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1000 Blank White Cards

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I like card games as much as the next guy, but it seems like half the fun must be in creating the cards and making up the rules. (Okay, maybe that's just one-third of the fun. But still.) If you enjoy creating games as much as playing them, check out 1000 Blank White Cards, a party game in which creating the deck is part of the action. (A sample card is pictured at left: Self Trepanation (lose 2000 points).)

A game of 1000 Blank White Cards, or 1KBWC for short, consists of three general stages (described after the jump...)

1. Deck Creation - in which players create some number of cards, starting with a stack of blanks (up to the eponymous 1000 if you expect to play until next year). Depending on the expected duration of the game, you might create a hundred cards in advance -- or you might start with a handful and make more as you go along. Each card can contain any drawing or text you want -- the card can implement rules (all players must discard a card, for example), give you free turns, add or subtract points, end the game, make the player perform a task, anything you want. Also note that deck creation is explicitly allowed during game play, so this early phase is just about setting up the initial game, which will evolve during play.

Solar Power Card2. Game Play - in which players draw five-card hands and play them "on" other players. For example, you might draw the Solar Power card, which simply has an illustration of a Lego man driving a solar-powered buggy -- it does nothing on its own (though you might get creative and combine it with something else -- for example, by creating an "Al Gore" card that grants +50 points for any player with a solar-powered vehicle). Or you might draw the I Have No Arms card, which offers eight points if you pick something up with your teeth. (Note that points are completely arbitrary, though many cards offer plus or minus points for various reasons.) As mentioned above, players are encouraged to create new cards during game play, so if you picked up the Pies card (a picture of three pies), you might create a "+5 points per pie in hand" card and play it. Eventually game play ends when the players decide it's over, or something in the game mechanisms (perhaps a "Game Over" card) declares the end. The player with the most points wins. (Unless the game has been altered, perhaps by a "Lowest Points Wins" card....) You can see the inherent complexity of this Nomic game, in which the game mechanics change during game play.

Pies! Card3. Epilogue - in which the characters decide which of the cards created during the game should be kept for future games. This is purely arbitrary, and offers another way to "win" the game -- by adding your cards to future decks.

History and Further Reading - 1KBWC was invented by Nathan McQuillen, and spread through university towns until it was finally written up in GAMES Magazine and even an edition of Hoyle's Rules of Games. (Read more about the game's history.) Several online lists of cards are available, but beware -- many may be offensive or non-work-safe! Check out: Random Card Server from Boston, Another Random Card Server from Boston, Random Card Server from Seattle, Flickr group. Recommended reading: Bob: 1KBWC in Boston, Wikipedia page on 1KBWC.

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fun
Dungeons & Dragons Gets a Digital Makeover
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iStock

Since the 1970s, players have been constructing elaborate campaigns in Dungeons & Dragons using nothing but paper, pencils, rule books, and 20-sided dice. That simple formula has made D&D the quintessential role-playing game, but the game's publisher thinks it can be improved with a few 21st-century updates. As The Verge reports, Wizards of the Coast is launching a digital toolset meant to enhance the gaming experience.

The tool, called D&D Beyond, isn’t meant to be a replacement for face-to-face gameplay. Rather, it’s designed to save players time and energy that could be better spent developing characters or battling orcs. The resource includes a fifth-edition rule book users can search by keyword. At the start of a new campaign, they can build monsters and characters within the program. And players don’t need to worry about forgetting to bring their notes to a quest—D&D Beyond keeps track of information like items and spells in one convenient location.

"D&D Beyond speaks to the way gamers are able to blend digital tools with the fun of storytelling around the table with your friends,” Nathan Stewart, senior director of Dungeons & Dragons, said in a statement when the concept was first announced. "These tools represent a way forward for D&D.”

This isn’t the first attempt to bring D&D into the digital age; videogames inspired by the fictional world have been produced since the 1980s. Unlike those titles, though, D&D Beyond will still highlight the imagination-fueled role-playing aspect of the game when it launches August 15.

[h/t The Verge]

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Bryn Dunbar
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Pop Culture
Can You Spot Fake News? A New Game Puts Your Knowledge to the Test
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Bryn Dunbar

In 2017, misinformation is easier than ever to access. During the 2016 election, scammers—including hordes of Macedonian teens—raked in serious money by churning out deliberately fake stories about U.S. politics, with a very real impact. In a December 2016 Pew Research Center survey, 64 percent of U.S. adults said that fabricated news was sowing "a great deal of confusion" about current events.

It can be hard to determine what’s real and what’s fake in the viral news world. A new game—expected to launch for iPhone on July 10—will test your skills. Fake News, designed by the creative agency ISL, asks players to distinguish between headlines found on true stories and headlines drawn from fake news sites (as determined by fact-checking sites like Snopes, Politifact, FactCheck.org).

The simple, arcade-style game for iPhone asks you to swipe left on fake headlines and swipe right on true ones. You have 100 seconds to sort through as many headlines as you can, competing for the highest score with other users. For instance, did Arby’s really get its name because “RB” is another way of saying roast beef? (No, RB stands for Raffel Brothers, the founders.) Does Jeff Goldblum really have a food truck named Chef Goldblum’s? (Kind of. It was a film promotion stunt.)

Fake News also exists as a physical arcade game. The creators installed a table-top arcade game in a D.C. bar on July 5, and may install it elsewhere depending on demand.

The game is harder than you’d expect, even if you think of yourself as fairly well-informed. As research has found, viral stories require two things: limited attention spans and a network already overwhelmed with information. In other words, our daily Internet lives. The more information we try to handle at one time, the more likely it is that we’ll fall for fake news.

Scientists found in a recent study that warning people that political groups try to spread misinformation about certain issues (like climate change) can help people sort through dubious claims. While that’s good to remember, it’s not always useful in real-life situations. It certainly won’t help you win this game.

One of the reasons Fake News is so hard, even if you keep abreast of everyday news, is that it doesn’t tell you where the headlines are from. Checking the source is often the easiest way to determine the veracity of a story—although it’s not a foolproof system.

Need help finding those sources? This Chrome plug-in will flag news from troublesome sources in your Facebook feed.

Update: The game is available for iOS here.

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