Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Talisman, the fine board game, has arrived on the iPad!

I was lucky to receive a copy of the IOS Talisman game that I can review. There is already an informative and positive review at BoardGameGeek, so I will not repeat what their reviewer covers. And here's a link to the iTunes store, if you are ready to buy. (To be precise: there exists a "Talisman Prologue" game that we are NOT discussing here. The good news is that we get an app for the full Talisman.)

Talisman is a remarkably imaginative treatment of RPG in a board game, and that game has been faithfully reproduced in the IOS app. As usual, the app frees you from a lot of counting that the board game requires, and the app prevents you from making illegal moves. Also, there is a tutorial built into the game, so you do not have to know Talisman to enjoy playing the app.

Talisman belongs to a category of games that I’m sure you are familiar with: it is a game of skill (considerable skill in fact) with a large element of luck. Almost every game turn offers a chance to make a tactical decision, and there is deep strategy in deciding whether you are ready to go for a win.

Games of this type are wonderful to play in social settings. Everyone has a good time, and none of the novices notice that you are playing the game better than they are. They have a reasonable chance of winning, but that won’t bother you, because you know that in the long run, your skill will carry the day.

A Talisman game can last a long time. When the iPad first came out, one of my first reactions was: Wouldn’t it be great to play Talisman on my iPad? I imagined the iPad Talisman game saving the state of the game so that I could return to it several times a day for some rounds of play. Talisman on the iPad allows me to do exactly what I want, while the game’s AI plays one, two or three oponents. (Of course, several actual people can also compete, using this app.)

There is already an expansion set (and apparently, more coming) that I expect to buy, with – among other things – many more fascinating player characters. Talisman, among RPG games in general, is highly unusual in offering a stupendous variety of different kinds of characters to play with. There’s much more variety than the usual human/elf/dwarf+fighter/mage/thief.

Talisman, I’m glad you’re here!

A simple way to fund the U.S. Post Office:

This afternoon I collected all the junk mail (and even a piece of real mail) that the postman had left for us, and realization struck:

Suppose the Post Office threatened to triple the amount of mail I receive unless I agreed to pay them one dollar per week. That's a significant amount of money, but I would cave in if I could possibly afford it. Many of us would.

Think of it this way: snail mail comes to us through a sort of conduit, and the USPO could establish a slow lane (choked with ever more junk mail) and a fast lane.

Monday, May 05, 2014

"Three, please!" (I'm afraid you had to be there.)

I blogged recently about my feeling that an elevator that moves between only two floors needs one less button. I entered the same elevator that inspired that blog entry today (on the second floor), along with two women deep in conversation. The woman nearest the control panel pressed the button for floor #1 while they continued talking.

I could not resist saying, "Three, please!"

The same woman turned to the control panel and extended her finger to press the nonexistent button. And then, fortunately, both women laughed and laughed.