We are used to the ever-changing price of oil as one of the central indicators of the economy. Sometimes, the price is high, like in 2008, when a barrel cost over $120. Sometimes it is low (like in 2016 at $33/barrel). And sometimes somewhere in the middle (as it is now around $80/barrel). However, for almost three decades after World War II, permanently cheap energy fueled the post-war economic boom that has not seen its like again. Oil became the lifeblood of the global economy then and accounted for almost half of the global energy consumption in 1972. Initially, much of it came from American oil exports, but as American consumption grew, the country became an oil importer and the Middle Eastern countries picked up the baton as the leading oil exporters. But what would happen if that essential resource suddenly became expensive? The world found out during the oil price shocks of 1973. We’ll have a look at how the crisis came to happen and to be resolved, which short-term impacts it had, and how things turned out differently in the longer run. As always, expect board games!
Recently, there has been no hotter theme for board games than Vikings. No matter if you were looking for a light wargame, a classic economic Eurogame or an ameritrash-euro hybrid, Vikings got you covered. After all the raiding, drinking beer and worshipping pagan deities, some of these “men from the north” or “Normans” settled down in the part of modern France which was named after them Normandy. The Viking knack for conquest was however not completely lost. One Norman duke took England for himself in 1066, which did not only give him the kingdom, but also the nickname William the Conqueror. Other Normans went south. One thousand years ago, in the year 1017, a band of mercenaries under the Norman noble Rainulf Drengot arrived in lower Italy to fight for Pope Benedict VIII against the Byzantines. They and their successors would go on to conquer large parts of southern Italy, rule over a multicultural kingdom, and inherit the title of Holy Roman Emperor. Continue reading