The Bad Dice Blog

A simple blog to talk about the games, distractions, and other topics I'm thinking about. Bad dice rolling will doubtless be recounted at points. There's only one rule to start: It's my room but Aldie's house. Let us all be good guests.
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Welcome : Samurai Battles : Sherlockania

Read the rulebook, plan for all contingencies, and…read the rulebook again.
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Welcome to my blog! Please, remain seated.

Fellow BGGer Darillian has pestered me for awhile to start a blog. I was reluctant. Not that I don't have opinions or am reluctant to share them, but a blog is like a pet: it needs attending to. So I didn't want to commit to a blog until now. Why now? A chance to say whatever is on my mind at the time to folks who might be interested, I'll say.

Besides, I spend enough time as it is on BGG injecting by .02 at almost every turn. So much so that I'm sure folks are good and sick of it on any of the pages covering Richard Borg's series of Commands & Colors Game. And plenty of other forums, subdomains, and game pages that have attracted my attention.

So...thanks for dropping by. I'll try to have something to say each day, if I can manage it. At least once a week, more realistically. If only to ease my presence in other areas of this site!



My latest object of obsession is Zvezda's new Samurai Battles game. It's a game that recreates battles from the Sengoku period of Japanese history. This is a rather unusual title. First, it's from a Russian hobby manufacturer that specializes in plastic models. They also publish games, but that seems secondary to making and distributing models. And second, it features rules from two different authors: Commands & Colors, by Richard Borg, and Art of Tactic, by Konstantin Krivenko.

I'm certainly a Commands & Colors hound and have been for at least a decade. I also own Zvezda's other game in Krivenko's Art of Tactic series. That would be Operation Barbarossa 1941. It's a tactical WWII wargame covering Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union. As soon as I was aware that Krivenko and Richard Borg were collaborating on a game—and especially one covering the conflicts of the Sengoku period—I knew it would be a must-have for me.

I won't dwell too much on the nuts and bolts of the respective rules other than to say that the C&C set places a lot of emphasis on playability first while also imparting a strong sense of historical flavor. The Art of Tactics rules are more complex, but offers players the opportunity for simultaneous play. Both sets are quite different but also complement one another. A gamer looking for either a simple or complex treatment using the same set of models and materials won't be disappointed.

I've already posted quite a bit of thought and opinion on Samurai Battles over on the page for that game, so I'll let folks read it there. Happy to answer questions here about it, too.



I've fallen into a habit over the last couple of months. I gave up watching television around 2000—but not watching DVDs on my computer. (Or surfing the internet for hours at a stretch, too. So it's probably more accurate to say that I've displaced television!) And what I've been doing is to give over one hour of each day to watching a Sherlock Holmes show or movie.

It began back in early June. I picked up a set of DVDs that encompass the Sidney Reynolds' production of the Sherlock Holmes television show, starring Ronald Howard and H. Marian Crawford, and eight other films. Four feature Basil Rathbone's iconic turn, three with Arthur Wontner, and one with Reginald Owen. All for five bucks!

Previously, I'd only read the collected works of Doyle's detective. And of course I've seen the recent Robert Downey, Jr. films. I've heard Firesign Theater's "Tale of the Giant Rat of Sumatra." I even picked up a copy of the original Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases in 1981! But the Holme's I remember most was Georce C. Scott's in the film "They Might Be Giants."

To date, I've finished the Mill Creek DVDs with Ronald Howard and the others and have picked up the BBC2 Sherlock Holmes series that appeared in 1965 with Douglas Wilmer and Nigel Stock. Once that set is complete, I'll likely track down the follow-up series that starred Peter Cushing as Holmes once Wilmer left the cast. I'll certainly pick up what nearly everyone says is the definitive Holmes: the four series produced by Granada Television with Jeremy Brett.

So far, I've enjoyed everything I've watched. It's fun to see what each actor brings to the roles of Holmes and Watson. Of all that I've seen, Nigel Bruce's Watson in the Basil Rathbone movies is the most unfortunate. I see he was played for humor, but it completely sublimates a mind that once practiced medicine—such a man can't be a fool, can he? I don't fault Nigel Bruce and I still enjoyed the shows, but I couldn't help but wonder how much better they would have been if Watson had been written better.

The series with Ronald Howard was also played more for wide appeal. Very few of the stories in the half-hour episodes are based on canon, but nearly all are very entertaining none the less. Holmes is a much more gregarious person in the show and Watson has flashes of insight. Both actors are able to convey gravity and humor as the story dictates. I'm very glad I picked the set up and was sorry that further episodes with the Howard/Crawford team never followed, despite the seeming popularity of the show.

Still, a lot to look forward to with Cushing, Brett, and even a well-regarded Russian series starring Vasily Livanov!
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