• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.

    Real Strategy Requires Cunning


Jun 12, 2003
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Cover by canonized

Editor-in-Chief: anonymous4401
Assistant Editor: canonized
Columnists: Estonianzulu, phargle, Phoenix Dace
Contributing Writers: Volga

[anchorlink=2][b]Inside Phargle's Head:[/b] Am I Imagining Things?[/anchorlink] by phargle                                 Post 2
[anchorlink=5][b]Triple Threat:[/b] EU3 Gameplay AARs[/anchorlink] by anonymous4401                                        Post 3
[anchorlink=6][b]Classic Review:[/b] Why Texas is a Fundamentalist Christian State[/anchorlink] by anonymous4401           Post 4
[anchorlink=8][b]History:[/b] The Plight of Poor London[/anchorlink] by Volga                                              Post 5
[anchorlink=11][b]Exploring WWII:[/b] The Brandenburgers[/anchorlink] by Phoenix Dace                                       Post 6
[anchorlink=12][b]The Evolution:[/b] Exodus[/anchorlink] by Estonianzulu                                                    Post 7
[anchorlink=14][b]News:[/b] AARland Choice AwAARds 2007Q2 Results[/anchorlink] by anonymous4401                             Post 8
[anchorlink=15][b]You've Been Canonized!:[/b] El Pip[/anchorlink] by canonized                                              Post 9

Welcome to the AARlander!
by anonymous4401

To this, our historic second issue. We have far less articles for you this month, a fact that I blame entirely on you, the reader, for not sending any in. The AARlander runs on the blood of the community, its gears greased by the effluvia extracted from grinding them underfoot. We need, always, more articles, so send them in!

In this month we have for you another article in phargle's monthly column. In what will be the crown jewel of this month's issue, phargle talks about the details we fill in our heads as we play these Paradox games and how they affect the game and AAR writing. We also have two anonymous4401 reviews, which is actually four reviews, with the debut of Triple Threat, a three-for-one review that this month deals with three EU3 Gameplay AARs, Tyrone: The Big Red Hand, Anhalt!, and Remedial Administration 152 - Ethiopia. He, by which mean I, also reviews Why Texas is a Fundamentalist Christian state, and other tales from Al-Andalus, a Classic AAR that is from 2002 and 2005 at the same time. Then we have the only article from a guest writer this issue, a History article on the Plight of Poor London written by Volga. Then we welcome our newest columnist, Phoenix Dace, with his debut article of his new column Exploring WWII, where he will be exploring the lesser-known facets of WWII, this month the Brandenburgers. We also have another article in Estonianzulu's column The Evolution, which will talk about the introduction of Hearts of Iron as well as other games and the impact they had on AARland's early community. And then we have an article that is the only article that many of you will read, unfortunately, and that is the results for the ACA 2007Q2. And to cap it off we have another interview from canonized, of AARland writer El Pip.

And remember what I said about The AARlander and its favored lubricant! Send in new articles or else you will continue to have light issues like this one. Just send a PM to me with your idea, and even if you don't have any idea but can write one, just PM me that and I'll give you an idea! And actually do it this time, you ungrateful sods. Don't forget to comment in the discussion thread.
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Jun 12, 2003
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Inside Phargle’s Head: Am I Imagining Things?[/anchor]
by phargle

I don’t know about you guys, but my characters in Crusader Kings start to look older as they age. Yeah, yeah, I know the portrait doesn’t actually change – although that’d be bad-ass, wouldn’t it Paradox? – but they look, well, older after awhile. The portrait they get stuck with on their sixteenth birthday doesn’t seem to matter, either. It could be bald and bearded or statutorily young and it would all be the same. After spending sixteen un-aging years as a prepubescent black silhouette, that final metamorphosis into something colorful and permanent seems to finally start the aging process.

On the off chance that some of you don’t play Crusader Kings, there’re a few things you should know. First and foremost, you have a barn of characters in your demesne, and each of them is given a relatively unique portrait that is hidden ‘til the character turns sixteen. After that, the picture appears but remains static. A lot of things about the character may change over time, but the one thing that never shifts is the appearance. You could develop leprosy and live past eighty, and you’d still look young and limber, or old and flabby, or whatever you looked like when you passed the age of consent. That’s because the picture is generated by a variable that isn’t all that variable once it’s assigned.

. . . and if you don’t play Crusader Kings, what’s wrong with you? The primary goal in this game is to get your characters to bang as many hot teen girls as possible. It sometimes feels like they added the crusades element as an afterthought just so they wouldn’t have to name the game Hebephilia Kings. I could write a whole article on that, although I’m sure the parts about stalking girls years before their sixteenth birthday in anticipation of the day their parents will let them leave the house would be almost too disturbing to put into print.


So anyways, I think characters age in Crusader Kings. I can see it in their portraits. When my kings are young and full of potential, there’s light in their eyes and zing on their lips. After they get married and rule for a few years, I can see the weight of the world begin to pull on their skin. As years turn into decades, the lines in their necks and the thinness in their hair slowly becomes more visible. And, when the Grim Reaper is ready to take them away, I can see how dry and worn their faces look. The picture is the same in all cases, but the context provided by my character’s statistics gives me the filter I need to imagine how they really look. Knowing that my guy is ill or energetic or whatever makes me look at the picture from a different point of view. That’s important, because the portraits are actually pretty open to interpretation. A beard with grey in it could look prematurely grey if you imagine that the portrait is depicting a young adult, or it could look haggard and thin if you imagine that it’s an old and dying man. Lines in the neck could be stress in a young man, or it could be age in an old man. A woman with high cheek-bones could be pretty and delicate at sixteen, or she could have the stretched look of a plastic surgery victim at sixty. It’s all in how you look at it.

This being the AARlander, it might make sense for this column to address the writing of after-action reports, which brings us to the point of the article. In writing, there’s a less-is-more theory which says that you can often generate a more powerful scene by giving your reader just enough detail to get started; what they subsequently imagine will invariably be much better than anything you can describe. It’s no different when it comes to writing an AAR, although an AAR is special because that lack of excessive detail can be in two places: the game or the story. Most of the digital ink spilled in the creation of AARs is concerning the non-game elements of what “happens” in Paradox’s games, and that’s because the games provide just enough detail to spark our imaginations. What occurs next is up to us, and that’s why there is such terrific variety in the kinds of stories we can read in AARland.

Grasping this concept is a big deal because so much of what goes on in the games themselves can be repetitive. There are literally hundreds of battles in Hearts of Iron and almost all of them are the same. There are dozens of marriages in Crusader Kings and only a limited number of stats to differentiate the different brides – not that it matters, since you’re always looking for the same things in a girl each time (youth, high stats, and a willingness to marry you.) There isn’t much flavor to begin with in sending out merchants in Europa, and it doesn’t get any more thrilling or unique the hundredth time you click the button. Elections in Victoria can become routine after awhile. When it comes to portraying these events in an AAR, it can be very stale and boring to merely relay information as it’s presented to you by the game. Sure, it’d be a true after-action report, but nobody in AARland really wants to read a true report anymore. They want an after-action story, and we’re all too childish not to snicker if we changed the acronym. We want to imagine something cool, and we want to share it with each other.

That’s why we can see the same battle happen over and over, and, by bringing to mind the context of the battle and the desperation of the scene, see it happening differently each time. Or maybe we can imagine it being an easy, breezy fight against a hapless enemy. The game just shows a division and an arrow pointing into enemy territory, but we can imagine the men of our division marching up the Mekong Delta getting grizzled or shell shocked as they survive encounter after encounter with dug-in Japanese troops. We can see the faces of the survivors and the faces of those who don’t make it. We can imagine their elation when the enemy lines finally crack, or perhaps their despair when they realize how many of their friends didn’t make it, or maybe even their surprise at how undefended the villages have become. Our Europa ruler could be sending out a merchant yet again, but this time it’s special because it’s a merchant in a new trading post where you just happened to send a diplomat. . . so you portray it in your AAR as being the same fellow, heading off to meet an oriental potentate like some renaissance-era Marco Polo. Or perhaps we’re playing Victoria, and we just made a new state. The game just lets you click a button, but your imagination tells you there must be hundreds of important people who made the state happen – so maybe your AAR will tell the story of How The West Was Won (or How Siam Was Won) even though Victoria doesn’t. And, of course, there’s those portraits in Crusader Kings, where a wrinkle on a young duke’s throat isn’t even noticeable when he first takes the throne, but starts to pull on his tired features a few crusades later when he’s fifty and desperate for an heir.

So yeah, my characters in Crusader Kings start to look older as they age. And even though the game doesn’t say so, I think they’re sensitive about their looks. Am I imagining things? You’d better believe it, and that’s why every game is an AAR in my head, every event a window into a world that’s bigger and more detailed than it seems. Read an AAR if you want to go there. All you have to do is close your eyes and take a look.


Jun 12, 2003
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Triple Threat: EU3 Gameplay AARs[/anchor]
by anonymous4401​

Welcome to Triple Threat, a review column in which I will give three shorter, but still substantial, reviews to three AARs that share a common theme. This time it is the theme of being Gameplay AARs in EU3, because after all the fancy stories we read sometimes we need a break, and return to the core of what AARs were once about.

First we start off with Tyrone: The Big Red Hand by uknight. As clear from the title, the country played is the one-province Irish minor of Tyrone that shares the Emerald Isle with three other Irish minors and England. And what catches the eye of the veteran player who comes upon this AAR the earliest is Tyrone's practically immediate declaration of war against Utrecht and Münster (or perhaps just one of them while they were allied, he does not make this clear. Anyways,) without a Casus Belli! 'Stop!' cries the veteran EU3 player. 'That is madness!' he says, for he has been raised on a steady diet of not declaring war without a CB unless the benefits were insanely high. But uknight is not an EU3 veteran. In fact he is a complete newbie, both to EU3 and to AARland alike. So he continues on, annexing Utrecht then vassalizing Münster. And after that he declares war on three-province Hesse similarly, taking two of its provinces and vassalizing it, and vassalizing two of its allies and annexing the third. Even in the defensive wars Tyrone triumphs, as its scattered territory is so that majors border few of its provinces (perhaps intentionally?) while Tyrone can move reinforcements in through neutral vassals. And in this manner Tyrone vassalizes or annexes a large part of Germany, and quickly becomes a major power in it of itself. And it turns out that in the end uknight's reckless playing style was actually a wise choice, as it allowed him to unite the economic power of Germany through vassalage and annexation both, in a very short time. And once Tyrone becomes a major, all gloves are off! Though it might be spoiling things, Tyrone completes a WC before the game's end, on page 11 (technically page 10 I guess). An impressive feat for a new player? Or a sign that vanilla EU3 really is ridiculously easy? You decide!

And this next AAR is also written by a newbie, who is at the same time the exact opposite of one. I am talking about Amric's Anhalt! which, despite the many months that passed between EU3 and EU3v1.3's release, is an AAR of Amric's first game in EU3, for reasons he explains in the first post. The marriage of a veteran WritAAR of epic works and a newbie gameplay AAR produces a style of gameplay AAR that I have not ever seen before, one that I shall dub stream-of-consciousness. In that way, though it is a gameplay AAR in its purest form, it is also a first-person narrative told through the eyes of the author. And this style makes this AAR feel so much more real than the other gameplay AARs. For one, it shows the motivation behind the decisions he makes in the game, many of which are not coldy calculated rational moves to expand the power and prestige of the country of Anhalt. Sometimes quite the opposite, in fact! He makes mistakes. He doesn't know how some things happened. He strategizes. Sometimes he gets bored and clicks around looking at random countries to help the time pass. Sometimes his thoughts wander and he has to get back to the game. You see it all, and there is no layer that exists between the reader and the author that exists in most AARs, where the author might choose to skip embarassing mistakes or fudge explanations, and even if they did not you have no idea because what you get in the end is an edited product. In Anhalt! you are right there with Amric, side-by-side in front of the monitor as he first explores the world of EU3, breathing down his neck, possibly stroking his hair while mumbling under your breath. Though at that point he would probably politely ask you to leave. And though this AAR is light on pictures, having none until page 4 and even then really having very few, it was to my surprise just as easy to read as any screenshot-laden gameplay AAR, and many times as enjoyable. Even if you are the type who are scared off by lack of screenshots you should still try this AAR, as by being here you clearly have some vestigial remnants of the reading skill still residing somewhere in your brain. But although I have enjoyed this AAR and its style, I hesitate in calling for more new AARs to adopt it. Though everybody's voice is different, I wonder if we'll be saying that by the hypothetical fourth or fifth or seventh stream-of-consciousness AAR we read. Perhaps it is a good thing there is only one Anhalt!, for now.

And I must mention Nakar's Remedial Administration 152 - Ethiopia, despite the fact that it started in May, and thus is on 1.2, and so might be considered less applicable to this 1.3-playing age. I must because firstly, it's Ethiopia, and secondly, it is in the tradition of Peter Ebbesen's rightfully beloved World Conquest for Dummies, which if you have not read it you should immediately even if you lack EU2, and if you have already read it you should probably read it again. Of course as a remedial class it does not quite have the glory of Professor Ebbesen's original, but as a gameplay AAR it is top-notch. There is a change to the scenario however, as Ethiopia is changed to the Muslim techgroup, which it should have been in in the first place, along with Adal. What nonsense, to deem the civilization that built the churches of Lalibela, a Tribal anything! Okay that was the Zagwe dynasty and not the Solomonic one that rules in the game's time period but still! It was a feudal monarchy as complicated as anything in Europe at the time and had the same amount of contact with the rest of the world and blah blah blah. Anyways, in this game Ethiopia is Muslim tech, which Nakar proposes that may turn out to be harder than its original African in the long run, as Africans can Westernize but Muslims cannot. And in the tradition the gameplay continues with wit and ballsiness, though I cannot help but think that it is with less with and ballsiness than the Professor's original, though the only way to know for sure is if Peter Ebbesen writes a sequel to his classic for EU3 (ohpleaseohplease). But still, that is a lot of wit and ballsiness! Homework assignments are also given, and many lessons are learned about the quirks and realities of the game of EU3. Before even the end of the first century in the game Ethiopia is impressively large, which a large chunk of Africa and Arabia, and outposts even in the New World! Though with only one update in the past two months this AAR's health seems quite unwell, and I do fear for it, for I wish dearly to see where it will go. I mean come on, it's Ethiopia!

And so if your friend doesn't have time for all this characters and story nonsense or you yourself are like that, give these AARs, and the other great EU3 gameplay AARs, a chance! They'll show anyone just how fun it is to play the game of EU3, and you might learn many tips and tricks about the game yourself. There's no better way than to learn through example! Well there is a better way, learning through doing, which is also good! Maybe you can even turn that game into a Gameplay AAR of your own. Though they may certainly help, you don't need great writing skills or tremendous amounts of effort to write one. Just the one thing that ties the entire menagerie that is AARland together: The Game.
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Jun 12, 2003
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Why Texas is a Fundamentalist Christian State[/anchor]
by anonymous4401​

Why Texas is a Fundamentalist Christian state, and other tales from Al-Andalus by Faeelin is a narrative AAR that utilizes one of AARland's favorite devices: Time travel. And among the time travel AARs it is one of the best I've seen. Of course compared to the other 'one of the best narratives I've seen's that are in AARland it is quite short at eleven pages, as the others tend to be 40+-page epics that take years to finish or are indeed never finished at all. But that doesn't impact its quality one bit, and the fact that it reached a conclusion might give it an advantage over those old oaks!

The time-traveller himself is one Abdul Hassan, member and perhaps leader of the SIMFIS, or The Socialist Islamic Movement for the Freedom of Islamic Sultans, an organization dedicated to fighting the corruption that the decadence and evil ideas of secularism bring, through terrorism, war, and so forth. And fortunately for them, they have a secret plan to build a time machine and travel to the fourth century a.H. (eleventh century by Christian standards) to take the Almoravid dynasty there to dominating heights by introducing modern technology and methods. Unfortunately for them, their not-so-well-hidden headquarters in downtown Casablanca is discovered, and Abdul barely manages to escape in the hastily set-up time machine. He vanishes, then immediately returns to a changed world, older and wounded by gunfire. But before he passes out he manages to discover that the world he changed did not turn out the way he intended. Though it was Islamic, it turned out to be capitalistic, consumerist, and to his chagrin, tolerant.

It turns out his escape was even closer than it seemed, as he lands in the past already wounded by gunfire. And worse for him, it is not the 11th century in which he lands, but rather 1418, where the only Islamic presence on the Iberian Peninsula is the Emirate of Granada, cowering behind the Baetic Mountains in fear of the stronger Christian kingdoms to the north. By 1419, which is coincidentally the year a Swedish gaming company six hundred years in the future would set as a beginning point for the main scenario of one of its most popular games, he recovers, and heads to Grenada, laptop/time machine, AK-47, and books in tow. His first intervention is pretty standard fare for time-traveller AARs: Convincing the Emir that he is from the future and using his future knowledge to help them win a war against a neighbor, in this case Castile and Portugal. But after that the similarities start to fall away, if they hadn't already with the its delightful social commentary and dark humor, as his fundamentalism chafes against the more pragmatic attitudes of the Emir and his advisors, both in religious and diplomatic matters. (Isn't it usually the other way around?) And his solution to that backfires as his successful poisoning of the Emir is discovered and he once more flees, this time about thirty years into the future, to see what he could do with the Granada there.

For you see, in Why Texas is a Fundamentalist Christian State the time-traveller is not the invincible puppetmaster, lurking in the shadows and guiding his country through a swift hand, though he may have wished to be. No. Here our traveller, Abdul Hassan, is but a mere mortal whose plans rarely have their intended consequences; who for the most part is unable to deal with the authorities of the day, who are much more secular, or in one case not secular enough, for his liking; and who sometimes even gets blown up or captured into slavery. As Abdul goes forward in time he sees the Granada he saved from the brink of extinction grow into a strong power, but instead of a theocracy that finds its strength in its devotion to Islam, it is a tolerant society built upon free trade, free peasants, and being a beacon of education and science. He gives up on Granada and tries elsewhere in the Muslim world, but as we can see in the narrative strain that takes place in the changed modern day, it was not successful. And the narrative shifts themselves between Abdul in the modern day where he converses with two historians and Abdul's adventures in the past are handled flawlessly, with the modern segments providing a nice backbone to the rest. It's also nice because the reader gets to see along with present-Abdul the context in which said adventures occurred, and the ultimate effect they had in the world, which had little resemblance to Abdul's intentions. And another layer is added when, armed with some knowledge of what his past attempts to change the world would bring, he goes back into the past once more...

Of course this AAR is not perfect. The scene transitions are many times rapid to the point of confusion. In fact the sense of the passage of time in general is uneven in parts of the AAR. The detail in description is sometimes uneven, too. And the ending, while beautiful, did not tie together all the loose ends, specifically the additional layer I spoke about in the last paragraph. Of course I can hardly blame Faeelin. After all, the last two updates of the AAR came two and a half years after the ones before it! If anything it is a massive credit to Faeelin for finishing what he started despite that long gap! So I should hardly complain about it. Though one cannot help but wonder and dream what Why Texas is a Fundamentalist Christian State would have been like if Faeelin had continued writing in November 2002 and December 2002 and beyond, continuing Abdul's story for hundreds of more years and then ending it properly. Perhaps we would have learned just why Texas is a Fundamentalist Christian State.
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Jun 12, 2003
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The Plight of Poor London[/anchor]
by Volga



The Plight of Poor London, ever heard of it? Probably not, if you have played Victoria or its expansion, Revolutions, you might know that its an event the UK gets around the 1880’s. Then again if you’re a mystery, crime, or even a conspiracy fan, this may ring a bell. Well for those of you who don’t know, lets get down to the bloody business of explaining just what Poor London’s Plight was.

In 1888 - 1889 a string of horrific murders occurred in England, notably in the East End of London. What was special about these murders was, mainly, their brutality and the fact that there seemed to be no real motive behind the killings. The victims were, all sequentially, prostitutes in the Whitechappel area of East London.

The case of these murders has been widely questioned, the killers identity we know today simply as “Jack the Ripper” was never found and many speculate that it wasn’t only one man, but several, despite that everyone could agree that there was a certain pattern to the killings, each one becoming more violent as the murders went on. A large problem in finding out who exactly the killer was, was the fact that there were no witness’s to the crime, each one happening in a secluded place and usually at night. Still, hampering the investigation even further was the string of violence against women that persisted in that period.

There are five victims that our widely accepted as the Ripper victims, but there are still several more some consider to possible victims. Marry Anne Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes (Presumed a Prostitute) and Mary Jane Kelly were the five victims believed to be the Ripper victims, while there are eleven other women listed in London’s police files murdered in Whitechappel, but none are considered to be of the same murder.

The people of London were struck with terror and fear during these murders, it was like no one was safe. In fact, more than once, it came close to riots given the London’s police departments failure to capture the killer, many times arriving just after the murder was committed. The attacks became increasingly brutal as they progressed, typically slashing the victims throat and then mutilating the body.

The Following are bits from a reported from an inquest testimony for each victim.

In Marry Ann’s Case - "Five teeth were missing, and there was a slight laceration of the tongue. There was a bruise running along the lower part of the jaw on the right side of the face. That might have been caused by a blow from a fist or pressure from a thumb. There was a circular bruise on the left side of the face which also might have been inflicted by the pressure of the fingers. On the left side of the neck, about 1 in. below the jaw, there was an incision about 4 inches in length, and ran from a point immediately below the ear. On the same side, but an inch below, and commencing about 1 inches in front of it, was a circular incision, which terminated at a point about 3 in. below the right jaw. "

Annie Chapman’s case -“The tongue protruded between the front teeth, but not beyond the lips. The tongue was evidently much swollen. The front teeth were perfect as far as the first molar, top and bottom and very fine teeth they were. The body was terribly mutilated...the stiffness of the limbs was not marked, but was evidently commencing. He noticed that the throat was dissevered deeply; that the incision through the skin were jagged and reached right round the neck...On the wooden paling between the yard in question and the next, smears of blood, corresponding to where the head of the deceased lay, were to be seen. These were about 14 inches from the ground, and immediately above the part where the blood from the neck lay.”

Elizabeth Stride‘s case - "The body was lying on the near side, with the face turned toward the wall, the head up the yard and the feet toward the street. The left arm was extended and there was a packet of cachous in the left hand. The right arm was over the belly, the back of the hand and wrist had on it clotted blood… The throat was deeply gashed and there was an abrasion of the skin about one and a half inches in diameter, apparently stained with blood, under her right arm….There was a clear-cut incision on the neck. It was six inches in length and commenced two and a half inches in a straight line below the angle of the jaw, one half inch in over an undivided muscle, and then becoming deeper, dividing the sheath. The cut was very clean and deviated only a little downwards. The arteries and other vessels contained in the sheath were all cut through.”

Catherine Eddows case - “…The throat cut across. The intestines were drawn out to a large extent and placed over the right shoulder -- they were smeared over with some feculent matter. A piece of about two feet was quite detached from the body and placed between the body and the left arm, apparently by design. The lobe and auricle of the right ear were cut obliquely through. “

Mary Jane Kelly - “The whole of the surface of the abdomen and thighs was removed and the abdominal cavity emptied of its viscera. [Edited for gruesome content], the arms mutilated by several jagged wounds and the face hacked beyond recognition of the features. The tissues of the neck were severed all round down to the bone. …The viscera were found in various parts viz: [Edited for gruesome content]

[The last report I self edited due to the fact that several body parts and organs were removed, which may be a bit over the top for the forums. The reports are used to show the link between the murders, of course there may not be one at all, but the pattern of increasing violence is undisputable.]

During all this the London police department received letters offering advice, but largely it would be considered as junk mail today. Among these were the hundreds of letters of people claiming to be Jack the Ripper himself, all of these were dismissed save for three, which bore some possibility of being authentic. The “Dear Boss Letter” which was sent three days before Eddow’s murder and made a promise to cut her ears off, which gained Scotland Yards attention when she was found with an ear partially cut off.

The next letter, the “Saucy Jack” post card had similar handwriting to the “Dear Boss” and mentioned Eddows and Stride as a “double event”, referring to them being killed so close together. The police eventually said they found the author of both the letters, a journalist, and put the two letters out of mind.

The final one, and to me, the most convincing, was the “From Hell” Letter (Below).

From Hell

“From hell.
Mr Lusk,
I send you half the Kidne I took from one women prasarved it for you tother piece I fried and ate it was very nise. I may send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate a whil longer

Catch me when you can Mishter Lusk”

This letter stood out above all the others because it was most defiantly the most gruesome, delivered in a small box with what doctors later identified as a human kidney. While many disagree that it was Catherine Eddowes', who’s kidneys had been removed, the doctor investigating at the time said it was “very similar” to Eddows.

Now while these brutal murders were a tragedy, a crime ageist humanity, they served to actually help the community of East London as a whole. As messed up as that is, the murders were the first in history to draw international attention, and that attention gave ammo to the reformists in parliament and Great Brittan. The attacks turned the worlds attention to East London, a very poverish part of the city. With the world’s attention on this area reformists were able to show what life was in that part of the city and push through reforms that were aimed at improving the living conditions of the poor people in the city.

Now, as to who the murder actually was, we don’t know. The list of suspects is long and consists of the ladies former lovers, doctors and etcetera. One of the most curious pieces of evidence was written at the time of the double murder of Eddows and Stride which read “The Juwes are the men That Will not be Blamed for nothing".

This became known as the Goulston Street Graffiti, which was written in chalk above a blood stained apron in a stairway on Goulston street. The apron was found by Constable Alfred Long in the early mourning and it soon turned into a crime scene. The writing was almost instantly linked with the killings and out of the fear that the people would think the murderer was a member of the Jewish community, had it erased.

There was already tension during that period, a sort of resentment of the Jewish people, and while it was never ruled out that the murderer could be Jewish, the graffiti was more so believed to be linked to someone who may have been wronged or jiped by one of the Jewish merchants and, wanting to take advantage of the situation, was going to use the murders ageist the Jewish populace.

To avoid such a possibility, Long had the graffiti erased before any documentation, photo wise, of it could be taken.

The case of Jack the Ripper has been believed to be the work of a single man, and many men, conspires and questionable lead have all been brought to the fore front of investigations and all remain conclusive. Whoever it was, whether it be one man or many, disappeared all together, as quick as the murders began they were over with no one behind bar’s, remaining to this day one of most horrible unsolved crimes in the history Briton.
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Jun 12, 2003
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Exploring WWII: The Brandenburgers[/anchor]
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 Brandenburgers.

The Brandenburgers (also known most usually as the Brandenburg Division, though it had many names) were a unit of German special forces that operated in every major German campaign in WWII. Although by the end of the war they had been reconstituted as a regular infantry division, in the opening years they played a key role that would have gone unfilled, and played a part, though oft-unspoken, in the success of the German Blitzkrieg campaigns in Europe. The Brandenburgers operated all across Europe, with operations in every major European nation involved in the war, including Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Yugoslavia, Greece, Crete, Finland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, North Africa, and the Soviet Union. They also planned for operations against the British Isles and Gibraltar, both of which were never carried out. In addition, units of Brandenburgers were sent to infiltrate India, Afghanistan, various Middle Eastern nations, and southern Africa.

The Brandenburgers were originally conceived as an idea by Hauptmann (Captain) Theodor von Hippel. Hippel served under German General Paul von Lettow-Norbeck in East Africa during World War One, while von Lettow-Norbeck conducted a highly effective guerrilla campaign against the British forces there and went undefeated until the very end of the war. Part of von Lettow-Norbeck's success had been in his willingness to use any advantage he could against the British, a remarkable ability to scrounge supplies and a sort of 'sixth sense' for avoiding larger British forces while conducting raids behind their established front lines against vital resource centres. As well, the bulk of his forces were made up of non-ethnic Germans, primarily East African Askaris, who became renowned for their fighting skill and spirit, partly as a result of their actions under his command. At the same time, Lawrence of Arabia was conducting an effective guerrilla campaign against the Ottomans in the Arabian deserts. Hippel was influenced by both these campaigns, especially having served under von Lettow-Norbeck, and he approached the Reichswehr with the idea of small, highly-trained units, trained in espionage, sabotage, and infiltration - varied ethnic backgrounds and fluency in many languages was one of his main points in his initial proposal and, later, in the success of the Brandenburgers - which would operate behind enemy lines, wreaking havoc and supporting the frontline German forces by disorganizing the enemy. His idea was turned down by the traditional Prussian high command, not used to such a secretive style of warfare.

Undaunted, Hippel turned to Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, the head of the German Intelligence Service (Abwehr) and proposed the same idea to him. Canaris approved it, and Hippel was promoted to Oberst (Colonel) and given free reign to create his ideal unit. In no time at all, Hippel assembled a company of highly-skilled soldiers. The Brandenburgers were placed under the overall command of the Wehrmacht, designated the Bataillon Ebbinghaus, and made up primarily of ethnic Germans from outside the Reich who were fluent in Polish, clearly preparing for the invasion of Poland in 1939.

The Brandenburgers played a crucial role in the invasion of Poland, primarily on the first day. In the time period leading up to the official German invasion, small groups of Brandenburgers crossed the border into Poland disguised as different types of labourers and made their way to vital power stations and industrial and resource centres, infiltrating the key points where control would be needed for an invasion to be successful. Upon the declaration of war, the Brandenburgers blew up these facilities where they had been employed, while at the same time other units made their way over the border, past Polish defensive positions, and seized key bridges over the Vistula River, preventing the Poles from destroying them to slow the Blitzkrieg attack. On the morning of September 1st, German panzer divisions would roll across the bridges captured by the Brandenburgers, not slowing their advance at all.

In the invasion of Poland the Bataillon Ebbinghaus operated efficiently and smoothly, and outperformed expectations. Regardless, the Wehrmacht ordered its disbanding immediately after the end of the invasion of Poland. Hippel was unphased, and Canaris gave him the go-ahead to create a new unit along the same lines, this time under direct Abwehr command. The new battalion was formed on a base of ex-Ebbinghaus soldiers, and was inaugurated on October 25, 1939, while Hippel searched all across greater Germany for new recruits. His recruitment process was completely opposite that of the Nazi Party and its favoured units - he looked in particular for ethnic non-Germans willing to fight for the Reich, and recruiting large numbers of Slavs and Poles who wished to fight for Germany. A requirement for entrance into the battalion was to be fluent in another language as well as German; many soldiers were fluent in three or more languages. They were based in an old country estate on the outskirts of Stendal, in the Prussian province of Brandenburg, where they took their name from. They were trained in stealth, sabotage, and infiltration; they learned to move at night, unnoticed, live off the land, and navigate by the stars. After successful testing, the unit's higher-ups were impressed, and the company was expanded into a battalion, and was redesignated the Bataillon Brandenburg. This original battalion was composed of four companies, a motorcycle platoon, and a paratrooper detachment. The four companies were organized along ethnic lines for ease of deployment to various fronts - one was made up of men from the Baltic nations and Russia, one from English-speaking territories including North Africa, one from the Sudetenland and Yugoslavia, and the last from ethnic Germans living outside Germany, mostly from Poland.

The Brandenburgers, despite increasing size of the unit all the way to its incorporation as a frontline unit in 1944, remained an elite unit, and spent a great deal of time training; their training was tough and highly regimented, making them skilled in a number of different aspects key to their brand of warfare - small unit tactics, individual training, infiltration and sabotage, and familiarity with all involved vehicles and weaponry on both sides of any fight were highly-focused aspects of their training. Some smaller sub-units were trained in more specialized branches of espionage and infiltration, such as piloting, forgery, or demolitions. As an example, one company was formed from over a hundred expert cross-country skiers and was designed to be deployed to the frozen Arctic north of Finland and the Soviet Union, outfitted with cross-country skis and dog sleds. The Brandenburgers would often disguise themselves as enemy soldiers and use captured enemy equipment in order to make an infiltration successful, often including forged identification papers of the involved nation. However, the Brandenburgers, unlike some other nations' special forces, were very particular about removing the enemy uniforms and donning their own before opening or returning fire on enemy troops. In part this was to accent the fact that they were soldiers and not spies, and in part it was due to their own chivalric code. At some points this meant they were captured due to the time delay in returning fire.

Two nights before the opening of the invasion of the Low Countries, Brandenburger units crossed the borders into Belgium and the Netherlands, wearing the uniforms of the Belgian and Dutch armed forces over their German ones. They again seized key installations and infrastructure to support the German invasion, in particular seizing bridges over the larger rivers so they would not be destroyed and so the tanks and trucks of the German motorized and mechanized forces could advance unhindered. After the fall of France, the Brandenburgers were transfered to the Channel coast to prepare for an invasion of the British Isles. Once it was called off, they were transferred to southern France to train for Operation Felix, the proposed plan to seize Gibraltar, but it was canceled as well and the Brandenburgers were shifted east. At this point they grew in size once again, designated the Regiment Brandenburg and integrating coastal raider and tropical groups. The Brandenburgers saw action in Yugoslavia, where a 54-man team from the Sudeten and Slavic detachment seized the Orsova dockyards on the Danube the day before the German invasion. As well, Brandenburgers were sent to Africa along with Rommel's Afrika Korps, in the form of four companies of Tropical units. All soldiers involved in this operation were fluent in either English or Arabic, and they used captured British vehicles and equipment for long-range raids against British logistics and reconnaissance missions, in actions quite similar to those being undertaken by the British Long Range Desert Group and David Stirling's SAS. Initially, Rommel disapproved of this underhanded style of warfare, but upon seeing the damage that could be inflicted by the British LRDG and SAS, he agreed to fully support the Brandenburgers. However, because of their long supply lines and the extreme distances between them and their parent army, they were frequently killed or captured due to difficulties supplying, transporting, or reinforcing them.

Brandenburgers were the first German soldiers to cross the Soviet border as part of Operation Barbarossa, when on the first day they seized key infrastructure points such as rail junctions and bridges, and conducted their expert brand of sabotage and disorganization against the Soviet communications and logistical structures. The Coastal Raider Battalion conducted a number of raids up the Baltic coast and in the Black Sea. The Brandenburgers then slipped into their natural role as elite advance scouts, making their way ahead of German spearheads disguised as Red Army soldiers and driving captured Red Army vehicles, capturing vital junctions and bridges so that the spearheads could continue unhindered. This is the role they would perform most throughout the remainder of the war, until their reconstitution in 1944. In mid-1942, a unit of 62 Brandenburgers led by Adrien von Fölkersam forged deep into Soviet territory towards the Maikop oilfields disguised as members of the NKVD and driving captured Soviet trucks. The unit ran into a large group of Soviet deserters and Fölkersam convinced them to rejoin the war effort so that his men could travel with them unnoticed throughout the Russian lines. Fölkersam, disguised as an NKVD major, successfully bluffed the commander of Maikop's defence into believing he had been ordered to retrieve the deserters and bring them to defend Maikop. In fact, Fölkersam was so convincing that the commander of Maikop's defence personally gave him a tour of the city's defences. One day before the arrival of the German spearhead, on August 8, 1942, the Brandenburgers used grenades to fake an artillery strike and knocked out Maikop's communications, then Fölkersam ordered a unilateral Soviet withdrawal from the city. Because he was dressed as an NKVD major and had been seen with their commander, combined with the lack of communications to refute his order, the Soviets withdrew from the city and the Germans entered it without a fight on August 9th.

By late 1942 the Brandenburgers were mostly acting simply as an elite infantry firebrigade, responding to any Soviet offensives with quick deployments from behind the lines. In February 1943 it was removed from the line and brought back to Germany, where it once again expanded and was redesignated the Division Brandenburg, under the command of Major General Alexander von Pfuhlstein. At this point the division was divided into four regiments, one of which was sent back to the Eastern Front to continue firebrigade duties. One battalion was sent to harass the Allies in Africa, and the rest of the division was deployed to the Balkans to serve as an anti-partisan unit. In this function Brandenburgers took part in the unsuccessful parachute assault against Josip Broz Tito's headquarters in Yugoslavia. When Italy surrendered to the Allies, the division was transferred from the Balkans to strategic Italian-controlled locations to disarm the Italian troops and seize control of the area for Germany. One such area was the island of Kos in the Dodecanese island chain off the coast of Turkey, which was controlled by Italian and British troops. Some 500 Brandenburger airborne troops and elements of the coastal raider battalion assaulted the island together with Luftwaffe paratroopers. The Brandenburgers quickly overwhelmed the Italian beach defences. While securing the town, the Brandenburgers found a large store of alcohol hidden in several caves and many indulged themselves with several drinks. Their commander, Lieutenant Langbein, realized the alcohol was making his men sluggish and tired, and secured a supply of Pervitin, a stimulant, which when mixed with the alcohol produced a feeling of controlled rage in the Brandenburgers. When the British and Italians assaulted later that night, they repelled the superior Allied numbers with ease, counterattacked, and together with the Luftwaffe troops secured the Allied positions and forced the surrender of some 8,000 British and Italian troops.

However, the Brandenburgers soon lost their comfortable Abwehr overlords. Several high-ranking Abwehr officials, including Admiral Canaris himself, were implicated in the July Plot to kill Hitler, bringing the Abwehr's anti-Nazi views to a close. Control of the Brandenburg Division was passed to the SS' intelligence section, the SD, but in September of 1944 it was decided special operations troops were superfluous and the divisions was reconstituted as Infanterie-Division Brandenburg (mot), was outfitted as a regular motorized division, and was sent to the Eastern Front to function as a regular infantry division. 1,800 men including Adrien von Fölkersam managed to eke out transfers to Otto Skorzeny's SS-Jagdverbande and serve out the rest of the war as special forces. The rest were condemned to regular infantry duty on the Eastern front. Regardless, they were still considered elite and served next to the Großdeutschland Division, another elite infantry division and one that had trained with the Brandenburgers in 1940-41. The division took part in fighting through the Baltic States and into East Prussia. Near the end of 1944, the division underwent its final change, when it was outfitted with a panzer regiment and was redesignated Panzergrenadier-Division Brandenburg. The Brandenburgers were involved in heavy fighting near Memel, and was then devastated and nearly wiped out completely in heavy fighting near Pillau. At the end of the war, the remainder of the division surrendered to the British in Schleswig-Holstein, but many individuals simply disappeared.

Post-war, many Brandenburgers had no desire to return to civilian life, and they spread out into various special forces and advisor roles in various different countries. A number of former Brandenburgers served in the SAS, the American special forces, and the French Foreign Legion. It is nearly certain that the Soviets used ex-Brandenburgers as advisors and operatives for their special forces and security forces. Many others traveled to the less developed world, to Africa, South and Central America, and Asia, where they acted as advisors and mercenaries, especially in only recently free African states following the end of the war. Mao Zedong was advised by a former Brandenburger, as was Indonesian president Sukarnoand Congolese separatist Moise Tshombe. Others found work for the Egyptian security forces or fighting for Israel. It is thought that the Brandenburgers form the heritage of the Kommando Spezialkrafte, or KSK, Germany's special forces since 1996.

The Brandenburgers played a key role in the formative years of Germany's European wars, one that could not be filled by any other unit. It could probably be argued that the German campaigns may not have been so dramatically successful if not for the actions of the Brandenburgers, but such an assertion would most likely be according them too much credit in the grand scheme of things. In the small-scale, they made a dramatic difference, and the individual stories of their success, such as Adrien von Fölkersam at Maikop, are spectacular and give cause to much thought about how they may have impacted certain operations in the war. Strategically, they made a slight difference. Operationally, they made a moderate difference, with some spectacular victories. Tactically, where they were involved, they could make or break the tide of a battle.
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Jun 12, 2003
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The Evolution: Exodus[/anchor]
by Estonianzulu

When Europa Universalis 2 was released, AARland was born. Suddenly AAR's were not a niche group, but instead a living breathing part of the forum. Indeed, the AARs became so essential to many people that without them, they would not come to the Paradox forums. It was many of the AAR writers who went on (in later years) to become a part of the RPG's, and Eutopia and other forum games. Europa Universalis 2 was the epicenter of this growth. The popularity and success of the game was outstanding compared to the original. The financial success of the game was supported by the rapid growth of the forums overall. And this growth contributed to the AARs.

Suddenly people once again needed to see the game, so a deluge of early 'gameplay' AARs came out with them. But unlike the early days of EU1, another type of AAR was present in the early days. Narrative, and storybook AARS emerged quickly. These types of AARs had come about in the later days of the AAR forum, but now that the culture of After Action Reports existed, these styles emerged sooner. The depth of writing and styles was deeper than it ever had been before. This depth helped writers across the board develop into better writers. It was the first great change in the AAR.

But it was not until 2002 that the first great upheaval in the world of AAR's took place. While EU2 helped build up the group of writers who were already onboard, this new change would radically alter the face of AARland forever. In 2002, Hearts of Iron was released and the game's first AARs emerged. Suddenly the concept of AARland as a entity began to emerge. For a while the three forums (and then Victoria in 2004) were separate and disconnected. It was this exodus to HoI and then Victoria that caused the birth of AARland. The three communities would forever become one.


Was it a curse or a blessing?

HoI, and to a lesser extent Victoria, went through their own evolutions. Victoria was a game very similar to Europa Universalis, but Hearts of Iron was radically different. The economics of the game were different, the battles were different, everything was changed. HoI brought in an entirely new crowd with different interests and different objectives. Some people began to wonder if Europa Universalis would fade because of the success of this new genre. The rapid rise of the sub genres signaled the death of the "old ways" to many. While this seems absurd to us now, it was a feeling that emerged at three distinct times during the growth of AARland, the first was when Hearts of Iron began its rise.

The answer became a resounding no. Although the wealth was spread around, the new game brought in a new generation of players, writer and most importantly, readers. These new forumites disseminated throughout the forums, and brought about a stronger world for the whole.

Hearts of Iron and now Hearts of Iron 2, are niche games to those players who learned to love Europa Universalis. Many HoI'ers don't spend a lot of time in the other genres. Long posts, waxing philosophical, were written in the years of '05 and '06 about the growing disparity between the Hearts of Iron forums and the other genres. Crusader Kings and Diplomacy did not see the same uprising that Hearts of Iron Two did. Pure numbers prove that pretty easily. Hearts of Iron 2 has 1,540 threads, compared to Crusader King's 526, Victoria's 768 and Europa Universalis 1's 921 (and Diplomacy's 12!). Even the most famous and longest lasting forum in AARland, the EU2 pages, has only 1,737, just a few hundred more than the "fringe" forum in Hearts of Iron.

HoI2 has existed since 2004, compared to EU2's 2002. That means HoI2 has had over 500 new AAR's per year, compared to Europa Universalis 2's 350. The disparity continued into the current year. In the AARland choice awards, which are a forum wide version of the old OscAARs, HoI is heavily represented. In a 3 vote swing, HoI dominated the elections. Hearts of Iron top AAR's received 96 votes, compared to the nearest total of 59 for Europa Universalis. Likewise, the number of Hearts of Iron AARs which received top 5 votes in best overall was 9, compared to Crusader King's 3. Hearts of Iron 2 is easily the most popular AAR forum on the boards. The numbers really can't lie. In views alone, HoI averages 28,000 more views a year than EU.

Why does this happen? Is it because the HoI readers and writers are more active? I doubt it. I believe that Hearts of Iron is a game more universally welcomed. World War Two, the subject of the game, is a topic of wide interest. More people are interested in the conflicts of the '30s and '40s than the 15th and 16th centuries. That means more people read and post AARs for that period. Are these writers better writers than EU's or Victoria's? Is this why Hearts of Iron wins more awards? Some are, certainly, but I imagine they are average. It’s a numbers game. HoI, and then HoI2 grew with leaps and bounds, and will one day overcome EU2 in pure numbers. It’s a good thing, because unlike Victoria and Crusader Kings, most of the Hearts of Iron posters are new to the forums. Coz, or Stroph or Hajji posting a new AAR in Victoria, Crusader Kings is great, but it’s a rehashing of old blood. JoeNewguy101, who just bought HoI2 and joined the forums, brings new blood and a breath of fresh air into the forum.

That is truly the wonder of this Exodus. AAR'ers fled to the fringes, to Hearts of Iron and Victoria, and Crusader Kings. But theses fringes came together to form AARland, and with them came the community that exists now. For a while, things were tough. Having to convince people to leave their bubbles is never easy. But the bubbles have been merged into one community. The Exodus became a rebirth for the forums. The success of the other games helped make AARland a success.
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Jun 12, 2003
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AARland Choice AwAARds 2007Q2 Results[/anchor]
by anonymous4401​

For the first time ever, the AARland Choice AwAARds will be announcing its winners in The AARlander in what was a really exhausting summary to write! This quarter of 2007Q2, which started on April 01 2007 and ended on June 30 2007, was voted on throughout the month of July in this thread, with exactly sixty people participating in the voting. This number is a step down from the ninety-high of 2007Q1, but it is regular numbers for the quarters that preceded that fabled one. And it was the first quarter in a long while in which voting deadlines were kept with no extensions! I hope those who were expecting an extension and for this reason missed this round drown in their own tears. And if they're not crying then perhaps somebody else's tears. Or any kind of liquid really. Anyway, on to the results!

In EU3, Timelines: What if Spain Failed to Control the World? by canonized continued to dominate, winning the Favorite AAR category earning eighteen votes over its rival, History of the White Eagle - Poland - Megacampaign AAR - part 2 EU3 by thrashing mad, with eleven votes. Timelines also won Favorite Narrative AAR in a landslide so huge it was almost disgusting: twenty-five votes, while none of its 'rivals' could scrape together a second vote. Favorite Comedy AAR received a shakeup as last quarter's winner, The Deconquista: A Granada AAR by Dysken, though eligible this quarter, only updated for one month, and was thus completely forgotten. The second and third winners of last year's quarter, Templaric Twits: Mediterranean Police by Secret Master and Zaporozhie: the Product of a Sich Mind by Farquharson at 14 and 9 votes, respectively, managed to preserve their positions this quarter at 8 and 5 votes, respectively, while the top spot was taken by Shaybanid - Central Asia's Finest by Duke of Wellington, well known already for his award-winning EU2 AARs. History of the White Eagle swept the Favorite History AAR category almost as well as Timelines had Narrative, with twenty-two votes, nineteen over the nearest competitor. And in gameplay we have Shaybanid - Central Asia's Finest by Duke of Wellington and Three Countries One Goal by Storey in a tie for first with five votes each, with The Ebony Cross and the Sacred Eagle (Era I) by rcduggan and History of the White Eagle also tied for second with four votes each, Sforza!!!'s performance quite a fall from its 26 votes in last quarter.

In HOI2/1, The Manchurian Candidate: Pu Yi's Attempt to Restore the Qing Empire by grayghost won the Favorite AAR category with seven votes, beating out the incumbent For King and Country by Draco Rexus with five. Tied for third were Lamps Before the Wind - A Japanese Revival by Myth and Kapituliren? Niemals! by kami888 with three votes each. In narrative The Manchurian Candidate also won with seven votes, beating both previous co-winners For King and Country and Kathmandu Can Do (A Nepal AAR) by rcduggan, which are once again tied, but this time for second, with five votes each. The jockeying of these three AARs for position was certainly an interesting dynamic to watch and will be in the future. In Comedy, For a Few ReincAARnations More - A Tibetan AAR by Le Ran won once more with twelve votes, though its lead over If WW2 was a comicbook by Juste, which got five votes, was less than its lead last quarter, which was 16-3. In History, Dar al-Islam: THe House of Submission by soonerborn0524 and previous winner The Butterfly Effect: A British AAR by El Pip tied for first with four votes each, Lamps Before the Wind just behind at three. And in Gameplay, the young rising star Kapituliren? Niemals! by kami888, which managed to get a viewcount of over 100,000 in the span of a single quarter, took the first, though its tally of five votes seems rather disappointing given its obviously vast fanbase. Interestingly last quarter's winner in this category, Red Alert 2, was also by kami888.

In Crusader Kings, Knud Knýtling, Prince of Denmark (and other assorted tales) by phargle returns to its spot in the Favorite AAR ranking, with five votes. Collage of CAARdinals: An interactive history of the Papal States by Llywelyn and others made second with four votes, with the previous winner, A Year's Education - Russia Megacampaign, pt. I by RGB, tied with The Hearth, the Oak, and the Gods - a pagan Lithuania by Legolas with three votes. In Narrative, previous winner The Beautiful Girl and the History Class by Jestor wins with four votes, which was less than its eight votes of last quarter. And though it looked VERY uncertain at first, Knud Knýtling, Prince of Denmark (and other assorted tales) by phargle kicked ahead of the pack to win Favorite Comedy AAR with 10 votes, keeping its very long winning streak. In History-Book, The Long Reign of Capet by Estonianzulu won with four votes, while previous winner A Year's Education - Russia Megacampaign, pt. I by RGB tied with Isles of Glory: A Dynastic History by anthonyp for second with three votes. And in Gameplay, Real Men Do It Alphabetically: An AARgau by anonymous4401 won with seven votes, probably because a Gameplay AAR in CK is about as rare as a Republican in New York City outside the Financial District.

In Victoria, Debt Unpaid: A Guy Marlborough Mystery by Hajji Giray I and "The Footsteps of Illustrious Men"- USA GC AAR by Estonianzulu tied for first with four votes each, while the previous quarter's winner, Castles in the Sky (or The Wild, Wild West) – A Colorado AAR by Rensslaer, was absolutely nowhere to be seen. In Narrative Debt Unpaid: A Guy Marlborough Mystery by Hajji Giray I won again, though this time with five votes instead of seven. And in Comedy A King Without A Country: A Carlist AAR by siglark won with three votes, beating the category's heated favorite, Victoria's Secret AAR (Netherlands) by joebthegreat- Ah, who am I kidding? This category's never been very competitive and this round, which saw six votes in the whole category total, was hardly an exception. In History-Book, Times of Troubles; The story of Russia in the Great War by Wannabe Tatar won in a landslide with eight votes, and also won Gameplay with six votes, ending Quirinus308's The World is Not Enough, a German WWI AAR year-long streak of winning, which tied for second with Power By Production v 2.0 - A VIP:R 0.1 Prussia AAR at three votes.

In EU2/1, out of the previous three co-winners of the Favorite AAR category, only The Eagles of Avalon by Mettermrck managed to place in the top two, by placing in the top one with five votes. Second place was a three-way tie between Resurrection: Rebirth of the United States by CatKnight, Byzantine's Khan by Amric, and Military campaigns of some of the finest warriors in the world - AAR thread by Capt Janszoon with two votes each. In Narrative, last year's winner In memory of France by stnylan sadly did not update this quarter, and the awarad went to Resurrection: Rebirth with five votes, The Eagles of Avalon close behind at four votes. And though Comedy was last quarter's most voted category besides Favorite, this quarter it was the least, with previous winner Theodoros - The Little Republic That Could by Duke of Wellington and previous runner-up All your COTs are belong to us: an English AAR by Fnuco winning in a tie with two votes each. There were five votes in the category total. In History-Book O Lord, our God, Arise: More Weekly Reports from England by Judas Maccabeus won with six votes, beating out last quarter's winner Beyond Tannenberg II: The Knight's Tale by CatKnight at four votes. And in Gameplay Dreams of a Baltic State - Pomerania AAR by Emperor_krk and one of three previous co-winners The Yellow Fever by Fnuco won with two votes each.

And as for the AARland general awards, in Favorite Graphics History of the White Eagle won once more with fifteen votes, its prospects even surer than the time it won last quarter at thirteen and seven votes, as it now has only one eligible part. And in New Writer this quarter was far less exciting than last quarter, which gave us canonized, grayghost, RGB, and thrashing mad, who all started writing epic widely-acclaimed AARs immediately. Return to Glory: A Germania AAR by Hardraade won this time with three votes, in a field where eight other votes were evenly split over eight other candidates.

And in case you don't like words, here are the results in simpler form:

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
Shaybanid - Central Asia's Finest by Duke of Wellington
Favorite History-Book AAR, EU3
History of the White Eagle - Poland - Megacampaign AAR - part 2 EU3 by thrashing mad
Favorite Gameplay AAR, EU3
Shaybanid - Central Asia's Finest by Duke of Wellington
Three Countries One Goal by Storey

Favorite AAR, HOI1/2
The Manchurian Candidate: Pu Yi's Attempt to Restore the Qing Empire by grayghost
Favorite Narrative AAR, HOI1/2
The Manchurian Candidate: Pu Yi's Attempt to Restore the Qing Empire by grayghost
Favorite Comedy AAR, HOI1/2
For a Few ReincAARnations More - A Tibetan AAR by Le Ran
Favorite History-Book AAR, HOI1/2
Dar al-Islam: THe House of Submission by soonerborn0524
The Butterfly Effect: A British AAR by El Pip
Favorite Gameplay AAR, HOI1/2
Kapituliren? Niemals! by kami888

Favorite AAR, CK
Knud Knýtling, Prince of Denmark (and other assorted tales) by phargle
Favorite Narrative AAR, CK
The Beautiful Girl and the History Class by Jestor
Favorite Comedy AAR, CK
Knud Knýtling, Prince of Denmark (and other assorted tales) by phargle
Favorite History-Book AAR, CK
The Long Reign of Capet by Estonianzulu
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
"The Footsteps of Illustrious Men"- USA GC AAR by Estonianzulu
Favorite Narrative AAR, Vicky
Debt Unpaid: A Guy Marlborough Mystery by Hajji Giray I
Favorite Comedy AAR, Vicky
A King Without A Country: A Carlist AAR by siglark
Favorite History-Book AAR, Vicky
Times of Troubles; The story of Russia in the Great War by Wannabe Tatar
Favorite Gameplay AAR, Vicky
Times of Troubles; The story of Russia in the Great War by Wannabe Tatar

Favorite AAR, EU1/2
The Eagles of Avalon by Mettermrck
Favorite Narrative AAR, EU1/2
Resurrection: Rebirth of the United States by CatKnight
Favorite Comedy AAR, EU1/2
Theodoros - The Little Republic That Could by Duke of Wellington
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
The Yellow Fever by Fnuco

Favorite Graphics, Overall
History of the White Eagle - Poland - Megacampaign AAR - part 2 EU3 by thrashing mad
Favorite New Writer, Overall
Return to Glory: A Germania AAR by Hardraade

And that's the ACA. The current quarter, 2007Q3, started on July 01 2007 and will end on September 30 2007. Voting will begin on October 01, 2007. Don't forget to join us!
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Jun 12, 2003
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You've Been Canonized!: El Pip[/anchor]
by canonized


You've Been Canonized!: El Pip​

Hi there everyone and welcome to You’ve Been Canonized ! If you’re new to the series , I am canonized , author of Timelines: What if Spain Failed to Control the World? . As some of you might know , at Timelines we do a weekly interview segment and have been doing so since March and now we’ve been sponsored by the AARLander and have found a happy home here ! Here’s how it works: Each week we interview a friendly patron author who’s stopped by at our thread and ask them about themselves , what they think of Timelines , and their current project whether it’s an AAR , mod , or AARLand community project ! At the beginning of each new month that week’s interview will be featured on the AARLander accompanied by links and descriptions to the other three interviews done by me that month so there is lots to read if you so wish ! This week’s guest is El Pip author of The Butterfly Effect ! Let’s get to the questions .

Part I: Author and Brit

El Pip and I discuss a few things about him !

canonized: First of all , thank you for being on the programme with us ! It's certainly an honour ! I have to admit though that being new to the forum I'm not too familiar with too many of the personalities ; could you tell those of us who might not know you yet how long you've been on the boards and how long you've been writing AARs ?

El Pip: Ohh I've been around must be two years ish. But only active for 18months or so. The only reason I actually did register was to write an AAR as it happens.

canonized: Oh ? Could you tell us the story of how that happened ?

El Pip: Well I'd found the place while looking to answer a question on HoI 1, which I'd picked up on sale. While looking around I found the answer but noticed all these 'Tale of Albanian Aggression' or 'The Lion of Belgium' type sigs which of course got me curious. So I started reading them. I forget which one first, but probably Allenby's epic. If only because I do remember downloading the TGW mod fairly early on. Having read a few I thought; Hey I can do that. So I did and started the back story of 'The Butterfly Effect'

canonized: Would you say that it was at that time that you found your narrative style or would you say that your author's voice developed more so over time ?

El Pip: Oh definitely it developed over time. If you look at the first updates and the last ones the difference is huge. They could be from different AARs almost. I'd also credit the interlude of 'King Haakon and the Fjords' as helping my style. If only for the practice it gave me.

canonized: From what I've noticed of your writing style as well , you have an easy time with historical data that comes across even if it is in a re-formatted alternate setting . Are you a big WW2 era buff ?

El Pip: In any other group yes. On these boards no. :) There are people who have personal collections that rival libraries. Or that's the impression they give anyway.

canonized: I suppose also , at least for your current work , that your historical acumen is aided by your residence in the UK . Could you tell us how that aspect of your identity has permeated the subjects of your writing and why ?

El Pip: Hmmm that's a good question. I suppose WW2 was the last great Imperial huzzah of Britain which could have really turned out spectacularly different with a few small changes. I guess my Britishness makes me push it towards coming out better for Britain. It's certainly something I know I'll have to keep a check on, make sure Britain does make mistakes and get things wrong.

canonized: I think , indeed , that we writers have our own biases and factions that we like to root for and most often than not we tend to idealize that faction or group to the extent that everything goes smoothly for them . Your writing style , however , is also integrated with instances of failure and conflict which I think as I've read your work also seems to reflect the proud parliamentary tradition of the Isles . Why did you want to display this aspect of your homeland for us ?

El Pip: The easy answer is that I couldn't hide it! 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.

canonized: Do you have any plans to expand your literary talents outside of AARland ?

El Pip: People have suggested it, Llwelyn most recently. But in the words of Clint Eastwood 'A man's got to know his limitations.' I'm an engineer, not a writer.

Part III: Launching the Butterfly

El Pip talks to us about his current project !

canonized: The first question is an obvious one . Clearly , the title is an allusion to the timeline-altering movie , but could you tell us your motivations for creating a world where only a small domain of events were initially altered ?

El Pip: As it happens the title is an allusion to the original chaos theory 'Butterfly Effect'. However as I read about that in Jurassic Park and there aren't any dinosaurs in the AAR your reason fits better. As for the reason, well I wanted to do something realistic and thus small changes were most plausible. Mostly however it was just a general interest in the whole concept. How small a change could I make and still get a dramatic deviation.

canonized: What kind of preparation or pre-writing research did you do for this AAR ?

El Pip: Not a lot really. Just a quick web check on dates and majorities. Given how simple the original updates were that's all that was needed. Those were the days : sighs : The most recent updates are getting demanding research wise.

canonized: Indeed they have been including many fine tuned details of technology of the time , naval doctrines and their explanations , of which you also provide very interesting diagrams ! Would you say that part of the difference in tone in your work is that in the beginning it was more focused on the political while now it's more focused on the militant ?

El Pip: The focus follows the story and goes where the action is. In the beginning politics was the action, who was in power and why. When the war started the politicians took a back seat and the admirals and generals took over. Doing a series of updates on the Anglo-Irish trade pact while Cunningham's carriers were in action just didn't seem right! Now as politics is coming alive again the focus returns there. I'm not going to limit myself to one area so the focus will doubtless shift again.

canonized: That's certainly understandable and considering how things might have changed due to your tinkering with Germany and the other powers there might yet be instances of going back and forth not to mention the potential politico-military questions of South Africa . Have you planned out what will occur or do your narratives rotate around an unexplored area and you're just following the ramifications as they ripple ?

El Pip: Bit of both. I have the basic plot and a few of the big arcs mapped out, there are things I want to cover and events I know are going to trigger in the future.

El Pip: On the other hand I do try and keep in the spirit of the title and I also had a US president die on me, which was a surprise I can tell you, so clearly the Butterfly Effect is in the game engine as well.

canonized: Could you give us any previews for what might be coming next ? Whether it might be something about the Spanish Question currently going on ; what kind of peace Churchill can get with the Italians under such duress over the Simpson question or ... ?

El Pip: Previews... Well Spain is going to be an issue undoubtedly. The Spanish army may have lost the transport but they still want to rebel. Bare in mind that at this stage Mola, Sanjurjo and Sotelo are all alive, Franco has not yet consolidated his position. The right is still factional. There is also the French reaction to consider. In Italy Mussolini knows his position just got a lot stronger. While imports may be blockaded and the army in East Africa about to march into surrender he believes that is the high tide of the British advance. The army on the mainland outnumbers any British/Commonwealth force considerably and moreover would actually want to fight. I've also mentioned rumblings in Greece, elections are coming up there. Plus of course the US elections in November (probably some time in 2010 at my current rate), the 2-26 incident in Japan (which is interestingly late) plus the re-occupation of the Rhineland has been delayed over a month already. There's plenty of events lurking around the next few updates.

canonized: I was always curious , after you having provided such interesting operations such as the blitzkrieg-like amphibious assault on Tobruk in order to draw out the enemy fleet ; how did you come up with these original scenarios which the game obviously cannot engineer ?

El Pip: My method is simple, I just use the game to get results. The how and the when of things happening I create. So for instance the battle with the Italian fleet was actually three or more combats around the time of the landing. All the ships sunk and who sunk them are accurate I just knocked it into one big battle. With a battle result I then worked backwards to why the fleet might have sortied in the first place. Basically the game is a result generating engine, nothing more.

canonized: And lastly , what are your future AAR plans after this one ?

El Pip: As I think I've mentioned I'll be writing this for years. I'm updating considerably slower than real time, with no prospect of speeding up :D :eek: If I get time I've still got "For King Haakon and The Fjords" to try and finish, or at least bring to a conclusion. And if (when?) I get Victoria I've got a vague idea for a narrative character driven AAR following a mining engineer around the world, chasing the 'Oil/Precious Metal' events.

canonized: Well thanks again El Pip ! And thanks again to our audience who tuned in again this week ! We’ll be announcing our next Canonization candidate sometime during the week so please check us out at our home thread for that ! Good night , everyone . If you’re interested in the Canonization series , or interested in helping with the other Timelines projects , please feel free to contact me ! Also , please support the AARLander and talk to anonymous4401 for any questions or comments ! If you would like to read some more interviews please check out this past month’s interviews below !


The first interview of this past month was with Legolas and can be found here ! It’s a pleasure to get to know more about his Pagan culture centered AAR !

Our second interview of the past month was a special return visit with our good friend grayghost and can be found here ! We catch up with grayghost’s AAR and see how his noir epic is shaping up !

Our third interview of the past month was with the quirky bowl of soup and can be found here ! bowl of soup is the person behind his clever Seljuk AAR !

Still want to read more of my interviews ? We’ve been interviewing someone once a week since March 17 , 2007 ! Please come visit the Communion of Saints Canonization index !​
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