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a dorkumentary


Lessons learned from a 20-year designer of Magic: The Gathering

I have pondered whether some relatively valuable M:TG cards could be a secondary prize for a contest, maybe with a halloween theme.



Touch Down!

An abstract strategy game from Korea aimed at children. I'm not sure what tactics one should use.


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.

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 ..

I think I got that Beach Buttons figured out. I was dragged along by that likable name. It's simple, as you can see below.

7 x 7 borderless board. Board full of pieces, each side has two runners. Runners move by leaping two spaces, and must land on a space that contains a piece, which is then removed. The last player to move wins.

It's fine enough, with a nice flow to it, and it's very easy to learn. It will probably be renamed Beach Glass. I would love to do the wood board and glass pieces thing, with circles to mark positions. Maybe an off-the-shelf board and laser etching. A computer game would facilitate the borderless thing, but you would lose the clunky handmade game. If one makes the handmade game that's nice, but the borderless board - which gives the game a smooth purity - is not intuitive without a computer game.

On a purely design level Beach Glass puts a smile on my face because it is a successful end result of a long series of experiments to make a blockade game. As for game play, I don't know, not bad, not as fun as Diamond and Ruby, it is what it is. If the glass theme is emphasized that will improve the experience. Clunky plywood board? Laminated printed paper? I'm looking at just printed cardpaper - a nice white background for transparenty glass pieces. Nah, it doesn't feel right. How about a transparent sheet. That's never been done before, maybe for good reason.

They have contests between fighting radio-controlled machines on t.v.

They have escape the rooms.

How about a group of different radio controlled devices that have to work together through an obstacle course?


Natural History





string theory

A mercifully short article. It's nice to know that elementary particles are something, not just zero dimensional point particles with no size.


Language and Culture




Q: During medieval times, what was the advantage of using crossbows rather than bows?


Food and Drink (mostly drink)


Music, film, television



Do you remember this scene in the original Star Wars? It was only flashed for a few seconds once or twice. This is part of what impressed me so much about this movie. Look at the detail that went into this very brief scene. Between Star Wars and the later Alien, the word "details" was kicking around in my head a lot. Note the steam hissing out of those guns.

Do you remember the little scene where R2D2 gets sucked into the sandcrawler? A neat, alien, kinetic, hardware-oriented, brief little scene in a movie packed with neat little scenes. Don't forget the sounds. That scene kind of sums up the Star Wars experience.




Trench 11 / Cine Machina

One of the Sutherland clan is in that.



Have you ever seen the film My Cousin Vinny? Do you remember the southern judge?

Q: Which '60s sitcom was that actor in?


Have you seen To Live and Die in L.A.?

Q: Which police unit did the protagonist work for? Think about it.

Q: Was Robert Downey in this film?





d.i.y. portable sundial

The treehouse could use one of those. Somebody didn't research before making that dial.



It doesn't work against gorillas.




real cruise ship complaints

Dude had cancer. He's fine now; a grandfather in fact.