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My life is overrun with games right now. Everywhere I look is games, games. There are three broad areas: YouTube videos (including women's soccer), game invention possibilities, and Christmas, including that treasure hunt .. for a game.

And then there's the game café. And the puzzle website. Apps have temporarily been pushed aside, but there had been good progress on the trivia app Road to Marrakesh.

Many years ago I came up with the concept of a food establishment that also has games. Since then I've had an internal debate over whether I came up with the concept or heard about it then convinced myself I thought of it.
It turns out that Snakes and Lattes in Ontario started in 2010 and claims to be the first board game café in North America. I did indeed think of the idea first.

I went to a local board game café called Across the Board. It was a mix of the quite familiar and an exciting new experience. It became blazingly obvious to me that player count is a big issue. There was a game guru lady from Germany (around Dresden). I had some miso soup and grabbed Ice Cool as a Christmas present. With all those games around, and having just watched videos of the Essen game fair, I wanted to launch into a know-it-all conversation, with a touch of German, but I kept quiet because I didn't want to come across as an annoying know-it-all.

Hand over heart honest, the game I would want to play is The Royal Game of Ur, from the beginning of civilization. The store has Ice Cool, useful for my shopping, and Photosynthesis, which I'm not sure is easy to find. A couple was playing Patchwork, which looked cute and likeable.



One of the more enjoyable watch-it-played videos I've seen, from Texas-based Board Game Geek.


Something I've been playing with is which pieces can capture other pieces. If you have 1, 2 3, .. 9, 10 and bigger numbers can capture smaller numbers, like Jungle Chess, then there is a problem, because 10 is omnipotent and 1 is useless. There are ways to solve this problem. This is what I mean when I talk about "the relationship between the pieces". Sand Dollar and the dice game known as Pip Pop both use this.

My love of designing games is just as strong as ever. In the past couple of days I've pondered a simple, dry game on a 5x10 board with pieces that have circles or crosses, where pieces move and whack other pieces and get to the enemy base cell. The twist is the white team has twice as many pieces as the red team, while the circles and crosses on the red team are not visible to the white team. Not tested (can't really test by myself). I know what the setup would look like! The pieces would be dice-like.
Maybe this should be on the Surakarta board, with more deliberate sniping. "Octopus and Crab".

I came up with a neat new game, just now. I think Surakarta is a bad game because there are no tactical decisions, although it has an interesting board. For some time I've wondered if there is a way to make it a good game. Fish, called "Shark Attack" as a nod to the original game? Sand Dollar used the Surakarta board, so a noodly relationship between the pieces meets a noodly board. The new idea is to take the usual Surakarta and combine it with the hierarchy of Dablot Prejjesne, with the addition of a shark and a barracuda. Shark Attack.

I came up with a new, not-quite-tested game called Safari Race. I'm swooning in love with it. I've got "game glow", before the problems show up.


When I was very young my sister and I were sitting on a beach, trading things like shells. I liked that.


I recently had a vague concept/goal floating around. You have a group of players, each with a set of pieces that are visible to other players. You can co-operate by trading with other players, and a group can co-operate to prevent one player from winning. Attractive Gems, normal cards, dry but useful numbers? You achieve something by having two blues and two yellows. Alternatively you could have one blue and two purple. Which will you do? Maybe what other players have affects whether you achieve something.

Why does a boardgame have to be on a grid? What about a string?
  building DNA strand


With Safari Race you've got around four players trying to win a race. The board is a set of tracks each made by six random animal cards.
A player always has five animal cards. They are visible on the table.
Roll a die to see whose turn it is. This player can draw a card and discard one.
Animals are great because animals belong in different, overlapping categories.
If a player has three cards in the same category as the animal card his piece is on (see above), he can move.
The game is mostly about trading with other players. You can trade any time you feel like it.

Natural History





Language and Culture




Canada's submarine fleet

How many oceans does Canada have?


Food and Drink


That guy's got a lot of moxie.




Chinese mulberry bark money

I marvel at the way money and finances are made-up abstractions.

Have you heard of the hawala money transfer system, based on trust?


I just started taking an accounting diploma after quitting my job.


ancient Egyptian spreadsheet / more