Board games are probably one of my favorite ways to connect with my friends. However, board games are a bit expensive, and getting the right one can be daunting. Should I pay $40 for the card building game or should I pay $20 for the social deduction game?
I am hoping this brief list will give you some help when deciding your next board game.
- Difficulty: Easy
- Players: 2-6
- Time: Short (3-20 Minutes)
- Type: Card game, competitive
This is a simple and fun card game. The rules are so simple that game instructions suggest you just start playing the game (if there is someone else in the group has played) instead of reading through the rules. This game has a ton of different versions, and the base game is not necessary, as each deck is a full game and the game decks aren’t designed to mix. Each game deck is essentially the same game with a different theme and sometimes special card types. I, personally, recommend the Pirate Fluxx deck or the Monty Python Fluxx deck.
The game rules and objectives not only change every game, but they can change just about any turn. However, no matter the rules or the objective of the game, there are always 5 main types of cards (and sometimes special cards depending on the deck):
- Rule cards
- Goal cards
- Action cards
- Keeper cards
- Creeper cards
At the beginning, the rules always start as draw one card and play one card, and you start with a hand of three cards. Depending on what you play each turn, you can change the rules of the game (sometimes to make it so you can draw more cards each turn or play more cards each turn), change or establish the goal of the game, play a keeper card (which combinations of these are what is listed on the goal card), or play a creeper card (which keeps you from winning the game).
This game is sure to create laughs, and is super quick! Though, it doesn’t quite have the same addictive qualities as some of the games below
- Difficulty: Easy
- Players: 2-4
- Time: Short (15-20 minutes)
- Type: Treasure hunt, board (kind of), cooperative
This is a great introduction to cooperative games. Not a lot of people have played cooperative board games before, as there aren’t many classic games that are cooperative, but this is really easy to understand.
Essentially your board is a collection of cards that represent different areas on an island. The island is slowly flooding, and you and your friends need to collect all the treasure on the island before it floods. To do this, you collect cards throughout the game that help you unlock the treasures.
It is good to start this game at a low difficulty just to understand the ropes, however in order for the game to be repayable you will most likely need to increase the difficulty of the game, otherwise it will get far too easy.
There is also other expansions for this game, like Forbidden Desert. Forbidden Desert is a little bit more complicated than Forbidden Island, however I think they have about the same entertainment value. Great to go round after round with the friends and fine tune your perfect strategy!
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Players: 2-5
- Time: Depends on the group size. Ranges from 25 to 45 minutes.
- Type: Board, land conquest, competitive
This game is never not a blast. Imagine Risk, but quicker, more light-hearted, and not about to destroy lifelong friendships. The setting of small world is a small ass world where you are competing with a number of races for the most territory. At the end of each turn, your territories are counted and you receive that number of victory tokens (race buffs can give you more). The goal of the game is to get the most victory tokens.
The weird twist of this game is that you don’t only play one race. Your race will explode out into the world, but, at some point, due to lack of forces you will be unable to spread out your race any further. At this point, you will have to put your race into decline in which you cannot control them anymore, and you choose a new race to explode into the world! Sometimes you can control a race for one turn, sometimes you can control a race for 4 turns. It just depends what your strategy is!
I have not found someone that doesn’t fall in love with this game. The last time I played this with someone, they immediately went out to buy the game the next day.
- Difficulty: Moderate-Hard
- Players: 2-4 (can get more with expansions. Plus I find that the you can easily just add in players to this game with a few tweaks to rules)
- Time: Long (30-60 minutes)
- Type: Deck building, competitive
I feel for this game what many people seem to feel for Settlers of Catan. This is without a doubt my bread and butter game. In this game, you slowly build a deck from a selection of power up cards, victory cards, and money. With the deck you build, you can do bad ass combinations that are sure to devastate your opponents.
Though, this game is a little bit complex, hence why I am not even attempting to get into the rules of this game. However, the rules are logical and the cards themselves guide you through the game quite a bit.
This game has a ton of expansions, and I would be lying if I said I even knew what all of them are. Out of them, I have played the base game, Intrigue, Empires, and Seaside. I wasn’t a big fan of Seaside when I played it, but I love Intrigue and Empires! You can combine the expansion decks however you like, however the rules come with some recommendations for card combinations for newer players.
- Difficulty: Super easy
- Players: 5-10
- Time: 10-30 minutes (really just depends how much you and your friends want to talk)
- Type: Social deduction, teams (competitive and cooperative)
Imagine mafia, like the game you play around a campfire, but simpler. This is easily my favorite game to play with my friends. It is a social deduction game so the most important aspect of the game is how you interact with the people you are playing with. At the beginning of the game, everyone is assigned a party affiliation (either fascist or liberal), and one of the fascists is also Hitler. At no point in the game are you allowed to show people the cards you were assigned, but you can tell them anything you want. However, fascists know who the other fascists are.
You are not disallowed from sharing any kind of information you may know with other players, but at no point could you ever fully know if a person is lying or not. The game progresses by the President (goes around the table one by one) and the Chancellor (nominated by the president and then voted on by everyone at the table) choosing policy cards. There are only two types of policy cards: fascist or liberal. There are a few ways teams can win, but the objective of the game is to get as many of your alignment policy cards enacted as possible.
Essentially everyone poses as a liberal and you try to figure out who the fascists are based on cards that are being played and what the characters are saying.
This is the last of the silent films. However, it is certainly not least… I pull those battery from some mystery area, I suppose?
Next Rian Johnson? I think yes.
“Another one from the vaults.” Dr. Frank-N-Furter
There are two pop culture items I would like to point you to: The Founder and Hamilton. Both have a significant lesson in them. If you are unfamiliar with these pieces, The Founder is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who franchised the McDonalds business empire. Hamilton is a Broadway musical about the trials and hardships of Alexander Hamilton in his attempts to attain a legacy for himself in creating a robust financial system in the United States.
Being libertarians, I am sure most of you have positive feelings about The Founder and negative feelings about Hamilton, however if you are looking for a political message in these pieces, I think you are missing the point. They tell the exact same story. They are both stories of a person who busted their ass to reach their goals. It is the entire theme of both stories.
In Hamilton, they describe Alexander as the “$10 dollar founding father without a father who got a lot farther by working a lot harder; by being a lot smarter; by being a self-starter.” Throughout the play he is incredibly ambitious with his famous line being “there are a million things I haven’t done.” There is even a whole song called “Non-Stop”, which is all about Alexander Hamilton’s work ethic. He never stopped writing. He never stopped advocating. The man was non-stop.
In The Founder, Ray Kroc spends 50% of the movie fighting the McDonalds brothers who drag their feet time and time again. He separates from his friends whom he describes as the “idle rich”, and decides to make better friends with immigrants, door-to-door salesmen, and entrepreneurs. He fills his company with people who know how to hustle and know that the hustle never ends. At the end of the movie he gives one of my new favorite movie speeches:
“Now, I know what you are thinking: how the heck does a 52 year-old, over the hill, milkshake machine salesmen build a fast food empire with 1600 restaurants in 50 states, 5 foreign countries, with an annual revenue within the neighborhood of about 700 million dollars? One word: persistence. Nothing in this world can take the place of good ole persistence. Talent won’t. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius won’t. Unrecognized genius is practically a cliché. Education won’t. The world is full of educated fools. Persistence and determination alone are all powerful.”
Video found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocXP1pLeqLM
These are powerful words, and they cannot be understated. Nothing replaces hard work. We constantly in our society use the terms “work smarter, not harder.” What a crime! This is bullshit, and is robbing millennials of greatness. The first half is absolutely correct. The second is the destruction of virtue and achievement. The phrase should be “work smarter, work harder”.
And the unfortunate truth is libertarians are neither working smarter or harder. We certainly don’t work smarter! We fight unnecessary battles. We die on hills we will never win. We make bed fellows with despicable monsters. This is us not working smarter.
We certainly don’t work harder. I have spent the past two weeks going school to school in the Northeast recruiting students to join the fight for a free and prosperous future. As I walk these campuses, I see the schools plastered with fliers from the College Democrats and socialist clubs. At NYU, I saw 3 different socialist clubs at their club fair. The socialists are preaching on the greens of their campus, working to have dozens of events every month, and forming coalitions. On some of the campuses I visit there are libertarian clubs and on some there aren’t. Either way they are invisible.
I see groups across the nation run two group meetings a semester. TWO!? I see some never meeting at all. I see groups that think putting up 5 fliers is exposure on campus. I see activists that invite 10 people to a Facebook event and think they have created good traction. Many are guilty.
Libertarians constantly make fun of socialists because they think they are holding positions of non-work and laziness. Well guess what? They are working harder than us! They are working smarter than us! And it is so damn obvious. The American revolutionaries gave their lives, all their comforts, and their safety to attain liberty and independence. We can hardly dedicate 3 hours on a Thursday.
In order to be an activist, you have to be active. Our mission is one of incredible difficulty and persistence. We will fail over and over again, and we won’t stop until we attain every last success. We will be tired. Our feet and backs will hurt and ache. Our brains will be fried. But, whether we succeed or fail, we will know that we gave our everything to fight for human prosperity. We will be able to hold our heads high.
Looking at the strategy of conservatives and libertarians in the United States, one can plainly see welfare activism is a strong focus. But is this the most important topic to promote the free market? We promote the ideas of the free market in order to bring about human flourishing and prosperity, but are welfare programs the main obstacle holding us back from our full potential in trade? I think not. Actually, I think that focusing on this, instead of other facets of the economy, is quite dangerous.
People generally join welfare programs for one of two reasons: 1) they need it to put food on the table. That is to say that they truly need it to survive either because of some disability, some unfortunate circumstance, or what have you. And 2) they see a profit of some kind. This is to say that they see they can make some kind of cash value with doing minimal work or less work then they would need to do otherwise to make that cash. Both are noble causes. In the market we are all trying to both survive and profit. It is what motivates us to fulfill our own wants and needs.
However, those that are for the free market generally demonize those that use these programs. This is a flaw in strategy and in principle. Most of those that promote the ideas of liberalism and the market say that we are all self-interested and we all take actions to advance ourselves and meet our goals. Why is this any different from those that use welfare programs? They are doing exactly what we say is natural. They are either seeking survival or profit or both.
Generally, the response to this is that people who use welfare are not mutually benefiting those around them. Mutual benefit is a natural consequence of market action, but it is not the goal of the actors in a market. When an entrepreneur sells his product or service, they are not intending to benefit those around them from their service, but they do regardless. This follows the logic of the popular Adam Smith quote about the baker not selling his labor and products for the good of his customers, but instead for his own self interest. The mutual benefit between the baker and his customers is simply happy coincidence that should be expected from voluntary action.
The same motivation is behind the actions of those that enroll in welfare programs. The only difference is that mutual benefit (a positive sum gain) doesn’t result from the transaction. The transaction is neutral sum. Value is taken from one and given to another in similar amounts. Someone benefits the exact same amount that someone is negated. However, this is not because of the actions of those that are enrolled. They are doing vaguely the same thing as the baker in the Adam Smith quote. They are taking a tally on the environment or setting they are in and choosing an option that is open to them that gives them the best profit (or the perceived best profit). Therefore the issue doesn’t lie in the receiver, but the taker and giver. The taker and giver in this scenario is obviously the government agency that facilitates the program.
Demonizing the welfare recipient ignores key principles of the liberal philosophy (particularly that people are self-interested) and is clearly bad strategy. The free market is what could help these recipients the most. Yet they are ostracized from the ideas by bombastic and fiery conservatives and libertarians that accuse them of laziness, idleness, or what have you. They aren’t lazy. They are self-interested.
However, there is one more key flaw to fighting welfare programs as a free market supporter. Though, it rests in a strategic hypothetical. What if the market cannot bear the introduction of unemployed or partially employed welfare recipients? What if there are not enough jobs in a particular area? What if the market doesn’t meet demand? People would suffer immensely. In a world with no welfare programs, these people could potentially starve if there isn’t a charity willing to give them support. This should be unacceptable to all people promoting the ideas of freedom and liberty. Not only think of the direct human suffering, but imagine how quickly people will demonize the ideas of the free market if just one person that used to be on welfare starved. The proponents of socialism and immense state control would flourish and our hope of liberty will be lost. We would have won, temporarily, the fight against the welfare state only to lose in the long run not only the welfare fight, but most likely every other fight for more freedom.
This is not to say that libertarians and conservatives should end the fight against the welfare state. It is an abomination and one that creates networks of dependency to the state. This is to say that this fight should be put on a backburner of sorts and we should focus on creating a market environment that would be guaranteed to support these people when welfare is removed.
This means fighting the regulatory state. The regulatory state suffocates our markets to a degree that forces otherwise productive people to be enrolled into welfare programs. I think of licensing laws that force people that want to do something as simple as braiding hair to get a permit. I imagine there are a handful of people that would love (or at least could) braid hair for money, but cannot due to a long, laborious permitting process. I think of licensing laws for florists, coffin makers, and hair dressers. I understand that we all want beautiful bouquets and great haircuts, but to create huge permitting processes for these professions is ludicrous. It isolates people from our markets and forces people into welfare programs.
While I see libertarians, in part, focus on the regulatory state, not so much can be said about conservatives who believe in the free market. The Republican Party’s main focus for years has been cutting welfare. There is hardly a word to be said about regulation, at least on the national stage. Perhaps they have their own strategy that I am not seeing. While libertarians have, in part, had some focus on regulation, they are not perfect in this either. As it goes, libertarians will generally parrot that of their conservative free market allies, even if only to form a coalition.
To me, this is not an arm chair discussion either. This is not simply a whimsical conversation about how I want libertarians or conservatives to act. I truly believe this distinction is the difference between fulfilling a more free society, and the possible end of liberalism in the United States. If free market advocates win the fight against welfare, the long-term results could be devastating for the free market. If free market advocates lose the fight against welfare, they will have only wasted their time as the government continues to grow. If free market supporters shift the fight to regulation instead of welfare, we could have the potential to win both fights.
Energy is vital to the prosperity of communities and society as a whole. There were 253 million registered passenger cars and trucks on the roads in the United States in 2014. In 2016, there were estimated to be over 207 million smartphone users in the United States, which is estimated to above 257 million by the year 2020. In 2009, there were over 100 million air conditioners in US homes. All these commodities take energy, and in the case of air conditioners and cars, a significant amount of energy. In 2013 the United States consumed 12,988 kWh per person. According to the US Census, in 2013 there were about 317,200,000 people living in the United States. This means the United States consumed about 4,119,793,600 MWh of electricity in 2013 alone.
With these numbers in mind, it would not be a stretch to say that the United States’ standard of living rests heavily on its access to energy. Dr. Charles Hall, a researcher in systems ecology and biophysical economics, goes as far as saying that the “American Dream” was created due to the United States’ access to energy, most notably pointing to the use of the spindletop, an oil drilling tool, in 1901 as one of the most important economic events in the United States.
When it comes down to it, our access to energy is inseparably tied to our energy policy. This highlights the importance of sound energy policy in the United States, as well as the state of Colorado. In order to sustain a high standard of living, energy policy must be conducive to greater and greater access to energy.