Codenames – The Board Game

Hello again all.

Hey there!

Being the avid board game player that I am, I felt like writing about one this week.

Can you guess which game that is?

Well, we did read the title.

Smart (alec), as always.

The game is Codenames.

Codenames is a word deduction game, for 2 to 8 players (best with 4, 6 or 8 players in my opinion), created by Vlaada Chvatil.

The players are divided into two teams. Both teams square off against one another, trying to find their own team’s hidden words before the other team does.

In each team, one player is assigned the “Master Spy” title, and all other players in that team are assigned the “Spy” title. The master spy sits across the table from his teammates (the spies in his team); both master spies sit on the same side of the table, whereas both team’s spies sit on the opposite side of the table.

25 words are placed in the center of table, in a 5×5 grid. The master spies have a plastic stand in which they place one of the many “Word Assigning” cards, facing them. This card must only be visible to them; the spies must have the backside of the card facing them, so that they cannot see where the words have been assigning.

This card assigns the 25 words on the table as follows: 9 words are assigned to one team (let’s say blue), 8 words are assigned to the other team (let’s say red), 7 words are assigned to no team (neutral words), and 1 word is assigned as the assassin (your team loses if you pick this word at any point during the game).

Below is the grid of 25 words, the assigning card standing up (bottom left, directly in front of the hourglass), and the coloured rectangle markers (bottom right)—which I will explain shortly—:

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The team with 9 words begins the game (they have one more word than the other team to guess seeing as they have the advantage of playing first).

So, how does the master spy give hints to his spies to help them guess the words?

Great question:

On his/her turn, the master spy is allowed to say only 1 word, followed by one number. The word is meant to orient his/her teammates to some of their words on the table; the number is meant to indicate how many cards on the table relate to the previously said word.

For example, if your team has the words TENNIS, BASKETBALL, and SOCCER, your hint could be as follows:

SPORT – 3.

This tells your teammates that there are 3 words of the 25 words on the table that you must guess that are related to SPORTS.

The spies discuss openly, deducting which words they think are the 3 that the master spy is alluding to. Once they have decided, one player touches the first card they would like to guess—normally the one your team is the most certain of. The master spy then puts a corresponding coloured rectangle marker (blue if it’s a blue team’s word, red if it’s a red team’s word, white if it is a neutral word, black if it is the assassin) over the chosen word. If the team guessed correctly, they now attempt to guess the second word; however, if the team guesses incorrectly, at any point, their turn is over, and they cannot guess any more words this turn. The turn then passes to the other team’s master spy, who must give one word and one number, hinting in the same fashion as described above.

Play continues like this until one team has covered all of their team’s words on the table, in which case they win, or if one team guesses the assassin, in which case they lose.

You mentioned an hourglass?

You don’t miss anything, do you?

Explain!

The 1-minute hourglass is turned over whenever a player feels that a decision is taking too long to be made. The team/player targeted by the hourglass must make his decision before the sand runs out.

Happy?

Grand.

Codenames is one of my favourite, easy-going—yet challenging—social games, and I got to play 7 times last night during the weekly game night that I host at my house. We had a blast, laughed like crazy, and I got beat in almost every time—but it was still a highly enjoyable experience.

If you like games such as Scrabble, Bananagrams, or any other word game, I strongly suggest you get this game; it is loads of fun, for families or friends, of all ages.

Have you ever played Codenames? If so, what did you think of it? If not, what is your favourite word game?

Foot-side: Codename hint for you : SUBSCRIBE – 1.

Don’t Starve – The Video Game

Ever since I’ve started playing video games, I’ve always loved those in which you need to survive. Whether it be trying to find food in the wilderness, build a house from scratch, or even strive in space, these games have always appealed to me. The feelings they brought were visceral, as if it was really me there, trying to stay alive, surviving ever so slightly, on the brink.

Are you able to survive in real life at least?

So far, I’ve been doing alright.

Anyways, in 2013, a game such as this was released on STEAM: Don’t Starve.

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Don’t Starve is an open world survival game. You spawn in a randomly generated world, with no resources whatsoever. You must walk around and collect resources, such as grass, flint, rock, etc. Then, using the resources you’ve gathered, you craft items such as an ax to chop down trees to collect wood for fire, a farm to plant seeds to grow vegetables, a parasol to protect you from the rain so your tools don’t get all wet, and the list goes on.

When you spawn, you are considered to be on Day 1. Each day lasts about 8-10 minutes, part day and part night. You normally being in summer—or fall—, so the days are long, and the nights are short and warm. Your goal is to survive as long as possible, or to escape the world through a cascading set of objectives—that are never stated in the game; you must simply learn then as you play, through exploration and cunning.

At evenfall, you must prepare for the darkness: you need to have a light source, or else you die in the pitch of the night, attacked by abyssal creatures that you never see.

For those who watch Game of Thrones, you are all familiar with Winter Is Coming.

So are those who live on Earth, seeing as winter comes every year.

Yes, but I’m sure you get the point. Give me some slack, just sometimes.

In Don’t Starve, winters looms over your mind like a guillotine over a bandit’s neck: you must prepare for winter constantly, because food will be scarce, your character will freeze to death if not kept warm, and days are short and treacherous, which do not allow you to explore and collect resources as you do in the summer.

Did I mention that you must also take care of your hunger level—eat some nice veggies to partially fill your belly, or cook a meal in the crock-pot for a full replenishment—, keep sane—dig up graves, you get scared, your sanity drops, but pick flowers, you feel good, your sanity level increases slightly—, and monitor your health—if you start starving, your health drops rapidly until you find food, if you take one hit from a spider without your armor you could lose a fifth of your health, and don’t even get me started on Beefalos.

There are also caves, wild animals, hoards of spiders, angry walruses, and other imaginative creatures that haunt you at every forest turn. And the music in this game is stellar. It reminds me of Sherlock Holmes.

Here is a screenshot from the game, to give you an idea of the art style—a hat has been crafted to help keep warm during the winter:

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There exists a multiplayer version, called Don’t Starve Together. In this, you can play with up to 5 other players, and attempt to survive the wild together. Two expansions also came out following the original game. In one of them, you are no longer in a forest-scene, but on a seafaring adventure: you ride little boats, find islands full of monkeys that steal all your goods, and much more.

Have you ever played this game? If not, what is your favorite survival game?

Foot-note: not starving of starvation is comforting, but starving of starvation is deadly.

Low Back Pain Part 1: How To Stretch Your Hamstrings

Jonathan here, again.

We sure hope so; it is your blog.

No need to be incogitant now—I’m trying to help you out with this post.

This is part 1 in a series I will be writing which aims at helping you deal with low back pain. Subscribe if you’d like to receive the next ones as they are posted in the following weeks.

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Always trying to get people to subscribe…

Yes, for sure: I’d love to make it to a double digit subscription number!

Alas, let’s get into it.

For those of you who do not know: I am an osteopath.

One of the main reasons of consultations that I see in my office is back pain—whether it be upper or lower. This series of posts will focus more on aiding those who have low back pain, although it is just as important even if you are pain-free.

There are a few important muscles that must be worked when low back pain is present. A lot of this work can be done right in your home, by yourself, for free.

One of these aforementioned muscle groups are the posterior thigh muscles, called the hamstrings.

A blurb of anatomy:

The hamstrings consists of three muscles: the semimembranosus, semitendinosus, and bicep femoris. They attach from the pelvic bone’s ischial tuberosity—that bony lump you sit on, right in the middle of the bum—to the knee joint—that knee joint, the one you have two of. These three muscles run along the posterior surface of your thigh.

Ischiojambiers.jpg

Now, for the stretching: first and foremost, do not do the hamstring stretches standing up, where you bend over and try and touch your toes, or the one where you are seated, bending your entire back, trying to bring your head to your toes. These put a lot of stress on the back, and can actually accentuate and worsen your pain and prognosis.

Here are two ways to stretch your hamstrings, which are much safer for your low back:

1. Lie on your back, on a comfy surface, such as a yoga mat. Take a towel or band, and loop it around the underside of your foot. With the leg relaxed and extended, gently pull the towel or band towards you, until you feel tension in the posterior surface of your thigh. Your other leg can stay straight—as shown in the picture below—or can be bent at 90 degrees, with your foot planted firmly on the ground. The bent knee will diminish the tension in your low back.

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2. Stand in front of a couch, chair, or anything that is around or slightly lower than the height of your hips. Keep the leg straight, and gently bend forward at the hips; keep your back straight! An easy way to do this is to imagine that you are approaching your navel—belly-button—to your toe. If you do this, your back should stay straight. There isn’t much movement required for you to feel the stretching in the posterior surface of your thigh.

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Different beliefs exist on the amount of time that stretches should be held. I generally tell my patients to hold the position for about 30-45 seconds, 3 times per leg, several times a week or every day. The tension during the exercise should feel no more than 2 or 3 on a scale of 10, where 0 is no tension and 10 is maximal tension. If for any reason you feel numbness during the stretch, slightly lower the amount of tension that you are applying to your hamstrings.

There you have it: two safe hamstrings stretches to help with low back pain.

More to come in future posts!

What do you normally do to help with low back pain?

Lumbar-note: plugging semimembranosus in a sentence always gives you a nimbus of awesomeness.

Sources: all images taken through the Google search engine.

Binge Watching: Marvel – The Defenders

**No spoilers**

So considerate of you.

Binge watching. Ahhh, such a fun thing to do.

Definitely better than binge reading some blog I know of.

Now now…

Sunday night I had a board game night with a few friends and my little brother. After the games were over—Tokaido and Betrayal at House on the Hill—, everyone left, minus my brother.

It was 10:00 PM, and he was staying over for the night. I was tired, yet he still had a good amount of gas in the tank. So we decided a good compromise would be to watch something on Netflix—me being too tired to game, and him being too energized to hit the sack.

We turned on the Xbox, opened the Netflix application, and started browsing the plethora of selections. We browsed for at least 10 minutes, and we realized we could get lost in browsing the countless shows and movies available.

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We decided to watch the first episode of Marvel – The Defenders. He is a fan of superhero shows and movies, and I enjoy most of them as well.

We found the first episode rather meek and slow, but we decided to watch the second episode nonetheless.

Ahh, we get it: stubborn. Sticking with the initial plan no matter what.

We enjoyed the second episode more than the first, but still, we found it was taking too much time to kick things off, especially seeing as there are only eight episodes in the series.

The next morning, we watched the third episode while having an omelette: that is when I got hooked. I am an easy crowd to please, and with four different superheroes clashing in one show, I was bound to become addicted sooner or later.

I drove Christian to work after the third episode, and told him: “I wouldn’t be surprised if I watch some more when I get home”.

Fast-forward 11 hours: I had done my laundry, recorded my podcast, gone to my swing class, and watched all five remaining episodes of The Defenders.

Overall, I enjoyed the show—obviously seeing how I acted—, except the slow beginning. I don’t want to get into the details of the story line as to not cause any spoilers.

Considerate, once again.

When was the last time you binge-watched a show? How do you feel when you binge-watch?

Binge-note: binge-ing is just so, utterly, binge.

What Do You Do While You Wait For Your Laundry?

This post is geared towards those who do not have a washer and dryer at home; to all those lucky ones who must go to a laundromat to do their laundry.

And what if I do have a washer and dryer?

You can read anyways, if you’d like to make me smile.

**Smile**

I moved out from my six and a half apartment on July 1st, where I was living with one roommate. Now I am in a three and a half, living alone. In my old apartment, we had a washer and dryer. Back then—sounds like a long time ago, but this was up until June—, I would not wait around for my laundry: I would simply put the clothes in the wash, and come back to them later on in the day to say hello—and put them in the dryer.

Now, I do not own a washer and dryer. Luckily, I do not need to go to a laundromat either.

Are you saying you just don’t clean your clothes anymore..?

No, not at all: my mother lives five minutes away—on foot—, which is practical with laundry in mind.

That’s good. I am glad that you have kept proper hygiene while living alone.

Sometimes I will go put a load of laundry in, and ask my mother to put the clothes in the dryer when the wash cycle is finished when she has a chance. Then, a few days later, I’ll go pick up my clean clothes from her house.

Whenever I have too many loads to do—mainly due to laziness, which tends to brood a heaping pile of clothes in my closet—, I will go, and wait for the first load to finish, and then start up a second one. That is a similar situation to those who go to a laundromat, and have to wait for their washer and dryer cycle to finish.

Today I decided to take my mom’s dog to the park while waiting for the first load to finish. There were about 7 other dogs in the park, and Bailey was the second smallest one there, looking like a white little fur ball on four legs.

I stayed for about 20 minutes, and went to pick up the leash and harness which I had left on the ground by a tree—smart me; a dog had peed on it.

Well, if it was by a tree…

Lesson learnt.

This was Bailey during the car ride home—obviously still a little white fur ball, but sprawled out and all huffy-puffy:

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I carried Bailey back to the car, went to my mom’s, and low and behold, my laundry was done! I started up a second cycle, hung up some clothes, put some in the dryer, and asked my mother to do the second dryer cycle tonight after her work.

On other occasions I have simply just relaxed on the couch with Bailey, or played the piano while waiting for the wash cycle.

When you go to a laundromat, what do you do?

Thanks for reading:

**Smile—again**

Paw-note: don’t leave anything outside by the tree when you go do laundry; you might attract some dogs.

Today Is My Nana’s Birthday

Short post incoming, picture-less.

Make it snappy.

Yes yes. You’re always so quick to the gun…

First and foremost, words cannot properly express my Nana’s grandiosity; however I will give it a —succinct and nectarous—shot.

My Nana advanced one spot on her timeline today, to another double digit spot on her calendar. The first digit is 8; the second will remain shrouded in mystery.

Ahh, 8: that is her favorite number. That was also my favorite number growing up, because it was her favorite number; I loved—and still do—her that much.

Did you realize that today is the 8th of the 8th? That makes a lot of 8’s for someone whose favorite number is 8. Although this favoritism might have stemmed from the fact that her birthday is on the 8th of the 8th, that does change the reality that her favorite number is 8.

Briefly put, all that matters is that today is a rocking woman’s birthday, as I know it is the case for many others out there—although I will stick to Nana in this post, seeing as I don’t know anyone else.

You don’t know anyone besides your Nana? You would win a popularity contest.

Well, I do… But not whose birthday is today.

We are going out to grab a coffee and see a movie tonight to celebrate her birthday. We are going to see the last showing at the cinema, which is customary for us—the showings we go to are always post-10:00PM. Talk about a NON—Night Owl Grandma.

And you’re a SAC.

So Awesomely Cool?

More like Snappy Acronym Creator.

Ahh… Why thank you.

Knowing her, she won’t be asleep until at least 3:00AM or 4:00AM tonight, hours after the movie has finished. I’ll definitely hit the sack before her, as I do almost every night of the year. Remember, NON.

And finally, I must admit that I don’t even celebrate my own birthday that much, but for Nana, going out to see a late movie to celebrate is something I want to do, for her.

Which birthday do you like to celebrate the most? Is it your own, or someone else’s?

Foot-note: eight eight eight eight eight eight eight. 8.

How Does Camping Make You Feel?

Hello again.

Hello, Mr. Naylor. Writing on time I see. Congratulations.

Now, let’s talk about camping!

Or rather write and read about it?

Yes yes…

Camping is one of my favorite summer activities. I try to get away from the city life at least 1-2 weekends each summer, and take in the fresh air, cellphone-less days, and the beauty of nature.

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I just came back from a two day fishing trip where I got to do just that—minus the camping with a tent. We spent the whole time on the boat fishing—and caught zero fish, great—, playing horseshoes, throwing frisbees, playing board games in the chalet, and relaxing in the sun. I always find days such as those very enjoyable, and I feel like I return home with a new outlook.

I have the luxury of going—camping this time—again this upcoming weekend, for three nights, and over 72 hours of non stop music—I will obviously sleep at some times, or else a collapse will occur inevitably. It is less relaxing on the body having to dance for all that time, but my mind will still manage to relax; nature has its ways of soothing me.

The festival this weekend is Eclipse, where there are four stages with music for 4-5 days. It is my first time going to this festival, and I look forward to hearing a lot of psychedelic-trance—fast paced electronic trippy music!

I know I will also take some time to just sit back, read, and stare in awe at the wonders of the trees, those emerald pillars staring down at us.

How does camping make you feel? It is a routine to go every summer, or even winter?

Side-note: it would rock if an Eclipse was set to occur during the Eclipse festival; sometimes, I tend to ask for too much.