7 May 2019

Reviewing popular game systems: Piecepack, Green Box of Games and Pyramid Arcade

I’ve played 105 different games in February this year. I didn’t buy or borrow 105 games, though. I only bought 3 game system with which I played all those games. And I could have played hundreds more.

A game system is not a single game but a set of items with which you can play multiple games. A deck of playing cards is a well-known example of a game system, or dominoes, or marbles. I love the versatility of playing cards, they are so small and can play hundreds (if not thousands) of games, so I was interested in others. A game system is also a great tool for game designers to help invent new games.

I bought 3 of the most popular game systems: a Piecepack, the Green Box of Games and Pyramid Arcade (with Looney Pyramids aka Icehouse Pieces) and tried them out.
This is my review of them. I looked at the quality of their components, the games you can play with them, their rulebooks and the design of each system.

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28 April 2019

How I refactored CSS when redesigning a website iteratively

Nowadays it’s thankfully common that any backend redesign of a system, website or service is done iteratively, bit by bit. I often hear that that cannot be done with the frontend, that redesigning the look of a website always means you have to do a so-called “Big Bang release“, the very risky practice of releasing all relevant changes in one go after months of working on it.
I can prove that this is not true, because I’ve done two iterative redesigns of a website twice in my last job.

When I was rewriting and redesigning most of Zopa’s website iteratively in 2013, I used a specific method to refactor the CSS. When trying to explain how I did that, I found it’s easiest to explain its principles by showing what I did in a simplified version.
Here is that simplified version.

(Note: This blog post was hiding in my drafts folder for a couple of years. Nowadays it is best practice to use encapsulated components to achieve something similar.)

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12 April 2019

The Micaya Deck, my own set of (extended) playing cards

I have recently designed my own deck of playing cards, the Micaya Deck.

I’m not a designer but I always loved playing cards. My interest in them is mostly from the playing aspect, I love the idea of a game system and the versatility of them. And I love unusual designs.

The Micaya Deck has 4 more suits and 7 more ranks than a standard deck and has a clear and minimalist design.
I initially only designed it for myself as a fun hobby project, but have opened the designs up on MakePlayingCards’s marketplace where anyone interested can purchase them.

In this blog post I’ll explain some of my design choices and the history of the Micaya Deck.

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26 August 2018

Erasable Notebooks Review

Erasable notebooks are notebooks made of special paper which you can write on with a special pen which you can erase again and again. I really love the concept and how it’s more efficient and environmental friendly.
I had recently bought 6 of them: Rocketbook Everlast, Elfinbook, NewYes Notebook, InfiniteBook (also called EcoBook), WhyNote Book and Esquoia Notebook. With so many to compare I made a video review:

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5 September 2016

I invented a dessert: Irish Cherry Pudding

This is a three-layered dessert I invented a while ago. Its main ingredients are Baileys (Irish cream liqueur, hence the “Irish” part of the name), cherries, milk and chocolate.
It’s a mixture of what British people would call a blancmange and a jelly, and the rest of the world would call a pudding. (I hope I got that right, dessert names are different per country and quite confusing.)

This recipe is for 12× 200 ml glasses. I made all of this in a microwave but conventional heating methods will obviously work equally well.

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