Blog and Updates
6 June 2012. My brother Graham and I spent the first weekend of June attending various concerts at this year's annual English Music Festival - the sixth to date, but the first we've been to. The chief attraction was the first live performance of Moeran's Second Symphony, completed and conducted by Martin Yates (here pictured rehearsing it with the BBC Concert orchestra) at Dorchester Abbey. (That's Dorchester in Oxfordshire, not Dorset's county town.) The performance of this incredibly beautiful work seemed even more stunning than the CD of it recently issued by Dutton. The same concert also included Vaughan Williams's Fantasia for Piano and Orchestra - its first public performance since it was completed in 1904. There was a Delius too, namely Over the Hills and Far Away. I've never listened to Delius much before and quite enjoyed this. However, I don't regard him as an English or even a British composer. Having just watched a BBC TV programme about him I can see why - though born in Bradford he was German by heredity, was more influenced by Florida and its negro spirituals, and spent most of his life in France. I've come to the conclusion that his music strikes me as sounding more French than English. Not that I mind that, of course - some of my favourite composers are French. I particularly like the symphonies of Albert Roussel.
Echo Point Books have now published an updated revision of my former Penguin Book of Word Games and Guinness book of Word Games under the title The Book of Word Games. It is at present only available as an e-book, but will later become available by print-on-demand. I am also discussing with Echo Point Books the possibility of producing a substantially revised and updated edition of my Oxford History of Board Games.
3 May 2012. Added a History of Games & Puzzles magazine (1972-1981) expanded from the paper I presented to the 2012 Board Game Studies colloquium.
24 April 2012. Just returned from the 15th Board Games Studies colloquium and updated my BGS page.
9 April 2012. I'm just now putting the finishing touches to a paper to be presented at this year's Board Game Studies Colloquium (the 15th) in Munich, 17-22 April. My subject is "The Story of Games & Puzzles", the legendary magazine founded by Graeme Levin in 1972.
24 March 2012. Added Welsh Whist to my collection of original card games. Am busy writing a paper on the history of Games & Puzzles magazine (1972-1981) for the forthcoming Board Game Studies Colloquium being held at Munich.
12 March 2012. The only update I've made is to post the Eat Your Cake assertion on my home page. I find its frequent misquotation a constant source of irritation.
16 January 2012 Three former editors/reviewers/contributors of Games & Puzzles magazine (London) - Eric Solomon, David Wells and I - are willing and have been granted permission by its founder to scan all issues (1 to 81) and publish them online with access by subscription. Obviously we need to know how many readers may be interested in subscribing before committing ourselves too heavily to this project. Subscription rates will be 30 GBP (50 USD, 40 EURO) per annum. If you think you might be interested, please contact either me or Eric to let us know. Doing so will place you under no obligation to subscribe.
6 January 2012 Added a new item, of historical interest, to my Arnold Bax web page.
6 January 2012 Just finished reviewing all my website pages and running them
through the W3C Markup Validation Service
to ensure that they correctly conform to HTML markup standards, as indicated by the logo
13 December 2011 In November I put some new games on display at the Game Designers Fair at Haar (Munich) and was invited to send prototypes for testing to half a dozen publishers, mostly German but one American. The following weekend I attended for the first time the annual Hare & Tortoise championship held at various locations in Germany, on this occasion at Ratingen. No fewer than 48 players took part, which is about three times the number participating in the Hare & Tortoise championship at the Mind Sports Olympiad held each August in London. The 2011 winner was Harald Herrlich (see below), which means, following the tradition whereby the current champion is expected to host it the following year, the 2012 championship will be held in Karlsruhe. Rather foolishly, I allowed myself to take part myself, and did very badly! However, my excuse had to be that the group still uses the 1979 Ravensburger edition of the game (despite increasing dilapidation of the privately-owned sets available), which I have become unused to. My hostess for this occasion was Karsta Hochstein (also pictured), who was kind enough to put me up, ferry me around, and help play-test my current prototypes. The whole event was a wonderful social occasion, the play sessions being interspersed with cultural activities including talks, songs and general merry-making. A prominent young member of the play group is the multi-talented musician Tobias Krüger, who performs under the name MrTobiTill, and some of whose videos can be seen on YouTube - see, for example, "Beatsteaks".
16 October Bax's Sixth Symphony (see below) was remarkably well done, considering that it was performed by an amateur orchestra, though I should have liked the slow movement to be a bit slower. Also performed were Walton's Viola Concerto, which I hadn't heard before and was very impressed by, and Elgar's concert overture In the South, which always seems to go on a bit too long.
10 October Just returned from a fortnight's holiday in Wales to find there's to be a performance of Bax's Sixth Symphony (one of my favourites) on Saturday 15 October. All the usual suspects will, I hope, be there. Click here for details.
21 August Sixteen competitors took part in the Hare & Tortoise championship at this year's Mind Sports Olympiad. The gold went to Tige Nnando (England), silver to David Pearce (England), bronze to David Jameson (Wales). Fourth was last year's champion, Dario de Toffoli (Italy). We had, for the first time, two players from Estonia: Kertu Luht and Andres Kuusk, who finished in 5th place. Thanks to all who took part - I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did, and look forward to seeing even more hares and tortoises next year.
4 July Added a new original card game called Colour-blind.
24 May At last I've got round to adding an unsolicited testimonial to my game of Penguin Patience, sent to me some time last year by Australian Patience enthusiast Alexandre Mah. Earlier this year I spent some time preparing a paper for the 14th Colloquium of the International Board Game Studies Association, held at Brugge (Bruges), my topic being speculations on the origin of games, and at the moment I'm busy putting some game prototypes together for display at the upcoming Game Designers Fair at Göttingen.
22 April Added details of books of mine available on Kindle.
4 April Added a reproduction of a Victorian painting of Tintagel Castle to the entry for Bax's tone poem Tintagel. It came from a collection of late 19th or early 20th century prints in a series called, if I rightly remember, "Great Paintings from Private Galleries"". They were being thrown out of the art room when I was at school in the 1950s and I rescued a few of them that rather appealed to me. (My art master said that, in retrospect, he wished he'd burnt them.) Unfortunately I've lost the separate sheets specifying the name of the artist and the collection from which it comes.
1 March 2011 Update on music by Bax page.
24 December 2010 Made a correction to the earliest mention of communal-card Poker in my history of Poker.
29 November A lot has happened since I last updated. In October I visited the Essen Games Fair and a couple of weeks later Tom Werneck's Games Inventors Fair at Haar, Munich. I also saw how the new premises for the Bavarian Games Archive is coming along - very impressive, and I have some pictures to post when I have a moment. On 25 November I went to a reception for the launch of Irving Finkel's latest fun book, "Swizzle de Brax and the Blungaphone". On Saturday the 27th my son Edward married Lisa Kennedy, at long last, and I've posted pictures on a Picasa web album.
29 August: There were 12 entrants for the World Championship Hare & Tortoise Tournament at the 2010 Mind Sports Olympiad in London on this date. Gold went to Dario de Toffoli (Italy, pictured here). The silver was won by Natasha Regan and bronze by James Heppell.
22 August: Revised Hare & Tortoise pages. The new 2010 English-language edition
(pictured below) is now available and will be used in the Hare & Tortoise
world championship at the 14th Mind Sports Olympiad.
1 July: Redesigned home page.
27 April: Volcanic ash-clouds notwithstanding, have just returned from the latest Board Game Studies Colloquium held in Paris, followed by a trip to Munich to see the proposed new site for the Bavarian National Games Archive. At the Colloquium I presented a paper on abstraction and representation in games and am currently polishing it up for publication.
February 21 - Having just discovered the Libel Reform Campaign I've signed the petition and added this message to its Pledge Wall: "People who sue for libel are invariably villainous and should not be encouraged by our ridiculous libel laws."
February 2010 - Made a few minor tweaks, including a revised three-player version of Calypso. At the moment I'm working on a paper for the 13th Board Game Studies Colloquium to be held in Paris in April.