Friday, April 29, 2011

board game recommendation

Wife and I just got home from our friend Monte's place after playing some board games.
We played two - 7 Wonders and Agricola. Both are fantastic, but I'd like to talk about 7 Wonders.
The premise is simple - you play an ancient civilization through three ages. There's multiple ways to gain points - military dominance of your neighbors, civilian buildings, scientific buildings, mercantile, guilds . . . it's pretty wild.
Ignore all of that for a minute. The fun begins in the actual gameplay. If you're the rare bird that's ever played limited magic, you'll recognize the format immediately. It's a draft - you look at your hand, pick one card, and pass the rest to your neighbor. You continue doing this until the last two, and you discard one and take one.
So each turn you take a card and play it in front of you - it becomes a part of your civilization permanently. The cards all have some value, and they tend to be additive - getting lots of the same thing can pay off a lot. The experience is exciting and frustrating - early parts of the round stick you with hard choices on what to take, since you almost always want two or three of the cards.
Adding spice to the stew is your civilization's wonder. Each one grants different powers. Free buildings, lots of gold, more military strength, free resources . . . flashy stuff.
But the cost is the card you pick in the draft gets played face down marking the wonder, and its face-up abilities don't apply.
Wonders are also worth victory points - the average is 10, the high is 20.
After three rounds, you add up your points and it's over.
The entire game lasts about 20 - 30 minutes once you're acquainted, and about an hour when you're not. It's a lot of fun.
And it plays up to seven, which is a great bonus. Most games of this caliber cap out at five players.
It's a fun game that's easy to learn, and has an evolving metagame (your choices in one game will influence your opponents' play in future games) making thinking on your feet a valuable skill.
Adaptability, realistic planning, and awareness of what your neighbors are doing are the keys to winning the game - and boy is it fun.
Tonight I thought I was kicking ass - dominated militarily, had a little technology and some civic structures - I thought I was doing well. Then I count up my wife's points. In a game where our average winning score is in the low 50s, she hit 63 points. Crushed everyone.
Should have known, too. She's the living incarnation of the phrase, "It's quiet. . . too quiet."

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Facebook Fallacy

The longer I think about it, the more irritated I become.
For the last 3 years, I've been writing/blogging/whatever as a "I'd like to generate content for a living, so here's what I'm capable of."
(quick aside - calling it generating content makes me vomit in my mouth a little. Writing jokes is probably better but inaccurate. Link aggregation is part of what I do too, as well as terrible writing such as this. So content generation is probably the only thing that makes sense, but it still sounds like something you should do with a magazine in the bathroom)

My article content has waned year after year. First year of the blog was approximately 2 posts a week. That's slid downwards month after month; 2011 has me posting once a month on my blog.

If my internet usage had dropped, that's one thing. If I'd just plain stopped writing/interacting on the net, that's another.
The thing is, I haven't. I've been still posting links and my comments to them.
I'm still making quips on a regular basis, and wise-assed remarks.
I'm still taking beautiful pictures of my terrible cats. (err, those adjectives might be reversed)

But instead of doing it here, where ultimately I might stand some chance of throwing ads up and making a little cash, I've shifted all my content generation to Facebook.

And that's a terrible trade. Not only is there no chance, EVER, to monetize off of Facebook, but the model Facebook uses for monetization is pretty damn evil. It's been said a million times by a million people - for Facebook WE are the product, and the customers are advertisers.
Not only that, but we're busy building up a complex psychographic profile for the Facebook - who we're connected to, what our interests are, who we hide in our feeds, where our eyeballs are on their screens. . . etc.

Couple that with the cases coming up every day where incriminating shit was put on Facebook and it led to divorce/lost custody of a child/violated probation/some terrible thing spawning from a thoughtless post.

Now, I may still need facebook. My blog posts aren't rocketing to the top of Reddit (not even the hilarious ones). But the strategy/technique I've been pursuing is fucked. So moving forward, I'm weaning myself from the Facebook.

What does this mean to you? For starters, I'm not posting article updates or status updates on my FB page. If I see a link I like, I'll post it here, write some comments, and let TwitterFeed pick it up and post it to Twitter and Facebook.
Twitter is the "Status Update" stop now.

And finally, (this is the big one that I'll probably regret): I'm shifting 100% of the content generation to my fan page instead of my regular facebook page.
This is more to begin eliminating friends who spam me, but it's also because of my shifting attitude towards Facebook - it should be a place where people who like me can find out where I put my content.
It shouldn't be the place where I actually leave the stuff.

I hope some/most of you make the jump. I think there's about 20 of you, so it shouldn't be too tough, I can email you directions if you want.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Eppur si muove

Late for the Queens show last night. Almost didn't make it at all - storm clouds gathered on the horizon and my wife had already bailed.
I rally, and two friends pick me up in a cab. They show up an hour after the show's begun. I'd been grunting away on the toilet. . . lots of oohs and ahhs coupled with popping, like a fireworks display.
We get out at the riv, and you can hear them playing a little. Two drunk Cub-fan looking guys approach. "Any extra tickets?"
"Yeah, I've got one, face value?"
He says yes, reaches for his money. Something clicks in him. I must have given away I didn't care how much I got for the ticket. He shakes his head and says "nah, they're on their fifth song."
This crushes me inside. I love the first Queens album. I listened to it day after day when I lived on Long Island. I discovered the band in a record store in Boston. A split CD for Kyuss/QOTSA was purchased immediately. (I also purchased Sheavy's first album, which wasn't very good but featured a digireedoo)
Kyuss covered Into the Void which was great and appropriate as they'd elicited comparisons to Sabbath, particularly in the drumming style.
But Queens was interesting, and had one song that really stood out - If Only.
Which was so good that it made it to their self titled first LP. It's the third song, and drunkie McCubbinton has just told me I missed it.
I turn from him, and walk into the ATM lobby.
He says, "I'll give you twenty bucks for it."
I should have said $25. Or held firm, even. But I relented, and sold him the ticket. No killer instinct.
We walked into the end of You Would Know, and regret was wiped clean by the grooves. I'm reasonably tall - six foot - but I couldn't see anything but Josh Homme if I stood on my tiptoes at one specific angle. Terrible sight lines.
But what a great show! The whole first album took us to their first break.
Then they came back and performed three encores spanning the rest of their albums.

I spent the night in turmoil from gastric distress. I suspect the burger I ate at lunch. I've gotta be more selective where/what I'm eating.
Because I was poorly.