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Showing posts from March, 2020

Stray Thoughts: More COVID Predictions

Here are a few more predictions, taken from the somewhat-disorganized journal I've been keeping during this crisis. To see the first one of these posts, click here.

To reiterate, my starting assumption is that the US will not handle this well. The crisis will last for months if not years. Many--maybe even millions--of Americans will die, and these deaths are going to fall disproportionately on elderly populations and populations that are downplaying isolation measures, and those are both populations that happen to skew conservative.
The GOP And Its Media Apparatus Implodes The GOP was already on its way there. Demographics are working against them, and they rely too heavily on an aging population and the co-opting of a religious movement to keep themselves funded, relevant, and in power. But since the old die and church attendance is declining already, the GOP’s hold on American politics has weakened substantially, and it's only through scorched-earth tactics that they’ve been…

Stray Thoughts: COVID Predictions

So one of the things I've been doing to keep myself sane during the ongoing pandemic is journaling. I'm putting all of my unfiltered thoughts into a... thing... that I can save off as a single manuscript. Most of it is entirely too personal to ever share, but a few segments have been fun, including a series of predictions I'm making. So I thought I'd reproduce them here. These were written over the course of several days and would make for a long post. So I'm splitting it into two. Today will be general domestic life stuff. Tomorrow, politics and international affairs.

There are varying degrees of "hot take" in terms of predicting the future, but they're all based on a couple of assumptions: the pandemic will continued to be mishandled by higher-ups in the US government, and this will result in a protracted crisis with a lot of deaths, particularly among the elderly and groups who flatly refuse to isolate because of religious or anti-government motiva…

Dice Forge (Acquire-To-Zendo)

🎲 Roll With It, Baby


2015, 2-4 players Complexity: moderate
Hear me, brave adventurer! The gods have given you a divine blessing so that you may find honor and glory! How will you prove yourself? Through dedication to the gods? With miraculous feats of strength and courage? Find your path by loading the dice. Let's See It In Action
In Dice Forge you and one to three friends take on the role of ancient heroes fighting for fame and glory by petitioning the gods and performing feats of heroism. Each player has two dice and a player board used to track their gold, sun shards, moon shards, and glory points. On every turn, all players roll their dice--an action referred to in-game as "receiving a divine blessing"--and collect the resources shown there.

When you become the active player, you spend your resources. Sun or moon shards can be spent performing heroic feats, which means purchasing a card from the display. The card may give you a one-time bonus or a recurring bonus t…

Cottage Garden (Acquire-To-Zendo)

🌻 Tetris With Flowers

2015, 2-4 players (plus solitaire mode) Complexity: light/moderate
There are tense games and there are relaxing games. Cottage Garden is the relaxingest of them, and I say that having recently reviewed Bob Ross: Art Of Chill Game. Let's See It In Action
In Cottage Garden, you and up to three friends will take turns filling out your flower beds with the plant arrangements provided by the gardener. You get points based on the number of pots and cloches still visible when you finish filling a plot. There are also cats available to help you out.


The green die represents the gardener, and he walks around the game board as a kind of timer. Every full rotation of the board, the die value is increased. When it gets to six, that's the last round. On your turn, you take a tile from board and place it in one of your flower beds. It needs to be completely contained in the bed and can't overlap with any other tiles you've placed. Ideally, you want to avoid co…

Codenames (Acquire-To-Zendo)

🕵️‍♀️ Listen: Do You Want To Know A Secret...

2015, 2 teams of 2+ players Complexity: light
It was a dark and stormy night. You're on your way to make contact with an informant. Your spymaster has given you a clue about your contact, and you're pretty sure you interpreted it correctly. You tap the strange person on the shoulder and then they turn around and stab you! You are dead.

Or... possibly... you've been playing Codenames from Czech Games, the number one party game on Board Game Geek, according to the box. (It's recently been surpassed by Decrypto, but whatever.) Let's See It In Action
In Codenames, you and between three and a dozen or so friends--RECORD SCRATCH. Okay, real talk here. The game box says 2 to 8+, which is kind of meaningless. There are rules for two or three player games, but realistically the sweet spot is eight to ten people. You can make do with six, and you can still make it work with twelve, but teams of 4-ish to 5-ish is where you want t…

Clank! In! Space! (Acquire-To-Zendo)

👽 Prepare To Die, Earth Scum...


2017, 2-4 players Complexity: moderate
Deck-building games have grown and evolved a lot since Dominion popularized the mechanic. There are small-box deck-builders and scenario-driven deck-builders and more, but one thing that they all have in common is that they are focused on cards almost exclusively. Most deck-builders don't have a board or any concept of player movement. There are exceptions of course--AEG's Trains comes to mind, although reactions to that game are mixed. But the first one to have real success was Clank: A Deck-Building Adventure in 2016. The concept was that you are fantasy adventurers looting a cave of treasures, but while you're down there you make noise, and more noise you make, the more likely you are to be attacked by the dragon. It provided an interesting balancing mechanic. The more powerful cards weren't just more expensive, they also caused you to make more noise, putting your character in more peril. In 2…

My Recent Experience With Daily Science Fiction

Update: On March 3rd, they re-issued my story with a blanket apology to the subscribers for the error. In terms of fixing the original mistake, this feels both thorough and sincere. They have still not reached out or responded to me personally. If and when that changes, I will note it here.

Update: On March 21st, Jonathan apologized via email for the mixup. As far as I'm concerned, the matter is now settled.

If you follow Daily Science Fiction, then you probably saw this morning's email that started "Major glitches on the spaceship DSF" and you may be wondering what some of that was about. Well, this is what some of that was about.

So I recently had a story accepted by Daily Science Fiction called Marla Corbet: Living (With The Invaders). (I never got around to a formal announcement, so if you'd like to read it, you can find it here. It's a very silly thing about an ersatz Martha Stewart. And human hair. And alien poop. You'll love it.) It was accepted on …