Welcome! Hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend. I spent my Saturday down at PAX, a big Seattle gaming convention that seems to be getting bigger every year. I had a chance to do a book signing, giving away almost 50 copies of Swordmage, and I also talked to a couple of industry press outfits about what we’ve been up to lately—specifically, the Red Box, Dark Sun, and Gamma World. I’m really looking forward to the Gamma World release; it seems that everybody who’s played it has raved about how much fun it is, which I take as a very good sign. The game box is gorgeous and I think it’s a pretty good value; between rules, adventure, tokens, maps, and cards, the box is very weighty indeed! Gamma World isn’t that far off now, and I can’t wait to see what folks make of it.
I can’t talk much about my next D&D releases yet, but I will point out that Avenger – third in my Blades of the Moonsea series – will be out in paperback in just another couple of months. If you’ve been waiting to check it out, here’s your chance! I’m also getting ready to start my next Forgotten Realms novel, which should be an early 2012 release. That’ll cut into my evenings and weekends over the next few months, but for once I’ve got the schedule set up so that I can do the bulk of the writing in the December to March timeframe, rather than spring/summer. I hate sitting down for extra writing when the weather’s good. It just kills me.
Conquest of Nerath
One of my upcoming publications (second quarter 2011, anyway) that I’m especially proud of is our Conquest of Nerath board game. This is one of the “very cool things” I promised to talk about months ago, and we finally announced it at GenCon. I did my initial design work on this game years ago, and now it’s really on the schedule. As Lovecraft says, “That is not dead which can eternal lie.” Anyway, Conquest of Nerath is a big fantasy wargame along the lines of Greyhawk Wars, Axis & Allies, or Risk Godstorm. You’ll have hundreds of playing pieces representing legions of footsoldiers, siege engines, war galleys, dragons, castles, and of course heroes like knights and wizards who can plunder dungeons or lead troops. If you’re a fan of conquer-the-world type games or you get a little tear in your eye when you watch the Battle of Pelennor Fields in Return of the King, then this is for you. I’ll talk more about it when the game’s a little closer to release!
Axis & Allies Naval Miniatures Set V
The Windowsill Navy sails again! I just received my complete set V, and it’s carefully arranged by nationality on the windowsill by my cube. This is probably the best-looking set we’ve done so far, and I’m very pleased with the appearance of the models.
As a side note... I saw a discussion over on Forumini where someone was asking just what books I’d read about WW2 naval warfare. I’d like to think it was more a request for what I consider to be good resources, as opposed to speculation about whether I’m qualified to work on the game. Anyway, here’s a partial list of my personal library. There are a few I’ve read but don’t currently have copies of--for example, Morison’s The Two-Ocean War, In Harm’s Way, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, or The Italian Navy in World War Two. I won’t bother with purely technical references like Jane’s or Conway’s, either. Here goes:
Good overviews of the whole war: War in the Pacific (Gailey), The Pacific Campaign (van der Doot), War at Sea (Miller), Eagle Against the Sun (Spector), Total War (Calvocoressi and Wint).
Campaigns: The Thousand Mile War (Garfield), Struggle for the Middle Sea (O'Hara), Lost Ships of Guadalcanal (Ballard)
Battles: Sea of Thunder (Thomas), Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors (Hornfischer), Ship of Ghosts (Hornfischer), At All Costs (Moses), Shattered Sword (Parshall and Tully).
Technical: Fire in the Sky (Bergerud), Fleets of World War Two (Worth), US Navy Against the Axis (O'Hara), The Bravest Man
I hope that’s a good start for anyone who wants to build up their own library. I especially recommend Bergerud’s book, as it’s one of the best examinations of the war in the air that I’ve ever seen, and Vincent O'Hara’s books, since they’re some of the best tactical discussions of individual surface actions you can find—most of the broader histories tend to gloss over the details of specific actions. And if there are any must-haves you know of that I’m missing, let me know! I always appreciate good recommendations.
Miscellaneous Thoughts—The Kindle
I’ve heard for ten years or more that e-books are the wave of the future, the Next Big Thing in publishing, but until recently I never saw the technology that might make it really happen. Well, I think it might finally be here. Amazon’s Kindle is pretty impressive. My wife and I got one for our anniversary, and I’ve really enjoyed it. To start playing around with it I spent some pocket change on a couple of classics – Jack London’s South Sea Tales and the Count of Monte Cristo. (I’ve been trying to round out a few holes in my reading. Just a couple of months ago I read Heart of Darkness for the first time. I’m finding the Count to be incredibly slow going, which is amazing considering how awesome the basic premise of the story is. Go figure.) Anyway, the Kindle is durable, affordable, and wireless, so you can just conjure new books to read out of the ether anyplace you can get wireless service. That’s amazing. My only complaint is that I wish they’d built the darned thing with a D-shaped handle on one side, so that you can hold it more easily with one hand if you’re lying on your back reading in bed like I do every night. The e-book is a bit of technology that’s been on the cusp for a number of years, but I think we’ve finally got the right matchup of format and medium to make it really viable. Check it out!