Tag Archives: maltese

An interview with Warmonger Games

Warmonger Games Malta is a new online store, which sells all kinds of table top games – be it board games, card games and role-playing games. Being a fan, today I am sitting down with the owner of this fairly new Maltese business.

  • Who are you, and what made you choose an online store for table top games?

My name is Sam Spiteri and I am the owner of WarMonger Games. Also an avid gamer with over 15 years of gaming experience in various game systems. Been playing all sorts of table-top games since the tender age of 10 and I’m now 34. *Argh!* Time flies!

Opening a business is always s big risk especially in a market which isn’t as strong as other markets say for example the food market. Local property prices have exaggerated to the point that even with a monthly wage of 1,200-1,400 euro, its still difficult to purchase and maintain a property not to mention support other expenses/loan costs etc.

Thus, an online store minimises financial risks and certain expenses not to mention you would also be able to put your name out there more easily even overseas. – Although we exclusively sell locally first and foremost, however we are happy to say we also have clients from Canada, North American, Poland, Norway and most recently the Netherlands and Belgium. In other words, WarMonger Games have started experimenting in satisfying gamers needs even from outside Malta.

  • Since you are a gamer yourself, what is your favourite game and why?

*Rolls eyes*I don’t have a straight answer. I’ve got many favourites and its hard to choose because they all have something special or particular to me.

Although not an all-time favourite however it was the title that got me into the hobby. It was Games Workshop’s 1996 edition of Space Hulk.

I remember it was my 10th Birthday and my dad took me to Funtasia Toy Store in San Gwann to buy my present. As usual, my dad wanted me to buy a model car or something related. I stumbled in a room of the store in which they had a lot of science fiction and fantasy related models/figurines and that’s when I saw it… A giant of a man clad in bright red bulky armour, surrounded by other giants of similar appearance, all bearing and handling fantastic weapons of various designs and yet they were being attacked by equally-impressive monsters of some sort. They reminded me of the xenomorphs from the famous Alien movie franchise and yet were completely different to it. Then I noticed the tag line of the game box “A Battle To The Death In The Chilling Depths Of Space”.

I was so impressed by those words that I immediately wanted this box even though I had no idea what it is and if its a game or not. I just wanted it! Little did I know at 10 years of age that THAT box will send me through a rabbit hole of infinite space….. and I’m still falling *winks* :).

  • What is your top selling game?

Not in any particular order however I had multiple sales on the following games:

Keyforge, Azul, This War of Mine, Mice & Mystics, Stuffed Fables, A Song of Ice and Fire, RuneWars: Miniatures Game.

  • For those who are new to your website, can you explain how the reward system works?

For every 1 euro purchased you gain 1 point. 1 point is equivalent to 1 cent thus a 100 points would be equivalent to 1 euro.

You can redeem your points at check out, and depending how many points you would have redeemed, you gain a discount equal to the amount of points used.

Please note accessory items are worth half-points. Example a card game deck box costing 4 euros would be worth 2 points.

  • Are you working on any new website features we should be aware of?

We are constantly researching and brainstorming new ideas, however it would be unwise of us to share trade secrets before they’re finalised and implemented 😛

  • Are there any new games coming out in the near future which you can tell us about?

How about liking the store’s official Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WarMongerGamesMalta/ to be informed on all games new and coming soon at our store?!

  • What distinguishes your business from your Maltese competitors?

I’m quite possibly the better looking one 😛 – jokes aside, I will leave it to our clientele to answer this question and be the judge on this matter.

  • Are all the games advertised on your website ready to be delivered and available in-stock? What is your delivery policy?

Its impossible to have every item in stock not even online store giants such as Amazon manage that. The reasons are many as to why. Top two culprits would be level of clientele demand and if the game is undergoing a reprinting which sometimes takes months if not a year or two.

We tend to deliver quickly, in less than two days typically, however this is always subject to schedule availability. For example: it is impossible for us to deliver in the next day or two if we’re fully booked throughout the week. The Warmonger is many things but Padre Pio isn’t one of them! *winks*

  • Do you have a message you would like to deliver to the community and fellow Maltese gamers?

I definitely would like to say a big thanks to anyone and everyone who have supported us from the beginning, during our year long soft launch and after we launched publicly in June 2018.

This also includes all the local gaming clubs in Malta namely, the Realms of Pure Fantasy, WARS Club and the Dungeon Group.

Keep on gaming to your heart’s content and never, and I mean never let anyone to tell you to do otherwise. WarMonger Games will see you at the table-top 🙂

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When to get married in Malta: Seasonality

Maltese brides and grooms tend to play it safe when it comes to their wedding. Even if you are not a bride-zilla, you would most likely still not want a rainy wedding day as this would disrupt all your plans, be it traffic, wedding venue and dirtying your oh-so-white wedding dress! Funnily enough though, we don’t always think of the pros and cons that each season in Malta comes with!

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No snow in Malta, but you catch my drift!

Spring:
The weather starts changing from cold to warm
Happy guest mood since winter is over, and soon it is time for summer
A lot of fruit and veg are back in season, which means more variety when it comes to your menu
The grass is greener! And the flowers start bloom. Needless to say this will enhance your wedding photos, and no doubt, the floral choice for decor is at its best.
Allergy season (this was the only reason why I couldn’t go for a Spring wedding!)
Children are still in school, which might cause certain parents to not attend your wedding

Summer:
Risk of rain is close to none
Longer days, breezy evenings
If you are choosing Malta as your destination wedding, it is more likely that guests will attend as they can combine the wedding with a holiday, and the kids are off school
Summer season is the most popular season of all. If you are very specific on dates and venues, you have to plan very much ahead. Two years minimum, but three years ahead is advised
Noon summer weddings should be illegal. It is crazy to say the least!
Peak wedding season. Guests might choose to attend another wedding, not yours

Autumn:
Milder weather, ideal for noon weddings
The changes of the colour of leaves and trees makes for a magical and romantic background to your wedding photos
Children are back in school, which might cause certain parents to not attend your wedding
Risk of bad weather

Winter:
Classic and traditional Christmas themed weddings are amazing
Availability of venue and other suppliers are abundant
Cheaper deals on venue and vendors due to being off season
Noon weddings are appropriate as days are shorter
Brides have more dress options
✗ Bad weather is likely
✗ Wedding photos outdoors might be a bust due to weather conditions
✗ Festive season might discourage guests as they might rather spend it with close family
✗ Guest may be short on money as it is Christmas season

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Wedding in Malta: How to get started

Daniel and I are both planners, which I’d say is of an advantage when it comes to organizing our wedding plan. We have heard about so many stories, where couples are stressed beyond compare, fighting every minute they get, that we were a bit paranoid. Truth be told, none of this has happened. Three months into the preparation, we have been very respectful towards each other, and we have managed to compromise on everything so far, be it budget, and choosing our providers.

We believe, that the hardest thing that we had to come up with was our budget. The main reason being that we had absolutely no idea on how much a wedding should cost.  We heard of weddings which costed 10,000 and others which were 30,000 and more! This confused us further, as we were unsure how two weddings which had roughly the same items (sizable venue and guest-list, food, DJ, open bar) could differentiate so much in terms of cost!

wedding to do list

So how did we come up with a budget? In reality, we did not! Wait, what? We decided on what we can afford. We decided on the guests we wanted to invite. I come from a large family, and we had to draw a line somewhere. We made the guest list, and we asked vendors for quotations based on these numbers. Then by priority, we started to add additional costs – listing the must haves and the nice to haves.

This is the must-have list we came up with:

– Gather an approximate Guest list and request quotations for food and drinks
Chapel & Venue – booked on the same day
Food tasting from top 2 or 3 caterers (based on price, reputation and wedding date availability)
Photographer – A beautiful memory to cherish in the years to come
DJ – a wedding reception without music, is not really a celebration. In Malta, DJ is the most common form of entertainment for weddings. Some choose to have a live-band or singer
Cars – Bare necessity is a bridal car and taxi for groom and our respective family
Hair & Makeup – We all want to look at our best for our big day
Rings – The symbol for our marriage
Invitations – Compulsory
Souvenirs – A small thank you gift for our guests
Clothes – Bride, Groom, Bridesmaids, Groomsmen
Bride’s flower bouquet

Nice to have list:

Flowers (for the church)
Church Singer
– Themed Decor (for the venue)
Lighting
– Videographer
– Red Carpet (for the church)

Reflection

So this morning I was in work, and while I was sipping my coffee and working on my weekly reports, I hear the mention of a crashing plane. Being still not wide awake, at such an ungodly hour on a Monday morning, it took me some time until it registered in my head that there was an actual plane crash.

I was even more shocked when I Googled the words “plane crash” and I saw the word MALTA.

I have never in my 29 years of life, heard of such incidents on Maltese shores. I must say, this has shaken me to the core. I got goosebumps all over as soon as I read the article, and even more so when I watched the video. Two explosions, fire everywhere, people crying as they witness what has happened. It was crazy. Heartbroken.

There were no survivors, and if you watch the video, you can understand why.

In moments like these, I can’t help but reflect on my life. How short life is, how unpredictable it is. As a frequent flyer myself, tragedies like these although they won’t convince me to stay bound to Malta forever, make me realise how fragile we are, how although rare such things happen – even if it never occur to us that it will happen to us, or someone close to us.

With this in my mind, I urge you to hold on to your loved ones a little bit tighter tonight and to not be afraid to love and be honest always. Life is precious, and once our heart stops beating that is it.

My deepest and sincere condolences to the families of the lost souls.
Rest in peace.

No, it is not OK…

Imagine you are casually walking by the seashore on a Summery Saturday afternoon, minding your own business; sunglasses on, hat on due to the excessive sunlight. As you are peacefully gazing the view in front of you, taking it all in, just a few minutes before you are due to go into work, this group of Maltese males pass by.

Being all ignorant and dense, they’d start talking about you in Maltese (not even whisper, no!), assuming that you are this dumb tourist who wouldn’t get a word they are saying. Comments would start off with nice dress, to what they would do to you if they had the chance, and what the hell am I doing being outdoors all by myself “looking like that”.

Needless to say, I stayed there listening, boiling mad with every statement they say to each other. When it looked like they have said enough, I turned around, smiled and asked them “xi haga ohra?”. For my non-Maltese readers, this would translate to “Anything else?”

Well, that DID shut them up, but this doesn’t explain how rude and respect-less they are to women. I mean, these guys thought they’d get away with it, because I could not understand them… but doesn’t that make it even worse? It is because of situations like these, that I feel like I lost hope in humans, in men…
If it was I who said such statements about guys, that would have made me a slut, but it is somehow cool for men to say these things… Double standards much?

Either way, it is disrespectful and equality on this subject wouldn’t make things fine. Objectifying people is always wrong unless done with consent from all the people involved.

 

Mosta Dome

The Parish Church of Saint Mary, is popularly known as the Rotunda or the Mosta dome due to its large dome; which can be seen from most parts of Malta.

The church was designed by a Maltese architect called Giorgio Grognet de Vassé. The church’s design was closely based on the Pantheon in Rome; 6 columned portico with a circular 39.6m diameter dome. It was built between the 1833 and 1860 with funds raised by the local people.

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During World War 2 in 1942, a bomb fell through the church and it didn’t detonate. This was considered as a miracle especially since around 300 people were in the church waiting for the mass to commence. A replica of the said bomb is available to see in the sacristy, left of the altar.

 

The Valletta Waterfront

The Valletta Waterfront is a promenade which you can get steffisays-upperbarrakkagardens-liftto easily either from the Upper Barrakka Gardens by using the elevator facilities at a price of around 2 Euro (you would get a return ticket when you purchase one), or  by walking through Valletta city center towards the sea, and keep walking to the direction of the Cruise and Ferry terminal. Funnily enough, although the area is known as Valletta Waterfront, it is located in Floriana.

One of the reasons I go to this area is the obvious fact that it is lovely, especially in the evenings for a pleasant walk by the sea. It is also frequented because of the fact that there are a variety of restaurants to go to for lunch, dinner, coffee or for a couple of drinks. Different cuisines such as Mediterranean, Italian and Chinese are available.

Plus how can you resist this view?

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The WaterFront View at night

Going there is a must, I tell you!

 

St. Paul’s Catacombs, Rabat Malta

The underground roman cemeteries are dated to be
used up until the 4th century AD. Since the roman law at the time, prohibited burials within the city, these are catacombs2found on the outskirt of the capital of Malta at the time; Mdina.

The name of the these catacombs derives from the widely known story which relates to St Paul’s Grotto. As such, these catacombs are a great example of Maltese underground architecture as well as it represents the earliest evidence of Christianity in Malta.

The site itself consists of two large areas, with a good number of burial chambers. During a talk with one of the curators, I was told that there were more than 30 underground burial chambers.

catacombs
Should you be interested to visit, the opening hours are 9:00 to 17:00, Monday to Friday.
Tickets cost €5.00 for adults, and €3.50 for youths

How to get there
– By Public Transport: From Valletta Routes 51, 52. From Bugibba Route X3 (Airport Route). The catacombs are situated in St. Agatha Street which is a narrow street running through much of the town’s core. Follow the signs to St. Paul’s Catacombs.
– By self-driven car: Drive towards Rabat and park close to the Domus Romana. The St. Paul’s Catacombs are around 5 minutes away by walk.

Which language do you think with?

This is a weird one, I know.

I have been, for years on end now, thinking and “talking to myself” in a foreign language. By foreign language, I mean English. Malta is a bilingual country, and in fact we start learning English at the young age of six. I always loved the language and the literature that came with it. I always carried a book with me and preferred British TV and movies over Italian (I’m mentioning Italian because all of my friends watched Italian TV when I was growing up).

homer-simpson-thinking

Although I love the English language, I knew that there is one barrier that I won’t be able to surpass. This is, because even though I know that my spoken and written English is better than the average Joe’s, I will never have enough practice verbally to become super fluent and master it as it was my first language.

It was in 2011, when things changed for me. Leaving Malta meant that I had to leave my mother tongue behind (to an extend). When I landed in Manchester airport, I knew that at this point,  I have to deal with people in English. I think, that this is when my head decided that I should start thinking in English. I think, this was rather beneficial (yes, I googled it):

  • Apparently, if you think in a foreign language, you are not only practicing the language itself but also learning new vocabulary. It’s almost like when you are reading a book for the very first time.
  • Another reason according to a study is that since a foreign language provides psychological distance because you need to make a bit of an effort to use it, it will affect your reasoning and decision making in the sense that they become less biased, more analytic, and more systematic.

In reality, in my daily life, unless I am speaking with my friends and colleagues, everything else is done using the English language, which means that I was very surprised that it took my brain this long to switch languages:

  • Reading news, blogs, articles
  • Google searches are conducted in English
  • Reading Books
  • Listening to music
  • Making use of laptops (or computers) and phones using an English interface
  • Watching TV, Movies and Series

Am I the only one who took this leap? Do you think in your native language or did you choose another familiar language to do so? I want to know! 🙂

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//Obviously this is targeted to users who can speak multiple languages rather than just the one.

Qormi Air-Raid War Shelters

Casal Fornaro is an event that happens in my home town Qormi, on a yearly basis. This is a festival which celebrates bread, and how it represented the town through the years, even during wars. During the time when the island was under attack, bread was made out of rice and tasted horrible, but at least it ensured that the citizens had something to eat. Nowadays the city of Qormi is still renowned for bread and together, we celebrate an event full of bread, pastries and culture.

On this day, the two local war shelters are open for the public, and to me, these deserve a visit every year.

In one of the shelters there is a re-enactment from World War 2, explaining the situation of the poor and the politicians. Then you are allowed to roam around the shelter and imagine for yourself what life was like during that time. The re-enactment happens in Maltese which is a disadvantage for any tourists visiting, however one can still visually appreciate the surroundings.

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In the second war shelter, there is a bread exhibition sponsored by the leading bakery ‘MayPole’ – One can find fancy bread available in the shelter just for viewing as can be seen in the images below.

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One is able to buy similar bread through the many stalls in the festival as well as from their bakery any other day of the year.