Glory Box – Vault Wars review

I don’t watch that much TV – most of the time Netflix is babbling away in the background with some strange movie or other – but I do have something of a weakness for a little show called Storage Wars. The premise is simple: people bid on abandoned storage lockers in immense warehouses, having only had a cursory glance at the contents inside. Whatever they find inside is theirs to do with as they please, but most sell what they discover and many of the people on the show seem to make a reasonable living out of it, even is what turns up most of the time is crap.

Cryptocurrencies – The global currency

When the cryptocurrencies became the global financial player they initially gained a negative reputation.   There were many scams and frauds reported initially. However, everything changed now and it has gained legitimacy. Business and people started accepting the cryptocurrencies and it is looked upon as a commodity and an investment. There are many benefits associated with these digital currencies and listed below are few of them.

Benefits of using cryptocurrency

Owned completely by the account holder- It just takes an instant for the banks to freeze the accounts at certain times.  You will be able to access the funds only when you meet the requirements laid down by the financial institution.  It will be quite a disastrous situation for business than the individuals.  When you hold the cryptocurrencies, you actually own them because of the blockchain technology.  The value might fluctuate in the market since there is quite a lot of speculation happening in the market, but still, they are owned by those who possess them.

Global currency- The cryptocurrency can be purchased and sold by anyone who has access to internet currency.  Entering the market is easy and can be done by ordinary people too. The crypto robots which are the automated trading system can help you buy or sell cryptocurrencies. It does not matter which part of the world you are from.   To access these crypto robots like crypto code can easily be done through a web browser.  All the instructions are given on the website which can be clearly understood by anyone.

New market niches- More and more business organizations are making these cryptocurrencies as their primary currency.  It is convenient when they transact with the organization of different nations.   These digital currencies have been able to create a niche in the financial market.  The companies have more potential gains than the risks when trading with cryptocurrencies.

In order for these currencies to get more acceptance, more regulations and rules have to be squeaked in. The government of many nations is working together to increase some regulations to control any fraudulent activities.  You should be aware of the changing implications when you begin trading in the cryptocurrencies. No doubt it is going to be a great phenomenon and will rule the global market in coming days.  Business organizations and people will be keener to use the digital currency rather than the normal one.  The digital currency will surely take over the financial market in future.

The main thrust of the show, of course, is when something is found that is collectable or valuable – of if the buyer’s really lucky, both. A good score can set them up for ages, and in an industry where hundreds of dollars can be thrown away on a few crates of nothing on a seemingly regular basis, that’s very useful indeed. The show even spawned a not-very-good game of its own but Floodgate Games have taken the theme and amped it up somewhat. Vault Wars is currently on Kickstarter, and it’s one of the finest auction games I’ve played in a long time.

A thematic sequel to their also excellent Epic Resort, Vault Wars is all about what happens when fantasy heroes go off to battle monsters… but don’t come back. There’s a lot of stuff hidden away in their lockers and if there’s no-one to claim them, the island’s denizens throw them open for anyone to buy – as long as you’ve got the funds, you could pick yourself up some rather interesting items. There’s also the risk of buying a lot of junk, true, but you’ll have a bit of information before you put your money down.

Up to sixteen different vaults are available, and before play begins there’s a drafting round where players choose the ones that will be used in the game. You also start with a bit of money, of course, and a couple of ‘Aspiring Hero’ cards – you get a bonus at the end of the whole game, but only for one of them. Think of them looking to get hold of some useful gear so they can go on their own adventures, only at a bargain rate. If they manage to turn up a fistful of jewels in the meantime, even better!

At the start of a round, players choose one of the vaults from their hands. Each one of these will skew the way the auction for that round will work and some can even be claimed as items to add to your collection. In order from lowest to highest, players take turns being the Auction Master but before the fun starts we need to give out a little information about what’s in the current vault. The Auction Master pulls some cards from the Items deck, as decreed by the vault card, and gets to look at them all – they’re the one selling it, after all. You’ll then flip cards face up, the amount of which is also on the vault card, then pass the remaining ones around the other players. They get to randomly check out some of them so they have a little information about what they’re potentially going to buy… and then the battle begins.


One of the 16 Vaults in the game – the red chest shows the contents, yellow how many get revealed, and blue is the Peek number. Rules for the auction are below!

The first bid is made by the Auction Master themselves, but after this they have no involvement in the round. Any rules on the vault card itself must be followed, but generally the normal bidding process is followed; you can either bid higher or choose to pass. Should everyone pass, the highest bidder hands their money over to the Auction Master; however, if they happen to win with their opening bid, the money goes to the bank. It’s pretty easy to run low on funds in Vault Wars, but thankfully at the end of a round you can sell some of the items you’ve picked up to get a bit more ready cash – but what kind of stuff can you find?

Mostly, you’ll pick Junk. Actual cards called Junk that will disappoint you greatly, these will fill up your pile of items that you claim from the vaults. I’ve managed to bid up some huge collections, take the cards, sure that I’m getting an handful of awesome… and get nothing but a stack of crap. Junk does have a use – you can use (a lot of) it to pay some rather hefty storage fees at the end of each round in lieu of gold, – but most of the time you’ll be looking for sets of armour that comes in Dwarven, Dragon and Elven flavours as well as different Gems. The more of a single Gem type you collect, the more points you will get at the end of a game. There are also Artifacts that bestow pretty useful abilities which will be fought over, especially in early rounds.

Of course, you may be broke but not want to get rid of your valuable items! Thankfully, payday loans are available on the island and a quick visit to the Loan Shark will get a bit more money in your pocket. The only trouble is that you must take a Corruption Token too, guaranteeing negative points when all is said and done. In a game where money can become quite scarce early on, choosing whether or not to bite the bullet and lose a fair chunk of points is a big decision – really, you should be looking to play carefully and conserve funds but all it takes is one person at your table to decide to play fast and loose with their cash… then the table can easily go full tilt (in a good way – after all, what’s an auction game without at least one round where things are bid far beyond their actual worth?).

I’ve found that many auction games are affected by the people you’re playing with, moreso than any other genre out there, but Vault Wars is certainly one of the best. Things are tempered by having each vault play out in a slightly different way, and having them come out randomly means that you really need to plan when they’re revealed at the start of a round. Players who want to blow through their money are discouraged from doing so with the joint risk of not only losing points but also potentially picking up a load of junk. It’s one of the most well balanced releases in the field of auction-based games, and certainly as enjoyable as my current favourite, For Sale.

However, where For Sale is a simple, straightforward affair, Vault Wars is a bit more complex and requires planning, forward thinking and no small amount of bluff. Designer Jon Gilmour – probably best known for his epic Dead of Winterfrom Plaid Hat Games – has scaled things back somewhat for this new game, but it’s no less entertaining and is tight as anything. The game also looks cool, using the same artists as its big brother Epic Resort, but even playing with the prototype version of the game has been a bloody wonderful experience. The end release can only be better, especially the deluxe version that comes with metal coins that are on the KS page.

Yes, it's a render, but it's a pretty render.

The Final Game (Yes, it’s a render, but it’s a pretty render.)

In short, Vault Wars is an absolute bloody pleasure. An hour of roaring at friends, accusing them of deception, while all the time you’ve been lying through your teeth as you scrabble for every coin and every point available to you. All this for a mere $20? It deserves a place in that bag that you always keep by the door, stocked with games for emergencies – everyone has one of those, yes? Just as long as when you get the game you don’t leave it in a vault on some paradise island. Throw your money down, now. You’ll have more fun with this than your First Season DVD of Storage Wars, that’s for certain.

Bombtrack – Railways of the World review

The Judge returns once again, this time not to check out something brand new, but to look to one of Eagle Games’ biggest sellers instead! Fancy some old-school networking? Time to pick up a copy of Railways of the World – if your back can handle it!

Getting a clear idea about the cryptocurrency CFD trading

Since the launch of cryptocurrencies, many investors have been drawn towards it.  The cryptocurrency is a new kind of digital currency that is based on the peer-to-peer system. It is also known as virtual currency.  The cryptocurrencies are completely decentralized and are totally independent of the central bank or government control. Participants in the cryptocurrency market can directly deal with each other without any involvement of a third party like banks and other financial institutions.

More information about cryptocurrency

These currencies use cryptography which allows the data to be protected and encrypted. It uses the digital signature which is a combination of a public and private key.  Actually, the keys are asymmetrical numbers that are paired together.  Only the public key will be shared with others while the private is known only to you.

Blockchain technology

The blockchain technology allows the exchange and storage of information in the most transparent and secure way without the control of any central organization. It is just like a huge database with public ledger which gathers all the information of the exchange that takes place between the traders.  The transaction cannot be deleted or modified once it enters the blockchain.  One of the unique features of this network is that it is not controlled or owned by any particular organization or a person.   In fact, is it’s the traders who maintain the network and this is process is known as mining.

Benefits of CFD

Make profit without owning asset- Many people are now making use of the CFDs on cryptocurrencies as it allows the users to make a profit with the difference in closing and opening price without really owning the asset.  With CFDs, you can trade on the cryptocurrencies without directly selling or buying the cryptocurrencies. If you feel it is too much complicated for you, you can begin with taking the help of crypto robots like Ethereum code to conduct transactions on your behalf.

Profit from falling and rising markets-With CFDs you profit from falling and rising markets. It means you will be able to earn money in both the situations irrespective of the fact that price rise or decline.

Liquidity of few cryptocurrencies is limited- At times, you may find it hard to sell or buy them.  You can close or open your positions quite instantaneously without owning any digital currency.

Trading in the cryptocurrency CFDs is the best way to be a part of the digital currency market.

Gamers, as a breed, are always being swept along in the continual, unending, irresistible Cult of the New. Myself included, by the way. I’m not only a registered, card carrying member – I also have a commemorative t-shirt and have started the fan club. I love new games, as do my gaming groups, so I don’t get as many opportunities to revisit some of my favourites as perhaps I would like.

There are exceptions. Terra Mystica is an evergreen and so is the subject of today’s review – Railways of the World.

When discussing this classic “pick up and deliver game” it’s almost a cliché to begin comparing this with Age of Steam and Steam – they’re all from to the same original Martin Wallace design, after all. However, I haven’t played either of those, so in a refreshing break from tradition, they shan’t be mentioned again!

What I do know is that Railways of the World is my second favourite logistics game. (Roads and Boats is best. Review to come…) Simply put, players take turns constructing track to connect cities together and deliver goods cubes from their random starting location towards a destination city. There are a few interesting wrinkles – you have to pay money to build anything and you begin with zero cash. Until you start scoring points, your income each round is also zero, and to gain points you have to deliver goods on your track. You see the problem?

Fortunately, debt is your friend. Loans (or bonds), can be taken to provide a cash influx to get you started – but may never be totally paid off. Once you take this cash (bestowed upon you by an Age of Steam-era payday loans company) [You said you wouldn’t mention it! – Michael] you are indebted to pay £1 per bond after every round of play. That millstone around your neck may have been an attractive charm to begin with, but by the end of the game, you’re lugging around a significant chunk of Stonehenge.

Does this sound stressful? Good, because it is – the positive kind of stressful though. You could play slowly and build up your infrastructure in a fiscally conscientious manner – were it not for the competition of your other players. Acting like gold hungry ’49ers, players will be scrambling to be the first player to deliver the limited number of cubes, identify profitable network routes, and hoping they can get it done before someone gets in the way.

RotW Play

This is all great fun, satisfying, challenging and a giant, ever-changing puzzle. It also looks gorgeous. Railways has been over-produced within an inch of its life. Rail links are marked with brightly coloured, detailed, plastic trains. The timer for the game is the number of cities that have been emptied of cubes. How should we mark these? A cardboard chit? Or a giant plastic water tower? Yep! It’s the latter. The boards also deserve special mention as they are attractive, graphically clear and HUGE. Currently available are Europe, Great Britain, Canada, Mexico and the East and Western US. You can also choose to play a transcontinental variant by putting the East and West maps together, though for this you will need to hire a small village hall or community centre (not included.)

Any negatives? Well, the random card draws of “cool stuff” or specific, point giving tasks are deliberately overpowered and can give you a huge boost – particularly at the start of the game. That said, the auction for turn order at the start of each round deals with most of those problems. “Taking that card would be great, but how much is it worth for me?” is a question that often comes up. Bidding the right amount at the right time to claim these is another key part of the race to victory.

The game claims it plays up to six, depending on the map. Ordinarily, games that say this are dirty, little liars and force players into lengthy, painful experiences. Railways, because of its micro-turns, is actually very good about preventing downtime and is great (though quite different) with all numbers of players. Play Europe with five or six and you have a super tight, cutthroat, knife fight in a phone box. Play The Western US with two and you could conceivably never meet each other.

I love Railways of the World. It is challenging, highly competitive and most importantly a whole heap of fun. A few steps up from Ticket to Ride, not as long or complex as the 18xx series – Railways hits the sweet spot for me, and guarantees a place on my collection, not least as an immovable object standing in the way of the irresistible force of the cult of the new.

Railways of the World is currently published by Eagle Games. Designed by Martin Wallace and Glenn Drover, it was originally released back in 2005. Between two and six players can get around the table, but be sure that it’s a bloody big one! Thanks to The Judge for his write-up, and be sure to follow him on Twitter today!

Believe In Me – Faith: The Sci-Fi RPG review

OK. It’s been a while, but I think it’s time to get back on the horse – and why not do it with a game from a genre that I don’t actually get to play that much: RPGs? While I do love that immersive, let’s get together and tell ourselves a story way of playing, it’s actually pretty hard to pin me down and play anything more than a one-off run most of the time. We’re all busy people, and with a whole room filled with games (or, at this moment, a couple of pallets due to make their way to the USA), there’s always that desire for more. In the four hours that we could spend playing part – part! – of an RPG setting or campaign, we could crack out a bunch of small to medium sized games and have a whole load of fun.

Earn money effortlessly through cryptocurrency trading

Trading in cryptocurrencies works exactly same like the normal currency, but instead of buying and selling normal currencies like US dollars or euros, here the traders sell and buy cryptocurrencies like litecoin, ethereum or bitcoin. For instance, you will bet on the changing value of price between bitcoin and US dollar or else the changing price difference between different cryptocurrencies.

If you feel the value of bitcoin will rise up, then you will have to go ‘long’. On the other hand, if you feel the value of bitcoin will decrease, then you will have to ‘short’ it.  Actually you are not buying the digital currency, instead, the user is only placing the order.

Making profit through cryptocurrency

To begin with the trading, you need to deposit some money into the account.  When you place the bet correctly, the amount in the account will increase.  Whenever the bet goes wrong, your money in the account decreases. You will be able to magnify the profits with leverage.  Using the crypto robots like Ethereum code, the chance of losing money will reduce as they take accurate decisions.

For instance, say you have a placed a 1000 dollars trade on any digital currencies increase in price without the leverage. If the price is increased by 10% when compared to dollars, your profit will be 100 dollars. On the other hand, if you have conducted the transaction with 10:1 leverage then you would have earned a profit of 10 times more.

The price movements along with the leverage can easily produce substantial returns for you.

Benefits of entering the cryptocurrency market

Fast exchanges and cheap fees- For every trade in the forex market, the exchange platform will take a commission for the services provided. This is quite inevitable. Trading in cryptocurrencies differ from the normal currency, fees to conduct trading of cryptocurrencies are way cheaper than the bank transfer fees and credit card fees. The market trading rate to conduct digital currency trading is less than the forex trading transaction charges.

Extreme volatility-The traders make a huge profit when the value of the price currency takes huge price strides upwards. The cryptocurrencies usually have large movements in price. While it escalates the risk involved, you can make a huge profit with little investment.

Open all day- Commodities and stocks can be traded only during the business hours and also only for 5 days in a week. However, the cryptocurrencies can be traded anywhere and anytime.

Not that I’m saying a good RPG isn’t fun, not at all. In my wee sabbatical away from the LMDS keyboard I’ve spent a fair few hours looking through the finally released new edition of D&D (the three main books and the first campaign) and I can see already that it’ll be splendid. However, sometimes I want a few robots and lasers in my collectively told story, but outside of a rare Warforged wandering about, they’re not exactly Dungeons & Dragons fodder. As if by magic (or by science, really), something new and shiny landed in my lap called Faith that has managed to scratch that itch in a marvellous way, and surprise! It’s on Kickstarter now.

Some of you may be aware of an older game called Shadowrun that mixed the worlds of the fantastic and scientific to create a very interesting product. I was a big fan of it when I was a kid, reading the main book until its spine was cracked and pages dog-eared, but could never convince anyone to play the damn thing because, in the eyes of my friends, it was a little too far out there. Faith, to me at least, feels a little reminiscent with its world of hyper-futurism mixed with actual gods who are out for only one thing – dominance. This is no game of players assuming such roles though; in Faith, while the gods do exist, they can only affect the world through manipulation of their believers. It’s an interesting concept, having these incredibly powerful beings fight for control of the mortal realm where, in actuality, they’re impotent and can do nothing without our assistance. Of course, giving them that belief and help is good for us, the players, too – we get to mess about with physics-breaking abilities and ludicrous weaponry.

Our story lies in the far future, with a battered and bruised humanity attempting to recover from being enslaved by the Corvo, a universal race that pretty much controlled a network of wormholes called the Labyrinth – at least until another bunch called the Iz’kal showed up. With two huge forces primed to wipe each other out, mutually assured destruction was backed away from in the form of a peace treaty that is relatively stable – and that’s where we come in. Armed only with a specially modified Poker deck, players will attempt to carve their own story from the universe of Faith, with a little godly assistance and clever card play. The rules of how to actually play the game are beautifully simple, condensed down to a simple two pages; most of the time, if you want to do something you can just consult with the GM and you’ll be able to do it. I love this kind of game, though if you’re the kind of GM who likes to be in full control of your party, I’d suggest you stay well away from Faith. It rewards creativity, welcoming free-flowing thought and explanation, and having someone in control of the game who enjoys this kind of play is essential – there’s no room for ‘rocks fall, everyone dies’ in the Labyrinth.

This isn’t just about letting your imagination get away with anything though. The game is broken down into Scenes (which feel rather like a speedier version of D&D 4E’s encounters) where you begin with seven cards drawn from your deck – new Scenes begin whenever the GM decides though, so with that necessarily liberal person at the helm you shouldn’t run low too often. When the story befits it, cards will be played from your hand to trigger and boost Skills that should help you get out of a tricky situation or assist you as needed, with the highest scoring player (or GM!) making the call on what happens. Rather than go into detail, I urge you to check out the quickstart rules – seriously, they’re only two pages – which explain how actions from hacking into computers to punching someone’s nose in breaks down.

Damn, that's a LOT of stuff.

Damn, that’s a LOT of stuff.

Everything in Faith is card driven, from the deck that you draw from to the weapons and items that your character has in their possession. The set I was sent out is representative of what will be included in the proposed initial release, and should it succeed I promise that you’re going to get an awful lot of stuff in there. A huge variety of loadouts should see you and your fellow players fit to deal with any situation, and even if you don’t have the right gear to hand the game allows you to think around a problem as much as shoot right through it. With the cards in your hand being the things that will essentially decide your destiny, Faithgives you the option to plan ahead rather than rely on a random dice roll, so with a good team of people around the table this could well be one of the most creatively entertaining RPG systems around.

As with any RPG though, the game lives and dies with that group. As much as I said that Faith requires a fairly liberal GM to run the thing, I would suggest that you also need a pretty creative group of players too. Playing the game requires the unlearning of a lot of standard RPG rules, but if you give yourself over to Faith you’ll find that it’s a very satisfying system that can offer a group plenty of entertainment. In recent years, the big Role Playing Games have focused more on the dice roll than the storytelling, but Faith looks to pull that back towards a game of imagination where the system doesn’t get in the way of the fun.

It also helps that the creative team behind the game have created a huge amount of material for you to work with. To begin with, the art that’s seen throughout the game is beautiful; from the biggest set pieces in the rulebooks to the smallest details on the equipment cards, Faith has already had a huge amount of investment put into it. The graphic design throughout is clear so players can refer to their abilities and skills quickly, and as you play and grow, tokens are used to keep track of enhancements that you develop. It’s a very clean system, and it’s plain to see that a huge amount of thought has been put into making Faith as easy to use as possible. Even the GM’s book, though packed with the details you’d expect to need when running an entire universe, is simple enough to get into, making the whole product pretty impressive all round.

With a focus on discussion, group play and imagination, Faith certainly deserves a shot at the RPG big time. It feels very different to previous systems I’ve played with, so that alone deserves some level of recognition, but the fact that everything works so well means I’ll certainly recommend it. As with any RPG, the previously mentioned caveat remains – you definitely need a playgroup willing to give something new a shot – but who wouldn’t want to play something that gives you such freedom? Trying this one was a pleasure, and I can’t wait to see how the final product turns out.

Faith: The Sci Fi RPG is on Kickstarter until March 12th, 2015. Designed by Carlos Gómez, Helio de Grado & Mauricio Gómez with art by Milan Nikolic, Aleksandra Bilic and Aleksa Bracic, it will be published by Burning Games with a prospective delivery date of October 2015 – so… Essen. Everything you need to play is included in the £46 level, though you can pick up a deck for as little as £14 if you want to support the campaign. Which you do. Yes.

Bitches Brew – Alchemists review

Welcome, dear reader, to the Little Metal Laboratory. This is no place of clean lines and white tiling as far as the eye can see though – instead, we are shrouded in darkness as we really don’t want to see the blood, and the smoke from the explosions often leave the room as black as night. Our lab is a place of alchemical tinkering, and we are bloody awesome at it – especially when you’ve got a game as good as CGE’s Alchemists sat upon our table.

Cryptocurrency market –A promise of alternative income

Over the last few years, cryptocurrency has been steadily gaining its popularity and people have started realizing its true value.  Initially, people found it quite unfamiliar just like when the credit card was introduced in early days.

Now there are many cryptocurrencies in the market like ethereum, litecoin, bitcoin, etc.  All these currencies use the blockchain technology which makes it safe.

How the trading in cryptocurrency market is better than any other market

Protects from fraudulent activities- The cryptocurrencies are digital, hence it cannot be reversed or counterfeited by anyone.

Immediate settlement- When you purchase a real estate, it involves many people like lawyers, brokers, notary and so on. Also, the process is quite lengthy, drafting of the agreement, payment of fees, etc. In trading of cryptocurrency, it is designed to eliminate the third party. Whenever you use crypto robots, it is more quick and easy. The most popular one in the market is Ethereum code which helps all the people irrespective whether the user is experienced or a newcomer to smoothly conduct transactions.

Accessibility- There are millions of people who use the internet and mobile phone who do not have any access to the traditional exchange.  However, this is not the case of dealing in cryptocurrency.  All the people who have an internet connection can enter the market and conduct trading. It is quite easily accessible.

Free of cost- There are no transaction fees involved in the case of cryptocurrency trading. You can enter the market free of cost.  The miners are paid by the network. All you have to do is to register yourself on the official website and start trading.

No identity theft- In the case of cryptocurrency, it uses the ‘push’ mechanism, wherein the user will send exactly what he wants to the concerned recipient or merchant without giving any further information.  In case of credit cards, it uses pull mechanism, wherein the recipient initiates the payment which in turn pulls the required amount from the account.

With all the good reviews available online about the ease in trading and the profit earning capability, cryptocurrency is sure will make a huge mark on the global economy. It is attracting thousands of people each year to the market and is able to help people to earn money effortlessly.  It is definitely a good alternative income for the people as you don’t have to sit glued to the computer screen whole day.

Designed by Matúš Kotry for between two and four players (though a fifth person can be accommodated, more on that later), this was CGE’s big release for Essen 2014 – and it’s definitely big as that box is packed out. With gloriously overproduced lab areas for each aspiring Alchemist, fistfuls of tokens, a couple of boards and a healthy amount of cards, you can see where much of the hefty price point has gone. As always, the art is fantastic too – the team truly know how to put a great looking game together.

But what of the gameplay? Well, this isn’t just about looking to turn lead into gold; Alchemists wants players to do an awful lot more than something as simple as that. Your main task is one of deduction, working out what results combinations of different ingredients will lead to and being amongst the first to publish your findings. Points scored will build your reputation, allowing you to sell potions to passing travellers that can then be invested in magical items, pulling in yet more points at the end of the game. However, we’re getting ahead of ourselves… before we become the most respected people in our industry, we need to put the work in. It’s time to get experimenting!

The beautiful board! It's double-sided, so choose the correct side before playing. Rounds start in the bottom right corner, then go clockwise around the board.

The beautiful board! It’s double-sided, so choose the correct side before playing. Rounds start in the bottom right corner, then go clockwise around the board.

Alchemists uses an action point system, with each player using cubes in their colours to mark what they’d like to do during rounds on the larger of the two boards. As each round is played through, players will perform their actions in strict order which is decided at the start of a round – the earlier you choose to go, the fewer bonus items (Ingredients and Favours) you’ll receive. Of course, going earlier means you’ll get first picks on each of the different actions, so it’s the traditional balancing act seen in many Eurogames.

So, what can you do? From the very first round, gathering Ingredients is first on your list, allowing you to pull cards from a face-up selection or going for whatever mystery object sits on the top of the draw deck. After that, you have the opportunity to sell ingredients that you’ve procured, the money from which you can then spend on picking up precious (and often highly useful, rule-bending) artefacts. Ingredient combinations can then either be tested on a helpless student or yourself, the results of which are tracked in your own personal laboratory. Taking the form of a large triangle of circular spaces, you’ll place a token at the space where the two ingredients you mixed cross over – pop your result in the space and you’ll be a little closer to deducing exactly what each ingredient contributes to the mix! All of this is then followed by some clean-up before moving on to the next round.


It’s probably easier to show off how the lab looks, so here we go. The game’s eight ingredients are lined up along the bottom, and whatever result you get from the app should be placed in the crossover spot. You then mark off your deductions on the sheets that are included in the box. (Thanks to Mathias Heilmann for the photo)

At the start of round two, new options are opened up; the previously mentioned travellers appear, seeking potions that will need to be mixed fresh (read: spend a combination of two cards to get gold). You also get the opportunity to publish theories on what you believe each ingredient adds to a mix as well as debunk the concepts laid out by others, and it’s these two action that will (hopefully) pull in the big reputation boosts at the end of the game – assuming you’re correct in your publications, of course. How the ingredients’ results are defined is random every time you play, but thankfully we are people of science, so we get to use our smartphones!

Yes, the fingers of technology have crept onto the tabletop in a legitimate way once more. Players can use the free Alchemists app (available on both iOS and Android) to tap on the action they wish to use, then take a snap of the two ingredients they’re combining. Depending on what action you’re performing – either Sell Potion, Debunk Theory, Test on Student or Drink Potion – a different symbol will appear onscreen to give you your result. It’s an innovative way of introducing technology into gaming, and though it’s recommended that people use the Smartphone Solution System (© Michael, 2014) it’s far from intrusive. You only need one device for all players, though people can use their own by inputting a four-letter code before play begins, ensuring everyone gets the same results – a relatively simple thing, but it just made things work so smoothly around the table. Should no-one have an iPhone or whatever on them, you can rope in a fifth person who calculates results for the players using an included piece of convoluted cardboard stuffed with tokens that I assume 99.9% of Alchemists’ owners will never use, ever.

Over the course of six rounds the game plays out with everyone initially trying to work out the effects of each ingredient, then swiftly moves onto the ‘everyone racing to publish and debunk theories’ side of things around halfway through the game. On the final round, a new action appears to replace the testing and drinking potions spots; here you get to prove your mastery of the science by stating what potion type you’ll create, then actually do it by once again spending the ingredients. Success pulls in more reputation points while failure means losing them, along with the realisation that you’ve probably screwed up the very last part of the game – the big reveal.

All the publishing done throughout the game will see players dropping tokens on the eight ingredients. While these are placed face down, they do show the player colour, so you can keep track of who is working on what; however, once things are wrapping up, these are all flipped to reveal just how committed the players were to their findings. If you’re totally sure, you can put a token down to score you five points, while a little less conviction can still net you three. There are also tokens that will score nothing, but they’re useful to throw the other Alchemists off your tracks – we’re nothing if not sneaky as we skulk around our labs. Once the smoke clears, the highest scorer is declared the winner… and that’s the whole thing.

Alchemists, frankly, is my up there amongst my favourite games of the year – definitely top three, and depending on how my mood takes me, often the number one. It’s beautiful, challenging, meaty, nasty, deduction-filled, glorious Game of the Year worthy brilliance. The whole package is quality, from the traditional over-produced touch of CGE to the awesome gameplay by Matus Kotry that has been tightened to within an inch of its life, and every time I sit at my table to play Alchemists it never fails to impress. New players are impressed by the accessibility; it takes only two rounds into your first game to know exactly what to do. Experienced players understand that the game has depth, but never feel that they’re in trouble with the admittedly tricky way things work in Alchemists. Add in the lovely, seamless way that the smartphone app integrates with the game and there’s no wonder it’s won so many fans since hitting Essen 2014 with a bang. Just like what happens when you combine that Raven Feather with a little Mandrake Root…

Alchemists was designed by Matúš Kotry and was published by CGE in 2014. Between two and four can play with games taking around 90-120 minutes. One thing to note: the first printing of the game had result tokens that were ever so slightly too large for the tracking boards, but CGE asked all owners to get in touch with them so smaller replacements could be sent out. These arrived nice and promptly and the game is now pretty much as perfectly produced as it could be. Nice work, CGE! Now, go get yourself a copy!

The Big Sky – Tiny Epic Galaxies preview

I’m delighted when I see new designers start to truly make a name for themselves in our little world of gaming, and even moreso when their creations really fit in my wheelhouse. Scott Almes’ Tiny Epic Kingdoms went insane on Kickstarter and is now gracing tables around the world, offering a fantastic gameplay experience that I’ve returned to again and again since getting my copy. Tiny Epic Defenders is currently on the conveyer belt over at Gamelyn Games, but the latest in the series was shown to me while at Essen this year – it’s called Tiny Epic Galaxies and great as they are, this one is easily better than its two predecessors.

Your Gains From CFD Trading

CFD trading allows you to contemplate on the rise and fall of the different prices of assets on a wide range of financial markets including shares, indices, bonds, currencies, and commodities. One such platform that allows users to carry out CFD trading is the Crypto CFD Trader, which is fully automated and optimizable. Users can gain several advantages from trading using the CFD.

Advantages of CFD Trading

  1. One of the major advantages while trading using the CFD is that it allows the users to be benefited from both the rise and fall of markets. This adds in a flexibility factor so that users can gain maximum.
  2. Moreover, CFD trading is easy and accessible.
  3. Additionally, the strategy behind CFD trading allows users to forecast movements in prices.
  4. Moreover, it allows users to shoulder power against the price fluctuations.
  5. CFD trading removes the middleman involved, that is, there is no need for a stockbroker to carry out your trading activities.
  6. CFD trading allows users to minimize their losses and avert risks by closely protecting their trade positions. Users are allowed to limit their risks by the use of hedged positions. Thus, CFD trading brings in a balancing factor that allows users to balance their losses and prevent future failures.
  7. In addition, selling shares through CFD trading is easy, hence users can easily profit from CFD trading even during a falling market.
  8. Moreover, CFD trading also allows its users to trade with different contract sizes of varying styles and types. This indirectly benefits users with more than one type of investment account. As a general rule, it is best advised that new amateur traders opt for smaller trade sizes until they have established some experience in the field of CFD trading.
  9. Further, CFD trading allows its users to deposit only a part of the overall trade size in each of their trade transaction. This way, users are provided with a trade margin to be on the safer side of the trading business, thus enhances the returns on the capital invested.

However, like all trading activities, CFD trading too is associated with certain risks.

Risks associated with CFD Trading

  1. There are times when amateur traders begin to over-leverage their trade positions, thereby increasing the risks and losses associated with each transaction. This leads to trading abuse.
  2. CFD trading does not guarantee its user the right to vote in the company’s stakes.

Ways to prevent risks in CFD Trading

  1. By practicing trading that is restricted and consistent during the initial days
  2. By setting stop orders to reduce/limit the size of trade losses

Offering a comprehensive but pocket-sized 4X experience in around half an hour, I think that TEG (as it will become known) is going to break the records set by the earlier games in the series. Quick playing yet satisying, TEG will never see you looking to chuck out your copy of Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition – but you won’t have to schedule a visit to IKEA to buy a second table next time you want to play around a mate’s house either.

The game sees players attempting to reach a certain score, racing to utilise and colonise a series of planets that appear on cards in the middle of the table. Each card is laid out in a similar fashion, a numbered ladder on the left hand side, a symbol in the top right corner showing whether it’ll yield you Energy or Culture when you land a ship there, its points value in the bottom right and – probably most vital – the planet’s Colony Action. Players also have a larger Home World card in front of them that acts as a base as well as a way to track your stats and resources (the previously mentioned Energy and Culture).


The grid basically shows how you’ll (hopefully) progress through the game – start at the lowest level with four dice, two ships and zero bonus points. You’ll have to spend either Energy or Culture to upgrade to the next level (only once per turn) and pull in new stuff to use.

Your selections are dice driven with everyone kicking off the game rolling only four dice, but depending on how things turn out you could well be hurling seven of them across the table – and this is one thing you should be aiming to do as more ships mean more options AND more points. At the beginning of a turn you roll your allotted amount then, depending on what’s landed face-up, take actions. A single re-roll is allowed in case what you want doesn’t quite come up (which you will use a lot) and you’ll then, one-by-one, resolve the dice you’ve got. One lovely little element to TEG now shows its face – when you trigger an action, a player may spend one of their Culture Points to trigger that same action themselves, even through it’s not their turn. You might think you’ve got some excellent plan up your sleeve, but a Culture rich heavy player could potentially screw you over over the course of someone’s turn – even your own.

So, what can you do? Well, arrows allow you to move one of your ships around, either to the planet’s surface (which will pull in Energy or Culture if those symbols are rolled) or to the card’s Diplomacy track. Roll those symbols (a $ and ! in the current prototype) and you’ll move up the ladder, claiming the planet for yourself and tucking it in underneath your Home World. The final symbol shows the Colony Action, a potentially gamechanging thing that’s entirely dependent on the planets you’ve added to your collection. Everyone begins with the same ability – spend a set amount of one resource to upgrade your Galaxy (meaning more dice and Victory Points, as mentioned), but with each planet offering some kind of rule bending power, you’ll be seeking out the best ways to turn things in your favour.

A few of the planets you'll hopefully collect. Top right tells you what resource you'll grab, Diplomacy Track is on the left side, bonus and VPs on the bottom!

A few of the planets you’ll hopefully collect. Top right tells you what resource you’ll grab, Diplomacy Track is on the left side, bonus and VPs on the bottom!

As the game progresses, players’ tableaux eventually hopefully grow into a splendid collection of planets, pulling in all manner of useful resources and looking grand, tucked underneath your Home World – but all the while there’s that sneaking suspicion that everything will crumble beneath you, that all your plans will come to nothing thanks to that bloody rule of other people copying your Actions. Got your eye on picking up another planet? Tough, someone else has stolen it from under you, AND ON YOUR OWN BLOODY TURN AT THAT. Notice that someone seems to be running low on a resource? They won’t be for long, pushing their trackers up on your go. And this is wonderful as it means there’s pretty much no downtime in TEG – you’re constantly paying attention to what’s being rolled and when the dice are triggered. Manage to do this well and by the time your turn comes around to you again, you’ll be able to pull off some incredible stuff.

And that, for me, is what makes the game so damn good. Sure, it plays out in about half an hour, but for that whole time you’re watching, waiting, ready to jump while also planning your own strategy out. It’s a glorious, exhausting thirty minutes, fun as all hell, and when it launches in January on Kickstarter, you’d best get in on it. Tiny Epic Galaxies is showing that Scott Almes is growing into a truly talented designer, and it’s so exciting to thing that if he’s turning out games like this now, what kind of stuff will we see from him in a few years? If the game is this good with no graphic design and relatively plain iconography in a PNP, imagine what the end product is going to be like.

Tiny Epic Galaxies will be on Kickstarter in January 2015. You will want a copy of it. Cheers to Michael Coe at Gamelyn Games for handing over a copy for us to check out!

Maps – Cartography review

Give Emma a game that the enjoys and you’ll get a well crafted write up. Give her a game that she loves and her mind will explode over the keyboard. We gave her an advance prototype of Cartography, currently on Kickstarter, and it ended up like that old advert for Maxell tapes from the eighties.

Some Pointers For An Investor About CFD

CFD is the short for “Contract for Differences”. As an online investor, it is essential that you learn some useful insights regarding CFD to benefit the maximum out of it.

  • CFDs are basically formal contracts between an investor of virtual assets and an investment firm or an investment bank.
  • CFDs are used as a means for investment in moving assets that has a large underlying value associated with it, without having to actually buy or own the asset physically.

Trade Positions in CFD

Understanding the opening and closing of a trade position in CFD is important. However, its application using CFD is relatively simpler.

  • For example, in CFD, users can open a position when the value of the assets goes up or goes down and users can close this position when they are satisfied with the trade results that have been achieved.
  • In addition, trade positions can be closed when a particular CFD has attained its expiration time.
  • On termination of the CFD contract, the two parties involved are allowed to exchange the resulting difference that arises as a result of the opening price and the closing price of a particular financial instrument that could be shares or any other financial commodity.

In short, a CFD trading allows users to speculate on the rise and the fall of an asset value. There are several online CFD trading platforms such as the Crypto CFD Trader, where users can trade to the maximum potential and earn huge returns.

How to trade with CFD?

In order to get started with CFD trading, follow the below steps:

  1. Choose the market of interest where you want to trade
  2. Decide whether you want to buy or sell an asset
  3. Choose the size of the trade
  4. Incorporate a trade stop loss to minimize on trade losses if the perceived value is higher than your expectations
  5. Monitor the trade and decide when to close based on real-time profit and loss trend
  6. Exit trade

Why is the CFD so popular?

The CFD as a financial instrument has become increasingly popular over the last few years mainly because of the following reasons:

  • It is a relatively simpler financial instrument to use for trading purposes.
  • It is also easy to understand, both by a professional and by an amateur.
  • It is also has a very high accuracy rate in terms of its results, as it guarantees high achievable returns that are well above the industry’s average value.
  • It also generates huge returns on the investments.

"What's a tape, Michael?" - Countless LMDS Readers

“What’s a tape, Michael?” – Countless LMDS Readers

Shut up, insolent children! Shut up and read!

Right, no more review openings where I want to provide you with some context for who made the game and when, and then realise I know nothing whatsoever about anything and have to go and do research before I can actually write. I know exactly when Cartography came out, because it hasn’t yet. Currently on Kickstarter/soon to launch on Kickstarter/recently on Kickstarter/currently shipping from Kickstarter (delete as appropriate, depending on when Michael puts this up) [Oi, I’m on time for once! – Michael] Cartography is a tile-laying abstract strategy game for two players, with games taking anywhere from ten minutes to an hour, depending on how bloody-minded the players are. The most distinctive components in the game are its lovely triangular tiles – they’re made of a pleasingly-weighted wood and interlock, giving the whole thing a very satisfying jigsaw puzzle feel – each of which contains a varying number of dots, separated by walls and towers. The rules are simple enough – on your turn, you add one of these tiles to the table, then place one of your counters on a dot. Dots you play on have to have empty spaces connected to them, and if you surround a group of your opponent’s counters with your own, theirs are removed and added to your score. Players can pass if they don’t think any move will benefit them, and the game ends when both players pass, after which you score the number of counters you have left on the board, plus the number of your opponent’s counters you’ve captured. That’s it.

Now, those among you more well-versed in the history of board games may here be pointing out that those are basically the rules of Go, and the ‘designer’ of this game and its supporters are clearly uneducated philistines who won’t consume any media older than they are. In which case, wow, you’ve got a bit of an anger issue. But you’re largely right about the rules – as acknowledged in pretty much every piece of writing about Cartography, it is heavily influenced by Go, with Jon Adams (the designer) seeking to make something between classical Go and Carcassonne, but I think the complete transformation of the board from a 19×19 grid to a shifting array of triangular tiles and walls has completely changed the game, if you’ll pardon the semi-pun.

As an aside to those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about – Go is an East Asian strategy game, originating in China about two and a half millennia ago, and it’s like a thousand years older and orders of magnitude more complex than the (in my eyes) overrated exemplar of classical strategy, chess. Plus, what other game can boast this much history/mythology, including one famous game where one player was given three moves during the game by ghosts, and the other vomited blood on the board, then died after conceding? [That happened to me in a My Little Pony CCG tournament – Michael] What I’m saying is, you should probably check it out.

Anyway, to get back to reviewing games that didn’t come out thousands of years ago, Cartography. Yes, a lot of the gameplay feels a lot like Go, but let’s look at the things that make it different. Naturally, this is the board, as its constant evolution during play means that a) you’re never totally sure of your position, as your opponent could suddenly open up new fronts you weren’t expecting, and b) every game is different, offsetting a lot of the dry mathsiness you get in abstract games. Also, the change from a square-based grid to a triangle-based one, as well as the addition of walls (which stop adjacent spaces being counted as adjacent) means that any of your friends who do play Go won’t just steamroll all over the newbies, as a lot of the standard strategies and shapes don’t work any more. Also, I like the simplicity of the scoring as opposed to Go – in the latter, it’s all about the empty territory you have (either actually or effectively) surrounded, and calculating that can be a bit of a faff, but here, it’s just about stones on the board, both making counting up easier and the gameplay more aggressive, as players have more of a tendency to fill up spaces in their own groups for more points, making them more vulnerable to attack. Another advantage the modular board brings is the variability of play length – a game of Go can take anywhere up to several days, depending on how hardcore the players are, but here, the rulebook states that you can effectively create a time limit by putting a cap on the number of tiles that are available, with each adding about a minute to play time. Now, I’ve only been able to play short games, since my demo copy only has like 15 tiles instead of the full 40, but I cannot wait to get a full copy and see how quickly I can melt my brain with the whole set.

Normally, this is where I’d be listing the game’s shortcomings, but I’m having trouble on that front. Probably my biggest problem is that the rulebook’s a bit fuzzy on some points, but that’ll almost definitely get ironed out when it goes to publishing. Apart from that, the only reservation I have is that it might be a little too heavy for some people – this is definitely on the brain-burny end of abstract strategy, but if that’s your bag (and oh, is it mine), Cartography should be right up your alley. If, however, you prefer not to think series of moves ahead in your games, and hate the idea of somebody resigning because they can see how one bad move will come back to bite them in eighteen turns’ time, maybe not the one for you. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to write some new Problems of Life and Death…


Throw your money at Cartography here! Designed by Jon Adams, the standard set plays with two people only, but there’s also a four player set available. As an aside, I played against Emma and lost my mind as well as the game. I assume the four player game would have driven me to murder (in the best possible way, of course).

Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Dead of Winter review

Stuart has been a busy chap, attempting to keep his own little corner of the world from falling apart following the recent zombie apocalypse. You missed out on that? Oh.

7 Points To Know About The Crypto CFD Code

  1. The Brains Behind – The Crypto CFD Trader was developed by Lenny Hyde, an expert software developer cum trader of online digital currencies. He has several years of mining cryptocurrencies, which is how he ultimately decided to tap into the power of cryptocurrency mining and trading returns.
  2. Modus Operandi – It is a sophisticated algorithm that combines both machine learning and practical concepts of artificial intelligence (AI). It is fully automated and optimized hence does not requires its users to have any previous experience in online trading. The software performs three main roles, which includes monitoring, analyzing, and making forecasts on the current stock markets for virtual assets. Different digital currencies including Bitcoins, Ethereum, Litecoins, and others can be used for trading using this software.
  3. Costs Involved – The software is freely available for use. No payment needs to be done to operate the software. However, a minimum deposit of $250 is required, which will be transferred to your trading account and will be considered as your initial investment amount. You can later use this money to trade. This is made mandatory to keep away the non-serious traders who tend to misuse the software or fool around.
  4. Software Features – Some of the features that make this CFD trading software interesting are:
  • Autopilot capabilities that permit the system to trade by itself on behalf of the user
  • Full responsibility of the market analyses without the involvement of emotions
  • Completely web-based, hence no need to download the software on different systems that you are most likely to use
  • Round the clock customer support that can be contacted for any assistance at any time
  1. Getting Started – In order to start trading using this software, you need to avail a trading spot, which are released only in minimal amounts that are only 10 free licenses per day. For this you need to the fill in the form with all your basic details required to open a trading account. Following this, you are requested to make the minimum trading deposit of $25, which goes under your capital investment and can be used only for trading purposes. Once this is done, you can activate the autopilot based on the settings adjusted by you.
  2. What Next – Once the set up is completed, trade consistently and see the results. You can withdraw the funds earned by submitting a withdrawal request.
  3. Conclusion – The software is 100% legit and is definitely not a scam. The software is one of the most efficient trading systems, built upon a user-friendly platform, which eases out the whole trading process. Additionally, it ensures customer safety with its software encryption that protects both the user’s personal data and investments.

Dead of Winter

I’ve owned Dead of Winter for ages, and have now played it close to a dozen times with two, three, four and five players. I’ve sat in front of this keyboard several times and tried to summarise these thoughts into a coherent and entertaining form, and it’s really difficult. Why has this been a challenge? Is it because I am a mediocre writer? Almost certainly, but also DoW is full of contradictions and problems that should hold it back…

(Heads up – there are no rules descriptions or gameplay examples here. Go watch a video if you want that – this is analysis.)

Firstly, I’ll focus on the bad.

Any way you cut it, the ‘survive the zombie apocalypse’ theme is a tired one. This is not entirely Plaid Hat Games’ fault, but I can’t help but wish that had the ever growing threat had been criminals (Assault on Precinct 13?) or even the popular suggestion of wolves at the gates as opposed the commercial decision to tap into the zombie phenomenon, the game would have felt fresher.

DoW is mechanically simple. To a fault? Well, one of the highlights and real hooks that differentiate the game from the throng of co-ops that are released each year are the player specific hidden goals that force players to look after themselves, as well as the communal goal. The vast majority of these hidden tasks are simply requisites on what you can and can’t have in your personal inventory at game end. There’s nothing particularly interesting about ‘have a book’ or ‘don’t have anything except medicine.’

On that note, much of the game does boil down to going to a location (effectively a deck of cards) then rooting through to find items. Once again – pretty mundane.

Finally, the social contract that players enter into when sitting down at the table has to contain a couple of amendments for DoW. If a player – traitor or otherwise – wishes to take the attitude that if they can’t achieve their own specific objectives then the world can burn, tanking the game for everyone else isn’t going to be that difficult and can leave a sour taste in the mouth of the other players at the table.

Oh God Oh God OH GOD (Thanks Daniel Thurot for the image!)

Oh God Oh God OH GOD (Thanks Daniel Thurot for the image!)

So, in summary… Dead of Winter is my current game of the year.


Yes. This is one of those beautiful games, nay pieces of art where analysis of the component parts in isolation doesn’t change the fact that as a whole, this is a masterpiece. It’s a mess, but a beautiful one that simply works.

No matter how clichéd, old or passé the zombie theming is, this is a proper thematic game that generates the most fun I’ve had around a gaming table this year. Is it the best designed? No. But that doesn’t impact a genuine sense of fun that permeates the games’ soul. DoW draws you in and puts you at the very heart of the narrative – rather than being a third party that watches someone else’s story – this is YOUR story and you and your friends are living it.

The traitor, or threat of one, fundamentally changes how players feel about other players going about their mundane tasks. Is Neil going to the library for the good of the team? Is it for his personal task? Is it because he wants us all to fail?

When decisions are made by the group, you have to live or die (or un-die) with the consequences. If the players choose to bring in another helpless survivor to the colony and you were the only dissenting voice then you have a right for some moral indignation when it is a lack of food that saps away that all important last piece of morale. Even more so when Hamish, that traitorous bastard, wanted us all to fail all along. These moments are crafted by the players, interacting with each other and the mechanisms of the game. These moments are also truly things of beauty and will live long in the memory of this gamer.

Just go and buy Dead of Winter. No funny closing line. Just get it. Even if you wouldn’t be seen dead playing a zombie game.

Cards DOW

Dead of Winter is available now and yes, you should get it, for it is wicked awesome. Designed by Jonathan Gilmour and Isaac Vega, it was released by Plaid Hat Games at Gen Con earlier this year (where it promptly sold out). Between two and five can play with games taking a a good couple of hours at least, and though a lot might come across as pretty straightforward it really is a brilliant, immersive experience.

I, Spy – Dead Drop review

If you sit down with anyone who uses the site regularly to turn games from idea to reality, you’ll undoubtedly hear that “Kickstarter is changing”. As someone who has gone from backer to creator, I can only agree – the site is constantly evolving, and sometimes not for the better. That, however, is a topic that is for another column, and this is a review, not an opinion piece. However, the reason I bring this ever-changing note to the fore is because we now seem to be in a period of negativity. Quality games from established companies are struggling to hit targets, never mind burst through them in a matter of days and go on to pad out the final product with countless stretch goals. A perfect example of this is Dead Drop, currently looking for you to open your wallet and show it some love.

Bitcoin vs Ethereum – Key Differences


It’s too late to evade the cryptocurrency buzz, as not only because the news about them are everywhere but, also because the world is gearing up very fast to embrace the technology and therefore, it is only sensible to adapt and enjoy the necessary benefits. To do so, you have to start securing the cryptocurrencies by investing in them, for which the trouble less option called the automated cryptocurrency investment system such as like the Crypto Code is available readily for all of you.

With this cryptocurrency robot to the rescue, you can start investing in any of the prominent cryptocurrencies like the Bitcoins, Ethereum, and the Litecoin and prepare yourself for the digital future! Among the popular cryptocurrency choices, we are here to understand the key differences prevailing between the top two, that is the Bitcoins and the Ethereum, which would not only help you understand their nature and the benefits perfectly but also help you choose the right choice or perhaps, the both as your investment choice.


The purpose

The purpose of the Bitcoins is limited, which is mainly supporting the digital currency, such as transferring them quickly, securely, cost-efficiently and so on. Whereas the purpose the Ethereum is wide, facilitated perfectly by its feature called the smart contracts. Through this feature, anybody can write applications known as the Dapps to accomplish any task of importance to them, which ensures security, speed, transparency, efficiency, savings and so on.


Currency Issuance

Bitcoin network generates 12.5 new bitcoins for every 10 minutes and whereas the Ethereum network generates 3 new Ether for every 15 seconds. This is because the block generation rate of the Bitcoins is slower when compared to the faster Ethereum.


Currency availability or Currency cap

We know most of the available cryptocurrencies are limited in number and the pioneer Bitcoins are not an exception. There are only 21 million Bitcoins available to the world, of which 16.7 m have been mined or created so far.

Thankfully, Ethereum does not belong to this ‘limited’ category and therefore, as of now, there is no hard cap on the currency’s availability. Currently, there are 96.4 m Ethers that have been generated!



Bitcoins’ hashing algorithm, which is SHA-256, is capable of performing efficiently with some specially designed hardware known as ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit). But, the Ethereum’s hashing algorithm (KECCAK-256) is memory intensive and therefore, it is very arduous to build a special purpose chip for it and, also, it is not economical. This ensures the greater mining decentralization nature of the Ethereum, undoubtedly. But, Ethereum has already made plans to move away forever from the mining concept by changing the algorithm from Proof-of-Work (PoW) to the Proof-of-Stake!


Considering that the entire game consists of only a handful of cards numbered from zero to five, with higher values being much rarer in this slender deck, this is probably one of the more tense gaming experiences I’ve had in a very long time. A race to be the first to deduce (or is it abduce?) the value on a face-down card, the rules to Dead Drop can be explained in a matter of moments. First, begin by placing the mystery card on the table, then lay some face up ones next to it. Immediately you have some information and are able to eliminate some of the possibilities. With a small hand of cards in addition, you’re given a few more clues to what that hidden card may be, but it’s still not enough – and it’s here where our game begins.

Now, it’s probably easier to describe the process of how you announce what you believe the hidden card to be before going any further. To do this, you take two cards from your hand and lay them out before you, the total of which will hopefully be the value on the mystery card. If you’re correct, great – you claim a point and the game restarts for the next round. If you fail, the enigma remains unsolved and left face down while your cards are added to the face up selection for all to see, probably eliminating a few answers from everyone else’s minds as you sit there and curse yourself for not paying more attention at spy school.

A round in which Michael has muffed it completely. It's going to be a bloody zero, isn't it?

A round in which Michael has muffed it completely. It’s going to be a bloody zero, isn’t it? Could be a four, I suppose.

With that out of the way, you’ll need to know how you reach your conclusion. It is, of course, done by giving and taking cards to and from each other. Option one is to take two cards from your hand, sharing them with another player. Should they hold a card that is equal to the total of the two you’ve shown them, they must give you that card in exchange for one of those you’ve revealed. For example, you think they’ve got a three. You correctly show them a two and one, take their three and secretly slide your choice of either the one or two their way. Information has been shared and everyone is delighted.

Should you wish to take a bit more of a chance, you can always choose another player to swap a single card with. Again, they must give you one in return, but at least both parties get to choose how much detail to give away. Of course, you can always just switch a card out with one of the face up ones, but that’s a rather desperate act where you’re not gaining that much information, so why do it? Well, once a player completes their action, they have the option to attempt to grab the victory, but they may not have the right cards in their hand to get the exact total for the reveal – and it must be bang on.

The advance prototype deck I received has some pretty sweet espionage-style artwork going on, and as the campaign has progressed, all stretch goals have been unlocked to entice new backers  into committing to the project. All manner of different decks will be thrown into the box, with the fantastic Kwanchai Moriya’s set probably being my favourite – the kids all running around playing at being agents has a real Calvin & Hobbes vibe, but with another six alternative decks included in the Deluxe Edition pledge level, this is a bloody bargain. You’re essentially getting EIGHT different copies of a really smart card game that will leave you shouting at yourself and your fellow players in glorious, brutal frustration. There are few games out there that offer this level of making you feel so utterly stupid when, only moments before, you truly thought that you’d worked out the lot.

Seriously, how can you not love this?!

Seriously, how can you not love this?!

Now, I’ll have to admit that it takes a few rounds for things to click. It actually took a couple of games for things to fall into place for me, and I found that initially I was winning rounds more down to other players’ errors rather than my Sherlockian deduction powers. However, once that light switch flipped it was awesome. Think like when Keanu Reeves first went back into the Matrix and went “woah”. This moment is just like that, albeit more with cardboard than some sweet shades and an old-school Nokia phone. Once you hit that tipping point, the game truly opens up and you’ll feel very smart – for a few moments, at least.

My one caveat – I don’t really like Dead Drop that much as a game for two. In all honesty, if I only have a single opponent, I prefer to play something a little heavier with them – Agricola: All Creatures Big And Small springs to mind, for example. However, in a pinch it’ll do well as a quick blast, a nice way to spend ten minutes. With three or four though? Give me the box, it’s time to play!

Dead Drop has all the hallmarks of what should be a successful campaign. There’s a young but established designer, Jason Kotarski, who has created entertaining and esoteric games like Great Heartland Hauling Company and FrogFlip. We have a solid company, Crash Games, which has grown over the past couple of years and staked its claim as a name you can trust to deliver a great product. So why is Dead Drop crawling its way to the finish line? With a couple of days on the clock at the time of publishing, it looks like the campaign is certain to fund but man, it’s been a struggle. I only hope that this write up brings in a few more backers because this is a truly fun way to kill a few stolen moments of gaming time. Just remember, never guess that it’ll be a zero. It’s never a zero. Never.

You can back Dead Drop on Kickstarter right now, but you only have until Friday. Get on with it: click here!

Here is how you must get started with cryptocurrency trading

Have you heard about cryptocurrencies?

Cryptocurrencies are completely digital currencies that seem to have taken the whole wide world by a storm. They are so revolutionary because they do not exist in physical form at all. Add to this enigma the fact that banks and other regulatory institutions have no role whatsoever in the trade and exchange of this currency and you have in your pocket (well virtually) something that is truly magical.

A few of the cynics will not stop reminding you that it is a bubble waiting to burst:

Skeptics are continuously at it. They keep warning people from attempting to trade, exchange and secure cryptocurrencies because they believe that it is a bubble that is waiting to be burst. But it has been ten years since the first cryptocurrency was launched and today it is so strong and valuable. Does it say anything on the contrary yet?!

The risk is for sure:

There is no kind of trading today or ever that was that is devoid of any kind of risks. The risk associated with cryptocurrencies is higher because it exists virtually and cannot be acquired physically. That is a valid point to moot but think about all the people who have exchanged and acquired these cryptocurrencies and have done very well for themselves. How will you write off their success stories?

The time to enter the field is now:

And the program that you should choose to trade in cryptocurrencies is the one and only Crypto Code. This brilliant honest software created by Derrick Simmons is one of a kind and totally legit software that specializes in trading in cryptocurrencies. You name it and they have it. With more than fifty assets and counting this is one of the best cryptocurrency CFD software that you can lay your hands on.

It is safe and reliable:

I can vouch for its safety and reliability because I have used it firsthand and I know that the software that places its customer satisfaction before earning any profits for itself can never ever be a scam a la its contemporaries who are out there to trap gullible traders and make a feast out of them.

If you think that trading in cryptocurrencies is your thing and that you are looking for that big breakthrough in life, then look no further than this impressive software. Believe me, you will never regret!

Episode 83 – Pre-Essen Special with Tony Boydell!

Hot on the heels of our last episode, here’s a pre-Essen Special where LMDS regular Tony Boydell (designer of Snowdonia, Ivor the Engine and more!) and I discuss what we think will be some of the highlights of this year’s show. Four days of gaming greatness in southern Germany basically becomes nerd Christmas with hundreds (and we mean hundreds) of new releases to choose from, published by companies who flock to the world’s biggest gaming event every year. There’ll be controversy, there’ll be excitement and there’ll be the pair of us lovingly reading out our lists of Japon Brand pre-orders.

How Ethereum Benefits The Business Community


After the Bitcoins, the world is gaga over the Ethereum, whose market cap is only next to the pioneer Bitcoins. It is because Ethereum’s advantages are not only limited to being the digital currency or the secured payment system, its advantages are unlimited, facilitated by its core feature called the smart contracts.

A contract is a written agreement between the relevant parties, which ensures all associated actions are carried out in accordance with the contract’s terms and conditions. In the case of smart contracts, not the humans but the technology make sure the necessary actions are carried out without the need for any third-party interference. That too with such a supreme technology like the Blockchain, the smart contracts are made decentralized and highly-secured, which is the core concept of the Ethereum. To run these contracts in the Ethereum network, transaction charges in the form of Ether, the Ethereum’s currency has to be paid without any fail.

This smart contract feature of the Ethereum is highly-favored by the business community, due to the following benefits or reasons.


  • All-inclusive

Ethereum’s smart contracts are not limited to any specific purpose. That is, unlike the Bitcoins that use the smart contracts feature to allow the transfer of the currency, Ethereum’s smart contracts are capable of handling anything of value and importance, be it the socks, property, money, drugs and so on and therefore, the business can play around them according to their preference. For example, a group of leading pharmaceutical companies is relying upon the smart contract feature of the blockchain to ensure the security and transparency of the drug supply chain, thereby minimizing or nullifying the thefts happening in the industry.


  • Efficiency

Through this smart contract feature of the Ethereum, from tracking to transfer everything is accomplished perfectly and therefore, more time and energy are saved by the business, leading to more efficiency and more desired output. Efficiency is automatically improved when unwanted middlemen or unnecessary intermediate activities are removed, which is perfectly ensured by the concept of smart contracts beyond any doubt.


  • Cost savings

Every business strives to cut down the unnecessary expenditures, for which the smart contracts feature is a boon. We have already seen that the smart contracts feature eliminates the middlemen, which also eliminates the amount of money spent unnecessarily on them. To substantiate the cost-efficiency benefit of this feature, consider the McKinsey report that has estimated the ability of the blockchain in reducing, at least, $50 billion cost for the businesses in B2B transactions by the end of 2021.


All these prove the benefit of Ethereum for the business community, which also serves as the proof for its growing market value. Hence, it is high-time for anyone interested in investing in the Ethereum to secure their spot, which can be done so uncomplicatedly using the Crypto Code, the automated cryptocurrency platform that is reliable and as well as profitable.


Enjoy the podcast and we’ll see you at Essen! Watch out for the special episodes too, packed out with interviews straight from the show floor!

Direct this episode from here – – or grab it on iTunes!