Friday, July 30, 2010

Session Report, in which I re-evaluate In the Shadow of the Emperor

The latest Jerusalem Strategy Gaming Club session report is up, and has been up since Wednesday, actually. Games played: In the Shadow of the Emperor, Tichu, Oltre Mare.

I re-evaluate In the Shadow of the Emperor, and also think about Oltre Mare some more.


My step-daughter has returned from a three month sojourn to Costa-Rica. While in Costa Rica, she decided to travel to Panama, and then Ecuador and the Galapagos. When she tried to return to Costa Rica via Panama, she was denied entry because she did not have a yellow fever vaccination. She was booted back to Panama.

The airline that let her board the flight to Costa Rica from Ecuador took responsibility for the mess and arranged to have her stay in a hotel in Guayaquil, Ecuador for the ten days required to wait after receiving the vaccination. Luckily, she still had twelve days until her flight from Costa Rica back to Israel. They shouldn't have let her board the plane to begin with.

Actually, Ecuador shouldn't have let her come in to begin with, since you really need a yellow fever vaccination to get in to Ecuador to begin with.

Luckily, that was the worst part of the trip. She didn't actually contract yellow fever and she didn't get robbed in Guayaquil, although it's a high-crime city. American Airlines lost her luggage on the way back to Israel, however.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Session Report, in which I inadvertently cheat in Dominion

The latest Jerusalem Strategy Gaming Club session report is up. Games played: Dominion/Intrigue/Seaside, El Grande, Homesteaders.

I misread a card in Dominion and play it wrong for a few turns.

On Monday or Tuesday evening, Rachel killed me in a game of Scrabble, around 430 to 320. She had all 4 S's, both blanks, the X and the J. I had the Z and the Q, and I only managed to do something with the Q. Most of the game I had 6 or 7 vowels on my rack (once I tossed in all seven vowel tiles and picked 6 more and an L).

That's the way it goes.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Weekend Gaming

Nadine hosted gamers for shabbat lunch, and we played some games afterward.


I expressed interest in a complete game of Tichu, rather than some mid-length board game.

I played with Tal for the first half, and then Nadine became my partner for the second half. Our opponents were Abraham and Adam; Adam was somewhat less skilled in the game.

Tal left when we were up 495 to 5. Two rounds after Nadine joined us, we were tied 550 to 550. However, Nadine and I once again took the lead and kept it until the end.

Twice Adam called Tichu and then I called Tichu right after. Both times, I made my call (and obviously he didn't). Abraham called and made one Grand Tichu, but then I did the same on the next round. On the last round, with the score 570 to 930 (us), Abraham bid one more Grand Tichu. I bid Tichu right after, and again I made mine.

I had some pretty good hands.

Stone Age

Meanwhile, Emily, Eitan, Sara, and Shani played Stone Age. Either Eitan was convinced he was winning, or Sara managed to convince everyone that he was winning. But in fact, Sara ended up winning by over 30 points.

After this game, Adam, Abraham, Sara, Eitan, and Emily went off to Abraham's house to continue playing.

Elvish Dogs Game

I didn't actually play this, but one of my friends from Sweden had it sitting on her shelf. It's a Hungry Hungry Hippos clone.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Session Report, in which I have terrible luck in Dominion

The latest Jerusalem Strategy Gaming Club session report is up. Games played: Dominion/Intrigue/Seaside x 2, Antike, Princes of Florence, Tigris and Euphrates, Cuba.

I lose Dominion due to bad luck (or maybe bad play).

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dos and Dont's For Creating a Professional Gaming Industry Website


If your company is within, or caters to, the game industry, your company's web site should present information about your company, describe what your company creates or provides, make your products or services attractive, easy to find, and easy to purchase, support your customers, and establish your company as relevant.

Many company's web sites do few to none of these. They don't include company information, they don't describe what they do, they hide their products and services or make them difficult to purchase, they provide no support to their customers, and/or they are annoyingly self-indulgent messes that make their companies look bad.

Here are some of the DO's and DO NOT's for a game company web site, all of which I've recently seen violated.


DO get a simple, single word domain name. It's inexpensive and it's professional.

DO get a domain name that matches your company name or a well-known term within your industry, if at all possible.

DO NOT, if at all possible, include strange or extraneous characters in your domain name.

DO make the URL of the initial page of your website "http://www.yourdomain.topleveldomain/", where yourdomain is your domain name, and topleveldomain is "com", "net", "org", "biz", or your country code. "http" can be "https", as long as the former redirects to the latter. "www" is not necessary, but the home page must work both with and without it. The home page should not have anything following the trailing "/" after the page has finished loading.

Why? Because people are going to cut and paste the page or bookmark the page. And, if the first landing URL is not plain and undecorated (e.g. includes a database instruction, or a cgi script path, or a session id), it's going to be a broken link in three months.

DO make the title of your home page your company name. Optionally, add three to five words about your business. The title will be in the user's bookmarks/favorites only if it is not a mess.


DO include an About page that defines what your company does in its first paragraph: "We make plastic miniatures". "We are game distributors to Southern Hooplah". DO NOT assume that anyone knows what you do without this. A picture of a miniature on your home page doesn't tell me if you sculpt them, paint them, produce them, distribute them, or sell them.

DO NOT start your About page creatively with fantasy stories or a history of your company; you can do that later on in the page. You can also include the fantasy story on your home page.

DO name your About page About, About Us, or Company Information. Not History, Info, or Who Are We?

DO include Terms and Privacy pages, and ensure that they have actual content, and not gobblygoook or the sentence "This page is where you add your privacy info".

DO include a list of your major product brands, former names for your company, information about relationships to other companies (your distributors, if you produce, or your producers if you distribute, etc), and links to these.

DO NOT have a really long home page with different fonts and tables and other crap. Unless your home page is a blog or news, the home page should not be larger than the browser window.

DO make an effort to look professional, and DO NOT use garish contrasting colors, glow in the darks, sparkles, or anything else that would appeal to a 13 year old girl or boy (even if that is your target).

DO NOT play any sound of any kind of any length when the website is opened. This includes embedded videos or flash that automatically play. The reader is probably listening to music or has other pages opened that make noise, and the result is a cacaphony of hate.

DO NOT feature anything that blinks.

DO NOT use heavy Flash or other features. Remember that some people don't have, or block, Flash.

DO NOT make the entire site one big Flash program. It makes navigation difficult, and impossible to find the terms or information on search sites. Save the full page Flash content for your online games.

DO NOT disable right-clicking in a vain effort to prevent people from stealing your content. There are many valid reasons for right-clicking other than stealing your content. And many ways to steal it without right-clicking. All you will do is annoy the people who need to right click.

DO NOT have any dead pages, or dead features, anywhere.


DO include pictures and prices.

DO NOT require registration, login, or payment information before telling the customer what the total cost, including shipping and taxes, will be.

DO use a secure payment method.

If you have shopping, DO include a telephone number as part of the contact info.


DO have a way to contact you, other than by purchasing a product, or applying for a job or to become a new distributor.

If you do not include an actual email address on every page, DO name your contact page Contact, and not Feedback, Info, About, or anything else.

DO NOT simply include a contact form, without also including a live email address link.

DO link to the email, or the contact page, on the home page and/or navigation bar, and preferably on every page. DO NOT hide your contact email in your Privacy, About, or Terms pages, or somewhere far down on your home page.

DO NOT use anti-spam techniques that make it difficult to contact you; get a spam filter on your email account. If your contact email is info@yourdomain, sales@yourdomain, or contact@yourdomain, or similar, the anti-spam technique won't work, anyway. DO make your contact email info@yourdomain, sales@yourdomain, or contact@yourdomain, or similar.

DO list a contact name beside the email address, or as the link text for the email address.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Session Report, in which we play Endeavor with mixed reactions

The latest Jerusalem Strategy Gaming Club session report is up. Games played: Dominion/Intrigue/Seaside, Endeavor, Yinsh, Tichu.

We reassess Endeavor.

In other gaming, earlier this week Rachel beat me in a game of Scrabble, something like 345 to 325ish.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The BP Board Game Story Leaked and Spread Like

The mainstream news would have you believe that stories originate in the mainstream news and are stolen, without attribution, by bloggers and new media service. The truth is often the opposite. Bloggers and new media services originate many news items that are stolen, without attribution, by the mainstream press.

Bloggers and NMSs, as a rule, write an intro, snip a paragraph or two, attribute, and link. Mainstream press, as a rule, doesn't snip, but they also don't attribute.

Here's how the fairly insignificant discovery of an old story about a BP oil game spread across the internet. Note that I am leaving out another hundred or so blogs, most of whom simply snip and attribute.

Jun 2Reg Hardware (NMS)Hat tip to "Enzo"
Jun 2Wordsmoker (blog)None
Jul 5Metro (MSP)None
Jul 5SWNS (MSP)None
Jul 6Gizmodo (blog)Metro
Jul 6Kotaku (blog)Metro, Gizmodo
Jul 6Saffron Walden Reporter (MSP)None
Jul 6Chron (blog on MSP)Metro, Gizmodo, MSNBC Field Notes
Jul 6Yahoo News blog (blog on MSP)Metro
Jul 6Nola (MSP)Metro
Jul 6Think Progress (blog)Metro
Jul 6Purple Pawn (blog)Kotaku [1]
Jul blog (blog on MSP)Yahoo
Jul 6Examiner (blog)Reg Hardware, Think Progress
Jul 6WTOP (MSP)Metro, Gizmodo
Jul 6Grist (NMS)Metro, Mother Jones
Jul 6Mother Jones (MSP)Metro
Jul 6Huffington Post (NMS)Metro, hat tip to Baratunde tweet
Jul 6CNN This Just In (MSP)None
Jul 6MSNBC Field Notes (MSP)None
Jul 6alibi (blog)MSNBC Field Notes
Jul 6Cambridge News (MSP)None
Jul 6Geekosystem (blog)Metro, Agent M
Jul 6Agent M (blog)Metro
Jul 6GamerCrave (blog)Metro, Gizmodo
Jul 6Fox Boston (blog on MSP)Metro
Jul 6Escapist (NMS)Metro, Gizmodo
Jul 6CNBC Funny Business (MSP)Metro
Jul 6ParentDish (blog)Metro
Jul 6WIBW (MSP)None
Jul 6Good (NMS)Metro, Treehugger
Jul 6Treehugger (blog)Metro, Climate Progress
Jul 6Climate Progress (blog)Metro, Think Progress
Jul 6Daily Tech (blog)Gizmodo
Jul 6Neatorama (blog)Metro, Kotaku
Jul 6The New Republic (blog)Metro
Jul 7Live Oil (blog)None
Jul 7Arizona Daily Wildcat (MSP)CNN This Just In

[1] Actually, I saw the original Reg Hardware post, but didn't feel that it was important enough to note on PP. After the later flare up, one of the other pawns posted.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Session Report, in which we play Oltre Mare for the first time

The latest Jerusalem Strategy Gaming Club session report is up. Games played: Oltre Mare, Tribune, Tichu, Pillars of the Earth, Notre Dame.

We play Oltre Mare for the first time, and I tell describe the highs and lows.

There was a lot of chaos during the first part of the evening.