Do people like, still blog?

Tag Archives: boardgames

Mystic Miracles is a clone of the board game 7 Wonders. It has the same mechanics but all the names are different. I have been looking for a 7 Wonders game to play on my phone for awhile – there were a couple of amateur projects but they didn’t get very far, and I stumbled this one while following links from another game (I think it was Dominion). Now that I’ve found this, I 1) forgot the rules and had to learn them again, and 2) don’t find the game very fun any more. However, if you are looking for a good port of 7 Wonders, this is very good (not sure about the AI since I’m not a good player).

Continent Conquest is a game that plays like Civilization or Age of Empires, but doesn’t look nearly as pretty. I played it through a little but didn’t end up finishing the tutorial. There’s nothing really wrong with this game, just that I don’t have the patience to invest in a game like this on mobile when there are other games or faster games to play.

  • You Can Explain eBay’s $50 Billion Turnaround With Just This One Crazy Story
    A not-really-that-crazy story about how eBay’s homepage got revamped and what that means for the culture of eBay.

    Partly, the issue was obvious: eBay had gotten fat and happy. For 10 years it had been a huge success, riding a wave of Internet adoption. During the mid-2000s, eBay was notorious for meetings that always ended in applause — even when the news was bad.

  • Sochi or Bust
    A look at the economy of Russia that was written before the Sochi Olympics.

    Some analysts estimate that these state companies control about half of Russia’s economy. They are sheltered from competition, soak up resources and stoke inflation. State companies award contracts to nominally private companies owned by friends and relatives of their managers. The Sochi Olympics are a prime example: the biggest contracts were given to firms run by Mr Putin’s chums, including Arkady Rotenberg, his boyhood judo partner.

    This sort of thing creates a system of perverse incentives, fosters cynicism and cronyism and discourages those who want to use their initiative and skills. One man has worked for two companies owned by Mr Putin’s friends. His latest employer is a firm owned by a close relative of a powerful government official. “My salary is higher than I would get in an independent firm, but my responsibility is much less. I add almost no value. Connections decide everything,” he says.

  • Caltech: secrets of the world’s number one university
    How is Caltech so good when it’s so small? The answer is not too surprising, but the ability to bottle this lightning and reproduce it across the world is not so easy.

    “I have 77 faculty in engineering and applied science. MIT [the Massachusetts Institute of Technology] has 490. How can I compete with an excellent place like MIT? We have to have engineers interact with all of the sciences and vice versa – it is a matter of survival. We don’t have the breadth to do things in a big way unless they interact.”

  • The Man Who Built Catan
    A light article about the person who created Settlers of Catan and the popularity it is having across the US.
  • Think You Could Be A Professional Gambler? Here’s What It’s Actually Like
    A neat story about what it’s like to be a sports gambler (i.e., someone who bets on sporting events rather than just playing blackjack in the casinos). It’s pretty interesting, so much so that I would like a longer form of this (maybe even a book)

    “I was betting Christina Aguilera ‘under’ on the national anthem in the Packers-Steelers Super Bowl three years ago. I did all the research on YouTube — from when she was a little kid, singing at 8 years old right up to the night before the Super Bowl, when she sang the national anthem at a hockey game — knowing we had a good edge on ‘under’ two minutes and 33 seconds, or whatever it was. And it was. She finished at something like 2:17, and we win. Except the books say, ‘Oh you know what? She missed one of the words. No action.’ I’ll never bet that again.”

Speaking of board games and playing them on mobile devices, here’s my list of games that I’ve played/seen and find fun. It’s not so much a complete list, but rather ones that I’ve played which don’t have a crappy UI/AI. Maybe I’ll remember to keep this list updated when I find more

  • Androminion (clone of Dominion) [Android]
  • 7 Wonders (someone created a unauthorized version and was C&D’d) [Android]
  • Neuroshima Hex [Android/iOS]
  • Condado (clone of San Juan) [Android]
  • Ascension [iOS]
  • Bang! The Spaghetti Western [iOS]
  • Catan Dice Game [Android]
  • Catan [Android/iOS]

I also play the following on my desktop

  • JCloisterZone (clone of Carcassonne).
  • Ticket To Ride
  • Puerto Rico

I know of the following, but I don’t play them

  • Carcassonne [Android/iOS different publishers] (I don’t play this because JClositer is better/free and the game is not that fun)
  • Greed Corp [Android] (I played this on XBOX360 already)

The brisk weather of fall has hit this month and the leaves have turned colours or fallen off completely already. When you don’t need to go out everyday like I do, the weather changes seem drastic! The end of the season also meant that we cleaned up our backyard – last cutting of the grass, harvested and buried our garden, etc.

Apollo turned 1 earlier this month and he is much more interactive now. I think the big turning point came when he started walking around by himself. Now he can find his own toys, visit the big people around the house, and follow us around.

We made a trip down to the US this month for shopping, although we didn’t really need to buy much – we already have too much clothes and it’s too early to shop for Christmas. In fact we’re trying to get rid of stuff as we started our “winter project” of getting the extra bedroom ready for Apollo.

I ended up playing some games this month, Ascension and Bang! on iOS, Carcassonne and Puerto Rico on PC and Cookie Clicker in my browser. Looks like board games are back for me.

It was also Halloween, the second Halloween for Apollo, but the first one where he can actually dress up. Here’s him being a scared monster:

Although I’ve know about it for along time, I bought my first Humble Bundle recently. I think I never ended up buying them because I just haven’t been playing games that much; and in recent years, if I have, then it would have been on my XBOX360 for games of sufficient depth. There aren’t many games on mobile/handheld platform that I would want to pay for (and there are usually alternatives anyways) so I didn’t feel like spending on a Humble Bundle.

I bought the recent Humble Bundle because it included Ticket To Ride, which is a board game that I’ve played before. I enjoy playing board games electronically rather than live/with people because it’s a lot faster! I had Ticket To Ride on my Google Play wishlist for awhile, but it goes for something like $7.16 which is a lot to pay for an Android game. I ended up volun-paying $6.20 for the Humble Bundle, which got me the game and 2 DLC expansion packs (I could have paid $1 and received only the USA 1910 DLCs, so I’m not sure the extra $5 is worth it for the Europe maps).

I got a slew of other games as well which I would never play. I tried Organ Trail which is Oregon Trail with zombies but wasn’t really enamoured by it (maybe I’ll come back to it) and I got another copy of Greed Corp (I got this for cheap on XBOX360) but since I pretty much finished it, I might not play it again.

Ticket To Ride didn’t live up to my expectations. I don’t think the game itself is bad – its just the interface. In the bundle, you get the game for as many platforms as possible. I installed it on my living room PC and my TV is just big enough to display the UI (it probably needs > 720p resolution to play). I also installed it on my phone, and it laid out the same interface elements, in the same manner, on a sub-5″ display. Not only can I see, I can’t discretely click the elements. So that kinda sucks. The saving grace is that the game seems to be constantly updated (not fun to keep downloading 200mb updates) so perhaps it will get better on mobile devices.

The deck building card game that I usually play nowadays is Dominion, but I have heard good things about Ascension so tried playing it for a bit. It’s similar to Dominion in the sense that you can apply similar strategies (get rid of useless cards from your deck, try and draw your entire deck into your hand each turn, etc) but also different in a way – most of the non-trivial cards are limited (maybe maximum of 2 in the game) so you can’t rely on buying the same cards to build your deck.

It’s fun for variety, but after awhile, it starts getting repetitive. I haven’t tried playing the expansion sets yet though, so maybe I should do that? It’s not like Dominion is that replayable without its expansions.