Monthly Archives: January 2008

Game Day 01/31/2008

Game #1

Bunte Runde

Since we were waiting for Nick to show up, we started off with a light filler. It played quick enough that we played it twice in a row.

Game #2

Risk Express

And since Nick had still not showed up we started another light filler. This time, it was risk express. For some reason, Jon decided to sit out this game.

Game #3


About now, we decided to give up on Nick and play Ra. It is definitely a great game and always plays differently.

Game #4


To finish up the night, I was able to get in a five player game of Phoenicia. This is the first time that I have played with five people. Usually, it is just with three. In this game, I chose to go after Mining instead of Cloth making. I passed on the first two forts and was able to get the last fort for cost. And I was able to secure a Granary for two extra store-houses (which I needed since I wasn’t going after Cloth making). With available workers and the mining card secured, I concentrated on building up my economy. Fortunately, there were no cards that I needed. Jon was off to a great start. However, instead of building up his economy, he decided to buy different cards. Mike had mining as well, but he took a time-out to buy Cloth making as well.

Once I got my economy up to six income cards, I turned my sites to victory points. I bought two city centers and one city wall for the win.

Game Day 01/26/2008

Game #1a
Game #1b


Ed pulled out Dampfross, a old (25 year old) train game. This game uses dice in a number of ways. The first way was somewhat useless. The start player rolls a six-sided die and builds that long of rail. Everyone else builds one after the other and then play passes to the left. This continues until all but three cities have been connected. The first player to connect to any city gets 6 dollars.

Next was the random and painful part of the game. Two cities are picked and a race is run from one to the other. Everyone who joins the race rolls two dice and moves their train that many spaces. So, you had better roll well or miss out on any rewards. The most painful aspect of this game is that it is possible that both the start and end cities will be your own and very close together. Other people who use your track only pay 1 dollar per hex up-to a maximum of ten. So, if the cities are 3 hexes away and two other people join, it is possible that you can lose the race and receive 6 dollars, the second place person will receive 7 dollars, and the first place person will receive 17.

This actually happened three times in our game to Dave. Another slightly less painful occurance is if there is a track where two people have to pay equal amounts (or even relatively equal) to run the race, then it is random whether you win or the other person wins. This happened to me a couple of times. And it sucks because the vast majority of the track was owned by me.

Game #2


Next up was Darjeeling, which was a game I wanted to try at BGG.con. I was glad to try it at Ed’s since a couple of people in my group are against playing it again. I liked the first playing of it. It seems like a good lunchtime game candidate.

Game #3a
Game #3b

Age of Steam: Golden Spike

John expressed interest in playing this team version of Age of Steam. So I did everything possible to make this happen. Including getting John to walk off the start up of Hamburgum. After reading the rules, Ed and I decided to be on opposite teams and each take one of the other newbies as their teammate. However, it seems that we misunderstood how the teams were formed. Because Ed (who started third) chose to build track on the same side that I had made us partners.

We played half the game before we noticed this mistake. Here I was helping John out by giving him advice and not taking Urbanization from him. I was also hosing Ed at every opportunity.

I made a critical error during this game. I noticed that Dave was within striking distance of Promontory. But it was through three mountain hexes and therefore expensive. I told Ed this but we both ignored it and continued playing. What we should have been doing was delivering cubes to cities along the main route. This would have connected us to Promontory.

I think Dave did the wrong thing by ending the game without making sure he would win. John had built much more track than he did thanks to owning all of the track along the main route. This gave him the win.

Disc Golf 01/26/2008

John behind trees

The meetup group went to the Rivery this week. Since this course is rarely groomed, we thought that the dead time during winter would make it easier. We met a new player, Ken, who throws sidearms.

all four shots are close

On one hole, all four of our approach shots hit the same group of trees and landed together…


Dulce de leche link via

Snowclones link via

A day in a professional food photography session link via

Coffee cup with color matching for how much milk to add link via

Death and Taxes 2008 Poster link via

Optimus Tactus keyboard link via

Reflex-Nikkor 2000mm f/11 link via

Canon Super Telephoto 1200mm f/5.6L EF USM Autofocus Lens (for sale) link via

Hello Kitty contact lenses link via

DNA seen through the eyes of a coder link via

Rotating boat wheel link via

Bust of Lenin sits at Inaccessibility Pole link via

DIY Vanilla Extract link via

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Why comments shouldn’t be allowed link via

Hidden room, hidden danger link via

How bidding for a 20 is like winning an election link via

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Pixel cookies link via

Mommy, why is there a stay at home server in the house? link via

Money as debt link via

Extra-less films link via

Stainless mouse link via

Ten recurring economic fallacies, 1774-2004 link via

2007 Darwin Award winners link via

Matchgun link via

Steel house link via

A dark discovery link via

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7 reasons the 21st century is making you miserable link via

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Stan Lee tribute artwork link via

Superheroes in real life link via

Final salute link via

Origami spaceplane to launch from space station link via

Packing tape art link via

Breakfast cereal comic link via

New toy for the camera

I bought a new lens recently, a Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8. It has two unique abilities: being able to rotate (or tilt) the focus plane and being able to shift the view of the lens. For example, look at the following two pictures (ignoring color differences):


Both pictures are with an aperture of f/2.8 which has only a fraction of the picture in focus. In the first picture, the focal plane has been tilted to align with the paper sheet. And in the second picture, with a normal lens, the focal plane is vertical and only intersects partially with the paper sheet. If you have to use a normal lens, you would have to stop the aperture down to get the entire paper sheet into focus. But this requires exponentially more light and also introduces diffraction fuzziness.

But that is not all that this lens can do. It can also shift the lens’ view without moving the camera. I took the following picture with the help of the shift feature.

Blindes Huhn cards

From where the camera was positioned, the entire spread of cards was not in the frame. How do you get around this? By shifting the lens around.

camera setup

The camera cannot be raised any higher without hitting the ceiling or fan. But you can shift the lens up to 11 mm towards the top of the camera or towards the bottom of the camera. You can also rotate the lens around in 30 degree increments. This will allow you to get all of the parts of the picture. And you can easily stitch the pictures (there were five in this case) together in photoshop.

The shift aspect of this lens is also used to help remove perspective distortion in buildings. It can also move the lens out of a mirror or reflection in the picture as well.

Tichu and Tex-Mex 01/20/2008

There were six people for tonight’s Tichu. The last time when there was five people, they played that the person who went out last would sit out the next hand. Unfortunately, this changes the dynamics of the game as you normally want to help your partner where possible. So, this time, I proposed that two people would constantly rotate out. Because the two people were symmetric, it also meant that two people would always be paired together.

I think that this setup works. We only played 6 hands which is definitely not enough. The usual 1000 points would work here also.

This is a six person, three team version of Tichu.
GT/T Team #1 GT/T GT/T Team #2 GT/T GT/T Team #3 GT/T
Stephanie/Traci John/Wayne Nick/Mark
  -45 T-   OUT   T+ 145  
  155     0     OUT  
  OUT     55     190  
  175     OUT     270  
  255     105     OUT  
  OUT     325 GT+   350  



Theres a bunch of office buildings going up on the road near my house. I just had to take some pictures in there before the roof went up…

Disc Golf 01/19/2008

best shot on hole 1

Only two of us today for disc golf. The weather was cold and windy and I had to use gloves for most of the day. On hole 1, I had my best first throw eva! Although it didn’t look like it in mid-flight.

John showed me Jott by placing a call and leaving a short voice message. In a couple of minutes, I read an email on my iPhone that said “Nice party, great short(?) man, catch you later.” What geeks! But the speech-to-text translation was not very successful. It should have read “Nice birdie! Great shot man, catch you later.”


John Gravitt decided to hold a convention to celebrate his 40th birthday by gaming. He uses the conference rooms at the Wingate often enough to get a good rate for it. And he came up with the acronym Games In the Heart of Texas (G.I.T.H.O.T.). It was well attended too. I think that there were around 60 people that showed up. I even made a tee-shirt at Cafe Press.

Tichu Tournament

There was even going to be a Tichu tournament during the convention! With shirts created by Mike Chapel.

Sadly, he did not recruit any Githotties… It would have been really neat if he had asked Chantal to come!

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Game Day 01/05/2008

Game #1

Risk Express

John had a game day because his family was away in Georgia. We started off with Risk Express. Which is a new and light dice game by Knizia. Oddly, this game was not sold in America. I had to ask Marty to get one of his cow-orkers to buy it in England and take it across the pond. Which is sad. There is no reason why this game would not sell as well as Monopoly Express which is already being sold here. Anyways, I like this game. It is quick, light, and thematic.

Game #2


Next up was Amyitis. John and I explained the game to Ed and Susan. But they missed out on a high-level overview of the mechanics and strategy. And that is because I don’t have one yet. There are a number of routes to score points and they don’t really mesh well. I went for progress along the victory point generation and I mostly ignored trying to finish gardens or concentrate on the temples either. Towards the end of the game, I was getting 10 victory points a turn. And it was enough to get first place.

Game #3


We finished up with a quick game of Attika. This is still a decent game. And it probably should be played slightly more often than it is. But, its hard to grab our attention when there are so many games out there to pick from.