Friday, February 27, 2009


Wielding the Decks will be delayed again; I'm working on an idea for Carcassonne with two decks of cards and some tokens.

Rachel and I played Scrabble, but we were distracted and quit half way, not at all because she was losing to me 291 to 233.

Shabbat dinner is at Nadine's house, so I expect some gaming tonight. Thank God it's raining again.

Why We Hack: All is Still Not Right with the World

Checkout at the local supermarket. The food conveyor belt is one that works automatically but stops when an object is detected by the little eye at the end of it. A marvel in engineering?

Apparently not, since the cashier, like all cashiers everywhere I guess, uses the top remainders after a pack of plastic shopping bags is torn off as a manual stop control for the belt. When he wants it to move, he slides the plastic wedge to the side. When he wants it to stop, he slides it forward.

When he takes your credit card, if it doesn't work, he wraps a small piece of receipt paper around the card and slides it through the machine again. It works. "Use some tape on the magnetic stripe to clean it off," he then tells the customer.

After I finish with my groceries, I go outside and unleash my dog from the shopping cart guard rails. To do this, I have to unhook the dog, take off the chain which I wrapped around and then threaded through the ring above the clasp, and re-hook the dog.

We hack because we must hack. Because all is not right with the design of our everyday things. Sometimes this is on purpose: a manufacturer thinks they know better than us, or a corporate policy has been substantiated into a physical barrier that is supposed to prevent us from doing things "the wrong way". Sometimes it's just by accident: the item was cheap, not available, we haven't figured it out yet, haven't got enough market for it, or haven't noticed that everyone else is struggling with the same nonsense that we are. Or maybe we just like hacking.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Session Report, in which we try Fairy Tale and play a long game of La Citta

The latest Jerusalem Strategy Gaming Club session report is up. Games played: Fairy Tale, La Citta.

I like Fairy Tale, and I think it will get better with more plays. Our game of La Citta was a tad long (4 hours).

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Getting the Dominion Cards Back in the Box

Rachel returned with my new copy of Dominion, as well as a few other games. I haven't had a chance to play any of them, yet.

Dominion consists of 500 cards and a large box with a strange insert, into which you're supposed to fit all the cards:

But which cards should go where, and why, is not intuitively obvious. RGG provides a suggested inlay [PDF] which may make sense, eventually.

I didn't get to play anything this shabbat, but we looked through some of the Moot cards. Then Tal (my 15 year old daughter) and hr friend spent a few hours looking through more of the card, learning new vocabulary words all the while. Looks like it's going to be fun going through the cards (I don't actually intend to play the game).

Meanwhile, Ariella (20 year old step-daughter) went to play the latest hit game in Israel, Jungle Speed. She had a great time. Highly recommended for all the non-gamers out there.

Saturday night I went to the annual Mavoi Satum fundraiser quiz night (you can check out all the questions online). Families around the country invite other families to come over, donate, and answer trivia questions. Mavoi Satum does a great job of picking questions that are tough, but not too tough, as well as fun to guess.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Wielding the Decks 7: Acquire

A little late, but here goes:

Acquire is a classic game of stock acquisition and mergers. It's played on a 12 by 9 board; that's near enough to 13 x 8 that we can fake it. Add some tokens and you're good to go.

Create the board as you play: use the four jokers to mark the corners of the board and adjust the exact card locations as necessary during the game. Using two decks with different colored backs, one set of cards is used for the first four rows, and the other for the second four rows. Or, you could let a player choose in which row to play (e.g. row 3 or 7) on his or her turn.

Use 26 tokens in each of 7 colors. One token is used to mark the hotel chain. The others are the stocks. Use paper and pencil to keep track of money.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Session Report, in which I finally get to play Age of Steam again

The latest Jerusalem Strategy Gaming Club session report is up. Games played: R-Eco, Age of Steam, Stone Age, Louis XIV.

I finally get to play Age of Steam again, one of my top ten games. And I get crushed.

First play for Stone Age, but I didn't see how it went.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Meeple Communications: Online Marketing

My fellow gamer Nadine Wildmann, creator of Lo Ra, a temple-themed version of Ra, just launched an online marketing company: Meeple Communications (MeepleCom, for short).

She's a great marketer - I've watched her work for our local synagogue and know her work for the Pardes Institute - reasonably priced, and you get to support a gamer to boot.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Shabbat Gaming

Friday I swapped our copy of Saboteur for the Beit Shemesh club's copy of Fairy Tale. Then spent shabbat at my parents.

After lunch I went to Abbagav to play, with his daughter (almost 12) and her friend. First we played a round of Modern Art, which only confirmed to me that it's really not a terribly interesting game. It is too pure; straight auctioning with little variance.

Then we played Bohnanza, which only confirmed that it's a kids game. Maybe I should have kept it for the kids who occasionally come to my house, but it will never hit our game group. Ending scores were all close, and some of us weren't even trying.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Wielding the Decks 6: No Thanks!

While No Thanks! can be exactly simulated with any set of cards with straight numerical values (such as Take 6), you can play a substantially similar game with one deck of cards and some tokens. Play with 3 to 5 players, maybe 6.

Remove the J through A of each suit, leaving 36 cards, 2 through 10 in each suit. Shuffle and remove nine cards without looking at them. Give each player 11 tokens, as usual.

To play, the starting player flips up a card and either takes it and goes again, or puts a token onto it in which case it's now the next player's turn. The next player has the same option. When you decline to take a card, you add one of your tokens onto the card. When you take a card, you take all the tokens on the card along with the card, and then go again. If you have no tokens, you must take the card when it's your turn. Continue until all cards are taken.

Club cards are worth their value in points, diamonds their value + 10, hearts +20, and spades +30. Any chain of cards is worth the lowest card in the chain. A chain is a series of cards that descends in value as a straight flush, or as a kind, or as combinations of both. E.g. 9H-8H-8D-8C-7C-6C is a valid chain. You may assign your cards as you like at the end of the game, but any card can only be assigned to a single chain, and chains cannot branch.

Tokens you have remaining are subtracted from your score, as usual. Lowest total wins the game.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Rachel Gone to Canada

Rachel and I played Scrabble: I won 323 to 291. I got the Q, X, J, K, 3 S's, and a blank. And I was able to play my Q on a triple word off of her Z word (scoring the Z as well). And I got to play SEXILY.

Then we had a nice dinner, and then Rachel went off to Canada for a week. She'll be bringing back some games with her (Dominion, Pit, Taluva, Moot, Scrabble). We've been playing on a neighbor's Scrabble set, as we lost the board and some of the pieces to ours, somehow.

That is all.


Friday, February 06, 2009

Wielding the Decks 5: Ra Poker

Ra is a Knizia auction game, which means simple, elegant, and practically theme-less.

Ra'a components are tiles and a bag from which to draw them. This makes it an easy and obvious candidate for replicating with cards. It's actually rather easy to build an auction game with new rules, because auction games lend themselves automatically to a certain amount of balance. You only have to avoid a situation where a single event will grant automatic victory for someone who can guarantee winning the auction.

Ra's auction works as follows: on your turn draw a tile. You can opt to start a once around auction on all open tiles, or pass. If you start an auction, you have to bid if no one else does. Then it's the next player's turn. Continue until everyone has used up their bidding cards, or the last "Ra" tile is drawn. Whenever there are 8 open tiles, an auction is forced. No one has to bid, and if no one does, the tiles are discarded. Due this three times (three rounds).

Player's bid with bidding tiles, each of which is a unique value. You have three or four with which to bid each round, and when you win a bid with one, it goes to the center and you take the one already in the center for use on the next round.

Every tile you own at the end of a round, or end of the game, is worth some combination of points, including your final bidding tiles.

Use one suit from one of the decks as the bidding cards, e.g. the clubs. Place the ace of clubs face up to prime the bidding card exchange, and distribute the remaining twelve cards in a fair fashion to the 2-4 players (see the Ra rules sheet for example).

We'll use all the other cards to form the draw deck. Aces count only for marking the ends of rounds: the first round ends after the third ace. Mix one of the aces back into the deck, and then the second round ends after the third ace again. Repeat for the third round.

Face cards are hazards. Whenever you take a face card, you have to toss out two cards of that suit and keep the hazard (unless it is the only card in the suit you have left to toss).

When it's your turn, you can skip your turn by tossing a 6 and taking any one face up card in the pool or face down from the drawn deck (if it's an ace, you lose out and scoring is triggered if it's the third one).

Now we just need to create a scoring system. Every card is worth it's face value (2-10). In addition:

- Kinds: 2-4 cards: +5/card, 5-7 cards: +10/card, 8 cards: +100
- Flush: 3-6 cards: +5/card, 7+ cards: +10/card. Flushes only score if you have at least one of the 2, 3, or 4 of the suit within the flush.
- Straight: 3-5 cards: +5/card, 6-8 cards: +10/card, 9 cards (2-10): +100
- Straight flush: 3-5 cards: +10/card, 6+ cards: +15/card

Cards can be kept single, or assigned to one of the above types; once assigned, they cannot be moved. Additional scoring:

- No 7's: -5 points; most 7's: +20 points
- Hearts: +5/heart, 0: -2 points

After every round, you keep cards in your flushes - except 2s, 3s, and 4s - up to three single tiles, and all hazards. At the end of the game:

- every JQK in one suit is worth 50 points, and every 4 hazards of the same rank and different suits are 100 points (hazard cards may count for both scoring types).
- Player with the highest set of bidding cards +20, lowest -20.

OK, I just made these up while I was typing, but they'll probably work pretty well as is. If they don't, it will be obvious that one strategy seems useless or dominant. In which case, adjust the scoring as needed to bring the problem into line.


Thursday, February 05, 2009

Where Do Board Games Fit?

If the activity called board games has a problem, it's this: board games do not exist as a separate activity in most people's view of the world. Instead, board games are categorized as an awkward version of some other activity:

Interactive versions of children's toys

This is where you'll find board games on shopping sites, department stores, or the minds of parents asked if they play games. It's a pernicious association, and a vicious cycle to which board game marketers and manufacturers buy into.

It's why the board games that make it to the mainstream are children's games; because that's what consumers expect to find when they look for them. Without thinking, newspaper columnists sometimes toss the word "children's" before the words "board games" in an article, even when the association has no basis.

The problem with this association is that toys are seen as amusements or distractions. If adults play with toys, toys are downtime or part of a hobbyist's collection. When certain toys are lauded for their mental or physical benefits, the association is still more hurtful than helpful, because the worst types of games are held up as beneficial (usually educational games that are didactic hell), and because they're still associated primarily, or entirely, with children.

Analog versions of video games

I'd be a rich man if I had a dollar for every time a newspaper or blog article compared "dusty, old" board games to today's "modern, exciting" video games, as if the latter is the evolutionary successor to the other.

Sure, there is only so much time for entertainment in life, and time spent on one squeezes out time for another. And board games are constantly getting ported online; that usually doesn't make the games any better as games.

But, until VR really gets it, electronic gaming no more substitutes for tabletop gaming than flight simulator does for flying. Or a virtual hiking application would simulate for hiking.

A physical encounter comes with all the sights, smells, sounds, and touch of a real world experience (sometimes, that's not a good thing, but nevertheless). It comes with all the game rules, pieces, and opportunities in the heads of the players. You can create a new movement for your pieces in Chess on the spur of the moment in the middle of a game, with no programming required. It will be a while, still, before anything electronic can match that.

It's not only the face to face, personal, corporeal essence of the encounter. It's the complete lack of electronic dictatorial imposition. In real life, the pieces look, feel, and smell like you want them to. You play at any pace, in any way, and in any form that you want to. You change positions, change sides, rub shoulders, take breaks, change the board positions as you like.

Video games realize the potential of certain types of board games. What took hours of calculation in a tabletop war game takes no time all in a video game equivalent. The dynamic possibilities, and ability to display different screens to each player, adds possibilities to gaming that tabletop can't match.

But that is just one narrow subset of board games. Board and card games still encompass a vastly wider range of game types, many of which simply don't translate to video game format. For what it's worth, when we get working electronic tabletops that let you play turn-based games, I'll probably consider them electronically enhanced board games, not video games.

Family versions of drinking games

Many adults think of board games as diversions for social gatherings, i.e. a form of leisure and entertainment. When they think of games, they think of Twister, Pictionary, Cranium, Charades, Trivial Pursuit, poker, dominoes, dice, and so on. Hasbro's newest party game is called "Partini" for a reason.

This goes hand in hand with the "interactive versions of children's toys" mentioned above. It's the idea that board games are a form of social lubrication, and not an attention focal point in and of themselves. I'm not saying that party games aren't sometimes great. Fun is excellent. But board games suffer on the scale when they are judged only in terms of how much hilarity they can produce.

Similarly, some look at board games as a family friendly form of gambling. The word "game" is sometimes synonymous with gambling (some blog directories do this), or with dice and chance. Laws meant to curb gambling sometimes inadvertently end up impacting on the legality of all types of games.

Board games can be entertainment, sure. But they also straddle the world of mental exercise. If you don't like exercise, you're not going to like whole swaths of board games. Again, that's fine.

If board games are simply a family friendly version of dancing or drinking, some of the best board games are going to disappoint. Board games are more than strictly entertainment. They are also relationship affirming, brain building, disciplining, wickedly interesting activities in their own right.

Mental versions of sports

On the flip side, board games are sometimes lumped together with sports, within recreation (instead of entertainment). Board games are thought of as simply the mental equivalent of sports.

While the International Olympic Committee is mulling this one over, one has to remember that, like other sports, plenty of people don't want to devote their time and money to perfecting their performance in a single game (I'm speaking here to both Chess and Magic players, among many others). You can't forget the entertainment when you play games; sports means, to many people, hard work. But not to most others.

Obsessive devotion to a recreational or leisurely activity qualifies as a hobby, which fits some sports players and some board game players, but not all.

Board games are a form of recreation, as is hiking, sewing, and sports. As Wikipedia says about recreation:
Recreation or fun is the expenditure of time in a manner designed for therapeutic refreshment of one's body or mind. While leisure is more likely a form of entertainment or rest, recreation is active for the participant but in a refreshing and diverting manner.
Sports and board games are both subsets of games, which is a category of recreation. You can call sports a form of physical recreation, and games a form of mental recreation. But, like sports are related to many physical activities that are not game related, such as hiking, board games are related to many mental activities that are not sports related, such as puzzles.


So board games are a type of game, which is a type of recreation.

Some board games are simplistic and suitable for children to play with, like toys. Some board games compete with video games, or are adapted to or from video games. Some board games are good for social lubrication or gambling. And some are playable with fanatical devotion as a hobby, just like some sports.

But board games, as a whole, deserve better than to be lumped together into the wrong category that only tells one part of the story.

Session Report, in which we're disappointed with Merchants of Amsterdam

The latest Jerusalem Strategy Gaming Club session report is up. Games played: Apples to Apples, Merchants of Amsterdam, Agricola, Pillars of the Earth, Bridge.

We try out Merchants of Amsterdam and find it wanting. Dutch auctions should not liberally be used in a board game.

Monday, February 02, 2009

UK Copyright Law, in verse

U.S. Copyright Code | U.S. Patent Code | U.S. Trademark Code | Canadian Copyright Code

These verses contain
Some copyright Acts
The UK's, I say
As a matter of fact

Here in old England
It's not written plain -
Many acts and schedules
Are copyright's claim

For instance, fathom,
If you think you can:
A whole schedule just on
The book Peter Pan

To make up for this
They did something better:
"Design" laws are not simply
Lumped in together

Copyrights and patents
Are addressed separately;
Separate from designs,
Most sensibly

Anyhoo, please note
These verses are crude,
Reading the original's
Legally prude

It starts with an act
From one nine eight eight
On copyrights and patents
And designs, but just wait

Further amendments,
Provisions and rights
Are after appended,
Like day follows night

I'll cover just copyright;
Some other time
I'll get to the rights
On patents and design

Part 1

Chapter I


Copyright subsists
In writing, plays, movies,
Publishing, art, broadcasts,
And music; that's groovy


Two types of rights:
Moral and actions
Will soon be described
In following sections


You copyright books
And programs, all sized
Written or recorded
Even unauthorized


Databases, too,
By which they mean lists
Of things, are also
In this here gist


Art includes maps
And casts of all sorts
Buildings and sketches
So on and so forth


Sounds are copyrit
By these types of laws,
But only originals
It says in a clause


Movies are this section's
Major concern
The soundtrack's included
Or so we do learn


Broadcasts are just that
This section's explaining
And no matter whether
It's sunny or raining


If coming from satellite
The broadcast's considered
As coming from where it's
Being transmittered


Apart from the contents,
Copyright (too)
Is in how it's published:
Like one book, or two


Somehow the singers
Or actors are never
The copyright holders;
They must not be clever


More than one author
Can share in the rights
Which sometimes can lead to
Big author fist fights


Along with the "author"
There's also the "owner"
Which means your employer
Unless you're a loner


Digital works' rights
Last fifty years,
For others it's death
Plus seventy, I fears


Music is locked for
Years making fifty
That's better, but fifteen
Sound even more nifty


Movies are death plus
Seventy years;
Movies sell longer than
Music? How queers


Broadcasts are righted
For fifty years, too
Like live streaming webcams
Within London's zoo


Published arrangements
Are righted for shorter
Not half a century,
Only a quarter


The country of origin
For works is considered
Graciously and fairly
So don't feel embittered

Chapter II


Various activities,
Timid or bolder,
Are exclusive to only
The copyright holder


You can't sculpt a painting
You can't paint a statue
Unless you want copy
Policemen to get you


If copies were made
But never were sold
You can't sell them even if
You scrape off the mold


Apparently libraries
Cannot be erected
Since lending and renting
Are herein rejected


Performing or showing
Is also forbidden
Original works must be
Totally hidden


They all must be locked up
So no one can see 'em
And stuck in a basement
Or copy museum


Adapting a work
Means a translation
Or changing to graphic


Importing copies
Of dubious legality
Is also a no-no
Regardless of quality


Simple possession
Is also law-breaking
You'll be arrested
For what you are taking


If you merely look at
A copy machine
Or touch a computer
They'll cut out your spleen


In fact, if anyone,
Anywhere violates
Anything, you're guilty
Too, you ingrate


We're way past ridiculous
With what's written here
Suffice to say, everyone
Should shudder with fear


And this section tells us
That guilt's a presumption,
If it looks like a copy
It is by assumption


Whew! Now I'm ready
To go kill myself
First, I will burn all
The books on my shelf

Let's see if somehow
The following sections
Can offer some sort of
Free speech protection

Chapter III


So what is permitted
For copyright things?
The answer the sections
In this chapter brings


Transitory copies
Made by machine
Are not an infringement
'Cause they're never seen


Copying for research
Is never infringement
When juxtaposed with
Proper acknowledgment


Also for reporting
And even review
Copying's permitted
In this section's view


Except for deliberately
Using song parts
It's fair if you briefly
Include stuff in art


Copying items
For use by the blind
Is fair, if they can't use
The regular kind


Exception, of course,
For musical works
And databases, also
Is one of the quirks


For many blind people,
Works intermediate
May also be made
If this proves expedient


But only if no other
License exists
For which rights to copy
For blind guys insists


The State Secretary
Can decide that these laws
Were all a mistake
After giving it pause


This section only
Clarifies phrases
Occurring in 31's
Sections, all places


Copying also
In most circumstances
Is ok, if somehow
Learning enhances


Also for textbooks
Copying's nice
When done every five years
And no more than twice


Schools perform plays
This says, but it's prudent
To not invite parents
Or siblings, just students


If no one is selling
Broadcasts for teaching,
Recording for lectures
Is fine, this is preaching


On March 31st
Xerox 1 percent
Of a book; the next day
You can do it again
(A strange reading, verily,
And not what they meant)


Schools lend books,
Is what's written here
Exactly to whom
Is not made very clear


The next sections talk about
Hottie librarians
Those short skirted, dimple cheeked


Librarians copy
For you any article,
Only one copy for
Each periodical


And, quite bizarrely,
Only for money
Covering, at least,
The cost of copy


Hottie librarians
Should needlessly pester
Anyone who is a
Copy requester


Here's the exemption
For libraries to lend
Without which all libraries
Would come to an end


A library may copy
For another, no stress,
Unless knowing author's
Name and address


Hottie librarians
Copy for backups
Between drinking coffee
And putting on makeup


Also they give you
What you really need
But first make you pay
And then make you plead


Sometimes a copy
Is needed for export
It's ok to copy for
Reasons of this sort


I love this: "Regulations
Under this section
Can be for any purpose
Or any provision"


Copying by government
Anywhere, anytime,
Is retroactively
Considered just fine


Also if done for
A public commission
Copying is legal
Without no permission


Anything open
For public inspection
Can also be copied
And has no protection


If created specifically
For King or for Queen
They can replay it
Or publish it, it seems


All public records
Are copyable, you know
Like what I wrote
Two sections ago


Whenever the gov wants
To copy today
They just make an act
And then it's ok


Software users
Can back up their disks
Regardless of what
EUI clause exists


You also can do any
Whenever you have need
For inter-operation


Apparently herein
It says you can see
A program as it runs
On your CRT


Go fix your software,
If given permission,
In order to use it,
A sensible decision


If you have the right
To access a database
Then you have the right
To access the database
(Don't ask me, I'm only
Visiting this place)


I had a rough time
Parsing this section,
It seems design rights
Give little protection


"An order shall be made
By statutory instrument
And subject to annulment
By House of Parliament." ???


Hoowee, speaking of
Designs and such stuff
The design of these sections
Is excessively rough


Typefaces are protected
Except you can use them
Or type, read, or publish
Or generally abuse them


Whatever, copyright
Last twenty five years
Although what it does
Is not very clear


If you are allowed
And send stuff by email
Delete all your copies
If you're male or female


Anonymous works by
The probably demised,
For seventy years
Are now authorized


Like others, this section
Says nothing new:
The owner can tell you
What you may do


You can read excerpts
And even record them
For later broadcasting
If you can afford them


Abstracts of papers
May be reproduced
Like "Habits of Mating
In Manchester Moose"


Folk music singing,
If all give permission,
Can be recorded
For archive addition

(Again, since permission
Is needed for this,
I can't see why sections
Like this one exist)


Section 17
Is now overturned:
Take photos or paint
Any building, we learn,
Or camcord a sculpture
That you can discern


All sorts of copies
For advertising
The sale of an item
Are fine improvising


If not now the owner,
The original creator
Can reuse material
For making works later


If a building falls down
It was probably defective
Rebuilding it's dumb
And I'm not a detective


Guys in the Parliament
Broadcast stuff,
After they think about
What fee's enough


For any anonymous
Films that are old
Go copy away,
You may be so bold


If you have a club with
A righteous intention
You can play music
Without intervention


When broadcast is authorized
Some rights are suspended
But only for twenty eight
Days, then they're ended


BBC radio
Or television
Can copy for "control"
Or "supervision"


Time-shifting doodads
For watching shows later
Are perfectly legal
And couldn't be straighter


Taking a picture of
The telly is fine
For personal use
Any day, any time


I've read through this section
And don't understand it
Something about broadcasts
For free without music


Cable transmission
Is fine when it is
And not when it isn't
Is what this sec says


They pay for each area
To which they transmit
Negotiating licenses
For which they remit


Copies of programs
For the deaf, when sub-titled,
Let them enjoy
American Idol


All broadcasts may
Be copied to archive
By whom the government
Does authorize


Anywhere previous
That copying's allowed
Adaption is permitted for
The very same crowd

Chapter IV


Moral rights means
You're identified
With works that you've made,
You can't go and hide


Luckily, these rights don't
Have to be asserted,
So go disown anything
You've made that's perverted


Not every copy
Requires your ID
If including it wouldn't
Be easily tidy


Rights include also
The right to complain
If use of your work
Damages your name


But not for reporting,
And not for software,
And not for censorship by
The BBC, take care


This sec imposes
Some qualification
But I didn't read it -
I took a vacation


The usual heaping
Of criminal accessories
Is now written here
In glorious excessories


You can't be ascribed
To what you didn't do,
(Nothing about denying what
You did do, boo hoo)


Private home movies
(And you know what I mean)
Do not have a right by
The public to be seen


The right to not be
Falsely ascribed
Lasts only til twenty years
After you've died
(This section was written by
Shakespeare's son Clyde)


You can waive moral rights
For what you have made
Just make sure you've been
Properly paid


Joint authorship
Is straight from above:
Take credit for work that
You're really proud of


How much of your work
Is protected by morals?
You'll have to read here,
Don't rest on your laurels

Chapter V


Copyright privilege
For some works of art
May be sub-licensed
In whole or in part


Give it away
Before you have won it
Much like the government
Seems to have done it


Exclusive license
Is herein defined,
Nothing new here,
Pay it no mind


Unpublished gifts,
When given, include
Copyright license
This section concludes


Movie production
Rights, unless noted,
Include rental license
So here it's quoted


Though rental's permitted
The author gets some of
The earnings remitted


Just how much money
The author will get
Is, by some guys at a
Tribunal, set


Moral rights can't be
So rented out,
You're stuck with them, just like
A bad case of gout


But then, if you die,
They still get inherited
By people for which moral
Claim is not merited

Chapter VI


The guy with the copyright
Can sue, sue, sue,
And that's what he's surely
Intending to do


For innocent copying
You won't pay for damage
The copyright holders
Will just have to manage


ISPs, notified,
Take down infringement,
Or find themselves subject
To harsh legal singement


If sued, you pay
Just like you should have;
You're clear, paying double
What you then would have


You may have to give up
Infringing works
To the rights-holder,
That's one of the quirks


The owner may seize any
Works in the shops
If he leaves a nice letter
And first tells the cops


Exclusive license
Won't let you sue
The owner; it seems like
It really ought to


Other license holders
Have some rights, as well,
So bunches of people
Could sue you, oh swell


Copyright owners
When deciding to sue
Add all those others
to their lawsuit, too


When suing for moral
Rights, then the court
Can give useful orders
Of this or that sort


Assumptions are made;
Between you and me,
What happens when you
Assume liberally?


They assume who filmed this
They assume who wrote that
They pull these assumptions
Right out of their hat


When something is marked with
A crown copyright
They assume that the year
Is probably right


When guilty, they beat you
With large rusty hammers,
Or send you for ten years
Into the slammer


"Local Weights and Measures"
Enforces these details;
Huh? What do they do?
Weigh them on scales?


Curious happenings
Are found in this clause
Each part of U.K.
Has its own set of laws


Warrants may be issued
When they do warrant
And not when the warrant
For warrants just aren't


Managers, directors,
And cute secretaries
Are liable for guilt that
Their company carries


Customs officials
Respond to requests
For barring infringement
They do their bests


So long as you fill out
All proper papers
And stamp them and fold them
And bang them with staplers


If you hid your copies
For more than six years
They can't take them from you
Or so it appears


The court sells illegal
Copies to get dough
And pays off the owners -
No really! It says so
(But buying them's legal?
That's what I want to know)


This section talks about
Copies that got banned
And redress for owners
Everywhere but Scotland


The subject continues
Here, Scotland only,
Scots laws are unique
They must get quite lonely


Likewise the court types
Depend on location
Calling this "United" is
A strange appellation

Chapter VII


This chapter's about
License and stuff,
Definitions and meanings
And that sort of fluff


With licensing types
This chapter is leading:
Copying, performing,
Renting, and reading


"Licensing bodies"
Is not what it seems
Regardless of what may
Occur in your dreams


You may be referred to
The copy tribunal
For arguments private
Or even communal


Tribunal discussions
Last for a year,
They sit and discuss
New problems they hear


They mumble and moan
And snuffle and snort
And try to make sense of
Each case of this sort


One wants a license
For this or for that,
Another one wants to
License his cat


The tribunal thinks hard
Until they have thunk
And then they go out to
A bar and get drunk


The next day they come back
To problems galore
Like claims upon authors
Of works, two or more


Depending on how bad
Their feel in their head
They might do some work
Or go back to bed


If you have a license
That's almost expired
Catch the tribunal
When they're pretty tired


They'll probably stamp
Whatever you're handing
If you're dressed and polite,
And not too demanding


If you get your license
You're legally able
To go out and sue every
Tom, Dick, and Mabel


Excepted recordings;
When they are of sound
Have special instructions
Which herein are found


The State Secretary
Is drawn in the fray
In the end, the tribunal
Has all the say


When figuring schemes
They take in account
Alternatives available,
Type and amount


Also, for copies,
Made on the fly,
They check what's available,
How many and why


They perforce consider
Each situation
And each circumstance
With deliberation


They listen to broadcasters
When they complain
That license for copying
Isn't germane


Also the payments
Must always be fair
You shouldn't have to
Be selling your heir


For retransmission,
Items considered
Include double payments
And where it's transmittered


Exceptions considered
In preceding clauses
Don't prevent further
"But"s or "because"s


The following verses
Have now just begun
Their number is eight
Including this one


All share the digits
Of one, three, and five
From which the numbers
For each verse derive


All have a letter
From "A" until "H"
Which after the digits
Is firmly in place


Ordering, too,
Is quite alphabetical
That's actual fact
And not theoretical


Each verse is four lines
Which seems reasonable
And rhymes in a style
That's quite seasonable


Making it pleasant
To read through the verses
The poetry's not great, but
It could have been worses


When all's said and done
These sections will finish
But memories of them
Won't soon diminish


Oh yeah! What's the text of
The acts for these sections?
... I'm sorry, it's late, I
Have no recollection


Broad license schemes
Indemnify those
Who make a mistake
When good will's supposed


If you run a school
And government likes you
The law can be bent if
Soon poised to strike you


First you must charm
The old Sec of State
Make him or her a big
Fudge chocolate cake


Better be careful
And bribe him real swell,
The copyright owner
Might bake cake, as well


After this cake
The State Sec may burble
And make up new rules
Written, not verbal


Early next day
He may then regret
Decisions he made,
You're not all safe yet


Royalty rates
For lending of works
Are subject to all of the
Tribunal's quirks


Licensing schemes
Can always be checked
Against all the rules
So that they're correct


Reasonable terms for
Your license, hot shot,
Is forced on you whether
You like it or not


You can say yea
Or you can say nay
For cable to broadcast
Your song, book, or play


The Tribunal's members
Are playful and frisky:
Two deputies, chairman,
And bottles of whiskey


When the old guys get drunk,
They bring new guys in,
So they, on the whiskey,
Can henceforth begin


Parliament pays for
All of their wages
Considering BAC,
Experience, and ages


A chairman breaks ties,
And must be around,
If he can vote
Without falling down


The copy tribunal
Has jurisdiction
On stuff in a few of
The previous sections


There's Lord Chancellor
And Lord Advocate -
Ladies aren't written
Into laws, yet


Results may be made
On such and such date
For such and such terms
And such and such rate


You lost? Don't be sad
I know how you feel,
You always can try
To make an appeal

Chapter IX


This chapter tell us
What stuff qualifies
For copy protection;
Sit up, gals and guys!


If it took ten years to
Record, night and day,
Be British for five years
At least, plus a day


Or, get it published
Inside the UK
Or else in a country
Who thinks she's OK


Or, if transmitted,
From somewhere inside,
Copyright's coming,
Don't try to hide


The Queen may decide
That any old land
Is worthy of copy
Protection, how grand!


Colonies once owned -
Subsequently not -
Gain partial protection
You miserable lot


Whoops, it now seems
That really the Queen
Can only give rights to
A country that's clean


Miserable countries
That copy unfairly
Will get a swift kick in
The buttocks, squarely


All things that float
Within UK's waters
Are subject to this,
As surely they oughter


Ships that are British
Are henceforth defined
Though mentioned in no place
Ahead or behind

Chapter X


Crown copyright
Is applied to all works
By Queen or her servants,
That's one of the perks


Also Her Majesty
Can copy all Acts
And paste them with ribbons
On all royal cats


Copyright, too
Affects works that MPs
Ask you to do


Bills are all morally
Protected, all sorts,
Not making the bills
All moral, of course


An MP who's low
On the task totem pole
Is given the "defend
Our copyrights" role


Protection applies to
Orgs international
Whenever the Queen thinks
To do so is rational


Folk tales, anon works,
Myths, lore: the lot
Default as protected
Unless proven not


Another whole schedule
Is written besides;
To works published prior to
This Act applied


This section says "Ha!
Just kidding, you fools!
No one is affected by
Any of these rules!"


The EEA means
European sorts
Regardless of language,
Temperament, or warts


When relevant, joint
Copyright's applied
To all of the owners,
As already implied


Teachers are people
Who teach, and, as well,
Students are people
Who study; do tell


Performing a work
Isn't publishing, y'all,
Nor playing or hanging
A work on a wall


Signature, when
It's required, is fine
If anyone relevant
And sober will sign


English is translated
To English for Scots:
They'll read it after
Drinking some shots


More definitions
Now get related
After you're already
Tired and frustrated


Lastly a glossary
Or index a kind;
Now have a lie down
And try to unwind

(But please also note
That good old UK
Tacked on the equiv
Of the DMCA)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.
Attribution should include a live link to this blog post, whenever possible; text link otherwise. License for commercial usage also available from the owner.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

What's New in Board and Card Game Blogs?

See my sidebar for the only complete list of active board and card game blogs of general interest (or try this opml file, which may or may not work). Here's what's new since my last post.


A number of blogs that had previously fallen off of my radar are now back on, including:

Illuminating Games - Chris is a fantastic writer, but a sporadic poster.

Infinity Games UK Blog - A UK game store blog of general interest, they started posting again this December but stopped again.

Merric's Musings - Merric is always on my radar, but sometimes he goes a long time without talking about board or card games in favor of role-playing games. That hasn't been the case for the last few months.

The Game Ranch - Ed and Susan report their game plays.

Under the Table Gaming - Game reviews and design notes.

Blogs fall off my radar when they stop posting for 3 months or more, or stop posting about board games, with no indication of any future plans to return.

A few blogs fell off the radar this month (Hardcore Ludography, Tree Weekly Weasel, and others).


On to some new blogs. Where do I get my information? I have to hunt around to find new blogs, and then I have to hunt around (sometimes for a long time) to figure out who and where they are. Needless to say, if you want people to read your blog, that is not how you do it.

Beyond Swelter's Kitchen - Game reviews and musings.

Blogster McTavish - Tufty McTavish, UK. Board games, video games, and other media.

Board Game Examiner - Skip Maloney, Wilmington, NC. A fantastic new blog introducing Eurogames from the group up on a high profile site.

Brain's Board Game Blog - Ed and Brain, Ewa Beach, Hawaii. Reports and reviews from the Oahu Board Game Meetup Group.

Brettspiel - Brett J. Gilbert, Cambridge, UK. Board games, pictures, and design notes.

Corvid Games Blog - A game design studio by Jack Bennett, Rougemont, NC. Started a blog which may or may not take off.

Emerald City Gamefest - Weekly open gaming in Seattle, Washington. Many contributors.

Everyone Listens to Reason - Count Zero, Hampshire, UK. Also contributes to the Infinity game blog, mentioned above.

game thought - Nolan Lichti, Indianapolis, IN. Thoughts on games and game design.

Gaming Ground - nijoos, Singapore. Board game survey, strategy, and sessions.

Robot Viking - Ed Grabianowski, NY. By Gawker Media, the people who bring you Kotaku, Lifehacker, Valleywag, Gizmodo, etc... As noted in the comments, Ed is merely associated with io9, but this isn't a Gawker site. A news site for science-fiction and fantasy themed tabletop games, mostly role-playing and CCGs, but also board games.

Up the vacuum thingy - Jeremy, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. Board games and record keeping.