Pintastic 1 010Friday my youngest and I headed to Sturbridge with my wife but while she went on the hunt for quilting shops in the area we attended day one of Pintastic New England the first big Pinball event/convention in the area that I’ve ever seen.

My family arrived at the location in Sturbridge host hotel about a half hour before the event was to officially begin, our passes gave us early access to the rooms but as our hotel rooms were ready we decided to get settled first and then check out the pinball rooms later as we would have all day to do so.

Pintastic considered of two major rooms the first a free play room where players were able to play games brought by various pinball aficionados from around the area to play for free. Some of these games were for sale and others where just for show. I talked to one such gentleman on day one

The primary room was a large vendor area where you could talk to people who made their living restoring Pinball machines like Atlantic Pinball

People who designed various types of Pinball machines like Multimorphic

And people who made devices to support pinball machines like Pinnovators.

Of course in addition to these and other vendors (who mostly allowed people to play their machines for free) there were the tournament machines

This is the area where as part of a special admission package (or a fee of $20) you could enter a cash tournament to compare your pinball skills to those assembled here.

TherePintastic 1 020 was also a video game area with a tournament but the real star was the hundreds of pinball machines sitting there for the playing. At $17 for an all day pass (over 12 hours) you get your monies worth and then some.

The event continues through saturday so if you are reading this early enough consider heading down to Pintastic NE at the Sturbridge host hotel on route 20.

I suspect you’ll have a great time if you do.

I’ll be posting some individual interviews from some of the folks here later in the day and week.

Some of you might be wondering why I bother with stuff like this with so many other serious things out there, but frankly that’s why I think we NEED to bother with stuff like this.

If all we worry about is the serious parts of life we won’t have any time to enjoy it.

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As a new year dawns and I get a year older it amazes me how much things have changed

I’ve been a gamer for over Thirty Five years  about the same length of time I’ve been a Doctor Who fan and like the time lord whose face has changed many times over that period the term “gamer”  has dramatically changed from my youth.

When I was young a gamer was somebody me or Instapundit who likely played Avalon Hill games like 1776, Diplomacy or perhaps the newly released Squad Leader that took the hobby by storm or was into one of the many Sports Simulation Games APBA or Strat-O-Matic.

As the years passed gaming included people playing role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons and other such role players with settings from Middle Earth, to the Old West to Space.

With the dawn of the home computer Geek Gamers were suddenly able to play things like Kingmaker & D & D Modules like Pool of Radiance.

But just as we geeks were thanks to the computer age entering Nerdvarna a funny thing happened with the explosion of the speed of the internet & PC, plus their spread to the general public suddenly gaming was redefined. It was no longer something simply for geeks like myself & my pals, suddenly not only was gaming mainstream with online games such as City of Heroes and Call of Duty playable of gaming system as well as PC’s.

And with Smartphones in the hands of everyone suddenly the majority of the people online playing games are no longer folks like me, they’re people like my wife who might be playing Pogo online or perhaps going to the apple store and buying apps like Slotomania because there is a bigger audience for slots or other electronic versions of casino games than geeks playing Munchkin.

To be sure there is still room for people like me who might sign on to stream to play Civilization 5 with the same gaming crew I once sat at a table with were we were in college and every now and then I managed to get free for a board game like Ra, Seven Wonders or some of the old Classics like 1830.

But when it comes down to it we have gone from being the main target for writers of aps.

That is until the dawn of true virtual reality games, then we’ll rule the roots again, at least for a little while until those gamemakers create a virtual reality Vegas Casino with a simulated Robert De Niro keeping us honest.

I would not be surprised to see that in my lifetime.

 

Yesterday the Hill noted that Ted Cruz turned up in Kansas to say a few words on behalf of Pat Roberts (R-KS?) who is fighting for his political life to save a Senate seat that has belonged to the GOP since before I was born:

Tea Party favorite Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) waded into the Kansas Senate race Thursday, touting beleaguered Republican incumbent Pat Roberts as the contest’s only true conservative.

Cruz’s visit follows that of Sarah Palin who came in earlier to buck up the longtime GOP senator who had held off a determined challenge from Tea Party candidate Milton Wolf, a challenge that alienated the tea party base necessary for him to win.

That problem makes it VITAL for Roberts to be able give tea party supporters a reason to vote for him and Ted Cruz had such a reason in his hand:

Cruz noted that when he waged a 21-hour filibuster to protest ObamaCare last year, Roberts was one of only a handful of senators who came to the floor to support him. Roberts, standing next to Cruz behind the podium, reminisced about a Senate attendant reminding him to put on a tie before speaking on the floor in the early hours. 

This was something that I noted at the time:

Cruz started with his 21 hour floor speech something that couldn’t be ignored. First it couldn’t be ignored by republicans in the Senate:

Within hours of Liz Cheney, now a candidate for the Senate in Wyoming, announcing her support of Ted Cruz’s filibuster, Senator Mike Enzi, who Cheney is primarying, took to the floor of the United States Senate and declared he stood with Ted Cruz.

Pat Roberts, the elderly Senator from Kansas who may soon be getting a stiff primary challenge, stiffly stood on the floor of the United States Senate to show he too stood with Ted Cruz.

Rand Paul, after NBC News reported he may disagree with Cruz’s filibuster threat, went to the floor of the Senate and stood with Ted Cruz.

And of course Marco Rubio who had lost favor with the tea party.

That illustrates a point about conventional wisdom, our friends on the left and in the media along with many in the GOP were adamant that Ted Cruz’s moves vis a vis Obamacare which took place one year ago were going to be a disaster for the party

Obmacare’s launch has been a dismal failure so dangerous that if you are a Democrat running for election in 2014 you’re running away from it, fast!

So lets summarize:

Ted Cruz make a fight that the establishment shied away from. He took on a position for principle not popular with the media and public. He made that fight with lots of risks and little upside and pushed the media to the point where that media made absolutely sure that the entire country knew which party wanted to stop Obamacare and which party with one voice was dedicated to protecting Obamacare from repeal and or delay at all costs….

…right up until they weren’t.

and now that move, which gave Pat Roberts a chance to confirm his conservative street cred might just be the move that saves him.

Closing thought, last year I argued that,  contrary to the conventional wisdom,  Ted Cruz was doing the GOP establishment a huge favor by staying out races which involved incumbent Republicans.  Yesterday’s appearance for Pat Roberts is the final piece in the puzzle whereby Ted Cruz, like Rand Paul before him, earns chits with the establishment GOP that he will be in a position to cash in during 2016 if he chooses to do so.

One might argue that this is contrary to the principles of the Tea Party, but one might also argue that the move Cruz support Roberts in Kansas demonstrates that in a room full of people who think they are playing chess with checkers players he is playing Diplomacy instead of chess.

 

He wasn’t wasting his money.  A candidate’s assessment of his chances was discreetly checked and rechecked through other sources…if a report was highly unfavorable, so was Johnson’s response: Noel P. Fox Democratic candidate in Michigan’s Ninth District, told Johnson that he was leading by 1,500 votes, but Johnson knew better (Fox in fact was to lose by 12,000); “None,” he wrote next to Fox’s name.

Robert Caro  Lyndon Johnson The Path to Power 1982

The old Avalon Hill gaming company created some of the most amazing military simulation games in history from the Siege of Jerusalem to the Arab Israeli Wars, the greatest of these games was a World War 2 infantry game called Squad Leader.

The game pieces represented individual squads of 3-12 men and single pieces representing the Squad Leader after whom the game was named.

The leader piece and the morale system was the greatest innovation in war-gaming. The entire game mechanics was about keeping the morale of the troops high enough to keep fighting. If you lost your morale and couldn’t rally them, you could not win, PERIOD.

Which brings us to again to Bain and the Obama Campaign.

Yesterday I talked about how the Bain attacks were all about keeping big donors giving, but as any campaign person can tell you while money is vital to a campaign it can’t do everything.

With allies like the Unions and groups like ACORN you can produce astroturf to make a protest but all of those things require either money to pay such people or intimidation to make sure people show. I never forgot meeting a Union Steward who was checking to see which of his members showed up for a rally for Coakley in Worcester and who did not.

A campaign simply can’t survive if they have to pay for each and every individual doing the grunt work you must have Volunteers motivated to do these things. Without the volunteer foot soldiers, willing to knock on doors, willing to hold the signs, willing to do all of the small things a campaign falters.

Volunteers give the single most valuable thing a human has, the one thing he can’t create more or earn more of. The one thing he can never get back TIME.

While there are a few romantic quixotic types out there. It is almost impossible to get people to give that time if they believe there is no chance for victory. Even the true believers once they figure there is no chance, will move on to the next campaign.

And that’s the 2nd reason why the Obama campaign is going all in.

The money problem is huge and may already be insurmountable for the president’s re-election campaign, but if the foot soldiers decide this election is over at best they might end up on a local, state or congressional campaign, at worst, they’ll just go home they might even not vote.

So the Obama campaign will burn money and keep burning it as long as they can, because the moment the stop the truth of these words become clear

“Ride right through them, they’re demoralized as hell”!

their squads of volunteers will disappear from the board, never to return.
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It looks like the Senate Campaign in Massachusetts has a parallel with one of my favorite computer games is Sid Meier’s Colonization.

In Colonization there is a unit called the “converted native” This unit is generated by putting a Missionary into an Indian village and over time said missionary produces a converted native. (You can also get two converted natives if you get the founding father Juan de Sepulveda). A converted native provides one more resource than a free colonist when producing crops, wood or minerals but one less any product from a building (From a Weaver’s shop to a Church) and both produce less than a specialist.

The converted native can be transformed into a “specialist” either through education (placement in a schoolhouse) or by visiting an Indian village and learning a specific skill that said village specializes from a seasoned scout to an expert fir trapper et/al. As described by a site that I think takes things much too seriously:

Essentially, assimilation occurs through Western education, which removes all visual identifiers that this unit used to be Native

Apparently this process takes still takes place as evidenced by Former Obama Administration Official Elizabeth Warren (via Hotair)

as the Herald notes, she was listed as a minority professor in the Association of American Law Schools’ annual directory from 1986 to 1995. She joined Harvard Law as a visiting professor in 1992 and became a full-time prof there in 1995,

And the Volokh Conspiracy notes something even more interesting

But it gets even more interesting: once Warren joined the Harvard faculty, she dropped off the list of minority law faculty. Now that’s passing strange. When the AALS directory form came around before Warren arrived at Harvard, she was proud enough of her Native American ancestry to ask that she be listed among the minority law professors. (Or, in the unlikely even that she just allowed law school administrators to fill out the forms for her without reviewing them, they were aware that she claimed such ancestry, and she didn’t object when she was listed.) Once she arrived at Harvard, however, she no longer chose to be listed as a minority law professor.

So apparently arrival at Harvard has the same effect in real live as education has in Sid Meier’s Colonization

Left Prof Warren 1986-1995 Right Warren at Harvard post 1995

As you might guess the Senator Scott Brown campaign jumped all over this:

“This story raises serious questions about Elizabeth Warren’s credibility. The record now shows Prof. Warren did claim to be a ‘minority,’ and that she attempted to mislead the public about these facts when she was first asked about the issue last week,” said Brown spokesman Jim Barnett. “Prof. Warren needs to come clean about her motivations for making these claims and explain the contradictions between her rhetoric and the record.”

Ever Since this story came out there has been a twitter hashtag #ElizabethWarrenIndianNames (my favorite is Jim Geraghty on twitter’s “Dances with occupiers”) but after seeing the reaction of the Warren Campaign I think a more appropriate name might be “Plays the Victim”.

Once again, the qualifications and ability of a woman are being called into question by Scott Brown who did the same thing with the Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan. It’s outrageous.”

So let’s get this straight, Elizabeth Warren claims minority status when it is of use and drops it when it is no longer convenient. Scott Brown’s campaign calls her on it and that makes him a sexist.

I suspect the people of Massachusetts won’t find that very senatorial but if I’m the Warren campaign I’d be more worried about the reaction of the average voter struggling to find work or get their children accepted at prestigious colleges to her affirmative action claim.

Update: For some reason my uploads of images are failing and the images I had in the post have vanished. Working on it.

I’m not a big online gamer (although I’ll occasionally use my son’s account for a hand of Bridge) so the online multi Player stuff really doesn’t hold a lot of interest for me, but I’ve been a wargamer/boardgamer for 35 years and this week I had my first exposure to World of Warcraft the Boardgame, and it is interesting.

The System:

Basically you have two groups of players each on a “side”. In a specific number of turns these teams of players complete quests against various monsters and warriors (either together or along) to gain experience in order to be strong enough to defeat the boss at the end, if neither can then the fight is between the pair of groups. You also encounter some creatures that give no bonus’ at all but are in your way. Each player can equip themselves based on the restrictions of their character as they gain levels they gain bonus traits that are roughly based on the choices they make at the start (although technically they can choose others) The point is to progress enough so you can defeat stronger and stronger monsters as you go up in levels.

One of the interesting things about this game is the turn alternates one team moves on odd turns, one on evens.

The Combat:

The system is a D8 System. Blue (range) Green (Defense) and Red (Parry and attack) system. Based upon your equipment you will gain dice of each color to attack, depending on your abilities and equipment you may be allowed re-rolls or be allowed dice in the “attrition” box. Blue attacks hit first as they are ranged. Green dice block hits and Red Dice parry AND hit. Attrition hits take place at the end of combat.

Each creature you fight has a value for Offense (damage it deals) and Defense (damage it takes) and toughness (the number it takes to score a hit) additionally creatures may have bonus’ that negate various types of advantages. If you fail to slay your opponent(s) they deal damage to you based upon these figures.

The Chrome:

Photo from Gencon

The individual molded plastic pieces are pretty well done and rather neat, the cards design is only pleasing to the eye but large enough to read without glasses if you are older like myself, the board is a thing of beauty and it’s layout worth of your attention.

The Price:

On Amazon the Game retails for $119 on other sites I see it for about $80 which sounds a lot more reasonable. You will get a lot of playtime from this game, but in comparison to other awesome games out there (read Talisman) it seems a tad steep.

My verdict:

It is a good game and is a lot easier to learn than it might seem, the combat system might take a play or two to pick up. It’s not the best value in gaming out there but you will enjoy yourselves.

This review also appears at Amazon.com here