“Corvus, Jackdaw, & Rook”

How to Be Creative (Ep. 354) – Freakonomics Freakonomics: http://freakonomics.com/podcast/creativity-1/

Where Does Creativity Come From? (Ep. 355) – Freakonomics Freakonomics: http://freakonomics.com/podcast/creativity-2/

Westworld: “My father used to say, ‘Only boring people get bored…'”

The Westworld Experience: https://www.imaginaryworldspodcast.org/the-westworld-experience.html

When You Just Want to be Alone [Role of Solitude in America][Dovetails with: Creativity] | BackStory with the American History Guys: http://www.backstoryradio.org/shows/when-you-just-want-to-be-alone


EDIT: Below, originally posted 2018-12-30 @ 14:07 EST:

The Rook & Pawn, a “Board Game Cafe”: http://www.therookandpawn.com/

Love the name of this place, love the concept of this place.

I stumbled across it by googling names at random, to see what already exists.

I’m a lowly blue-collar tax-paying shlub. Listening to “This American Life” show this morning about libraries revived an old dream of sorts: of owning and operating my own combination “pub/chess/HeroClix shop”.

I was thinking of the name and symbol of such a pub/shop. Been thinking of “Rooks”, both the chess piece and the bird, incorporating both into a logo.

Anyway, name variant of “rook and pawn” crept into my head, so I had to Google it, because it sounded too good to not exist already as a name. And, well, it exists. Very cool.

Sidebar: there’s already a local game/comics shop named “Infinite Monkey”, but had also toyed with names like “Atomic Monkey” (because logos started appearing for it in my mind’s eye), but there’s one of those out there, too.

Chess/Pub: I often look at some of the stuff my more “maker/hacker” coworkers like to do with 3D printers and freeware like TinkerCAD, and it gets me dreaming about the Chess/HeroClix/Pub idea, and having a side business within in, involving servers, 3D printers, and paid-interns from the local community college to design and print custom chess pieces/armies.

Of holding tournaments, for both what I call “20th Century Chess” (or “Chess 20c”) and tournaments using Sirlin Games “Chess 2: The Sequel” rules (which I think of as “Chess 21c” or “21st Century Chess”).

Disclosure: been a fan of chess since my Dad taught me as a kid. But I suck at it. I also suck at HeroClix. Love it, too.

EDIT: I don’t miss being single. I’m blessed, lucky, to have found my Love, my fiance, whom I’ll be marrying very, very soon. [EDIT (2019-01-22): And as of 2019-01-01, she became my Wife. 🙂 ]

I do miss the “game room” I had set up while I was single and living completely alone. It was my “Den”, my “man-cave”, my “Sanctum Sanctorum”, my “Citadel Dominion”, a place of my own, where I had the Time & Space where I could engage some sort of hybridized low-brow intellectual and artistic pursuits: PBS, NPR, Joseph Campbell, post-industrial superhero mythomanes, philosophaster of my own plane.

I guess with the idea of a business, of a Pub that also sells Chess paraphernalia and HeroClix, that I’d have a secure place to Pursue Life, Liberty, & Happiness with some “regular familiar strangers” as well.

Probably a terrible idea, though.

EDIT II: Hmmmm,…. “Jackdaw & Rook”??

(Yeah, I don’t know why I have a fascination with Raven-like birds either. My fascinations with monkeys, apes, turtles, octopi, and cuttlefish are at least a bit more “mainstream”. They’d probably conjure better names and symbols as well…)

EDIT II: Went down to N.C. with my fiance. While there, visited a game store called “Parker, Banner, Kent & Wayne”. Made it sound like a law firm.

Maybe “Corvus, Jackdaw, & Rook”? People might think it’s a specialty pet store or something, tho.


Self-taught AI is best yet at strategy game Go : Nature News & Comment

Self-taught AI is best yet at strategy game Go : Nature News & Comment: http://www.nature.com/news/self-taught-ai-is-best-yet-at-strategy-game-go-1.22858

Reposting this, after a “cohort” in the politics forum I frequent linked it this past week.

As a lover of science fiction an real human history, gets me thinking about this: http://freakonomics.com/podcast/american-growth/

If throughout Human History, Civilizations’ economies have pretty much only grown at a rate 2%-3%, and if the ‘recent’ surges (past 500 years) of phenomenal growth are slowing down because we’ve taken ceryain advancements to their limits, seems to me the next advantages that could advance Human Civilization will be in the areas of Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning and in Genetic Engineering & Medicine. Research and advancements will feed back-and-forth to each other, trickling-down into other areas and technological advances. 

Edit: Anyway: A.I. and protein-folding. My blue-collar mind boggles.

Sci-fi to zone-ponder-out upon: Blade Runner; Ghost in the Shell; modern Battlestar Galactica; GATTACA; Orphan Black; Black Mirror. Hell, even any version of Island of Dr. Moreau.

SIDEBAR: Too bad FOX/FX couldn’t hybridize the best of elements of Almost Human (cancelled before it could explore more), APB (had potential), FARGO (love it), and American Horror Story, to create higher-end anthology sci-fi series.

SIDEBAR: They’ve managed to do some very good stuff with Marvel’s mutants. Often hope Disney would involve them more in other Marvel TV properties. Still wishing for a dedicated Marvel TV channel, bringing in all the disparate NetFlix and other series under one “roof”, so it’s easier for us with cable but without internet access in the home (other than for phones) to have reliable Marvel viewing. No way am I going to watch this stuff on my phone. Certain On Demand services seem too limited. “Appointment viewing” nearly impossible anymore, most days of the week…. 
EDIT: back to the AlphaGo article, wondering if they can do the same for the game of Arimaa….?


Back on Father’s Day, my own Dad (and my Mom) encouraged me to get out of my ‘comfort zone’ and head down from Elyria to Columbus, visit ORIGINS’ last day at the convention center. I did so. (Thanks, Mom & Dad.) [Sidebar: Something happened to my smartphone that day, the mini-USB port managed to fry itself, and I’d rapidly depleted my battery before I’d realized what was wrong. Aspect of modern living, I suppose, but I found my self being really, really anxious not having a smartphone — and access to *everything* — for few days. That smartphone is still unrepaired, as I try to find parts for a decent price. Broke down and simply bought a new phone, intending to turn my old phone into a back-up phone and a portable data storage instead.]

So, great breakfast with my Dad and my brother that morning, then a couple hours milling around ORIGINS, a great mildly-scenic drive both ways, and in the evening the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA finals. Good day, good day. (Considering the state of the world as a whole, full of death and pain, misery and destruction.)

Anyway, at ORIGINS, had stopped by the WizKids’ booth, scooped-up the Convention Exclusive HeroClix that were on sale. Cools.

*AND*, bought a couple games! New to me, but they’ve all been out for awhile.

Stumbled across someone demonstrating Onitama, was floored by its elegance and simplicity (chess-like, but with cards simulating fantasy martial arts moves, with which any piece can be moved), and scooped it up.

Along the same lines, stumbled across and bought QIN, another Asian-inspired and themed game, a map-tile-building kind of abstracted strategic game. They also had a separately-sold double-sided ‘advanced’ game board — Qin: “Toad” and “Dragon Turtle” Game Boards — which I then ‘had to have’.

I look forward to trying to teach my nephews both (hopefully my niece as well; she’s at That Age ™ [teenager]).

I have WizKids’ original of Tsuro. Wishing I’d spotted the Calliope Games revised version Tsuro of the Seas, or its add-on pack, Tsuro of the Seas: Veterans of the Seas. Would love to add the ‘updates’ to my collection, eventually play with my nephews.

Haven’t seen anything like what was done with Tsuro being done with another older WizKids’ board game called Oshi. WizKids had to sell-off a lot of properties back when parent company TOPPS dumped them, and NECA bought-up WizKids. Oshi’s ‘pushing’ gameplay reminds me of a different, older game called Arimaa. Both are ‘stable staples’ of my collection, my ‘library’.

All of these ‘abstrated strategy games’ make me think of revisiting and tinkering with “ChessClix”. They put me in mind of not only traditional (20th century standardized) Chess and various ‘chess variants’, but of the amazing 21st century “Chess 2” rules (which is free, but you should ‘leave a tip’ for to help), as well as the older Knightmare Chess and Knightmare Chess 2.

Mulling ideas, various ‘levels of play’ or ‘formats’, permutations…..

“Game[s] of …. ” (v1.7)

“Games of….” potpourri. Just a “placeholder post”, saving links to things I like, and will want to check out again in the future.

Websites about games:

Just stumbled across this one called “Dice Monkey”, which I want to check out more of — http://dicemonkey.net/category/game-design/page/5/

Ooo…. “Chess 2”: http://ludemegames.com/chess2/

“ChessClix”?? (v3.6)


This attempt posted on 19 FEB 2014, with additions editted in: 21 FEB; 24 FEB; 23 MAY.

Over on the “rumors” forum of HCRealms.com, pictures of the 2014 Toy Fair are popping up, mostly concerned with the NECA/WizKids’ booth and products. Exciting thing was not only another DC “SwitchClix” strategy game themed on the Justice League, but seeing something called “Team Fortress Chess” right next to it.

On the HCR forums, people asking for advice on using Clix pieces for chess games comes up. Not actually playing with the Clix combat dials, just using clix pieces in place of regular pieces on a chess board. Like using a Lex Luthor as a King, for example.

Couple years ago, someone threw out the idea of “ChessClix”, of actually using the combat dial system somehow in the game of chess. I thought it was a cool idea, even tinkered with the concept for about a month. I can’t recall if that ever went anywhere in discussion on the Realms, though.

Anyway, thought about it last night, after seeing this “Team Fortress Chess” thing. Stumbled across this — http://www.chessvariants.org/unequal.dir/cwda.html

I was aware that chess aficionados created variants of the game, including new pieces that move in different ways from “standard” chess pieces. Was blown away by the variety, the imagination.

I need to read-up on this WizKids “TFC” thing. I’m wondering about combining chess with clix’ combat dial system.

consider this post a “work in progress”, something to come back to record ideas. It’ll definitely end up as a “tl;dr” hodge-podge.

Also keep in mind: I like chess, but I have no knowledge of the proper terminology for chess, especially not the really wonky vocabulary of these dedicated chess enthusiasts I see on that site linked above. They and that site blow my mind.

Random Ideas :

  • at least two boards are used during play: the “strategic board” (the standard chess “tactical board”) and the “dueling board”.
  • basically, thinking that on the “strategic board” the clix move as regular (or variant) chess pieces. When a player moves to “capture” an opponent’s piece per normal chess-play, that’s when the ‘contested square” is marked, and both pieces move into the “dueling arena”. Normal play on the strategic map stops until the duel is resolved.
  • combat on the dueling arena map is fought using normal clix combat system rules.
  • the “dueling maps” are much smaller than the main map, to encourage players to mix it up, and hopefully shorten time playing duels.
  • Sculpts: “sword & sorcery”?
  • Sculpts: No paint jobs; colored plastic only.
  • colors to choose from: white, black, red, brown, blue?
  • if you field a team, has to be all one color.
  • Team symbols“, in a twist, instead of using team symbols like we do in “super hero clix”, the “team symbols” identify the type of chess piece it is, and thus how it moves on the “strategic board”.
  • Dual “TA’s” are possible, as that’s how some of the “variant chess” pieces are made – they often combine how two traditional chess pieces move. For example: the “Archbishop” variant chess piece can move like a Knight or a Bishop; a “Chancellor” variant chess piece can move like a Knight or a Rook.
  • [EDIT, 21 FEB 2014] “Dueling map/board”: like the “regular chess map/board”, it would all be one elevation; unlike the “chess board” it will make use of normal Hindering Terrain, Blocking terrain, and Water Terrain.
  • Thinking: the dueling map should be  an “Indoor map”.
  • Also thinking: depending on how they produce it, you could have one “map” that has the “regular chess board” in the center, and TWO “dueling maps”, one on either side of the “chess board” map. When one player attempts to “capture” the other’s piece on the “chess board”, the players roll a die for “dueling map choice”.
  • Basically, two-sides to a mat; each side has  one “chess board” with two “dueling maps” on either side of the “chess board”.
  • Back to the “character pieces”: No special powers. Standard powers on the dial, “standard access” to combat abilities via the usual combat ability symbols, including Improved abilities.
  • Maybe Traits as well. Undecided.
  • Getting back to “chess piece symbols as team symbols”, we could tie “Trait” abilities to those, but those abilities (again) only come into play on the “Dueling Map”.
  • Example: Characters with the {Pawn} “team symbol” can use Side Step when on the Dueling map. (I kinda assumed that Pawns might be able to use other standard powers, but wouldn’t have any Improved abilities, and only “standard” ability symbols).
  • “Teams” or “Forces” would still be assembled by points. I would assume for any initial release, the game would be designed as a 1000-point game, full set of regular chess pieces.
  • They could do “scenario cards” to determine starting positions of pieces; otherwise, players set up their “armies” like a normal chess game.
  • Such “scenario cards” could double as “chess problems” or “chess puzzles”.

I think I should attempt to list the types of pieces. Remember, their “team symbols” designate what type of piece it is, and the team symbols look like the standard, traditional chess piece it is. I’ll suggest some “Tactical Board” powers and abilities. —

  1. King: He may be the “weakest” on the Strategic map, but for the Tactical map, he should be a scary close combatant.
  2. Queen: Range-oriented on the Tactical map.
  3. Bishop: Range-oriented on the Tactical map. Penetrating/Psychic Blast plus Steal Energy special power combo?
  4. Knight: Close combatant on the Tactical map. Could have “full-speed Charge along a direct path”, or maybe a “Drag”-style special power.
  5. Rook: Also a close combatant on Tactical, suggesting “full-speed Charge along direct path”, but a slower speed, coupled with Giant symbol?
  6. Pawn: Close and Ranged combatant. Range of 2, but with Sharpshooter. Three clicks of life? But, three starting lines? Starting line would have to be selected at start of game. One “jack-of-all-trades”, one “better at close”, one “better at range”? They still have to be the easiest to kill on the Tactical map, but still put up a fight.

— Will elaborate more at a later date.

Standard Chess Set