Assorted links


1. It will be in response not to internal pressure, but rather to increase the costs of production in market countries. In response to such an announcement the Us and European jurisdictions will increase regulation and monitoring requirements, raising the cost of production and prompting the offshoring of any remaining production. As labor and other costs increase it requires more enlightened strategies to continue the transfer of industrial capacity and the resulting economic growth.

There is a sucker born every minute.

"2. And are board games back?"

As someone who has more board games than are shown in the picture, I'd answer that with question with a "Yes, sort of".

Board games are back and have been for 15 years or so. Euro-style board games have emerged and cross pollinated with Ameri-Trash games and led to a jump in popularity. Ameri-Trash is not a pejorative, by the way.

That being said, with all the competition from video games, smart phones, TV on demand, etc. Board/Card games will never be as popular as they were before the advent of Television. However, boardgames do offer an opportunity to engage in an active face to face entertainment.

@JWatts - I bet, given your name, you like to play the German board game Power Grid when you're bored, ya? (Power Grid is the English-language edition of the multiplayer German-style board game Funkenschlag ... In the game, each player represents a company that owns power plants and tries to supply electricity to cities. (a board game--besides chess--only an economist would love)

@2 b - dogs and cats using sophisticated strategies that defy the laws of physics to drink water... plants using quantum entanglement to process photosynthesis... homing pigeons visualizing magnetism (latest research). What a wacky world we wive win! (Bonus trivia: magnetism is named after the Asia Minor Greek town of Μαγνησία where it was discovered in ancient times that lodestones found there attract metal)

LOL, I'm an electrical engineer with another degree in Finance. So yes I'm an expert at Power Grid ;) I've notably won the Power Grid tournament at Origins in the past.

And Funkenschlag isn't the same as Power Grid. Funkenschlag was a predecessor, but the games are quite different. Funkenschlag is really a variant of the crayon rail games that were a popular sub-genre 15 years ago.

Power Grid was published in German/English version simultaneously. Notably, one side of the board is a map of Germany and the other side is the US. The players can choose which side to play for a given game. Oh, and there are at least 10 expansion boards you can buy now with various countries or regions on them.

The game an economist would love the most would have to be Container - you depend on other players to buy your products and you set prices to balance profits with getting people to bite. This makes the value of different actions self balancing if players are minding this balance and entering the most profitable segments.

That article was excellent and the author knew what he was talking about (or at least had good sources). I would point out some spots where he simplified the topic.

“In the past there have been big differences between European and American approaches to making games,” he says. “American games would typically have players engage with one another through aggression. European games tended to use more indirect conflict – so rather than just fighting one another, we might be competing for the same pool of resources, or trying to accomplish the same goal most effectively.”

European style games is really a misnomer, it should be German style games and a lot of other Europeans followed suit. However, British games are more likely to follow the Ameri-Trash style.

Here are the some typical differences that the article failed to mention.

For Euro/German-style games:
Short play time (30-90 minutes), little down time & lots of indirect player interactions, high quality pieces (wood bits, nice art work), no player elimination, often a catch up mechanism, theme often pasted on.

Most common complaint: It was 45 minutes of multi-player solitaire.

Ameri-Trash games:
A lot of chrome (lots of pieces, lots of small fiddly rules to fit with the theme), theme is more important than mechanics, has player elimination and/or player can fall behind with no chance of catching up, no time limit on game (so it can drag on far longer than enjoyable), often two sided vs multi-player, lots of direct player interaction. These are the classic games most Americans grew up with: Monopoly, Life, Risk, etc

Most common complaint: Oh my god, I just want this game to finish, it's been dragging on for hours.

This was the state 15 years ago. Now there's been a great fusion. So you've got a melange of the two styles, with a lot of newer games somewhere in the middle.

Any recommendations?

We enjoy Settlers and Puerto Rico, Risk, Monopoly with the kids. My wife crushes normal humans at Scrabble, so that's no fun anymore...

What size group? And how experienced are the players? Clearly if you are playing Settlers and Puerto Rico, the your family are playing moderate to serious level games, but do you often play with newbies, who are only familiar with the more classic games?

You can absolutely kill a newbie's desire to ever play with you again, by roping them into a game of Caylus.

4 adults for whom a game of Settlers on Thanksgiving is about as advanced as it gets. But they have been willing to learn new games in the past. Somebody picked up Puerto Rico and we enjoyed it without much preparation. We will play some two player games and some six player games, but most of the time it's four players.

If a game only really develops the third or fourth time you've played it, it's probably not best for us.

I'll list the group size I'd recommend in quotes. Often a game will technically play with either fewer or more players, but most games have a sweet spot.

Very Light and suitable for newbies and/or school kids:
King of Tokyo (3-5) - giant monster fight club; Love Letter (3-4) - rock, paper & scissors, written by Jane Austin

Lighter and suitable for guest newbies:
Pandemic (3-4) - the CDC to the rescue, Ticket To Ride: Europe (3-5) - rummy with trains, Kingsburg (3-5) - yahtzee for the Monarchy;

Moderate previous experience:
Union Pacific (4-6) - stocks and trains; Through the Desert (4-5) - candy colored caravans (seriously, keep this away from small children, they'll eat the bits); Small World (4-5) - fantasy empires expand contract and fade into myth, rinse and repeat; Evo (3-5) - Dinotastic fun, what's more dangerous competitors or the climate? Oh wait no, it's that giant asteroid. Oops game over and we all died, so who won again?

Moderate to Heavy (these depend on personal taste):
Imperial (5-6) - the Economist's version of Risk; Power Grid (4-6) - auctions, more auctions and expansion

Thank you, too!

Looks like I have a few holiday evenings with the in-laws taken care of. I appreciate it JWatts and mofo.

Any time. Im looking forward to hearing what you wind up going with and what you thought of it.

I just picked up a copy of 7 Wonders from the B&N downstairs. I'm probably putting Power Grid on my Christmas list. FIL is a retired energy economist.

7 Wonders really shines with more players (5-&7). So, it's perfect to pull out when you have a larger group.

But be aware, it's got a lot of complicated iconography, so I'd recommend printing out one version of the Cheat sheets (7 copies) from

Here's the Cheat sheet I've printed out:

7 Wonders is worth checking out. Pandemic is a favorite at the MOFO. household (its a cooperative game, FYI). For sale is quick and fun. Citadels is also quick and fun. Blood bowl, team manager is also fun if you are a bit more hardcore.

Thank you.

Others of note, High Society. A lot like for sale but with some interesting twists. Love Letter, quick and fun. Simple enough that people can play it while stoned. Ticket to ride, also simple.

Oh, pompeii, kill your buddies, not to complex.

All of the games ive mentioned are not even as complex as Puerto Rico, my top recommendation would be 7 wonders.

OH Dominion is a good one, although i hear a lot of "multiplayer solitare" complaints on that one, i personally enjoy it every now and again. I played the shit out of that game back when it came out.

Terra mystica is neat, maybe a bit more complicated than Puerto Rico, not much. Ive only played this one a few times, so it might not hold up, i dont know yet.

"Others of note, High Society. "

I left that out of my list above, but it's definitely worthy of mention.


Very Light and suitable for newbies and/or school kids: - Klunker (3-5)- cut throat shop keepers, Bohnanza (4-6) - raising beans for fun and profit; What Beans!? Yes, that's right, I did mention that sometimes the Euro-style games have a theme pasted on didn't I. ;)

And I should of started with this. BoardGameGeek is the best site on the web for information on a given game. Here's a direct link list to the top ranking games:

Ah, the fraud named James Watson is selling his Nobel Prize eh? He has no morals, no surprise. He gets a Nobel when several people had the same 'helix' idea (including L. Pauling if memory serves) and after surreptitiously viewing Rosalind Franklin's X-ray diffraction photograph that clearly shows to a layman like me, much less to a skilled biologist working in cell research, a clear "double helix". DUH!

Watson of course never gave credit to Franklin, and the hate was reciprocal from what I've read. ("DNA x-ray crystallography work of Rosalind Franklin, used without permission by Watson and Crick in their work that eventually led to their 1962 Nobel Prize for medicine.")

W & C got the x ray crystallographs from Franklin.

But they knew that a) she was using the wrong 'dry' variant of DNA, and, b) that the complementary strands of DNA were anti-parallel (i.e., they run in opposite directions). Interestingly, at one point, Franklin even denied that DNA possessed a double helix backbone in the first place!

Watson solved the problem of where the nucleotides went. All four of the purine and pyrimidine bases had unique shapes. What Watson identified was that the combined shape of adenine + thymine was identical to that of guanine + cytosine. So he saw the solution for base pairing, internally, within the molecule.

In the end, the reason why W & C solved the DNA structure and not others [including Franklin] was their willingness to use any method or technique to do so-including in this case, the model building techniques of Linus Pauling [neither W nor C were chemists]. Franklin, otoh, was a chemist who happy to plow her furrow of mastering X ray crystallography. Which, in hindsight, was necessary but not sufficient.

When Franklin first saw the metal DNA model that W & C had made she immediately concurred that the model was correct.

It wasn't W & C's fault that she died before she could have been honoured by the Nobel Committee [it only awards prizes to the living].

Crick and Watson were a bit spivish, but they genuinely got there first. So they are unlike so many of the fake "firsts" we've all been indoctrinated to believe in uncritically.

Pauling thought the structure had three strands. He was going off in the wrong direction.
Watson has trouble navigating human society but he is a good scientist.

3. "But dogs and cats, it turns out, time one key movement in the same way: Just before the column of water is about to collapse, they close their mouths around the airborne liquid, maximizing their water intake."

You don't say! I have a nomination for next year's funding cuts.

Is there *any* chance that Europe might start imposing eco-tariffs on products made in environmentally unsound ways?

Otherwise I don't see how China is going to seriously improve its environmental practices with regards to global pollutants like CO2.

I suspect such tariffs would violate previous Trade Agreements. And if Europe did push them through, China would retaliate with tariffs against targeted European products.

Don't worry, China has already decided to fix their CO2 emissions:

1. It would be great if China pledged to zero carbon emissions, but they would only do so once they are certain they could achieve their goal. There's a reason why they waited until recently to pledge to cap their emissions by 2030. They wanted to be certain they could reach the target without difficulty. China takes it foreign policy seriously and so they try not to make commitments they are not certain they can keep. Of course, if you are a Chinese citizen, say one in Hong Kong, promises may not be quite so firm.

What evidence is there that they are uniquely concerned with keeping their foreign policy agreements? Their actions in Hong Kong relate to a foreign policy agreement made with the UK, not just local citizens.

Another reading of their emissions agreement is that they calculated that there will be no consequences in 2030 for failing to meet the targets, but they get benefit now for making the agreement.

Dan, it is certainly my impression that China wishes its foreign policy announcements to be taken seriously, but that is only my impression and I have performed no analysis.

China has now spent years expanding their wind turbine and PV manufacturing capacity and are now installing both forms of generating capacity like gangbusters. Their coal use appears to have already peaked and imports of Australian and other seaborne coal have dropped dramatically. It certainly appears to me that they waited until they were certain they could meet their pledge before making it and they appear to be well on track for their emissions to peak well before 2030. They appear to have plenty of room to spare. Again, this is my impression. Make of it what you will, but the rates at which they are installing new renewables is impressive. They even have a dozen or so nuclear plants under construction. They are small potatoes, but every bit of non fossil fuel capacity helps.

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