A Menagerie of Outspoken Opinions on Science, World Politics, and Geek Culture

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Saturday Fun Stuff

Yay! It's time for Saturday fun stuff. The Zoo is a politics-free zone on weekends, and I arise early to scour the internet for cool and interesting amusements that you can all enjoy.

Oh, I agree. I am the coolest.

Today I present you with a Shockwave game called Blackjack Elf from Thinks.com. If you like cards, this is a neat one. You play hands of Blackjack - placing bets and all - and your dealer is, for some reason, an elf (perhaps Santa's Toy Shop is having summer layoffs again). Bets are points, not money, for anyone who was worried.

Add this game to your website, click here.

This game requires the Macromedia Shockwave Player.

If nothing appears please install the player.


Like this game? Download the full version.

PC Version | Mac Version

Our second fun thing is a brief plug for my favorite board game, Klaus Teuber's Settlers of Catan. Mayfair Games maintains a site for Settlers (with links to other games) here.

The idea behind Settlers of Catan is that each player represents a budding society in the land of Catan. You start with a couple small settlements and the beginnings of a road system, and from there you have to collect resources to build more settlements, roads, and eventually cities and maybe even an army. Points are accumulated for the stuff you build, and the first one to 10 points wins. Games take about an hour or an hour and a half.

The best thing about Settlers - what makes it so entertaining, in my opinion - is that each player is doing stuff on every turn, not just their own. Resources are extracted from the land with each roll of the dice, and all players collect if they have a settlement on the appropriate game tile. Furthermore, trading can take place between the player who's turn it is and any other player, and in the 5-6 player version everyone gets a chance to build between turns. The end result is that you're not just sitting there waiting for your turn to come around; there is lots to do even on other player's turns.

If you like strategy world-building games (Civilization III, Starcraft, Master of Magic) or the kind of board games that require you to skillfully acquire resources and construct an "empire" (Monopoly, Empire Builder, Risk) then Settlers of Catan is for you. It has The Zoo's official stamp of coolness.