Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dragon Pass

My wife surprised me this afternoon with a present - an old board game she had picked up at an op shop for $2.  It was Dragon Pass, a fantasy wargame produced by Avalon Hill in 1984.  For a 27 year old board game the box was in reasonable condition.

I carefully removed the sticky tape from the lid and opened the box.  The two counter sheets were partly punched and there were loose counters at the bottom of the box (not a good sign).  However, the board and rule book were in great condition.  I sat down and replaced the counters into the counter sheets and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was 100% complete.  Sweet. 

A nice little find. I'll likely list this on eBay to fund future game purchases. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Queen visits Brisbane

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh visited my hometown of Brisbane, Australia today.  After arriving at the airport they took a cruise on the luxury motor yacht Pure Adrenalin along the Brisbane River to South Bank.  It was here that Her Majesty officially opened Rain Bank, an initiative to improve water efficiency throughout the Parklands at Rainforest Green.

From my vantage point in my office I was able to view the yacht as it motored up the river and docked at South Bank. The Queen was just a tiny speck but I could just make her out...barely.

You can see the white yacht docked at South Bank in front of the Brisbane Wheel.  Thousands of people can be seen on Victoria Bridge and in the Parklands waiting to view the Queen. 

I took these pictures with my iPhone 4.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gaming with Grandma - 125

Another Sunday morning gaming session with my mother (AKA Grandma) and my two daughters Maddie (10) & Georgia (5).

Last weekend we introduced Maddie to Monopoly in a game with my wife, father-in-law and me.  Maddie loved it.  I guess when I was a kid I also enjoyed the play money, the randomness of movement and cards and people paying me rent.  Maddie also ended up winning her first game of Monopoly.  She has been bugging us to play it again all week.

So this morning Grandma, Maddie, Georgia and I sat down for a three player game of Monopoly (Georgia was my dice roller).  After several turns we all had a good portfolio of properties but no one had a monopoly of any one colour.  Then Maddie offered me Vine Street (for an exorbitant price) and I was able to compete the set of brown properties.  After that I quickly put a hotel on each and sat back and waited.  It wasn't long before these properties started raking in the cash.

I then bought out another property from Maddie when she offered it to obtain more cash.  I then had another monopoly on a colour range and was able to build more hotels.  It wasn't long before it was game over with Maddie going out.

Let's just say Maddie didn't enjoy this game as much as her first.  Learning to enjoy playing games even when you don't win is a sign of maturity.  Maddie is only 10 after all.  That said, I didn't really enjoy this game either and I won, but then I'm not a fan of Monopoly.

Friday, October 21, 2011

F/A-18F Super Hornet Formation Flyover

I took an early lunch break to see an historic flyover of 20 of the new RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornets.  I decided to view the flyover with hundreds of other office workers from the centre of Victoria Bridge in Brisbane.  The Department of Defence said the flyover was part of a welcoming ceremony for four new Super Hornets and may never be repeated.  Here's the video I filmed with my iPhone 4.

The one-off performance was arranged to welcome four new Super Hornet jets.  A fleet of 16 jets left Amberley after 10am (AEST) for a point off North Stradbroke Island, before speeding south to cross the coast at Southport and continuing south to Tweed Heads.  They then turned and headed north to a point off the Sunshine Coast where they were joined by the four new Super Hornets.  The formation flew over Noosa Heads and headed south, passing over Brisbane's CBD en route to Ipswich and the RAAF base at Amberley.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Gaming with Grandma - 124

Another Sunday morning gaming session with my mother (AKA Grandma) and my two daughters Maddie (10) & Georgia (5).

Our first game of the morning was Haunted Castle.  This is a fast-paced card game where each round a card showing seven characters is flipped.  There are a possible eight characters so the object is to be the first to identify the missing characters on each card.  If you are correct you keep the card as a point.  We played two games.  Scores from Game 1 were me 16, Grandma 8, Maddie 5 and Georgia 4.  Scores from Game 2 were me 17, Maddie 8, Grandma 7 and Georgia 1.

Our second game was The Simpsons Slam Dunk Card Game (AKA It's Mine).  This is always a fast, tense game and being able to slam your hand on the table and yell out "Slam dunk!" is cool.  Understanding the scoring system and knowing when to claim a row of cards is the key to this game and therefore Georgia sat this one out.  I cleaned up in this game with the final score being me 58, Grandma 21 and Maddie 7.

Our final game of the morning was For Sale.   This is one of Maddie's favourite games and we've played it many times before.  It's been a while since we last played it though.  At the end I felt sure I was going to win. However, after we added up the scores Grandma took the win with $82K, me $79K and Maddie $52K.

Hot Slug Sex

Here's some gastropod porn for you. I noticed these two Red Triangle Slugs getting it on at the rear of my house this morning. We've had a couple of storms over the last few days and these slugs tend to come out after rain.

Slugs are hermaphrodites, having both male and female genitalia. These two have followed the normal Red Triangle Slug sex position (they only have one) by encircling each other and exchanging sperm through their protruded genitalia. In a few days they will lay around 30 eggs in a hole in the ground, or beneath the cover of an object such as a fallen log.

The hole you can see in the distinctive red triangle marking is a breathing pore.

These slugs feed only on algae so you don't have to worry about them eating your plants. I find them not only beautiful to look at, but also helpful to have in my yard.

I've blogged about Red Triangle Slugs in a previous post.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Gaming with Grandma - 123

Another Sunday morning gaming session with my 10 year old daughter Maddie, 5 year old daughter Georgia and my mother (AKA Grandma).

Our game today was HeroQuest. This is a game I've owned for quite some time but have been waiting for the 'right time' to play with Grandma and the girls. HeroQuest states on the box it is for ages 10 and up so my only concern was with Georgia being half that age. I wasn't worried she would be able to understand the game it was more keeping her interested throughout the entire playing time. Maddie volunteered to update Georgia's character sheet for her during the game.

Oddly enough I've never played HeroQuest before. I've read the rules a number of times and so for our first game I took on the role of the Game Master. Maddie chose the Elf, naming her Elirrian (and choosing one of my 25mm pewter miniatures to represent her), Georgia was the Barbarian, naming her Lora, and Grandma was the Wizard, naming her character Zelda.

I chose to run the adventurers through the first quest which was called The Trial. The party was tasked with journying to the east and entering the catacombs which contain Fellmarg's Tomb. The had to seek out and destroy Verag, a foul Gargoyle who hides in the catacombs.

Georgia, playing the Barbarian, was the main slayer of the monsters and this kept her involved for the majority of the game. Grandma and Maddie used their spells to good effect at crucial times and also waded into battle when they could. They had fun exploring the catacombs and defeating the foul guardians of the tomb. However, they were battered and bruised when they faced Verag the Gargoyle and his minions in the climactic battle. After a hard fought combat there were cheers all round when they prevailed.

They all enjoyed the game although it took about 90 minutes and Georgia's attention began to wander towards the end. We'll definitely be playing HeroQuest again though.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Steve Jobs

I haven't really been an Apple fan until the last couple of years, although the first computer I bought was an Apple IIe back in 1986. I love and use my Apple iPhone every day and it was via that Apple product that I found out about his death today. Sad news.