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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Music

 

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EURO 2012 competition

I am organizing a competition for the EURO 2012 tournament. It’s a very simple one as it only asks people to guess the scores of each game and which team progresses in the tournament. Players get points depending on whether they predicted the correct winner or draw and then additional points if they also guessed the correct score. Finally, more points are earned for guessing the correct Golden Boot Winner of the tournament.

What’s great about this is that once this is completed and submitted (prior to the start of the tournament) you don’t bother with it again apart from the accumulation of points. It has enough luck so that almost anyone has a chance to win.

In case anyone wants to do something similar i am posting the rules below and I am also linking the excel spreadsheet i am using for the score prediction, group standings and then the knockout stage.

HERE ARE THE RULES:

  1. BY COMPLETING THE SPREADSHEET, AUTOMATICALLY THE TABLES ARE UPDATED
  2. EACH GAME WILL BE GRADED AS FOLLOWS WHEN YOU PICK THE CORRECT WINNER OR CORRECT SCORE:
    • FIRST ROUND
      • WINNER -3 POINTS
      • TIE- 6 POINTS
      • WINNER WITH CORRECT SCORE – 6 POINTS
      • TIE WITH CORRECT SCORE-  10 POINTS
      • EACH TEAM TO QUALIFY TO THE NEXT ROUND- 10 POINTS
    • QUARTERFINALS
      • WINNER OF A GAME – 5 POINTS
      • TIE – 8 POINTS
      • WINNER WITH CORRECT SCORE – 10 POINTS
      • TIE WITH CORRECT SCORE – 15 POINTS
      • EACH TEAM TO QUALIFY TO THE NEXT ROUND- 15 POINTS
      • NO CHOICE OF TIE ON OVERTIME DURING THIS ROUND. CHOOSE THE WINNER IF YOUR CHOICE FOR THE 90 MINUTES WAS TIE
      • TO GET POINTS FROM INDIVIDUAL GAMES IN THE KNOCKOUT STAGES YOU NEED TO HAVE THE CORRECT PAIR
    • SEMIFINALS
      • WINNER OF A GAME – 8 POINTS
      • TIE -10 POINTS
      • WINNER WITH CORRECT SCORE – 12 POINTS
      • TIE WITH CORRECT SCORE – 15 POINTS
      • TEAMS TO QUALIFY TO THE FINAL- 20
      • NO CHOICE OF TIE ON OVERTIME DURING THIS ROUND. CHOOSE THE WINNER IF YOUR CHOICE FOR THE 90 MINUTES WAS TIE
      • TO GET POINTS FROM INDIVIDUAL GAMES IN THE KNOCKOUT STAGES YOU NEED TO HAVE THE CORRECT PAIR
    • FINAL
      • WINNER OF A GAME -10 POINTS
      • WINNER WITH CORRECT SCORE – 14 POINTS
      • TIE WITH CORRECT SCORE – 18 POINTS
      • FINAL WINNER 32 POINTS
      • NO CHOICE OF TIE ON OVERTIME DURING THIS ROUND. CHOOSE THE WINNER IF YOUR CHOICE FOR THE 90 MINUTES WAS TIE
      • TO GET POINTS FROM INDIVIDUAL GAMES IN THE KNOCKOUT STAGES YOU NEED TO HAVE THE CORRECT PAIR
    • GOLDEN BOOT WINNER – 25 POINTS
 
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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Football

 

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Italian football mess

They are at it again the Italians and once again some extraordinary stuff.

“The roots of the latest scandal lie in the summer of 2011. After a member of Serie B side Cremonese suffered a serious car crash, tests showed that he and other members of the team had been drugged with sleeping pills. The culprit was one of their own teammates, Marco Paolini, who had been attempting to pay off a mounting series of gambling debts by arranging a series of defeats for his bookies. Cremonese’s unexpected winning streak had forced him to take desperate measures.”

Two articles in the Guardian .Italy’s Euro 2012 camp hit by dawn police raid and Latest Italian match-fixing scandal met with both fury and weary resignation

Of course the last 2 times Italian football was investigated for a big match fixing scandal the national team went on to the win the World Cup (1982 and 2006)….

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2012 in Football

 

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Boardgames Cafe

It’s an idea that’s been going round in my head lately after finding out about a boardgame cafe in Toronto, Canada. It’s called Snakes and Lattes and it’s a cafe with a collection of over 2.000 games which people can choose from to play.

The business plan is quite optimistic and aggressive as they charge CAD5 (EUR3.9) per adult and CAD2.5 (EUR1.95) per child. That’s on top of anything you drink or eat. That sounds quite a lot but it makes sense because you need to make sure you can cover the wear and tear of all these games. The cafe of course organises special game nights and also has recommendations for games of the week. It also sells a limited number of boardgames but i don’t think that’s an important revenue source. It mostly complements the service offered there and it provides the opportunity for people to try out different games and if they prove such a hit to be bought on the spot.

Snakes and Lattes first opened its doors in 2010 so it seems that its approach is working so far. Would an idea like that work in Cyprus? I don’t know. Because you are not only catering to a very small market (Toronto>Nicosia) but also a very immature market where board games are concerned. There are some cafes that cater to the pilota lovers or the occasional Taboo game but they don’t charge anything extra. So as far business plans are concerned these are just regular cafes.

By charging extra, let’s say EUR4 per adult you will have to compete with other forms of entertainment such as movies which cost EUR8 or going out for a drink. This means that it will be difficult to convince people that it’s worth paying for, especially now that everyone is a lot more cost conscious. Also, people are not aware of most of these games so you need to overcome the barrier of not only the idea of boardgames but also the learning curve of the individual board game. So, you will need to have someone there available to explain the rules of games to people that want to play. It’s actually something that Snakes and Lattes does but i am not sure to what extent.

So, to summarize:

  • Small market for a niche service/product
  • Even though you offering something unique you will still be compared to a highly competitive cafe market
  • Immature board games market
  • Expensive when compared to regular cafes and comparable to other night out options.

It does not look promising.

As it is highly unlikely that there will be enough people for 5-7 days a week what one could do is have the cafe open only on weekends and maybe on public holidays. At the same time though costs will need to be covered regardless of the number of days the cafe is operating e.g. rent.

It looks like a dead end, but maybe someone will pick up the idea and go for it. There is definitely no demand right now for such a place but could it be created?

 
 

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Bank run

“One is reminded of the statement by Sir Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, who once said that it may not be rational to start a bank run, but it is rational to participate in one.”

Financial Times

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2012 in Quotes

 

T.G.I Zolos, 25 May 2012

Another week ends and the second ever T.G.I Zolos is here. So here we go!

  • TV Series – I watched Justified Season 3 this week and i was disappointed. It was watchable but i enjoyed the first two seasons a lot more. A criticism i have is that they tried too hard to make all the villains interesting and clever but in the end they come off looking pretty much the same. All of them have their monologues whereby they try to showcase their intelligence both at street level and at a more academic level. But they remain shallow. For example one of the more important villains in Season 3 is always doing the same thing at a slaughterhouse and always sounds and acts the same throughout the season. In my eyes the show tries to make everyone appear like Al Swearengen (Ian McShane’s character in HBO’s Deadwood). But the script there was a lot better and because they only did it with that character it made him unique and went a lot deeper than Justified. Also Boy Crowder’s character, who was fantastic in the first 2 seasons loses a lot of his “steam”. All in all, a still enjoyable series but they need to do something more next season to keep me interested.
  • Movies – I recommend Los Ojos De Julia which is a thriller about a woman who is losing her sight and also Carancho an argentinian film. Also enjoyed Kung Fu Panda which was better than i expected. Killer Elite is an ok pop corn action movie while i did not get why Hitchcock’s Lifeboat is considered to be so good. I do not think it withstood the test of time compared to say The Battle of Algiers. Last but certainly not least is Once Upon a Time in Anatolia. It’s a turkish film and it’s excellent. It’s one of those films i can’t explain why i enjoyed so much. I’ve never found myself more interested and so tense while watching an apple roll down a hill.
  • DocumentariesToo Big To Fail was a huge disappointment as i disagreed a lot with the perspective it took. That Hank Paulson was more of a part of the solution to the crisis than part of the problem. This battle he gave at the expense of his health to save the financial system. This applies to other people like Timothy Geithner, the current Secretary of the Treasury. If you are interested in a documentary about the sub-prime mortgage financial crisis watch Inside Job instead. Apart from the cheesy ending it’s superb. When China Met Africa is a documentary on the expansion of Chinese investments in Zambia to get to the country’s natural resources. It’s more like “reality tv” than documentary and although it’s disappointing that there isn’t anything that people don’t already know it is still worth watching.
  • Boardgames – Played the cooperative game of Flash Point: Fire Rescue with a friend of mine aka The Big Dude. It’s a game where you play as firemen and are trying to rescue people and pets from a burning house. It’s extremely thematic and after a couple of plays it’s easy to understand what you need to do. It plays fast, 45mins, and it has a level of randomness which prevents people from taking over and giving orders to other players on what needs to be done to solve the puzzle. It’s also very versatile in terms of people you can play it with. Both with more hardcore gamers but also with people who prefer to play on a more casual basis.

    Another game i played was High Society which is a 30-40mins auction card game where you bid to buy prestige points. At the end of the game the player who has the most points wins. But that player needs to have more money still in his hand than at least one other player. Light on rules but heavy on tension and interaction among the players. I liked this one a lot.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2012 in T.G.I Zolos

 

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Boardgame – Shipyard

On Monday, i played a game of Shipyard with my regular boardgame group, with ME and SI. For myself and SI it was our second time while for ME it was his first.

The game puts you as the owner of a shipyard and through the selection of different actions you get to build ships. And you do actually build them by purchasing the ship parts, equipment, hiring crew and placing them in front of you, on your shipyard board. The ships you build give you points during the test cruise or as it is called the “shakedown cruise”. In addition, you get points at the end of the game according to the secret government contracts you have in your hand. The player with the most points wins the game.

Initial impressions can be intimidating as the number of components in this game is quite big for a euro game and it takes quite a bit of space on the table.

However, because the game is so thematic once you start playing it every action you take makes sense. You can be overwhelmed by the number of options you have available but that’s something that will change with more plays. It feels more like you are building ships than playing a game. As a reviewer i follow said of this game it’s as if the designer of Shipyard thought of the theme first and then made a boardgame of it.

Our game took around 2hrs which i find ideal. There is almost no direct interaction between the players although you can block other players’ actions. Usually that’s just a bonus of doing the action you want to do and not a reason to do that action. I can see me trying it with 2 players (although the rules are different) as well but not with 4 because I think it will drag.

In our Monday game ME won as he scored more points both from the test cruises and also from the government contracts. I came last even though i had some good government contracts. I started off badly and went downhill from there as i never made a plan of how to prioritise my ship building.

It’s one of the most satisfying games I’ve played in a while and although i am not rating it as high as Dominant Species or Caylus i can see it becoming a favourite in our group.

Verdict: Recommend!

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Board games

 

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