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Games and Puzzles


jenga origins


A girl sitting on the carpet had a wrapped candy. She said "Let's make a game."

How about some coloured bouncy balls. They are cut in half and glued back together to make new two-colour bouncy balls. There are 3-5 players. Through some mechanism certain players are rewarded for some colours and punished for others. The player whose turn it is secretly chooses her ball, then tosses the ball in the air and has it land within a certain area and bounce off.

The essence of the game is that players race to grab the ball for themselves, or perhaps prevent another player from getting it. However, while there is this split-second action there are also observations and decisions to be made first. If you grab a ball whose colour you need you will be rewarded, but if you touch a ball with the wrong colour you are punished. Lots of bouncing, craziness and discussion.

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.


I almost forgot about Thunderbird! That was the game that kickstarted Oak Games in the first place. Thunderbird is a stacking game with a totem pole theme that works fine, but producing it is daunting, and that is why it keeps getting forgotten.


The goal is to move and stack pieces until you make your totem pole with four of the player's pieces in the proper order.

The pieces are from totem poles sliced into four. Twelve pieces belong to you, and twelve belong to your opponent. Like real totem poles, the pieces for one player are coloured while the opponent's pieces are not coloured. The top piece on a totem pole is referred to as a thunderbird.

The board (with a nice indigenous design on it?) is a 5x5 grid. The game starts off with all the spaces except the centre one having a piece on it.

During a player's turn the player moves one piece or a pole or any number of pieces on top of a pole, as long as the top piece is the player's. You move it orthogonally to the adjacent cell. You can move to an adjacent empty cell, or stack on other pieces. You can stack on to anyones's pieces, in any order, any height. An exception to this is the thunderbird, which you are physically unable to stack on to.

The Thunderbird Rule: You can't have all three of your thunderbird pieces on all three of your opponent's pieces of a particular type.

I originally made a prototype using spools, which I am likely to do again. It's not as accident prone as you might think.


Tagline: One player tries to blow the sailboat to the top while the other player blows the sailboat to the right.

A few years ago I created a simple game called Sailboat. You push the boat from the left to the right, while your opponent is pushing the boat from bottom to top.

Do you know how binary numbers work? You've got a row of ones and zeros representing one, two, four, eight etc. If you add a one to a one it becomes a zero and the next higher value digit becomes a one.

0 0 1 0    add one    -->   1 0 1 0    add one    -->   0 1 1 0    add one    -->   1 1 1 0    add one    -->   0 0 0 1

Let's consider the aesthetics. The board and the pieces are the same ocean blue. I picture maritime types playing this in a Mediterranean country with the sea in view. The board has no lines, nothing! The pieces are blue, with a white ring on one side. One piece has a white sailboat. The board functions as a 6 x 6 grid. Pieces (except the sailboat) are not moved. Pieces are added and flipped. A unique thing. You can add one, i.e. a ring, to the far left of any row, while the opponent adds a one anywhere on the bottom row, as the wind blows.

The game is so-so, nothing wrong with it but not great. A physical game was not seriously considered, although it would be cute, smaller, unique and thematic. I started an app, but got stuck in the swamp of logic and dropped this so-so game. Javascript with no logic? No ..

Between the appearance, manipulation of the pieces, and the rules, it would be strikingly unique. Small too.




some colourful language


Here is an explanation of why pilots can't wear polarised glasses.

I find this business of polarised light interesting, but I can't yet nail it down, particularly circular polarisation.



dogs look like their owners

Photographer Gerrard Gethings at Bored Panda.


Language and Culture


How to pronounce lieu / more in French

It's up to you whether you want to use the French pronunciation. But this will help you to pronounce en lieu, milieu and adieu. Entrepreneur (which I think of as "taker in the middle"), ending with a consonant, is a bit different, but here is how to pronounce it. The female version of this is entrepreneuse.

Baller at urban dictionary.


Do you judge the veracity of a claim based on the skin colour of the person saying it?


Music, film, television


Food and Drink (mostly drink)


I had fun experimenting with making small popsicles out of exotic drinks, including birch beer and pennywort. The best ones were ginger beer as well as roasted coconut juice.

Could kids make a popsicle stand with this?


paletas - Mexican popsicles




Why is the command centre of a ship called a "bridge"?

That's not in my wheelhouse.

Another video talks about why ships are painted red below the waterline.





Not a lot of chicken action going on there.