BGGCon 2010 – Day 0

Last month I was lucky enough to once again attend Boardgamegeekcon. My second year was an even better experience. I saw many friends from the year before, never spoiled for people to try new games with, and got to play many of the hot new games. Yeah, it's a pretty good way to spend a few days. [Read more…]

Your Friday Afternoon is Happy to See the Name World B. Free

OK, they refer to him as World Free, but still. Hoopism has these very cool word clouds for each of the NBA teams featuring every player ever ranked by minutes played. It's certainly the largest font Jon Koncak's name has ever been put in.

I really enjoyed sliding through the various teams seeing strange little surprises (I had forgotten Hakeem's brief dalliance with Toronto) and people who show up prominently on several teams (Shaq in particular.) But perhaps my favorite part was going through the two teams I love (the Warriors and Celtics) and finding great little memories like any of the Warriors awful late 80s big men – Victor Alexander? Jim Petersen? The immortal Uwe Blab?

This was a lot of fun for me. Hope you enjoy it as well. And yes, I have BGGcon wrap ups coming early next week. The short answer is it was better than last year, even if most of the hot new games were not available for purchase this year.

Boardgamegeek Con – Year 2

Last year I was lucky enough to attend the premier boardgaming convention in the US, BGGcon. I will be there again starting tomorrow. Alas, I think it's unlikely that I will do much updating in media res, although like last year I will do a full post mortem (you can see last years starting here.) It should be an amazing 5 days.

To whet your appetite, here are a couple of games I am very interested in going in:

Troyes. I've mentioned before that I like dice games, and in this game each color of dice represents a particular class of citizen. All of which can do different things. Looks right up my alley.

Navegador. It looks a little like a combination of Finca and Endeavor, both games I really like.

7 Wonders. A civilization building (and destroying) version of Dominion? Sounds interesting to me!

Vinhos. A game about making wine. Not my favorite theme, but this one has a lot of buzz around it.

Merkator. The theme has been done to death middle ages trading empires, but this is from the guy that did Agricola and Le Havre, so I am automatically interested.

Junta – Viva El Presidente. Just because I love the original so.

So, see everybody some time after Thanksgiving! Enjoy the holiday.

The Games We Played: Alexander Hamilton – AntiFederalist

Been awhile since I did any game reviews, and I have several really good games to cover. Also, I am about to head to BGGcon for the second time, so I have been thinking games even more than usual. I have written previously about how much I enjoy games Jason Matthews and various partners have made. Whether the wonderful Twilight Struggle, the equally great 1960 or the recent Campaign Manager you really can't go wrong. Except for one thing – all those games are only for two players. Here follows a way too long review of their latest game. [Read more…]

I'm Even Madder About This Than the Bible Stuff

Derek Jeter won a Gold Glove award. At shortstop. Arrrrggggh!

Derek Jeter is not even the best shortstop on his own team, much less in the AL. His range is nothing, and he actually demonstrably costs his team runs defensively.

Now, I know that Gold Gloves have as much to do with offensive stats as they do defensive ones (especially since defense is one area where advanced metrics have lagged a little) but even taking into account his offense, Jeter should not be in the top 5.

We all know that Jeter won this award (for the 5th time!) because he plays for the most famous team. But (as Bill James has pointed out) it's entirely possible that he is "the least effective defensive player at any position." His choice as the best fielding shortstop in the AL is a joke. He does not deserve it.

Well, I Guess if God Promised..

One of the candidates for the chairperson of the House Energy Committee believes that global warming is not a problem, because God promised he wouldn't destroy the earth. He goes on to quote the Bible as if it were some sort of scientific record, and not the made up scribblings of someone telling us what some invisible allmighty being told them.

Does anyone think that using the Bible (which has had more ghost writing done to it over the ages than an athlete's "autobiography") as any sort of factual record is a good idea? The Bible is only slightly more historically accurate than the Book of Mormon (which I remind posits that a really lost tribe of Jews was in South America, despite any archaeological evidence to the contrary) or anything from Scientology.

Can I enter Ragnarok into the Congressional record, since it is as well sourced and historically likely as anything God said? We are so screwed.

Take that Ari Fleischer!

When I think of White House Press Secretaries I normally think of evasive banter with reporters or the dreamy C.J. Craig. I don't think of forceful advocate for the Fourth Estate. Enter Robert Gibbs. He loudly and forcefully threatened to pull President Obama out of a negotiating session with the Indian Prime Minister unless the full compliment of US reporters were allowed in. The Indians wanted to limit the access to 5, after initially agreeing to 8.

It's nice to see the White House relationship to the press in a non-negative sense for once. And, cheers to Mr. Gibbs for standing up for the White House Press Corps. My favorite part is that he jammed his foot in the door to keep it open.

Why Dwight Howard Will Never Win A Title

I love basketball. Most of all, I love good smart team basketball. It's why I loved the 80s Celtics (and grudgingly the 80s Lakers), the recent Suns teams, and many others. Basketball is a sport that has been destroyed by a superstar mentality, where one person is greater than the team. It's the reason I will never like Michael Jordan (although I certainly acknowledge his dominance). The new idea of basketball is perhaps typified by this quote from Orlando Magic Center Dwight Howard:

“They told me to grab them, but sometimes blocking a shot and sending it out of bounds shows a team it’s not going to be easy to come in the paint,” Howard said. “Grabbing it, that’s like being a showoff or something like that, even though it is kind of cool.”

What? He likes giving the other team possession? Sheesh. Has he never talked to Bill Russell. Blocking the ball out of bounds is a silly and wasteful move that doesn't really help your team that much. It's also selfish.

On a side note, the Orlando press have a really silly habit of being way too easy on Howard. The fawning is annoying. This is a bad incidence, but not nearly as bad as the ridiculous MVP votes they give him. Until Howard gets a legitimate post move, he will never be the player he should be. And the above quote shows that his attitude is following his game. Too bad really.

In Which I Possibly Become an Old Man

I work 3 blocks away from Market Street, the route of the Giants World Series Victory Parade. I have been a Giants fan since I was aware of baseball. I am thrilled that my team won it all, and excited that they have a great young nucleus. I am not excited by the idea of standing in a massive crowd (they are suggesting more than 100,000 people might line Market today) with no chance of seeing the team. I think that means I suck. At least it sort of feels that way.

So, Giants, please do not take my non-attendance at today's parade as a dip in our relationship. My love is as strong now as it was when I was watching Johnnie LeMaster butcher the shortstop position. I just don't need to stand in a crowd of 100,000 to show it.