Monthly Archives: November 2007

Welcome to the new Gameshelf homepage!

I checked out Movable Type 4 for a client's sake, as part of my day job as a software consultant. I liked it so much that I decided to learn the ropes by creating a new website The Gameshelf using MT4. The advances this software has made between the last time I looked at it (around 2004) are quite impressive!

It took a little work to get the podcasting features working properly, but everything should be up and running now. (Please comment if it seems otherwise!)

I'll be ramping down the Gameshelf site - I grew increasingly frustrated with the lack of control I had with that site's presentation. Please consider your one-stop shop for all things Gameshelf from now on.

Enjoy the show! (And if you do enjoy it, tell your friends to come visit!)

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Episode #6 - Economic games

View or download a high-quality version.

In this episode, we talk about the influential Sid Sackson board game Acquire and the classic computer game M.U.L.E.. Scott Nicholson of Board Games with Scott also pays us a visit to talk about the more recent board game Indonesia.

  • Some web links mentioned in the show...
    • GetHostile, a free online clone of Acquire.
    • SpaceHoRSE, a shareware modernization of MULE.
    •, a MULE fansite highlighting records of over 1,000 games that two friends have played against each other since 2002 (and only because that's when they started keeping track, having played since 1985).
    • The full MULE manual, reproduced online by a fan.
    • The emulator I used to run MULE was Atari800MacX, for Mac OS X. Emulators for Atari systems are many, and likely available for whatever flavor of computer you're using to read this.
    • A gallery of Julia Tenney's Carcassonne cookies, both on display and in play.
    • Chinook, the Checkers-playing computer program that is quite literally unbeatable (and which you can futilely test your checkers mettle against online).
    • Rules for Doug Orleans' "Pylon", which took top prize in the summer 2007 Icehouse Game Design Competition.
    • Scott Nicholson's video podcast, "Board Games with Scott".
    • And, of course, The Gameshelf's own website:
  • This episode arrives a good six months after I originally planned it to air. Long story short: my day job blew up, and work on the show hit the backburner until I was back on solid ground. We filmed the Acquire game in March, shot the host segments in September, and I'm finishing the editing on Halloween. I'd like to do one more before January, so look for it to appear next summer I guess.
  • We shot and then discarded a version of the host and monologue segments in April, actually. I originally wanted to green-screen the entire production, featuring Joe and I out on the Irata plains, with an 8-bit landscape and MULEs running around in the background. This turned out to be aiming way too high. I'm pleased with our do-over.
  • In our quest to continue ripping off the fantastic Food Network show "Good Eats", this episode introduces the use of textual trivia used as bumpers between segments. They even rotate slowly, the same way that Good Eats' bumper-text does. Ha ha.
  • There was some discussion among the cast and crew about how to refer to the designer of MULE. The published editions of the game are credited to Dan Bunten, but that was several years before she became a woman named Dani. We decided to go with the latter name, though in retrospect those who don't know the backstory probably think I'm saying "Danny" and perhaps being oddly familiar or even patronizing. Oh well.
  • I considered making the MULE trivia bumper be about Dani's untimely demise in 1998, leaving her plans for an Internet-capable update of MULE sadly unfinished. This would have helped address the ambiguous-name issue, but I chose the trivia as both more interesting and less depressing.
  • A lot more of Joe's music shows up in this episode. He did all the songs except one. I still need to get after him about making a variety of little musical stings using the motif he developed for the theme song, to use throughout the show. Yes, more "Good Eats" style-borrowing.
  • This was the first episode where the host segments were entirely scripted, and even rehearsed a little. You can really tell the difference in quality, comparing them to past episodes, where we tried to improvise more (and largely failed). I did most of the writing, with Joe throwing in a lot of last-minute oddities.

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