Cleaning up from October last year I find The Luminaries, references about Breaking Bad and Guillermo del Toro, games of Dominion, Coup, and Medici, and some idiots light a bonfire in their back yard.

 October 2013 goodies

Progress on cleaning up from the previous year is going well, though it certainly is bringing forward to me many things that I’ll be wanting to take care of in the near future.


I picked up a few novels from Elenor Catton called Luminaries and The Rehearsal that I need to get in to at some stage. I’ve been hearing good words about them but feel trepidatious about the astrology structure to Luminaries. Still, I’ve just finished Terry Pratchett’s Raising Steam and so it’s a good time to sink my teeth in to something else.


Looking deeper in to things, the finale of Breaking Bad was more tightly themed than many of us have been aware of. This video about the “El Paso” scene in Breaking Bad plus the rest of it takes us through several of the ways that parts of the show are connected with this mexican song.

And on the topic of references, a nice piece about the movie references in the Guillermo Del Toro intro for The Simpsons arrived, which provides a nice reference to all sorts of interesting movies over the years.

The last video clip of interest that came along is A Capella Science – Bohemian Gravity! where some interesting ideas about string theory come to light in the form of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

Board games


Dominion is a card game that consists mostly of treasure and action cards, which are ultimately used to acquire victory points to win the game. The specialisation of Dominion is by having a vast range of sets of action cards that can be chosen for the game.

Play starts with 7 copper (1 treasure) cards and 3 victory point cards, which are shuffled from that deck you take 5 cards. Those 5 are then used to buy treasure or action cards that can help you to achieve different things. When your deck runs out it is shuffled again and used to draw more cards from.

Sometimes an action is increase your treasure and add a victory point, or to draw additional cards, or to perform multiple actions, or to have all players discard down to 3 cards. The range of actions is vast, and makes for the occasional elaborate play when randomness allows certain combinations to turn up.

This would be the type of game that I might otherwise take a lot of interest in, but it looks to be quite the rabbit hole for Alice to enjoyably get lost in too.


Coup is a bluffing political party game where players have two cards that determine their roles. They may be captain who can steal 2 tokens, or an assassin who can attack for 7, or the countess who can prevent an attack, or an ambassador who can replace one of his cards from a choice of 4, etc.

Each turn you can take a token from the draw pile, and if you use your character abilities to do anything others can choose to doubt that you’re allowed to. The person who is wrong loses his influence, and thus loses the use of one of his cards, and the winner then changes his card for another random one.

It’s an interesting simple mechanic, but I get the feeling that there are other party bluffing games such as Werewolf that may be more enjoyable to play.


Medici is the best of the games played there tonight, where you load the holds of your ship with five goods that you bid for from other players, and those goods then determine your influence in certain markets.

Everybody starts with 30 gold and goods are randomly drawn, which may be spice, cloth, grain, dye, or furs. Each one has different values, some worth 5 down to others with a value of 0. You can draw up to three tiles but no more than what someone at the table can put in their hold, and players then take it in turn to bid what they’re willing to pay for them or pass. When bidding comes back to the person who drew them the goods go to the highest bidder.

When all ships are full gold is given based on the value of the goods, and your position on the board moves upwards for each good that you have. Gold is also given to people in the top two tiers of each good for their influence in that area too. Play ends after three rounds and the person with the most gold is the winner.

It’s an enjoyable game that’s highly strategic to play, and is one that’s being added to my wish list.


As I was leaving when events were winding down, neighbours across the street decided to light a bonfire in their yard, which being the middle of summer wasn’t such a good idea. The fire department was called and police came out in a van to help educate them on the appropriateness of things, and by the time a fire truck arrived it was out and things were well in hand.