Good reads from around the Web.
I have relished the resurgence of board games over the past decade or so. As somebody who turned over a few Monopoly boards as a kid and eventually ran out of people who would play with me, it was a second chance to be a better sport.
But more interestingly to you, while I’m still sadly a relatively poor loser (or perhaps not a sufficiently consistent winner) the games too have evolved to be less infuriating.
Many of the classic new wave titles like granddaddy Settlers of Catan are superbly balanced. You’re never quite out of the running in Catan, and while there has to be a winner, for some reason the defeated tend to feel a little less like losers.
The equally brilliant Dominion isn’t so fabulously balanced – an early misstep or bit of bad luck can hole your chances. But the rhythm of play with this deck-building masterpiece is so engrossing you probably won’t even notice, unless you’re a card-counting genius.
Dominion even taught me to be a better investor. (Handy given that there’s a long list of drool-worthy expansions to stump up for).
Both Catan and Dominion are still available for delivery for Christmas from Amazon. I predict they will deliver far better hourly bangs for your bucks than almost any other gift out there.
Board games are so sociable, too, especially compared to video games or the telly.
More great games to get you started
Have I tempted you into playing something different this Boxing Day? Great! Here are
five six seven more new-ish games I’d recommend:
Spyfall – One of you is a spy and the rest aren’t. The non-spies know where they are and what they’re doing. The spy knows nothing except he’s a spy. You all ask each other questions and try to discover the truth first. Hilarity ensues.
Codenames – This is an old-fashioned word-based social game in the clothing of a new wave offering. So again you’re spies, but really you’re getting down and dirty with some nuanced vocabulary. Great for families.
Cards Against Humanity – Not great for families. Not great for a lot of people, actually, but if you like it you’ll love it. An underground guilty pleasure for years, it seems to have gone mainstream recently. Perhaps being despicable and mean has fitted the tenor of the times? The Voting Game is a sort of friendly redux.
The Resistance – A lot of modern games pivot on deception and bluster, which is what makes them so social. I’m diabolical at them; my sister identified me as a government agent in The Resistance before the missions had even begun and on her first ever play. But I keep coming back because it’s so simple and it always delivers. Good for bigger groups.
Skull – A beautiful bluffing game, sort of like poker without the chips, stetsons, and complexity. A gateway game to entice skeptical friends into play.
Risk Legacy – The classic board game Risk reworked into a one-shot adventure where you permanently deface your board over multiple games, renaming countries and revealing new paths and closing others through successive victories and defeats. Beware that this is a game that makes people angry. Even my game-hardened friends have fallen out over a well-timed oath-breaking military betrayal with this one. (Not that the shouting stopped the victor putting a toxic waste dump outside their bitterest opponent’s eponymous capital city for all future games to come, mind you…)
Cosmic Encounter – This is more of gamer’s game, so it could be a good purchase for that D&D playing niece or nephew in your life. Wildly capricious, it’s not my favourite but I have friends who think it’s the best thing since chess.
The difficulty with board games is getting people to play them with (and, as my teenage self discovered, keeping them!)
But I’ve seen a few newbies get the habit over the years – often including their partners. These are grown-up people with great lives, kids, careers and so forth, incidentally, so don’t dismiss the idea out of hand, especially not because of some dated just-for-kids prejudice.
Dominion is far less nerdy to play than its backstory and artwork suggests, and it’s arguably at its best with only two players. Start there and build your own gaming renaissance!
As for Monevator, we’re now off until January.
Have a great Christmas, and let’s hope for a happier new year.
From the blogs
Making good use of the things that we find…
- All indexes are not created equal – The Irrelevant Investor
- Why passive investing beats active investing – Musing on Markets
- Planning versus investing [Podcast] – Canadian Couch Potato
- Learning from Michael Burry [Scroll down for embed] – Panda Fund
- A prescription for the active management industry – The Reformed Broker
- Digging into the market-beating Wellcome Trust’s returns – FireVLondon
- Why Tate & Lyle isn’t on my buy list – UK Value Investor
- Emerging markets: Time to throw your hat in? – Research Affiliates
- A call for Kintsugi portfolios [Comprehensive] – Above the Market
- Big hat, no cattle – The Escape Artist
- Six ways to spend less time on your finances [US but relevant] – W.C.I.
- Paying for the professionals – SexHealthMoneyDeath
- Staying fit with no gym in sight – Mr Money Mustache
- The top 100 posts of 2016 – The Ways To Wealth
Product of the week: Getting an offset mortgage became trickier after the financial crisis, especially if you lacked a huge deposit. But now Yorkshire Building Society’s Accord brand has launched a range of five-year offset mortgages that are accessible to those with as little as 15% as a deposit or as equity in their home. ThisIsMoney says the 2.69% interest rate looks competitive for an 85% loan-to-value product.
Mainstream media money
Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view these enable you to click through to read the piece without being a paid subscriber of that site.1
- Don’t buy the ‘best stocks to own in 2017’ – Washington Post
- When to send an investing model into retirement? – Bloomberg
- Bonds are riskier than you think – Morningstar [Hint: Inflation]
- RIP bond bull market, apparently – Reuters
- Wellcome Trust’s bet against pound yields 19% returns [Search result] – FT
A word from a broker
- Why we diversify – Hargreaves Lansdown
- Should you hedge your currency exposure? – TD Direct Investing
Other stuff worth reading
- Equity investing in retirement: The big dilemma [Search result] – FT
- Seven simple ways to cut your spending in 2017 – Guardian
- Recycled bank accounts can misdirect money transfers – Guardian
- Lifetime ISA exit penalty to be waived in first year [Search result] – FT
- The ins and outs of using a safety deposit box – Telegraph
- Beware these misleading property investments – Telegraph
- Baby boomers should work longer to stay healthy – Guardian
- Michael Lewis on his new book on behavioural economists [Video] – Charlie Rose
- Niall Ferguson: I was wrong on Brexit – The Boston Globe
- Keep the costs of trade in perspective – The Economist
- The great A.I. awakening – New York Times
- How to sleep – The Atlantic
Book of the week: Retirement Investing Today is not a man who hangs around. This UK blogger achieved financial independence – and ‘two comma’ net worth – in less time than it takes the average person to get their feet comfy under the desk of their lifelong career. Now he’s knocked out a book explaining how he did it: From Zero to Financial Independence in Less than 10 Years. Priced at £7.99 there’s still time to get the paperback version for a Christmas present.
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- Note some articles can only be accessed through the search results if you’re using PC/desktop view (from mobile/tablet view they bring up the firewall/subscription page). To circumvent, switch your mobile browser to use the desktop view. On Chrome for Android: press the menu button followed by “Request Desktop Site”. [↩]