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Tim Stone

5 days ago

The Foxer

Below is a list of ‘30 things wot you might find in a cave or cavern’ (‘things’ is used in its broadest possible sense). Entries have been stripped of vowels and had any inter-word spaces repositioned*. For example, if LARA CROFT was present she might appear as LRC RFT. STALACTITE would be STLCTT.*Hyphens are treated as spaces. Apostrophes are ignored.

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Feature: The parable of the greedy engine driver

The Flare Path: Derail Valley Diary

My favourite Thomas the Tank Engine book is 'Zlatko the Shunter', the one where Thomas travels to Yugoslavia for his holidays, makes friends with a Series 621, and becomes a committed market socialist. Sadly, the little orange Zlatkos that are everywhere in Derail Valley: Overhauled have nothing to say on the subject of planned economies, worker self-management, and the perils of unchecked incentivisation. If they…

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2 weeks ago

The Foxer

The 25 pictures in a cluster foxer are arranged in 5 discretely/discreetly themed clusters. Pictures in a particular cluster must be cardinally contiguous to be valid. For example, a1, b1, c1, d1, d2 is a possible cluster, unlike a2, b2, c2, d2, e3. To fully defox today’s enlargeable puzzle identify the themes and constituent images of all five clusters.

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Feature: Poundshop PC games

The Flare Path: Steam Snips

When I was a teenager buying a budget computer game involved pedalling your penny-farthing along cobbled streets until you happened upon a branch of GAME, Electronics Boutique, WHSmith, or Woolworths, entering said store, selecting a hardback-sized box largely filled with air, and then handing a shop assistant a crumpled banknote with a picture of Florence Nightingale on one side. Today, my penny-farthing sits rusting in…

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3 weeks ago

Feature: Thoughts on 1272010, 1227530, 1341170 and 873840

The Flare Path: Fletchers and Forklifts

Thinking about making a U-boat game? Unless you've some quirky new angle or have a mind to model WWI U-boats my advice would be don't. The genre is as rammed as a freshly sealed sardine can at the moment. First-time devs Iron Wolf have the right idea. Instead of following their well-reviewed co-op board game about Kriegsmarine convoy molesters with a PC take on the same…

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4 weeks ago

Feature: A round-up of the realistic

The Flare Path: A2Z

A is for Alphabetised wargame and sim news. Every four weeks or so I hang up a streamer of industrial strength fly paper in The Flare Path water closet and see what wargame and simulation news items stick to it. Below is this month’s bag – 25 stories, most of which involve virtual vehicles and surrogate slaughter. If you’ve visited a transport museum or heritage…

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1 month ago

Feature: Cull cussing cowboys creatively

Desperados 3 review

Claymore Game Studios, the newly formed outfit tasked with reviving the Commandos franchise, is in need of an Unreal Engine expert, a 3D artist, a 3D animator, and a senior level designer. Whoever secures the latter job will, if they are sensible, do nothing their first week except watch old war movies and play Desperados III. Proving that the superb Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun…

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The Foxer

Roman thinks you’re ready for Rithmetic Foxers. Below are three equations disguised as picture sequences. Each pic represents a number (For example a photo of The Flying Scotsman might signify 4472, 462, or 3). It’s your job to identify the mathematical operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication or division) indicated by the lettered squares. The BIDMAS rule applies. If a solution involves brackets or indices, Roman will…

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The Foxer

Below is a list of ‘33 things wot you might find in Scotland’ (‘things’ is used in its broadest possible sense). Entries have been stripped of vowels and had any inter-word spaces repositioned*. For example, if SKYFALL LODGE was present it might appear as SKYF LLLDG. BAGPIPER would be BGPPR.*Hyphens are treated as spaces. Apostrophes are ignored.

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Feature: Return of the king?

The Flare Path: MicroProse Memories

Having imprisoned you in his dungeon in the bowels of Mount Olympus, Emesdos, the Greek god of computer gaming, asks his customary question. You ponder for a few seconds, more out of seemliness than necessity, before responding with an unequivocal “MicroProse!”. If you have to spend Eternity playing the oeuvre of just one developer/publisher, then obviously that oeuvre has to be the one that includes…

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2 months ago

Feature: A life aloft

The Flare Path Talks to a Test Pilot

Near the top of my ‘Things to do when lockdown ends’ list is ‘Visit my local public library’. Obviously I'm missing its extensive history and transport sections, and the profound feeling of well-being that comes from being surrounded by the printed word, but there are other draws too. You can meet very interesting people in libraries. People like John Williams.I struck up a conversation with…

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The Foxer

To completely defox today’s word chain you’ll need to provide Roman, my Chief Foxer Setter, with the sequence of 24 words suggested by the clues below.

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Feature: A round-up of the realistic

The Flare Path: A2Z

A is for Alphabetised wargame and sim news. Every four weeks or so I hang up a streamer of industrial strength fly paper in The Flare Path water closet and see what wargame and simulation news items stick to it. Below is this month’s bag – 25 stories, most of which involve virtual vehicles and surrogate slaughter. If you’ve visited a transport museum or heritage…

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The Foxer needs you

My Chief Foxer Setter isn't getting any younger. One day, as sure as eggs are ovoid, Roman's going to be summoned upstairs by Reynard, the setter of The Ultimate Foxer, and I'll have to find a replacement. To ensure there's a pool of high-calibre candidates there when the time comes, and to allow Roman the occasional week off in his dotage, I'd like to run…

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Colonel Croesus: Epilogue

The version of cult war movie Colonel Croesus that went on general release in 1970-something, ends, as Comment Commander khamul pithily pointed out last Sunday, with the gold-stuffed getaway sub “holed and taking on water, but Steiner opening the gates and taking her out to sea anyway, purely to spite Croesus – not knowing he was already dead.”. The final scene in our Combat Mission-powered…

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Colonel Croesus: Turn 15

The Comment Commanders have a mere minute left in which to convince me that they control the soggy end of the subterranean submarine base (My verdict, along with sundry stats, will appear in tomorrow's epilogue - ETA midday). They choose to use that minute aggressively. While Crabmeat 2 ventilates the U-boat and 3rd Squad occupy the two-storey GOLD HQ, almost everyone else left standing is…

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The Foxer

The 25 pictures in a cluster foxer are arranged in 5 discretely/discreetly themed clusters. Pictures in a particular cluster must be cardinally contiguous to be valid. For example, a1, b1, c1, d1, d2 is a possible cluster, unlike a2, b2, c2, d2, e3. To fully defox today’s enlargeable puzzle identify the themes and constituent images of all five clusters.

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Colonel Croesus: Turn 14

Last year's conflab of Comment Commanders almost committed a war crime. This year's actually commit one, albeit accidentally.(Colonel Croesus is an open-to-all game of Combat Mission: Fortress Italy in which Allied forces are orchestrated by commenters while German units are computer controlled. Each daily turn covers one minute of WeGo action. For a scenario outline and accounts of earlier turns, click here).

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