2018 Media Reviews «

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I’ve appreciated when people take the time to write reviews and highlight connections to other good works. This is an in-progress list that I’ll update over the course of the year. Previously: 2014 2015 2016 2017


Surgeon’s Mate, The Ionian Mission, Treason’s Harbour. The Far side of the World, The Reverse of the Medal, The Letter of Marque: Patrick O’Brian; historical
More Napoleonic-era nautical adventures. Very fun reads.
Fire and Fury: Michael Wolff; politics
I look forward to the inevitable libel suits to see if there’s support for the unbelievable anecdotes in this book.
The Undoing Project: Michael Lewis; pop science
The personal history of the work of Kahneman and Tversky. Read Thinking, Fast and Slow instead.
*Time Management for System Administrators: Thomas A. Limoncelli, self-help
2nd read. I’ve been revising my personal workflow and revisited a favorite.

Tabletop Games

Pandemic Legacy: Season 2: Rob Daviau, Matt Leacock; strategy
Only played the prologue twice, but it feels like a nice balance of old and new mechanics. Really looking forwarding to playing through this.
Unearth: Jason Harner, Matthew Ransom; worker placement
Fun, quick strategy game with a nice amount of variance. Rules are a little unclear, seems like almost every action card has a corner case.
Underlings of Underwing: Kevin Ballestrini, Stephen Slota, Alisha Volkman; worker placement
A very cute resource management/worker placement game. I like the use of colors for crafting; much simpler and easier to learn than arbitrary resources would have been.
Armageddon Preppin: Darth Rimmer; hand management
Unclear rules, overwhelming variance, and an obvious dominant strategy.
* Captain Sonar: Roberto Fraga, Yohan Lemonnier; deduction
Real-time strategy game where two teams of four players eavesdrop on each other to have a submarine hunt duel.
Burgle Bros.: Tim Fowers; co-op heist
Teammates sneak through a random map to rob a bank. Really enjoyably difficult, lovely graphic design.
Mottainai: Carl Chudyk; drafting
A stunningly deep short game that I want to put a recommended star on, but the theme apparently drew its nouns and actions from a hat and it’s so incoherent and confusing that it’s not worth the time to learn. I’ve taught it to six people and all have been hopelessly confused for 2-3 games. (Fans made a nice solitaire ruleset, though.)
Unstable Unicorns: Ramy Badie; Munchkin
Basically Munchkin, but it plays much quicker so at least it’s over sooner.
Imhotep: Phil Walker-Harding; strategy
Has an incredible amount of zugzwang with two players. May be a fairly light game with three or four players, and I hope to try that.
Tiny Epic Galaxies: Scott Almes; strategy
Nice quick dice-rolling game with some ways of reusing your opponents’ actions so their turn is more than just waiting for yours.
Kodama: Daniel Solis; strategy
Arrange cards to grow a tree, very nice use of play space. Don’t miss that the max score per turn is 10 points or that cards can touch any trunk rather than just the obvious forks.
Not Alone: Ghislain Masson; bluffing
Clever asymmetrical bluffing game. Solid with two players and I’d love to play with a half-dozen.

Video Games

Fantasy Strike: David Sirlin; fighter
Deep, accessible fighter; the first where I could recognize and enjoy the strategies of the different character matchups. Even figuring out how to counter “cheap” strategies is fun.
Tonight We Riot: Pixel Pushers Union 512; beat-em-up
A competent example of a genre I’m not interested in.
The Witness: Jonathan Blow; puzzle
Still in progress, but so far worth the motion sickness.
Star Realms: White Wizard Games; strategy
A deep game, though with very high variance (top players only win 60% of matches). The tablet-oriented UI needs keyboard shortcuts.


The Daily; New York Times
A “20 minute” podcast with 25-35 minutes on Donald Trump and up to 60 seconds of news. Dropped Feb 6 when their story on FISA abuse elided how the NYT hid the story for a year.
Conversations and Seminars; The Long Now Foundation
No idea why it’s two podcasts instead of one, but generally interesting, thoughtful talks related to long-term thinking.
Future Strategist; James D. Miller
Retreads of Less Wrong blog posts and interviews with alt-right kooks. Dropped when the against free trade is that it might lead to miscegenation.
Star Realms strategy discussion. Worth it to start from the first episode, listen to the episode, play an hour or two, then repeat.

Last update: 2017-02-06

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