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Counter #3    First of all I want to praise the great cover illustration by the wonderfully talented Julia Breese (who also does the artwork for brother Richard's games). The illustration shows Mike Clifford, Stuart Dagger, Alan How and Mike Siggins playing Keydom with Ken Tidwell comming out from his Game Cabinet in the back.
Of Dice and Men. The editor mentions the 'other' german game award: Deutscher Spiele Preis and wonders why the gamers and game clubs doesn't share the same taste in games. I believe them to be quite different groups: A lot of casual gamers play games in clubs without being 'hardcore gamers' simply because gaming is more accepted socially than in other countries.
Otherwise the editor brings news about the train game 1849 plus a few missing links (for the web). Not the best of Stuart's editorials, but that is simply because he has kept all the good stuff for the next article:

Essen 1998. More than 6 pages filled with all the news and tidbits from the greatest show on earth. Despite having read the exellent reports from Mike Siggins, Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Paul Evans and others one never seems to get tired of reading these reports, probably because the event is so huge that not two people experiences the same things. As much as I enjoy Mike's reports (and they are *always* great!) I must say that he has a strong contender for the throne in Stuart:
I cannot help bringing a quotation:
"There is always something good to be found among the small fry and this year there was quite a lot. The undoubted star in this section was Keydom. The web sites, led by Spielplatz, had ensured that the word was out on this one. Richard opened for business at 11 on the thursday, a queue formed immediately (with the guy from Gold Sieber near the front of it) and by 5 all the 200 copies he had brought with him were gone and he was fending off folks anxious to get their names down for one of the 70 or so that were still at home and not yet spoken for. He then spent the rest of the show in hiding and wearing a hunted look."

I wish Richard's sister would do a sketch of that!:-)
A smaller view (2 pages) is given by John Keilloh in An Essen Diary. Who not only were given an offer he couldn't refuse by keeping a diary, but he also had the honor of being dragged into the Intergame tournament even though he didn't know how to play the games (not really that much of an disadvantage IMHO). He took on the role of Mussolini and squashed one of my team members in Magalon, but we forgive him since his diary was such a good read!

The last and final Essen report is written by Mike Clifford. Curiously titled Ive lost Blackbeard it sadly seems like the petit four you don't eat because the main dish and the dessert have left you satiated.
The Reviews are plenty and a great read as always. 19 in all. Too many to describe in detail, but I do like to mention a few: Auf Trab in Sulkydrom by Alan makes we wish I had bought the game in Essen. But as I will have no one to play it with it is probably just as well I didn't. Apparently it plays just as well as it looks. The other great looking horse racing games in Essen Turfmaster is also reviewed by Alan - and I fear I shall not be able to control my finances if he keeps writing favorable reviews of sports games (and he will!). I wish someone else would review these games too (preferably someone who doesn't favor them :-)
The prize for the best review goes to the old editor himself for Lancashire Railways. Not only does he give a detailed account of the game play but he gives it a great recommandation: "Recommended unless you are seriously allergic to train games." - Well, I am only slightly allergic and have already bought it - I cannot wait till I get to play it...!
The Letters are still my favorite section. In SUMO-fashion are they broken into sub-sections by subject and this time they have been give som clear headlines - almost shrieking out to be indexed, but I shall try to control myself...
Avalon Hill gets the Company Spotlight so to speak in a tribute by Mike and Alan (a bit confused by the initials: sometimes they stand for the company, sometimes for Alan Howe).

Gaming for Two by Ben & Marcia Baldanza gives a good account on which games can be played by two. Greg Aleknevicus writes of Disturbing Themes in Guillotine, Titanic and other horrible events - but he forgot to mention the poor babyseals in Nanuuk which have banned that game from the Westbank Gamers!
Rome or Silverstone by Kendall Johns describe the differences between the sister-games Ave Caesar - Ausgebremst and even comes with a variant giving you the best of two games.
Atlantic War by Gary Graber tells us how we can enjoy Atlantic Stormplayed with the simplicity of Naval War.
Dave Farquhar explores the inner world of his cupboard and finds Quirks - an old game from Games Workshop. A game I am glad to have missed, but then I have never been into SF-gaming (I dislike words like 'Flube', 'Ishlid' and 'Psoobing').
Gery McLaughlin gives us some more thumbnail sketches of the Hall of Fame Nominees and since are small reviews in the own way, I have included them in the index. The deadline for votes ended at new year, so all we can do now is to sit impatiently and wait for the outcome. I voted for Die Macher and Magic with Up Front being a close runner up. There are probably other worthy nominees, but as I haven't played most of the old games it's very hard to justify a vote for them...
All in all another great issue of the best gaming magazine in the world! 80 pages filled without one single dud for only 3 makes Counter the best value for money I've ever had!


© Mik Svellov 1997-2004editor@brettboard.dk6. jun 2002