Cheeseburger — Brother’s Burgers

Burger Brothers Cheeseburger - it's a chain but at $6.50 including chips and a Coke Zero, who's complaining?

Burger Brothers Cheeseburger – it’s a chain but at $6.50 including chips and a Coke Zero, who’s complaining?

Brother’s Burgers is a small burger chain in the Philippines. They have sixteen stores across the Philippines with one, fortunately, just up the road.

We were heading out to go to the Makati Marauders wargame club and decided to grab a bite on the way. Many eating places in central Makati were closed because it was a public holiday. Brother’s Burgers were the first eatery we came across that was open.

In we went.

Madam opted for the Extreme Bacon Burger whilst I went for my humble cheeseburger. I took mine in a meal which included chips and a Coke Zero for PHP 280 (about US $6.50).

The burger was served on a bun that was robust enough to hold the burger and the juice from the burger down to the last mouthful. There was a meat patty, about 250 grams in size on the bun with raw onion, tomato and an American processed cheddar cheese. On the top half of the bun was several leaves of lettuce. A slice of pickles rounded this out.

As with the Strand Burger, Romaine lettuce was used. Putting the top on, taking a firm grip on the burger and then biting, my taste buds were immediately titillated by the various flavours and textures. The patty was nicely seasoned and had been cooked well – cooked to well done but still juicy. Altogether, it was a nice burger and one I would happily grab for a sub $8 lunch again.

How did it rate against my baseline burger. To be honest, I think I prefer this one a little more so I would rate it 7/10. This was surprising as it is, after all, from a burger chain (although admittedly, a small chain).

Grab one!

Brother’s Burgers!

Field of Glory On-line — A Poor Replacement for the Gun Bar

My left overtakes Anthony's right at the end (my troops look darker)

My left overtakes Anthony’s right at the end (my troops look darker)

I’m now in Manila and the Gun Bar is firmly located in Singapore for the foreseeable future. How ever will I get my regular dose of beating up on Anthony? Simple really. Field of Glory On-line. Neither of us really likes Field of Glory rules but the on-line version has us not worrying so much about the rules as everything is resolved internally, in the computer’s memory.

The other down side is that it is impossible to determine if there is any dice feng shui, something we have got used to at the Gun Bar.

We just finished a game, 800 points a side and therefore a big game. We tend to start one big (800 point) digital army game and one scenario game (with both sides being played). The scenario games can be quite challenging. When we both lose the same side, it does suggest that the scenario is unbalanced.

Anthony's left has somewhat redeemed the failure of his right.

Anthony’s left has somewhat redeemed the failure of his right.

The last digital game we played however was from the Eternak Empire Group. I took the Ottoman out against the German knights led Knights Army. The two illustrations here are the position at the end. My left flank had overwhelmed and broken his right flank whilst his left flank had achieved the same result with my right. I had, however, manager to secure sufficient casulaties in the Knight to win.

The Ottoman Forced are shaded slightly.

We are in the process now of starting another game – this time my Sassanians are shaping up against a Principate Roman force.


Cheeseburger — the Strand

The Cheeseburger from the Strand

The Cheeseburger from the Strand

The Strand is the restaurant attached to One Pacific Place in Makati City, Manila, where we are staying at the moment.

I thought I would start the great Philippines Cheeseburger hunt here and set this as the baseline burger. It was not a bad idea. As far as burger go, it was reasonable. The patty was seasoned giving a slightly savoury flavour. The patty was cooked so that there was some pink still in the centre and was therefore still quite moist.

The burger itself was served on a bun that held together until the last two mouthfuls although it was a little sweet – a problem with many foods in the Philippines.

On the bun was lettuce (Romaine was used), tomato, pickle, the patty, raw onion and a cheddar cheese. It was served with chips that had been lightly battered in some seasoning with a small side salad dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette. The chips were interesting in flavour and texture, bending under their own weight as they were held up but overall, OK.

Cost was 375 pesos (about $9.00) and I’d rate this 6/10 as the baseline burger for the Philippines.

Miniature Wargames with Battlegames SOMETIMES Gives PDF Access

On 23 August 2014 I published Digital Wargame Magazines Overdo It! here in Thomo’s Hole. The crux of the discussion was that some magazines do not provide PDF access to their content so you are locked into your platform (iPad, Android tablet etc) as there is no real cross-platform format except for PDF.

I sang the praises of Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy from Karwansaray Publishers as they provide their publications in platform independent PDF format. I criticised Wargames Illustrated for allowing the technology to overshadow the content, making it hard to read as well as providing content locked to platform ensuring that either a spend a fortune repurchasing everything for a new platform or I stay stuck to Apple tablets.

I also criticised Miniature Wargames with Battlegames (MWBG) which is available through Exact Editions for not being available on PDF.

tweetHenry Hyde, the editor of MWBG was quick to comment on Facebook, Twitter and here in the Hole where his comments to the post noted:

Thomo – MWBG has been available as a PDF since inception. See

Giving Henry the benefit of the doubt, and knowing that I had looked at this before, I downloaded that PDF and checked and ‘lo and behold, there was no PDF version available for me. I looked further around in the Exact Editions website as I have an account. I had originally subscribed to Battlegames through Exact Editions.

Logged in, no subscriptions

Logged in, no subscriptions

Now Battlegames merged with Miniature Wargames around March/April 2013 and my Battlegames subscription expired about then. I had a subscription to Miniature Wargames at the same time, taken with Exact Editions through Apple iTunes (Newstand).

Henry will recall around that time there were a number of questions asked about subscriptions to both magazines and how they would be combined. I did nothing as my Miniature Wargames subscription was extant and any remaining issues I had to receive of Battlegames would be added to that subscription. In any case, I could not take out a Battlgames subscription then as I already had the Miniature Wargames subscription.

So, no PDF for Thomo.

I contacted Exact Editions support about this. My enquiry was:

Aug 25 18:11


I have had digital subscriptions to both Battlegames and Miniature Wargames
since 2012, both through Exact Editions.

Since the merger of the magazines, I understand that I should be able to
download PDF copies of the magazine. However, as you can see from the two
screen grabs below, Exact Editions does not seem to know that I have a
subscription even though I have a subscription.

Please advise on how I can access PDF versions of the magazine – as I am
thinking of changing platforms soon from the iPad to a MS Surface Pro and
will only be able to access via PDF.

Thanks for your assistance.

Cheers, Ian

I received the following response:

Aug 26 16:40

Hello Ian,

Thank you for your email.

A subscription purchased through the Newsstand app does not include access via the Exact Editions website or PDF download.

For a multi-platform digital subscription, you will need to purchase through the Exact Editions web store., rather than through the Apple Newsstand app. An app subscription, only includes access via that specific app.

Do you still have an active subscription through the app? As the receipt which you forwarded in your email is for an annual subscription from March 2013. If you have not renewed this, I would recommend purchasing a digital subscription from the Exact Editions website, here - miniaturewargames

Best Wishes,

Daniel Hodgkin, Exact Editions Customer Support

So, it seems that PDF versions (or multi-platform as Daniel describes it) of MWBG are only available if you subscribe through their webstore – which was not an option when Miniature Wargames first came out.

I wonder how many other gamers are in the same position?

Philippine History

Well, it ain't historical but it is modern Manila - a view along Makati Avenue looking towards Ayala Avenue and Ayala Triangle Park

Well, it ain’t historical but it is modern Manila – a view along Makati Avenue looking towards Ayala Avenue and Ayala Triangle Park

We’ve sort of settled into Manila and after a couple of walks around the Makati City area I thought I would do what I always do when arriving in a new country long term, I had a look for a book on Philippine history. Two bookshops, both large and the only book I could find was on Philippine History after the Cross.

Now I know that there is a rich history in these 7,000 odd islands stretching back a number of years but published works in English on the period between pre-history and the Spanish arrival seem to be rare – or at least hard to find.

Given my hobby and love of Ancient and Medieval History in particular, this is kind of frustrating so I can see I will have a decent chunk of research to keep me amused as I learn more and travel these islands.

So, what do I know about the pre-Spanish history of the Philippines. I can summarize is as follows:

  • Negritos are believed to have migrated to the Philippines around 30,000 years ago (yes, I know, that is pre-history)
  • They apparently came from Borneo, Sumatra, and Malaya
  • More Malayans followed over the years
  • the Igorots display today some of that older Malayan culture
  • a bunch of Austronesians also migrated in and generally took over from the Negritos
  • the ancient Philippines (say, from about 1 C.E. to 1,000 C.E.) were influenced by the Hindu kingdoms, then perhaps by the Chinese and Indonesian states they were trading with. This lead to:
    • the Rajahnate of Butuan and Cebu
    • the dynasty of Tondo
    • the august kingdoms of Maysapan and Maynila
    • the Confederation of Madyaas
    • the Country of Mai
    • the Sultanates of Sulu and Maguindanao
    • these were small maritime states trading with China, India, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia
    • the remainder of the settlements were independent Barangays allied with one of the larger states
  • the period of Philippine history I am most likely to be interested in is that period following the creation of the Laguna Copperplate Inscription which is the first written document found in a Philippine language
More Historical - Gabriela Silang ("Generala") who was first Filipina to lead a revolt against the Spanish in the 18th Century after they killed her second husband. She was eventually captured in the mountains and hanged.

More Historical – Gabriela Silang (“Generala”) who was the first Filipina to lead a revolt against the Spanish in the 18th Century after they killed her second husband. She was eventually captured in the mountains and hanged.

The first interest in the local history will end about the time to the Spanish colonization and settlement, which began with the arrival of Miguel López de Legazpi’s expedition on 13 February 1565. He established the first permanent settlement of San Miguel on the island of Cebu. We will soon (I hope) be moving into an apartment in Legazpi Village, in Makati City, Metro Manila.

So, a lot of history to research. I expect the military history of the area is likely to mirror that of the Indonesia archipelago.

The hunt begins.

Digital Wargame Magazines Overdo It!

Wargames Illustrated - too clever by half!

Wargames Illustrated – too clever by half!

I like wargame magazines. It figures that I would, after all I am a wargamer. I have favourite magazines by way of content and others I like because of the eye-candy inside them. I also like technology such as smartphones, tablets and the like. So, you would think a marrying of the two – wargame magazines and technology – would be a perfect match for me.

Well, I would have thought so.

I used to get the paper versions of Wargames Illustrated, Miniature Wargames (now including Battlegames which was also a favoured paper publication) and Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy. When electronic versions of these came out I adopted them fairly quickly, after all, given my lifestyle of moving from place to place, electronic versions I can either carry with me in a device or park somewhere up in the cloud for access and reference later is a positive boon. It is the same with e-books. I have then in both my Kindle and my iPad.

So, “what’s the beef” I hear you say?

“Format and trying to be overly clever and sexy’ says I!

Yes, it is possible to be too sexy. Let’s look at this one at a time.

Wargames Illustrated was the second of the truly glossy colour wargaming magazines and has been running for 322 issues now (at around 12 per year, that is nearly 27 years). Calculating that figure just now made me think about my start in wargaming but I will come to that in another post.

There are some truly exceptional pieces of eye-candy in this magazine – and you can see some of them at the Wargames Illustrated Website.

Wargames illustrated does note, however that their

original plan for the launch for WI digital focused solely on an iPad version of the magazine, however after listening to your feedback we decided to slightly delay release and launch on all available formats – iPad, Kindle and Android. This means you can now access WI Digital from ANY TABLET device.

They also noted that

from WI316 the digital magazine will include a range of dynamic content, including: videos, 360-degree figure spins, image galleries, web links and more.

Here is the problem. Actually, here is two problems. The dynamic content is the magazine showing how clever they are technically. 360-degree views of figures, for example, or scrolling images within the article you’re reading. The problem with the scrolling images however is that it actually distracts from what you are reading. As you read, images are changing further down the page which drags your eyes away from the words and to the images. It takes longer to read an article and is much harder work.

A little old in style, offers alternatives but keeps purchaser immobile

Miniature Wargames with Battlegames

The other problem is that I have subscribed in the past, and then purchased issues as well as archive issues on my iPad. No where can I see an option in the the Wargames Illustrated website to move the content I’ve purchased over to a different (but supported) operating system tablet. My iPad is over three years old now. I will want to replace it in the next few months and I was thinking of an Android tablet, which will fit better with my overall technology landscape here. My books (ePubs, PDFs and mobis) I can carry over. My Wargames Illustrated I can’t. So I either throw out a few hundred dollars worth of purchases and replace them with the Android version by spending another few hundred dollars, or buy another iPad which I don’t want to, or just stop buying Wargames Illustrated altogether which I also do not want to!

Miniature Wargames with Battlegames is a similar but with a slightly different problem. There was originally two magazines. Miniature Wargames was the first of the glossies and has now been running in one form or another for over 31 years. It was originally offered in electronic form on iPad’s Newstand. Battlegames is not nearly so old and was offered electronically through Exact Editions. Exact Editions is  a reading app that is available on Apple and Android devices. Battlegames was therefore, arguably, portable. Miniature Wargames and Battlegames merged and those of us who had a Newstand subscription for Miniature Wargames and a separate Exact Editions subscription for Battlegames had our subscription extended for the Newstand version. Those who subscribed only to an Exact Editions Battlegames had the new combined magazine available in Exact Editions and as I understand, downloadable PDF versions as well.

Again, should I buy an Android tablet, I will lose my iPad content as there is no way for me to take that magazine across to another tablet operating system.

photo (2)

Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy – a good balance between content and technology

This brings me to the last Wargames magazine I read regularly – Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy. Karwansaray Publishers have done the decent thing and producted their magazine as a downloadable PDF. What does this mean? First off, there is no clever moving bits to distract my reading as there is in Wargames Illustrated. Secondly, I do not need to use a specific app to read it across multiple platforms like Miniature Wargames and Battlegames. Most importantly, I have flexibility. I do not have a magazine publisher telling me which operating system and tablet I should use.

It is time for me to replace my laptop as it is getting somewhat old and dated. It has served well over the last four years and continues to work as designed but it is starting to show it’s age. I was thinking of replacing it with a Microsoft Surface 3 or similar, in part because I need to use it for business and that still means Microsoft applications in most cases and partly because the surface acts like a tablet. I use my tablet mostly for reading books and magazines, watching the odd video or YouTube, doing a little mind mapping and the like and these days, rarely playing games (except Words with Friends and Chess which I can continue to play on my phone).

If I step in that direction then I will no longer read Wargames Illustrated or Miniature Wargames and only read Wargames Soldiers and Strategy as that is the only magazine that is both digital AND portable.

The other benefit that Wargames Soldiers and Strategy provides is that as it is a PDF, it adjusts to screen size and fits the viewing window, unlike the other two which are A4 sized magazines trying to fit into an American Quarto world.

So, well done Wargames Soldiers and Strategy and “boo, hiss” to the other magazines. Links to all magazines Facebook Pages are below.

WargamesIllustrated –

MiniatureWargames –

Wargames Soldiers & Strategy Magazine –

Wargame Bloggers Quarterly–a Neat New Magazine


It’s big, bold and pretty!

There is a new quarterly wargames magazine available in the Internet called Wargame Bloggers Quarterly. This is, as the title suggests, a quarterly magazine designed to highlight the best looking of games and and reviews.

I have had a quick look through issue one and I am impressed. No fancy tricks, just good solid text and images.

This first issue has chapters on:

  • Bloody Cremona from Simon Miller
  • Trouble Brewing in “Serenity City” by Dave Docherty
  • Whitechapel 1888 by Michael Awdry
  • Lledo “Days Gone Bye” Horse Drawn Carriages from Robert Audin
  • Inside the Mind of Loki – Vallejo Model Colour and Triads from Andrew “Loki” Saunders
  • Iron Mitten Plays “Spot the Royalist”
  • and lastly, a copy of the Official Charter of the Magazine

Well worth having a look – I know what my lunchtime reading is today … and tomorrow!

Thank you Google

OK, I’ll admit it, it’s my Birthday and I’m not getting any younger. Imagine this though:

  • no TV (I can remember when Mum and Dad bought our first second-hand black and white TV)
  • no mobile phones (I can remember by grandmother saying into the telephone “Turramurra 4568 please”)
  • no personal computers (I did my statistics at university with pencil and paper and calculator)
  • no calculators for that matter (I can remember Mr and Mrs Morrison buying me an LED based calculator about the size of a small brick from the duty free store when they took a holiday to Fiji)
  • when the Boeing 707 was an amazing piece of new aircraft technology and English Electras plied the air routes in Australia (yes, life before jumbo jets)
  • when the British made passenger aircraft
  • and lots of other amazing things

So, it was amusing for me to start Google this morning ready to make a search and see the following Google Doodle. It didn’t occur to me what it was for until I hovered over it.

Yep - Happy Birthday to me!

Yep – Happy Birthday to me!

Clicking on the doodle took me to my Google public profile. Now I know that this is not so amazing but it is really quite neat when you can remember

  • life before fast food chains
  • life before supermarkets where a couple of times a week you’d walk to the shops and buy meat, ham and such
  • life before refrigerators (and therefore knowing what the ice box was)
  • life before the Internet
  • and especially life before a connection to the sewer (I can still remember the night cart coming around early in the morning and the swearing of the bloke taking away the full pan of poop as he tripped over one of my toys left lying around beside the house)

Thanks Google – I know it is easy for you to remember the date but it is nice to see the greeting!

Thomo’s Hole – Just Passing Through!

The view from Thomo's Man Cave in Singapore

The view from Thomo’s Man Cave in Singapore

Singapore is expensive. Beer is $15 a pint and a nice steak at a restaurant (not Michelin Star restaurant but of a good standard) will set you back about $40 at least. Accommodation takes expensive to another level. In fact, over the past 12-18 months I have noted that Singapore is really starting to price itself out of its own markets. International observers are starting to say the same thing.

So, as I have two weeks to kill before starting my next job (more about that later) and as income is tight, I calculated that a week in a resort in Indonesia would set us back less than staying in Singapore another two weeks. The choice then was between the views out the window shown to the left, and the view from the Cabana below.

No brainer really.

Evil Danny decided to join us at the resort as well for a few days to get himself out of Singapore whilst considering his future so last night we had dinner at the resort we are staying out. Now up front I should mention that the room cost is about $50 a night before tax and service charge so already it is half the price of the apartment we rented in Singapore, and that $50 included breakfast.

The view from our cabana porch! King size bed, glass roof in the bathroom and the gentle sound of water lapping through the mangroves ... not to mention the drums from the Lebaran party about a kilometre away :-)

The view from our cabana porch! King size bed, glass roof in the bathroom and the gentle sound of water lapping through the mangroves … not to mention the drums from the Lebaran party about a kilometre away :-)

Last night we had dinner. Evil Danny, Madam and myself. We also had beer, Bintang beer. Madam had a seafood pasta, Danny a vegetable soup and nasi goreng and I had a asparagus beef salad and a steak. We also had about 12 large bottles of beer, maybe more. The total cost for the dinner was slightly less than $100. The same dinner in Singapore would set us back about $250.

So, we are living in the cabana (well, except for Danny, we got him a room on the other side of the resort), in a quiet part of Batam, and will probably stay here a few days longer before heading to Jakarta for a couple of days, then ultimately on to the next location – but more of that later!