Thursday, March 22, 2007

BGG.Con 2007

Work has been a whirlwind for the past 2-3 weeks. I've been working late almost everyday and the pile does not seem to get any smaller at all. It's really quite horrible.

But there has been one single shining beacon of hope: BGG.Con 2007.

Registration for the con opened a few days ago, and the moment I saw it, my heart was aflutter. My breath drew short, my cheeks flushed, my heart quickened its pace. I have such sweet memories of the last one, and I want to re-live those moments again.

I am sorely tempted to make a trip to the States again to attend the con. Crazy? Maybe just a little. But I want to spend days playing games with people I barely know in a foreign city. And the friends that I had made at the last Con have asked if I'll be able to make my way up again. That's really heartening to see, and it makes me long to go even more.

And it's also a good reason to visit Shyam and Div again. I love those guys, and I wish we got to meet up more often. It's just not possible with them living there, and my being here. I miss them dearly, and wish they would move their frickin' asses back here to Singapore.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Silent War

Silent War is a single-player boardgame, published by Compass Games in 2005. The game simulates the submarine war of the US against Imperial Japan, with various scenarios depicting different stages of the war.

It's a game that I have been contemplating on purchasing for many months now, and I think I may just finally bite the bullet. And why is that? There are 3 factors.

1) Premise. I enjoy anything that is related to submarines. I enjoy reading about them, watching movies that revolve around them, and playing games based on them. My favourite movie of all time is The Hunt for Red October. I have pictorials of submarines in my personal library. I have a few computer games that simulate operating submarines. Submarines are one of my most favourite things in the world.

2) Single-player. The thought of a single player boardgame appeals to me. Now that may sound a little odd, considering how I've always purported that boardgames are a social activity. But there are times when I'm really keen on playing boardgames when no one else is able to. I also think that a single-player game offers quite a different experience that I may find myself enjoying. That thought, of playing alone, appeals to me. I never had problems doing things by myself, and playing alone does not put me off. I have been looking into single-player games for a long while now, and I even bought Ambush, a solitaire game based on tactical squads in WWII. I never got around learning the game, but that's cos the premise didn't interest me as much.

3) Shipping. It's awfully expensive to get the game shipped to Singapore. It's a small publisher, and shipping costs are prohibitive. Other discount online stores are either out of stock, or real pricey on the shipping too. But I have a colleague who will be going to New York in a month, and I think I can get the game shipped to an address that she can pick it up from. And that has me severely tempted.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Oh, what a night!

That was an awesome evening I just had. I just had dinner with Ivan, Coreen and Audrea and it was a good good night. It's a little weird, but it's almost as if I'm on a bit of a high.

I had the car tonight, and drove the 3 of them to dinner at Turf City where we had an extensive seafood meal. Items on our menu included mango clams (?), bamboo clams, fresh scallops and crabs. All very well prepared, and fresh, good quality ingredients. I was thoroughly satisfied by the end of the meal.

We then procceded to Holland Village for some coffee and dessert, which was an excellent way to top off an already exceptional evening.

Of course, the fact that I was stuck in a traffic jam for about 30mins, had work dumped on me in the evening, had to meet colleagues on work in the afternoon, and answering emails in the morning despite being on leave, did not put a damper on this evening.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

One less item off the ol' wishlist

I went to a boardgame meetup this evening, and managed to play a game that I've been eyeing for a while now: Vanished Planet.

I generally enjoy cooperative games, and this one had an intersting premise: What used to be Earth is now a horrific growing mass that is ever expanding into the fartherest reachest of space. 6 alien races must now band together to try and survive, whilst hoping to contain the monster.

Each player gets a chance to collect resources, trade with other players, and then move their ship whilst building all forms of advance technology to fulfil quests, and to delay the growth of the monster. Each player is threatened by a ever-enlarging tendril of the monster, though the rate of growth is slightly different for each player. Once the tendril over-runs a player's homeworld, they are considered to be eliminated from the game. Each player is simultaneously also trying to fulfil quests to earn victory points. There is an overall cumalative total that each player's completed quests would contribute to, and all must work together to combat the monster.

It was a fun game, and I enjoyed myself very much. We played this twice, and we were totally slaughtered in the first round, at normal difficulty. We took it down a notch, and only just barely squeezed a victory. I felt that the game did promote a sence of urgency and desperation, when you see that one player's homeworld was about to be swallowed, or if we knew that we had to finish a number of quests before we would even be close to winning. There is alot of interaction, as each player would trade resources, and also help each other out with the building of various technologies.

But I have to suspect the longevity of the game, as I think that some players may become bored with after a few plays of the game. The problem with cooperative games is that after a while, players know what to do to beat the system, and then the game loses its appeal after that. We managed to do much better in the second game, and I suspect that if the same group were to play a third or fourth time, we would have very little trouble with the game. As such, I've taken this game off my wishlist. Cos I know it's available if I want to play it again (it belongs to Adrian Peh), but I don't think it's a game I'd like to own.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Nintendo DS Lite

Well, my birthday wish from so long ago is slowly coming true. I had mentioned before that my wish was for everyone around me to get a DS Lite.

Now counting the number of people around me, there are a total of 6 immediate friends who have gotten a DS Lite:

My older sister
My cousin, Adrian

That is just frickin' awesome. I'm just waiting for the day we can all play Mario Kart, or Bomberman together. And write silly little messages in PictoChat.

And to everyone else... What the heck are you waiting for?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Radical Ideas Spreading Through the Internet

DPM Wong warns of radical ideas being spread through internet

In the article, DPM alluded to self-radicalising groups that acquire their ideas/theology/ideology from various sources from the Internet.

While I can see the possiblity of this happening, I do not think that the internet is the one to shouldar the blame.

The internet is a tool that provides information, regardless of its source or nature, I agree. And this has led to contentious material becoming readily available to the public; Information on how to make explosive devices, or discriminatory information can be found easily.

But I believe that a person who becomes severely affected by this sort of information to move beyond just reading and into action, suggests that there is something wrong with the person, and not the tool. It's not fair to say that the internet is to blame, when it is the person who choses to accept or reject whatever material they come across.

This is akin to blaming a hammer, because it could potentially be used to cause bodily harm.

So where do we go from here? Inevitably, there will be persons who are susceptible to radical ideas, regardless of its source. As such, it really falls onto the people around that person to detect warning signs, and to initiate early intervention. Look at the people around you, your families, friends and communities. Are there people that could potentially cause worry? While I'm not saying you should "rat out" a friend, it really takes effort on the part of each person to help ensure that one does not fall into the wrong crowd, or become an easy target to radicalism. This is something that any consientious person can do, as part of the larger community.

Gaming Day

I had a short gaming session at Bernard's house yesterday, with 3 other people, and we played through quite a selection of games. Most games were pretty light, as you can see from my current "Games Played" list: Niagara, Coleretto, Gulo Gulo, etc. It was a very fun session, and there were many laughs around the table.

Most interestingly was that I had an oppurtunity to meet 2 new persons: Andrew, from Perth, Australia, and his Singaporean friend, Toni.

Andrew had contacted me over at Boardgamegeek, informing me that he would be in town for a few days and was keen to get into some gaming. I invited him to join me at Bernard's, and we had a heck of a time. Andrew really is quite a fun fellow to play games with. And so is Toni, with her constant taunts and jibes. Their presence really added to the session overall, and having the chance to meet 2 new people is an absolute blast.

I like to play games, that doesn't need to be said. But having be able to do so, whilst meeting new people at the same time is really something that I enjoy on an entirely new level.