Traders of Osaka


I’m an absolute sucker for elegance. I love games with few components and rules, yet still manage to create a deep and thoughtful gameplay system. The card game Traders of Osaka has all of these traits.

Based on Traders of Carthage, where the goal is for players to move ships, and deliver goods from Alexandria to Carthage, Traders of Osaka is essentially the same but this time the gameplay is set in a new continent and era, with the cargo needing to be shipped from Osaka to Edo in Japan.

The game has both cards and a board. Each card has a number and colour. The colour denotes the type of goods you can ship, and the number indicates their value. But, the game gives you the choice to keep your card in hand or place it in front of you. This turns them into purchased goods or cash to use later to purchase the goods.

Apart from this choice, as a trader you need to move your goods. Each time you buy an item, the ship of its colour moves one step closer to its destination. When it reaches Edo the player can sell the goods of a specific colour. However, if the seas are perilous just before docking, it sinks, and everyone’s goods of that colour go to waste.

The setup leads to a very simple, binary choice, which is affectd by the actions of all the players around you. The competition is absolutely bittersweet. Don’t be fooled by its spareness, these are some of the most tactical choices you will have to make in your life.

The game is about trading rice in Osaka over 100 years ago—a hard sell. But it has beautiful artworks, and a modern design that runs smoothly and is easy to learn. Trust me, give this one a shot.

Can We Become Zombies After Death?


Leucochloridium paradoxum sp.
Leucochloridium paradoxum sp.

Yes, hypothetically we can be transformed into brain loving zombies. A scary answer to a scary question.However, before going out to buy a chainsaw to cut those zombies in half please be aware that a human zombie has never existed.
The rest of the animal kingdom isn’t so lucky. Different types of fungi, parasites, and pathogens have altered the life of other organisms and transformed them into zombies. One of the most graphic examples is Leucochloridium paradoxum, a tapeworm which has been observed to infect and take control of snails. After inserting itself into the snail’s body, the tapeworm slowly spreads and concentrates in its eye stalks making these look like tasty green caterpillars. In turn this makes the snail more eye-catching for hungry birds that are an intermediate host for this parasite. If that is not gory enough just wait for the zombie part.

The flatworm makes the snail do its bidding by exposing itself during daylight. By staying on the highest leaves pulsing the eye stalks making them look like tasty morsels ready for the picking by the hungry birds above.
This case is not unique. There are other species which are known to be zombified: ants, flies, crickets, and others. At the time of writing no fungus, parasite, bacteria, or virus has been found to infect and transform humans. Till then there is no need to get your zombie-proof chainsaw and sawn-off shotgun. •

27th Passenger


I thought I hated deduction games. A friend of mine had purchased The Resistance and we played it till kingdom come. Everyone loved it, except me. It was too much a social exercise and too little a game. This is not necessarily bad, it just made the game extremely different with different groups, and it didn’t work with some of them. I assumed that this was true for all deduction games; 27th Passenger proved me wrong. 27th Passenger is about a group of assassins on a train. They all want to kill each other, but not the civilians. Of course, all players have a disguise ranging from a tough gangster to a sweeter schoolgirl.Continue reading

I_compute I_create I_am

Dr Edward DucaCreativity is a quality that we, as humans, think is ours alone. Prof. Georgios N. Yannakakis is creating computers that might have already taken this away from us. Computational creativity is here. His games are helping children be more creative, others to overcome dyslexia, and even combat bullying. Words by Dr Edward Duca.

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