photo via CTV News

Breaking the chain: What the NDP means for Alberta

Maybe we should have seen it coming. Even though all of the polls indicated it was coming, an NDP majority in Alberta seemed entirely unbelievable. Not because Alberta as a whole is too conservative—a look at the last mayoral races in the province’s major cities show that a good portion of the population is pretty … Continue reading

Image by Drew Anderson

It’s not just paper: A farewell to Fast Forward

It’s a strange fact that physical things are now a niche. Books, records, magazines and alt-weeklies are all just so much clutter given the convenience of digital. Compare a board game to an iPhone app, never mind a next-gen console game; it’s hopelessly clunky and anachronistic by comparison. But if you break out a deck … Continue reading

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Space Cadets Dice Duel: Panic in deep space

“Frantic” isn’t a word that comes into play in most board games. This is a hobby that gets its kicks from things like maximizing the efficiency of your electrical grid, after all. Absorbing? Entertaining? Challenging? Sure. But frenzied? Hardly. In the last few years, though, a handful of games have been kicking at board games’ … Continue reading

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The Philadelphia Story: A pretty, pretty sight

“The prettiest sight in this fine, pretty world is the privileged class enjoying its privileges.” So says Macaulay Connor, an author slumming it as a tabloid writer in Philip Barry’s The Philadelphia Story, and while Connor has firmly established himself as an opponent of America’s de facto aristocracy, he seems sincere in that champagne-tinted moment. … Continue reading

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Super Motherload: Mars needs miners

Board games are very much an international hobby. Your biggest games — Settlers of Catan, 7 Wonders, Ticket to Ride — all hail from overseas, and North American designers are only starting to catch up. So it’s nice to be able to start the year by recommending a local creation. Awarded the Canadian Game Design … Continue reading

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Chelsea Hotel: Leonard Cohen inspires stories

Leonard Cohen is an artist who demands to be reinterpreted. Like the hundreds of remountings and reworkings of Shakespeare, new takes on Cohen’s canon emerge with frightening regularity, with everyone from Johnny Cash to the Pixies covering the bard of Montreal. Maybe it was inevitable, then, that his influence would extend to the world of … Continue reading

SIE

The unnoticed death of a billion-dollar endowment

Given plummeting oil prices and the ensuing talk of austerity in Alberta, a program designed to think long-term, to change the way we approach social and cultural problems, and to invest in long-term projects outside the fluctuations of a resource-based economy is an idea worth considering. If someone pitched it now, the province’s progressives would likely … Continue reading

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Board game gift guide 2014

This time of year, it’s traditional for columnists to put together gift guides — lists itemizing the perfect present for your spouse, roommate and pretentious brother-in-law who never quite conceals his distaste for your latest attempt at giving. The trouble is, I’ve likely never met you, your friends or your relatives, and so it seems … Continue reading

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The Duke: Chess’s quick-and-dirty cousin

The Duke isn’t a chess knock-off, although it’s definitely chess-inspired. You’ve got a six-by-six grid instead of an eight-by-eight chessboard. You’ve got an assortment of pieces that each have their own rules for movement. There’s a medieval theme, with the brief flavour text in the rules contrasting the elegance of the high court (chess) with … Continue reading

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Fallcon 2014: The auction

This past weekend was the 27th edition of Fallcon, Calgary’s annual celebration of all things tabletop. With multiple vendors, over 70 scheduled events and nearly 1,000 games available for free play, it can be an overwhelming experience, even for those already indoctrinated into board game culture. Do you pre-register for a round of a familiar … Continue reading

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