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Games and Puzzles


8 x 8. Hunters, miners and swarmers (one bishop piece, one rook piece, 14 glass pieces per player). All pieces move orthogonally. You roll four one/zero dice, then move any one of your pieces that distance. Hunters can capture miners (win), miners can capture swarmers (six is a win) and swarmers can surround the hunter (win if hunter can't move).

It's drab.

Lose the dice, make it more like tablut? No, the hunter would just chase the miner in circles. How about a mechanism to force players to use different types of pieces? No, it doesn't work. It's a failed experiment.

Q: What's with the dice?

A: This and that. It's something different. The randomness means you can play a game with your little niece. Last but not least it forces you to move different pieces, not just the obvious ones.

Might as well try the rugby idea.


Dice Tower live play. In the past I have looked for a series of pictures for Telestrations, without success.

Bonus: Mike Dilisio beatboxing / more. Mr. Dilisio is getting older.


Speaking of dice tower


It's a conversation piece.


Music, film, television


Which decade had better music: the 1960s, or the 1970s?

I think the 1960s. There is a number of ways of looking at it, and they point to the 1970s being better. But I still say the 1960s. Am I wrong?


Which decade was more innovative? The 1970s ... well, uh, the 1960s. We'll give it to the 1970s, with its diverse acts doing their thing.

But it doesn't matter. We really want to know which decade had better music.

There were specialty channels, sirius or something, in a car, one for 60s and the other for 70s. They alternated known songs with unknown songs. The 70s channel seemed to provide more dependable entertainment. We'll give that to the 70s.

I'm a little hazy on this, but it seems to me that in the 60s acts put out their hit single, and the rest of the album was filler, whereas in the 70 acts were more likely to put care in all the songs on their albums. So chalk one up for the 70s.

When I think of a list of candidates for the best song ever, it's 1970s songs, like a couple of Yes songs (Siberian Khatru, Starship Troopers/Wyrm), Come and Get Your Love by Redbone (was the best song ever done by native Americans?), and the Harvest King song has serious legs. Of course all this is subjective, personal. For me the best song ever is from the 60s. I find this funny because of the genre. We'll give this to the 70s.

Sometimes I wonder if I am burned out on 70s music. Consider Led Zeppelin. They walk all over any and every other band. And yet, I genterally don't seek out their music. I've heard it before.

Trailer for The Forgotten Battle.

Netherlands, 1944


Food and Drink (mostly drink)


Two parts milk chocolate, one part coconut and one part rice crispy squares. What would that taste like?


Trips and Treats. Should we mess with the alphabetical order and show Cambodia?

For the record, Trips and Treats should have roughly half and half meals/other stuff. Maybe some tarantula action.


Let's squeeze in some random videos about Croatia.

Traditional CROATIAN FOOD in Zagreb, Croatia

Croatian food tour in Zagreb, Croatia

Traditional Croatian food CHEESY Štrukli + SEAFOOD feast

Croatians are one of those Slavic people. They're also one of those Mediterranean people.


What would it be like if Trips and Treats went to Czechia and Slovakia?



A BBC article about a non-alcoholic drink made in Slovakia.


For Trips and Treats the United States would be a huge jamboree. For one thing it hits all the various buttons.

Should we carve off New York as separate from the United States, distinct and manageable? Well .. there's a whole bunch of regional things going on, Maine lobster, Pennsylvania birch beer and Philly cheese steak, Seattle coffee, Kentucky bourbon, Los Angeles, Hawaii. How should we deal with the United States?

Speaking of categorisation conundrums, Trinidad and Tobago will be there, even though there has already been a Caribbean.

Canada will be revisited, as a hypothetical television show. I got aftershocks after doing that. Consider this: What if you could go from one end of Canada to the other (or other region of your choice), as part of a not-cohesive group. You consume meals and other delights of the mouth that you want. Also the grab bag of little experiences, ice cream with Sally and the production people at the stores on the lakefront.
I've been watching too much food channel.

Should the Swedish chef show up for Sweden? I actually plan to flip a coin over that.



You could make Gamaroo for Christmas. It is a bunch of work, but I pretty much guarantee it will be fun for the family. What you could do is have more than one person work on it, to lighten the load and make it a fun social experience.

I'm thinking use those two-bite cinammon buns as sweets (just one small part of the game!). Minimal hassle while getting the job done.

You could assemble Stand By Me and stuff it in an Altoids tin.

Nobody's actually going to play it. You would need something like a dozen willing players. It's not exactly a team-building exercise.

But there are various good things to say about it. It is rugged, small, portable, disposable, fits in a stocking. It is hand assembled rather than purchased, parts won't cost much, not hard to assemble. It may lead to fun.

Regarding providing the rules, do what you think is best.


You can easily find this eagle puzzle "The Screamer" at the shop. Should you get it? Yeah, might as well, under $5, could put in a stocking. I tried it, and thought it had the right amount of challenge. On the simpler side.

Last year I got all excited about the small Hanayama cast puzzle called Slider. I still like it and think it would be a good gift.


I'm proud of the originality of this. I will give a humble fruit fly trap. Just a bowl, some malt vinegar in a container, instructions on the bowl, syran wrap, elastic band and a couple of toothpicks. Kids can assemble it and observe it.