoning and about an hour late by any more civilized measure and yet she took it all in stride.

Richard brought out both the prototype/first edition of Pyraos and a limited edition set of Stratosphere, a progenitor to Pyraos. He is an absolute fiend at strategy games and proceeded to trounce us all roundly at both. Next we had a quick (first time for everything!) game of Mü. Jos has fallen in love with this trick taking card game. Richard and Siggins also seemed to like it despite the fact that none of us are huge card/hearts/bridge fans. When we tried Mü with Jos's parents earlier in the trip, they were completely baffled by it despite being avid Whist players. I think the complexity of Mü may mark it as a bit of a gamer's game.

We finished off the evening at Richard's with a hastily designed variant of Phantoms of the Ice. We attempted to play "in the fist", as they say in Germany, by holding the teams in our hands at all times but also ended up playing with a variant to the scoring system. I attribute the entire incident to too much port. A good time was had by all (particularly by Siggins as he repeatedly pounded my underpowered team!).

As to the rest of the London game store scene, the folks at Just Games are as nice as ever but the selection, alas, is dire, indeed. All things must pass, I suppose. The Orc's Nest had a nice selection of collectable card games, including two more starter decks of Middle Earth for my collection and a fistfull of boosters. Esdevium is on my list for a trek next year and I hope to set aside enough time to make the pilgrimage out to Eamon Bloomfield's Games Corner, as well. I was really disappointed that I couldn't make it this year, Eamon, but work, or the promise of it, had me tethered to the phone/net in Heyford. Alack and alas.

Well, there it is. I set off to write an editorial to see us off on the New Year and instead I've ended up with a "What I Did Over My Christmas Vacation." My apologies and I hope to stick to the topic next month!

Take care,

The Game Cabinet - editor@gamecabinet.com - Ken Tidwell