Issue 81 (Spring 2018)

Crisis and Triumph on the Northern Front: A Review of No Middle Ground
by Jim Werbaneth

Nathanael Greene at War: Two Battles of the American Revolution, in GMT’s Guilford
by Jim Werbaneth

Designer’s Response to “ISIS and the New Modern: A Review of Islamic State: Libya War
by Javier Romero

Humanoid Vehicles: A Glimpse into the Future of Infantry Combat
by Jason Guard

Levels of Difficulty: The Challenges of Artificial Intelligence in the Standard Game of Age of Empires II HD
by Jim Werbaneth

The Tactical Turning Point: Lessons from PanzerBlitz
by Jim Werbaneth


Accepting PayPal! Click here to order online, and here for a printable order form.


Visit the Line of Departure Online Features site for FREE articles, scenarios, game supplements and player's aids.

Click Here For Specials On Line of Departure Back Issues and other products.


The Bully Pulpit

by Jim Werbaneth

Color me stupid. That ended up resulting in a serious case of hubris. I learned the hard way that declaring victory over health problems can be a dare to the gods, a matter of waving a red cape in the face of a cosmic bull with no dis-cernible sense of humor.

For the last few years, I’ve had some problems, and last summer I started telling people that they were under control. Yay me. Then came reminders that I wasn’t quite as much in control as I thought. To make a really long story short, I had an old problem with syncope, what non-doctors call passing out, reassert itself. In July that lead to an ambulance ride and a night under observation in the hospital. Nobody there had a really clear idea of what might be the root cause, but I was dehydrated and under a lot of stress.

Well, it did lead to an amusing exchange with a neurol-ogist once they finally took care of me in the emergency room.

Neurologist: Do you live alone?

Me: Yes, why?

Neurologist: If you live alone, then how did you know that you passed out?

Me: The first clue was when I opened my eyes, and I was face down in my bedroom carpet.

Neurologist: Oh.

I had another series of incidents right after New Years. I might have let it go, and just watched my fluid intake, but one episode couldn’t be ignored. I was in the express lane at a local Giant Eagle supermarket, wondering why it was tak-ing so long to get up to a register. Then things got very quiet, and when I opened my eyes, I was on the floor. The manager called 911, and before I knew it, I was off to the emergency room again.

This time, I got some better answers about what was going on. First, the ER doctor emphasized that I had to “destress my life,” something with which I wholeheartedly agreed. Then I got a Holter monitor for two weeks. I’d had one in the summer, but the data was lost between the lab and my doctor, then discovered in January. That, and the read-ings from the new monitor stuck on my chest, indicated that I had heart arrhythmia. It wasn’t life threatening or anything, it does need addressing though, so now I have a cardiologist, and one more medication. I also have another heart monitor, this one an implanted loop recorder, which I’ll have under my skin for maybe the next couple of years. I got that in early March, and it indicates that my medication is working. So far so good.

Now back to the stress. I won’t go into all the factors involved, but it certainly was aggravating matters. There was ordinary life stress, and some that was extraordinary, though I didn’t realize it at the time. Hopefully the worst of it is over now. Between that and the meds, I don’t expect to do any more faceplants into the carpet, or the express lane at Giant Eagle, for a while.

Then too, there were two injuries. In August, I fell again, this time due to clumsiness and not a heart condition; I tripped over my own stupid feet in the garage. The resulted in a sprained knee and strained quadricep, and visits with an orthopedist and physical therapy. That was aggravated by my girlfriend’s dog. I was dog sitting Cosmo, who might be a little Jack Russell all of eighteen pounds, but he is a champion at taking up all of a queen-sized bed. When I was re-covering from the leg injury, he pushed me out of bed. It must have taken me half an hour to get off the floor.

The fall in Giant Eagle resulted in another injury, pulling muscles in my back. That got better by itself, no medical help, and this time I didn’t need a cane to get around.

All those stressors, illnesses and injuries too took up time. It ended up being very difficult to work on Line of Departure. Weeks went by, and then months, while I was trying to get a magazine out the door. I was aiming for October, then it went to November, and then 2018.

One funny thing is that I was working two jobs the whole time, as I have been for about ten years. I had the opportunity to take a third job, a short-term gig writing mate-rial for an online military strategy course. While this has taken up a fair amount of time, it is not really adding to the stress; this is more like an opportunity. I am going to miss the extra paychecks a lot more than I’ll be thankful for the extra time in my life.

All the while too, I am determined to game more as well as write about it. Looking back, I think that one of the big stressors was from being cut off from both more than I would have liked. Also, I would really like to design at least one game this year; that always seems to get pushed to the back of the line, with work and life always getting in the way.

There is one thing that I won’t do, and that is taunt the gods again. Right now stress and my health are under con-trol, and I want them to stay that way. But you won’t be hearing any confident declarations of victory.


Issue 80

Issue 79

Issue 78

Issue 77

Issue 76

Issue 75

Issue 74

Issue 73

Issue 72

Issue 71

Issue 70

Issue 69

Issue 68

Issue 67

Issue 66