Sing to me of a time long past

There was the leak, then the hint, and now the announcement.

There are some games that I play simply because I enjoy them, and there are others that teach lessons.

This is one of them. This is Game of Thrones.

I’ll be playing when it comes out and I’m looking forward to going through it for a third time, this time, teasing out whatever I can.

I’ve referenced Tactics Ogre in the past on topics ranging from military deception (2013), war advice (2014), the permanence of death (2014), and proxy wars (2021).

Off the top of my head, there’s room to explore irregular warfare, great power competition, propaganda, rumors, loyalty, military careerism, and more.

This one goes deep.

There’s so much more to pull – and I’m excited to get the chance. Look for more this November.


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Road Trip

road trip regalia final fantasy 15

Another pause for the blog as I build bridges from the Eastern Region to the Western Region.

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The Return of Tactics Ogre?

square enix tactics ogre catiua and denam

I felt genuine joy when I saw this late last week.

Square Enix has applied for a trademark, in Japan, for Tactics Ogre: Reborn, ramping up speculation that the 20-year-old Ogre Battle strategy RPG series is due for some kind of re-release.

The trademark application was filed March 31 and published on Thursday. Square Enix has made no official announcement of a new game in the Ogre Battle series, whose last original release was Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis for Game Boy Advance in June 2001. 1995’s Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together was re-released on PlayStation Portable in 2010.

New Tactics Ogre trademark signals a revival of Square Enix’s great tactical RPG, Polygon

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together is one of my favorite games of all time. I played the original on Playstation when I was a teenager and was completely sucked into its complicated political intrigue.

For those who have no idea, think Game of Thrones. A huge cast of characters, complex narrative, and brutal permadeath.

One of the things I loved about the game is that your characters – even main characters – could die. And those deaths have repercussions.

The other thing that made this game great is choice. You make lots of choices that affect the direction of the story. These choices are real and consequential – and incredibly difficult to make.

Tactics Ogre has appeared on the blog a bunch over the years. Way back in 2013, I used Tactics Ogre as a way to discuss deception operations. There is a pivotal, early event in the game that dramatically affects its direction. You – the player – get to make that choice.

There were two posts in 2014 as I was grinding through a 3rd playthrough of the game. The first is a reflection on another critical game event, the importance of choice, and the pain in dealing with the repercussions.

The second was on mentorship and some of the best wartime advice I’ve ever heard:

“Above all else, stay alive.”

Tell me that’s not true.

I even made a reference in a more recent write-up of an Irregular Warfare Podcast episode on foreign fighters. One of the things you learn in Tactics Ogre is that much of the conflict is spurred on by foreign powers with their own designs for how the conflict should play out.

So, I hope this news is pointing at something real. A remake? A new chapter?

I’m there for it.


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Bahamut

the monster bahamut from final fantasy
Bahamut (bottom) is much less intimidating here.

Wow! This came as a complete surprise!

Bahamut, one of the most powerful “summons” in the Final Fantasy universe has its roots in Middle Eastern mythology.

The name in Arabic is بهموت (bahamut) and the creature supposedly forms the base of the world, with other creatures standing on top of it.

The name “behemoth” (also a Final Fantasy creature) and now just another word for “huge” or “monstrous” is based on the same word.

This whole thing led me down a nice Saturday afternoon rabbit hole where I learned about Zakariyya’ al-Qazwin who wrote the Aja’ib al-Makhluqat wa Ghara’ib al-Mawjudat (The Wonders of Creatures and the Marvels of Creation). It contains some seriously creepy illustrations.


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Cecil became a Paladin!

cecil at mt ordeals becoming a paladin

I like to think that making the switch from company-grade officer to field-grade officer is like when Cecil went from Dark Knight to Paladin.

You gained lots of experience as a Dark Knight and you actually became pretty good.

It was comfortable.

But in order to really matter, you have to reset the stats and start from Level 1.

There are new skills to learn. What you did before can inform your growth, but it’s a new journey.

Better start grinding.


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