Monday, December 27, 2004

Empire Wars Chronicles

We played in the mess tonight, but I had 2 flake-outs so it was just Al and I. The game still plays pretty good with 2. My tweaked-out safe passage rules didn't get tested, and it became obvious tonight that the procedures for taking over a system need to be revised and expanded. Do shipyards become property of the conquering player? Do ships under construction? I have some thinking to do.

We had a couple of sharp battles that gave Al a much better sense of the system, and the relatively new "guaranteed effect formula" got a workout.

As did my new iTrip that I picked up before the game! It's an iPod accessory that transmits the iPod to FM stereo, so we had good music while we played. I'm going to make a lot of use of it in the next few days as I'll be on the road for about 8 hours a day.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Empire Wars Chronicles

- Empire Wars Chronicles are a journal of my experiences in playtesting and developing Empire Wars, my board game of strategic space conquest. You can read previous entries at VirtualDave here. You may want to also read the game background.

Space Amoebas will likely become Hyperspace Amoebas, and coloured pipe cleaners look to be the way ahead.

We played a 3-player intro game tonight. Ewan is someone who has played before (but I haven't seen him in several weeks) and Al was the newcomer. Things were slow to introduce a new player, and we played without any terrain or optional rules. While the game itself wasn't terribly exciting, both players are interested in playing a longer game in a non-Drexoll setting.

Getting a full-length game is the next step which I hope to play before Christmas in the mess. Failing that, after Christmas, and failing that, early in the new year. I'm pretty sure I can get 6 players out, and I can sit out and mentor.

I've found the game concept of "safe passage" to be ambiguous but I think I know how I'm going to tighten it up.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

These are a few of my favourite things...

A list of essential songs. If you don't like these songs then you are dumb and have a small pee-pee. You may be able to get them with something that rhymes with "Wazaa".

Ocean Pearl – 54-40
If I Ain’t Got You – Alicia Keys
32 Flavors – Ani Difranco
Lovers in a Dangerous Time – Barenaked Ladies
Song for the Dumped – Ben Folds Five
Dry the Rain – The Beta Band
Stolen Car – Beth Orton
King of New Orleans – Better Than Ezra
Ride Like Hell – Big Sugar
The Oaf – Big Wreck
That Song – Big Wreck
Blown Wide Open – Big Wreck
Isobel – Bjork
It’s Oh So Quiet – Bjork
5 Days In May – Blue Rodeo
Hasn’t Hit Me Yet – Blue Rodeo
Hook – Blues Traveller
Play Crack the Sky – Brand New
Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don’t – Brand New
The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows – Brand New
I Will Play My Game Beneath the Spin Light – Brand New
Empty Sky – Bruce Springsteen
The Distance – Cake
You’re Never There – Cake
My Favorite Game – The Cardigans
For What It’s Worth – The Cardigans
Believer – Chantal Kreviazuk
Clocks – Coldplay
In My Place – Coldplay
Politik – Coldplay
The Scientist – Coldplay
August and Everything After (album) - Counting Crowd
But especially: Sullivan Street, Omaha, Anna Begins
A Common Disaster – Cowboy Junkies
I’m So Open – Cowboy Junkies
Hard to Explain – Cowboy Junkies
Volcano – Damien Rice
Delicate – Damien Rice
Cheers Darlin’ – Damien Rice
My Love is Bold – Danko Jones
Fucked Up – Danko Jones
Screaming Infidelities – Dashboard Confessional
The Best Deceptions – Dashboard Confessional
Deny – Default
Live a Lie – Default
Silence – Delerium/Sarah McLachlan
Miserlou – Dick Dale
Souljacker Pt. 1 – The Eels
Half a World Away – Esthero
Your Lurking Shadow – The Fighting Jacks
Sleep to Dream – Fiona Apple
Criminal – Fiona Apple
Suddenly Everything Has Changed – The Flaming Lips
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots pt. 1 – The Flaming Lips
Fight Test – The Flaming Lips
Approaching Pavonis Mons By Balloon – The Flaming Lips
It’s Summertime – The Flaming Lips
Hammering in My Head – Garbage
Hey Jealousy – Gin Blossoms
The Night Pat Murphy Died – Great Big Sea
Longview – Green Day
What a Way to Run a Railroad – Huevos Rancheros
Get Outta Dodge – Huevos Rancheros
Closer to Fine – Indigo Girls
Right Hand Man – Joan Osborne
Clueless Wonder – Joel Plaskett Emergency
Break Down Here – Julie Roberts
12 Bellevue – Kathleen Edwards
National Steel – Kathleen Edwards
The Lone Wolf – Kathleen Edwards
Westby – Kathleen Edwards
One More Song the Radio Won’t Like – Kathleen Edwards (Failer is a really good album!)
6 O’Clock News – Kathleen Edwards
Vacation – Katy Rose
Below the Stars – King Cobb Steelie
Home – King Cobb Steelie
Hurricane – Lisa Loeb
I Alone – Live
Fuck and Run – Liz Phair
Divorce Song – Liz Phair
Fruits of My Labor – Lucinda Williams
Car Wheels On A Gravel Road – Lucinda Williams
Drunken Angel – Lucinda Williams
Ladyfingers – Luscious Jackson
Naked Eye – Luscious Jackson
Why Do I Lie – Luscious Jackson
Apparitions – Matthew Good Band
Rico – Matthew Good Band
Polar Opposites – Modest Mouse
Song Against Sex – Neutral Milk Honey
Letting Time Pass – The New Meanies
Underneath It All – No Doubt
Sixteen – No Doubt
Sunday Morning – No Doubt
Don’t Speak – No Doubt
Wonderwall – Oasis
Don’t Look Back in Anger – Oasis
Some Might Say – Oasis
Truth Untold – The Odds
The Kids Aren’t Alright – The Offspring
Into Your Hideout – Pilate
Melt Into the Walls – Pilate
Debaser – The Pixies
Gigantic – The Pixies
Where Is My Mind? – The Pixies
Dirty Old Town – The Pogues
Sour Times – Portishead
Such Great Heights – The Postal Service
Peaches – The Presidents of the United States of America
Common People – Pulp
No One Knows – Queens of the Stone Age
Paranoid Android – Radiohead
Bad Time To Be Poor – Rheostatics
Portions For Foxes – Rilo Kiley
I Never – Rilo Kiley
Plane Crash in C – Rilo Kiley
Wires and Waves – Rilo Kiley
Science vs. Romance – Rilo Kiley
Always – Rilo Kiley
Capturing Moods – Rilo Kiley
The Execution of All Things – Rilo Kiley
Spectacular Views – Rilo Kiley
Come Pick Me Up – Ryan Adams
Where Have All the Good People Gone – Sam Roberts
Hard Road – Sam Roberts
Brother Down – Sam Roberts
Lodestar – Sarah Harmer
Weakened State – Sarah Harmer
Possession – Sarah McLachlan
Elsewhere – Sarah McLachlan
Ice Cream – Sarah McLachlan
I Will Not Forget You – Sarah McLachlan (but “I Will Remember You” is tripe)
Objection (Tango) – Shakira
- Shawn Colvin
but especially… Polaroids, Shotgun Down the Avalanche, I Don’t Know Why, Trouble, Something to Believe In
My Favorite Mistake – Sheryl Crow
Anything But Down – Sheryl Crow
Youth Decay – Sleater-Kinney
Good Things – Sleater-Kinney
One More Hour – Sleater-Kinney
People of the Sky – Sloan
Coax Me – Sloan
If It Feels Good Do It – Sloan
The Good In Everyone – Sloan
Underwhelmed – Sloan
Home For a Rest – Spirit of the West
Save This House – Spirit of the West
Cold Shot – Stevie Ray Vaughn
What I Got – Sublime
Motivation – Sum 41
Temptation – The Tea Party
Fuck Her Gently – Tenacious D
Rock Your Socks – Tenacious D
Double Team – Tenacious D
City Hall – Tenacious D
The Day We Hit the Coast – Thrush Hermit
Mother Mother – Tracy Bonham
Grace, Too – The Tragically Hip
Nautical Disaster – The Tragically Hip
At the 100th Meridian – The Tragically Hip
Lake Fever – The Tragically Hip
Poets – The Tragically Hip
Something On – The Tragically Hip
Fireworks – The Tragically Hip
Ahead By A Century – The Tragically Hip
Highway Girl (especially the live story cut) – The Tragically Hip
New Orleans is Sinking (especially the Killerwhaletank live cut) – The Tragically Hip
Wheat Kings – The Tragically Hip
Blow at High Dough – The Tragically Hip
Scared – The Tragically Hip
Little Bones – The Tragically Hip
Drive – Treble Charger
More’s the Pity – Treble Charger
Signs of Life – Twinemen
Even Better Than the Real Thing – U2
One – U2
Until the End of the World – U2
The Fly – U2
Desire – U2
Bad – U2
Whiskey Bottle – Uncle Tupelo
Volcano Girls – Veruca Salt
Any Day Now – The Watchmen
Choked Up – Whiskeytown
Sixteen Days – Whiskeytown
Sister Sally – Wide Mouth Mason
Mary Mary – Wide Mouth Mason
Superstition (live) – Wide Mouth Mason
Outtasite (Outta Mind) – Wilco
Maps – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

If I had to cut the list down to essential essentials it would be:
Ocean Pearl, 5 Days In May, The Distance, Hard to Explain, Right Hand Man, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, Melt Into the Walls, Spectacular Views, Good Things, Nautical Disaster, and Superstion. If you haven't heard those songs then do whatever you need to do get them!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

"Holy Macaroni!"

- Homer Simpson

The Millau Viaduct, in France. See awesome photos here and here.

The best part? 100% capitalist.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Do You Realize...

... both Wayne Coyne's first and last name end in "yne", and if you remove the "yne" and join the names together you get "WaCo"? Coincidence? I think not.

Friday, December 10, 2004

"Do you realize that everyone you know someday will die?"

- Wayne Coyne, the Flaming Lips

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by the Flaming Lips (2002)
This is an outstanding Album (capital A). I'm not going to write a review, that's what Rolling Stone and the Onion A.V. Club are for. Questionable Content had some things to say about the Flaming Lips. Anyway, YBtPR has an Alan Parsons Project feel (only better) and has a super-high proportion of recommendable songs. Fight Test, One More Robot, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots pt. 1, Are You A Hypnotist, It's Summertime, Do You Realize?, and Approaching Pavonis Mons By Balloon are all winners, and there isn't an objectionable song on the album.

I recently invented Yoshimi ++ by adding the song Why Do I Lie? by Luscious Jackson to YBtPR. I think the best place to insert it is as track 3 after One More Robot and before Yoshimi Pt. 1. In a perfect world we could make Why Do I Lie? 20% more psychodelic to fit in even better. Anyway, try it some time!

Suddenly Everything Has Changed is a Flaming Lips song but not on YBtPR. It has a Strawberry Fields feel and also one of the best melodic bass lines I've heard (played once at the beginning and end of the song). The Postal Service cover is okay in its own right but dispenses with the bass melody.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

“Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to up-armor our vehicles?”

- Reporter Edward Lee Pitts through Spc. Thomas Wilson, to SecDef Donald Rumsfeld.

Froggy Ruminations comments a little about the media Rumsfeld set-up, but more importantly provides us with a great military anecdote. I have never seen a general do a mass question/answer session. They do tend to get amongst the troops to find out what's important to them, but usually they visit smaller groups while they work. Certainly nothing the cameras would be interested in.

"The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step."

- Lao Zi, professional Chinese guy

I decided a week or two ago to start a blog, and excitedly went about setting it up, but got stumped for a title. It finally came to me tonight. I wanted something a little bit clever and memorable. Pithy Phrase will have to do.

I have about 10 months experience pseudo-blogging at the php forum Virtual Dave, and there is a lot of good stuff there (so check it out) but it has been less commentary and more great links. I plan on continuing to crosspost there.

As soon as I added the quote below the blog title I realized a problem with Pithy Phrase. I like pithy phrases! So let's be clear from the start that I'm not making fun of the quotes that appear from time to time here or the persons they originated with. Indeed, I may use this platform to comment on them, provide them some depth and context, or use them to illustrate concepts.

I also want to blog about books, music, current events, and whatever strikes my fancy. This will also be the place to read about the development and hopeful publication of my board game Empire Wars. More on that to follow.