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Games and Puzzles


The Dice Tower has some recent videos showing Werewolf games played remotely with over 20 players, including a confusing bunch of players assigned special powers. Entertaining in a way. The Werewolf: Sasquatch King was dramatic. The game originated in the U.S.S.R. during the glasnost era.

This seems like Werewolf by spreadsheet, with people taking records rather than relying on speech and body language. Then again, I haven't seen normal Werewolf.

Dicebreaker has some videos showing remote Werewolf games with half a dozen players. As I see it this is not so good, because the number of players is too small and it can also be a little sloppy. On the plus side, the small number of players can make it viewable, the British people give it wordy, colourful flavour, and they are are experienced YouTubers who are familiar with role playing games.

It might be neat to have someone make a YouTube channel that shows abstract strategy games being played. None of the various production pressures, not reviewing games, play what you want to the extent you want, no schedule, no need to show faces.

I find this intriguing. But meeting expectations is tricky if you think about it.

Why do people watch videos? Some videos demand that you watch them because they are visual. Some you can more or less listen to while you're doing something else. I used to watch soccer games repeatedly on VHS becase they are just the right balance of boring and interesting. There are some videos you fall asleep to. Watching abstract strategy games being played might be the worst combination of demanding that you watch them without being thrilling.

Originally I was thinking - never seriously - about playing The Royal Game of Ur, just showing hands. I could play with a little girl, or I could play a computer game. There is a lot of opportunity to discuss tactics. In addition I could talk a little about Mesopotamia, and I could speculate about how the game was created, and whatever else pops up

I like what I like. Which might not be what you like.


Stand By Me is the game I'm most happy about. Alas, it turns out it is most likely a failure. I got Javascript to spit out a whole bunch of numbers, options, ratios.

Or maybe it's fine. What if one group of players, the schlorgs, did 2a1d faceoffs with another group of players, the glimps? The glimps as a group would lose at a higher rate (56 players lost in 100 faceoffs). Wouldn't it be good to be the schlorg team (32 players lost in 100 faceoffs)? I'm drowning in numbers and scenarios.

One thing is for sure: Instead of six numbers we will deal with five numbers; i.e. if you roll a six you will reroll.

Stand By Me is a game where two players are randomly chosen from a substantial group, and the two players roll dice to see who gets a lower number and gets kicked out of the game. Being chosen for faceoffs and what number is rolled is beyond your control; it's in the hands of capricious gods. What is within your control is the social shenanigans to increase your chances of surviving a faceoff.

If you are an attacker, your odds of dying during a faceoff are (a = attacker, d = defender):
56% for 1a2d.
41.7% for 1a1d.
24% for 2a2d.
16% for 2a1d.



Should I make this a Christmas present? The small size and simplicity are siren songs for me. On the other hand, I don't think various recipients would be all that interested. It costs money. On the plus side, it fits nicely (sans packaging) in a macaroni and cheese box. There we go.


To get more pictures, go to here. That's an excuse to go to www.puzzlemad.co.uk. Gabriel Fernandes' Puzzle Collection likes it. For a video check out Mr. Puzzle. This includes a solution, and also neat instructions for putting it together again.

Game Concepts


Concepts for games that never were made will be presented here. This will be done incrementally, then moved to the Games page when ready.


And then there's Gamaroo. This is a game where you have the classic roll a die and move your piece down a path. Some of the spaces have challenges on them, usually questions. This is intended for the whole family, actually a specific family, as a Christmas present. This will show up here and there on the site, because you may want to use it as a Christmas present.

This has four branches: words, social, intellectual and trick or treat. Different branches are appropriate for different people.

Say "fish" in a non-English language. Say "shark" in a non-English language. This is one challenge, a word challenge. You roll dice for each question answered correctly. If you roll twice you do not move twice; you choose the best roll and move that amount.

1) social
Safe space
"Know your neighbour"
"Find the ring" Lie detection.
"Mystery challenge" Get the dog to do a trick

2) words
safe space
"Words" word questions
"Silly riddles"

3) intellectual
safe space

4) trick or treat
Wrapped candy symbol. You can snack on sweets, nothing to do with the game.
"Dice duel" Build the tallest dice tower with the clock ticking. You struggle with the person who landed on you, one loses.
"Body" Physical challenges
"Fear" Fear challenges


As for position, I plan to assign these randomly within their branches.

Safe spaces/forts are borrowed from traditional games. I picture them being marked with an X. If you land there no other pieces can land there, and also you can roll the dice again.

I'll find some coy way of showing this but not giving away secrets to people who shouldn't know.

Language and Culture


Finnish quarantine

Note the pronunciation of Helsinski, including emphasis.


Food and Drink (mostly drink)


A good fifteen years ago my Trinidadian friend took me to a Caribbean store. We got mauby and sorrel. I liked both, particularly the unique mauby. The sorrel was like a juice, without a bunch of ginger or carbonation. It was all so straightforward.

The retail situation and their products had changed. Ever since then I've grabbed different maubys, including syrups, even home made once. Was it what I was looking for? Yeah, I don't know, sort of, good in a way, maybe. I don't like the products from Trinidad that include linseed. I tried other types of sorrel. Was it what I was looking for? Yeah, I don't know, sort of, good in a way, maybe.

There's a new (well, moved and expanded) store and it's great for me. I seem to have solved the mystery of getting the mauby and sorrel that I first experienced. They are Caribbean Cool products.


The store also has Ginseng Up, original flavour. That used to be a holy grail product I was running around looking for. I see why I missed it.




This is a sorrel that is worth getting. I didn't notice ginger, but it has a bit of zip from something.


I recently tried putting a bit of ginger beer in A&W root beer. It's an odd one, but for my tastes I find this superior to just the root beer, and I have had it repeatedly.


Music, film, television



I saw Teen Wolf when it came out, in the theatre. A canine coming of age.

I liked it, it left an impression of sorts. I was struck by how the first half of the film was great, while the second half of the film was .. can't think of the right word .. unplugged.

While people are going to focus on Michael J. Fox, I liked the Stiles character. It helped that Boof (Susan Ursitti, not shown above) had her own kind of beauty.


I Propose We Never See Each Other Again After Tonight / photos

local flick

new links





What else could go in the Treehouse?

The Gizmos section was initially set up for medieval-style crossbows, but it turns out to be useful for other things.

A Miscellaneous Memories section could be a record of those miscellaneous things that happened back when. That is likely.

There are several reasons not to discuss politics. For one thing this is a game site.

An Art section would be very rare, but that should show up.