Diagonal Move Monthly Update: October 2020

It’s monthly update time here at Diagonal Move and I may actually be on time with it on this occasion. Not sure yet- it depends on when I next get to the keyboard in a hobby capacity after today (November 1st 2020).

Regardless of this article’s publication date, October was a memorable month. A rollercoaster ride through the ups and downs of board game content creation.

On the upside: the life affirming pleasure of real-life gaming (yes, that’s right) briefly popped its head over the Covid parapet.

On the down: The pain of losing a YouTube subscriber (Why? What did I do?).

Memorable too for the wonderful games played, both New New and New to Me.

Games that I am glad to have played and happy to highlight so that you too can share the experience


On the Coffee Table

It was wargame time again during October.

Why? Wargames are better to play solo.

There. I said it. No take backs.

Relieving history or exploring dramatic ‘what if’ scenarios is just more enjoyable than maximising points through clever cultivation of vegetables.

Although I do enjoy cardboard horticulture too.

I’m a true omnigamer, me.


Bleak. So, so very bleak.

Meltwater is a game that everyone should experience at least once.

Whether you’ll return to its singular vision of humankind’s slow self-destruction is debatable.

Me, I returned to it again and again.

No Retreat: French and Polish Fronts

I once asked a passer-by for directions.

I was told to walk to the end of the street, cross over at the go-lights, keep walking until I reached a crossroads. Then turn either left or right. Possibly go straight ahead, if the water company had filled in the hole they were digging last Thursday.

Learning No Retreat felt a lot like following those directions.

A great many, ifs, buts, maybes, crossed referenced against maybes, buts and ifs.

When I finally got the hang of it though, No Retreat showed the promise of being an exceptional game on a fascinating topic.

I’m looking forward to a revisit.

No Retreat
No Retreat: French Front

On the Interwebs

October’s online gaming was lifted dramatically by attending a convention.

Not a live streaming, sales orientated, sprawling trade show turned mega-convention.

Instead it was a teeny, tiny, intimate get together of like-minded gamers where the aim was simply to play as many games as possible in two days.

Organised by London based Cardboard Emperors, it was the closest-to-the-real-thing virtual convention I have yet been to. 

This War Without an Enemy

I interviewed Scott Moore, the designer of TWWE earlier this year.

At that time, his English Civil War block game was moving into the Kickstarter post-campaign stage.

It sounded like a fun game but, back then, I lacked an opponent and online gaming was for Playstation fans.

Fast forward to the end of October and I was lucky enough to have Scott teach me and my opponent how to play TWWE using a pre-release Vassal module.

And it was fun, a lot of fun. I can’t wait to play it again.

Cuba Libre

My wargame gateway game. My entry point into the COIN series and the reason I now play wargames solo more than eurogames.

A game of playing one against the other until the time is right to make that killing move.

During the convention it was a game that, for the first time, I played against experienced opponents.

Opponents that showed how little I know about the hidden depths of the COIN system.

A game that I lost, but had a great time doing so.

Volko Ruhnke
COIN Series

In Real Life

OMG, yes! You read that correctly. Games played IN REAL LIFE. A near mythical concept.

Four people around a table in a ventilated space, keeping an arms-length between us playing:

Quartermaster General

After years of trying, my gaming group was finally persuaded (not by me believe it or not) to play this World War 2 themed strategy game.

It was a game that had been pitched as a “challenging, only really works at six-players, that carries a significant risk of Analysis Paralysis”.

Is it any wonder it took so long to get to the table?

Well, it turns out that Quartermaster General is a fast paced, quick playing, card driven, light war game.

A game that can be played at lower player counts by managing a couple of card decks per player instead of one, a game that is hugely fun.

A game where there are never enough cards, time, actions to do all the things you need to do. Although, there are lingering questions around an unlucky first card draw for the German player.

Nevertheless, Quartermaster General is a game that I would now recommend in the same breath as Memoir 44 when offering suggestions for introductory war games.

Spirit Island

The co-operative tower defence game, Spirit Island, knocked Mage Knight of the top spot of the BGG Top 100 solo games list last year. Believe it or not, for us solo gamers this was huge.

But then everything about Spirit Island is huge. The depth of the gameplay, the challenge, the variety…I can see why Mage Knight was finally dethroned. 

Unfortunately, I played Spirit Island for the first time multiplayer, as the only player with no previous experience of it.

The complexity, combined with my inexperience, meant that next move discussions sailed over my head. Sadly, my first game of Spirit Island was four hours spent asking: ‘what do you want me to do now?’.

Despite that, I would like to return to Spirit Island one day. By myself though, just me and the elemental forces. 

This War Without An Enemy

On The Tube

I like looking at stats. High level though. Nothing that requires any real brainpower on my part.

The stats that I like looking at most are those of the fledgling Diagonal Move YouTube channel.

During October, the viewing figures for my Winter Thunder playthrough received a sizeable boost by featuring on the Consim World News page.

I have no idea who submitted it to them, however, if whoever it was is reading this, thank you.

October was also the channels 4-month anniversary (hey, I need an excuse to feature stats in this article) and to date (November 1st 2020) the channel has had:

  • Subscribers: 53
  • Views: 1787
  • Watch time: 148 hours

In YouTube’s grand scheme these figures are microscopic. Electronic tardigrades. To me though, they are incredible.

Last month’s mini-bus of subscribers is now a single-decker coach and a viewers have spent a full three weeks watching the channel!

That’s awesome. Thank you.

Diagonal Move
Slowly growing – the DM YouTube channel watch time stats (in hours per day) to Oct 31st 2020

Coming in November

Games will be played; articles will be written, and videos will be filmed and edited.

And…that’s as far as I’ve got so far.

Until next time…happy gaming!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Michael Fisher

    Hi Neil

    Don’t concern yourself with YT numbers, just do the best you can & do it in the way that suits you. People will come if they perceive added value [from my POV you do add value].

    A lot of wargamer videos are unstructured, lacking forethought & far, far too long – unboxing videos are usually terrible & don’t work given the complexity of the subject – it ain’t exactly reviewing the latest Braun hairdryer which simply requires the specs & the USPs. My favourite videographer is the amazingly fluent Italian/American Marco Arnaudo [Professor, French & Italian, Indiana University Bloomington] AKA MarcoOmnigamer who takes one through the game mechanics in 15 minutes & then he tags on 5 to 7 minutes of commentary. He has played the game at least once before he sits at the camera & he obviously knows his bullet points.


    Obviously I’m not suggesting this is the path to take, I’m merely pointing out how strong his production is – not an ounce of wasted fat anywhere.

    BTW I see your subs are at 56 right now – better than 53, but it really doesn’t matter IMO.

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