Posts

Do You Even Fidget Bro?

I kickstarted the fidget cube when I first saw it because it just seems like an awesome toy to have at your desk. What can I say, I love it! Watch my video for a full review and get your own cube from AntsyLabs! They are $23 now which is pretty steep, but they make great gifts.

There a tons of knockoffs selling for less than $1 even but I am not sure how good they are. I watched a few youtube videos comparing real ones to knock offs and they certainly look worse but I have to wonder are they really that bad? I mean if I can buy 15 stupid fidget toys for the price of one, does it really matter if they are bad? I guess that depends on you. Watch this comparison and decide for yourself.

I am not sure why this particular product is getting decimated by knock offs. Sure knockoffs always happen but I have never seen it as blatant as this. Did they hire the wrong production house in China? Or are they just bad at protecting their IP? Or do I just not have visibility into other products which are knocked off because I am not paying attention? i have many questions.

Coup Review, How To and Variants

,

I can’t say enough good things about this game. What I will say is anyone who doesn’t like this game either hasn’t played it enough, or is simply stupid. Sorry ladies and gentlemen, but it’s true you are wrong about it.

If you are interested in how to play the game please watch my how to play video. If you are interested in some hard hitting variants, scroll below to read all about them. (I do also go over the variants in the video.)

Review

Coup is a simple and compact deduction game with deviously deep lines of thinking. It really feels remarkable how much decision making goes into every action a player does, and how much information a player gives with each action. The problem is it often takes many game sessions to really get it.

From my experience players go through three phases of appreciation for the game.

  1. Amusement
  2. Apprehension
  3. Breakthrough

The first phase is people getting used to the game, generally fumbling around using the reference card and clumsily attempting to pretend they have duke after 2 players ahead of them take foreign aid which they “forgot” to block. They have a few laughs about how tense getting assassinated is and generally have a good time.

In the next phase people have a firm grasp on all of the roles and possibly even begin understanding which roles are more or less important or powerful at different stages of the game. This is also the phase where people begin thinking they have this game figured out, and the winner is mostly determined by luck. This is often when you will hear cries of frustration that sounds like “must be nice to ALWAYS have contessa…” or “Wow you start with duke every game.”

After an extensively long and intense session players will finally have a breakthrough. This is when the game truly opens up to them and they will realize that the cards in your hand almost do not matter. All that really matters is reading your players, not making blunders and extracting the maximum amount of information from everything available. This is the phase in the game where a player might knowingly let 2 people call foreign aid, and even call foreign aid themselves while holding a duke for a future tricky play.

With strong players who know the game well, you will never experience a more brutal psychological deathmatch.

Player Counts

This game runs best at 3-4 player. I personally feel it drags a little at 5-6 but it is still certainly playable.

The 1v1 variant presented in the manual is pretty poor and I am happy to present a superior and excellent 1v1 variant below. (I didn’t come up with it, I read about it on BoardGameGeek.)

Components

The entire game consists of 15 cards (3 each of 5 characters) and 50 currency chips called ISK. The box also comes with some large reference cards which new players can have in front of them reminding them what all of the actions and counteractions are.

CoupCards

The cards are an awkward size. They are quite a bit bigger than your standard playings card and will require 65mm x 100mm cases to fit. I highly recommend you buy the cases too, because unlike many other games, if a single one of your cards gets noticeably damaged the entire game will be ruined.

As for the currency, they are a thick cardboard little hexagons with futuristic designs on them. When I play the game at home I use poker chips instead, but these tokens do the job.

Variants

After my hundreds of games, and input from many players both from my playgroup and from avid posters on Board Game Geek, I have determined that these two variants greatly enhance the game. I highly recommend you try them out.

Call the Coup Variant

After many dozens of games playing standard coup, someone on reddit tossed the “Call-the-Coup” variant my way. It is so simple I can’t believe it isn’t the default way to play.

When you perform a coup, instead of simply spending 7 coins and targetting a opponent, you need to correctly name one of the opponent’s cards. They must answer truthfully if they do not have it, otherwise they reveal the named card face up and lose it. If the player who performed the coup guesses poorly, they simply lose 7 coins and the game continues.

This improves the game in the following ways:

It disincentives honesty

The advantages of being honest are enormous, not only because you are 100% certain your action will succeed, but because if someone challenges you they lose! Because of luck/fate, it’s possible to always have the perfect cards and never have to lie which is overpowering in standard coup. It happens rarely, but it can happen during a key string of plays.

Of course I will admit being honest CAN be harmful, but this variant pushes player to lie to conceal their hand even when playing honest might be the best course of action. Which is good for gameplay.

It reduces textbook play

In the standard game of coup actually deciding who to coup isn’t much of a decision at all. You simply always coup the most powerful player, usually that is a richest player, or the player with the most cards. It’s obvious and non-interactive. With this variant you actually need to think. Sure you still WANT to coup the strongest player, but that player knows who he is and it keeping his hand a secret. Do you blind-guess? Or do you take a sure thing on a weaker player? Additionally, when you are the strongest player you actually have some defenses from getting torn apart by the table. (Keeping your hand concealed.)

It buffs Ambassador

The ambassador is arguably the weakest card. In the base game the ambassador is only used when your hand is poor, or sometimes late game to gain information. But generally, any action which doesn’t actively get you closer to killing another player is weak. With this variant, once a player reaches 7+ coins, players who have played their hands in an obvious ways have a good reason to mix it up as a coup defense. Which, in turn, gives them a great reason to bluff having an ambassador.

ambassador

It allows you to coup defensively

It is easy to think this variant is a nerf on the coup action, now a coup can wiff. However, there is also subtle buff. You can neutralize a specific character. Take this hopeless situation: You have a single Captain in hand, your opponent (still 2 cards) just used the Assassin to clean up an opponent and you are confident the assassin is legitimate. You have enough money to coup, and your opponent has enough money to assassinate again. With standard rules this situation plays out in a very boring fashion, you coup your opponent, he flips the non-assassin. Then you are assassinated. Sure you can bluff contessa. But with this variant your coup is so much more powerful. You simply name the assassin and it must be discarded. Now it’s an even game and you actually get some gameplay.

My group and I are hundreds of hands deep into this variant and we are all convinced that it is far superior to the standard rules.

Coup Duel (1v1 Coup)

The standard rules, frankly, work like shit in a 1v1 game. It’s just both players playing chicken with duke until someone blind-calls and that is pretty much game. There is no meta game, and there is no deduction. Basically, it’s unplayable.

Thanks so much to Anarchosyn and Zakimos for helping me develop this variants which makes 1v1 play an absolute blast. Both players have 5 total loyalty, but still limited to holding 2 cards at a time. This means once a player loses his first loyalty, he places it face up as normal, but then draw another card. If he loses again, place the next card face up and draw another. Once he loses his third card, and draw back to a 2 card hand, he will not longer draw. His last 2 cards (his 4th and 5th) are the last he gets.

The longer you play / the less starting hands matter / until bluffs are called

It is possible to have both player down to a single card, which means a whopping 8 cards are already revealed face up. This really opens up the game to plenty of deduction and metagame plays. Usually when we play this way we play first to 5 wins, which takes about 45 minutes. By that time we feel like we are taking camping trips inside each other’s minds. It’s a blast.

Sterling Scott Neckwear Review

,

sterling-scott2 sterling-scott6 sterling-scott5

I am so excited about this new neckwear option. The only thing keeping me from wearing these ties MUCH more often is my shortage of vests! I have set it before, and i’ll say it again:

I have a vested interest in investing in vests.

While you are checking out my videos keep in mind that if you use the promo code AGREEorDIE you can save 33% on any of your Sterling Scott purchases!

Please check out my unboxing and review of the Sterling Scott collection.

Some key takeaways:

  • Small productions runs
  • Production numbers proves authenticity
  • Double sides ties
  • variety of fabrics and designs
  • unique malleable look

These tie’s unique sticking and fabric offer a unique opportunity for knotting. The patented Scott knot showcases this versatility as demonstrated in my next video specifically about the knot.

Check out the Sterling-Scott website right now and check out the variety of ties available! Make sure to use promo code AGREEorDIE for some great savings.

Lifehack Vol 5

  • 1. Use your phone as an alarm clock.

    lifehack-v5-1

    I can’t imagine someone is such a heavy sleeper that they can sleep through a max-volume alarm right next to their head. If you really have a problem that serious, I recommend hooking your phone to a set of speakers and really blasting yourself.

  • 2. Or even as speakers

    lifehack-v5-2

    This actually does work. Putting your phone into a cup or bowl will amplify the sound A LITTLE BIT. It’s hardly what you need for a party.

  • 3. Ditch the coffee, eat an apple instead.

    lifehack-v5-3

    This is such a stupid thing to even say. I love the condescending little “true story” at the end. Wow thanks so much for telling me a piece of healthy fruit is better than a cup of coffee. How do they even quantify more “wake-up?” Based on what?

  • 4. This actually works.

    lifehack-v5-4

    This does work, but if you are letting your pasta boil over you are an amateur.

  • 5. Because your friends are gypsies.

    lifehack-v5-5

    It’s a decent hack. You can then store your photos in Google Drive or Evernote with a tag like “lending” or something.

  • 6. Want to look good for the interview? Do this.

    lifehack-v5-6

    There are two easy ways to make steam in your house. One of them is putting a shirt over your stove with several pots of water boiling below over open flame. The other is to hang it in your bathroom during a hot shower. I’ll let you decide which is smarter.

  • 7. Prevent your trash bag from leaking.

    lifehack-v5-7

    You shouldn’t be putting wet things into your trash bag unless you plan to take it out right away. However since the paper is laying around anyway, and it’s already trash, this is smart.

  • 8. Use velcro for your remotes.

    lifehack-v5-8

    I almost fell for this. I thought “finally a way to keep all my remotes organized!” Don’t be fooled, this does nothing. The reason you (and I) constantly lose the remote is because we put it somewhere stupid. If you could just remember to always place it back on the coffee table you would never lose it. Now you just need to remember to put it on the velcro? No help.

  • 9. Want only egg whites? Use a water bottle.

    lifehack-v5-9

    I don’t need to separate my eggs ever so maybe this hack just isn’t for me. Who is separating so many eggs they need a better way to do it? Is it really that hard? Are you supposed to save that bottle as your designated egg separator for your breakfast each morning? Doesn’t it get gross? Who can answer my questions!?

  • 10. The STRAWberry trick.

    lifehack-v5-10

    “Straw” berry … get it?

  • 11. Hate putting together furniture? Check out SmartDeco instead.

    lifehack-v5-11

    This is just a commercial for the website’s own product. I don’t know how good this cardboard furniture is, but it sure as hell isn’t a life hack.

  • 12. Don’t burn yourself!

    lifehack-v5-12

    Spaghetti burns slowly. Who knew?

  • 13. Ever put a water bottle in the freezer just to have it freeze solid?

    lifehack-v5-13

    The first exceptional life hack! Great way to keep ice water cold for a long time.

  • 14. Do this to chill your drink fast.

    lifehack-v5-14

    I have never tried this, and the reports I have heart are inconclusive.

  • 15. Use Pringles cans for storing spaghetti.

    What can I ever say about this nonsense? If your cat ate a whole in the bottom of your spaghetti box and you really need a backup container, this might be the hack for you. If you are intentionally moving pasta out of a perfectly good box … you need a lobotomy.

  • 16. Microwave your leftovers the right way.

    lifehack-v5-16

    I think most modern microwaves have less issues with uneven heating. I think the big issue is to make all of the food even, as in, not deep in the middle and shallow on the sides. This might still be useful though.

  • 17. How to make the perfect sandwich.

    lifehack-v5-17

    I do this all the time and it works!

  • 18. How to tell if your avocado is ripe.

    lifehack-v5-18

    The only important thing you need to know about an avocado is when it isn’t ripe enough. Everything else is stupid because you are either eating it, or tossing it. If you get LUCKY and catch it right on the day it’s ripe, you win. Every other time you lose. Fail.

    Honestly it isn’t that hard to just know when your avocado is ready by look or feel. Just stop being such an neophyte.

    I think my favorite part of this image is how the individual photos aren’t even aligned properly. The creator just couldn’t be to align them in his rush to share this gem with the world.

  • 19. Do this next time when you’re trying microwave multiple things at once.

    lifehack-v5-19

    If this is common enough that you need a life hack to manage it. Buy a bigger microwave it’s like $100.

  • 20. Lose an earring?

    lifehack-v5-20

    If you are planning on vacuuming the entire floor with this contraption, you could probably find the erring with your eyeballs just as easily. This would be useful if the erring is in a place you just can’t quite reach, and you need a boost.

  • 21. Use duct tape to open up those tight lids.

    lifehack-v5-22

    It’s only a jar. Use your hand.

  • 22. The acidity in Coke can come in useful.

    3A4B7F59-7BC0-418E-8DC3-2D3C317A05BF

    I can’t imagine a toilet that is so in need of emergency cleaning that you don’t have time to take a trip to the store to get an actual cleaner. On top of that, I highly doubt this works… But who am I to talk, I am just a dork.

  • 23. The ultimate space saving trick.

    There is a video, but I am not even going to link it here. The “hack” to save space is to build some sort of contraption that hides your computer under your bed. Like I always say, it isn’t a life hack if you need to bring out a toolbox and learn to be a carpenter.

NES A to Z vol 31

  • Crash n the Boys Street Challenge - 1/1

    It looks like a compilation of sports games with little violence built in. We only played one out of a bunch of games. The controls seemed complex to say the least, but I think that probably gives this game some solid depth. I love River City Ransom and I love Super Dodge Ball so this game pretty much has to be awesome. If you can pick this up I think you should.

  • Crisis Force - 1/1

    I was shocked to see that this top down shooter supports simultaneous co-op play! On top of that, the game had awesome gameplay. You could change the configuration of your ship at any time which effected how it shoots, there are tons of power-ups, great graphics and some kind of super phoenix mode. If you like co-op games I highly recommend this one. I guess it was never released in the US… BUT WHY!?

  • Crystal Mines - 0/1

    This reminds me a lot of Boulder Dash. You navigate a grid-based mine full of dirt and evil wookies looking for crystals. Once you have all the crystals a door opens and you go to the next level. There is a 2-player mode, but it is alternating which pretty much means there is no 2-player mode in my opinion. Oh yeah, it isn’t any fun.

  • Crystalis - 1/1

    The best way I can describe this is by calling it a Zelda clone. Not to say that is a bad thing, Zelda is a great game, and there is plenty of design space in the top-down action adventure genre. Crystalis seems like a pretty great game itself, the graphics, sounds and controls are good. Obviously five minutes are not sufficient to explore a game like this but I can see the potential.

  • Cyber Stadium Series Base Wars - 1/1

    Wow after all of my disdain for sports games, I find this absolute treasure. It reminds me a lot of NFL Blitz but baseball, and with robots! Pitching and batting is fun, and anytime you would get tagged by a baseball you battle to the death (destruction). I would play this again for sure. Love it.

LootCrate vs NerdBlock Unboxing/Review

Well as you can see from my videos I was not very impressed with either of these offerings. I am especially upset with the LootCrate. I watched a bunch of LootCrate unboxings on youtube before I went for it, and the items they received seemed much stronger than the items from the Feb edition. Maybe this one was just a bad batch…

The shirt is the best part, which is why I would urge you to sub to NerdBlock is anything because they will always send a shirt. Although like I said in the LootCrate video, if you like graphic t-shirts just buy yourself a graphic t-shirt every month. The toys are a pretty big let down but lets compare them anyway.

LootCrate had a colorful bow tie, which is pretty cool. Unfortunately it isn’t a real bow tie. Other than that it sucked. A shitty black bag? A free downloadable comic? A pin? Joke city.

NerdBlock had much better toys. The squishy Captain America is sweet. The Halo figures are pretty awesome. I applied those little stickers to the back of my laptop right away and I am happy with them. Even those lego-like figures of which I got Uncle Ben would probably be awesome if you got better characters. I wonder if those actually are random, or if everyone got Uncle Ben? Report back.

Finally ruling on both of these services?

0of1

product showcase of yomi set

Yomi: The Best Card Game You’ve Never Played

Have you ever been inside someone’s mind so deep you feel like you are reading their soul? Do you want to try? Play ten Yomi games against the same opponent in a row, and the two of you will develop a bond like none you have ever had. That is how powerful this card game is.

product showcase of yomi set

Imagine rock-paper-scissors, poker, and a fighting game all rolled into one. That might be the best way to describe Yomi. Doesn’t it sound great? Yomi is a fighting game (like Street Fighter, Tekken, or Soul Calibur) except in card game form, printed on multiple standard 54 card decks of playing cards (52 cards and 2 jokers). The reason I say “decks” is because each deck is a separate character, and each card is a “move” that character can perform. The standard shipping of Yomi comes with 10 decks, or 10 characters, although only two are required to actually play the game. The rock-paper-scissors is translated in this game to attack, throw and block/dodge with attacks beating throws, throws beating block/dodge and block/dodge beating attack. The beauty of the usually boring RPS crapshoot is the fact that outcomes of the clashes are asymmetrical. Meaning sometimes it’s better to play certain moves, and sometimes it’s better for your opponent to play certain moves. The simple fact that you must deal damage to your opponent to win the game, and block/dodge doesn’t deal any damage is enough to throw the RPS triangle out of whack!

degrey move card from yomi card game

How It Works

You choose a character and draw 7 cards. Each card has 2 sides featuring different actions. Some are block/attack, others dodge/throw. You can play either side of the card, so really your 7 card hand is more like a 14 card hand because each card has two options. Both you and your opponent play a card face down, and then both reveal. You played attack and he played block? Well he wins, and in this case, he gets to draw a card (more options) and he gets to take the block back to his hand (no card disadvantage), you on the other hand must discard your attack and do 0 damage. Both played a throw? Each character has a speed, and the faster throw will win dealing damage. Furthermore, each character has a different distribution of attack-throw-block cards, special ability cards and innate abilities making them all require a radically different style of play. You would think with 10 characters all with different moves and styles the game would quickly degenerate into a unbalanced slugfest where only several characters can compete. Lucky for us David Sirlin has a fetish for asymmetrical game balance and he really shows off with Yomi. No matter what the match up, no characters is hugely favored. It’s possible to get frustrated and feel like you are being steamrolled by some kind of beastly character but more likely you are just getting out-played.

What Makes Yomi Better than Other Card Games?

Firstly, Yomi is a self-contained game. You never make your deck any better, and you will never need to update it. You only need to buy the game once and it’s ready to play forever. So this game isn’t a major investment, but more like a board game that you can bust out every now and then. You don’t need to commit to buying expensive rare cards to give yourself a fighting chance.

Secondly, this is a strategy card game. From my experience, despite being printed on a poker deck, Yomi is probably only 10% luck. Because your opening hand has ~14 options it’s very unlikely that you will be in the “unlucky” position of not having the particular kind of move you feel like you should play. Of course it CAN happen, but it’s never happened to me yet! If you find yourself in a draw “X” or die situation in Yomi it isn’t a matter of bad luck, but a set of mistakes you made earlier in the game. This is a true psychological strategy game. Who can be the better mind-reader. The game has all the math, reading and bluffing elements of poker but without the river-suckouts. And the best part is, the more you play it with the same person the more intense the games get. You start getting reads on them, you can begin baiting them and setting traps while at the same time avoiding getting caught in one of your tricks. It gets my head spinning just thinking about it. This game really is mental combat distilled.

Just Buy It

If you have friends, and you like board games, card games, or poker (and have time to do something other than play poker.) then just buy this. I will give you my word that you will enjoy it thoroughly. I mean the game is just awesome. The characters are all interesting and different, the art is worth looking at, the gameplay is deep and compelling. There is NOTHING BAD ABOUT IT! Also for added bonus you can even play it online for free!!! http://www.fantasystrike.com/dev/

THIS CARD GAME is 10x better than the last game you played. Card game, video game or anything else. Go try it out!!! Then you can buy it from Sirlin’s store http://www.sirlingames.com/ and write me a thank you note for exposing you to this masterpiece. Is it expensive? Yeah it is at about $100 HOWEVER that is probably cheaper than most games you compare it to considering what you get. If you buy ten magic the gathering reconstructed decks it will cast you $100 and you won’t even get to awesome playmats.

"yomi