Houdini Blues

Issue 16, November 2002


Welcome to this, the sixteenth issue of Houdini Blues, a subzine of TAP edited by Michael Lowrey, 6903 Kentucky Derby Drive, Charlotte, NC 28215. My email address is mlowrey@infi.net or call me at (704) 569-4269. Bonus points if you catch the music reference in the subzine name.

© 2002 by Michael Lowrey. All right reserved.

With the Outpost game ending soon, I am offering another opening of this popular (though sadly out-of-print) Tim-Jim game. Peresviet has run pretty quickly, with us generally getting turns in in a week to ten days.

Sign up for my Diplomacy opening!!!

Edgar Class Cruisers

In the years leading up to the beginning of the First World War, naval technology was progressing at a rapid rate. New generations of ships simply were faster, better armed and armored than the ships that came before. It was likely the only time in history when a 10-year old ship was obsolete – and five year-old vessels were already long in the tooth. In comes as a surprise then that a class of 20 year-old cruisers saw extensive service in World War One when many more recent ships were laid up. Such was the case with Edgars, among the last first-class protected cruisers built for the Royal Navy.

The 1870s and 1880s were not a good time for the Royal Navy. In general, England was building too few ships. Those she did build were poorly designed and still took too long to get into service. After a war scare with Russia in 1886 with exposed Britain’s weakness, the massive buildup of the Naval Defence Act of 1889 was the inevitable result. Under the Act, England would build 70 ships, including 42 cruisers.

The first large cruisers built under the Naval Defence Act were the nine ships of the Edgar class. These vessles were 387 feet, six inches long overall, with a beam of 60 feet, and a mean draught of 23 feet, 9 inches. Displacement was 7,350 tons at full load, though several were heavier than this as they were sheathed in wood and cooper for service in the tropics. Armament was two 9.2inch guns in single mounts, one each forward and aft, and 10 6-inchers mounted five a side. The Portsmouth-built Crescent and Royal Arthur, however, had a built-up forecastle and mounted two additional six-inchers in lieu of the forward 9.2 inch gun. Four 18-inch torpedo tubes were also fitted.

The Edgars were fitted with up to five inches of deck armor. In the terminology of the day, cruisers such as HMS Edgar and her sisterships whose main protection against shell fire came from an armed deck (was fitted horizontally) were referred to as "protected cruisers." Ships whose main armoring was mounted on the sides of the vessel along the waterline vertically) were referred to as "armored." In was not until the Cressy class of 1898 that a large Royal Navy cruiser was fitted with vertical armor.

For their day, the Edgars had very advanced machinery. Four boilers provided 12,000 horsepower and drove the twin propeller shafts. Designed top speed was 20 knots. In service the ships proved exceptional steamers and very good seaboats. The Royal Arthur, for example, averaged 18 knots over 48 hours after spending 18 months as flagship in the Pacific without docking.

The nine Edgars were built by six different yards and laid down in 1899 or 1890. All but Theseus were completed in 1893 or 1894; Theseus was commissioned on January 14, 1896.

In service, the Edgars spent, not surprisingly, the early years of their careers primarily on foreign station. By 1906 most had returned to home waters, serving with the 4th Cruiser Squadron, Home Fleet out of Portsmouth though a few were in reserve. Here HMS Hawke achieved a measure of fame by losing her bow in a collision with the liner Olympic (the Titanic’s sister ship) on September 20, 1911. In 1913, the Edgar class cruisers shifted to the Queenstown Training Squadron.

On the outbreak of war in 1914, eight Edgars joined the 10th Cruiser Squadron, covering the gap between the UK and Iceland. Here, the elderly cruisers proved too vulnerable and were replaced by armed merchant cruisers (liners fitted with guns) from February 1915 on. The Hawke had been lost by then, sunk on October 15, 1914 by the U 9 with heavy loss of life. She was the sixth ship sunk by an U-boat.

In February 1915, the Edgar, Endymion, Grafton, and Theseus were refitted as bombardment vessels for the Dardanelles. The ships were rearmed — their 9.2 inchers were traded for two more six inch guns — and fitted with bulges for increased underwater protection. Even after the Dardanelles campaign ended badly for Britain, the four ships remained in service for most of the war in the Mediterranean. Grafton survived being torpedoed on June 11, 1917 by the German submarine UB 43.

The Royal Arthur became a guardship at Scapa Flow in February 1915. She later would become a depot ship for the 12th Submarine Flotilla. Crescent saw similar duty, first as a guardship at Hoy and later as a depot ship for the Grand Fleet. Gibraltar converted to a depot ship in 1915, later served with the anti-submarine school at Portland, before becoming a destroyer depot ship.

The St. George had been converted to a depot ship prewar, and aside from a spell with the Humber patrol, tended to destroyers or submarines from 1910 to 1919.

All eight surviving Edgars were decommissioned and sold for scrap in the early 1920s.



Peresviet • Outpost

Turn 17

1. MMC (Brosius) opens the bidding on a Moon Base, which HICK wins for 249 (NC26, NC16, NC14, NC14, Re14, Re13, MTi, Ti13, Ti13, Ti13, Ti12, Ti9, Ti7, Wa7, Wa7). MMC then opens the bidding on a Planetary Cruiser, and wins it for 200 (MO40, RO40, Mi20, Mi18, Mi17, Re15, Ti11, Ti10, Ti8, Wa10, Wa9, Or1, Or1). MMC also buys a population (Or5).

2. HICK (Hood) now buys two population (Ti12).

3. HBDC (Wilson) buy a population (Wa6, Wa4), 3 Research Factories (RO35, Re16, Re15, Re13, Re13), and 4 Robots (Re16, Wa9, Wa7, Wa6, Wa6, Wa4).

4. Vince’s Angina (Lutterbie) opens the bidding on a Planetary Cruiser, which wins HAL for 191 (NC24, Mi19, Mi17, Re15, Re14, MTi, MTi, Ti10, Or4). Vince’s Angina then opens the bidding on the Outpost and wins it for 100 (Mi17, MTi, Wa10, Or4, discount). Vince’s Angina also opens the bidding on the Laboratory, which Bartertown wins for 94 (NC26, Re14, Wa8, Wa8, Wa8, discount) and Robots, which he wins for 61 (RO35, Mi16, Wa7, Or3). Finally, Vince’s Angina buys population (Or5).

5. Major Tom (Conlon) passes.

6. HAL (Partridge) now opens the bidding on Scientists, which Bartertown wins for 59 (NC20, Or5, Or4, discount). HAL then buys a Titanium Factory (MWa) and population (Re11).

7. Bartertown (York) now buys a Rsearch Factory.

Press: Major Tom: Congrats to Eric for an impressive win. How did you manage it with so few factories?

MPL-Major Tom: Well, three Orbital Labs and a Scientist never hurt, along with three Ecoplants for cheap victory points.

MMC: As this game unfolded, I was doing reasonably well, but HICK seemed to be just a little bit ahead at every point in the early going. I needed to do something to give me a chance to pull ahead. I decided to save some extra cards the turn the first set of new upgrades came out in the hope that I might be able to outbid HICK. This was a gamble, since I didn't know what would be available,but it turned out well, as I was able to get the first Scientists.

I also decided to buy cheap Ecoplants to get VPs. If I got enough VPs, it wouldn't matter that they didn't really help me after the first one. I kept planning to buy an Outpost, but it never seemed to be the right time, and the game ended before I could buy one.

This is a great game to play by mail or e-mail. I especially enjoyed Michael’s speedy GMing.

Thanks to everyone.






OrF, OrF, WaF, WaF, 3 x TiF

HE, No, Sc, 3 x OL, 3 x EP, 2 x PC, MB



OrF, OrF, 4 x WaF, 4 x TiF, 2 x NCF

Wa, He, No, Sc, Ro, EP, 3 x OP, MB



OrF, OrF, 6 x WaF, 6 x ReF

DL, DL, Wa, No, Ro, La, La, PC


Vince’s Angina

OrF, OrF, WaF, WaF, 4 x TiF

Wa, HE, No, Sc, OL, 2 x Ro, EP, OP, PC



OrF, OrF, 4 x WaF, 6 x TiF, NCF

Wa, HE, No, No, Sc, OL, EP, PC


Bartertown IV

2x OrF, WaF, 3 x WaF, ReF, 2x NCF

DL, DL, DL, HE, Sc, Ro, La, La, La


Major Tom

OrF, OrF, WaF, WaF, WaF, 4 x TiF

Wa, HE, OP, PC




Welcome to Hellmouth Spring 1905




bel, bre, edi, lpl, mar, par, por, spa




ber, den, hol, kie, lon, mun




bud, nap, rom, ser, tri, tun, ven, vie




mos, nwy, rum, sev, stp, swe, war




ank, bul, con, gre, smy



Deadline: Fall1905 orders are due November 22.

GM: Michael Lowrey (mlowrey@infi.net)

France David Partridge (rebhuhn@rocketmail.com)

Build F Brest. A Spa-Mar, A Bel H, A Bur-Mun, F Iri-Nat, F Lpl-Cly, A Edi H, F Mid H, F Bre-Eng

Germany Jim Burgess (burgess@world.std.com)

A Sil-Pru, A Mun-Sil, A Hol-Kie, A Den-Swe, F Hel S F Nth, F Nth H

Italy Phil Reynolds (preyno@yahoo.com)

Build A Ven. A Ven-Tyl, A Vie S A Ven-Tyl, A Tri S A Vie, A Bud S A Ser-Rum, A Ser-Rum, F Alb S F Ion, F Ion H, F Nap-Tyn

Russia Pat Conlon (aparrotlaughsat40@msn.com )

A Ser r otb. Build A War. A Boh-Sil, A War S A Boh-Sil, A Gal S Tur A Ank-Rum, F Bla C Tur A Ank-Rum, F Nwy-Swe, F Bal S F Nwy-Swe, F Nwg-Nwy

Turkey Matt Sundstrom (Matt.Sundstrom@bbdoch.com)

Build A Ank. F Aeg S F Gre, F Gre S A Bul, F Con SA Bul, A Ank-Rum, A Bul S A Ank-Rum


GM-All: Does anyone know the Boardman Number for this game?

Russia: I have no idea what I am doing!

Italy-All: Once again, another crucial turn to find out one’s friends and one’s enemies — if just for the moment!

Italy-Turkey: I told ya you should have moved to Bla last turn! That’s Pat for you: Predictably unpredictable!

Turkey-Italy/Russia: This was too interesting to pass up, so I gave it a go.

Italy-Germany: I had to seal our line and prevent a rogue Russian army from sneaking through it. I’m sure you won’t mind.

Italy-Russia: You dug your grave, now I’m gonna make you lay in it!

Italy-France: Whose lips are looser, yours or mine?


Dire Straits (2001E) Fall 1904




bud, bul, ser, tri, vie

Even or build one



den, edi, lpl

Remove one



bre, mar, mun, par, por

Even or build one



bel, ber, kie, lon




ank, con, gre, nap, rom, smy, spa, tun, ven

Build two



hol, mos, nwy, rum, sev, stp, swe, war

Build one






Deadline: Winter1904/Spring 1905 orders are due November 22.

Notes: Italy builds two and Russia builds one. The map is on the next page.

GM: Michael Lowrey (mlowrey@infi.net)

Austria Monty Carlisle (montycarlisle@hotmail.com)

A Mun S Russia A Ruh-Kie (nso)(d, ruh, tyl, otb), A Boh S A Mun, A Gal-Sil, A Bul H, F Aeg C Italy A Gre-Smy

England Phil Reynolds (Preyno@yahoo.com)

F Den-Nth, F Edi S A Lpl-Yor, A Lpl-Yor, F Iri-Lpl

France Jim Sayers (jimp@magma.com.au)

F Wal-Lpl, F Eng-Mid, A Bur-Mun, A Mar-Bur, A Spa-Mar (d, gas, por, otb)

Germany Allan Heikkinen (aheikkin@ram.net.au)

F Nth-Edi, A Yor S F Nth-Edi, A Kie S France A Bur-Mun, A Ber S France A Bur-Mun, A Sil-Boh (d, ann)

Italy Jeff Prichard (pricharj@ix.netcom.com)

F Con-Ank, F Smy-Eas, A Gre-Smy, A Ven-Tus, A Pie-Mar, F Wes-Spa (sc), F Lyo S F Wes-Spa (sc)

Russia Kevin Wilson (ckevinw@aol.com)

A Mun r Ruh. A Ruh-Hol, F Nwy-Nth, F Swe-Bal, F Rum S Austria A Bul, A War S Austria A Gal-Sil, A Ukr-Mos, A Pru-Ber

Turkey Bob Dowrey (Aardvark6ratnik@aol.com)

F Ank-Bla

Press: England-Germany: Now it’s a race to see if you will be dead before me! Any oddsmakers out there?