Pixel Scroll 2/29/16 Leap Scroll

Your host will be on the road for a couple days attending Nic Farey’s wedding to Jennifer AlLee on February 29. I have prepared a couple of Scrolls in advance.

(1) A RINGING ENDORSEMENT. Tor.com has the story – “Star Trek’s Best Writer/Director EVER Has Joined the Crew of CBS’ New Star Trek TV Show”.

Star Trek fans of every shade just received the best news: writer/director Nicholas Meyer is joining CBS’ new Star Trek television show, which is set to debut in 2017 with Bryan Fuller producing.

Not sure who Nicholas Meyer is? He’s the guy who saved Star Trek from obscurity and made it smarter than you ever realized. Here’s why this is possibly the best geek-related news of the past 20 years.

(2) AUTUN PURSER. See Autun Purser Illustration, the online gallery, portfolio and shop for a gifted part-time illustrator and full-time deep sea ecologist.

I am a lifelong science fiction fan and I have enjoyed some success with my series of travel posters, advertising travel to destinations from unusual fiction — the ‘Fantastic Travel Destinations’. The majority of these are available for print purchase direct, or from various bookshops and conventions.

Click to see the artist’s fantastic travel posters – first up, Arrakis. Purser also did the cover and some of the interiors for the 24th issue of the Hugo-winning Journey Planet, plus artwork for Gollancz covers, and numerous other works.

(3) DELANY. Here’s a one-hour interview with Samuel R. Delany at the University of Pennsylvania on February 16.

(4) ELIZABETH EISENSTEIN OBIT. Elizabeth Eisenstein died January 31 at the age of 92 reports the New York Times.

A retired faculty member of the University of Michigan, Professor Eisenstein was renowned for “The Printing Press as an Agent of Change: Communications and Cultural Transformations in Early Modern Europe,” first published in 1979. Spanning two volumes and nearly 800 pages, the work has been translated into many languages and remains in print…..

“It’s quite unusual for an academic book to achieve its 25th anniversary and still be vital to the discourse in the field,” Professor Baron, a historian at the University of Maryland, said. “Her book continues to be reviewed as if it just came out.”

In “The Printing Press as an Agent of Change,” Professor Eisenstein argued that the development of movable type by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-15th century helped inaugurate a set of sweeping social changes thanks to the authoritative, widely tangible dissemination of information it allowed.

“What printing did was to standardize texts,” Professor Baron explained. “So you would have numerous people all over Europe reading exactly the same thing. Information had a much greater reach, a much wider audience, a much greater impact.”

(5) TERRI WINDLING’S QUIET MORNING. Artist Terri Windling, in “A Quiet Morning in the Studio”, uses a compelling 1974 essay by Ursula K. Le Guin as the frame for some fine dragon and unicorn pencil drawings, and a couple of dog photographs.

(6) NEXT COMPANION. Screen Rant speculates about 12 actors whose selection as the next companion would be a Doctor Who dream cast. Number 6 —

Eleanor Tomlinson is known for a variety of roles, most recently that of Georgiana Darcy in the BBC Miniseries Death Comes to Pemberley and currently as Demelza Poldark in Poldark. Still relatively young and establishing her place in the British acting world, a companion role on Doctor Who would serve not only to bring awareness to her talent, but also help guide her in refining her skills.

Tomlinson’s sweet, young and endearing nature would allow audiences to relate to her and set her up to become a fan favorite. But much like Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), youth would give younger Whovians a reason to connect with her and be impressed by the talent she brings to the role. Tomlinson would play off Capaldi’s Doctor extremely well.

(7) NOT ENTIRELY ALTERNATE HISTORY. Destination Planet Negro by Kevin Wilmott (co-writer of Spike Lee’s Chiraq). Release date May 20, 2016.

“Three brave explorers in search of a better place… instead found Kansas City…”

I’m not making this up! But the trailer has a review quote from Ray Bradbury, so somebody’s making it up…

(8) MAYBE THERE’S STILL SOME LUCK IN IT. During Heritage Auction’s Rare Books Signature Auction on April 6 the public will have a chance to bid on assorted Harry Potter items – including the very chair used by J.K. Rowling as she wrote the first two books of the Harry potter series.

In 2002, she decorated one of the chairs from her welfare days—taking care to paint “I wrote Harry Potter while sitting in this chair” on the seat’s apron—and donated it to a private charity auction for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Her philanthropy inspired her fans as well who used their own communities to bring awareness to social causes, including the non-profit organization The Harry Potter Alliance.

(9) CTHULHU BREW. Narragansett has introduced I Am Providence Imperial Red Ale.

Narrr beer COMP

Taste & Enjoy:  I Am Providence pours a mysterious dark red with a complex amalgam of flavors. The blend of malts lead to flavors of biscuits and sweet caramel, and the Warrior and Citra hops bring aromas of pine and citrus that meld on the palate to create an intriguing balance.

The History: The latest chapter in the Lovecraft Series pays tribute to Lovecraft’s adoration for his hometown by heralding his famous words – “I Am Providence.” Later inscribed on his gravestone in 1977, this resonant phrase lives on as a tribute to Lovecraft and anyone who has ever called Providence home.

(10) ANOTHER TOLKIEN. Simon Tolkien, grandson of J. R. R. Tolkien, and the eldest child of Christopher Tolkien, is keeping up a family tradition. From Publisher’s Lunch:

Simon Tolkien’s NO MAN’S LAND, the story of a boy who grows up between the turbulent years of 1909 to 1919, starting life as an impoverished child in London who moves to a hard-living coal mining community and is subsequently adopted by the wealthy owner of an Edwardian country house, where he and the owner’s younger son become fierce rivals for the same girl, a rivalry that leads them to develop a murderous hatred for one another which affects all the characters around them, in a novel of faith, class, and war including the horrors of the Battle of the Somme which has profound effects on them all, [sold] to Nan Talese at Nan A. Talese, in a pre-empt, by [agent] Marly Rusoff at Marly Rusoff & Associates (NA).

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Will R., and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]

205 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/29/16 Leap Scroll

  1. Brian Z on March 1, 2016 at 6:33 pm said:

    What do you do with the final ballot?

    I don’t know about Cheryl, but what I do is…pound my head on the wall, pull my hair, curse the gods… 🙂

    What I’ve done more than once is write down several candidate orderings on separate pieces of paper, and then stare at them for a while to see if there’s one that really speaks to me. If all else failed, I’d probably toss the best ones in a hat and draw.

    eta: it’s easier with Debian ballots, which use a similar system, but allow you to explicitly say things are tied for any given position. You can rank things as 1, 2, 2, 2, 3 if you want.

  2. I tried a Shirley Temple Black (or John Agar) at dinner tonight.

    Still too sweet for me, but I can see the appeal.

  3. Cora Buhlert on March 1, 2016 at 8:29 pm said:
    Anybody who’s still looking for BDP short form nominees for the 1941 Retro Hugos, how about nominating some classic cartoon shorts? Warner Bros, Disney and MGM produced a lot of delightful cartoons in 1940 (including the screen debuts of Bugs Bunny and Tom and Jerry)

    Good idea!

  4. It’s hard to stick a good flounce if you’re a manly man, club soda with lime and my voice is deep enough that in compulsory choir in middle school I was put with the boys whose voices had changed. Also, that is a great idea about nominating cartoons for BDP shorts in the Retro Hugos.

    @Brian Z – What do you do with the final ballot?

    There’s usually something I dislike for its story or structure and something I adore for largely the same reasons. If ordering the middle isn’t simple, I default to a variant of Xtifr’s method. Swearing is usually involved, at least initially, and then somehow it all comes clear. It’s a lot easier than ranking things chosen only by me.

  5. Vasha, my socks, too, remained undisturbed upon my feet by “The Great Silence.” Other stories of Chiang’s have sent my socks out past Pluto, but this one didn’t do it for me. Oddly, neither did his Hugo nominated piece from a couple years ago, “The Truth of Fact, The Fact of Truth”.

    “Exhalation” utterly wowed me. On a recent reread, not so much.

    The way things are going, I am kind of scared to reread “Division by Zero,” the first story of his I ever read. It just about rocketed my socks to Alpha Centauri at the time. I would be heartbroken to find it had lost some of that shine on a fresh reread.

  6. My socks remained on for “The Great Silence”, and I think an extra pair of socks were added by “Gypsy”. Dear lord, sooo much engineering and gloom. Also obviously in an alt universe, b/c we ain’t gonna have those technologies as fast as the story posits.

  7. @Vasha: Those looks great, especially “Sea of the Dead” – yum!

    @LunarG: Ooh, thanks for the “Harrison Dies Early” link; I hadn’t seen that, or if I did (eons ago via his blog), I must’ve skipped it since I hadn’t read the book yet. I’ll play it tomorrow! BTW I believe H^2 will have sequels, and I say, BRING IT. 🙂

    @Doctor Science: Thanks for the art info/links/questions/answers/commentary. BTW I didn’t know ISFDB had (however incomplete) art info, so extra thanks for that tip.

    @alexvdl: Thanks for the review link, and I’d forgotten there was a mystery about the author. Darnitall, has that knowledge gone public? I.e., am I the only one in the dark?

    Re. Schwab, ARGH! I mentioned the other day that I made other plans that night and couldn’t go, and I’m still bummed (though the other plans were lots of fun; there may have been fancy food and Spanish wine involved). Anyway, A Darker Shade of Magic was great, and please drop a link with your review here (I like reading reviews of books I read; am I weird?). How was Schwab’s shin-dig in the bookstore?

    Ha, your last Worldcon was my first one! LOL. Congrats on the house, BTW. You’re an adult now! 😉

  8. LunarG: Have you played the little Choose Your Own Adventure game Daryl Gregory write to go with it? It is here.

    Thanks for that! It was a fun little game. Made it out with around 1,028 points.

  9. I would be heartbroken to find it had lost some of that shine on a fresh reread.

    Or that it doesn’t add up?

  10. @Tasha. You sure have a great attitude about all of that!

    Mixed drinks? I’m mostly a teetotaler myself (did that drinking thing back in HS – enough for a lifetime) but have retained a fondness for rum (good rum).

    rum and coke is not a bad mixed drink (rum and Pepsi not so much), but when I’m feeling adventerous I’ll have some ‘swamp juice.

    Take equal parts orange Gatorade and blue Gatorade, add rum to taste, It makes an awful looking green concoction that is so very visually unappealing that it’s really hard to get anyone to try one if they don’t know where it came from.

    But it does let you hedge your bets hangover wise.

  11. Soon Lee: Thanks for sharing your thoughts on “The Great Silence”.

    I think it would be much more effective if the video were available for viewing. I regret that that it isn’t.

  12. In my (admittedly) limited experience with drinking, I’ve found that Coke and Pepsi both tend to dominate mixed drinks in which they’re an ingredient. For a cola-based mixed drink where the cola doesn’t overpower the other flavors, RC Cola seems to be the best cola brand.

  13. Lee on March 1, 2016 at 6:49 pm said:
    Rev. Bob: I do have a friend who brews homemade ginger ale, and it’s Good Stuff.

    Joe. H.: Reed’s is good, both the regular and the Extra Sharp. But my all-time favorite (hard to get in Texas, alas) is Blenheim. Strongest ginger flavor ever, with just enough sugar to mellow it out a bit. When I offer it to someone who hasn’t had it before, I always warn them to sip carefully, because it’s very strong. They usually don’t believe me, with Interesting results.

    I am aware that most people seem to experience carbonated beverages differently than I do. Some proof of this is that anyone would drink them *other* than in small, cautious sips in order to minimize the burning.

  14. @Steve Davidson:

    Your “swamp juice” reminds me of some “swamp water” I had a hand in creating.

    At the time, I had a certain routine on weekends. I never worked Sundays, and if I worked Saturday, I could be assured of getting out by 6pm. If not, so much the better. I’d pack a few DVDs, stop off for some food, and go by a friend’s house for the night. His wife would usually turn in relatively early, and sometimes we’d play games or talk instead of watching movies, but I’d crash on the couch around dawn and leave sometime that afternoon.

    Anyway, this particular time, his wife was out of town. A common craving for cheesecake took us to the nearby grocery store, and I noticed that they also had frozen fruit punch mix – the Mayfield kind that comes in red and green. We decided some green punch would go well with cheesecake, so a couple of two-liters of ginger ale later, we were all set.

    Now, we were both big guys, but there was no way we could come close to finishing that much punch. He decanted it back into the ginger ale bottles instead of throwing it out, so we’d have it next time. I think that was around Thanksgiving.

    The trouble with storing punch like that is that it goes flat, so we added some more ginger ale to spark it up whenever we broke it back out… which means we didn’t really make a dent in the supply. I’m not much for booze, but he was, and somewhere along the line he started adding alcohol. One of the first things he added was a red “Hunch Punch” that instantly turned the punch a murky brownish-green that prompted me to call the mixture “swamp water.” I think that was about the time he strained the fruit pulp out, too – and we both suspected that might have fermented a little on its own.

    Anyway, in March we decided to get rid of the batch – which I have to say was rather tasty and smooth, even if I don’t have the faintest idea what was in it by then – by taking it with us to a local kink convention. It didn’t last long there. 🙂

    ETA, @Peace:

    Yeah, I’d definitely describe that as an atypical reaction. I know a couple who like their soda flat, but it’s mainly personal preference. That’s another good thing about making your own soda: you can control the carbonation level.

  15. So mixologists, if you went up to the bartender and ordered a Flounce, what would do you suppose they would give you? (Hopefully not a Screaming Viking served with a pickle instead of the traditional cucumber.)

    Maybe something salty and bitter.

  16. @Peace Is My Middle Name:

    I am aware that most people seem to experience carbonated beverages differently than I do. Some proof of this is that anyone would drink them *other* than in small, cautious sips in order to minimize the burning.

    This is where I am, but only since I underwent three and a half months of chemorad targeted at my mouth.

  17. I’ve never cared for most carbonated drinks. They bother my mouth and tongue and stomach: burning, tingling, nausea. Club soda I’m good with when mixed with juice.

    I’m a wine, beer, champagne, keep that hard liquor to yourself gal. I also liked chocolate liquor, peppermint, and butterscotch snapps added to my hot chocolate or poured over ice cream. Damn dairy allergy.

  18. Other than a very small selection of wines and champagnes on the sweet end, I tend to three kinds of drinks:

    Tropical icy things (Eg, Pina coladas), fancy coffees or chocolate-flavoured items, (usually hot though there are milkshake-like forms), and mead (I know THREE different mead-makers.)

    But I have never had enough to drink in a given night to be fully drunk (Tipsy enough to giggle and be unsafe to drive, yes, but rarely, and I always sobered up and drank water before I slept.) Other than discovering a low buzz makes Munchkin a much better game (otherwise I am not half ruthless enough) I’ve never found a purpose.

  19. @Lenora: “Other than discovering a low buzz makes Munchkin a much better game”

    And we thank you for your support. Have you seen the new Guest Artist Editions or the Sketch Edition yet? 😀

    (ev’ry day I’m hustlin’, hustlin’…)

  20. I am still a barefoot girl from my months ago read of The Great Silence — it worked beautifully for me. Utterly sockless. Did not expect a heavy emotional punch from Ted Chiang; I expect gorgeous ideas in intricate structure, a look but do not touch kind of story. But Silence Sat right on my shoulder and tugged on my ear and got messy.

  21. Glad other people liked the Harrison^2 game. I thought it was a clever little piece of marketing for the book. I wouldn’t mind seeing those catch on…

  22. Lenora Rose :

    Other than a very small selection of wines and champagnes on the sweet end, I tend to three kinds of drinks:

    Tropical icy things (Eg, Pina coladas),

    Hmm – what’s your position on walks in the rain?

    (someone had to say it)

    Other than discovering a low buzz makes Munchkin a much better game (otherwise I am not half ruthless enough) I’ve never found a purpose.

    Try Fluxx or better yet Zombie Fluxx while slightly under the influence.

    http://www.looneylabs.com/games/zombie-fluxx

  23. I’ve taken in my advanced age to opening the carbonated beverages and letting them sit in the fridge that way for a day or more. Then the burpy owie bubbles fly away and I’m left with a tasty cold beverage that I can drink quickly without pain. It changes the flavor very little, surprisingly. So I drink all my fizzy drinks de-fizzied (Except Mexican Coke, because real Coke needs bubbles and I like to savor the old-fashioned taste slowly). It also has the advantage of marking them as mine, since nobody else wants them that way. If I get to the last one in the house, mwah ha ha, it’ll be mine even if I don’t actually drink it for a few days. It works with corn syrup and Splenda drinks. Does NOT work on stevia sodas (they get a weird aftertaste and the real flavor goes away). I don’t drink aspartame (gives me fierce headaches) so I can’t vouch for those.

    But I urge bubble-allergic people to give it a shot. Or a shot glass.

    @Steve: Never thought of hard liquor in Gatorade, but it is logical.

    @Rev. Bob: I would have drunk that.

  24. Drinks!

    I’m fairly limited – I don’t drink beer, and red wine tends to be eurgh to me, so it’s a great deal of whisky/ vodka and cider for me.

    Tried out a beer cocktail in a German-theme restaurant once. Yup, beer continues to be problematic for me.

    One thing I do like to try out regularly are mojitos, esp. regional variations. The tomyum one, with it’s Thai hot chili was…regrettable. The lychee one, though a bit too sweet, was really nice.

  25. Rev. Bob: My issue with Munchkin is that I don’t often want to play it because I don’t like being that mean to my buddies. There are games where I’m better at being ruthless, but you’re not usually playing a specific character in them, or they’re really fast. Exploding Kittens seems to have become a Thing in our circle of friends, and there I can be totally cold-blooded. (We only own Cthulhu Munchkin ourselves, anyhow). Also, if I played it more, I might have to drink more. 😉

    RF: The version of Fluxx we have is Cthulhu Fluxx*. It’s a decent hors d’oeuvre for whatever actual game hour or two-long game we’re intending to play, so I don’t think I want to try the tipsy thing.

    Actual favoured games in our household range from Ticket to Ride to Puerto Rico to Pandemic. And 7 Wonders, but my brother owns that, not us.

    *am I the only one seeing a pattern? We also have Cthulhu Gloom, though we’ve only yet PLAYED Gloom proper. We also have the Call of Cthulhu and Whisperer in Darkness DVDs. This is much more my husband than me, I assert firmly.

  26. When it comes to beer I’m an IPA fan. One of these days I’ll get around to making myself a t-shirt that says “Northern California Hops Mafia — ruining beer for everyone else since 1974“. (Yes, fine, I was 4 years old then, stop quibbling.) It’s not that I’m trying to seem hip or tough or anything; I just enjoy bitter flavors, whether in coffee, beer, or otherwise. Anchor’s Liberty Ale was one of the first beers I came to love at age 21 when I started drinking beer and my homebrewing partner and I were exploring different styles.

    Also, Kathodus and I met at a Belgian-style beer bar here in Oakland called the Trappist (where I’ve spent many a happy weekend afternoon with a beer and a book). It was a matter of, one day last summer the guy on the stool next to me looked over and asked what I was reading. I replied, and we got into a conversation about SFF. After a bit, he said “So… are you following the current Hugos situation?”

    “Yes, I am,” I said. “And I don’t have anybody to talk to about it, which is frustrating.”

    “Me neither! And she—” he nodded at the woman on the stool next to him “—is SO tired of hearing me go on about it!” We spent the next 15 minutes happily geeking out together.

    We didn’t make the File 770 connection until later. When we did, when he told me his username and said “and my userpic is—” I had to bite my tongue not to interrupt “a super-closeup photo of a cat nose!”

    Lenora Rose: My issue with Munchkin is that I don’t often want to play it because I don’t like being that mean to my buddies. There are games where I’m better at being ruthless, but you’re not usually playing a specific character in them, or they’re really fast.

    I think you might appreciate this comic.

  27. @JJ: “Thanks for that! It was a fun little game. Made it out with around 1,028 points.”

    Holy carp, I totally sucked at the game – but still enjoyed it. 😀 I didn’t want to run through it twice back-to-back, but I may try again some time, to get deeper into the story.

    @LunarG: Thanks again for the link to “Harrison Dies Early”!

    @Lenora Rose: We have various Cthulhu-themed games; we don’t play them a lot, but we like the theme. 7 Wonders is one of our favorites, as are the various Ticket To Ride incarnations. But we’re playing a fair bit the DC Deck-Building and Marvel Legendary superhero card games, these days. Race for the Galaxy is another favorite. Oh, I could go on about games! 😀

    @Mixed Drinkers: This reminds me of a story from my mom. There was a woman among her friends, years ago, who never drank. One day, amazingly, when they asked what people wanted, she spoke up and asked for a mixed drink! Shock all around, and everyone quited down. “Yes, ___, what would you like?” With a smile that I’m sure was a bit sly, she asked for a ginger ale and Coke. 😉

    Me, I like wine if it’s sweet (the sweeter the better; Manischewitz isn’t too sweet for me), although I also like a chewy (but not too dry) red port or a 10- or 20-year-old tawny port on occasion. I prefer mixed drinks, though, if I’m having a drink; I’m fine with fruity or chocolatey or creamy; I like trying unusual concoctions, even if not sweet.

    I’m getting thirsty, typing all this. 😉

    ETA: I don’t care for beer; it’s one of those acquired tastes that I, uh, never acquired. 😉

  28. @Kendall Me, I like wine if it’s sweet (the sweeter the better; Manischewitz isn’t too sweet for me)
    I don’t care what Jews or the Catholic Church* tell you Manischewitz isn’t wine. It’s a little bit of over-cooked grape wine with tons of added sugar. It’s an insult to wine. It might be an acquired taste. I first had it in my 30s. It was a difficult experience surrounded by my in-laws and some 20+ people. I had to keep from spitting it out and asking if they were trying to kill me at my first Passover meal.

    But hey it’s cheap and easy to find. I wonder what it would be like if you mixed it with Godiva chocolate liquor?

    *Frequently used for communion

  29. @Tasha Turner: My other half is always like, “That’s not wine, it’s Kool-Aid!” What can I say, I have a sweet tooth. 🙂

    I like Chocolate liquor, but I don’t like the idea of wine+liquor in one glass.

    BTW speaking of Passover, that’s one of my favorite meals, which is probably weird, since I’m not Jewish. I’ve just been to a lot of Passovers. Okay, breakfast or Passover – not sure which I like better. Mmm now I’m getting hungry.

  30. Re: games — I like Ticket to Ride; Munchkin gets a little…. personal. Betrayal at House on the Hill is a current popular choice, as is Pandemic (which I’m very good at losing), but my current favorite is Zombicide. Any edition. And Exploding Kittens is always fun. (no, not you, little boy… scritch scritch… I’d never ‘splode you…)

  31. @Leonora and Cassy:

    Have you guys tried Pandemic Legacy yet? My group picked it up last year and we’ve only played a couple of games so far but it’s a lot of fun.

  32. Lorcan Nagle, How is Pandemic Legacy different from standard Pandemic? I tried the version where you have to formulate the cures (don’t recall the expansion name), and I HATE-HATE-HATED it. It added a level of difficulty and complexity to an already difficult game. (I don’t mind that I usually lose Pandemic, but I’m not going to go out of my way to make me lose even more!)

  33. It’s basically a game of regular Pandemic, but there’s a narrative plot and the board and some rules change and progress the more times you play the game.

    For example, every time a city outbreaks, you put a sticker beside it that raises the panic level in that city. As it goes higher, it becomes harder to enter the city (you need to spend 2 actions or 2 cards of the appropriate colour ), research centres will be destroyed and eventually you can’t fly in at all.

    You start out with access to only 5 roles, but between games you draw cards from a specifically-ordered deck and open up boxes and sealed sheets in the box that give you access to more, and you can build up relationships between the characters where they get bonuses when they’re used together. However, they can also become wounded and die.

    There’s more to it than just that, but I don’t want to spoil too much!

  34. Pandemic Legacy looks interesting, but I’m wary of a game that can’t be replayed (there was that one where you were supposed to destroy cards, sent shivers down my spine) and equally wary about games that require multiple passes to enjoy properly (our gaming group has several hundred to select from).

  35. I’m involved in ongoing campaigns of both Pandemic and Risk Legacy, and loving them both (I can’t stand basic Risk, but enjoy Legacy and 2210). Even though you can’t redo your decisions, you can still play the game as a complete (or almost complete in the case of Risk Legacy if a territory gets devastated) version of the original game. But when the game suddenly changes – and the changes can be quite severe (one envelope in Risk Legacy changes the startup parameters of the game completely) – it’s very exciting.

    And the campaign for Risk is 15 games total, and for Pandemic is 12-24 depending on your win/loss ratio. So even if you just play the campaign through once each, you’re looking at a cost of only a couple of dollars/pounds/euro per game.

  36. Re: Risk

    Some thirty years ago, my college gaming group invented Nuclear Risk. You play it with the standard board, pieces, and cards, but it’s rather more… interesting… than the regular version.

    You play Risk as per the normal game, but you shuffle the manufacturer’s card into the draw deck. If you don’t have the manufacturer’s card, you designate a specific card, say, Irkutsk.

    When that card comes up, you treat it as end-of-conventional-warfare. You play out one complete round with standard rules (to let people do what they can to de-concentrate their armies, cash in the cards they can, and so forth).

    Then the Nuclear Phase begins. All cards are handed in and shuffled. (Not the manufacturer’s card, unless you really want another wild card.) All cards are dealt out evenly to the players. If there are left-over cards, they are Uncontrolled Nukes. Cards are not looked at until after the first two cards are played. This is your Nuke Hand. On your turn, you may 1) play conventionally (not drawing cards or turning them in, but otherwise the same), or you may 2) Nuke. The top two cards in your hand are Blind Nukes; you don’t know who you’re nuking. Might be yourself…

    To nuke, you flip over a card (or, if you’ve done your two Blind Nukes, you select a card) and play it. That country gets ALL armies removed, and two of your armies placed on it. This ends your turn. Wild cards hit where-ever you like. This means that even if Brazil is slightly radioactive, it’s not necessarily safe to build up a huge army there again…

    One Uncontrolled Nuke, if any, is played, at the start of each player’s turn before their turn begins, until the Uncontrolled Nukes are exhausted. The player may then play normally or Nuke on their own turn.

    Play continues until standard victory conditions are met.

    If you try Nuclear Risk, please let me know what you think! (Play times are generally unaffected, if memory serves.)

    Edit to add: Cally, if you remember anything I’ve forgotten, please chime in.

  37. There was another Nuclear Risk variant that ran in the Dragon magazine in the late 70s or very early 80s that worked differently. (I think you could build one army OR one nuke.) It was apparently developed by some USN personnel on a base in Spain. We played it a few times and it was a lot of fun.

  38. Jim Henley, it’s possible that our Nuclear Risk was developed from the version in Dragon Magazine; we certainly had people that read Dragon Magazine, and it would have been around 1982ish…

    It sounds like our variant is different, in that you start conventional and then move to nuclear. Did the nukes in the Spanish version work the same?

  39. @Cassy B: I think nukes in your version work in a unique way. It’s been a few decades, but my recollection of the Dragon variation was:

    * Build one nuke OR one army
    * Play nukes any time (on your turn)
    * One nuke destroys one army
    * If you empty a country using nukes (destroy the last army there with a nuke), place a fallout marker there
    * Fallout markers last [I forget] turns

    The game reduced the max number of players by one so that the pink counters were available for [fallout markers or nukes, I forget which]. A permissible and sometimes sensible option was to nuke your own country so the fallout marker made a bottleneck against invasion of your territory.

  40. Lorcan Nagle, never even heard of Risk 2310.

    I seriously am curious to know whether any Risk-players out there like our version of Nuclear Risk; if anyone tries it, please do let me know how it went.

  41. @Lenora: “My issue with Munchkin is that I don’t often want to play it because I don’t like being that mean to my buddies.”

    I take the rules seriously (kind of my job), but not the game. To me, screwing the other players over in Munchkin is fun, expected, and not at all to be taken personally. In fact, I’m likely to enjoy getting smashed in an innovative way. “Hey, that was neat! You really got me good with that one!”

    Oh, and Katie Cook is doing the art for the Munchkin Cthulhu Guest Artist Edition. Just putting that out there. 😀

  42. My gaming group played the Nuclear Risk ™ from Dragon. Later, we played nuclear chess. It certainly sped up the game.

  43. I think I played Bughouse at least once but never nuclear chess. Is that variant posted somewhere online?

    ETA: I bought a fairy-chess book at least once and was surprised how few of the variants seemed like they’d be much fun.

  44. @Cassy B.: Betrayal is one of our all-time favorites! 😀

    @Tasha Turner: I have been called a mutant, in my day. 😉

  45. I think I played Bughouse at least once but never nuclear chess. Is that variant posted somewhere online?

    Sadly, no. We made the rules up ourselves. It had all the rigour you would expect of a game made up by a bunch of high-school boys in the 80s.

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