Category Archives: Learning

The best board games to play this Winter

For some, the idea of playing a board game is met with thrill as the excitement of taking on an opponent is just too strong to pass up. For others, it dredges up dark memories of many a Christmas Day afternoon where monopoly got a little out of hand.

It seems the world of board games is springing back into life as there seem to be more and more games available to play and what’s more, they aren’t all competitive…in fact some of our favourites  promote collaboration amongst players.

Here are our top five picks.

 

Pandemic

Four diseases have broken out in the world and it is up to a team of specialists in various fields to find cures for these diseases before mankind is wiped out. Players must work together playing to their characters’ strengths and planning their strategy of eradication before the diseases overwhelm the world with ever-increasing outbreaks. For example the Operation Specialist can build research stations which are needed to find cures for the diseases. The Scientist needs only 4 cards of a particular disease to cure it instead of the normal 5. But the diseases are out-breaking fast and time is running out: the team must try to stem the tide of infection in diseased areas while also towards cures. A truly cooperative game where you all win or you all lose. As skilled members of a disease-fighting team you must keep four deadly diseases at bay while discovering their cures. You and your teammates will travel across the globe treating infections while finding resources for cures. The clock is ticking as outbreaks and epidemics fuel the spreading plagues and you must work as a team to succeed. Can you find all four cures in time? The fate of humanity is in your hands!

 

Power Grid

If you’re interested in board games that keep you thinking and reward strategic planning with a victory, then we highly recommend you consider Power Grid. The objective in Power Grid is to be the person who can supply power to the most cities in the network when the game ends. And the end of the game is triggered by the players. Keeping an eye on the other players, their progression, their city network, their power plants, and their resources is key to doing well in the game.

Players mark pre-existing routes between cities for connection, and then bid against each other to purchase the power plants that they use to power their cities. However, as plants are purchased, newer, more efficient plants become available, so by merely purchasing, you’re potentially allowing others access to superior equipment. Players must also acquire the raw materials (coal, oil, garbage, and uranium) needed to power their plants (except for the ‘renewable’ windfarm/ solar plants, which obviously require no fuel), making it a constant struggle to upgrade your plants for maximum efficiency while still retaining enough wealth to quickly expand your network to get the cheapest routes.

 

Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle

Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle is a cooperative deck building game for 2 to 4 players that, depending on which game you’re playing, could take 30 minutes, or well over 90 minutes.

Players are taken on a journey through the seven films adapted from the books. They span the years of Harry Potter learning at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, meanwhile encountering the likes of various villains and one particular villain who-should-not-be-named. Players achieve their goals through some pretty standard deck building mechanisms and combating villains with spells, items, and companions along the way. It is a wonderful introduction to cooperative games and deck building for new gamers.

 

Terraforming Mars

Think you have what it takes to make Mars habitable? Well well have we found the game for you!

In the 2400s, mankind begins to terraform the planet Mars. Giant corporations, sponsored by the World Government on Earth, initiate huge projects to raise the temperature, the oxygen level, and the ocean coverage until the environment is habitable. In Terraforming Mars, you play one of those corporations and work together in the terraforming process, but compete for getting victory points that are awarded not only for your contribution to the terraforming, but also for advancing human infrastructure throughout the solar system, and doing other commendable things.

 

Settlers of Catan

The Settlers of Catan is a highly rated board game that has won several awards and members of the Booko online community highly recommend. Between 3 and 4 people can play the base edition, but a 5 to 6 player expansion is also available if you want to play with more people. You can use multiple strategies to win, and there are lots of variations to the rules. Picture yourself in the era of discoveries and after a long voyage of great deprivation, your ships have finally reached the coast of an uncharted island. Its name shall be Catan! But you are not the only discoverer. Other fearless seafarers have also landed on the shores of Catan and the race to settle the island begins!

 

Enjoy!

Sinking into the world of podcasts

Podcasts can be a tricky medium. There is a fine line between feeling like you are part of a conversation and those speaking are including you and care about your views (even if they can’t hear you)…and then there’s the awkward ones where it feels as if you are listening in on a conversation that you really shouldn’t be.

Great podcasts make us think about something in a new light, or make us experience the wonderful joy of the belly laugh. Here are a few of our favourites that help us do just that.

 

Wilosophy

We’re big fans of Wil Anderson and his comedy…and our marketing team loves him on ABC’s Gruen. In his podcast, Wilosophy, Wil Anderson asks smart people stupid questions and tries to find out the meaning of life. Or something like that.

 

 

The Weekly Planet 

The Weekly Planet covers all things movies, TV shows and comics as well as news, reviews and general nonsense related to comic book movies.

 

 

Revisionist History

Revisionist History is Malcolm Gladwell’s journey through the overlooked and the misunderstood. Every episode re-examines something from the past, be it an event, a person, an idea, even a song and then asks whether we got it right the first time.

Malcom Gladwell is an international best seller who has written enough books to fill  bookshelf (click here for a list of his titles). David and Goliath is his latest one which poses the question: What if everything we thought about power was wrong?

Three thousand years ago on a battlefield in ancient Palestine, a shepherd boy felled a mighty warrior with nothing more than a pebble and a sling-and ever since, the names of David and Goliath have stood for battles between underdogs and giants. David’s victory was improbable and miraculous. He shouldn’t have won.
Or should he?
Malcolm Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means endure any number of  setbacks.

 

Probably Science

Professional comedians with so-so STEM pedigrees take you through ideas in science…incompetently. Featuring Matt Kirshen, Andy Wood and a variety of great guests – last week they spoke with Dean Burnett who is a neuroscientist, comedian, blogger and author of the new book Happy Brain: Where Happiness Comes From, and Why.

The pursuit of happiness is one of the most common and enduring quests of human life. It’s what drives us to get a job, fall in love, watch stand-up comedy, go to therapy, have questionable obsessions, and come home at the end of the day. But where does happiness come from, and why do we need it so much? Is lasting, permanent happiness possible or should it be? And what does any of this have to do with the brain?

Happy Brain elucidates our understanding of what happiness actually is, where it comes from, and what exactly is going on in our brains when we’re in a cheery state.

 

The Dollop 

The Dollop is a bi-weekly American History Podcast. Every week, Dave Anthony reads a story to his friend, Gareth Reynolds, who has no idea what the topic is going to be about…and they have just launched a new book: The United States of Absurdity: Untold stories from American history.

The United States of Absurdity presents short, informative, and hilarious stories of the most outlandish (but true) people, events, and more from United States history. Comedians Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds cover the weird stories you didn’t learn in history class, such as 10-Cent Beer Night, the Jackson Cheese, and the Kentucky Meat Shower, accompanied by full-page illustrations that bring each historical “milestone” to life in full colour.

 

 

Ted Radio Hour

The TED Radio Hour is a journey through fascinating ideas, astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, new ways to think and create. Based on Talks given by riveting speakers on the world-renowned TED stage, each show is centred on a common theme such as the source of happiness, crowd-sourcing innovation, power shifts, or inexplicable connections.

 

Hip Hop Saved My Life

Romesh Ranganathan is an award winning comedian who has a gift for making interviewees spill personal stories and share their recollections of hip-hop. This podcast consistently makes us laugh by delivering great stories.

 

 

You can head to our Facebook page for further podcast recommendations by the Booko community. Enjoy!