Blog Archives

A Deodorant for Excessively Hairy Men

Too-soon charted lands.

“Northgard” sounds like a deodorant brand. Probably one that smells of pine needles and draugr leather. Northgard: Uncharted Lands, on the other hand, is the latest adaptation of a video game that happens to be considerably more competent than its bastard offspring. Based on Norse mythology in the loosest sense, players are tasked with leading a clan to preeminence. Mostly this consists of exploring terrain, fighting monsters, fighting other Vikings, fighting the winter, and never once setting foot on a boat.

At times, bits of flint shine through the muck. The rest of the time, it’s gone to mud.

Read the rest of this entry

The Trance of Trick-Taking

If only we could preserve or doom a planet based on how many unsummitable spike-peaks it contains.

Longtime readers know my blind spots. Trick-taking is a big one. My wife grew up with trick-takers. They were a regular family activity, so she learned their rhythm: the subtle tells, the contrasting modes of pressure and conservation and cooperation, the possibility of someone running away with a hand. When we try a new trick-taker, it doesn’t matter how different or innovative or oddball it happens to be — she settles back in like it’s the same game she’s played a hundred times before.

Shamans, the trick-taking game by Cédrick Chaboussit, falls into the oddball category. But despite a few departures from the normal template, it’s the first time I’ve slipped into the trancelike mindset of the trick-taker.

Read the rest of this entry