Board Games \ The Resistance

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Board Games \ The Resistance

So the blog has been a bit quiet recently, mainly because of work and boot camp. And laziness. Also I have been slogging through Kraken so hopefully more book reviews will come soon as I can move onto other titles.

Anyway, I have wanted to write about board games. Not Monopoly or 30 Seconds. The more hard core geeky stuff, although the one I am going to write about today is actually really easy, super fun and will probably result in you not being able to trust your friends and loved ones anymore. It would be perfect for those drinking nights as well because it doesn’t require much attention you just need to be able to pull off your best poker face.

 

How it works:

This game allows five to ten players, it only lasts about 30 minutes per a game, but that depends on how many accusations and arguments break out, also there are no eliminations. So basically there are players who are part of The Resistance and players who are Operatives/Imperial Spies. Working together, and ferreting out the spies The Resistance needs to win at least 3 missions to succeed in overthrowing the government. Only the spies know who each other are and can work together to bring down the The Resistance. For three to five rounds, they must depend on each other to carry out missions against the Empire. At the same time, they must try to deduce the other players’ identities and gain their trust. Each round begins with discussion. When ready, the Leader entrusts sets of Plans to a certain number of players (possibly including himself/herself). Everyone votes on whether or not to approve the assignment. Once an assignment passes, the chosen players secretly decide to Support or Sabotage the mission. Based on the results, the mission succeeds (Resistance win) or fails (Empire win). When a team wins three missions, they have won the game.

 

So pretty much a lot of accusations fly around, a lot of shouting and nobody can trust anyone. For instance my manfellow was a spy 3 times, and I only guessed twice that he was a spy. Keeping an honest face or a poker face is the only way to begin and since nobody trusts anyone else it is difficult to choose your team for a specific mission. This is one of the most fun games I have played and it suitable for people who aren’t into the more difficult stuff.

 

Here’s a video of Will Wheaton explaining and playing The Resistance:

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Sharp Edges

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Sharp Edges

Six friends attend a music festival in the Cederberg. Only five come back. For her seventeenth birthday Demi Crowley invites her five closest friends to join her at a music festival for a party to end all parties. But what was supposed to be the night of their lives soon becomes a nightmare none of them will ever forget. Sharp Edges is a topsy-turvy tale of love, loss and friendship that will stay with you long after the final page has been turned, and leaves you questioning what you really know about your friends.

In her fourth novel for Young Adults, SA Partridge documents the few days and weeks of a group of friends after the death of Demi Crowley. Going inside the mind of teenagers, Partridge gives us a glimpse into the thoughts, actions and heartbreak that shapes the lives of the five friends left alive after a horror weekend at a music festival. Demi the fun loving, happy-go-lucky girl who held together a group of friends, only wants her friends to be happy and to have the best 17th birthday party imaginable – however it ends in her untimely death.

Written from the different viewpoints in the aftermath of the tragedy, Partridge brings to life six characters who are all unique (and demented) in their own way, there are few authors I have read who have written a teen’s point of view so accurately. Reading this book reminded me of the politics and drama of my high school years, the fine balance of teenage friendships is so carefully constructed you could probably pick this group of friends out any high school in South Africa right now. It also reminded me of The Breakfast Club, everyone playing their specific role in their micro-society. Sharp Edges is reminiscent of Barrie Hough’s work, the emotion is captured so perfectly that your heart breaks along with the characters and unlike a lot of YA this book evokes empathy that is hard to find in the genre. It is also refreshing to read about actual teenagers, who are nothing special or supernatural just kids trying to find their way through life. The book hurtles towards a conclusion that will shock the reader and leave you horrified at the so-called friends of Demi Crowley. It is superbly written and a must-read for any YA fan.

Kruger Adventures

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Kruger Adventures

Last weekend we had a family trip to Kruger National Park, I recently bought a 50-250mm lens so I was keen to use it. It was the first time we stayed in a tented camp, Tamboti, which was quite nice however there is a resident baboon troop that are quite a terror and surprisingly, honey badgers that try and bully food from visitors. It was the manfellow’s first trip to Kruger and he thoroughly enjoyed it, even though he almost landed up with a baboon on his head. Luckily I managed to strike fear into said baboon’s heart by screaming like a little girl.

Here are some of the pictures I got over the weekend:

IMG_2482Hyena napping on the side of the road, it was only when I got home that I saw he/she had her face still stained with blood.

IMG_2509Brown Eagle in the tree, it was eating what we assume had once been a hare.

IMG_2578Giraffes drinking. The smallest one closest to the camera too forever to get the courage to drink and finally did.

IMG_2444Relatively big herd of Waterbuck.

IMG_2418And a Ground-Hornbill, just look at those lovely lashes!

 

Guards! Guards!

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Guards! Guards!

An aura of mean-minded resentfulness is thick in the streets of Ankh-Morpork. Insurrection is in the air. The Haves and Have-Nots are about to fall out all over again. The Have-Nots ant some of their own magic. But magic in the hands of amateurs is a dangerous thing. The City Watch is the last line of defence against such unnatural goings-on.

In Guards! Guards! we are introduced to a wonderful array of characters, and Pratchett does not disappoint with the 8th book in the Discworld series. This was the first of the Night’s Watch books I had read, so an introduction to Captain Vimes and his crew of miscreant officers was all new to me. Of course Pratchett’s wit doesn’t change within the series and this book is absolutely hysterical. It has dragons, dwarves, robbers, and secret societies. Carrot is the latest addition to the Night’s Watch and takes his job very seriously which is not really what the Watch is known for. Enter a number of worrying murders by something that should no longer exist and you have a recipe for well… disaster.

Although I love Pratchett’s style I do find he seems to wander a bit and this leads to the reader getting lost, which is something that really annoyed me about Mort. Pratchett seems to keep the thread of this story going quite strong except the final battle scene is a bit muddled it is not as bad as Pratchett has been known to be. The number of different characters will keep you interested throughout the story and their personalities are so well written it makes the book truly an enjoyable read. This book was also part of my BBC Big Read Challenge so another book has been knocked off my TBR pile.

The Five Stages of Grief: Devices

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So last night my manfellow fell asleep with his iPad on his lap, and was awoken at 3 am by the sound of the screen cracking when it hit the ground. This got me to thinking that in this day and age we all experience the loss or damage of a device, and probably go through the following stages of grief:

Denial

The crack isn’t so bad? I can still use it? It doesn’t distort the image too badly? Your friends and family try to console you, but secretly they know the next stage is…

Anger

Then the anger kicks in, normally all of this happens within a few moments of said device breaking. How could I have been so stupid? Why didn’t I buy myself that hideous Otter Box case, this wouldn’t have happened then! Inevitably leading to…

Bargaining

“I guess I could just go without the device, or I could go back to using my old Crapberry.”

“I mean who needs the newest technology anyway?”

“Such a materialistic society that we’ve become.”

“I could probably share my girlfriend’s iPad mini…”

Depression:

When you finally realise you can’t live without said device, that the crack is distorting The Hound’s face even more so during Game of Thrones than you ever thought it could. You pick up the device only to be hit by a bout of depression about its demise into a useless chunk of cracked glass.

 

Acceptance

Then you finally come to terms with the fact that there is nothing to be done but to pay an exorbitant amount of money to have your device fixed, and to replace your chic designer cover with a case that looks like a chew toy for a dog. Then you’re pretty much saying this for the next month…

Letters to a Young Contrarian

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Letters to a Young Contrarian

In the book that he was born to write, provocateur and best-selling author Christopher Hitchens inspires future generations of radicals, gadflies, mavericks, rebels, angry young (wo)men, and dissidents. Who better to speak to that person who finds him or herself in a contrarian position than Hitchens, who has made a career of disagreeing in profound and entertaining ways. This book explores the entire range of “contrary positions”-from noble dissident to gratuitous pain in the butt. In an age of overly polite debate bending over backward to reach a happy consensus within an increasingly centrist political dialogue, Hitchens pointedly pitches himself in contrast. He bemoans the loss of the skills of dialectical thinking evident in contemporary society. He understands the importance of disagreement-to personal integrity, to informed discussion, to true progress-heck, to democracy itself. Epigrammatic, spunky, witty, in your face, timeless and timely, this book is everything you would expect from a mentoring contrarian. Ranging broadly in subject matter, these brief, intellectual primers to life are a stimulating read for anyone who wants to experience the insights, wisdom and advice of today’s leading minds.

This book is a must read for young people, even if you don’t agree with Hitchens who had very strong views and was not afraid to voice them, it is an important book. The book is structured as a letter to “Dear X”directly speaking to the reader, Hitchens first talks about how he became who he was and how it was important to him to voice his opinion. I found this book entertaining, however the beginning was a bit of a struggle for me as Hitchens talks a lot about how he became and continued to be a contrarian in his lifetime. I think this book will become even more important for young people to read as we live in a society where we are told to hush up and not mention our own opinions for fear of offending other people. An important point Hitchens makes is that not only is the opinion of young people important, but that it sometimes morally correct to voice your opinion about a certain matter.

Coming from an English South African home this book really did enlighten me to the fact that even though I have been told (especially in the all-girls high school I attended) that you cannot just speak your mind, as you might offend someone. Don’t voice your opinion on politics or religion too loudly for fear that someone who might be listening could take offense. That is an important point Hitchens makes is that offense is taken, and one should not “respect” others opinions for fear that they might get their feelings hurt. I find this even more important living in South Africa at this current time, where the ruling party is so quick to dish out criticism but when they are criticised it is called “racism” and Apartheid is blamed. The SACP even wants a law that will prevent people from saying nasty things about the president, why should we not be able to voice our opinions? I did not vote for him, I can criticise him if I want to, we have freedom of speech protected by the constitution. This is the point Hitchens makes, one must not fear to be a contrarian and it is sometimes morally right to challenge others. Take Nkandla for example, should South Africans keep quiet while our tax money is used for a private residence for the president? I don’t think so, it is morally wrong that our money gets used for the lavish lifestyle of a politician (in fact many politicians) when there are families that do not even having running water or basic sanitation.

Keep in mind that Hitchens might offend you, don’t read this if you are someone who takes offense easily. Hitchens was also an anti-theist so if you are offended about your religion easily, Hitchens does not hold back but this is why he is probably the only person who could write a book like this, as he was the ultimate contrarian.

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No country for any women

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So while I was sitting in my cubicle I normally catch up on the news during my lunch hour. As I was reading I got an increasingly sick to stomach feeling about all the news. So to give you a taste of the stories popping up on News24 and other sites, you can understand why I was getting increasingly angry at a failing government and failing departments within South Africa. Also just failing human beings in general.

Brave boySo reading News24 these were the stories on the top of the page, for those of you in other countries or in SA who did not hear the horrific story of a 7 year old boy and 4 month old girl who were raped purportedly by the same offender over the weekend. It now emerges that the boy walked home with the tiny girl (who is not in fact his sister) after they had both been raped. The police have at least got a suspect in custody, the girl is in hospital and has undergone reconstructive surgery, and the boy has been released into the care of his parents. The first question which popped into my head after reading this was “Where were the parents?!” Not that the parents are at all to blame for their children being raped but why was a 7 year old and a 4 month old out in on the farm in Ceres and had to walk home in the dark? What possible reason did a 4 month old child have to be away from her parents?! It just makes me angry that the boy was released back to his mother without any qualms? Oh and then the article goes on to say that alcohol and drug abuse is a problem in the area. Are you kidding me? Like that is some excuse for this shit happening?

We then move onto the story about a police officer who shot his wife during an argument with his service pistol. HIS SERVICE PISTOL! This man has been trained and it his job to protect those who can’t protect themselves and uphold the law, shot his wife with his service pistol. I wish I could say this wasn’t a regular occurrence in South Africa but it is.

Now if you aren’t feeling sick already, you could scroll down to the South Africa section and see the following headlines:

Snip

Not to mention the student who was shot at UJ, or the other female student at UJ who was highjacked and robbed last week. I won’t go into the details of these stories, but you can read them here, here, and here. And yes, the toddler who was raped in this highlighted story is not the same as the story above. You’ll also notice that I didn’t highlight Dewani‘s story, I doubt whether justice will ever be served for her or her family. But I hope if he does finally get extradited to South Africa that he gets sent to prison to never see the light of day again.

I then also read this story in the UK about a 13 year old girl who had been a victim of statutory rape described as “predatory in all her actions and she is sexually experienced.” Just so I wouldn’t feel so bad about my own country but that so called first world countries were pretty fucked up too.

Oh and this girl who committed suicide after being bullied on the website ask.fm.

Girl's suicide

However it’s not all doom and gloom, we might have a dysfunctional, actually I don’t think they function in any way, Department for Women, Children and People with Disabilities which my boyfriend and I affectionately call “The Department for Everyone Except Men”. I’m sure they’ll have lots of cupcakes lined up for celebrations on Friday.

So after I have depressed you with all these stories, you can go read the column “Pat a woman on the head day” by David Moseley and have a chuckle and maybe sob a little at how empty Women’s Day really is.

I’m going off to our corporate Women’s Day Lunch, maybe tonight I’ll drown my sorrows in wine. But it would make me feel a lot better if instead of all of us heading to the malls on Friday or before we go away to Oppikoppi or Cape Town for the weekend, if you could donate to Rape Crisis, because rape and violence will not stop this weekend and they need your help. Or any other organisation that you want to donate to, most of them are worthy.