As a lovely coincidence, today is my 13th vegan anniversary! Being vegan is one of the things I love most, and I never look back or question it. By now it’d be kinda weird to be any other way, it feels. For me, for the planet, for the animals, for the delicious food. And yes, for the super powers.
I mentioned it earlier in the week, but my love for Sleater-Kinney is all-encompassing right now and especially for this animated Bob’s Burgers video for A New Wave.
Trivia and related things are something I really love, and also museums – recently I got to combine going to a museum and a scavenger hunt, and it was super fun! We did the “Murder at the ROM” scavenger hunt organized by Urban Capers (not associated with the museum). It was great. I knew my way around pretty well which helped, but we ended up tying for 2nd place! Sigh. Here’s a couple of pics I Instagrammed on the day.
I love becoming more active and being a contributor to the board game community! I’m hoping to keep it up and get to BGGcon to meet some of the folks I am chatting with online a lot too. For now, I’ve been writing a bit for the Daily Worker Placement, and also chiming in for the Spooning Meeples round tables and it’s been good fun.
I don’t love that Parks & Recreation is over, but I did like the way it all wrapped up. A nice send-off. The cast was on Late Night with Seth Meyers which was pretty fun, and they had a little singalong (below) along with some general chats about the finale (here and here).
A good while ago, I asked friends on Facebook to send me their suggestions for great podcasts to listen to. I got a huge, fantastic response that really boosted by list of podcasts subscribed to in BeyondPod. Because I don’t have a commute to speak of, I really only get to listen to podcasts while I’m out walking Jake, or while I cook (our Sony bluetooth speaker has been so helpful for this!). I still have podcasts that I’ve added that I haven’t made much of a dent in (In Our Time) or started at all (Welcome To Night Vale – yes, I know!!! I’ll get there..) but there have been enough that I’ve added that I’ve enjoyed, in addition to what I was already listening to. This is a handful of my ‘goes to the top of my playlist’ podcasts. They’re kinda all over the place, but maybe you’ll find something to love, too!
NPR’s Planet Money / Freakonomics – I’ve kinda lumped these together because they’re both pretty interesting (and on the shorter side) podcasts about broad economic topics. I really enjoyed recent stuff like discussing how no ‘free appetizer’ like bread or tortilla chips is really free when you dine out, or the way the NBA salary system works.
NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour – Along with the associated blog, PCHH is a show all about pop culture offerings like TV, movies, books, music et al. There’s regulars, plus they pull in other NPR folks as guests often which really helps keep the discussion and perspective fresh and fun. Usually they’ll have a broad topic to discuss that can encompass any number of pop culture formats, they’ll often have quizzes (like trying to guess clips of regrettably awful tv shows, or all about Batman comics), and they wrap up with What’s Making Us Happy, which I always love!
99% Invisible – I’ve not yet been bored by this fantastic, bite-sized podcast all about design. From urban ruins, to how uniforms are worn in baseball, to the history of hijacking.. this really encompasses everything about how design touches our lives in many ways.
Good Job Brain – This is really up there as maybe my favourite podcasts. A group of four friends who love going to pub trivia nights decided to start a trivia podcast of their own. Most of the episodes have a theme (for instance, the 90s, board games, cheating and stealing) and every handful of episodes is an ‘all-quiz bonanza’ where each host will pick topics of their choosing to talk about/quiz co-hosts about. Fun times, offbeat trivia, laughs! It’s got it all.
The Dice Tower & Ludology – Again, I’m lumping a couple of similarly-themed podcasts together for ease. The Dice Tower is a fairly general show about board games – reviews, discussions, top 10 lists themed to stuff like best children’s game or best worker placement game etc. There’s also segments from contributors that are generally on the interesting side too (although I admit there’s a few that I will skip every so often). If you’re even casually into the hobby, I think this is a good, well-rounded podcast to check out. Ludology (part of the ‘Dice Tower Network’ of podcasts) would be something I’d recommend for people already well into the hobby – they discuss a lot about game design, game theory, the development of gaming etc. Thoroughly nerdy and wonderful – I support them on Patreon!
Star Talk Radio – Who doesn’t like to hear Neil DeGrasse Tyson talk about space?! He’s got a comedian co-host each week, and Neil answers listener questions about all sorts of things. It’s always interesting and very wonderful. SPACE!!!
On top of these, I have so many more in my queue that are just such a huge volume of output that I can’t keep up, or else I haven’t really gotten as much enjoyment out of them as I thought I might. Just to begin with, there’s Snap Judgement, This American Life (yes, I know, I’m the worst person in the world), NPR’s Ask Me Another, Stuff You Should Know, How to do Everything, Stuff You Missed In History Class.. even falling back on keeping up with the Nerdist podcast of late. I tend to cherry pick from all these ones because they’re great when I go in fairly sure I’ll be interested in the topic/who’s being interviewed etc. But they’re all terrific, and you should check them out too if you have more time to listen to podcasts than you know what to do with 🙂 Get your ears ready!
I enjoy trivia. Facts, knowledge, cool stuff that you can remember and reference when nobody else can. Pub trivia is loads of fun! And there’s a LOT of trivia board games. This is not hyperbole – when you check out the trivia category on Board Game Geek, there’s almost 500 linked games for that genre. You will likely have heard of and most likely played Trivial Pursuit, or one of its variants – I certainly grew up with this as one of my main board gaming experiences. Wits & Wagers is another fairly well known family trivia game, and Cranium can be a great time, too, with its variety of elements (I find it a bit scattered and more of a party game though). These are all fairly basic question and answer type games with a wide variety of content (although Wits & Wagers does add the fun betting element, I don’t find the questions particularly exciting).
Then you have a huge grouping of games that are basically pop culture trivia Q&A games – Lord of the Rings Trivia, all the kinds of Scene It games, TV trivia games for the Office & Sex in the City, et al.. You can churn out a licensed product in any variety of brands (Trivial Pursuit, Scene It, or a one-off production) for all these things quite easily. And if you love trivia and those topics, then you’re going to have a fun time, most likely! But there’s a wall I hit when it’s just the same type of Q&A format over and over.
I think the first time I sat down to play a trivia board game and actively realised it was a different and fun experience to other trivia games I’d played was when I first played Fauna. I can’t state enough how much I love facts and knowledge about animals, and how I inhaled any sorts of nature documentaries I could growing up (and still do to a certain extent!). So to begin with, the idea of Fauna was a no-brainer for me to want to try. I was expecting something a little Q&A-ish, but I didn’t think I’d end up being surprised, loving it and then owning it!
Each round of this game centres on a particular kind of animal: you have to look at and then place bets on where you think it lives in the world, how much it weighs, and how long/tall it is (including a tail, if there is one). So you’re not just asking a basic question about an animal to one player, and then moving to the next. There’s a great element of “push your luck’ in this game also, because if you’re too flippant with your betting and you get your guesses wrong, you won’t get those cubes back straight away for your next round and the new animal to bet on! (It goes without saying I get pretty excited when a weird Australian animal comes up and I get to throw down a sure bet.)
There’s a couple of decks of cards with animals from all around the world, with a hard and easy side to each. So if you want a light, fun game keep to the green borders – but if you want a great wildlife challenge, then go with the black borders! The combination of calling on facts you might know, plus trying to make some educated bets, then with the betting/push your luck on top of it all makes Fauna a game I’ll always be happy to play – not just another trivia game. Plus, it’s one of the games I can actually teach without having to reference the rules, which is great in my books.
In a similar fashion, the Timeline games, and Cardline Animals have a fun, replayable feel where you’re not just running through a bunch of Q&A rounds about things. The Timeline series has a lot of categories – inventions, historic events, music, discovery – we have the ‘diversity‘ edition which has a mix of all sorts of stuff, but you can mix them all together for fun. Starting with a card to establish a point in time, each player must take a card from their tableau and place it in the ‘Timeline’ so it’s in a correct chronological order. It’s a really fun test of how much you think you know off the top of your head about when things happened, or when they were created/discovered. It’s not perfect (there are some dates that don’t seem right for the ‘discovery’ of some things, for instance, because it could be debated or it could have been widely adapted at a later date) but it’s a fun & quick game that can be quite a brain burner.
Cardline Animals, in the same vein (from the same designer as Timeline), is essentially a basic card game of Fauna without the map – you will start with one animal on the board, and then each person takes a card from their tableau and places it in the ‘line’ – putting it in the (hopefully) correct spot relative to all of the other animals traits. You decide if you’re using the stats of lifespan, length or weight. If you’re wrong, you end up with more cards in front of you to try and place in the line – so there’s some elements of not guessing too haphazardly, and the timing of when you’ll place out things you know more about vs stuff you know very little about to try and have a better chance of it landing in the right place.
These titles are games to me; there’s a huge play element involved in making bets & playing cards down that lifts them up above a lot of other titles in the trivia genre in my opinion. There’s something different enough to them that I see them in another category of games. Just like I will always opt to play a rousing game of Time’s Up before I’ll play regular old charades, I’ll default to these as great tabletop games that just happen to be fun trivia as well. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always happy to give Trivial Pursuit or Wits & Wagers a whirl, but there’s not enough reasons for me to keep them on my shelf at home. What do you look for in a trivia game?
A day late, but full of goodies nonetheless. Feast your eyes and your mind!
- All of the posts on the Googly Eye Books Tumblr are just wonderful, but this Black Beauty one had me cackling:
- When SNL are on, they’re ON. Their idea of a Wes Anderson horror movie starring Ed Norton as a remarkably convincing Owen Wilson.
- I want to swim about in this before it’s sullied with children’s grossness.
- With just a couple of days left on its Kickstarter, Glamazons: the Curse of the Chainmail Bikini has caught my attention. I would normally skim by the art style, but in actual fact this is a game that takes a tongue in cheek look at the skimpy nature of females clad in fantasy-realm clothing. “Pushed to the brink by pervy medieval blacksmiths and sweaty basement dwellers alike, killing monsters is the easy part – now the Glamazons must face their most difficult challenge – finding female armor that is actually functional!” I’m not sure it’s a game I’d enjoy gameplay-wise, but I sure love their humour and tone.
- If I had some nice photography equipment, I’d like to spend time helping out on a project like this, photographing homeless dogs to help them find homes. It’s amazing what some great photography does to the adoption rate of homeless pets!
- Speaking of badass ladies, here’s a supercut of many of the ‘final girl’ strong female figures in horror.
- How great is this coffee table/rug idea? It just needs a spooky den and fireplace to match.
- There’s been plenty more spooky stuff posted lately, due to Halloween – this lays more on the funny side, though. I love when Kate Beaton does her book cover funnies, and now she’s done spooky postcards. I love her brain.
- Bringing everyday things to life with little sketches, this project is truly lighthearted and bursting with creativity.
- I hope the composite mobile phone project that Motorola are developing comes to fruition. Imagine an upgrade-able phone, rather than a phone you have to totally ditch to keep up to date! It looks so exciting.
- Bike traffic is so important in the Netherlands, they develop amazing things like elevated roundabouts for it. I’m in love.
- While you’re working your way through cheap post-Halloween candy, enjoy these candy facts!