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Joshua Buergel
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My game is out! Fox in the Forest is my two-player trick-taking game, designed to give a classic feel while filling a rare niche. If you want to read more, there's some info at my publisher's page here: http://foxtrotgames.com/forest/. I wanted to work with Randy, as he's a lover of classic games like me, and I knew he'd do a great job making the game the best it could be. I think it came out extremely well.

It's in stock at Miniature Market (https://www.miniaturemarket.com/rgs0574.html), but should be widely available at lots of stores.
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One of my very favorite blogs has J.K. Rowling reviewing the Violent Femmes today.
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First day of school! Trying to get Mister to smile for a photo is basically impossible. Alas.
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9/7/16
4 Photos - View album
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(A rare public post from me.)

We have a new card game up for pre-order right now, Farmageddon! This is an all-new edition of a game that Grant has been working on for years, and I helped out with the further development on this edition. It looks great, it plays better, and it's just a ridiculous pile of combo-happy fun in a box. Pre-orders are incredibly important for us - without them, it's really very difficult to keep going. For a variety of reasons, this game isn't on Kickstarter, and as a result, we don't have that visibility. So, please take a look at it, and if it seems interesting, please order. It helps us tremendously:

https://shop.trycelery.com/page/adf07218-0323-469f-8375-b38d2b457f54

If you want to read more, please feel free to ask or you can read a bunch of stuff here:

http://hyperbolegames.com/game/farmageddon
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The moment has arrived, the game I've spent the last year and a half working on is now on Kickstarter! $15 gets you a copy of the game, shipping included (in the US). Everything you could want to know is on this page, and I appreciate any help you might provide: backing, sharing, talking about the project, anything. Thanks!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1312152563/hocus-a-magical-card-game
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(As usual, these music posts are about the only public things I post. They're pretty rare.)

As I posted yesterday, De La Soul is running a Kickstarter to make a new album (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1519102394/de-la-souls-new-album). I was thinking about it, and I think among bands I still listen to regularly, I've probably been listening to De La Soul longer than any of them. I bought 3 Feet High and Rising in the fall of 1989, after hearing "Say No Go", which blew my mind. That means they beat They Might Be Giants by maybe six months - I bought Flood within a couple weeks of release in early 1990. I had heard Lincoln once, during the summer of 1989, but I don't think that really counts. 

And even since buying that first De La album, I've listened to them more or less continuously. There have been ups (Stakes is High) and downs (AOI: Mosaic Thump), but they've always been with me. And if they want a few bucks to make a new album, I'm totally willing to help out. So far, it's a career bookended by these two songs so far (the first real song on the first album, and the last song on their current last album):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0irL1M15DH8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5t-bI8ZdoU

Digging into their history, the first album was kind of a revelation. In the middle of a scene that was getting grimmer, darker, and harder, De La Soul dropped an album that was dayglo and psychedelic. Prince Paul did production on it, showing off his cracked genius to a wider audience for the first time, and the album was pretty far out of the mainstream at the time. Nevertheless, the album was a massive success. Who can resist a song where they flip a Hall & Oates song for the beat? 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08X5CVfL0bk 

But even here, we see that the lyrical content is tackling heavy stuff, even though the music might be bright and shiny. At any rate, 3 Feet was a massive hit, driven by singles like "Me, Myself and I" and "Say No Go". This was also the biggest album of the Native Tongues group, which included A Tribe Called Quest and the Jungle Brothers. Everybody wondered what the follow up would look like, and the pressure was on. De La Soul was very young when they recorded 3 Feet, just teenagers, and the sudden rise to fame wore on them. When the next album eventually did emerge, it appeared to be a conscious rejection of all that hippie imagery, complete with dead flowers on the cover. 

The music inside was similar in a lot of ways, but there were changes in attitude there as well. The framing device this time is bullies coming across the new tape in the schoolyard, and hating it, instead of the goofy game show framing device of the first album. There are shiny happy beats in places, but there's also stuff like "My Brother's A Basehead": 

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G71x2Yq-5A8

And, darkest of all, "Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa", a sober song tackling the story of a girl who was being molested by her father, a well-liked counselor at their school. The members of De La are all recounting their part in the story, disbelieving her when she reached out to them, not taking her seriously when she asked where she could get a pistol, and finally a description of the final confrontation. It's quite a song, made better by what what is probably Prince Paul's best beat on the record: 

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faiER856zQU

At any rate, the album wasn't as successful. The best songs on the record are on the dark side, and there wasn't anything nearly as huge as "Me, Myself and I" to drive sales. It also doesn't help that the album is a bit long and a bit sloppy, with more throwaway stuff on it. If De La Soul was looking to deflate their fame, the album succeeded. Still successful, but it wasn't the mass market thing the first one was. 

From there, there was still clearly an itch to grow up. The image most people still had of them was still the dippy hippie thing, so the third album continued to try and distance themselves from the teenagers who made that first record. The third record is more surprising with the beats, it's jazzier, and it continued to try and tackle tough topics. "Patti Dooke" tackles racism in the music industry: 

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exdbzs15ebw

An even bigger changeup was an instrumental track, "I Be Blowin'", featuring Maceo Parker on sax: 

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plLQfMKp33s

That track would form the basis for the introspective "I Am I Be", a truly great, laid back track that features an amazing first verse from Posdnuos, maybe his best ever: 

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Svw1b--jKCE

Buhloone Mindstate was a critical success, their most complete and mature album to date, easily. It was, however, something of a popular flop. None of the singles did much, and the public had moved on from a band that was clearly not going to just repeat their popular stuff. Great for their art, not great for their following. 

Ever restless, they took maybe their biggest step away from their past on their next album, Stakes is High. Specifically, they parted ways with Prince Paul, with the production credits spread mostly among the band. Stakes is High is a divisive album, with some fans thinking it might be their best work (me), and then some crazy people. Missing is the old dusty rock stuff that Prince Paul would put in, but there are plenty of places where the more spare beats work better. "Wonce Again Long Island" has the band looking back at their early career somewhat wistfully, about how naive they once were: 

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQ2767Huim0

At the heart of the story of the band is the fact that most people who remember them, remember them for the goofy "Me, Myself and I". And yet, by far, the band was at their best when they were tackling serious subjects, the darker side of the music industry, drugs, and other heavy stuff. They should be remembered as some of the best storytellers ever in the industry, not as psychedelic clowns. "Stakes is High" is another song in that long list, with a beat by J Dilla: 

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sj-vPcCfQ6k

As with Buhloone, Stakes is High was a crticial success and popular flop. They just weren't producing songs that were destined for heavy radio play or rotation on MTV. There was a bit of a hiatus at this point. The grind of the industry was taking its toll, and in particular, it was disheartening to become less popular with every album they released, even as the quality kept getting higher. When they returned in 2000, it was with the first album of a planned trilogy, the Art Official Intelligence records. All were supposed to be released within a year, although the third AOI record never materialized. The two that were released were something of a disappointment. It seemed like they were going for some kind of futuristic vibe, but a lot of the beats felt really flat. The albums sounded kind of tired, honestly, although there were some high points. I always liked the beat of "I. C. Y'all": 

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bry-odankM8

And the title track of "Bionix" is fantastic: 

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ANvDro_cNU

At this point, they got wrapped up in some record label drama with Tommy Boy and Warner, which might be where the third AOI album disappeared to. They said they never finished it. Who knows? At any rate, after a few years, they returned with The Grind Date, which always sounded to me like the album they wanted to make with the AOI records, but finally managed to put together. It sounds mature, world-weary, but also so much more modern than their other stuff. Lots of synth driven beats, but still a bunch of great songs. In addition to "Rock Co. Kane Flow", there's songs like "Shopping Bags (She Got From You)": 

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhYstpt2PpU

So, what do we have? We have a band that hit it huge early and then spent the rest of their career trying to get people to forget about that success. For those paying attention, they were able to follow one of the most important and vital acts in hip-hop. For those not paying attention, they mostly remember goofballs who disappeared. Me, I just rank them as one of my all-tie favorites. If I had to rank the albums, I'd go: 

Stakes is High
Buhloone Mindstate
3 Feet High and Rising
The Grind Date
De La Soul is Dead
AOI: Bionix
AOI: Mosaic Thump
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Joshua Buergel commented on a post on Blogger.
I'm confused by the example of 2b. In a 4p game, there are 39 cards in the deck, and you deal 36 of them, leaving 3. The rules say to reveal "all but two", but the example has you revealing two of the un-dealt cards. Seems like 2a (phase 1) says only 1 of the un-dealt cards should be revealed.

6a: What happens in the degenerate case where all players bid 0?

7a: This first mention of playing Influencers here seems out of the blue. 
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Joshua Buergel commented on a post on Blogger.
What about giving points for uniqueness in rows/columns? It doesn't leverage the subjective position of cards directly, but it's the first thing I thought of: you score points for an aligned senator in a row or column based on their uniqueness in that row or column. Unique number or unique color scores their value, if unique on both, scores twice (maybe three times as a bonus?). Of course, typing that out, I'm thinking that'd dodgy thematically, since you typically want consensus in a deliberative body. Unless you're going for news coverage, of course.

Actually, thinking a bit more, you could introduce positional relativity by having players sit not across from each other, but at right angles. One player scores the rows, one the columns. But this is all wandering a fair bit, I think.
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A couple of random GitHub repos that I've open-sourced recently, posted here in case anybody is interested.  First one is a quicky tool I used to download my original photos from Flickr along with their comments, since I'd put a lot of work into annotating some of my photos:

https://github.com/jbuergel/FlickrCommentDownloader

Second one is a crazy project to write a tool to wrap the old DOS game Star Saga in a Google Talk wrapper, using a virtualized DOS machine and...well, a bunch of junk.  It actually works, amazingly:

https://github.com/jbuergel/Star-Saga-Automation
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I try not to put out too many Kickstarter pitches here - there's an awful lot of them running around, and it's easy to get swept up.  But this one is just too genius to not share  Magicians is a story-driven RPG, but the big idea in it is that in order to accomplish things, you have to say things in Korean.  As a consequence, you can learn the language while playing the game.  I'm really excited about it.  The page is here:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1858774754/magicians-a-language-learning-rpg
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