In case you’re new to Medium Cool, BGinCHI is here once a week to offer a thread on culture, mainly film & books, with some TV thrown in.
Arguments welcomed, opinions respected, fools unsuffered. We hope it’s a welcome break from the world of shit falling on our heads daily in the political sphere.
Tonight’s Topic: Games Jackals Play
For this week’s Medium Cool, let’s talk about games.
I recently discovered Spelling Bee on the New York Times game site. I’d been playing Scrabble against the computer for a couple years as an escape, but now this game has me hooked.
What games are you playing to get you through these way too friggin’ interesting times?
I should note that you need a subscription to the NYT to get to Spelling Bee. It gets you all the crosswords and some other solid games too.
Quaker in a Basement
KenKen. It’s like Sudoku, but with a twist. The grid is subdivided into blocks that have to contain a given sum.
In a bid to increase my physical activity, particularly as the days turn darker and chillier, I have obtained an old skool Nintendo Wii and am enjoying classics like Wii Fit and Winter Olympics 2010.
Chess, shogi, occasionally Chinese chess (xiangqi). All of them at a poor level. I played chess competitively as a teen, but eventually found I lacked the nerves required for tournament play.)
I’m pretty much a stick in the mud.
(Actually, the game I play most often is “let’s practice our [foreign language] flashcards.” Yes, I’m great fun at parties.)
I recently started Spelling Bee as well, but jigsaw puzzles are my thing. David Gray has some for the computer (I have the Mac versions but there are apparently windows versions as well). Also: crossword puzzles. Speaking of which, I have to finish today’s Times puzzle. Sometimes my friend and I will play scrabble while watching something, but . . . alcohol and scrabble makes for dumb words.
@Quaker in a Basement: Mrs BG will like this one!
@narya: I like Scrabble, but I was getting sick of it.
I should probably be learning a foreign language, or something constructive, but I just need a break now and then….
I am playing no games. I clearly should be.
I’ve been playing Spelling Bee daily since… around the beginning of August. Here’s a recent NYT article about it. At present, I generally get the pangram(s), and get to the ‘genius’ level. Today, I got all the words in the list, which I’ve done about a half-dozen times.
I am not really a gamer of any kind.
I’m re-playing all my favorite flash games while I still can.
My kids and I have been binging Among Us
Puzzles, puzzles, puzzles. NYT of course, but also WaPo (three on Sunday), New Yorker (I just spent 27 minutes on a killer Addams-Family-themed cryptic), New York magazine, and Brendan Emmett Quigley. Plus I have a subscription to Penny Dell Variety puzzles, real nursing-home fare. I never did this before Trump was president. I used to just do the NYT. Now it’s my drug.
Every morning I do the NYT spelling bee then letter box, makes my day!
I played QatQi for years until Apple and the developers fell out (each blaming the other). I haven’t seen anything in the App Store that would seem to be as good.?
@MattF: How do you know what words are on the list?
Also, the list is a bit frivolous. Like, “dado” wasn’t on it the other day (carpenter term), or “melic” (“meant to be sung”). I read their rationale for how they make the list, but some days are better than others.
Also, I’ve been doing variety cryptic puzzles since grad school— by Cox & Rathvon since then and now by Maltby as well.
@debbie: Bummer to lose a good game!
Crossword puzzles & Best Fiends. Right tempted to pull the trigger on the NYT games subscription; I love good word games.
I regularly play Spellmania, a free word game for iPhone and iPad. It’s fun and one of the few free word games on the App Store with no in-app purchases.
Got so stressed out bought a 40 buck subscription to Pogo.com
A jillion games. All the NYT and Washington Post ones plus oodles of others.
@Scout211: Getting the iPad as we speak.
I’ve been playing the Baba is You puzzle game.
@MazeDancer: Is that a year or month?
Crosswords I do like Split Decisions and wish that the NYTimes had more.
@BGinCHI: If the puzzle accepts a word, it’s on the list. The list is edited— words that are too offensive, too obscure or too specialized get removed. If you get all the words on the list, you get the ‘Queen Bee’ Easter egg. Some people manage to get the whole list every day— Deb Koker is semi-famous for getting up at 3 A.M. every day (when the day’s puzzle is released) getting to the Queen Bee level, and then posting it on Twitter.
My latest obsession is Among Us because it looks straightforward but it’s really not. You’re a member of a fictional crew and you either are just a crewmate or the saboteur. And how you play depends on your randomly assigned role. And if you’re killed as a crewman you’re not just dead, you still have a part to play. It’s a quick little diversion that really can put you on your toes.
I love Split Decisions.
Seven Little Words is also free.
@MattF: I love variety cryptics but don’t do dead tree subscriptions anymore. My crosswords are all digital, and I also play a lot of two person games of Word W.E.L.D.E.R
I liked them a lot, and also the other “variety puzzles.”
I have been playing Wordscapes. It’s like a cross between Boggle and an elementary school crossword (the kind where the words aren’t densely packed). You’re given a set of letters and an empty crossword, and you have to fill it in entirely with the letters from the jumble you were given. Unlike a crossword, there aren’t word clues, but you do get letter clues from the words you’ve already found. Valid words that aren’t part of the grid give a bonus.
It’s involves just the right degree of thinking. It doesn’t require great intellect, though a large vocabulary of obscure words helps. What it really requires is concentration, which is great for escaping whatever else might be bothering you.
@BGinCHI: For a year.
Plus you get 100 gems to spend on extras. And a free pass you can give someone else to try it out..
It’s actual;y a fine value. It has everything.
Oh, I forgot, you can play at Pogo.com for free. you just have to put up with some ads, I think. So you can explore it for free.
I have the NYT Crossword subscription and have been working my way through all the Friday puzzles on my iPhone and all the Saturday puzzles on my iPad.
I do jigsaw puzzles with the Ravensburger Puzzle app on my iPad. I also do the free daily paint by number picture on the April Coloring app for iPad.
I like puzzle games like The Room.
I play Scrabble against the computer on an old MacBook that I use for not much else but playing Scrabble. And the Unix game rogue (I became addicted in the 1980s). Hasbro stopped releasing new Mac versions of Scrabble about eight years ago, so I can’t upgrade the OS without losing Scrabble. That’s fine, because (a) the laptop would run modern applications very slowly if at all and (b) I don’t have other uses for it. It’s funny to have a dedicated machine for one or two games these days, now that I think of it.
Love KenKen – Sudoku is too one-dimensional for me.
@zhena gogolia: When Thanksgiving gatherings was a thing, I’d print the latest one out. We didn’t have any crazy uncles so it was okay.
Just checked that one and yes, it is free, but it does have in-app purchases. I’ve tried to play word games with in-app purchases but I prefer the games without, because the offers are sometimes annoying and distracting. At least they are to me.
@MattF: I didn’t know about the Queen Bee thing!
Wow, now I have something to shoot for besides genius.
@Yutsano: How do you play it? In a group? Details, plz.
I have a daily ritual of games which I play on the iPhone before I even get out of bed or catch up on the overnight BJ threads. My justification is that I’m warding off dementia by keeping my brain engaged and supple, but of course the truth is that I just love to challenge myself and feel smug when I can zip through them.
First, word games: Red Herring, Word Cookies, Seven Little Words, Tiny Crossword Blitz, Tiny Little Crosswords, and Monkey Wrench.
Next, a trivia quiz, Eventology; Block! Hexa and Block! Triangle; and Ball Sort.
Finally, a clutch of solitaire card games: Klondike, TriPeaks, Crown, Spider, Pyramid, Addiction, Castle, Free Cell, Aces Up, and King’s Corner.
It sounds like a lot, but generally takes well under an hour to go through all of them — the daily challenges. I do love Spelling Bee in the NYT, and classic Sudoku, and beautiful games like Quell, but they’re not part of the morning liturgy — I save them for later in the day.
I play a Scrabble-alike, backgammon, and Angry Birds 2 on my phone. I recently spent some time working out how to get Civilization 2 working on my modern computer because the gameplay is simple enough that I don’t have to think through the sort of complex strategies later Civ versions require, but is still more than simple rote.
Sadly, while I have a good bridge game installed on the computer, I simply haven’t been able to focus enough to justify playing it.
@Yutsano: I know a lot of people who play that, but Avalune and I just aren’t that into it. There are a ton of board games that are of the same genre: figure out who the outlier is. We played those quite a bit at our last assignment but we just didn’t like them.
I’m still playing World of Warcraft. They delayed the next expansion because there were still too many problems and I’m still riding the fence in whether I want to even want to play the next expansion. Avalune is currently sitting across from me playing Minecraft. We have a closet full of board games (about 60) but nobody to play them with. When we’re eventually allowed to socialize with people again, I’m sure we’re going to break out a ton of games and have some interacting with real humans again.
started star wars: squadrons, but really in a holding pattern for assassin’s creed: valhalla.
@BGinCHI: It’s surprisingly hard. You’d think— how hard can it be to make words out of group of letters— but I poke at it all day and usually don’t get the whole list.
What’s the Game About?
The premise of Among Us is quite simple: you’re one of 4 to 10 players on a space ship. One of these is an Impostor whose main goal is to kill everyone else. The remainder of the players are part of the regular crew who’s just trying to escape unharmed. To do this, they have to complete several tasks or (better yet) find the Impostor and vote them out Survivor lstyle. If they’re successful, the Crew wins. If the Impostor manages to kill them all, he or she wins.
I bought into Xbox Game Pass at the beginning of this pandemic and it’s been incredible. So many great games on there and I took advantage of a deal to get a 3 year subscription for only $60. Currently working through Yakuza 0, which is very fun and quirky.
Got a frustratingly realistic euchre game on the Kindle that eats up many cycles. Some fake texas hold’em sometimes late at night to get away from the screen: deal for a table of ten, no bets, see what wins.
@WaterGirl: No game playing for me either. No jigsaw puzzles. Ms F has a subscription to Bigfish Games though, and I recently discovered one of my college friends just retired from there!
ETA My younger son is a huge Pokemon Go player and introduced it to Ms F to encourage her to get out more. They’re both players now. I sit in the corner and listen to discussions of shinies and evolving.
Not the game you’re talking about, but… My version of Scrabble has an annoyingly limited dictionary. Offensive words are not allowed, such as “shit” and “fuck” and even the mild “fart”. I did learn something—the common term for an American Indian married woman, s***w, is considered a racist slur. And yet “f**b” is allowed, despite its use as a slur against people with cognitive disabilities. What surprised me the most? I suppose it’s because my Scrabble application is probably ten years old, but its dictionary does not include “bling”, a word coined in 1999.
I recently treated myself to Total War: Rome II on Steam and have been happily expanding the territories of the Roman Republic in one to two hour bursts for the last few months. Having a seven year old is very useful as a restraining bolt on what would otherwise be a good chunk of the day wasted grinding through barbarian armies and experimenting with ways to avoid head-to-head clashes with Hellenistic phalanxes. It’s my first run through so I’m not spending too much time worrying about the politics side of the game, which will probably bite me in the arse when one of the major Roman factions goes rebel on me but come on, who’s got energy to waste on politics these days?
@RSA: my iPod scrabble thinks “YID” is an OK word, which put me in quite a quandary when it came up on a Triple Word Score two-way.
I know! Fired up “Dolphin Olympics” and “Fishing Girl” the other day for old time’s sake.
@SiubhanDuinne: Wow: ace game-player here!
Since sometime in early April, we have been playing an online version of the board game Codenames with a couple of friends and their circle through Zoom. The online game runs through the site horsepaste.com If you have ever played the game in person you will find that it actually works really well in this format. You can modify the word bank if you get bored, and we have played with as many as 14 at a time.
One of the weird things about the pandemic is that my spouse and I have become friends with a group of people who we only know through playing this game online every Saturday night.
LOL. Yes, you’ve exactly captured the feeling I have sometimes.
@frosty: I actually love games, especially card games, but I like the ones where you sit around a table and play with other people.
So far, not one other soul in my house has stepped up to play with me. Not Tucker, or Henry, or Miss Willow or Bear.
I miss games.
@MattF: Oh, I hear you. And sometimes way later you come back and instantly see a new one.
That’s what I like about it.
Mike S (Now with a Democratic Congressperson!)
My daily routine: On my Kindle Fire every morning I do the Daily “Flow Free”, “FlowFree Hexes” and “Flow Free Bridges”. I’ve been doing these for about over three years now. Since COVID I’ve taken up Soduku (Classic) using the logic methods from the Cracking the Cryptic YouTube and the Sudoku Guy‘s Channel. I do a number of them a day, depending on how much I need to distract myself from the world. When cold weather closes in again I will probably go back to city building with Cities Skylines on Steam Games. That is an incredible time suck.
@BruceFromOhio: What’s the TX hold-em game called? I might try that…..
Working on a model city in Cities Skylines, basically making a city in a parallel universe version of Earth populated by nonhuman races (the dominant ones being able to fly!) Being as the game’s built on a human paradigm for “city” what I can do is limited, but that’s what creativity and custom assets are for!
what sort of games are you into?
Go and dominoes get me through these times.
If anyone is interested, I can link this post in the Special Threads section in the sidebar, for easy access. Let me know if you would like that.
@RSA: I do like to spell the swears…..
@WaterGirl: When this is all over, your place for a B-J euchre tournament.
I play a lot of Spelunky, in which you attempt to negotiate your little Indiana Jones-esque treasure-hunter through a very unforgiving underground maze bristling with guardians and death traps. I’ve managed to get to the “easy” ending, and am still working on the final ending.
I’ve also gotten back into VGA Planets, a turn-based build-an-interplanetary-empire game in which you compete against 10 other people, each of you given control of an space fleet with ships and stations explicitly based on a different race or group from various science-fiction franchises. So you can be Romulans battling against the Galactic Empire while allied to the Cylons, with different names to course to avoid battlefleets of lawyers.
Nobody here seems to play tabletop games –
but one of my college buddies went to tabletopia, did an entire WizWar(tm) game set, including custom cards and tiles. No way to make it public – copyright and all
That, and DnD, Pathfinder, various other RPGs. We ran our own Con one weekend too.
@Mathguy: I’ve always wanted to play GO!
@BGinCHI: You can find out the total number of words, the number of points, the number of pangrams, and the words that didn’t make it to the day’s list at nytbee.com. There’s also a button you can press to get the daily list.
Yes, please. There are plenty of suggestions here for games I might want to try.
@BGinCHI: Sold! I haven’t played it much, but I did like it.
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Mike S (Now with a Democratic Congressperson!)
@ArchTeryx: That sounds very interesting! I haven’t heard of anything like that before in Cities Skylines. I use a modest number of mods but would like to hear about some of the ones you’re using.
You need the subscription in order to be able to enter multiple words.
But even without the subscription you can see the puzzle and enter one or two words before it shuts you down.
So for many months when I did not have a subscription, I would figure out the pangram, enter that to verify it, and get on with my day. No subscription needed for that much.
Then my sis gave me a subscription for my birthday, and now I can enter many words. I try to get to “genius” as quick as possible — my best time is probably around 15 minutes. But it’s usually more like 45 minutes, and I don’t always get to “genius” at all. I have never reached “queen bee” — did not know about it until that NYT article the other day.
Gin & Tonic
@BGinCHI: I played quite a bit when I was younger, but then, you know, kids, job, family… It’s a fascinating game.
Even if you don’t play, Yasunari Kawabata’s The Master of Go is a wonderful novel.
I want to echo those who like Among Us. My teenager has been playing it with their friends, and it makes all their social distancing and isolation–at least for brief moments–bearable.
i was very into RPG’s when i was in high school and college. was actually just talking about that with three old friends the other night.
I play on-line poker on Poker Stars. Dominos with the immediate family on Saturday night.
My life has been centered on sports and, oddly, I’ve never been into games.
These days, being a fairly solitary type, I play Sudoku (9 by 9, no hints) and Klondike most of the time, usually a couple of each every day. Klondike especially is like doodling for me nowadays, something I’ll often run while watching a movie in another window. Have occasionally been on a Sokoban kick.
Back in the day, was an avid bid whist player (the no trump bids always tickled my spidey senses), and dabbled in other similar games, and other card games like Spite and Malice or poker. I am not a good poker player, though since I’m usually educable, years of losses might have fixed that (years!). Still might give Go another try.
@BGinCHI: I keep thinking I should learn a language. I also play a lot of spider solitaire on the phone. I never played euchre til I started hanging out w a cheesehead.
I play Sudoku, Match 3D (gets harder at each level), Candy Crush Soda, Cookie Jam and Cookie Jam Blast. I also like playing the hidden object games. Once in a while a good word play game.
Yeah, forgot Backgammon. Played a lot for a few months, then again some years later. Was good enough the second time to send some people who thought they could take me into a different mode of socializing.
@prostratedragon: The brothers in the Army played whist, I never got it. Also liars poker was big at the House of Chin but I never got that either.
Could we please have an evening open thread?
Who’s watching the Biden I Will Vote concert? I am liking Aloe Blacc.
A woman from anywhere (formerly Mohagan)
@BGinCHI: Yes! I was doing Spelling Bee every day for a while, but started to get irritated at what words were and were not on their official list. So now I stick to Vertex, the Mini Crossword, and the Monday and Tuesday regular crosswords on NYT site. Letterbox I have found to be too hard for relaxation.
I also do Microsoft games (Mahjong, various solitares, especially Spider).
I don’t play any real games but I subscribe to Brain HQ and let the program design my training exercises. I can never win because as I get better the exercises get harder. The only reward is stars and a chart that shows how much you have improved since the first time you did the exercises. It also tells you how you compare with all the other people your age doing the same exercises.
I don’t like to play games with other people because I’m too competitive and get really pissed off if I don’t win and often I don’t. Not a whole lot of fun for the other players.
@Middlelee: I was terrible at that!
I forgot to add, all the games are free. I also like ColorPlanet, another free game.
@prostratedragon: What’s Klondike (besides the name of my elementary and middle school)?
@Narya: Midwest game for sure. I really miss playing.
@Raven: The game I played with my fellow Army buddies was Spades.
A woman from anywhere (formerly Mohagan)
@MattF: I call BS on their word list. I haven’t done it for a while now, due to mounting irritation with their word list (I did like the way you could check all the words the next day). I found the list to be heavily slanted towards the East Coast (I’m in CA), with lots of Yiddish, etc. that is not common on the West Coast. For example, babka I think was a word which I would have never heard of if I hadn’t watched Seinfeld, and then words I thought were no more obscure than dado were not accepted. I emailed them once and got back a “too bad, so sad” reply, so the hell with them.
Tim Posh-looking in a mask
Spaceship shooting games worked for me most of this year, but I got tired of dying all the time. Mah-Jong, I’m comin’ back, baby!
@Raven: If you know bridge you can play whist, which is less opaque in the bidding stage and has no dummy –all hands are closed during play. Bidding only goes around once, where in bridge I think it continues until three players in a round pass, which allows for lower opening bids and hence a lot more signalling. Suits are not called in whist bidding, except that no-trump is a distinct bid and the high bid at any level; either the bid winner then calls the trump suit, or it’s simply the suit of the last card dealt. All that out of the way and the play is much like bridge or spades.
@A woman from anywhere (formerly Mohagan): Yesterday, “vulpine” but not “lupine.”
@prostratedragon: I would only play whist so I could annoyingly pronounce the “h.”
@Tim Posh-looking in a mask: phone or computer? Platform? For the mah jong
@SFBayAreaGal: Well, if we’d had the google 50+ years ago I’d know this!
@prostratedragon: MY mom was a bridge player, I no bic.
A woman from anywhere (formerly Mohagan)
@A woman from anywhere (formerly Mohagan): Forgot to say that I like the NYT crosswords on-line because you can check the results as you go, and there is a little star blossom when you hit half and 3/4 done, which is fun
But on the other hand, there are a lot of corny phrases and definitions which seem stuck in the 1950s culturally. Very odd for something in 2020. On the other hand, maybe it is different when you get out on Monday and Tuesday (the easiest ones). I doubt it, though.
I play sudoku on my kindle just before going to sleep. Winds things down.
A game we play after family dinners (so not since a February 2020 party) is Bananagrams, a fast-paced letter tile game, sort of like scrabble. Each player builds their own collection of words. I have a couple of nieces and it’s been fun to watch over the years as they have gotten better, as their vocabularies expand. It’s a 2-6 player game so I should suggest it for my spouse.
On the PC I’ve been playing Starbound with the Frackin’ Universe mod. It’s a side-scrolling sandbox (on a multitude of random planets); not too mind-consuming.
A woman from anywhere (formerly Mohagan)
@BGinCHI: Exactly!! Thank you!
@WaterGirl: Yes please
What was it the Koreans played, Go?
Not much of a game person. But if I do, it’s not the kind that really work well in a pandemic because they are very old school kinds of games you do in person and among a group, like card games such as gin rummy or hearts or Uno or even Cards Against Humanity. Or board games like Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit. Haven’t played a video game since Pong first came out and I don’t have the patience for crosswords or puzzles.
There’s a nice chess tactics puzzle site at chesstempo.com (they have lots of options but I like the straight tactics puzzles).
And I’ve been replaying some old fave video games like Portal (one of the best of all time in quirky weirdness) and trying to get into Half-life but it’s a bit of a slog. LOL the gf is playing Baldur’s Gate III right now with some friends online and trying to convince me to try Elder Scrolls
@BGinCHI: Klondike is a solitaire game, named I guess for a place where you could play enough of it to get quite good, of a winter. It’s maybe the most basic or at least common one, where you lay out 7 stacks of from 1 to 7 cards, with the top card of each stack turned up, then make plays from the remaining deck by piling a card of the next rank down and opposite color where possible. For instance, if the Queen of Spades is showing and a Jack of either Diamonds or Hearts turns up from the deck or on the board, that card can be played on top of the Queen. Whenever an Ace appears, it’s moved to the top of the board where it becomes a base for building up its suit from the Deuce, Trey, etc., using cards from either the board or the deck as they turn up. The object is to get all the cards suited up on the Aces.
I have a set of Patience (Solitaire) games on my box with a Klondike version that peeks at all the cards in each deal, and calculates whether the game is winnable. Comes in handy in that sometimes, a perfectly “obvious” move will lose the game for you because it closes of an opportunity that only becomes clearly necessary later.
@Narya: Euchre was big in my area of north central Illinois. I miss card games and board games.
Backgammon is the only computer game I play regularly. I have a really nice backgammon set gathering dust, again a board game and no one to join me.
60 Minutes thread coming, FPers?
That was some seriously crazy bs…no, I don’t mean the orange moron whining and then slinking out, I mean Nora O’Donnell’s constant use of trumpov clips and framing every question with his insane rally shit
@Raven: I love this. Thank you for sharing.
I like the Crickler puzzle and their Enigma puzzle at enigma device.com. I also enjoy the Atlantic magazine crossword that is almost ridiculously easy on Mondays but pretty difficult by Thursday, for me anyway. I don’t really play any games.
@prostratedragon: Ms F and I played a few rounds of Strip Backgammon when we first met. A good two-person game!!
@SFBayAreaGal: I just remember the wild ass games in the Quonset huts and tents!
@SFBayAreaGal: Spades, yep. And a slightly similar game played at lunch in the cafeteria at my first job: Oh Hell.
Lately, I have mostly been playing Football Manager 2020, a soccer management simulation. Much thinking, no need for fast twitch finger use.
@Wapiti: Funny thing, I’ve only recently got fairly good at doing Sudoku on my fire pad; much preferred pencil and paper. It’s as if stuff comes out through different pathways. Also, when I locate a pattern across cells that are separated from each other, with paper I can harmlessly use my fingers to isolate those cells while figuring out the complement.
Did he ever release his version of the interview?
@MagdaInBlack: friend’s family plays at holidays; most have played since they were kids, so it can be hard to follow when they all throw their hands in. I only sit in when needed but usually kibbitz and hang out, so I’m learning.
@Raven: Oh dear! Really, it all comes down to counting trumps and the like.
@MagdaInBlack: I shared a house with two other guys way back when and we needed a new game after we got tired if Oh Hell. Opened up Goren’s, found out euchre was a 3 player game, and taught ourselves.
@Raven: Well, I won’t say I’m good but I’m stubborn and I’ll do a lot for stars.
@prostratedragon: I have no idea what that means. But I know how to use a clutch alignment tool when I put my three speed Saginaw on my short block 350 Chevy.
@M31: Some of the Elder Scrolls are pretty good. Morrowind and Oblivion are really good, but a little hard to play, as they don’t really hold your hand at all. Skyrim is more recent and easier to play, but is much better if you use mods
@frosty: My parents taught me Euchre using the 3 handed version.
Only child, on camping trips, rainy days were Euchre days. ( when we got tired of reading)
Euchre tournaments were a big thing in the local small town bars.
I put up a thread.
Tim Posh-looking in a mask
@Narya: tablet. Google app store.
May as well repeat this from much earlier this year.
If have any interest in finding rules for card games or learning new ones,
By name of game
By number of players
I play fewer games on my smartphone because I’m no longer sitting on a train two hours each way each day. But some games that I liked to play on my commute were:
One game that I have a passion for was Avalon Hill’s Advanced Civilization. There’s a site for it now, http://civ.rol-play.com, run by a friend of mine, that lets you play the game online. This is good, because the game usually requires up to 8 people for large blocks of time (8-10 hours), which made it almost impossible to get a game together. But playing online, I can have several games going on at once, and although some games can last for months, they allow you to play at your leisure.
Gin & Tonic
@Raven: Very likely, yes.
Ceci n est pas mon nym
@Quaker in a Basement: I’ve done a lot of KenKen, on and off.
I thought I was pretty good at it. A couple of years ago I went to a KenKen tournament, hosted by Will Shortz, as a lark and just to see how my skills stacked up. Narrator: his skills did not stack up.
I’m pretty methodical about working it out logically. I can’t even imagine the process the really hot players use to solve the puzzles as fast as they do.
In a conversation about this with Shortz he remarked, “When you think about it, if you’re enjoying it, why would you be in a hurry to get through it?” Yeah, that’s right. I met and chatted with Will Shortz.
I’m not playing a lot of games right now, very low energy and spending my time on house stuff instead until I’m ready to go back. The only gaming I really do is the Call of Cthulhu campaign the podcast I’m on is running, and there’s times I feel like that’s too much effort.
Ms. Joe and I play Spelling Bee every day. We take turns starting. The rule is, you go as far as you can, and if you don’t reach Genius you pass it along. Between the two of us, we almost always make it. The brain is so … interesting: I’ll work on Spelling Bee for a few minutes, get absolutely stuck, stymied, blocked … then take a break, come back, and more words — sometimes even the pangram — just arrange themselves in front of me, saying “Here we are!” Great fun.
I had to give up on the crossword because I’ve fallen at least two decades behind on pop culture, and it doesn’t look I’m going to be catching up any time soon.
@frosty: At one point, the university I was at had a 24/7 library/study area (it was the old library, but still decently stocked). I hung out there late at night, being an owl, and because the SF club had its library as part of that collection. For most of a year, I watched these two guys play backgammon for bong hits (not immediate). By the end of the year, IIRC, one guy owed the other his weight in weed.
@Raven: So you really don’t play bridge?! :)
There are 13 cards per suit. Say you have the bid, and 6 of the 13 trumps in your hand. By leading a couple of rounds with a trump, you can force other players to deplete their supply –probably your partner doesn’t have all of the other 7– and reduce that chance that your nice non-trump high card gets trumped over. Maybe if you’re lucky, leading trumps twice gets 6 trumps –3 in each round– not in your hand off the board, leaving one trump card outstanding.
By counting the other trumps that appear on the board when you lead them like that, you can make a worst-case assessment of how the rest of the hand might go. One would play bridge the same way, but the repeated rounds of signalling bids at the beginning plus the open dummy hand give the bidder more information.
Yeah, my own interest in/attention to/patience for games has been running in inverse proportion to the length of the pandemic. Last time fired up Steam was in January.
@frosty: Naked Mazola Twister as the relationship advanced?
( was my husbands joke ” Anyone up for Naked Mazola Twister?)
Ceci n est pas mon nym
About the main topic: I have a few favorite iPhone games that I like, especially solitaire games. Favorites are Freecell and Spider. Am I a terrible person that I also like Plague, Inc, where you control a pandemic and try to kill every human on earth?
I also really love a WW1-themed game called Valiant Hearts. Very simple animation, nothing fancy. The puzzles are fairly simple but engaging, you get really involved in the characters and their relationships. But mostly it’s about the history of the war and how it looked up close on a personal level for soldiers and civilians.
I also do a lot of pencil puzzles. Have a subscription to Games magazine. It’s a huge thrill when a new magazine comes in every couple of months.
@Ceci n est pas mon nym: the brewer at Marz in Chicago was a NYT writer and constructs puzzles for fun. Had fun chatting w him
Tim Posh-looking in a mask
Speaking of mental fun, I either invented this or stole it from Thurber or Kaufman or somebody: express a coherent thought or statement in no fewer than three words, all anagrams of the same word. Think brevity, think headline-ese. Example: “Each member of the group is an authority on the care and preservation of woodlands.” Shorter, “Fortes: foster forest”. Now try, “a Spaniard’s vision of his mother with a machine gun”. Very romantic, very revolutionary. Enjoy!
@prostratedragon: Um, no and something tells me that at 71 I won’t be picking it up.
Dinner’s on me!
@eddie blake: You can add it to the I Voted! thread, where it’s always relevant. :-) Link in the sidebar.
@prostratedragon: Given the number of systems used for bridge bidding, finding a partner who’s both compatible and reliable is like hitting the lottery. (I admit, I was less than either for most of my partners.)
@Middlelee: What the heck is Brain HQ?
@WaterGirl: Cole’s house.
@prostratedragon: Skip Hop and Wobble
@WaterGirl: It’s and online program that is supposed to help old motherfuckers like me maintain mental acuity by playing these games that become increasingly difficult. I bombed big time.
@Bruuuuce: I wonder whether the relative simplicity of bidding in whist is one reason it became such a popular social game. Because bridge certainly had a heyday among African-Americans back in the 30s and 40s. But even with all the different house rules and local variations of whist, it’s still pretty easy to drop into a game and play well even with a new partner.
Would be up for it with the variation of using Karo syrup.
I’ve had the reverse effect. After playing the “modern” Civs where you can’t just spam the planet with cities I can’t stand the earlier ones because it’s just about mad settlement.
I really, really miss live boardgaming. So much so that I’ve been looking for COVID to improve enough that I could make excuses for hosting a group (with masking and no food/drink inside restrictions). But with President Trump, it’s not even down to levels where I could make a bad decision.
I’ve been having a hard time really concentrating and mostly playing games I’d already played to death like Civ 5 and Conquest of Elysium (sort of a 90’s era magical version of Empire which is fun because it has so many different empire types).
On my phone I’ve played a lot of Lily’s Garden, which is one of these “match groups of X” puzzle games but the best one of them I’ve found. It’s perfect for my current mental state because figuring ways to clear the board is fairly challenging but not intensely so, and I can just put it down anytime I want. For a while I had gotten into some of the empire-building casual games but they’re all about timers and intrude into the rest of my life, because I have to pay attention to when the timers finish.
@prostratedragon: I have no doubt about it. Though in my social circles, it was hearts and spades that were our alternatives to bridge. I suspect that bridge became less popular when multiple bidding systems were developed, along with the rise of duplicate tournaments attracting better players, rather than being limited to rubber bridge at home.
@prostratedragon: If memory serves it was a game that could be played when one had a good working buzz going!
@Raven: With the resonator! Nice.
@160: Oh my, yes.
I use one standard deck of cards, shuffle and cut, then deal as though for a table of ten players for Texas hold’em style of poker. Its like a weird take off of solitaire, and more of a statistical study to take my mind off a fucked up world. The instances of full house and low flushes beating the straights and taking the hand are surprising; should I ever get to actually sit at a poker game again, it has definitely changed how I would think about game strategy and betting overall.
@Raven: That’s really nice, thank you.
@BruceFromOhio: Oops, thought it was an online version!
That’s smart, though, and a great way to learn odds and instincts without so much damn math.
@BGinCHI: Whoa, wait, whuuut?? It’s rare to find folks away from the Canada-US border that know how to play euchre. To find three other people and actually be able to kick out a few games of four-handed euchre makes for a good day.
@BruceFromOhio: Almost all midwesterners I’ve ever known play. Huge in Indiana.
Never played in Toronto, but that’s barely Canada anyway…..
Crosswords, Klondike solitaire and computer bridge. I used to play bridge with friends every two weeks but that went bye-bye. I don’t like to do crosswords on a computer. Need paper and pencil. I can do the Sunday Times puzzle but I’ve never mastered the Friday and Saturday ones.
@Raven: I may have to try that. Even if I bomb, I will apparently be in good company. :-)
J R in WV
My dad loved bridge… early in life I played, enough to have played a lot in college my first year, sadly for my GPA.
Dad got into competitive bridge with a partner, did well enough to enjoy it. I just don’t care for games that much. Back in 8th grade reading class, the teacher used anagrams for the spelling quizes… I cannot do anagrams at all, nearly flunked reading while reading faster than anyone else in the room. Also cannot do Scrabble, more serious anagram game. Just not good enough at games to enjoy playing…
So I read complicated novels. And B-J and similar blogs.
Well, I am totally zero as far as this theme is concerned. I do not play any games. None. I don’t even do crossword puzzles anymore. Haven’t for a while.
And I have never been into computer games. Would rather have a good nap.
@MagdaInBlack: Cut-throat! I showed that to a couple of guys one Saturday night when we lost our fourth. They loved it! Then one fellow looked up and said, “It’s every man for himself, and every hand is a loner.” We were all in agreement that it was a good way to explain it to someone who knew the game, but had never played it three-hand. We had a blast with it.
I’m on my Nintendo Switch a lot, but aside from that I’ve also played Dominion over Skype with friends. The cool thing about Dominion is that even though it’s a deck-building game with some interactivity between the players (depending on the cards in play for a particular game), how you shuffle your deck has no effect on how cards are shuffled in other players’ decks. This siloing facilitates playing remotely, as long as all the players have the same sets (which we do).
@BruceFromOhio: Now that you say that, yes, I remember my parents called it “Cut-Throat.” So I was 10, playing Cut Throat……thats kinda cool. =-)
@MagdaInBlack: “Cut-throat” is the style of play of the game of euchre. Two-hand, take out the nines. Cut-throat (three-hand), put the nines back in. Then four-hand, with “stick the dealer,” if everyone passes, the dealer must call suit. And Canadian loner in four-hand, if you order your partner up, you play alone.
I love euchre, and would play it for hours if I could.
ETA I watched some kids RC model sailboat racing today and that was very enjoyable.
Have you ever tried the solitaire game called 40 thieves? I used to play that when I was in college and needed to clear my head.
@MomSense: Hey MomSense, Jim Foolish Literalist (in the next thread) was just hoping for you or someone else from Maine to share their opinion about some recent news, and here you are!
Ok I’ll check it out
Retro Bowl for Android.
Combine the best parts of Tecmo Bowl and Madden career mode – and only play offense.
Late to the party, but gaming is most of my free time these days, given the lack of other social interaction.
I have a group of friends I’ve played board games with on Wednesday nights for years, so now we get together on Zoom and either play various games on Board Game Arena (Terra Mystica, Tzolkin, Race for the Galaxy, etc.) or play multiplayer digital versions of some of our other favorites (Wingspan, Armello, Scythe, Terraforming Mars, Charterstone, among others). Since it’s virtual, I’ve actually been able to pull in a Canadian friend of mine who was going crazy being siloed with just his family, so that’s been nice.
Video game-wise, I’ve been playing Genshin Impact, just recently got back into Final Fantasy XIV Online and Toukiden 2 (Monster Hunter style game, just with Oni instead of dinosaurs as targets), and I’ve been picking at the expansions to Nioh 2.
@MagdaInBlack: There is, of course, the old game of Naval Battle
Players form a circle. At a signal, everyone dives into the middle.
The winner is the first to put their finger into somebody else’s navel.
Anyway, would like to put in a good word for the 18xx series of boardgames.
Been playing them since 1829 hit the US in ’78.
Gilded Age capitalism. Build and //loot// bankrupt railroads, and foist the corporate shells onto your opponents. Capital accumulation, technological improvement, increasing riches. Great thing is that once you’ve figured where players are seated around the table, there’s no more luck involved.
If you go to the 18xx.games, you can see games in progress (and automating the bookkeeping really speeds up play)
@Zelma: Back when I did the NYT puzzle daily I noticed that Sunday is usually doable, but Saturday kicks butt, and yeah Friday is pretty challenging as well.
lot of good games on iOS these days, so I’m playing Star Realms, Terraforming Mars, Carcassonne, 7 Wonders, Agricola, and Terra Mystica.
Mom Says I*m Handsome
The site boardgamearena.com has many tabletop games that can be played live with players around the world, or in turn-mode. We play 7 Wonders, Colt Express, Roll For the Galaxy, Solo (like Uno), and a devilish little game called 6 Nimmt. I also play Oh Hell and backgammon there. It’s 4 euros a month for a premium subscription, which is a screaming deal.