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Games and Puzzles


I don't do themes in games. But here are some suggestions:


Energy policy? You need energy, and you would prefer not to destroy the planet you live on. Here we have the geography for hydroelectricity. Coal is bad, but it's an option. Gasoline causes pollution and gets tangled up with geopolitics, pipelines, so it's bad. Unless you're selling it. Nuclear energy is terrible, dangerous. Or it's safe, clean and dependable. It takes a while to build the facilities. It doesn't depend on variables. Solar energy needs sun, wind energy needs wind. If you're Germany and you get around the problems with the other sources by getting natural gas from Russia, things can go wrong. Nuclear fusion is the energy of the future, and it always will be.

WMD. Weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons. Not so much a game as a thought experiment. I find that this whole business of WMD leads to a lot of dilemmas.

Fame. Think flashing paparazzi cameras. Starlets. Bedazzling the audience. Tricks to attract eyeballs and headlines. Is the word "scintillate" relevant?


A social game from Iraq, figure out who has the ring. An old article from The Economist.

If there is one game I would want to see played, outside of Oak Games (like Rat Race, or a well-produced Atlantis Chess!) it would be mahabis.

Iraqis play Mahaybis

Mheibes: Iraq's Ramadan ring game returns after ISIL's defeat

If you want to go down an unusual rabbit trail you can can view more videos here.

Mheibes - A traditional Ramadan game in Iraq

It seems like just an excuse to yell. But you have to admit there is real skill when someone wins.

This is what I like to see: an intriguing traditional game with a story, a culture behind it.


Are certain countries associated with certain games? Use a broad definition of games, like sports. Kind of no, kind of yes. It would be fun to ponder why certain societies are linked with certain games. Mostly tradition, but other stuff too.

Americans aren't big fans of soccer Simpsons. They like American football. People have written about why Americans prefer certain sports. Hockey is popular in Canada because of frozen factors and tradition Wall Street Journal. Stoic?

Did you know that Argentina is polo country? They're a horse-happy bunch. Whenever a reporter goes to Afghanistan and catches a game of buzkashi, the reporter will imply that it says something about Afghanistan. Norwegians like skiing. British people will play darts in a pub.

The social deduction game Werewolf originated in late Soviet Russia, which makes sense. Chess was big in Russia/Soviet Union, although that is fading. Japanese and Koreans like Go, which originated from China. Because of their history, Germans moved away from board games involving conflict. They came up with a wave of games like Die Siedler von Catan (2000) How Stuff Works. The Japanese board game scene, surprisingly, has ratty independent developers, and games feature "strange theme paired with simple gameplay in a small box" 10 Japanese Board Games Worth Checking Out.


French game Dixit. Je ne sais quoi.




Here is how to say "sparrow" in Mandarin.

Here is how to say "sparrow" in Cantonese.


Some Videos


some videos


Food and Drink


Where does the word "masticate" come from?

Traditional Ice Cream Flavors Americans Have Never Heard Of


While I don't like to think of myself as a fan of sody pop

This Fanta White Peach, a Chinese drink, has a good taste. It's worth tracking down. Well, sort of. I'm pessimistic that you can find it. Weird bottle for some reason.




What are you looking at?