Excerpt from the 1923 diary of Theodor Wolff

As I walked through the doors, I was dazed by the sudden humid heat of the well-filled beer hall for a few seconds. “Mr. Wolff! Over here”, was the first thing I somewhat understood through the sound of laughing and tankards being banged on tables. In the thick smoke of cheap cigarettes, I could see some sort of shadow more solid than the others in the corner of the room, waving an arm at me. As I made my way over, the shadow melted into two people sitting on one side of a table under a small window, one chair

Up the River Valley

As the train was passing through the hills of Jiangxi, up the river valley, Ling could still not believe that he was finally going back. Staring out of the window, he thought of when he had last been here, just a few weeks after the Germans had come ashore. Now he was sitting in a German-made carriage, going over German-built railway tracks (well, paid for by German companies, but built by Chinese workers). He couldn’t complain: His sponsors had shied no expenses. He was travelling first class, the waiter had just cleared the remains of the excellent lunch from his

“My Journey to the People”, from the Moscow Agrarian Student’s Newspaper

I’ve been away from Moscow for a long time now. When I look outside, I see snow falling; when I left, it was still summer. I guess I owe an explanation for why my trip took a little longer than anticipated. It all started the day I arrived in the village of Kachalovka.

On a few questions with the creator of “The Crown Atomic”

You’ll find a lot a After Action Reports, or AARs, in forums dedicated to Paradox Interactive games. There’s a lot of variety, but most have one thing in common: They show screenshots of the actual in-game action with a little snarky commentary. Not so much “The Crown Atomic”, which starts where other Kaiserreich AARs would end: With the Canadian reconquest of Britain. Most events shown had to be custom-coded by cookfl, the creator of the AAR. The unique approach seems to have worked, as the AAR has been viewed over 900k times after two years of semi-continuous updates – about

“Oklahoma farmers facing uncertainty”, from the Los Angeles Examiner, 20th April 1935

Today had been a good day for Tom Stutzman. He and his family had worked on the farm all day, laying a new ditch and repairing some blown-over fencing. Now they were sitting on the porch, with beer and water in their hands, and looking at a day’s work in peace. The crops were good. The stairs were swept. They had to be, because otherwise they would be covered in dust.

The curious case of stories in Crusader Kings 2

When a player of Crusader Kings 2 recommends the game to a friend, what do you think he’ll rather talk about – game mechanics or that one time he crushed the balls of that Irish Duke after executing his entire family, but he had it coming for him because he gained carnal knowledge of the player’s wife while they were off crusading in Jerusalem? Yeah, didn’t think so. But what is it that makes Crusader Kings 2 so suited for this playstyle?

Why build a world?

Why do people sit down and draw maps of places that will never exist? Why do they write biographies for people that never lived? You’ll get about as many answers as you’ll ask people, but for me, the answer has to do with that most famous worldbuilder of them all – Tolkien. Oh god, not Tolkien again. He has defined the worlds of fantasy – or science fiction – for too long already; isn’t it time we finally leave him behind us? Sure. But hear me out for a second.