31 July 2022

Love Letter history and overview

I love Love Letter, the popular card game by Seiji Kanai. It still amazes me how a game with just 16 cards can be so entertaining and exciting.

It sold millions of copies, is available in 28 languages, has 30 different official versions (at least one is published every year) and dozens of fan-made re-themes. It started the whole microgame craze which made lots of people design very small games.

To celebrate its 10th birthday this year I have made two videos.

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26 September 2021

7 random personal things about the Bundestagswahl

Today the German people vote for their parliament, it’s Bundestagswahl.
Here are 7 random personal things that either happen every four years before the election for me or that happened for the first time this year.

My postal vote in the iconic red envelope and part of the instructions

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10 May 2020

My Digital Homes

I used many digital homes over the years. When I say “digital homes” I mean services that represent the bits that I own on the web and that are attached to my domains: a domain name registrar, a hosting provider and an email provider.

I can highly recommend these:

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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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