Monday, December 6, 2010

DIY Paint Rack

Made myself a paint rack out of foam board + hot glue, very easy, probably took about an hour.  Shelves are 3.5cm deep (size of my largest paint pot (Reaper Pros), and craft paint bottles), and 3cm tall per step.  5 support struts over 20inch length.  3 steps for 4 rows (counting the ground row).  Looks great and it was free!
Fully populated.  most of my metallic paint not here since they aren't used often.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

First resin kit finished!

100% hand-painted! Yes, it's possible to get good results without an airbrush as long as your paints are thinned so they level evenly. This is Mina from Soul Calibur, on clearance so i thought it suitable for a test article.
Woohoo! Check out my first resin kit project fully painted and assembled! If you don't know resin kits or garage kits are typically japanese models, 1/8 scale, hence they are quite a bit bigger than your typical table-top miniature figure. I got this one on clearance to test if i would be able to paint resin kits reasonably well without an airbrush before spending more money on an expensive Ah! My Goddess resin kit which i really want to paint. I think it turned out pretty good! But i did learn a few tips for resin kits which differ from normal miniatures painting techniques:

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Miniature Painting Resolution!

If you are going to practice a skill every day, set up an environment conducive for the activity.  In my case,  I cleaned up my workbench and put ALL my paints on display, ready to be used.  If i'm going to be painting daily for only an hour, i don't want to waste time looking for paints.   Paint pots at the top group by color, brushes and tools on the right for easy access, and drying model pieces on the left on floral foam stands so i can paint a piece in the center and swap out for the next piece.  Maybe i should make a paint rack.
I tell people i paint miniatures but the reality is i haven't painted all that much.  7 "real" miniatures of Navia Dratp to be exact.  After i got started with navia dratp, i got all into it, read a bunch of painting blogs, bought loads paints and quality brushes, then got burnt out with painting repetitive Arcane Legions figures.  Since then, i've amassed a bunch of interesting models, but never got back into actually painting them!    I keep reading miniature painting blogs but it all seems kinda hollow since i don't actually paint.  

I've decided that i really DO want to paint all these miniatures and i do want to get really good at it.  The best way to learn how to do something, is to stop reading about it and to do it.  The only real way to get better at something is to do it every day.  The reason why i cook so well is because i cook pretty much every other day.   Thus, i've resolved to paint 1 hr a day, and to paint my existing collection before buying any more figures!   (but maybe i'll ask for that super sweet Winged Nazgul on Fell Beast model for Christmas  ^__^  ).   

Of course,  i have a slew of other skills i want to improve with the 1 hour/day treatment (like martial arts, music, language) but let's try one resolution at a time. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pumpkin Curry Recipe!

Here's a dish perfect for those clearance pumpkins after Halloween! Just click on the pic and download the manga-recipe. And yes, it's pulled from a curry-cooking themed manga (the protagonists solves all life's problems with curry!) but i've made it twice already and i can say it's really good! Sorry i don't have a pic of the real dish, i keep forgetting to take one, but it looks like a dark orange-reddish island of curried pumpkin in a pool of lighter orange pumpkin bisque soup. It's not that hard either and the recipe is rather flexible. Here are some tips for us Americans since the original recipe was intended for Japanese people (they're grocery stores are different than ours): click on keep reading for the tips!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

DIY Banana Ice Cream

This is the level of stiffness i prefer.  More like ice cream.
So i tried out this recipe recently for DIY banana ice cream. Guess what the ingredients are? that's right! BANANA's! and nothing else! Seriously. It's a pretty sweet dessert you can whip up and enjoy guilt-free. However, the recipe page said they used a food processessor, which i don't have. Thus begun my quest to see if it could be made with something less than a food processor.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Working with Chipboard

Basing with chipboard hex tiles. I ended up spackling the foam hills to cover up the ugly cellular grain.
Ah! Nothing like a game of Mechwarrior to look forward to, to get you making terrain again! I have figured out my terrain-making strategy: before i kept thinking i should design my terrain to fit both 1" square (for Star Wars Minis) and 2" hex (for Mechwarrior) maps and then getting stuck cause the base size and scale is different and whatnot. But it turns out there are a slew of great 1" square grid maps for star wars gaming with lots of features, so it doesn't really need terrain, except for doors because being able to to tell if they are open or not visually helps. Whereas with Mechwarrior, they don't have lots of good 2" hex maps. So it makes sense to just make terrain for them. Here is where chipboard comes in.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

DIY Lady Gaga's Disco Stick

Top: Reference pic.  Bottom: our version with Lady Linda Gaga ;)   I think our discostick is better haha!
It's good to have engineering buddies. Last Halloween a friend of mine wanted to go as Lady Gaga, so my engineering buddy Tim and I said, hey, let's make her Lady Gaga's disco stick! Why? BECAUSE WE CAN. And so we did. And it was Awesome! Words and pictures just can't really capture how sparkly the sucker turned out to be. With 11 ultra-bright white LEDs and tons of arcylic vase-filler gems it was quite something to behold. Note, this is based on her first disco stick from her Love Game music video.

Layout modified

Changed the layout from the old tictac to Blogger Draft's Design Templates. Let's you adjust the width of your columns, which is what i did to make my blog+diagram project posts easier to read. But if you're using some sort of blog reader then it doesn't really matter to you.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Star Wars Miniatures: a mini-review and map resources

Ah! Sorry folks, haven't posted anything for a while now, but been working on several new posts!
-Lady Gaga's Disco stick build
-Arcane Legions
-New cooking recipe, Banana Ice cream!
-miniature gaming
My problem is always wanted to collect more info so i have a more complete post, but maybe that's not the point of blogging, eh? Read on for a mini-review of Star wars Minis, which in my opinion is a great game.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

DIY Foam Swords, Part 2: Playtest and Improvements

The 12 foam swords used for the playtest, mostly intact!
Hahaha! So four of us went to the park the other day just to try out the foam swords. Of course we brought some extra swords along (to duel wield and whatnot) and some nerf guns. But then the kids in the park kept coming up to us wanting to play too! Eventually, we had outfitted pretty much all the kids in the park with foam swords and we starting running "missions" like capture the flag (waterbottle) from the fort and escort the VIP from one end of the park to the other. Oh man, it was a blast! At one point we had at least 16+ kids out there whopping and hollaring and dueling it out on the grass (we need to get a picture of this!). We even got a group of highschoolers who were watching/chilling on the side to join in. All-in-all an excellent playtest with a wide test population, which lead to improvements in the foam sword design. Read on to see how to make the swords better!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

DIY Foam Swords, Part 1: Construction

Here's my take on foam practice swords, which are more commonly known as boffers. They are basically foam insulation or pool noodles with a pvc pipe core. Since you can find plenty of boffer construction articles online, i will be focusing on the design options which make it suitable for martial arts practice. Also, my approach is minimalist, what is the minimum work/materials needed to make it because i am making 23 foam swords for a group battle. The material cost per sword is ~ $3 making it cheaper than official martial arts practice swords or nerf swords (at least $15)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Qual-line Skateboard Upgrade Review

This is a bit departure from the usual maker stuff i post but there aren't a lot of reviews on this on the internets, so here are my two cents. If you don't know what Quad-line is it's basically replacing the the skateboard wheels with roller-blade wheels which are larger and softer, which equates to a smoother ride. I thought i'd give it a shot! Read on for the review!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Kitchen Hacks: Carrots in Sushi

mmmm delicious!  carrots, imitation crab, bok choy and SPAM!
The problem with adding carrots to sushi is that it's usually too hard to put it in as carrot sticks. It's too crunchy-tough to chew compared to the rest of the stuff (rice, crab meat, cucumber, etc) and it throws off the texture of the sushi. Typically, you can get around this by manually cutting very thin carrots sticks yourself (time-consuming) or buying pre-shredded carrots (they look like match-sticks) which works but it's not ideal, they fall out easily after being cut because they're short pieces.

steamed carrots and bok choy

Here's the solution i figured out which allows you to use the carrots cut to the same size as the rest of the ingredients (size as in cross-sectional area). Steam them! If you have a steamer basket with your rice cooker you can steam them at the same time you cook the rice for the sushi! Here i tried it today, and it worked great! Interestingly the large, steamed carrots imparted a sweet flavor to the sushi.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Best Background Music for Tabletop Miniature Gaming

For Arcane Legions: Hans Zimmer, hands down. Que up some Hans Zimmer in GlooveShark, play all, and enjoy a night of thematic music for your epic conflicts! Actually, Hans Zimmer is probably the best background music for any tabletop miniature game, but maybe more for historical/fantasy themes like Warhammer Fantasy.

For Mechwarrior or sci-fi themed games (WH40k), the soundtrack for MechWarrior 2 (old computer game) is excellent. Lots of slow and heavy beat tracks that just exudes a 100-ton walking robot.

For Star Wars Miniatures: John William's Star Wars soundtracks of course!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Board Game Review: Dominion

"DOMINION" he said with a gleam in his eye
Dominion is basically our new favorite game bypassing Settlers of Catan as the most frequently-played. Yes, it's THAT good.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Kitchen Hacks: Pickled Carrots

Finished a jar of pickles and don't feel like wasting the juice? Try this! Reuse the pickle jar juice for carrots! Cut up a bunch of carrot sticks and let them soak in the pickle jar! After a few days you've got pickled carrots! I find it's usually good for 2x batches of carrots.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Miniature Gaming: Arcane Legions Review

Tonight, we dine in ARCANE LEGIONS!

Finally played my first game of Arcane Legions the other day! For those of you who don't know, Arcane Legions is a mass-action, tabletop miniature game, focusing on scores of troops in various formations for epic-scale battles! Between spending all my time painting the Roman faction and magnetizing the entire game, i've not actually played the darn game until recently! So here is my review based on the first playtest.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Blue LED-Candle Birthday Cake

Look at it!  Just look at it!  So beautiful.....
Pure awesome! I have the best of friends who made this for me. 30 bright BLUE LEDS hot glued into straws, wired up to a driver circuit, then manually poked through the bottom of the cake! Man, it must've taken some planning and time to make this! The whole thing was powered by six 9-Volt batteries! All lead-free solder a plus (no one wants to die from eating their birthday cake).

A toy fan was connected to a PIC microcontroller, which controlled the flicker of the LED candles! Blowing on the fan triggered a mechanical switch, which was counted by the microcontroller and turned off the LEDs. If you didn't blow long enough, the candles would turn back on like those trick candles that keep re-lighting!

Pretty sweet (Literally). My buddy Erik is going to put an Instructable on this soon, i'll link to the post when it goes up!
The aftermath ...took me 30 min to clean...a mess of wiring and cake bits everywhere!
Definitely among the most memorable birthday cakes ever! My graduate school friends come up with the best birthday cakes hahahaha. Here's the one Linda made for me couple years ago. Anime girl drawn in Frosting!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The right way to introduce a game

The Hand of God

I love games. All sorts of games: Board games, collectible cards games (CCGs), and more recently tabletop miniature games, i play them all! But the only problem is you need someone to play with!

So the question is how do i teach a game to someone so that they'll want to play again later?

Rule 1. Simplify the game
What you want to do for the first game is to just focus on the mechanics of the game. You want the newbie to get familiarized with the basics of how the game works. Although alot of the strategy is in the special rules and details, it's hard for a newbie to grasp those strategies even if you straight up tell him because he's trying to learn the basics of the system at the same time. Here are some specific suggestions for different game types:
  • CCGs (Magic, Star Wars CCG, World of Warcraft TCG) - Ignore all the game text and just focus on the common card attributes like cost, attack, defense required for basic play. There is a reason why starter decks for Magic mostly include basic creatures with no game text. In a well-developed CCGs there are a ton of bold keywords/special rules and for a first game they should be ignored.
  • Tabletop miniature games (Mechwarrior Clix, Star Wars Minis, Warhammer) - A lot of the tactical depth are in special rules for attacking and model/character specific rules. Again, i'd say leave most of those out and just focus on the core aspects of unit movement and attack mechanics. Warhammer is probably the worst game in terms of number of special rules; you have entire books dedicated to faction-specific traits, tons of special characters, and even the rule book says it's easier to ask someone how to play than read the rules.
  • Boxed games/board games (Settlers of Catan, Dominion, Carcassone) - generally these are designed to be more accessible for the lay person, and you usually don't need to simplify the game for a new player.

Rule 2: Let them win
This is something more psychological. If you completely blow a newbie away with your outstanding knowledge of tactic and rules in the first game, they'll feel that they never had a chance and they'll not want to play again. FAIL. You can't rub a win in a person's face when they're just learning how to play. Save the victory dance for a worthy opponent! Take the first game casually, keep the mood light, talk about your tactics and plan, and use encouraging suggestions. In fact, let them win the first game! It makes them feel better and they'll want to play again!

Better yet, if you can have two newbies play against each other and you act as the GM (Game Master/moderator) that's probably the best situation. It keeps the skill level fair AND you get one more player for future games!

After the first game
Depending on the complexity of the game, you may still wish to play a few "tutorial" like games before going serious. You can slowly introduce a couple new rules in each game, and if you can mix it into the scenario even better! For example, i made a sequence of 3 Mechwarrior Clix games where I introduced artillery strikes the 2nd game and flying units in the 3rd game. Video game makers do a good job doing this, just think of how the early Starcraft levels were designed.

Conclusion: Maybe you thinking that this is all quite obvious and I would say that you're right! But the take away message from this article is to consider the first game in terms of maximizing fun for your friend, not for you. If he/she has a good time, he will more likely play the game again and hence the game you love gets played more often, which means more fun for everyone in the long run. And remember, it's just a game! Have fun!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Painted Roman Army from Arcane Legions

All the units of the Roman faction from the starter set have been painted! Finally!

Here's the line of thinking that started it all:
-Is there a tabletop miniature wargame with an Asian-themed army? Oooo, Arcane Legions has a Chinese-themed army, called the Han faction! And it's cheap!
-I don't want to mess up painting the Han army, so i'll paint a few Romans units to test out prep, prime, paint, and finishing techniques.
-They look pretty good, i should just finish painting the entire Roman army.

Man, that took forever.  Nothing kills creativity and excitement like monotony, and painting 10 identical units gets boring quick. Maybe if the sculpts were better, like units from games workshop with lots of detail, it would be more interesting to paint an entire army. But that means it would also take much more time to finish. I guess that's why most miniature games are skirmish-level, i.e. usually 5 to 10 units per side duking it out, because it's much easier to get them painted and start playing the game. Arcane Legions is a mass-action level, so 4 or 5 formations of 10 units each is typical.

Hateraid: I hated painting legs. Curved structures can't be painted with one careful brush stroke. You have to turn the figure. And each figure has two legs! and two arms! What a pain!

-They look great! Much more fun to play with good-looking army.
-Worked out painting techniques like priming and finishing. Settled in on the ones i liked with a few test pieces.
-My brush stroke is much more controlled now. You get better after 40 figures so you paint more efficiently and faster.
-Figured out how paint consistency is related to how much paint is loaded on the brush. To keep thinned paint from pooling in crevices, you have to remove enough paint from the brush so it acts more like dry-brushing and paint will stay on the raised surfaces.

I'm probably only going to paint detailed, inidividual figures from now on. It keeps thing more interesting for me. I'll paint the Han faction when i'm all out of individual miniatures.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Kitchen Hacks: Banana Hanger

I don't know why i didn't think about doing this earlier!

For anyone who eats banana's, banana stands are awesome. It hangs the banana like nature intended, so you don't get the brusing you normally get when you keep them in a bowl or on the counter. However, they cost ~$10-20 and they take up valuable counter-top space. For a small apt like mine, you need all the kitchen prep surface you can get! Here's an easy <$1 solution, a mug hook (package of 4 for $0.97) from Walmart! Drilled a hole into the cupboard above my sink, screw it in and ta-ta! done!

tip: don't get the cup hooks, they're too small.

changed url link

it's now which flows much better than monkeybrainstasty. Dunno if it will screw up any subscriptions or bookmarks.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Case Western Reserve University BME promo video & beatbox track!

Hey check out the youtube vid i just uploaded! My friend and I made this slide-show video since our dept chair was offering $100 for student-made promo video for the new dept website. Totally not worth the actual time it takes to create a good video, but we did it anyway. I spent about 3 hours last night setting up and recording me doing an a capella beatbox song timed to fit the slide transitions. Not the best singing i've ever done but good enough for the amount of time i was willing to spend on this.

Turns out my $100 MXL usb condensor mic isn't loud enough and therefore picks up a bit of noise. I had to use my roommate's recording setup which is a Shure mic into a pre-amp, into the computer. It was much cleaner and louder recording. I guess you can't get around having hardware amplification for recording quality. I'll probably play around with the Sonar (cakewalk) software recording settings a bit to see if i can do some noise filtering and gain adjustments before springing for my own preamp. Also to see if i can tweak the bass level for better "oomph" sounding beats. Also need to see what i can do about the recording delay, it adds up when i'm listen to previous tracks to harmonize with.

Also on my wishlist: a loop recorder for live beatboxing! yeah, what would be pretty sweet. =)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Question of the Week: How many strawberries are in a box of cereal?

 "panning for gold" method of seperation
So I had a heated "discussion" with a good friend of mine the other day, the subject in question being how many strawberries are actually in a box of cereal featuring dried strawberries? In my limited experience, it's always been abysmally few pieces and so I told her i'd bet that there weren't more than 3 whole strawberries in a single box. She claimed her Kellog's Special K with Strawberries had way more than that (she also thot i meant strawberry pieces). So we made a bet! $10 to see who's right!

Being the thorough scientist (and apparently having nothing better to do) i went and bought a box to count the number of strawberries in it. I poured my first bowl and used the proper extraction tool (chopsticks) to remove the strawberry pieces. Hmmm...more than i thought, Special K definitely has more strawberry pieces than your typical strawberry-enhanced cereals. However, it turns out the concentration of strawberry pieces is higher on the top for some reason.

So how do we count how many strawberries are in it? You can't really count the pieces cause they're all different sizes and you can't compare volumes cause freeze-drying shrinks the fruit. The scientific method? by comparing Mass!

average weight of strawberry 23.573382g.

To make the result more applicable, i found the average weight of locally-available strawberries which were washed, salad-spun dried, and stem removed as if you would prepare them to eat with cereal. It was 528g for 14 strawberries = 37.714g each. They were rather large.

Strawberries are 91.67% water, meaning 8.3% other stuff.
Freeze-dry process typically leaves 1-4% water in the food product.

weight of 3 whole strawberries x (stuff%+water%) = weight of 3 freeze-dried strawberries (g)
113.14g   x   8.3%+1%  =   10.560g
113.14g   x   8.3%+2%  =   11.691g
113.14g   x   8.3%+3%  =   12.823g
113.14g   x   8.3%+4%  =   13.954g

So if the weight turns out lower than 10.56g then, there is definitely less than 3 strawberries. If the weight is greater than 13.95g then there is definitely more than 3 strawberries. Somewhere in the middle, means we can't tell for sure (and neither of us wins the bet).

Completely seperated from the cereal, i weighed the strawberries on a precision digital scale (in a university lab), taring for the ziplock bag weight of course!   Hmmm 18.4g, definitely more than 3 strawberries!

Note, once you open the bag, it's more accurate to remove all the strawberries in one go, cause they will start absorbing moisture from the air.  I used a ziplock freezer bag, the thicker plastic makes them gas-impermeable.

Conclusion: one box of Kellog's Special K with Strawberries cereal contains 4-5 whole strawberries (or 6-8 average strawberries). I guess that's not bad, but it's not a whole lot either. I think you're still always better off buying a container of strawberries and adding 2-3 to your bowl. But now you can calculate exactly how many strawberries there are and knowing is half the battle! maybe i should go out and purchase other brands of cereal just to see how many strawberries are in them for comparison...

Friday, April 9, 2010

DIY Figurine Display Case

I needed an acrylic display box for my anime figurines and i thot it would be cheaper to make my own.

What you'll need:
* 11x17" acrylic sheet (2) $3.57 x2 = $7.14
* sharp razor blade/knife
* metal straight edge (ruler)
* self-healing mat
* Legos

I bought a plastic sheet cutter ($3) but it turns out it was nothing special and a razor blade knife would've done the same job. Just make sure it's sharp and has a nice handle. So really the cost is only the acrylic sheets since the other stuff i already had.

I decided to split the sheet right down the middle for a box height of 5.5" and make a width of 4" for the side pieces (length 17-4 = 13"). In retrospect, it would've been easier to make both the box height and width 5.5" because then the front/back and top/bottom would be the same size and there would be less cuts to make. It's pretty easy to cut acrylic sheets, basically you score a line and then break the sheet across a hard edge.

I needed a frame to make sure my walls were 90 degree angles from each other and the table, so i borrowed a trick from casting plaster and used Legos to build an inner and outer brace to align each corner. A bead of hot glue along the outer edge. Repeat x3 more times for each corner. The 4 walls should be fairly free-standing now. Then I hot-glued the outer edges that were previously covered by the Lego frame. Use a spot of hot glue for each inner corner to secure the top to the sides of the box. Done! (the bottom piece doesn't need to be glued to the box).
I'll probably use some brush-on Crazy glue (cyano-acetate glue) to fill in the cracks between the top and sides if i want to make it air-tight.

Is this worth doing? Well, if you can find your display box for $8 or less, you might as well buy it. Otherwise, the DIY approach lets you customize the box size and it's actually pretty easy to do.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Question of the week: Can you cook soup forever?

A quick google-search did not reveal the answer, thus i posit the question here:

A question came up while making chilli with my crockpot. Generally, the longer you leave it on, the better the soup tastes. Can i leave it on forever (assuming adding some water every once in a while to maintain the soup)? When will it "go bad?" if ever?

It can only really go back by two mechanisms:

1. bacterial/mold - what usually degrades old food. But in this case the simmering temperature would keep any organism from growing, unless you live near oceanic volcano vents which has high-temperature bacteria. So let's assume you'll never have degradation from bacteria.

2. chemical change due to temperature/agitation. Eventually, one would expect all the beans and chunks to break apart and dissolve into the soup. Possibly, with the continual heat entry there may be chemical changes to the nutrients, possibly creating toxins? Or maybe the meat would get old and tough? But if you can simmer for 6 hours with no significant change, what the chance what you'll get significant change over 24 hours? or days or weeks?

Science in action: to solve these questions, i propose an experiment! I will cook chili continuously for a month in my crockpot, then have taste-testers try out the soup. Because i would be biased if i tried it myself, i have to invite some friends over to try it out, telling them that it's a fresh-batch of Chili to see if they detect any fault in the soup. I would repeat once a week to see if any change occurs over 4 weeks and the initial taste.

Comments/suggestions welcome!

Friday, March 26, 2010

What makes Settlers of Catan a great game?

In our gaming group, Settlers of Catan is by far one of the games we've played the most, making it one of our favorite games. In my musings to understand what makes a great game, i've come up with a theory i'd like to posit here: Settlers of Catan is a great game because it "gives you the illusion of control, but is actually mostly based on chance." Let me explain.

Luck vs Skill

Most games usually involves luck and skill, which I see as a continuous line from all luck to all skill. Skill-based games give you sense of control and satisfaction that comes from the challenge of learning and playing against other skilled opponents. The classic example of an 100% Skill game is Chess. There is no element of chance and the seasoned player will win pretty much all the time. Every move you make has a direct result on the game outcome giving you a great sense of control. On the other end of the Spectrum is CandyLand which is 100% luck. Everything is dependent on the dice roll and you basically have no decision-making capability. A machine which rolled the dice and moved the pieces could play the game for you. The upside is that these games are very fair for new players. Hence, these games are fun because anyone can win (and they tend to be easier to learn the rules). Most games fall somewhere between of all-luck and all-skill, trading off the benefits of one for the other.

What about Settlers of Catan?

The reason we play Settlers so often is because there are many strategic options to explore, giving it great replay value. It is a very active game and there is very little down-time; you are constantly gathering resources and trading even when it's not your turn. At the same time, the game is very fair for new players and it is quite common that new players win the game over seasoned veterans (given the right initial conditions*). This is why we like to play the game at parties because even new players can have fun.

Because of this fact that new players have a good chance of winning over seasoned players, it gives good evidence that the game is actually mostly based on chance. However it doesn't feel like it because you are constantly doing stuff: drawing cards, trading with other players, and building roads and cities. You feel like you are always in control and allowed to pursue your own strategic agenda. Being a game that "gives you the illusion of control, but is actually mostly based on chance," give you the benefits of both Luck and Skill-based games in one, which I think is why Settlers of Catan is a great game.

*The biggest effect on outcome of the game is probably initial placement of settlements, which directly determines your chance of resource gathering from the dice roll. We found in our games that giving new players guidance on placing their initial settlements (on high pip count, 6 and 8's) makes the game fair for them to win. Also, it means they're very active throughout the game, constantly drawing resource cards, and thus they have fun playing, meaning they'll play again.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Custom header image created

Nothing fancy, simple yet still funky like a monkey, ha!

Boy that took way too long. I suppose I learned a bit about CSS styles while I was at it though, so it’s all good. Mostly by fiddling with a number and reloading the page till the graphic centered and the text looked right. This was a good resource, although once I figured out it was CSS controlled I looked up some CSS text properties to help adjust the positioning.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

first post!

That’s right, Monkey’s joined the online world of Blogging! I’ve been inspired by all those miniature painting blogs with their awesome collection of how-to techniques and I was thinking it’s time to give back to the internets with my very own maker blog! But to be successful, you need to have a plan:

Purpose of Blog:
  1. Showcase stuff I’ve made. Not just pictures of painted miniatures, but also posts on gaming theory, cooking attempts, side-projects, life-hacking etc. Also, how-to posts on any project I’ve done which could be considered novel. I guess this blog should primarily be about making stuff, as that is a major part of who I am.
  2. Show my parents what I’m doing. It makes them happy. Obedient and honoring son and proud of it!

Update frequency:
Once a week. Saturday. Be consistant.

Basically, posts should be detailed write-ups of my projects. That means I should have written it out, revised it, added pictures. Kinda like an online lab notebook. No teenaged angst blog here! But maybe a rant here and there to keep things interesting.

Of course, the purpose and content of the blog may change over time, but this is the starting plan. In the end, I just want to document my projects, and this would be a good way to force me to do it cleanly and clearly. Maybe I’ll turn the project collection into a book or something. What a great idea!

Monkey out