November 17, 2015

Boardgame Review: Dino Hunt Dice

At Salt Lake ComicCon, my kids discovered Zombie Dice. They loved it, but there's something really unnerving about hearing a five-year-old cheer, "Yes! More brains!"

So I was really happy to discover Dino Hunt Dice. It's also made by Steve Jackson Games and has almost-identical rules. Instead of brains, you collect dinosaurs.

Usually I'm a big fan of games with a fair amount of strategy and choice-making. This isn't that game. Dino Hunt Dice only has one choice to make -- whether or not you want to keep what you have or roll again and chance losing it all (here's the complete rules). There's a certain amount of calculated risk and probability involved, but this is no Euro game. So...why pick this game up?

You need something short. The game plays in about ten minutes, so it's perfect for moments when you really just don't have time to break out an hour-long game but want to be able to play something with your kids. It would work as a quick filler game for gaming groups, too -- or as a way to determine who gets to pick the next, heavier board game for the group to play. 

You need something simple. This is the kind of game one can literally play one-handed. The rules are easy peasy. It would be an easy game to get non-gamers to play. A great game for people who want to chat more than strategize. I don't have any very young novice board game players right now, but this would be a great game to introduce to a three-year-old. The luck element is heavy enough that they have a good chance of winning, but the game is still ten thousand times more interesting than Candyland. I'm excited to have a game that I'd willingly play with other adults that can also be accessed by kiddos still learning how to roll dice. And unlike a lot of dice games where there's some real score keeping involved, here you just have to be able to keep a running tally to twenty.

You need something portable. The whole game comes in a cup that would fit in most purses. It wouldn't be a bad game to just keep stashed in the car, and it's almost certainly going to be traveling with us. No need to worry about busted corners on boxes or finding space for it.

This game is no Settlers of Catan. It's not amazing or revolutionary. But I'm grateful to own it for those moments when we need short and simple and pulling out an absolutely brilliant game just isn't feasible. The kids have played it with me and by themselves I-don't-know-how-many-times. It seems easily worth the ten dollars we paid for it.

November 2, 2015

A Veil of Leaves

My science fiction short story, "A Veil of Leaves", is live over at Crossed Genres!

This is my first sale to Crossed Genres, and sadly my last. If you haven't seen, the magazine is closing after the December issue.

October 14, 2015

Genie From the Gym

I have a new short story up at Daily Science Fiction today, "Genie From the Gym." This story came from a writing prompt during a Codex flash-writing challenge. I can't for the life of me remember the prompt -- I really need to write these things down.

If you're not familiar with Daily Science Fiction, they publish a new flash story (very short fiction -- usually under a thousand words) every week day. You can read the stories for free on their website, or subscribe for free and have them delivered to your inbox every morning.

September 21, 2015

Bump: A Free Print-and-Play Board Game

In my novel Drift, the characters play an abstract board game named Bump. It's always been my plan to put a free, easy-to-print version of Bump on my website -- and here it is! Much thanks to my playtest volunteers -- Andy Lemmon, Aidan Doyle, Anaea Lay, and Tyler and Michelle Cowart.

The components you need are really, really simple. Print a board on a standard sized piece of paper, and gather fifteen tokens for each player to use (pennies and dimes, M&Ms, whatever is handy). Because there's nothing complicated involved in setting the game up, it's easy for book clubs or classrooms to print multiple copies and use this, too.

September 9, 2015

Salt Lake Comic Con Schedule

Salt Lake Comic Con is coming up! The schedule of panels is up. There's always so much good stuff. If you're looking for me, I'm going to be at:

Friday, September 25:

2:00pm, Room 235A -- Pacing and Plotting in YA Fiction

Saturday, September 26:

1:00pm, Room 255F -- Live Plotting: Build a Story.

The first one was my suggestion; I'm completely thrilled that it's happening. And I love live brainstorming panels -- either being on them or watching them. In short, I feel like I just got handed a Christmas present, and I'm very much looking forward to Comic Con. I hope to see lots of you there!

July 28, 2015

Poet-Scholars of the Necropolis

I have a brand-new short story out at Podcastle, "Poet-Scholars of the Necropolis"! I'm very happy this story found such a good home. Julia Rios does an amazing job of narrating.

I've also started a newsletter/mailing list -- there's a sign-up on the right-hand bar of this website, or on the Contacts page. I'll send out a newsletter a few time a year with updates and announcements. No spam. No giving away your e-mail. Just good times.