Mon, 13 Jul 2015 07:45
@AaronGleeman: Mine, meanwhile, was hiding under our bed.
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Sat, 11 Jul 2015 19:45
RT @nedroid: Also, I like whoever wrote these instructions http://t.co/ebMIz74K1z
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Sat, 11 Jul 2015 08:11
RT @AaronGleeman: Brian Dozier hits a walk-off homer as Tigers' bullpen implodes. That game is perfect example of how you can't run out the'¦
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Fri, 10 Jul 2015 08:10

by Salt-Man Z

And the Bid 29 and Bid 30 cards

So the Bids range from 1-28 now?
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Wed, 08 Jul 2015 15:23
RT @daanderson20: Miguel Sano has as many walks as Danny Santana
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Tue, 07 Jul 2015 23:12
RT @AaronGleeman: Miguel Sano is going to hit so many home runs.
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Mon, 06 Jul 2015 22:56

by Salt-Man Z

Related Item: Dominion

I can't speak for others, but when I make them, I print them out on full-sheet sticker paper, then I fold each sticker around a standard index card and trim with a scissors.
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Sun, 05 Jul 2015 15:02
RT @MillerStrib: Twins scoring after 81 games: 2013: 338 2014: 336 2015: 338 Twins runs allowed after 81 games: 2013: 377 2014: 370 2015: '¦
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Thu, 02 Jul 2015 23:46
RT @lukekarmali: This is literally the best thing I've ever seen happen on Twitter http://t.co/QZAiFNT6UG
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Thu, 02 Jul 2015 11:33
RT @tmbg: Download TMBGs latest album GLEAN today for just five bucks! Support the pro-ject! http://t.co/78etURxM48 http://t.co/lEDBwGHukZ
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Thu, 02 Jul 2015 10:11
"Think of it as solving problems / That should never have occurred / Please don't call it strangulation / That is such an ugly word" @tmbg
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Wed, 01 Jul 2015 11:09
BMW = Behold My Wiener
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Wed, 01 Jul 2015 11:08
RT @AaronGleeman: I've been on this earth 32 years and the only thing I know for certain is that you should always get a fried egg on a ham'¦
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Mon, 29 Jun 2015 16:43
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Fri, 26 Jun 2015 17:10
Always a good sign when Google Maps tells you, "This is the fastest route, DESPITE THE TRAFFIC." #HeyWeTried
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Fri, 26 Jun 2015 07:44
RT @SFReviewsnet: That moment when bookstore employees just get fed up with customers. http://t.co/0Pu5cVuFtP
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Tue, 23 Jun 2015 20:34
I just figured out why chef salads are so tasty: ham, eggs, cheese, bacon, toast... it's like breakfast on lettuce.
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Mon, 15 Jun 2015 16:21

by Salt-Man Z

CheapassJames wrote:

But we have certainly upgraded the quality of the card stock. This is DeLano's linen playing card stock, very nice paper.

Well, now I have to have it.
:)
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Mon, 15 Jun 2015 10:59

by Salt-Man Z

From the beginning we always mixed all the decks. We play with the "mulligan" rule where if you don't like your initial hand of 7, you can throw them out (once per deck) for a new hand.
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Mon, 15 Jun 2015 10:58

by Salt-Man Z

Per the Cheapass product page:
[q=Cheapass]The 2015 edition has the same basic interior design as our 2002 edition, with a few altered cards, and formatted for a wider poker-sized card. It also sports a bold new cover design from beloved Friedey's artist Brian Snoddy.
No specifics given, but the details also mention:
Contents: 100 cards, one 6-sided die
The deluxe and SJG editions both had the same 112 cards, so some were obviously pruned for this new version.

I'd love to see what the card differences are.
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Fri, 12 Jun 2015 11:49
@AaronGleeman @libertinempls: In the good way, I hope.
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Fri, 12 Jun 2015 11:43
Holy crap, Media, stop using the word "reboot" for *sequels*. http://t.co/CHa3WQGnlc
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Thu, 11 Jun 2015 11:01
"Hi, it's me! Sorry, were you in the middle of typing something? Oh well!"
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Thu, 11 Jun 2015 11:00
I hate it when an application takes focus away from one I'm current working on: "I'm more important than that other thing you were doing!"
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Mon, 08 Jun 2015 14:54

by Salt-Man Z

Picon wrote:

1. University: grossly overpriced and only returns colonists. For $8, you could had bought a Harbor.

I love the University, but I generally go for a building strategy. It's nice to be able to grab two large buildings (like Fortress and City Hall) near the end of the game and not have to worry about acquiring colonists. Then again, we generally play with the BGG-recommended Factory/University swap, which makes it that much more attractive; but I was always a big University fan anyway.
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Fri, 29 May 2015 23:33
RT @glassbottommeg: This is my new favorite GIF. http://t.co/oJ6oCtcwF2
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Wed, 20 May 2015 18:58
@darth_awesome: Fish tacos always sound good to me, but the only time I've had them they were gross.
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Tue, 19 May 2015 12:07
Enter to win THE WINDUP GIRL by Paolo Bacigalupi (US only)! @mybookishways #giveaway http://t.co/6QcElJHz6d
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Mon, 18 May 2015 11:15

by Salt-Man Z

Related Item: Dominion: Adventures

OutOfHabit wrote:

Any plan to make the same thing, but vertical?

Nope, but you can download the Word DOCs from my website and fiddle to your heart's content (for your own personal use, of course.)
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Thu, 14 May 2015 16:23

by Salt-Man Z

GSReis wrote:

Now, if you must change the game, you might try first-edition rules. They are more complex (score per city, not per farm), but each individual farmer has a better chance to score some points.

This. I always did prefer the original farm scoring rules.
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Thu, 14 May 2015 16:10

by Salt-Man Z

Guantanamo wrote:

Ok, I'm still confused.

How is this game suppose to be played?

My daughter likes this game and I bought this version. But, it seems like we are playing it wrong, but not sure I follow how we are suppose to play it.

The anniversary edition contains 2 decks of ticket cards, labelled "Classic" and "1910" (plus 4 "Mystery Train" tickets) that allow for four ways to play the game:

Classic game: uses only the Classic tickets (optional: add the Mystery Train tickets)
1910 game: uses only the 1910 tickets
Big Cities game: uses only the "Big Cities" tickets from both decks
Mega Game: uses all tickets

The Classic game rulebook can be found here: http://static.daysofwonder.com/tickettoride/en/img/tt_rules_...

The 1910 rulebook (containing rules for the 1910, Big Cities, and Mega games) can be found here: http://static.daysofwonder.com/tickettoride/en/img/tt_1910_r...
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Thu, 14 May 2015 15:39

by Salt-Man Z

jaeppel wrote:

rickert wrote:

I don't understand a single one of the Alchemy complaints. I never lock in the three cards with potions rule. I think it is a cool in-game strategy to figure out whether you want a card badly enough to purchase a Potion to get it. Just like I don't think it hurts to only have one card that provides coins out of Guilds.

I have totally played that setup where buying one potion to buy one or two University, then trashing the potion and never looking back is totally the thing. Nothing wrong with a single potion kingdom.

If Familiar is the only Alchemy card on the table, my opponents will all roll their eyes, just knowing I'ma grab me some Potions.
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Thu, 14 May 2015 15:32

by Salt-Man Z

cyranos wrote:

I'm still somewhat at a loss as how to play. There are fundamentally 5 types of cards, classic, classic big, 1910, 1910 big and mystery (but one is also big)

Vanilla

Just use the classic cards that don't have big cities? No bonuses?

1910

Just use the 1910 cards that don't have big cities? Only globetrotter bonus, no longest route?

I don't see that anyone answered you in this thread, so I will.

Big Cities tickets are just a subset of the larger ticket decks. So for the classic game, use all the classic tickets, including the Big Cities ones. For 1910, use all the 1910 tickets, including the Big Cities ones.

The Mystery Train tickets were part of an expansion for the classic game, so use them with the Classic tickets. Their inclusion is optional, though.

Classic game uses just the Longest Route, 1910 uses just the Globetrotter, Mega uses both.
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Wed, 13 May 2015 23:48
Enter to win SEVENEVES by Neal Stephenson (US only)! @mybookishways #giveaway http://t.co/qU0zk9tPcj
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Sun, 10 May 2015 10:44

by Salt-Man Z

Related Item: Dominion: Adventures

marrae wrote:

Awesome storage box! Please tell what it is and where to find one? Oh, and thanks for posting the dividers too! Great job! :-)

Thread about the boxes is here. Dunno if they're available anymore, though. I grabbed two because why not? and I'm glad because I ended up need them both, especially now with Adventures.
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Wed, 06 May 2015 23:57
@darth_awesome: Onions and peppers all up in there, though.
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Mon, 04 May 2015 23:39

by Salt-Man Z

Salt-Man Z wrote:

Individual results:
Colony - 10.5%
Shelters - 14.8%
Colony/Shelters - 1.6%
0 Events - 52.6%
1 Event - 33.6%
2 Events - 13.8%

I meant to add this, but apparently forgot, but if you want to approximate this with dice, use a d10 for Colony/Platinum, a d8 for Shelters, and a d8 for Events:

Colony/Platinum on a 1 (d10)
Shelters on a 1 (d8)
No Events on 1-4, 1 Event on 5-7, 2 Events on an 8 (d8)
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Sun, 03 May 2015 21:59

by Salt-Man Z

Related Item: Dominion: Adventures

syndesis wrote:

i think you're missing the Ranger divider.

Noooooo! Gah, yes, good catch, thank you!

Corrected files are up on my website, and have also been submitted to BGG.
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Sat, 02 May 2015 13:26

by Salt-Man Z

Alrighty, files for the Promos (now with Prince) and Adventures have been submitted. In the meantime, as always, you can get them here.
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Fri, 01 May 2015 14:36

by Salt-Man Z

rickert wrote:

So Colony should be 11 percent and Shelters are about 13 percent?

I get 11% for Colony (25 kingdom cards out of 236) and 15% for Shelters (35 out of 236).

I was actually trying to do the math for all Colony/Shelter/Event combos, but then my head started to hurt, so I wrote a quick program to brute force it. Out of 30,000 setups, using the suggested rules (first card Propserity? last card Dark Ages? no more than 2 Events) I get the following percentages:

Vanilla - 40.3%
Colony - 4.7%
Shelters - 6.8%
1 Event - 25.5%
2 Events - 10.4%
Colony/1 Event - 3.0%
Colony/2 Events - 1.3%
Shelters/1 Event - 4.6%
Shelters/2 Events - 1.8%
Colony/Shelters - 0.8%
Colony/Shelters/1 Event - 0.5%
Colony/Shelters/2 Events - 0.2%

Individual results:
Colony - 10.5%
Shelters - 14.8%
Colony/Shelters - 1.6%
0 Events - 52.6%
1 Event - 33.6%
2 Events - 13.8%

I also ran it for my own preferred selection method, which states that if either of the first two kingdom cards are from Prosperity, use Colonies, and if either are Dark Ages, use Shelters. It helps mitigate expansion bloat, and gives the following results:

Vanilla - 30.0%
Colony - 8.3%
Shelters - 12.1%
1 Event - 19.0%
2 Events - 7.7%
Colony/1 Event - 5.4%
Colony/2 Events - 2.3%
Shelters/1 Event - 7.9%
Shelters/2 Events - 3.1%
Colony/Shelters - 2.2%
Colony/Shelters/1 Event - 1.4%
Colony/Shelters/2 Events - 0.5%

Individual results:
Colony - 20.1%
Shelters - 27.2%
Colony/Shelters - 4.1%
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Wed, 29 Apr 2015 22:32

by Salt-Man Z

I think Catan's the better game, but TtR is easier to get non-gamers to play. (I've always been fairly ambivalent about Carc.)
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Mon, 27 Apr 2015 15:05
Book review: The Fold by Peter Clines: http://t.co/QdT7RzENdl [4 stars]
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Mon, 27 Apr 2015 15:05

I’m a big fan of Peter Clines’ Ex-Heroes books, so when I saw he had a new thriller out, I jumped at the chance to get my hands on a review copy. I generally like to go into a book knowing as little about it as possible, and in this case I didn’t even read the back-cover synopsis, so I was practically jumping in blind—Clines’ name on the cover was enough to get me excited. And my enthusiasm was amply rewarded.

The Fold starts out at a slow burn. We meet our protagonist, Leland “Mike” Erikson, who has a genius-level IQ and an eidetic memory, but prefers life under the radar, teaching English at the local high school. But he gets a call from Reggie, an old friend at the Department of Defense, who persuades him to fly out and use his special skills to observe a certain government-funded project. Reggie won’t tell Mike what the project is, but it works, and it’s amazing—but the project team appears to be stalling for more time and funding. Mike’s job is to make sure everything at the project is on the level, so Reggie can push the funding through. But of course, things at the “Albuquerque Door” project aren’t entirely what they seem…

The first half of the book takes its time setting things up: Mike flies out, meets the team, and gets to see the project’s success first-hand. He also spends a lot of time getting to know the individual team members and poring over the project’s logs and records. It reminded me a lot of a good Michael Crichton science thriller, with a lot of talking and science-y stuff, and only the occasional shock thrown out to deepen the mystery.

This goes on for the first half of the book, but the pace never flags: Clines keeps the tension high and the slowly-unfolding mystery intriguing. The short chapter-length and crisp prose work wonders, too. At about the halfway point, though, the Big Reveal hits and things start to unravel (in a good way!) at an accelerated pace, with the final act (after the Bigger Reveal) just going completely off the rails. It’s nuts. Maybe a little too nuts. But it’s frigging compelling reading. I read the whole thing in 24 hours: the first quarter Friday night (late Friday night), the second quarter Saturday morning. By Saturday afternoon, I couldn’t stand it anymore, and plopped down and cranked through the second half in a single sitting. I just could not put it down.

As I said previously, I’m not big on spoilers myself, and I also like to keep my reviews fairly tight-lipped when it comes to plot. But I mentioned Crichton earlier, and somewhere around a third of the way in I was very heavily reminded of his novel Timeline. If you took some of the concepts from that book and mashed them up with Patrick Lee’s The Breach trilogy (read that if you haven’t already, seriously) you’d get something very much like The Fold.

If I had to quibble, I’d say that the main premise (cool as it is) probably doesn’t hold up to much scrutiny (or if it does, there are a lot of coincidences going on) and that, despite Mike Erikson’s memory and intellect, I was able to arrive at a number of correct conclusions long before he did. And the end certainly does get weird. But really this book was just so much fun that I can barely bring myself to voice the complaints themselves, let alone delve into them. It’s just that good. And according to the afterword, it’s also tangentially-related to an earlier Clines book called 14. Shoot, looks like I’ve got a book to track down… [4 out of 5 stars]


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Mon, 27 Apr 2015 12:07

by Salt-Man Z

The BGG edition section of the Catan page is incomplete but probably your best bet.

The Mayfair first and second edition boxes look like this (the only difference was that the 2nd came with four new player colors):

The third edition box looks like this:

Fourth:


ackmondual wrote:

Kosmos always had different art work, and smaller tiles (that's why in Mayfair, the roads were always too short for the tiles)

Absolutely false about the size. The Kosmos tiles from Das Buch zum Spielen, Atlantis: Szenarien & Varianten, and Die Fischer von Catan all fit perfectly with my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th edition Mayfair sets:

(No 4ed tiles in the above image, but I've had no problem combining them with older tiles.)
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Thu, 23 Apr 2015 09:52

by Salt-Man Z

HBGamer wrote:

I love your dividers which makes me ask, do you have plans to make dividers for Adventures?

Absolutely! I started working on it earlier this week, but haven't had much time to devote to it. With any luck I'll get to work on them this weekend and hopefully have them uploaded by Monday. Thanks for asking!
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Mon, 20 Apr 2015 14:37

by Salt-Man Z

This is the first I've tried this; it's really cool!

I noticed, though, with 5 or 6 players, the basic supply piles get listed as two piles, presumably because you're combining cards from two sets:

30×Curse 10×Curse 9×Estate 3×Estate 12×Duchy 12×Province 3×Province 25×Copper 60×Copper 40×Silver 40×Silver 30×Gold 30×Gold

Was this intentional?
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Mon, 20 Apr 2015 14:27

by Salt-Man Z

Gubump wrote:

Beastmaster:
+4 Cards
If you don'™t have the Tribe token, take it and discard two cards from your hand. If you do have it, pass it to the player to your left.
Cost: $5
Type: Action

The way Beastmaster is currently written means you will never have the Tribe token after playing Beastmaster. If you start with the token, you draw 4, and pass the token. But if you don't start with token, you draw 4, take the token, discard 2, and then pass the token—because you check to see if you have the token after you take it.

If that's not the desired behavior (I'm assuming it's not) you should swap the order of instructions around, something along the lines of:

"If you already have the Tribe token, pass it to the player to your left. Otherwise, take the Tribe token and discard two cards from your hand."
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Mon, 20 Apr 2015 14:16

by Salt-Man Z

rickert wrote:

Pillage '“ Ruins cards

Pillage uses Spoils cards, not Ruins.
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Mon, 20 Apr 2015 13:46
Book review: Dead Boys by Gabriel Squailia: http://t.co/f1VouGskmt [3.5 stars]
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Mon, 20 Apr 2015 13:44

Dead Boys is a book I would have never picked up on my own. I’d never heard of it, nor its author, and a quick glance tells me it probably isn’t my sort of thing. But out of the blue one day I got an email from the publisher, saying there were review copies available, so I figured I’d go ahead and take a chance. By the next day, I had it loaded up on my Kindle and dove in.

I initially figured it was a book about zombies. I haven’t really consumed a lot of zombie media, so I don’t really know if I truly dislike it, but at the same time I have absolutely no desire to really try out the genre. But this book isn’t actually about the undead. It’s about the dead dead.

Dead Boys is a very surreal look at the afterlife, where the dead wash up on the shores of the River Lethe having lost the memories of their prior experiences in the living world. The zombie parallels begin and end with the dead’s physical forms: their bodies are in a constant state of decomposition, senses are dulled, and movement is slow and time-consuming. But the dead are always conscious, aware—essentially immortal in their new mode of existence. Squailia put in a lot of effort constructing the ground rules for the post-death life, and then spends the bulk of the book pushing that groundwork out to its logical conclusions.

Our main protagonist is Jacob Campbell, ten years a corpse, who’s on a quest to return to the living world. In death, Jacob is a well-regarded “preservationist”. In Dead City, the sight of bone is abhorrent, and as the dead’s physical forms are constantly decaying, Jacob and other specialists like him perform the services of keeping a body lifelike: filling deflated body cavities, replacing worn away flesh and skin with wood and leather, and similar cosmetic modifications. Jacob quickly picks up a handful of fellow travelers (the titular “Dead Boys”) and the quest begins in earnest: they must find the Living Man, rumored to have gained entrance to the Land of the Dead without having died himself, and who (Jacob hopes) holds the key to returning to the Land of the Living. That is, of course, just the beginning of their travels. Revelations await, and before anyone can regain the life they once lost, they must first come to fully embrace their new state of existence.

I definitely enjoyed Dead Boys. It’s not a particularly long book, and I read it in about a week. Jacob is an enjoyable protagonist, but is upstaged by almost all of the secondary characters, which is fine. It adheres very closely to the classic quest formula (travel to Place A, meet character B, travel to place C, meet D, etc…) of which I’m not a huge fan, and the plot stalls out for a bit in the second section, but overall it moves along at a nice clip. Some of the more surreal elements (of which there are a number) felt a little goofy to me, but there was a lot of neat stuff mixed in as well.

In the end, I think my expectations were a little off; I would have preferred a slightly deeper, more thoughtful or insightful novel. This book does have some good emotional beats, and obvious care was put into the characters and worldbuilding, but in the end it’s a fantasy quest story with a unique and interesting setting. Certainly there are a lot of readers out there who’ll fall in love with it. It’s by no means brilliant, but I enjoyed it, and I’m glad I took a chance on it. [3.5 out of 5 stars]


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Thu, 16 Apr 2015 16:34
Yes, let's discuss in detail the airspace vulnerabilities of the nation's capital on national TV, that seems like a brilliant idea.
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Thu, 16 Apr 2015 16:00

by Salt-Man Z

I regularly play it with my 11-year-old daughter (though she was 10 when she started playing) and my 5-year-old daughter also enjoys playing (and has even won once or twice!)

I should add that we always play with the 10-pile variant from the expansion (though I don't own the expansion.)
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Thu, 16 Apr 2015 15:34
@AaronGleeman @PAOnTheMic: Are the segments not available for download any longer? Looks I can only stream through I ♥ Radio now...? #Bummer
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Thu, 16 Apr 2015 15:24
RT @AaronGleeman: Shoulda figured all the Twins needed to break out of their horrible season-opening slump was to play the undefeated defen'¦
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Thu, 16 Apr 2015 12:13

by Salt-Man Z

New edition will be available next week, and the components have been confirmed to be the same as the RGG edition.
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Thu, 16 Apr 2015 12:10

by Salt-Man Z

I always prefer to play with Leaders. I like that it gives you some direction at the beginning of the game, instead of just waiting to see which cards come up.

Cities is just fine. I like that it makes the game just slightly longer. And the new cards are a nice tradeoff between expensive and powerful. It also ups the interaction factor a bit. Not an essential addition, but unless someone specifically doesn't want to play with it, I always add it in.

The Wonder Pack is a no-brainer, just for variety's sake.

I haven't played Babel yet, but what I've heard of it recently has made me rethink its (initially-high) priority on my wishlist.
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Wed, 15 Apr 2015 19:31
The #MNTwins JCPenney catalog shots are all adorable, but the bestest is Tiny Trevor Plouffe. #TinyTrevorPlouffe
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Wed, 15 Apr 2015 19:00
Off to Target Field to enjoy some good food and watch a good baseball team beat the snot out of the crappy #MNTwins
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Tue, 14 Apr 2015 15:35
RT @AaronGleeman: Target Field is essentially now just a giant outdoor patio with very expensive food and alcohol.
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Mon, 13 Apr 2015 19:12
saltmanz's review: "I'm a big fan of Peter Clines' Ex-Heroes books, so when I saw he had a new thriller out, I jumped at the chance to get my hands on a review copy. I generally like to go into a book knowing as little about it as possible, and in this case I didn't even read the back-cover synopsis, so I was practically jumping in blind—Clines' name on the cover was enough to get me excited. And my enthusiasm was amply rewarded. The Fold starts out at a slow burn. We meet our protagonist, Leland "Mike" Erikson, who has a genius-level IQ and an eidetic memory, but prefers life under the radar, teaching English at the local high school. But he gets a call from Reggie, an old friend at the Department of Defense, who persuades him to fly out and use his special skills to observe a certain government-funded project. Reggie won't tell Mike what the project is, but it works, and it's amazing—but the project team appears to be stalling for more time and funding. Mike's job is to make sure everything at the project is on the level, so Reggie can push the funding through. But of course, things at the "Albuquerque Door" project aren't entirely what they seem... The first half of the book takes its time setting things up: Mike flies out, meets the team, and gets to see the project's success first-hand. He also spends a lot of time getting to know the individual team members and poring over the project's logs and records. It reminded me a lot of a good Michael Crichton science thriller, with a lot of talking and science-y stuff, and only the occasional shock thrown out to deepen the mystery. This goes on for the first half of the book, but the pace never flags: Clines keeps the tension high and the slowly-unfolding mystery intriguing. The short chapter-length and crisp prose work wonders, too. At about the halfway point, though, the Big Reveal hits and things start to unravel (in a good way!) at an accelerated pace, with the final act (after the Bigger Reveal) just going completely off the rails. It's nuts. Maybe a little too nuts. But it's frigging compelling reading. I read the whole thing in 24 hours: the first quarter Friday night (late Friday night), the second quarter Saturday morning. By Saturday afternoon, I couldn't stand it anymore, and plopped down and cranked through the second half in a single sitting. I just could not put it down. As I said previously, I'm not big on spoilers myself, and I also like to keep my reviews fairly tight-lipped when it comes to plot. But I mentioned Crichton earlier, and somewhere around a third of the way in I was very heavily reminded of his novel Timeline. If you took some of the concepts from that book and mashed them up with Patrick Lee's The Breach trilogy (read that if you haven't already, seriously) you'd get something very much like The Fold. If I had to quibble, I'd say that the main premise (cool as it is) probably doesn't hold up to much scrutiny (or if it does, there are a lot of coincidences going on) and that, despite Mike Erikson's memory and intellect, I was able to arrive at a number of correct conclusions long before he did. And the end certainly does get weird. But really this book was just so much fun that I can barely bring myself to voice the complaints themselves, let alone delve into them. It's just that good. And according to the afterword, it's also tangentially-related to an earlier Clines book called 14. Shoot, looks like I've got a book to track down... [4 out of 5 stars]"
Category: LibraryThing   [ x ]
Mon, 13 Apr 2015 19:12
saltmanz's review: "I'm a big fan of Peter Clines' Ex-Heroes books, so when I saw he had a new thriller out, I jumped at the chance to get my hands on a review copy. I generally like to go into a book knowing as little about it as possible, and in this case I didn't even read the back-cover synopsis, so I was practically jumping in blind—Clines' name on the cover was enough to get me excited. And my enthusiasm was amply rewarded. The Fold starts out at a slow burn. We meet our protagonist, Leland "Mike" Erikson, who has a genius-level IQ and an eidetic memory, but prefers life under the radar, teaching English at the local high school. But he gets a call from Reggie, an old friend at the Department of Defense, who persuades him to fly out and use his special skills to observe a certain government-funded project. Reggie won't tell Mike what the project is, but it works, and it's amazing—but the project team appears to be stalling for more time and funding. Mike's job is to make sure everything at the project is on the level, so Reggie can push the funding through. But of course, things at the "Albuquerque Door" project aren't entirely what they seem... The first half of the book takes its time setting things up: Mike flies out, meets the team, and gets to see the project's success first-hand. He also spends a lot of time getting to know the individual team members and poring over the project's logs and records. It reminded me a lot of a good Michael Crichton science thriller, with a lot of talking and science-y stuff, and only the occasional shock thrown out to deepen the mystery. This goes on for the first half of the book, but the pace never flags: Clines keeps the tension high and the slowly-unfolding mystery intriguing. The short chapter-length and crisp prose work wonders, too. At about the halfway point, though, the Big Reveal hits and things start to unravel (in a good way!) at an accelerated pace, with the final act (after the Bigger Reveal) just going completely off the rails. It's nuts. Maybe a little too nuts. But it's frigging compelling reading. I read the whole thing in 24 hours: the first quarter Friday night (late Friday night), the second quarter Saturday morning. By Saturday afternoon, I couldn't stand it anymore, and plopped down and cranked through the second half in a single sitting. I just could not put it down. As I said previously, I'm not big on spoilers myself, and I also like to keep my reviews fairly tight-lipped when it comes to plot. But I mentioned Crichton earlier, and somewhere around a third of the way in I was very heavily reminded of his novel Timeline. If you took some of the concepts from that book and mashed them up with Patrick Lee's The Breach trilogy (read that if you haven't already, seriously) you'd get something very much like The Fold. If I had to quibble, I'd say that the main premise (cool as it is) probably doesn't hold up to much scrutiny (or if it does, there are a lot of coincidences going on) and that, despite Mike Erikson's memory and intellect, I was able to arrive at a number of correct conclusions long before he did. And the end certainly does get weird. But really this book was just so much fun that I can barely bring myself to voice the complaints themselves, let alone delve into them. It's just that good. And according to the afterword, it's also tangentially-related to an earlier Clines book called 14. Shoot, looks like I've got a book to track down... [4 out of 5 stars]"
Category: LibraryThing   [ x ]
Mon, 13 Apr 2015 13:52

by Salt-Man Z

Related Item: Puerto Rico

PR still remains my favorite board game after all these years. I still get excited every time I'm allowed to pull it out (my wife's not a fan). The previous sentence was not originally intended as a double entendre.
Category: BoardGameGeek   [ x ] Leave a Comment
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 14:53

by Salt-Man Z

Maokai wrote:

The game has two base games doesn't it? USA and Europe? does the 1910 expansion works with both of them?

There are four "standalone" versions of TtR:

USA (the simplest and most casual)
Europe (adds very minor complexity with ferries, tunnels, and stations)
Marklin (adds complexity/fiddliness with passengers)
Nordic (2-3 player only, slightly more complex than Europe)

1910 is a USA add-on
1912 is a Europe add-on but the warehouses/depots can be used with any TtR game
Category: BoardGameGeek   [ x ] Leave a Comment
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 14:10
saltmanz's review: "Dead Boys is a book I would have never picked up on my own. I'd never heard of it, nor its author, and a quick glance tells me it probably isn't my sort of thing. But out of the blue one day I got an email from the publisher, saying there were review copies available, so I figured I'd go ahead and take a chance. By the next day, I had it loaded up on my Kindle and dove in. I initially figured it was a book about zombies. I haven't really consumed a lot of zombie media, so I don't really know if I truly dislike it, but at the same time I have absolutely no desire to really try out the genre. But this book isn't actually about the undead. It's about the dead dead. Dead Boys is a very surreal look at the afterlife, where the dead wash up on the shores of the River Lethe having lost the memories of their prior experiences in the living world. The zombie parallels begin and end with the dead's physical forms: their bodies are in a constant state of decomposition, senses are dulled, and movement is slow and time-consuming. But the dead are always conscious, aware—essentially immortal in their new mode of existence. Squailia put in a lot of effort constructing the ground rules for the post-death life, and then spends the bulk of the book pushing that groundwork out to its logical conclusions. Our main protagonist is Jacob Campbell, ten years a corpse, who's on a quest to return to the living world. In death, Jacob is a well-regarded "preservationist". In Dead City, the sight of bone is abhorrent, and as the dead's physical forms are constantly decaying, Jacob and other specialists like him perform the services of keeping a body lifelike: filling deflated body cavities, replacing worn away flesh and skin with wood and leather, and similar cosmetic modifications. Jacob quickly picks up a handful of fellow travelers (the titular "Dead Boys") and the quest begins in earnest: they must find the Living Man, rumored to have gained entrance to the Land of the Dead without having died himself, and who (Jacob hopes) holds the key to returning to the Land of the Living. That is, of course, just the beginning of their travels. Revelations await, and before anyone can regain the life they once lost, they must first come to fully embrace their new state of existence. I definitely enjoyed Dead Boys. It's not a particularly long book, and I read it in about a week. Jacob is an enjoyable protagonist, but is upstaged by almost all of the secondary characters, which is fine. It adheres very closely to the classic quest formula (travel to Place A, meet character B, travel to place C, meet D, etc...) of which I'm not a huge fan, and the plot stalls out for a bit in the second section, but overall it moves along at a nice clip. Some of the more surreal elements (of which there are a number) felt a little goofy to me, but there was a lot of neat stuff mixed in as well. In the end, I think my expectations were a little off; I would have preferred a slightly deeper, more thoughtful or insightful novel. This book does have some good emotional beats, and obvious care was put into the characters and worldbuilding, but in the end it's a fantasy quest story with a unique and interesting setting. Certainly there are a lot of readers out there who'll fall in love with it. It's by no means brilliant, but I enjoyed it, and I'm glad I took a chance on it. [3.5 out of 5 stars]"
Category: LibraryThing   [ x ]