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Thread: The AARlander Issue #3: November 2007

  1. #1
    AARlander
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    The AARlander Issue #3: November 2007

    COVER GOES HERE



    Editor-in-Chief: anonymous4401
    Assistant Editor: canonized
    Columnists: Atlantic Friend, Estonianzulu, Phoenix Dace
    Contributing Writers: TeeWee

    Welcome to the AARlander
    by anonymous4401


    And much delayed, is the third issue of the AARlander! And if you're upset at the delayedness, keep in mind the reason why it was delayed: Nobody was sending in articles! At all! So if you want to help the AARlander thrive, propose new articles to me and then write them! If you are unsure of how to write or what to write I, the Editor-in-Chief, can always guide you. So please, please, PLEASE send in articles for the AARlander!

    And the AARlander being two months late was just in time to report the results of the AARland Choice AwAARds for 2007Q3! But also in this issue: anonymous4401 will review every Deus Vult AAR currently in existence, Estonianzulu will continue his column The Evolution looking at some of the less-visited parts of AARland, Atlantic Friend will propose four new ministers for Hearts of Iron 2, Phoenix Dace will talk about the birth of the SAS, and TeeWee will talk about writing POV scenes. And we introduce as well a new section of The AARlander: Instrumentality, which is an effort by the newly-formed Tempus Society to have a monthly publication! In it Atlantic Friend will talk about the plausibility of narration, Grubnessul and Avernite have a comic of some sort or so I'm told, LeonTrotsky will talk about the possible effects the 1848 Revolutions could have had on Italy, English Patriot has a Halloween story, and canonized interviews OHgamer, everyone's favorite Ohioan demi-moderator, in his You've Been Canonized! thing.

    Remember to drop by in the discussion thread to prove that the AARlander is not the wasted effort of many, many hours and tears by confirming to us that there is somebody that actually reads this thing! And if you have the inclination to write an article, please PM me about it, and do!
    Last edited by anonymous4401; 02-11-2007 at 10:06.

  2. #2
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    Triple Threat: Deus Vult AARs

    by anonymous4401


    When Deus Vult was announced, and the day of release drew ever closer, what I thought and expected was that it would breathe welcome new life into the Crusader Kings AAR subforum. I especially hoped that it would revitalize (or I suspect, merely vitalize) the realm of gameplay-centered AARs as many readers would be curious about just how the exciting new gameplay options would play out in action, and hopefully many authors would be eager to show just how. The gameplay discussion section clearly livened up, with dozens of threads being posted a day at one point and the development team and those that had gotten the game answering questions left and right. Surely this enthusiasm would translate to increased activity in its AARland counterpart, as game owners itched to tell the stories of their first encounters with this new expansion?

    But why ask rhetorical questions? The release date is nearly a month behind us. We can look back and simply count the number of new AARs that the release of Deus Vult has started! So tell us, what is that number?

    Four.

    No, not four successful, well-written AARs that regularly update to this very day. Four AARs total that used Deus Vult. There was one CK AAR that I could not tell whether it was DV or not, as it was just two updates of narrative, but every other AAR except those four either had in-game screenshots that were clearly vanilla CK or started far earlier than Deus Vult's release. So I can assign a number to the impact that Deus Vult has had on AARland, and that number is four. I can also assign a word and that word is 'disappointing'. But when you consider that this new explosion of activity in the CK General Discussion forum basically amounts to the past month's worth of threads being at a comparable level to the past two weeks' worth of threads in the EU3 or HOI2: Doomsday General Discussion forums, it makes more sense. Crusader Kings, together with Victoria, are the lesser half of the Paradox Four, with the chasm between them and the shiny, more user-friendly EU3 and HOI2 being quite wide indeed. So wide that even the release of a fully-fledged, fully-fleshed expansion was not enough to even let them compete with HOI2 on an off day.

    But one can still hope, and still dream. Maybe all Deus Vult needs is a patch, and the many that have been putting it off or putting it back on the shelf will come flooding back to the forum and AARland. And maybe people will read this article and the AARs reviewed within and be inspired to create many Deus Vult AARs of their own. The latter is far less likely, but I can still hope.

    The first AAR to be tackled will be The Byzantine Emperors - A DV AAR, which stars the country that is the favorite of CK players everywhere: Byzantium! Everybody loves Byzantium, including myself, and it would certainly be a fine country to test the waters of Deus Vult with. The style of Byzantine Emperors is that of a history-book AAR, which is quickly made evident by the starting post which is a short history lesson setting the scene up for the reign of Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes, with the last years of his predecessor Constantine X's rule having only the rebellion of Trebizond as a remarkable event.

    The second post of the AAR covers the reign of Romanos IV, which was to last fifteen years ending in glory in contrast to our history's three ending in disaster. The gameplay events are integrated pretty well, and the history-book theme is complete with quotes from contemporary chroniclers and footnotes, though the latter are not quite in-character. We get a good picture of the Emperor's character, as his method of rule begins with a militaristic outlook and transforms into a more administrative one after putting down a costly rebellion. The event that heralds this change is used to successfully assimilate even one of DV's most history-breaking features when it rears its ugly head, with it being so that I am unable to tell if it was an actual game event or something invented to explain away the bizarre feature. I suppose not having Deus Vult and access to its event files helps with that confusion, though. But bizarre and game-breaking or not, the event does open many interesting possible doors at Romanos IV's death, and it will certainly be exciting to see where this AAR would be going in the future.

    Unfortunately to this date those two updates are all for this AAR, so on to the next, which is Chronicles of the de Warenne family - a Deus Vult AAR by none other than acclaimed writer and AARland Demi-Mod stnylan! And as befitting stnylan it is a masterfully written chronicle, so far from the point of view of one Brother Odo, a monk in the service of the de Warenne family, the rulers of Surrey. Though often I find that one chronicle/narrative/history-book CK AAR blends into another, with stnylan's lovely writing his cannot help but stand out. The voice of the monk is truly fitting for the times, as far as I know, and stnylan makes it really feel like I am reading a medieval chronicle. And the incorporation of game events is absolutely seamless, and is not mere duct tape holding the strands of game events together. They couldn't be, to be as seamless as they are. In one example, he ties together a miracle-worker event for the ill wife of the Count with her birth of a son given a Saxon name by making the miracle-worker a Saxon hermit who advises that she bathe in the same waters where Saint Aethelric was murdered. He then tells the story of Saint Aethelric, which for all I know is completely fictional, in a masterfully written, in-character way that left me truly impressed. Yet another feature that I appreciate very much is the telling of game events in a more direct fashion in green font interspersed throughout the chapters. Though even without them nothing at all would be missing from the quality this quite impressive work, with them I feel it adds that Gameplay aspect that I'd really like to see more of in CK.

    And though
    this section is traditionally only three reviews, in this occasion to slight one of the two remaining would be to slight 25% of all Deus Vult AARs in existence. So I shall do both, but briefly, which is fitting as they are quite brief.

    Shetland: A World Conquest DV AAR by vertinox declares quite an ambitious goal: World Conquest with the county of The Shetlands. This goal would not be ambitious at all in vanilla Crusader Kings, and in fact few goals are, but with Deus Vult comes many new features that theoretically would impede a World Conquest greatly, and it would certainly be interesting to see just how much it would be impeded! The style is openly imitative of phargle's Knud Knýtling which is quite good for me as the style lends itself well to a nice, straight-forward gameplay AAR with humorous comments. The road to world conquest is pretty nicely along too with the Count getting lots of prestige quick through marriage, enough to claim an Irish county, then go to war with it (with the help of his King as he is far too poor by himself) and annex it, doubling the County in just two years. Unfortunately that's as far as it got, with the last update being a day after the first, on the fifth of October.

    And the last DV AAR is technically two threads, There Will Be War: A Collaborative MP AAR and The Lions of Hispania - A multiplayaAAR (DV), but I'll count them the same as they're both of the same multiplayer CK game. As befitting a multiplayer game there are many differing styles of play and styles of writing, from King of Men's chilling narrative describing to FinnN's simple telling of his gameplay goals and achievements. And for some reason BurningEGO, who is playing the King of Castille, has his own thread The Lions of Hispania - A multiplayaAAR (DV). It's a pretty nice Gameplay AAR, though BurningEGO is the only one posting in it, because for some reason multiplayer AARs are kryptonite for readers or something. Which is something that I really cannot understand. It does seem less polished than the best Gameplay AARs, but guess how many Gameplay AARs are currently running for Deus Vult? None except this one, that's how many! Though perhaps it's more because CK readers really aren't interested in a straightforward Gameplay AAR with no frills or stealing templates from Knud Knýtling. I hope that's not true.

    So that is the state of Deus Vult AARs. I just hope that it does not mean that there will not be a future. Hopefully when the patch comes many will return to playing Deus Vult and many who have been putting it off until the patch comes will finally buy it and write AARs about it. I count myself among that number. God willing, when the AARland Choice AwAARds for the fourth quarter of 2007 begins, there will be many new and exciting Deus Vult AARs in the running.
    Last edited by anonymous4401; 02-11-2007 at 10:07.

  3. #3
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    Exploring WWII: The Birth of the SAS

    by Phoenix Dace


    Every month we take a little-known or little-discussed part of WWII and showcase it for you all to learn. This month we will explore the birth of the Special Air Service, one of the world's foremost special forces units.

    These days the Special Air Service, Britain's premier special forces unit, is regarded as one of the best units of soldiers in the world. It has been used as the basis for many other nations' own special forces units, routinely trains with the other best units in the world, and since the 1980 assault on the Iranian Embassy at Princes Gate in London has been glorified in the media and become well-known. What is not well-known is that the SAS was formed during the North African campaign of WWII and all its achievements stem from its rocky start there.

    David Stirling is recognized as the father of the modern SAS, and with good reason. He had been one of the officers of the 8 Commando Company, Special Service Brigade, during its disastrous operations in the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean. Following a disastrous parachute jump with Lieutenant John 'Jock' Lewes, also of 8 Commando, Stirling was recovering from temporary paralysis in his legs in the Scottish Military Hospital in Alexandria while Operation Battleaxe, General Wavell's ill-prepared offensive against the German-Italian troops in Egypt, was failing. It was during this time that he had the idea for a new special forces unit, which he says came to him while studying a map of the North African desert. The words 'Great Sand Sea' on a part of the desert caught his interest, which he claimed was due to the metaphoric use of the word 'sea'. The Commandos had been trained as seaborne troops, trained to make raids from the sea in large forces, several hundred strong, of whom many were wasted in securing the beachhead against enemy resistance, as had happened in the disastrous attack in Syria by the Special Service Brigade earlier that year, the failure of which led to its being disbanded but for several companies which were needed as emergency reserves on Crete. Stirling reasoned that large commando units such as this were inefficient - they required large groups of well-trained men, many of whom would arbitrarily die due to poor fighting conditions, and due to such large formations the commandos could only reasonably be expected to attack one target at a time. Instead, Stirling thought, they could break into smaller units, patrols of around a half-dozen soldiers, which could assault many targets at once. Even if only some raids were successful, they would still be more effective than conventional raids of the type performed by the Special Service Brigade.

    With these thoughts in his head, Stirling wrote out a proposal for a new parachute commando unit, to go into action as Auchinleck's November offensive began, which would parachute in behind enemy lines and destroy Axis aircraft at five vital airfields around Tmimi and Gazala. The difference between Stirling's ideas and Commando doctrine was that his units would operate in much smaller teams, and would make their route of transit the desert rather than the sea. Stirling's proposal is generally agreed upon as the founding document of the SAS, but truth be told it was nothing new at the time. The principle of long-range raids behind enemy lines from the desert, where enemy resistance was sparse and weak, was the same one that Wavell had founded the Long Range Desert Group in September 1940. The LRDG had already established routes through the Great Sand Sea, and had been doing an excellent job of the same type of raids Stirling was proposing. It had raided the Libyan post at Murzuk, six hundred miles from its home base, and had helped the Free French forces secure Kufra Oasis. The LRDG even had an advantage over Stirling's idea of the SAS, in that it used long-range trucks and jeeps rather than parachutes, as they knew that mobility was the key to desert warfare. As LRDG Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Prendergast once said, "Once on their feet, a party of men in the desert can't get far".

    The idea of parachuting was not even Stirling's idea, but rather that of Jock Lewes, who had tried to get the Special Service Brigade's commander, Brigadier Bob Laycock, to consider parachute operations as early as May of that year. In fact, Lewes had proposed the very experiment that Stirling had injured himself on. Stirling had not been invited, but had merely shown up and gate-crashed the jump - Lewes did not trust him, and he had good reason not to. He was the son of a retired brigadier who was also a wealthy landowner and Member of Parliament. He was educated at Ampleforth and, for some irregular amounts of time, at Trinity College, Cambridge. He had been unable to settle down to anything, even before the war; his time at Cambridge had not resulted in a degree, and after two periods he had left for Paris to become an artist. When told by his tutor that he would never amount to anything, he immediately decided to be the first man to reach the summit of Mount Everest, a project cut short by the war. At the Guards Depot at Pirbright he had frequently been noted for falling asleep during lectures and skipping orderly duties. A fellow cadet at Pirbright, William Whitelaw, said of him: "He was quite, quite irresponsible. He would simply ignore duties and go off to a party in London or wherever and he would inevitably be found out ... he was quite incorrigible." Stirling's brother Peter was Second Secretary at the British Embassy in Cairo, and David, using his flat in the city, spent most of his nights in Cairo partying. He would wake up hung over and, inevitably, miss parade. He was once shown by a nurse how to easily cure a hangover by taking several breaths from a container of pure oxygen, and he then took to sleeping in an unoccupied room at the hospital to be closer to this miracle cure. Stirling liked to paint a picture of himself as a rebel and outsider, such as telling the story as that at the time of his parachuting accident he was due to appear before a Court Martial for malingering. The truth is that his actions were less like a rebel and more of one who knew he could get away with anything because of his high rank and station.

    There is a story that Stirling discharged himself from the hospital in Alexandria, made his way to General Headquarters in Cairo on crutches, bluffed his way past a sentry without a pass, and barged into the office of Auchinleck's Deputy Chief of the general Staff, Major-General Neil Ritchie to present him with his proposal. In all likelihood, this is another fabrication, as no one has ever bothered to question how he got the eighty-one miles from Alexandria to Cairo on crutches, but this is inconsequential. Stirling did, in one way or another, give his proposal to Ritchie, who promised him an answer from Auchinleck within forty-eight hours despite the fact that Stirling had just broken every military protocol known to the British Army. It is likely that Stirling purposefully chose Ritchie as his target for this audacious manoeuvre, as the Stirling family was well-acquainted with him already; he had, in fact, shot grouse on the Stirling estate before the war. Stirling probably knew he would not be turned away by Ritchie thanks to his social connections. It is likely that his social rank was the reason for his success. However, for whatever reason, it worked. On July 28th, a cable was sent to London asking for sixty-six officers and men for the newly promoted Captain Stirling's L Detachment of the Special Air Service Brigade. The name was suggested by Lieutenant Colonel Dudley Clarke, who thought it important to make it seem to the Axis that there was a much larger force of airborne troops in Egypt than there actually was. To those who were intimate with the unit, it was simply referred to as the Parachute Unit or Stirling's Parashots.

    Bob Laycock, still nominally in command of all special forces in the eastern Mediterranean, gave approval to the SAS in a memo sent to Auchinleck on October 17th. But the success of the parachutists in their training, one of the factors Laycock expressed in his memo, was not due to his upper society friend David Stirling, but rather Lieutenant Jock Lewes, whom Stirling had persuaded to join the unit at the end of August. Lewes was an astounding soldier, intelligent and dedicated. he was a thinking man who always looked like he was trying to solve a chess problem. Stirling himself admitted that Lewes was the finest leader he had ever met. Lieutenant Carol Mather said of him: "He was the very opposite of many in our party. He had an inventive and creative mind ... it was the combination of single-mindedness, inventive skill, improvisation combined with leadership qualities that marked him as a man apart". Lewes' reluctance to join L Detachment, SAS, was due to his doubts about Stirling - he was suspicious that Stirling lacked commitment and doubted that he would stick with it if the unit really picked up. But Lewes did not realize that Stirling was a man who did not apply himself unless fully challenged, and he was challenged now. While he dealt with GHQ, and the middle-management officers who were hostile unless being leaned on by General Ritchie, he really came into his own as a potential leader of the unit. He and Lewes made a perfect match; Stirling organized the unit from the outside and Lewes organized it from the inside. The SAS most likely owes its existence to both in equal measure.

    L Detachment began training at the end of September, 1941, and were not told their objective. The objective of the training was to emphasize personal initiative and endurance. Training in the SAS was a pass or fail affair, with no back doors for favoured or upper-class officers as there had been in the Commandos of the Special Service Brigade. Lewes and Stirling initially disagreed on the basic unit of the SAS. Stirling favoured a five-man section, while Lewes believed it should consist of ten to twelve men. Eventually, they agreed on a four-man formation, dubbed a patrol. Each man in the patrol had a specialized job: medic, driver/mechanic, navigator, and demolitions expert. The most revolutionary idea, though was that there was no leader - all four men had to rely on each other and be mutually dependent on each other's skills. Stirling's greatest contribution to the evolution of special forces was the idea that small is beautiful when it comes to formation sizes. He was repulsed by the wanton slaughter caused by the First World War's massive formations, and he believed the Commandos squandered their valuable training in stealth and infiltration by moving in formations of twenty men or even more. In such a small unit, however, there could be no weak links, and so the training regimen was made quite strict; it was a quite stringent test with no favouritism, and Stirling believed with men as highly-trained as he wanted them and the right equipment, he could make an impact far greater than the men's numbers would imply.

    As the men trained and the unit expanded, mainly taking ex-Commando soldiers and officers, the third in the triumvirate of leaders of the fledgling SAS emerged. Originally suggested to Stirling as a good match to the unit by his close friend, Lieutenant Eoin McGonigal, Lieutenant Blair 'Paddy' Mayne was an experienced soldier who had seen action in the 11 Commando assault on the Litani River in Syria. Stirling had never been in combat, and was eager to recruit officers who had, so he jumped at the opportunity to acquire Mayne. Maybe, a solicitor by profession, was a beast of a man. Immensely fit, fast, and powerful, he was both an Irish Universities heavyweight boxing champion and a rugby international, capped six times for Ireland and once for the British Lions in their 1938 tour of South Africa, during which his scrum work was called outstanding. He was superb in action, but harboured a dark and deeply irrational side. One comrade wrote of him "Few people got to know him really well. He was shy of newcomers and had a strong natural reserve from which, with most people, he rarely emerged. When he did, they found he possessed more than his fair share of wit and charm."

    Maybe also had a habit of bursting into uncontrollable fits of rage, which Stirling later described as 'satanic ferocity'. When fighting the enemy this could be a godsend, but was less appropriate with his fellow officers, at whom he had been known to fire at with his pistol. The only person who could control him in these moods was his friend, Eoin McGonigal, who would point a revolver at him and warn him "I'll shoot you, Blair!" As he adapted to the new environment of the SAS, Mayne emerged as the natural leader of the SAS soldiers. Stirling was seen with suspicion by the men, who considered him an upper-class wastrel; as well, he was often away setting up things with GHQ and General Ritchie. Still, as much as Mayne took the position Stirling imagined himself in, he never regretted his decision to recruit him. Maybe would go on to be one of the outstanding heroes of the war by its finish: a lieutenant colonel, the Commanding Officer of the first SAS Regiment, and one of only eight men in the Second World War to win the DSO four times.

    The SAS trained for months, its triumvirate of leaders guiding it well. To reassure some leaders who were doubtful of their abilities, their final test was conducted as a raid on an RAF airbase some ninety miles away from the SAS base camp at Kabrit. The RAF were warned ahead of time, and had patrols out to look for Stirling's soldiers, but still he managed to sneak the entire unit, some sixty-one men, across that ninety mile stretch of desert in four days, traveling by night and laying up by day, until they all converged on midnight of the fourth day, broke into the airfield, planted sticky labels marked 'bomb' on the RAF airplanes, and left again without being noticed. The RAF were furious, but the SAS had proved themselves to all their detractors. Ahead of the test, the SAS soldiers had regarded it as impossible, but afterwards their morale soared and they felt they were ready for anything. Stirling knew they were ready for the actual raids. It was at this time they were issued their now-iconic cap-badge and symbol of the unit, commonly referred to as the Winged Dagger. As well, their motto, Who Dares Wins, an addition of Stirling's, was given to the unit.

    The raid itself was plagued by problems. The worst rainstorm in Cyrenaica for forty years hit on the day the operation was scheduled to start, and the planes sent to drop L Detachment were buffeted by strong winds and torn apart by Italian anti-aircraft fire and, even, at points, German fighters. Several of the six planes were shot down, all their soldiers being killed or captured by the Italians, and nearly all planes dropped their troops off target. Once actually in the air, the parachutes were dragged far apart by the wind, and once on the ground it could take a single stick upwards of two hours to regroup. In addition, they had not dropped with their weapons on them, and the crates with their weapons were nearly all lost in every single drop. Several soldiers were killed or simply disappeared in the landing, and nearly every single parachutist was injured in some way. Stirling's group lost all their bomb detonators in the landing, and had no choice but to abort the mission. Mayne's group was one of the only ones that actually had functional bombs remaining out of the crates they managed to recover, and despite knowing he should, he refused to abort the mission. However, as the group lay up in a wadi, a flash flood caught the group and swept some of their equipment, as well as ruining the bombs and their fuses. Mayne vowed to complete the raid himself, with grenades if necessary, and had to be talked out of it. Lewes' group had sixteen bombs and enough detonators, but in the confusion of the drop they had no idea where they were and, although initially resolved to continue, aborted the mission. All the groups that had managed to land were forced to abort their missions and instead head directly for their rendezvous with the LRDG, their ticket home.

    The raid was a disaster on all fronts. Two thirds of Stirling's superbly-trained soldiers, forty out of sixty-one, were lost in one way or another, as well as all of their equipment, though luckily Stirling himself, plus Lewes and Mayne, had all survived and made it to the rendezvous. Stirling, however, was not even downhearted. He was already examining what had gone wrong and analyzing how to improve it. In truth, much of what happened could have been averted had he consulted with the LRDG experts on the desert beforehand. On the trip back, the LRDG officers suggested that they could act as transports for SAS raids on the ground, to avoid the problems that came from parachuting. Though initially hurt by the suggestion, Stirling came round to it by the end of the trip, seeing how efficiently they could handle the harsh climate and conditions of the desert, and he wholeheartedly agreed. In time, the SAS would rebuild itself and function, rather than as an airborne unit, as a long-range raiding group operating from the vast deserts south of the front lines, their transportation provided by the British experts in desert warfare, the Long Range Desert Group. For a time the SAS served a sort of apprenticeship with the LRDG, learning the ways of desert warfare from them, but by the next year they had progressed far enough that they conducted raids in their own long-range vehicles, not as the LRDG Mark II, but rather as a unique merger of the commando and LRDG spirit and traditions, which would be the foundation for the modern SAS.

    In order to hide his failure from the high command, for fear of his unit being disbanded, Stirling relocated the SAS quickly and quietly to Jalo Oasis, 150 miles south of Benghazi, where they continued training and co-ordinating with the LRDG to plan an attack on the Agedabia airfield. Their initial raid would be shut up, and they would present Ritchie with a resounding success before he could even realize they were still around.

    The SAS Brigade was disbanded after the war, but reformed in 1947 as a Territorial Army unit, the 21 SAS Regiment (Artists, Volunteers), combining the traditions of all wartime special forces units - Special Operations Executive, Commandos, Special Air Service, Special Boat Service, and Long Range Desert Group - with those of a 19th century army battalion, the Artists' Rifles. It was made a regular army unit, the 22 SAS Regiment, in 1952. A third TA unit, the 23 SAS Regiment (Volunteers) was formed in 1959. All three regiments are included with the Special Boat Service as part of the United Kingdom's Special Forces.

    David Stirling was knighted, and died, in 1990. Paddy Mayne left the army in 1945 and returned to work as a solicitor in Northern Ireland. He died in a traffic accident on 15 December 1955. Jock Lewes never lived to see the social change he wished for, or the meteoric rise of the unit he helped shape into such an effective force. He was killed after an SAS raid on Nufilla only six weeks after the Gazala/Tmimi airdrop, on 30 December 1941, when his patrol was attacked from the air.
    Last edited by anonymous4401; 02-11-2007 at 10:08.

  4. #4
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    The Cabinet Files

    by Atlantic Friend


    Hearts of Iron Anthology and its assorted Mods offer gamers the possibility to form the Cabinet that will lead their country for a 30-year wild ride throughout a dangerous and unforgiving History. In addition to the original list of Ministers, it may be interesting to have a quick look at characters who either played a role in their country’s political stage, or stumbled and fell on their journeys along the corridors of power.

    Today, I’d like to introduce you to four Frenchmen who, through their actions either open or covert, played a part in shaping up their country. Just as they had an influence on Real-Life France, maybe you'll want them to have an influence on your AAR.


    Colonel François de la Rocque (1885-1946)



    Country : France / Bourbon

    Role : Head of Government, Head of State

    Ideology : Social Conservative

    Personality Trait : Flamboyant Tough Guy

    Loyalty : High

    Available date : 1936 (HoG)/ 1939 (HoS) - 1947

    Real-life biography :

    Decorated and wounded veteran of WW1, Colonel de la Rocque began his entry in politics by joining, and then leading, the Croix de Feu. Initially a War Veteran association, the Croix de Feu, under de La Rocque’s impulsion and leadership, evolved into France’s first mass Conservative, upholding a mix of Conservative and socially progressive views. De la Rocque’s major claim to fame was his refusal, during the 1934 riots that rocked Paris, to take advantage of the Croix de Feu protesters’ positions to bring down the Republic. It was nevertheless banned by the government after the riots, and reformed as the Parti Social Français. Though he briefly supported Pétain’s Vichy government in 1940, he soon denounced Vichy’s collaboration with Germany and organized a local Resistance movement for which he was arrested and deported to the Third Reich. De La Rocque died soon after the Liberation of France, still in prison because of the Communists’ influence..

    Game rationale :

    As one of the leading Conservative politicians in 1936 France, Colonel de La Rocque offers a nice touch of authenticity for historically-minded gamers who want to steer France to the Right. The 1934 riots were a defining moment in the History of the French Republic, which in RL ushered in the Liberal Popular Front but which also could have seen Conservatives win the day. In fact some French historians now think the Croix de Feu could have come to lead France through the electoral process if it hadn’t been for the outbreak of WW2. De La Rocque’s Flamboyant Tough Guy personality, which I think accurately describes the man, is also a welcome addition for a Democratic France in search of Conservative allies abroad.




    General Georges Loustaunau-Lacau (1894-1955)



    Country : France

    Role : Head of Military Intelligence / Minister of Security

    Ideology : Social Conservative / Paternal Autocrat

    Personality Trait : Dismal Enigma (HoMI), Efficient Sociopath (MoS)

    Loyalty : Medium

    Available date : 1936 - 1955


    Real-life biography :

    A WW1 veteran who served in Marshals Weygand’s and Lyautey’s staff, Georges Loustaunau-Lacau got embroiled into politics after the Great War by organizing an anti-Communist network within the French Army to fight the influence of the French Communist Party. This activity put him in contact with a veriety of far-right groups, including some which, like the infamous Cagoule, were actually plotting to overthrow the Republic, and earned him a reputation as an unreliable officer. Like many sharing his political views, he nevertheless ended opposing Vichy’s collaboration with the Third Reich and organized the “Alliance” Resistance movement, for which he was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to a concentration camp in Germany. After the war, he became a Congressman, running as an Independent candidate.

    Game rationale :

    For all his political dilettantism and his almost manic passion for covert action, General Loustaunau could have risen to a more senior position if his name hadn’t been linked to the Cagoule – or if the Cagoule hadn’t been the proverbial tar baby of French politics in the late thirties. In a more militantly anti-Communist Republic – or Paternal Autocracy – Loustaunau-Lacau’s various contacts with all kinds of fringe far-right groups could have made him a plausible candidate to head France’s Military Intelligence, and, under the right kind of circumstances, possibly a senior job at the Ministry of Interior.


    François Mitterrand (1916-1995)



    Country : France

    Role : Minister of Security

    Ideology : Social Democrat

    Personality Trait : Silent Lawyer

    Loyalty : Medium

    Available date : 1945 - 1964

    Real-life biography :

    Arriving in Paris to study political science in 1934, young François Mitterrand immediately immersed into politics. After a short stint with the National Volunteers, an association linked to Colonel de La Rocque’s Croix de Feu, he joined a variety of ultra-Conservative movements until he left metropolitan for his 2-year military service, a period that saw him walk away from the Right’s most extreme groups. Mobilized in 1939 as a NCO on the Maginot Line, and was wounded and captured during an enemy action. Sent to Germany as a prisoner of war, he tried to escape his camp 6 times, and eventually managed to reach Vichy France in the end of 1941. He then became a mid-level functionary of the Vichy Regime, in charge of the repatriation of French POWs. In 1943 Mitterrand left Vichy and started organizing a Resistance group with escaped French POWs. In November 1943, he barely escaped getting arrested by the Gestapo and was evacuated to London, and then to Algiers, seat of the provisional French Government. In Algiers, he opposed de Gaulle’s merging of the various Resistance groups under his authority, and returned to France where he took the lead of all POW-based Resistance movements. After the Liberation, Mitterrand ran for Congressman as part of the Republican Left, and was noted for his staunch anti-Communist rhetoric in a region where Communist influence had grown considerably. He got Cabinet jobs of increasing importance, dealing with issues ranging from War Veterans to Colonies, and in 1956 became France’s Justice Minister, in the middle of the Algerian War. François Mitterrand’s political career came to a screeching halt in 1958 with the return to power of General de Gaulle, and he used the 23 following years to position himself as the leader of the Socialist-communist opposition. Though defeated in the 1965 and 1974 presidential elections, he finally became the fourth President of France’s Fifth Republic on May the 10th, 1981.

    Game rationale :

    Because of his political career that embraced much of France’s political spectrum, François Mitterrand, and because of his senior Cabinet position during the Algerian War, François Mitterrand is a nice addition to the list of available French Ministers for the 1945-1963 period.


    Louis Renault (1877-1944)



    Country : France

    Role : Minister of Armament

    Ideology : Social Conservative

    Personality Trait : Administrative Genius

    Loyalty : Medium

    Available dates : 1936 - 1945

    Real-life biography :

    A leading French industrialist, Louis Renault started his career in the early 1910s, when after a fact-finding trip to the United States he decided to apply Ford’s mass production system to his small car-making company. The Great War favoured the development of Renault’s company which supplied the French army with ordnance, plane engines, ambulances and transport trucks. In 1917, Renault himself designed the FT-17 light tank that will inspire practically every following model. After the war, Renault leads a powerful industrial empire that caters to every need of his production lines. Renault, while a successful industrialist and a skilled engineer, proved to be an authoritarian manager and soon his factories became the hotbed of the social demands that culminate with the coming to power of France’s Popular Front in 1936, while at the same time establishing a record in production. In 1939, Renault was one of the major suppliers of the French Army, and in 1940 Renault took a plane to the United States to meet with US industrialists and boost the production of tanks and planes for the Allied cause. Under the occupation, the Germans requisitioned the Renault factories, leading to them becoming legitimate war targets for the Allied air forces. At the Liberation, Renault, weakened by severe aphasia and various health problems, was accused of having wilfully collaborated with the Nazis, leading to the government nationalizing the factories after Renault’s death in 1944.

    Game rationale :

    Louis Renault is without any doubt one of the world’s leading industrialists of his time, a fact that is already represented by the Renault tech team (which could be modified a little bit IMHO) but that should also involve the founder of the company. A charismatic but autocratic personality and an inspired engineer, Renault, I think, fully deserves to be an Administrative Genius, something pre-WW2 France is badly in need of.
    Last edited by anonymous4401; 02-11-2007 at 10:08.

  5. #5
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    Evolution: Revelations

    by Estonianzulu


    As discussed last week, Hearts of Iron is the largest draw for After Action Reports, followed immediately by Europa Universalis (II and now III). These games would be considered the Top Tier paradox games, the two get the most publicity, the most expansions and the most play. These Tier I games are the primary draw for many, if not most, in coming to AARland. The games have, combined, more AAR's, more posts and more reads than the rest of the games combined. Hearts of Iron, with two expansions, as well as Europa Universalis II and its expansion form the core of the forum. From there we step into the second tier.

    Tier Two is made up of the 'niche' AAR's. Those are the AAR's that are popular, but not with everyone. Namely, Victoria and Crusader Kings. These games exist outside the primary focus of a lot of players. In Europa Universalis you have a general control over everything in your country and a heavy impact on history. Hearts of Iron on the other hand has a very basic economic structure, but a heavy focus on military. Victoria and Crusader Kings on the other hand have focuses on other aspects of the game. For CK the goal is survival of your dynasty, and in Victoria it is all about politics and the industrial revolution. Both take a great deal from Europa Universalis, and thus maintain a high level of activity.

    Tier Three is made up of dead or dieing forums, namely Hearts of Iron I and Europa Universalis I (who knows, in a few years EU2 may join this tier). Sequels and the passage of time has led to the slow decline of these game forums. Although some still visit and read, most have forgotten about these sub-forums. At one point these two forums were among the most heavily populated, with constant visits, posts and reads. Now they are forgotten relics of a by-gone era in AARland. They certainly could not classify as Tier Two for obvious reasons.

    Tier Four is the final tier, the tier of AAR's that no one notices. Of the many Tiers that exist across the boards, this one has the highest actual number of forums. This group contains the Diplomacy Forum, the Galactic Civilizations II forum, the Take Command forum and the other "Gamersgate" forums. These forums are tiny, miniscule when compared with Hearts of Iron, or Europa Universalis. These three, and the others, combine for only a fraction of the total forum presence. Indeed only two AAR's in the whole tier have reached 10,000 views.

    Snake IV's "The Seven Wonders of the Diplomatic World" and Director's "Frontier" account for ¾ of the total posts and views of the entire tier. Both AARs are well written and enjoyable, but beyond this there is nothing. But why? Why are these forums so 'dead'. To quote Rensslaer: "I would personally think that it would be a very popular game on which to write stories, and that folks would be lining up to write sci-fi." He is right. The prospect of success for an AAR with such a wide open fiction base is massive. A game like Galactic Civilization II is so customizable and changeable that potential for change is infinite. Likewise, there is an endless supply of interest in the American Civil War, so logic would tell us that AAR's for Take Command would be popular as well. Lastly the game Diplomacy, from which came almost all modern poli-military conquest games, is the basis for what we play in EU. Then why does this problem exist? Why can't these forums gain popularity.

    I think there are three reasons, each affecting the different sections in different amounts. Each problem, concern or roadblock has affected each sub-forum differently. First comes geography. One can never ignore where something is located. To find the Galactic Civilization AARs, you have to first go to the Galactic Civ 2 main page, and then into the AAR forum. The same tactic must be taken to find Take Command AARs. For the other 'lesser' GamersGate games you have to dig through the general posts to find any AAR whatsoever. If you can't see any AAR's, you are less likely to write, and thus less likely to dig and find an AAR to read. It is an unfortunate cycle that keeps the games low.

    The second problem is within the games themselves. When Diplomacy was announced, many people were very excited. Diplomacy was a game we have all played or seen. But when the game came out it was marred in controversy, argument and for some, outright hatred. This did not help the development of the game's AAR forum. If a game isn't fun to play, no one will play and thus no one will write any AARs. Likewise people find that Galactic Civilization Two and Take Command, games owned by other companies, are not 'true' paradox games, and nothing like Europa Universalis and its descendants. Therefore the popularity of those games is heavily injured.

    The final problem is AARs already written. For Galactic Civilization II, there are very few large AARs. Although some 'famous' authors have visited the forum (like Peter Ebbson, or Director) very few regulars are seen in any of the forums. Occasionally the old classes will visit and read, but there are very few AARs written by regulars of the EU and HoI forums. When people see an Amric AAR, or a Coz AAR, or an Anonymous AAR, they will flock to read it, and then branch out to write their own AARs. For most of the major games (EU 3, HoI2, etc.) the forum was opened with beta stories, and then a large flow of writers, including the old favorites, this did not happen for Diplomacy and the other Fourth Tier games.

    This is not some call for writers to flood these forums, I've been worse than most about getting to those forums to read those AARs. And I've never written one either. But I do see why this case exists. Its not any single factor that has kept the AAR forums for these fabulous games from developing, its merely the natural case of how the system works. We like our AARs to be for games we have played, in places we can find and written by people we know. But maybe with the end of Director's AAR, and the rapid success of "The Seven Wonder" these forums will begin to blossom in their own. If not, the forums may continue their slow decline into obscurity.
    Last edited by anonymous4401; 02-11-2007 at 10:09.

  6. #6
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    On staying within the perspective of your POV character

    by TeeWee



    The third person limited perspective is a very popular one for narrative AARs. It's also one of the most familiar perspectives in literature. The perspective is characterized by two main things: it's third person, that is, there is no character in the book that actually fulfills the role of the narrator: the narrator is disembodied and takes no actions in the story, but only tells of it. The second thing is that the perspective is limited, that is, the narrator attaches himself to a certain character in the story and tells the story from the point of view (POV) of that character. The narrator is able to peek into the character's mind and is able to tell of events the character can perceive. The narrator however is also limited to this perspective and is unable to climb out of it to gain a bird's eye view over the story.

    Note that this mode of narration does not limit the narrator to telling the story from the perspective of just a POV character. He is allowed to attach himself to a different POV character between sections (e.g. a chapter). Many novels have different POV characters, but they do tend to keep the POV character within each section consistent. Jumping to a different POV character within a section is called breaking the POV. Only when the story goes into a different section is the narrator allowed to attach himself to a different POV character. Why do writers keep their narrators so tightly leashed to a single POV character in one section? One of the most important reasons for this is the intimacy of the narration. Because the narrator is so entwined with the POV character, it brings an emotional intimacy to the reader that can't be achieved otherwise. The narrator, by staying close to the POV character, is inviting the reader to identify with the POV character, to see the world through his eyes and to feel his emotions. Also, the narrator is unable to provide for a different outlet for the emotions of the reader to invest in, because there is no other character in the section that the narrator will allow this closeness to. Breaking POV therefore means that the reader's emotional investment is spread thinner among the different characters, making it more difficult for the reader to identify with any one of the characters.

    To see this to full effect would require more space than a simple article in the AARLander allows. Still, a simple scene may be able to demonstrate the principle clearly enough to be of use. In this scene, there are two characters: Filippo and Giovanni. Filippo is brother to the queen and Giovanni is an important military leader. Imagine that the story is about Filippo and his family and his struggles and that they are the main characters. Giovanni is merely a supporting character, albeit an important one. The scene is as follows:

    Filippo closed the door behind him and looked into the dark room. It was a sparse room with only a few shelves and a table in the centre of the room. The only other man in the room was facing away from him, staring out a window. Giovanni smiled, as he already knew the news Filippo bore. Without saying a word, Giovanni walked to a shelf and took a large caraf and two cups. He sat down at the table, pouring the wine. Filippo sat too, accepting the offered cup.
    "The king. He has fallen, battling the Turk outside of Pest," Filippo said softly.
    "This is grave," Giovanni said. "Your sister?"
    Filippo hesitated, searching into the other man's eyes. He was unable to read anything in it though. He sighed, but there was no turning back now. "The queen is strong. She has to be, for my nephew. It will be hard for one so young to grow up without his father. It is on behalf of him that I'm here."
    Giovanni only raised his eyebrows, though Filippo thought he say a flicker of a smile.
    Filippo continued, "The king's brother, he's an ambitious man. Too ambitious I feel. I fear he will seize the moment for himself and his boy."
    Giovanni's eyes narrowed, his interest piqued. It was important now to discover how much he knew. "Vincenzo? You are certain then?"
    "You may think me prejudiced, but nobody can deny his ambition, his strength of will. I am certain."
    Giovanni nodded knowingly. If Filippo only knew the extent of that ambition. "And now?"
    "My nephew... My sister had sent the boy to me as my ward. It will be crucial to get him to Milano before Vincenzo arrives."
    "Indeed, it will be," Giovanni said. He smiled inwardly. He had already made plans on this contingency.
    Was that a smile? Filippo wasn't sure. The Margrave was a notoriously difficult man to read. Still, Filippo had one final card to play. It would have to be enough. It had to be.
    "Your daughter? I seem to remember she's about the right age for my nephew? As Warden of the North, the Father-in-law of the young king and his Regent, I and my sister can rest easy knowing the boy will be safe."
    For the first time, Filippo saw a flicker of surprise in Giovanni. Father-in-law? This was a great offer indeed.
    "Indeed, my Maria is exactly the right age," he mumbled.
    The Margrave stood up, raising his cup.
    "The king is dead. Long live the king," he said, as he drained his cup.
    Filippo drained his cup as well. He put the empty cup on the table and made for the door.
    "Be careful, old man. Trust nobody," Giovanni said. A threat or a warning? Giovanni wasn't sure yet himself. As the boy's escort, he'd have time to think on it.
    Filippo paused for a second before pulling the door shut behind him.

    The scene is simple enough and this should give the reader a good feel for the plight of Filippo and the way his future hangs on an even thinner thread than he suspects. However, this piece does break POV in several places. While Filippo is meant to be the main POV character in this section, there are some critical moments where the narrator strays from the side of Filippo and peeks into Giovanni's mind. In this piece the places where it happens are fairly obvious as Giovanni's thoughts are clearly mentioned, but sometimes, a simple adjective is enough to betray more the POV character is able to know. The effect of breaking POV is that the reader is distracted from the plight of Filippo by giving the reader a different thing to focus on: Giovanni's agenda, the implied plan he has made with Vincenzo and the sudden extra option he didn't have before. It dilutes the emotional impact of the piece for the reader concerning Filippo's story though. Compare this to the same piece, but without breaking the POV.

    Filippo closed the door behind him and looked into the dark room. It was a sparse room with only a few shelves and a table in the centre of the room. The only other man in the room was facing away from him, staring out a window. Without saying a word, the other man walked to a shelf and took a large caraf and two cups. He sat down at the table, pouring the wine. Filippo sat too, accepting the offered cup.
    "The king. He has fallen, battling the Turk outside of Pest," Filippo said softly.
    "This is grave," Giovanni said. "Your sister?"
    Filippo hesitated, searching into the other man's eyes. He was unable to read anything in it though. He sighed, but there was no turning back now. "The queen is strong. She has to be, for my nephew. It will be hard for one so young to grow up without his father. It is on behalf of him that I'm here."
    Giovanni only raised his eyebrows, though Filippo thought he say a flicker of a smile.
    Filippo continued, "The king's brother, he's an ambitious man. Too ambitious I feel. I fear he will seize the moment for himself and his boy."
    Giovanni's eyes narrowed. "Vincenzo? You are certain then?"
    "You may think me prejudiced, but nobody can deny his ambition, his strength of will. I am certain."
    Giovanni nodded knowingly. "And now?"
    "My nephew... My sister had sent the boy to me as my ward. It will be crucial to get him to Milano before Vincenzo arrives."
    "Indeed, it will be," Giovanni said.
    Was that a smile? Filippo wasn't sure. The Margrave was a notoriously difficult man to read. Still, Filippo had one final card to play. It would have to be enough. It had to be.
    "Your daughter? I seem to remember she's about the right age for my nephew? As Warden of the North, the Father-in-law of the young king and his Regent, I and my sister can rest easy knowing the boy will be safe."
    For the first time, Filippo saw a flicker of surprise in Giovanni.
    "Indeed, my Maria is exactly the right age," he mumbled.
    The Margrave stood up, raising his cup.
    "The king is dead. Long live the king," he said, as he drained his cup.
    Filippo drained his cup as well. He put the empty cup on the table and made for the door.
    "Be careful, old man. Trust nobody," Giovanni said.
    Filippo paused for a second before pulling the door shut behind him.

    This version is the same as the previous one, but without breaking the POV of Filippo. The reader is still left with a good feel of Filippo's plight even though the readers may not know how thin the thread is his fate hangs on. However, the doubts of Filippo are even stronger:did he succesfully win an ally for his nephew or was this in vain? The reader is forced to formulate his thoughts from the perspective of Filippo and has to channel all his emotions through Filippo to get to the other characters in the story. In effect, the reader is asked to identify very strongly with Filippo. The example scene should be able to demonstrate the effect of breaking POV on the emotional distance of the reader. By introducing more POVs within a single section, the writer is basically asking the reader to spread his emotional investment thinner across more characters.

    To conclude this, one of the things a writer of a narrative story needs to do is to seduce the reader into investing his emotions into a character. By keeping the narrator bound to the perspective of a single POV character within each section, it's much easier for the reader to grow sufficiently close to the characters to actually care about them. By breaking the POV within a section, the reader will spread his attention too much among the different potential POV characters and get distracted and care less about the central characters of the story because they haven't invested enough in them.

    The lesson of today therefore is: choose your POV characters carefully and make sure your narrator is tied well to one of them for each section. The reader will reward you for that by growing much closer to your characters and story than would be possible otherwise.
    Last edited by anonymous4401; 02-11-2007 at 10:09.

  7. #7
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    AARland Choice AwAARds 2007Q3 Results

    by anonymous4401



    In a way, this quarter represents the second anniversary of the AARland Choice AwAARds, as the very first was in 2005Q3, and the first full one in 2005Q4. This quarter encompassed all of the AARs that updated between July 01, 2007 and September 30, 2007, and voting lasted from October 01 to October 31, 2007, right on schedule. This quarter was also a record-breaking one! If my tally is right, it is the first time in history it has received a vote number in the triple digits! 100, to be exact! It could very well be the first time any AARland venture had a hundred participants. And so I bring to you the winners of this historic quarter.

    First, EU3. For the past three quarters Timelines: What if Spain Failed to Control the World? by canonized has swept the Overall awards, the only thing changing being which AAR took home the distant second. This quarter was no different, with Timelines earning twenty-one votes and The Rebirth of England - Woodhouse Dynasty Part II by English Patriot earning a mere eight. Sforza!!! - A Milan AAR by Rensslaer and Three Countries One Goal by Storey tied for third with five votes each, a record for the third place category, and History of the White Eagle - Poland - Megacampaign AAR - part 2 EU3 by thrashing mad, which achieved second place in this category last quarter with eleven votes, took fourth at four. In Narrative, Timelines tied its own record in 2007Q1 for having the most votes in a category in this same category, at a whopping thirty votes. The Wars of the Roses by coz1 at twelve votes hardly proved a David to this Goliath. In Comedy, newcomer Grubnessul's There might be Vikings out there! Or: how I accidentally traded my wife for a halibut won at thirteen votes, with Shaybanid - Central Asia's Finest by Duke of Wellington, the last quarter's winner, taking second with seven and Resistance is Futile - The Borgundian Collective by merrick trailing just behind at six. The History-Book category was quite close, with The Rebirth of England - Woodhouse Dynasty Part II by English Patriot at fifteen votes beating out two-time champion History of the White Eagle, which got twelve votes. Honor of Lancaster: A Magna Mundi England AAR by dharper took a comfortable third at ten votes. And finally in Gameplay, Storey's Three Countries One Goal took first prize at nine votes, beating out Rensslaer's Sforza!!! - A Milan AAR by three votes and History of the White Eagle by four.

    In HOI2/1, Empire of Fu Manchu by The Yogi returns from a long slumber of not winning any awards to take the Overall at eight votes! For King and Country by Draco Rexus took second at six votes, and last quarter's winner The Manchurian Candidate: Pu Yi's Attempt to Restore the Qing Empire by grayghost took third with five. These numbers may seem low for what is expected to be the most popular category in the AwAARds, and here's why: After these AARs, in this category there are four AARs with three votes, six AARs with two votes, and thirteen AARs with a single vote! In Narrative The Yogi's Empire of Fu Manchu and rcduggan's Kathmandu Can Do (A Nepal AAR) tie for first with eight votes each, with last quarter winner The Manchurian Candidate taking third place with five. In addition there were two AARs with four votes, six with two, and nine with one in this category. In Comedy, This is SpAARta! by Le Ran continued Le Ran's time-honored tradition of sweeping this category by sweeping this category with twenty-eight votes. The Mouse that Squeaked, a Luxemburger AAR for HoI2 Doomsday by Atlantic Friend came second with eight votes, and the incumbent champion, For a Few ReincAARnations More - A Tibetan AAR which is also by Le Ran, took third with four votes. In History-Book, 1914-1924 'British interests; British honour; British obligations' by Allenby won with eight votes, recovering its champion mantle from three quarters prior. A Creek without a Paddle - Gotterdammerung, Germany 1944. by Remble took second with seven votes, and The III Reich in World War III by The Yogi and The Pearl of the Orient by Cloud Strife tied for third with four votes each. And in Gameplay 100-page Germany AAR A Creek without a Paddle by Remble tied for first place with 145-page Germany AAR Fatherland - Deutschland über alles by Kanitatlan at five votes each. 95-page Germany AAR and previous winner Kapituliren? Niemals! by kami888 tied for second with 49-page Soviet Union AAR Soviet Union AAR - The Bloody Road to Berlin by Klaipedietis at four votes each. Which are pretty small numbers for these AARs with such obviously large fanbases! If there is hope for the ACA in the future, it lies with the HOI2 Gameplay AAR readers...

    And in Crusader Kings, we have an unprecedented five-way tie for Overall! Or at least we would have if some dumb jerk hadn't voted that one extra vote for The Beautiful Girl and the History Class by Jestor so that it could take first place with five votes! Left sitting around eating dust crumbs and fading into obscurity are the four second-place winners Corsican Dawn: The Rise of House Obertenghi by JimboIX, Rome AARisen - a Byzantine AAR by General_BT, The Machiavellian Adventures of Princess Eleanor by frogbeastegg, and Real Men Do It Alphabetically: An AARgau by anonymous4401, all with four votes each. And despite that Overall win Jestor's AAR failed to take Narrative, which went to The Machiavellian Adventures of Princess Eleanor which took the award a year before, in 2006Q3. Rome AARisen took second at four votes. And in Comedy, tragedy struck. Knud Knýtling, Prince of Denmark (and other assorted tales) by phargle, which took the Comedy category in Crusader Kings without fail for the last six quarters, and was the only thing that one could rely on to never change in this ever-changing world that we call AARland, failed to take it this quarter with only five votes, because some fourteen stupid people decided to vote for my Real Men Do It Alphabetically instead. Thus Apathy wins out against Quality, a sad day for us all. And in History-Book Arthur's Tale by Rex Angliae takes first place with six votes, leaving Eastern Ambition: An Antioch AAR by RossN, History of the World: A Multinational Perspective by CrackdToothGrin, and A History of Byzantium by VILenin to tie for second with three votes each. And finally, in Gameplay, Real Men Do It Alphabetically: An AARgau by myself sweeps with fourteen votes, with none of the other nine competitors even scraping together a second vote, because for some reason Gameplay AARs in CK are like water parks in the desert, or something.

    In Victoria, in the Overall category last quarter's co-winner Debt Unpaid: A Guy Marlborough Mystery by Hajji Giray I won in its own right with seven votes, with A Special Providence by Director trailing just behind at six votes, and The World Is Not Enough: A German WW1 AAR by Quirinus308 trailing just behind that at five votes. In Narrative, last quarter's second-place winner Cruelty Has a Human Heart by LeonTrotsky took first with eight votes, A Special Providence trailing behind with six, and last quarter's winner Debt Unpaid: A Guy Marlborough Mystery and The Golden Nation- California (VIP) AAR by DerKaiser tying for third with four votes. In Comedy, The French Century - A Ricky AAR 1836 - by kingmbutu won with six votes, „Saftladen / Italbolt“ – An Austrian GC AAR by rhynoclemmis trailing behind at four, both newcomers to the Comedy category. In History-Book, Sins of the Fathers (Papal States 1836-'78) by ComradeOm took first with eight votes, a comfortable lead over Estonianzulu's "The Footsteps of Illustrious Men"- USA GC AAR which took second place with five votes, and Dr Gonzo's Stiff Upper Lip: A Terribly British History third place win at four votes. And in Gameplay, longtime winner The World Is Not Enough: A German WW1 AAR by Quirinus308 returns to its place at the top with ten votes, Power By Production v 2.0 - A VIP:R 0.1 Prussia AAR by OHgamer taking second at six, and A True Revolutions AAR ~A Rebel Scum AAR by Wannabe Tatar taking third at four.

    In EU2/1, Byzantine's Khan by Amric and The Eagles of Avalon by Mettermrck tied for first with five votes each, making it the fourth win of this category for the latter and the first win of this category for the former, though the former had placed second and third in this category in many previous quarters. Second place was O Lord, our God, Arise: More Weekly Reports from England by Judas Maccabeus with four votes. The two winners also won the Narrative category together, once more with five votes, making it a third win for the both of them, the former having won in 2006Q3 and Q4, the latter having won in 2005Q4 and 2006Q2. The pAARiahs of Europe - Fighting for the Hussite faith by TeeWee took second with four votes. In Comedy, last quarter's co-winner All your COTs are belong to us: an English AAR by Fnuco won with five votes, and in History-Book last quarter's winner O Lord, our God, Arise: More Weekly Reports from England by Judas Maccabeus won with twelve votes. The Eagles of Avalon by Mettermrck and Rule, Britannia! by Goraja tied for second with three votes each. And in Gameplay Dreams of a Baltic State - Pomerania AAR by Emperor_krk won with five votes, Beyond Tannenberg II: The Knight's Tale by Catknight taking second with two.

    And in the AARland-wide categories, for Graphics History of the White Eagle - Poland - Megacampaign AAR - part 2 EU3 by thrashing mad won for the third time in a row, this time with fifteen votes, Sins of the Fathers (Papal States 1836-'78) by ComradeOm taking second with three votes. And in the New Writer category, EU3 Comedy winner Grubnessul won for his There might be Vikings out there! Or: how I accidentally traded my wife for a halibut which got eight votes, Corsican Dawn: The Rise of House Obertenghi by JimboIX taking second place with four.

    And for those of you who hate my writing here is a simple list:



    Favorite AAR, EU3
    Timelines: What if Spain Failed to Control the World? by canonized
    Favorite Narrative AAR, EU3
    Timelines: What if Spain Failed to Control the World? by canonized
    Favorite Comedy AAR, EU3
    There might be Vikings out there! Or: how I accidentally traded my wife for a halibut by Grubnessul
    Favorite History-Book AAR, EU3
    The Rebirth of England - Woodhouse Dynasty Part II by English Patriot
    Favorite Gameplay AAR, EU3
    Three Countries One Goal by Storey

    Favorite AAR, HOI1/2
    Empire of Fu Manchu by The Yogi
    Favorite Narrative AAR, HOI1/2
    Empire of Fu Manchu by The Yogi
    Kathmandu Can Do (A Nepal AAR) by rcduggan
    Favorite Comedy AAR, HOI1/2
    This is SpAARta! by Le Ran
    Favorite History-Book AAR, HOI1/2
    1914-1924 'British interests; British honour; British obligations' by Allenby
    Favorite Gameplay AAR, HOI1/2
    A Creek without a Paddle - Gotterdammerung, Germany 1944. by Remble
    Fatherland - Deutschland über alles by Kanitatlan

    Favorite AAR, CK
    The Beautiful Girl and the History Class by Jestor
    Favorite Narrative AAR, CK
    The Machiavellian Adventures of Princess Eleanor by frogbeastegg
    Favorite Comedy AAR, CK
    Real Men Do It Alphabetically: An AARgau by anonymous4401
    Favorite History-Book AAR, CK
    Arthur's Tale by Rex Angliae
    Favorite Gameplay AAR, CK
    Real Men Do It Alphabetically: An AARgau by anonymous4401

    Favorite AAR, Vicky
    Debt Unpaid: A Guy Marlborough Mystery by Hajji Giray I
    Favorite Narrative AAR, Vicky
    Cruelty Has a Human Heart by LeonTrotsky
    Favorite Comedy AAR, Vicky
    The French Century - A Ricky AAR 1836 - by kingmbutu
    Favorite History-Book AAR, Vicky
    Sins of the Fathers (Papal States 1836-'78) by ComradeOm
    Favorite Gameplay AAR, Vicky
    The World Is Not Enough: A German WW1 AAR by Quirinus308

    Favorite AAR, EU1/2
    Byzantine's Khan by Amric
    The Eagles of Avalon by Mettermrck
    Favorite Narrative AAR, EU1/2
    Byzantine's Khan by Amric
    The Eagles of Avalon by Mettermrck
    Favorite Comedy AAR, EU1/2
    All your COTs are belong to us: an English AAR by Fnuco
    Favorite History-Book AAR, EU1/2
    O Lord, our God, Arise: More Weekly Reports from England by Judas Maccabeus
    Favorite Gameplay AAR, EU1/2
    Dreams of a Baltic State - Pomerania AAR by Emperor_krk

    Favorite Graphics, Overall
    History of the White Eagle - Poland - Megacampaign AAR - part 2 EU3 by thrashing mad
    Favorite New Writer, Overall
    There might be Vikings out there! Or: how I accidentally traded my wife for a halibut by Grubnessul


    Congratulations to the winners! Cake and punch will not be served at the afterparty because all that is just empty carbs and you know it. The quarter we are in right now, 2007Q4, started on October 01 2007 and will end on December 31 2007. Voting will begin on January 01, 2008. Be there.
    Last edited by anonymous4401; 02-11-2007 at 10:09.

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    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
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    Instrumentality is the first publication of the Tempus Society and we are happy to have the AARlander sponsor us ! In Instrumentality you will see 4-5 articles each month created by the various members and guest writers of the Tempus Society so please enjoy !
    Last edited by canonized; 02-11-2007 at 03:18.

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    PLAUSIBILITY IN NARRATION

    By Atlantic Friend



    “If your attempting to be plausibly a-historic you have to portray the appeasers, the anti-war and the self-interested. The more complex answer is that, as you say, writers tend to idealise factions. People make no mistakes and show incredible foresight and vision. Which some people do to be sure, but most don't. And as the wilderness years of Churchill, Amery, et al shows; even if you do have the foresight people won’t want to listen to you. If there is one thing that annoys me in AAR land, it’s the US AAR where the country arms to the teeth from '36 onwards. You know, scraps the rubbish fleet, mass industrialises and nobody complains or argues against. Or if they do they're only strawmen to be knocked back by the visionary leader. Compare that with say CSL_GG's work (there are others, but his is the one I'm reading at the moment) and you'll see the difference. It's just a better more believable read”

    El Pip



    In the August issue of the AARlander, El Pip, in the interview he gave to Canonized broached what is to me a crucial issue for anyone who either intends to enjoy a narrative AAR or start writing his own: plausibility.

    One could think that, since narrative AARs are mostly works of fiction, more or less loosely based on the game results, plausibility should be a relatively minor issue for the writer. Quite often, the writer indeed either honestly warns his readers that suspension of incredulity is highly recommended, or picks a genre or plotline that is in itself such a warning. As an example of plausibility-free AARs, you have most of the Comedy genre, which will be based on a voluntary suspension of plausibility to enhance the comic potential of the story, and you’ll also have the ones where the author picks a small nation and sets it up for global conquest. But whenever the goals set for the country are within reach of the country, and if the style is supposed to be a true exploration of might-have-been situations, the issue of plausibility immediately arises. Just like we expect some degree of it whenever we crack a novel open, or we go see a movie, we do expect some degree of plausibility in the AAR.

    There are, in my opinion, three mains reasons to this: the plot, the heroes, the villains. I’d like readers not to take what follows as Gospel, but I’d be glad if it rather was used as a tool for prospective writers and demanding readers to build their own concept of what a story should be like. Let it also be a glimpse into my own writing process, which I put it like that: a story is like an engine. You need oxygen, you need fuel, and you need fire. When you have all three in correct quantity and sequence, the narrative engine starts, and with a little luck and help from the readers, who knows where it will take you?


    THE PLOT, OR PLAUSIBILITY AS THE STORY’S OXYGEN


    Once the writer has picked up a country, and charted its course through European or global domination, or simply mere survival which is often the most daring of tasks a nation can face, he’ll mostly be judged on how he goes from point A to point B. If I take France, for example, as I did in my own AAR, and if I mod up a scenario where the United States immediately ally with me, I get the atomic bomb in 1938 and Germany caves in at my every demand or never reacts, the plot won’t be exactly thrilling. Even just one of these premises would be enough to kill the suspense: whatever Germany does, at some early point GIs will storm Hamburg, a French bomber will nuke Berlin, or Germany will be prodded into subservience. Frankly, who would want to read (or even write) a story whose end is this obvious?

    When all is said and done, plausibility brings challenge to the writer, forcing him to produce a more refined piece of work he would other wise had. If I wrote without the overview and challenge of my attentive readers, I’d probably get a little lazy here and there, and just decide that things go my way without having to justify much. The AAR would gently but inexorably descend into a mere feel-good story about my favourite country or historical character. On the contrary, having my every choice commented or questioned, or just knowing it won’t be always taken at face value, forces me to invest more time in the story, the background, the characters, the causes and consequences of every action. That requires a little more work to make characters and situation click together, and to cobble them up in a hopefully convincing story, but in the end it is immensely more satisfying for me, as I pick up interesting bits of information, and in the end I humbly think it is more satisfying to the readers. And it’s the readers themselves who make second plausibility this desirable, because it gives readers more than they may have bargained for in the first place. Plausibility means greater challenge for the story’s protagonists, which in turn make readers’ identification with them easier, as they face real dangers, real tough choices.

    In this respect, I see plausibility as the oxygen of my narrative engine – and readers’ response as the oxygen pump: in its absence, it’s hard to keep alive the flame of the story. Take a supposedly “serious” narrative AAR and throw plausibility off the window, and you’ll soon have the fire die down. The Hero will always have it his way, regardless of the apparent odds, and you may end up rooting for the Villain for a change because he, at least, seems to put up a (dis)honest day’s worth of hard work to get anything done. It’s a bit like James Bond movies to me. When I was a kid, wow, James Bond always seemed about to be killed by the villain, cut in half by a laser or bitten by a poisonous spider, and by God, it seemed the old man was sometimes truly afraid, too. Then, as I grew up, His Majesty’s finest agent seemed to become invulnerable to the point there was no point anymore. I watched with interest the first ten minutes, because it explained the Villain’s cunning plan, and then M had Miss Moneypenny call James Bond from wherever he was, and the movie went downhill because there was zero challenge. I often thought Miss Moneypenny would have been well advise to lose James Bond’s number sometimes, so we could actually root for a MI-6 agent who’d risk more than a messed-up brushing and a stain on his Savile Row tailor-made suit. Which brings me to the second point.

    How does that translate in AAR terms? Mostly, in my opinion, in reaching a subtle balance between the power of the country you have chosen, its affirmed goals, and the power of the forces arrayed against it. If your goal as the USSR is to conquer the Baltic States, I’m afraid the story will be short and not too thrilling – despite of how brilliantly you choose to portray the Lithuanian’s fight to preserve their independence, the fight will be a short one. Now, if on the other hand you chose to be Lithuania and resist the Soviet Union, you could be on for an epic tale – and even if it were a short one, it’d be more memorable for you to play and for readers to enjoy.


    THE HERO, OR PLAUSIBILITY AS THE STORY’S FUEL


    As Burke said, the only thing that evil needs to triumph is for good men to do nothing. That is true in life, generally speaking, and that is even truer in my good old narrative engine. Only the constant action by a group of good men will keep the Villain’s plot from coming to fruition, and as such the Hero’s struggle truly is the fuel of the story, keeping the narrative engine rumbling. Like fuel, I think, the general quality of the struggle will affect the output of the engine. If the Hero (or heroes) doesn’t have to work much to foil the Villain’s plans, then the plot will tend to be weak, or will re-focus on other aspects of the story. If the Hero has to make truly Herculean efforts to build his own force and fitter away the Villain’s, it’ll be a much more enjoyable read, with readers wondering how the game play is going and where the AAR will lead them. Heroes, in my humble opinion, are never as admirable as when they bleed, suffer, and make mistakes and work hard to correct them.

    But oftentimes the Hero’s struggle is not enough to make us identify with their plight and fight. In our AARs, many of our Heroes belong to either the category of statesmen, or to that of military leaders, and it is often tempting to make them absolutely omniscient. If they are politicians, for example, they’ll be possessed by a vision that only the weak, feeble or traitorous will resist – until they’re rapidly swept away by the sheer power of the Hero, that is. Politicians will always have the highest ideals, always think three moves ahead of friends and foe alike, and will always put the greater good ahead of their own partisan interests. They’ll be unanimously lauded by the man on the street, and will eventually die with some inspiring last words asking about the state of the nation. If they are military leaders, they’ll be fearless, will read their foes’ mind and foil their every plan, and will die a heroic death in which they’ll score a major victory for the country.

    Now, I like to see this desire we have of perfect leaders as a deep-seated (and most reassuring) conviction that leaders should be this way, but in all fairness, the world would be a pretty boring place if it was ruled by the omniscient Aunt Julia (yes, you know her, the aunt who kept telling you how a good boy or girl should behave when you were 8, and who had a moustache) with armies of James Bonds at her disposal. I personally know it would be reason enough to see if Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s job isn’t recruiting by any chance. If you take even a casual look at our real-life History, our greatest leaders have had serious flaws, or made serious and sometimes tragic mistakes, but that never stopped them from achieving greatness in their own right. Whether you regard as a great man (or woman) Caesar, Napoleon, Cleopatra, Queen Victoria, Churchill or Stalin maybe, they were human beings, with a variety of serious flaws which they sometimes fought and oftentimes embraced. The flaws of the Hero usually make the story livelier, because we either admire him for trying to fight them (think Commander Samuel Vimes in Terry Pratchett’s “Discworld” novels), or seem closer to us because he does not, or only occasionally (think of most of G. R. R. Martin’s characters in “The Song of Fire and Ice”).

    Thankfully, Paradox games (and particularly the Hearts of iron series) offer nifty little tools for making sure our Heroes won’t stride like demigods across the world: they get ratings, or even personality traits. While these should not be used blindly, they do provide some inspiration as to what the darker or weaker side of the hero is. The Benevolent Gentleman means good, but it may lead him to labour under serious misapprehensions about the outside world. The Autocratic Charmer or the Flamboyant Tough Guy, they may look great, but do they have substance to back them up ? And are people okay to be led by brash loudmouths and paternalist know-it-alls? This sovereign, whose military skills far exceeds his administrative skills, will he take care of the country, or just fritter its manpower and wealth into countless (and possibly successful) wars? What about this Doge, who’s just the opposite? We could go on like this for hours, but you obviously get the idea: the greater the hero, the weaker the struggle, and the less output for the narrative engine. Now that we have the fuel, and the oxygen to burn it, it’s time to bring the fire starter: the Villain.


    THE VILLAIN, OR PLAUSIBILITY AS THE STORY’S FIRE STARTER


    In an AAR based on a game of political intrigue and military conquest, Villains are dime-a-dozen, from diabolical dictators like Hitler or Stalin, to merciless conquerors like Attila, or to the ever-present sadist officer who enjoys beating up Jews, or Catholics, or Communists, or anyone actually. Monsters walk among us in great numbers, and if we want to be fair about it we often find it convenient to have them around, either because they do the dirty job we don’t want to ever hear about - or because they provide fire to our narrative engine.

    Usually, the Villain is the one who gets the story moving – he’s the ignition key to the story, as his machinations will bring the Hero into the fray. Hence, the Villain must be well thought-out and his plans must be frighteningly realistic, making it all the more urgent someone stops the dastardly act. The Villain must have his rationale, and his plan must be based on plausible foundations. Alfred Hitchock used to say, the better the Villain, the better the movie. Nothing is more lethal to a story than a Villain whose plan has flaws which could be detected by a 5-year old, and nothing is more infuriating to me than a Villain who has a superb plan which nevertheless relies upon the megalomaniac assumption that nation X or government Y won’t intervene because they won’t dare, or are decadent, racially inferior, or listen to Jazz. Whenever you have this moment when the Villain goes from cunning schemer to Mussolini on crack, you know the story has already reached its zenith and will rapidly descend into crappy territory, where it will wallow for quite a while as the Villain’s IQ abruptly goes down 150 points.

    In AAR terms, the Villain is one of the trickiest tools for the writer. As Paradox’s games deal about real nations and leaders, we have to accept that the character we’ll portray as the Villain in our AAR is actually hailed as a Hero in his country. In fact, many conflicts will oppose nations led by honourable men, which will be each other’s Villain. Take WW1 for example. I’m not sure I’d have liked to live in Imperial Germany (though I may have, after all), for example, but Kaiser Wilhelm II was no Hitler, and Imperial Germans were no different than the Republican Frenchmen they ended up fighting. In the 1920s, an American newspaper organized a context: readers had to find the most tragic headline. The winner was: “Archduke Franz-Ferdinand Is Alive – WW1 Happened by Mistake”. I always thought it was a very chilling headline, and in narrative fiction, having two equally respectable and honourable nations find themselves into a collision course precisely because honour and duty commend it is, in my opinion, much better than having one side representing all that is good, and the other all that is bad. The conflict is all the more cruel than you can feel these people could have avoided it, and you look at the struggle of both sets of Heroes with a different perspective.

    There again, the Villain, perhaps even more than the hero, sets the mood of the story. As long as he is strong, cunning, and resourceful, the narrative engine burns its fuel efficiently. Whenever the Villain starts becoming too weak, it’s either time for the curtain to fall on the story or to put the plot back on track. No Villain, no story.


    THE OUTSIDE WORLD, OR PLAUSBILITY AS A ROAD TO DRIVE ON

    Let’s see, we have the plot, we have the Hero, and we have the Villain. That means we can safely rev up the narrative engine and start exploring the world, right? Ah, sorry, but wrong, we just need one teensy tiny thing to be completely ready: a world for the narrative engine to take us to.

    As the AAR steams forward, the writer must make sure there is something to sustain it on the way. Mostly, it all boils down to actions/reactions, and to allies/adversaries.

    Actions/reactions are there to remind us that the world does not revolve around or quietly waits for our nation/faction/Hero. Other players have gathered around the table where the Great Game is under way, and they are just as eager to play their own hand before anyone else. Friends, rivals and enemies are also in the game for the win, and want some award in return for their efforts. They’ll compete between each other, and they’ll compete with us, to get vital resources, gain vital influence, or uphold their prestige – that’s the action part. And whoever does play his hand first, there are reactions. Germany reoccupies the Rhineland and France rearms. France declares war on Italy, and it may suddenly find out its efforts to woo the United States have been made in vain because Washington does not want to ally with an aggressor. Whatever happens on the AAR is bound to have consequences abroad, but also within the nation/faction. Cancelling weapons programs to build factories has social consequences, both short-term and long-term. Taking an aggressive posture on the international stage won’t mean your citizens aren’t affected in their everyday life, as your army expands, or as the various political parties either applaud or oppose the move. As El Pip said, even leaders inhabited by a great vision had trouble first defining and refining this vision, and then sharing it with others and make it accepted.

    Which leads us to the last of a story’s vital parts: foes and allies. Once again, El Pip very wisely warns how us about how easy it is to idealize our faction. We all do that, to some extent, out of love for the nation, faith or faction it defended. But our affection can also easy make us portray whoever opposed it as weak, gullible, or traitorous, because it fits our personal bias. And bias is a usually poor filter to see the world through. The fact is, at least in democracies, factions opposed even great leaders for a variety of reasons, which quite often had nothing to do with corruption or weakness, but a different conception of public good. Chamberlain and Daladier thought it better to concede at Munich not because they were closet Fascists or lacked the will to fight, they thought their nations needed to buy time to rearm and face Germany on better odds. Pacifists were not always bleating dupes led by fear or foreign money, they also wanted to spare their generation another massacre. Just as wars have oftentimes seen honourable men fight each others, political and ideological conflict also involved people pursuing the same ideal but from opposite points of view.

    Just as it is tempting to declare all opponents’ traitors or foolish dupes, it is tempting to portray whoever supported our beloved nation/faction as good or heroic because, well, we put a lot of ourselves in that nation/faction and we crave the admiration of the masses. It works backwards : they supported us, and we were (and still are, of course) good, ergo they must have been good too. This generous assumption is in fact rarely supported by facts, as is shown by real History. Many a noble cause was defended by a disreputable regime, and many a disreputable cause has seen noble nations side with it, albeit temporarily. There’s the “lesser of two evils” issue, and there’s the “he may be a bastard, but he is our bastard” issue. While it might be tempting to use a lot of black and white in portraying the world of a narrative AAR, the truth is no nation was ever run by noble principles alone. Equally tempting is to assume that once our faction is in power, the nation’s citizens will be unanimous in supporting it, as if they always had been closet sympathizers. All too often the great leaders were hated or despised by almost as many people as supported them. Take Roosevelt, Churchill, de Gaulle, Napoleon or Caesar, and you’ll see what I mean by that.

    IN FORM OF CONCLUSION

    Oxygen………..check.
    Fuel……………check.
    Fire starter……..check.
    Outside world….check.

    Now, it seems to me you have the basics. There may be better narrative engines – Hell, there certainly are. So feel free to switch models, to experiment with form, with content, and with the general concept. In the end, no piece of advice can ever replace the simple yet essential pleasure a writer is suppose to feel when moving the quill or hitting the keyboard. Writers are, I think, the proverbial golden-hearted whores. They crave attention, admiration, and honours. They could kill for that, probably. But writing is also the most selfless intellectual activity of all, because in the end you always write for someone else, even if you may not always dare show it to that special reader. Forums are great for that, for they force you out of your shell and into the readership’s warm embrace.

    I can only hope that, after enduring my prose for quite a few paragraphs, you’ll find it just a little simpler to dare – after all, a narrative engine is a rather simple machine.

    Atlantic Friend is a Fellow Of The Tempus Society and the WritAAR of Crossfires
    Last edited by canonized; 02-11-2007 at 03:18.

  10. #10
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
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    Comic by guest contributors Grubnessul author of There might be Vikings out there! Or: how I accidentally traded my wife for a halibut and Avernite
    Last edited by canonized; 02-11-2007 at 03:18.

  11. #11
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
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    Risorgimento From Below: The Potential of the 1848 Revolutions in Italy

    By LeonTrotsky



    Central to my ongoing AAR Cruelty Has A Human Heart are the events of 1848 in Italy. I necessarily had to undertake some research on this, a topic I knew very little of, and still do despite the time I've given to reading, such is the rich nature of the topic, and the revolutionary wave of 1848 generally. Fortunately some notably good AARs have appeared fairly recently on the Victoria province of AARland addressing the topic. ComradeOm's Sins of the Fathers imagines the formation of a united Italy by the reactionary force of the Papacy, while in Hastu Neon's Two Sicilies: A Realm Between Past and Future, the peninsula is united early by the southern-most state.

    From the point of view of any alternate history writer concerned with 19th century Europe, Italy offers many opportunities, some more plausible than others. Could the 1848 revolutions have successfully united the country as a democratic republic? If so, would the new French 2nd Republic come to its neighbours aid in any war against Austria, or would the presence of a radical state have strengthen the hand of French reaction under the direction of Napoleon? It was these questions and their bearing on my story that I came to think about while reading on the period.

    *


    At the forefront of the Italian radical movement was the Young Italy movement headed by Giuseppe Mazzini, the membership of which is indeterminable but it is probable that its sympathisers ran into at least the tens of thousands. The politics of the organisation were curious and often ambiguous. They were Republicans, willing and often able to use violent means, and yet Mazzini at least was sensitive to political situations and saw the need for compromises to be made. The disparate nature of the movement meant that individuals would come and go, their own beliefs changing rapidly. There was nothing to the Left of Mazzini in Italy. During 1848 the numbers of Communists in Europe remained probably in the hundreds. Marx himself had no more time for Mazzini than he did for most of his other contemporaries. He wrote relatively little on Italy, directing his interests to France, Germany and Poland.

    Given all this, could the radicals have directed Italian unification in the way they wanted? They came very close. Almost a year after the initial revolutionary wave had died away in 1848; a popular uprising established a republic in, of all places, the Papal States. Almost immediately the death penalty was abolished, elections held under universal male suffrage, even some land distribution took place. The measures were reminiscent of the new French republic in its most radical phase, but ironically it was to be the French, now under Napoleon's Presidency, who put an end to the Roman experiment by force.

    The rest of Italy, worn out by war, unrest and the threat of Austrian arms, failed to rise once again, with the exception of Tuscany. But the fact that the radicals had enough authority to assume leadership of the nationalist movement after Italy's most ancient regime had been overthrown was a testament to their potential power. Throughout the heady months of 1848-9, the creation of a liberal republic uniting Italy remained a very real possibility.


    LeonTrotsky is a Fellow of the Tempus Society and is the WritAAR of Cruelty Has a Human Heart
    Last edited by canonized; 02-11-2007 at 03:18.

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    Trick or All-Out War! - Halloween 2007 In the Holy Britannic Empire

    By English Patriot



    It was a cold night, the wind shook the chain link fence of the compound and blasted around the solitary figure, who hunched his shoulders to hide from the cold. The padded combat suit gave some protection from the cold, but Nelson had decided against wearing his winter layer and so the icy wind penetrated the joints of the overall and chilled his bones. The Scotsman fumbled around his pockets and pulled out his Woodbines, he thumbed open the lid and singled out a white stick with his lips and pulled it from its casing, in a single motion he placed the crumpled packet into his breast pocked and pulled out his lighter. Nelson clicked the lighter into action and cupped his hands around the bright flame. Another Halloween, another guard duty, those bloody kids, he pushed his Huntingdon Assault rifle back onto his shoulder and grumbled to himself. Too young for military service and too old for school, that was the problem he told himself. Last year had been terrible, the base perimeter covered in toilet paper and eggs thrown at the guard house. It was certainly a bad time to go to the lavatory thought Nelson, it had cost him his promotion that year, this year would be different. If only they’d place more than two guards on patrol, the rest of them were likely out and about sampling the best Metz had to offer.

    Well at least the perpetrators had been caught, Martial Law always did its job in the end. A piercing light shone down the base entrance and a Lynx personnel car sped up to the barrier and slammed its brakes on.

    “Well hello there Frank!” A jovial voice jumped out of the car

    “Alright Higgins?” Nelson answered, it was bloody Sergeant Higgins, drunk as usual

    “Hello Sergeant” This one was not so much jovial, more overshadowed by Sergeant Higgins

    “How’re you doing lad?” Nelson smiled at Private Redmond, he was a good lad, and probably not as drunk as Higgins.

    “Should you be driving that thing around there Higgins?” Nelson stubbed his cigarette out on the barrier

    “Oh nonsense, I’m only going up the road to drop Redmond off, he’s a big boy, you don’t need to molly coddle him, Frank” Higgins laughed at Nelson

    Nelson said nothing, only rolled his eyes and leant into the guard house and raised the barrier. Higgins floored the accelerator and sped off down the road. The barrier slowly lowered itself down and Nelson rested himself against the cold steel. Bloody Halloween, it was the worst thing the Empire ever gave to the French. Nelson waved the smoke away from his face, off in the distance bonfires were being lit and small snowflakes began to fall from the sky. Somewhere out there, the Military Service Recruits Halloween party was getting into swing, Nelson worried for young Redmond, last year the regular army got drunk and started a fight with the conscripts, poor buggers are barely over sixteen he thought.


    “Good luck lad!” Higgins shouted as he drove off down the toilet paper strewn street. Children ran from house to house, all dressed in a motley assortment of costumes, either side of the street were lit by carved turnips, bright candles placed within, the smell of burning wood floated in the air. Redmond himself looked utterly out of place, he was dressed in his Regimental’s, a black tailed double-breasted jacket, and clean, pressed white trousers. He pressed his jacket down nervously and walked up to the wooden steps of a white washed house. Redmond knocked on the door briskly and stepped back from the porch.

    Redmond waited a few seconds before the door was opened by a rather matronly woman, her greying hair tied up in a bun.

    “Oh er, Hello Madam, is Miss Bettencourt there?”

    “Oui, oui, yes, I’ll go get her” The woman replied and disappeared off into the cavernous house before him. Redmond rubbed his chin and looked around at the myriad of decorations before him, playful pictures of vampires and witches, a rather charming door hanging of a childish ghost. Redmond turned at the noisome spectacle of a group of trick or treaters that ran through the suburban streets carrying large bags of sweets, with them, the watchful eye of the British army Military police.

    “Good evening Mr. Redmond” A sweet gentle voice turned his attention from the road, Private Redmond span on his heel to face the lovely visage of young Miss Julienne Bettencourt wearing a emerald green gown, her long red hair was pulled up with stray locks cascading down upon her neck and shoulders. Redmond stepped back from the steps and watched Julienne as she demurely walked into the street. Redmond offered his arm to the young lady, she entwined her own with his and silently they walked off to the party.

    The pair walked in silence, an odd contrast to the screaming children and the occasional roar of a Lynx personnel car. Redmond battled internally for something remotely interesting to say, Julienne seemed perfectly happy just walking in the cool night air. A group of young teenagers were manhandled down the street by an armed guard of Blackcoat soldiers.

    Less than thirty miles from Metz stood the border city of Creutzwald, it was only a minor city, a hundred years ago it served no purpose but to bottleneck traffic from France to Germany. Now it was the Frontier post of the CEAL, the Central Europe Accord League, the barrier between the Holy Britannic Empire and the Protestant and Orthodox Nations. Behind Creutzwald, CEAL’s forces were marshalled ready for any sign of war. The Icy Peace that had followed the great war had lasted for decades, now it would come to an end.

    “You are sure the British forces will not expect the attack Herr Feld Marshal?” One of the Saxons asked, his face obscured by a low hanging lamp which illuminated the maps of Eastern France.

    The aging strategist sat still in his chair, it was the only luxury in an otherwise Spartan room, the dark stone walls lit irregularly by lamps. Several maps of Europe and the world were spread across the walls. “I am quite sure Oberleutnant, the Silent Room has been infiltrated”

    “And their report?” The younger man asked impatiently
    “Have you ever heard of Halloween, Von Billung?” The Field Marshal asked, twirling a thick Clifford Isle cigar between his fingers.

    “Some simple superstition that the Holy Empire perpetuates” Von Billung was eager to cut to the chase. “But how in any way does that help us? Fine the Imperials may be on holiday, but it won’t leave us open to wade in to the 2nd Kingdom”

    “Oh on the contrary Herr Von Billung, the Imperials have a penchant for parties, especially the Armed forces, and especially the young conscripts. The Armed forces have a two day stand down, for tonight and All Saints Day tomorrow. Of course there will be some resistance, but not enough to stop the Saxons liberating the 2nd Kingdom, France, as it will be known once more” The old man smiled, a definite malevolence present in his eyes as he stared down at the maps spread before him.

    “The Saxons? We are to deploy the Saxons?” Von Billung asked incredulously.

    “Yes, the Emperor himself has informed me that the testing is complete, the Mutter Transport ships will drop them over the border and seize the Britannic Mecha, with the majority of the ill-disciplined Britannic forces unable to retaliate, the Black Knights will be destroyed before they are launched.”

    “Hm! It will be like.. Bobbing for apples!” Von Billung declared triumphantly

    “You know that actually very hard, Von Billung”

    “Oh?”

    “I went to Paris one winter many years ago, it’s a beautiful city” The Field Marshal stubbed the Cigar out on the steel table

    “Oh it is, I went there in the summer”

    The Field Marshal picked up the red phone and waited to connect to the other line.

    “It’s Feld Marshal Von Salzburg, commence operation; trick oder behandeln”

    Von Salzburg gently dropped the handset onto the hook and clasped his hands together and stared at the maps.

    “So here we are Von Billung, another war” Silence permeated the room both stared at the maps, as if waiting for the war to be played out upon the thick paper, the sharp ring of the telephone cut through the hopeful atmosphere, Von Salzburg kept his eyes on the map and with a gloved hand lifted the handset to his ear. The Field Marshal said nothing, but listened patiently before replacing the handset.

    “There is a problem in Trier, Calvet has escaped” Von Salzburg was unperturbed

    “If he gets word back to the Metz base, the Black..” Von Billung leant forward onto the steel table. But the aging Field Marshal waved him off.

    “I know, I know” Von Salzburg crossed his hands and leant forward, studying the maps, it was too late anyway, the Saxons were on their way.

    English Patriot is the Provost Marshal Of The Tempus Society and the WritAAR of The Rebirth of England, The Woodhouse Dynasty 1453 - 1811
    Last edited by canonized; 02-11-2007 at 03:17.

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    You've Been Canonized!: OHgamer

    By canonized






    Welcome to this special edition of You’ve Been Canonized! For those of you new to the programme, I am canonized author of Timelines: What if Spain Failed to Control the World? and this is our a weekly interview segment on our AAR where we usually talk with patron readers and get to know more about them , their thoughts on our AAR , and about their current project . Today however, is a special day because we will be interviewing OHgamer who is both a moderator in the OT section but also one of the main guys for the Victoria Improvements Project ! Let’s get to the questions !

    Part I: The Gamer from Ohio
    OHgamer shares a little bit about himself.

    canonized: First , I'd like to thank you for being on the programme ! This has been a long time coming ! For those of us perhaps in the AARland community who don't know much about you , could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your moderator role on the Paradox Forums ?

    OHgamer: My name is Gene, I live in Columbus, Ohio, in the American Midwest. I'm originally from the St Lawrence Valley of Upstate New York. I'm 36, and have been an active member of the Paradox community since 2003. I'm a moderator for both the Victoria forum and the Off Topic forum, which are two different kinds of moderating. The Victoria forum is mainly about answering questions and ensuring that the forum is a welcoming place for new players to the game to begin to learn about the many mysteries that are Victoria. The Off Topic forum, on the other hand, is for discussion of topics unrelated to Paradox Games. While myself and the other moderators on the OT forum encourage discussion of most issues (save those which are not open for discussion due to their highly controversial nature) we also try to ensure that the discussion proceeds in a respectful, courteous manner so that all voices can be heard and given the right to be aired. Because many issues, especially political issues, tend to be controversial, this means having to be heavy-handed in terms of cautioning posters about overly aggressive discussion practices, and if posters can not commit to maintaining a degree of civility, there participation in a thread or perhaps even the entire OT forum may be open to discussion. So it is two very different types of moderating between the two forums, because they are of very different natures in terms of content and posts made

    canonized: What game or games did you first receive from Paradox and how did that or anything else led you to be active on the forum ?

    OHgamer: My first Paradox game was Hearts of Iron I. The first question I asked IIRC was about how Egypt was depicted in the game - or better yet not, even though Egypt had signed an agreement similar to what Iraq had signed with Britain in 1932 so in theory Egypt should have been included in the game. That led to my discovery of the modding forum, and from there learning how to mod the game to fit my personal preferences. I soon became involved in the work of the CORE team, and worked quite a bit on that mod during 2003 and 2004. Then came along a certain lady...and I was hooked. Victoria's release in the autumn of 2003 completely drew me in. Came to love the game for its sheer depth of depicting internal political and economic activities. I soon became involved in the VIP project, and from there have been enchanted by Victoria ever since. In 2005 I was invited by Paradox to become a beta tester, and helped to develop the 1.4 Patch and then was involved heavily in the testing phase of Victoria:Revolutions. So really only 2 games have been the basis of my involvement with Paradox, Hearts of Iron I and Victoria.

    canonized: Do you have any experience or comments on the other games as well as the upcoming Rome based game coming out ?

    OHgamer: Played EU2 a couple times, but never really got into it, it just lacks the immersive internal development aspect that Victoria has. I was involved in the beta process for EU3, mainly in helping with the history files section. But my current computer system did not allow me to be heavily involved in actual game testing, and honestly I've not been able to play EU3 since its commercial release. I do hope to have a new computer soon so hopefully that will change, but for now my work on the VIP mod for Victoria and moderating on the Victoria and Off Topic forums keeps me quite occupied in my free time. As for Rome, ancient history is not my major area of interest, but it looks to be a really fun game. I think Paradox have another winner lined up.

    canonized: As far as AARs go , do you have any experience in it or do you count yourself as a reader past or present for any ?

    OHgamer: I've produced two partial AARs, both entitled Power By Production, which are walkthrough/introductory AARs for players who want to learn about how to play Victoria or Victoria: Revolutions with the VIP mod. (The AAR for the Revolutions version of VIP is linked in my signature currently). Unfortunately AAR writing is very labor-intensive, at least in the detailed manner that I try to achieve, so neither AAR could be completed due to time constraints for other projects. But they both provide a good introduction to getting Prussia off the ground in VIP/VIP:R and a lot of the information on game strategy is also applicable to non-modded versions of Victoria/Victoria: Revolutions. So anyone who's been interested in what VIP is about will find the AARs a good read to see what we're all about.

    canonized: Considering your current position in different fields of the community in the forums , how has the paradox community differed from other online communities that you might be familiar with and what are your impressions of the forums as a whole ?

    OHgamer: Actually I'm not really involved with many other forums, the one exception being Television Without Pity, which compares to the kind of discussion you get in the OT fourms - topics drifting off topic, occasional flamewars between posters, moderator intervention to keep the threads in line. But I really don't have much to compare Paradox' forums with, so really can't make a great deal of comparison. As for the Paradox forums, again you have different groups being served by the different forums. The Victoria forum is for discussion of the game itself, strategies, learning the basic functionalities, and modding advice. Compared to other game forums it's not as busy but there are a dedicated (perhaps even rabid) core of Victoria fanatics who love the game passionately and are willing to help others learn the game. The forum welcomes all questions, be it from someone who just got the game and has no idea what is going on, to long-time players discovering something new. And that is one thing about Victoria. I've been playing, modding and otherwise restructuring Victoria now for almost four years, and there are still elements of the game that I don't have the clearest grasp over or new things about the game I never realized. In part this is probably due to the fact that the Revolutions expansion dramatically transformed many of the basic elements of the game (and those who tried Victoria when it first came out and didn't like it, consider trying the Revolutions expansion - it really makes Victoria a much better game experience overall). But that is what is great about Victoria, it is so complex. And the Victoria forum is the place to learn all the accumulated wisdom on how to master this challenging title. Now, the Off Topic forum is very different, in terms of who participates and what is discussed. You get all sorts of players from all the different games Paradox titles coming together to "shoot the breeze". It can be raucous, it can produce it's own share of drama between posters, and it can even enlighten people with different viewpoints or takes on issues and questions if one is willing to read posts with an open mind. Or it can just be fun discussion of music, food, life in general. It is a fun job, moderating the OT forum. At times it can be filled with frustration, but I'd also say I've been able to come to see some things from different perspectives and have fun in the process. But it is definitely a different sort of forum experience from the main game forums.

    Part II: OT Steward
    Let’s ask some questions about modding the OT !

    canonized: So tell us a little bit about life as a moderator . Recently there was an appreciation thread for you and the other moderators . Could you give us a little insight into what the life is like especially in the volatile place like the OT ?

    OHgamer: it's not a glamorous job. We are charged by Paradox to keep order in the forums. In the end, Paradox is a commercial operation, and the last thing Paradox wants is to lose potential customers for current and future releases because of comments made by posters that may be deemed offensive or insulting. So basically what we moderators do is try to keep a degree of order in the chaos, and limit the natural tendency of young adults to shoot their mouths off in the privacy of being in front of their computers from creating a hostile environment for Paradox's fans, present and future. If a poster takes their comments beyond what a moderator feels is an accepatable limit or topic, then the mod will intervene to restore order. It is important to understand that moderators do not in the end ban people - that ultimately is the decision of either the Paradox developers or the forum administrators. We can present our cases for why we believe action towards a disruptive poster is needed, and then the administration acts upon moderator recommendations as they see fit. Banning from a specific forum or the entire community is not a decision taken lightly, and usually is the result of an accumulation of incidents that produce a clear case of behavior which is disruptive to the smooth operation of the forums. In conclusion, so long as posters follow the rules posted in stickies at the top of each forum, and follow any warnings or notifications posted by the specific forum's moderators in their "moderator voice" colored text, there is no reason to fear and moderator action directed towards you. And if you are unsure about something, PM a moderator.

    canonized: What would you say are the positive aspects about the OT especially for anyone from AARland who may want to venture into that area of the forums ?

    OHgamer: The wide diversity of viewpoints and opinions that regular posters have, which can offer different viewpoints on any given question or issue that may not have been considered before. That and if you are stuck on some piece of trivia, there will likely be someone who'll be able to answer your question. It is a fun place, and as long as posters follow the rules and treats their fellow posters with respect and the right to not only have a differing opinion, but express that opinion in a rational, adult manner, then OT can be a fun place to spend time.

    canonized: Although it's very rare that opinions actually change in the OT , have you found yourself at any time ever convinced in the other direction by a discussion going on ?

    OHgamer: I do think some of the opinions I held when I first started visiting OT in 2004 have been modified, if not completely changed, as a result of involvement in discussions on the OT forum. Since you have the chance to discuss issues with people all over the world, you are going to be exposed to different viewpoints, and that is a healthy part of educating yourself about the questions of the day.

    canonized: Any specific viewpoints you'd like to share on a personal level that you might have reversed or was interested by ?

    OHgamer: I think mostly in terms of questions of economic policies I've changed my view of how the interplay between the State, society and the Global Economy has been modified to a degree. That would probably be the biggest topic where I've noticed my own opinions being transformed over the past nearly four years.

    canonized: How about recurring threads that you particularly enjoy or find highly beneficial or your favourite topics that pop up every once in a while ; what might those be ?

    OHgamer: Currently I'd say the "What Did You Have For Dinner Tonight" is my favorite recurrent thread - I love to cook and have gotten some great meal ideas from that thread. But since I need to read most all the threads that are posted as part of my moderating the forum, I get the opportunity to read almost everything posted.

    canonized: Any chance for a promotion ?

    OHgamer: Within the Paradox system - that's up to the Paradox administrators.

    Part III: Victoria’s Plastic Surgeon
    Lastly , let’s get to know more about the VIP as well as other things about modifications !

    canonized: As for working as a mod developer itself ; for those in AARland that might not be familiar with the current Vicky mods and what they can do , perhaps you can give a little description in order to encourage these writers or readers to try out the mods you're currently working on ?

    OHgamer: The primary goal of the Victoria Improvement Project (VIP) is to provide a more authentically historical environment in which to play Victoria/Victoria: Revolutions. That means developing events to reflect key events in various national histories as well as chains to reflect the various interrelations between nations. It also means modding the basic conditions of the various nations, improving the depictions of religious and cultural diversity, improving the depiction of political parties, adding new nations to better model historical processes - be they long term civil wars or things such as the colonization of Africa. It's an all-encompassing mod similar to CORE for Hearts of Iron 1 and 2, AGCEEP for EU2 or Magna Mundi for EU3. I'm the lead developer and it's the only active mod I am working on for gameplay. One other point, VIP is not a "completed" mod - much like CORE or AGCEEP or Magna Mundi it is constantly being developed and improved. We have a lot of historic invents included, a lot of changes to the economy, a lot of new nations and cultures, but it's nowhere near complete. So people who try VIP and find things that they find missing (especially in the realm of alternative history) I can say, be patient, we eventually hope to get there and include those ideas. And the VIP development team is always looking for new contributors to turn history into game-ready events for inclusion in future versions of the mod. So if you have ideas for VIP, please feel free to post them in the VIP sub forum over in the Victoria Scenarios and Modifications sub forum. There is one other project I am working on, but it will likely not be ready for many months. EU2 players will be familiar with the Magellan program for modding the gameplay map. The program's developer, Inferis, is currently developing a similar program for modding the Victoria map, tentatively called Versailles. Along with XieChengnuo, I've begun the process of developing a new gameplay map for Victoria we call Clio, that will, we hope, provide a better map surface upon which to play Victoria, with better rendering of national and provincial borders, especially in regions such as Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia where the original Victoria map was in some ways a bit problematic for illustrating key historic events in those regions. Xie and I are currently finishing up the first draft of the map, and those interested in our progress can check out our thread in the Graphic modifications subforum of the Victoria scenarios and modifications subforum

    canonized: Many AARs out there are also centered around games played on modified scenarios and engines . Did you or any of your fellows ever intended to enrich the range of AARs in circulation or was that a coincidence ?

    OHgamer: Not really. What got me into modding is the realization that the games Paradox develops are great platforms for gameplay that also allow the players to customize the game as they wish. They can make it more historical, or they can create pure fantasy mods. I really discovered modding pretty much the first time I visited the Paradox forums, so AARs in and of themselves did not so much impact my involvement. That being said, we at VIP would like to think that the additional content provided helps to add a great deal more environment to players of Victoria/Victoria:Revolutions who do write AARs. But that was not so much the intention behind developing the mods. But for me, I came to modding because I wanted to make my own game more historically correct, and to Paradox' credit they allow that to a very large degree. It's why I think players of Paradox games should consider taking some interest in the moddability potential of the Paradox games they play. It's like customizing a car, you can drive what comes out of the factory, or you can add your own personal touches and make that car stand out as your specific car. The Vickywiki (which is an excellent resource for learning about Victoria) has an excellent section on basic modding, and the people in the Scenario and Modifications subforum of the Vicotria forum are very helpful in helping answer questions from those who are just dipping their toes into the world of modding.

    canonized: Do you have any particular expertise in real life that have made your hobby as a modder easier ?

    OHgamer: I have a masters in History from Ohio State, and until 2002 pursued a PhD in History at Ohio State as well. I also taught World History and Western Civ classes at Ohio State for several years. So by professional training I am a historian, and that of course comes in very hand in modding because it gives me an ability to project what event affects could be realistic or not. My specialization in school was Islamic History, focusing particularly on the Ottoman Empire in the 19th Century. So yes that has helped me immensely once I learned the basics of modding.

    canonized: Aside from your current projects that you're working on , do you see your hobby as growing into anything else such as full on collaboration works for games or anything above and beyond your current involvement ?

    OHgamer: If I were offered to do so I'd definitely consider the offer, but I've not had anything offered as a result of my work beyond the beta testing for Paradox. But if it were to happen, I'd definitely consider the offer, though right now my free time is pretty much taken up with work on VIP and moderator duties so it would depend on the terms offered.

    canonized: For anyone else out there who might be thinking of contributing or starting on their own kind of mod , what kind of advice would you give them to pursue their objective ?

    OHgamer: Take the plunge! Seriously, there is such a wonderful community of modders for all the games that Paradox has produced that is more than willing to help those who want to create a mod but get stuck on how to do it. It does take some time to learn the basic coding system and testing to see if the changes you make are what you intended. But the feeling that you get from having made the game the way you want it to be is more than fair compensation. So the biggest advice I'd have is to take the plunge, don't be afraid of making a few mistakes along the way, and remember that there are communities of modders for each of the Paradox games more than willing to help you figure things out if you get stuck.

    canonized: Aside from Clio , any other sneak peeks into possible future releases or perhaps new exciting 'expansions' or updates for VIP in the next month ?

    OHgamer: VIP:R 0.2 will be the next version of VIP, and right now it is in alpha testing stage. Earliest I can see a release will be in late January 2008. But among some of the changes we are currently testing include a rework of several of the resources, introducing new resources (sugar, chemicals for example) and new factories (synthetic nitrate factory, chemical plant, etc). That is probably the biggest change were testing. It requires a lot of testing to get the balances right, and a lot of reworking events to change references from old goods/factories to the new ones. The other major change currently being tested is with diplomatic efficiency. One of the really major limitations in Victoria is that even the most powerful nations rarely can initiate more than 3 diplomatic actions per year. We're testing to see what the impact of dramatically increasing the number of possible diplomatic points generated will be. We've just started testing this, and so far the results look promising in terms of nations being less innately hostile to each other and even willing to form alliances. So we'll see. We're also hoping to have a major China event mod added that will allow for a true depiction of the severity of the Taiping Revolution, which should make China much more challenging in the future. And who knows what else will be included by the time we're into beta testing.

    canonized: Well thanks again for appearing on the programme and we hope our audience enjoyed it ! We hope you all tune in this weekend on Timelines where a special interview is being set up and you can always find more interviews every issue of the AARlander or on the thread ! Have a good week , everyone !

    canonized is the Chairman Of The Tempus Society and the WritAAR of Timelines: What if Spain Failed to Control the World?
    Last edited by canonized; 02-11-2007 at 03:17.

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