Category Archives: Games

The Poo Card Game

Because who doesn’t like flinging poo at each other? Fortunately, this is a card game and not for real. And it’s quite a fun card game if you are playing with a pair of seven-year-olds.

What you get is about 100 brightly coloured cards which you play to through poo, defend against or dodge poo or clean yourself — along with a few event cards just to stir things up a bit. The object of the game is to throw poo at your opponents without getting too covered yourself — if you do, you’re out of the game and the last monkey standing is the winner.

The gameplay itself is remarkably simple and both of the twins picked it up very quickly — even down to reading the special instructions on some of the cards. I think the design of the cards helps a lot here, not only are the cards fun to look at but there is a consistency among card types that makes it very easy to see what sort of hand you have.

That said, there is an element of strategy to the game which keeps the game interesting even after the initial novelty has worn off. Admittedly, we only opened the game today, but I can already see many ways of using and combining cards to gain all sorts of advantages.

All in all, this is a quick, easy to learn, easy to play and entertainingly silly game that moves along at a pace that ensures that no-one gets bored. Indeed, defending against poo and dodging rebounds keeps everyone involved even when it’s not their turn.

We shall certainly be playing this again, and I would love to see how it works in a much larger group.

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Wow, a saxophone. I’ve always wanted to be in showbiz

It’s 35 years ago that the legendary Pimania was released by Automata and Alan Bilton has published a nostalgia inducing history of the game, the company and the creators.

I remember being caught up in the hype back in the mid-80s. Not only did I buy and failed to complete the (Dragon 32 version) of the game, but I also bought the music cassette. And if memory serves correctly, there was also a comic strip in one of the magazines that I was reading at the time.

Enjoy

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Free subdomains with FreeDNS

Because remembering an IP address is hard.

I’ve mentioned before that I have a private Voxelands server running so that the boys can build and explore in the same world. This works pretty well but it does mean that, as can happen, one of them connects to the wrong server I have to go and look up the IP address so that I can reconnect them.

And then I discovered FreeDNS which, as the name suggests, allows you to set up a subdomain for free. You sign up, select a public domain from the extensive list available, add a subdomain, and point it at your IP address.

It really is as simple and as quick as that.

I’m impressed at how simple and painless they have managed to make the whole process. So much so that, if I do find myself needing a premium service, I will be very happy to go back to them.

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Meta-gaming

This week I have mainly been playing draughts with William. In Voxelands

It’s quite a challenge looking at a digital board from completely the wrong angle. But the game is slowly progressing.

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What do you get when you let a six-year-old at your Voxelands server?

A giant statue of Mickey Mouse

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Setting up a Multiplayer Voxelands Server on Debian

I mentioned an intention of setting up a Voxelands server a month ago so that Macsen and I could play in the same environment, and I have now finally gotten around to doing this. The server itself is running Debian 8 and the process turned out to be surprisingly painless.

I installed the Ubuntu deb from the Voxelands download page using gdebi, because I need my dependency resolution:

wget http://www.voxelands.com/downloads/voxelands-1602.00-ubuntu-x86_64.deb
gdebi voxelands-1602.00-ubuntu-x86_64.deb

And starting the server is a simple case of typing:

voxelands-server --port 30000

And, if I was going to run this only once, this would be enough. But as I want this to be available as and when required, it’s time for Systemd.

Handily, the Voxelands site provides a sample Systemd.service, so I copied and pasted it into /lib/systemd/system/voxelands.service with just one change:

ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/voxelands-server --port 30000

Then it’s just a case of enabling it:
systemctl enable voxelands

And starting it:
systemctl start voxelands

Now all I need to do is to upgrade the client versions so that they match the server.

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Voxels ate my weekend

Sunrise

Sunrise

Last week Macsen expressed an interest in Minecraft. He has access to an old laptop of mine, so I spent an evening upgrading it from OpenSuse to Antergos and installing Voxelands1 on it, along with a number of other games. I also installed Voxelands on my own laptop so that I could understand the interface well enough to answer any questions that might crop up.

I didn’t intend to start playing the damn game.

I did, however, spend a bit of time poking around the wiki so that, on Friday, I was able to show Macsen how to make a crafting guide and set him going. And he was off, digging, crafting and building. So much so that we had to crowbar him away from the laptop when it was time to eat2.

On Saturday Macsen asked me how my house was going. So I opened up my laptop and showed him what I’d built while tinkering around. Macsen showed me how to build a furnace and went away to copy my house design.

The rest of the weekend was a bit of a blur of YouTubery, sharing of ideas (something in which the twins were able to become involved), digging, crafting and building. And I have to say that there is something quite magical about an eight-year-old enthusiastically describing what he’s discovered and planning his next project.

At present we are both playing in single player mode. We have talked about shared worlds and I am thinking of setting up a small local3 server, but that is a task for another weekend.

I’m not normally much of a gamer but Voxelands has me hooked. It’s immersive, expansive, endlessly entertaining and frighteningly addictive. Darkrose and the rest of the Voxelands team have done a fantastic job so far. Long may they continue.

Footnotes

1 Voxelands is a fork of Minetest which is an Open Source implementation of Minecraft. From my limited reading, my understanding is that the Minetest developers have emphasised their modding engine at the expense of playability. Voxelands has dropped the modding engine and seeks, instead, to deliver a game that is complete, playable and fun. And playable is what I was looking for.
2 Figuratively speaking, of course. But now I’m wondering if it’s possible to craft a crowbar.
3 As in local to my home network and not connected to the interwebs.

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Look what just turned up

My Exploding Kittens decks turned up earlier this week (Tuesday, to be precise), and they look lovely. I’ve already looked through the SFW deck with Macsen, and I suspect that we will actually start playing the game very soon indeed.

And, in case you have no idea what I am talking about, here’s the YouTube explainer.

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Can you spot the drowning child?

Here’s a fun game you can play just before heading off on the family holiday. Spot the Drowning Child is a simple educational game written by Francisco Saldaña to help people recognise what is happening.

The Instinctive Drowning Response — so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water. And it does not look like what most people expect. There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents) — of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening.

For the record, I did manage to spot the drowning child, but it took a lot longer than I expected, especially when you take into account that I was actively looking for the drowning child.

Via io9

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