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Author Archives: Costas Taliadoros

About Costas Taliadoros

Slighly bored, confused, in pain and desperately need some exercise.

Books in 2016

What a glorious year it was. One of the best i can remember in every way. In terms of quality, quantity and variety.

I really have to start with Elena Ferrante’s books which have been added to my all time favourite books. A masterpiece book series.

Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up had a profound effect on me which helped me de-clutter my life significantly. It’s a book i keep going back to and read a chapter here and there.

I also managed to re-read a book which once again met my very high expectations, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Two remarkable books on the Congo, King Leopold’s Ghost and Dancing in the Glory of Monsters.

The Signature of all Things was probably the surprise of the year. I picked it up after reading James Harris’ “review“. Alma Whittaker was a wonderful character.

The complete list of books read below.

NON-FICTION

MUST READ

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo

King Leopold’s Ghost, by Adam Hoschild

Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa, by Jason Stearns

HIGHLY RECOMMEND

Blood and Thunder: An Epic of the American West, by Hampton Sides

Breaking Rockefeller: The Incredible Story of the Ambitious Rivals Who Toppled an Empire, by Peter B. Doran

RECOMMEND

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain

Love’s Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy, by Irvin D. Yalom

FICTION

MUST READ

To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (this was a re-read)

The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Story of The Lost Child, by Elena Ferrante

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, by Elena Ferrante

The Story of a New Name, by Elena Ferrante

My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante

HIGHLY RECOMMEND

A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman

The Gift of Rain, by Tan Twan Eng

The Big Nowhere, by James Ellroy

The Ace of Skulls, by Chris Wooding

RECOMMEND

Imperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome, by Robert Harris

AVOID

The Inheritance of Loss, by Kiran Desai

 

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Posted by on January 29, 2018 in Books

 

Books in 2017

This is my first post about books in almost 2.5 years. I never did write a review of books i read for 2016 and for 2015 i wrote something in August detailing the year up until then. My intention was to just cover 2017 but after seeing how great a year 2016 was it would be a shame to not write a post about that year too.

Let’s get back to 2017 though. Now that i’ve written all the books down i can see what has always felt to have been a very poor year. Maybe mediocre is a better word for it. I had a craving for thrillers and unfortunately most of my picks proved to be quite forgettable.

The exceptions (highlighted below in bold) were Luke McCallin’s Gregor Reinhart Trilogy and A Delicate Truth by John Le Carre.

Another thing that catches the eye is that i only read 1 non-fiction book. I am not sure why to be honest.

Finally at the end of this year i wanted to read books that my eldest niece (almost 10 years old) is reading. I started with The Witches by Roald Dahl which was disappointing but followed it up last week with the brilliant Matilda. I feel children books will be a theme for me this year.

NON-FICTION

Dollars and Sense: How we Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter, by Dan Ariely

FICTION

The Divided City, by Luke McCallin

The Pale House, by Luke McCallin

The Man from Berlin, by Luke McCallin

Sashenka, by Simon Sebag Montefiore

The Girl Who Wasn’t There, by Ferdinach von Schirach

Anything is Possible, by Elizabeth Strout

Bad Blood, by Brian McGilloway

My Name is Lucy Barton, by Elizabeth Strout

A Delicate Truth, by John Le Carre

The Collini Case, by Ferdinach von Schirach

The Witches, by Roald Dahl

Empire State, by Adam Christopher

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2018 in Books

 

Board games – 4th Quarter 2017 review

Total plays: 111 (155 in 2016, 129 in 2015, 90 in 2014, 70 in 2013)

Distinct games35 (57 in 2016, 52 in 2015, 39 in 2014, 44 in 2013)

New-to-me games14 (31 in 2016, 24 in 2015, 14 in 2014, 26 in 2013)

Ten+ times: 1  (3 in 2016, 2 in 2015, 0 in 2014, 0 in 2013)

Spirit Island

Five+ Times: 2 (5 in 2016, 3 in 2015, 3 in 2014, 2 in 2013)

Strike, Die Fiesen 7

COLLECTION

Acquired: 3

Pandemic Legacy: Season 2, Winner’s Circle, Mintworks (this was a present)

I bought 1 game that broke my resolution and i am very happy with this. 

Removed: 32

Too many to add. The collection cull will continue in 2018. 

Owned:  182 (211)

I think my target is around 100-125 games at the moment.

Unplayed: 37 (67)

Best New to me: 

Ethnos, Die Fiesen 7 and Defenders of the Last Stand

 

New 10s:  N/A

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Board games – 3rd Quarter 2017 review

Total plays: 86 (131 in 2016, 124 in 2015, 97 in 2014, 71 in 2013)

Distinct games32 (52 in 2016, 43 in 2015, 39 in 2014, 28 in 2013)

New-to-me games12 (15 in 2016, 15 in 2015, 13 in 2014, 9 in 2013)

Strike, Spirit Island, Roll Player, Medici: TCG, Blood Bowl, Dice Forge, Exit series, The Lost Expedition, Barenpark, A Game of Thrones: Hand of the King, Kanagawa, Viticulture: Essential Edition,

Ten+ times: 2  (1 in 2016, 0 in 2015, 1 in 2014, 1 in 2013)

Spirit Island, Strike

Five+ Times: 1 (9 in 2016, 8 in 2015, 6 in 2014, 2 in 2013)

Too Many Bones

COLLECTION

Acquired: 12

Trains, Trains: Rising Sun, Ortus Regni, Blue Moon: Legends, Automobiles, Automobiles: Racing Season, Millennium Blades, Roll Player, Defenders of the Last Stand, Spirit Island, Branch & Claw expansion, Tiefe Taschen

Removed: 22

Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective, Dixit, Dixit: Odyssey, Dixi 2, Mare Nostrum: Empires, Mare Nostrum: Atlas expansion, Time Stories, Under The Mask, Expedition Edurance, The Lost Expedition, Bruges, Vikings, The Fall of Pompeii, Marcy Case, Stephenson’s Rocket, The Downfall of Pompeii, Exit Series (The Secret Lab, The Abandoned Cabin, The Pharaoh’s Tomb), Mission: Red Planet, Brewcrafters, Liberte.

I made a public pledge not to buy any more games (apart from Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 and a kickstarter i pledged for) until the end of the year. This will solve the acquisition addiction while i continue to dispose of games.

Owned:  211 (221)

Unplayed: – (67)

Best New to me:

Spirit Island is one of the best games i’ve played in years. Definitely my favourite co-op game of all time.

Also enjoyed Roll Player, Kanagawa.

New 10s:  Spirit Island

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Board games – 2nd Quarter 2017 review

Total plays: 137 (100 in 2016, 221 in 2015, 98 in 2014, 78 in 2013)

Distinct games: 34 (37 in 2016, 39 in 2015, 41 in 2014, 32 in 2013)

New-to-me games: 16 (9 in 2016, 12 in 2015, 12 in 2014, 10 in 2013)

Although worse than 2016 big improvement (i.e fewer) compared to 1st quarter of  2017 and end of 2016.

Ten+ times: 2  (1 in 2016, 2 in 2015, 0 in 2014, 1 in 2013)

Magic Maze, Hanamikoji. Two superb games.

Five+ Times: 5 (2 in 2016, 6 in 2015, 5 in 2014, 4 in 2013)

Too Many Bones, Insider, Fabled Fruit, Leaving Earth, Red7.

COLLECTION

Acquired: 8

Exit Series (The Secret Lab, The Abandoned Cabin, The Pharaoh’s Tomb), Magic Maze, Kerala, Zany Penguins, Startups, Medici: The Card Game.

YESSS!!! Down to single digits! Especially considering that the Exit series are basically one use games. Next target is to less than five. Very happy with this one. 🙂 🙂 

Removed: 15

Stronghold, Rallyman, Trieste, Unlock, Quartermaster General, QMG: Air Marshal, QMG: Victory or Death, Neuroshima Hex, Wallenstein, Time Stories: A Prophecy of Dragons, Level 7: Omega Protocol, Level 7: Extreme Prejudice, Codenames, Cube Quest, Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game.

Still need to reduce further but a regular outflow. I can see the difference in my flat. Positive difference.

Owned:  221 (228)

Unplayed: 70 (67)

Best New to me:

Magic Maze is giving me that coop feeling i had with Hanabi. Love it!

Startups, Too Many Bones, Scythe, Village and Leaving Earth were also very enjoyable.

New 10s: n/a

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2017 in Board games

 

Board games – 1st Quarter 2017 review

Total plays: 114 (173 in 2016, 136 in 2015, 108 in 2014, 64 in 2013)

Distinct games: 41 (51 in 2016, 41 in 2015, 36 in 2014, 28 in 2013)

Better.

New-to-me games: 21 (26 in 2016, 9 in 2015, 17 in 2014)

Slight improvement but still too many new games. 

Ten+ times: 2  (2 in 2016, 1 in 2015, 3, in 2014, 0 in 2013)
Comancheria: The Rise and Fall of the Comanche Empire, Fabled Fruit

Five+ Times: 4 (12 in 2016, 2 in 2015, 5 in 2014, 3 in 2013)
TIME Stories, Hanamikoji, Pandemic: The Cure, Xenoshyft

Collection

Acquired: 19

( A Game of Thrones: Hand of the King, Hanamikoji, Fuji Flush, Kingdom Builder, Ra, Stephenson’s Rocket, Pandemic: Iberia, Xenoshyft, Troyes, The Big Book of Madness, Jump Drive, Cacao, Final Touch, Watson & Holmes, Mamma Mia!, Die Fiesen 7, Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game, Jeju Island, Sherlock Holmes: Jack the Ripper)

Online shopping is an addiction which i need to pay more attention to.

Removed: 19

(Sekigahara, 13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis, Spyfall, Incan Gold, Rockwell, Guildhall: Job Faire, Animals on Board, Galaxy Trucker: The Big Expansion, Survive, St Petersburg, Ginkgopolis, Medina, Longhorn, Trajan, Maria, Rococo, Leo, Chicken Cha Cha, Guilds of London)

Owned:  230 (230)

Unplayed: 67 (70)

Best New to me:  Comancheria: The Rise and Fall of the Commanche Empire, Fabled Fruit, Hanamikoji, Pandemic: The Cure, Xenoshyft

Comancheria is an exceptional solo game while Hanamikoji is probably the best micro game i’ve ever played. 

New 10s: n/a

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Board game resolutions – 2017

Acquisitions 24

This is extremely important as i am addicted to online shopping. There’s no way i can stick to zero (0) acquisitions for an entire year so the goal will be 24, which is 2 per month.

Unplayed owned games 35-45

I have 70 as at 1 January 2017. Aiming for 0 unplayed in 2017 will prove difficult, even impossible. Also it will clash with the Fifty by Fifty target (see below).

A more reasonable target i believe is to reduce that number to between 35-45 by the end of the year. This should help with the reduction of the number of acquisitions over the year.

Collection 160-170

The collection is 226 games excluding expansions. The long term aim is to have half as many but for the year 2017 i’d like to be between 160-170 which means disposing at least 80 games considering that i stick to the 24 acquisitions target.

Long Term Resolution -> Fifty by Fifty project

“H-Index” is X games you’ve played X times e.g if you have played 10 games 10+ times but haven’t played 11 games 11+ times then your H-Index is 10.

Playing fewer games more times is something i’ve been wanting to do for the past couple of years. This will give me a target and  a record my progress.

My goal is 50 i.e. play 50 games 50+ times each.

At this time my H-Index is 19.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2017 in Board games, Uncategorized