Thursday, April 22, 2021

Boardgame Beach

By Bixyl Shuftan

If you're looking for a place to play board games in Second Life, Boardgame beach is one of the best places to go, if not the best place inworld. There are dozens of games there from old favorites such as En Garde, to more recent favorites such as Greedy, to classic board games like chess and checkers, to SL adaptations of 20th Century board games like Life and Monopoly, and many more. Some of the games I had never seen anywhere else in the virtual world. The games are in two separate areas a little distance away from one another. If someone doesn't quite see what they're looking for in one, they can head to the other.

I had a talk with Aries Oh, the owner of Boardgame Beach. The talk happened to be on the day there was a paintball event there in a skybox above the sim, followed by a band playing music. "We have around 100 different games," she told me with a smile, then chuckled, "I guess that makes me a game hoarder?" When asked where the idea of the place came from, she answered, "I started with Heart of Dragons, the neighboring sim. We played En Garde there, and had a lot of tournaments. And from that it went on to board games. I like the social part of nice friendly games. I guess that is why." Of the skybox, she would later mention it had only recently been set up for the paintball match.

I mentioned the variety of games, and Aries answered, "I have picked up some different games over the years. Mostly from getting suggestions from our guests. There are some great game scripters out there. (smile) I see that there is a small number of games that are most popular. But I can't help trying to show people some of the lesser known ones." I asked which were the most popular, and she replied, "I think Hand & Foot and Skippo are the most popular ones. But we have some dedicated players of RummiQub and On-A-Roll. I think my favourite is team version of Skipee. ... Skipee is a variation of Skippo. And in the team version you can use your team mates cards on the table, and also stack on their stacks, so you have more cards to play with. And it has some element of blocking, and it is easy to introduce new players."

I then asked which obscure games turned out to be hits with some regulars, or she personally found good. She thought for a moment, "I think it varies a lot over time, and with whom you play. Khet/Reflection is a good game, not many players. And one I don't remember name of, let me check. Oh - Shalosh, the card game too. Can't find the one I was looking for. It's an old Egyptian games, where you throw some sticks. It's a small game from K.R. Engineering. I can check downstairs later. And Can't Stop from Rifkin Habsburg, is great. K.R, also has a version of that. ... A push-your-luck game, he called it. He was also the maker of the SL version of En Garde." Another game of his, Frootcake, also came up, "Frootcake is of course a good game. I am using them as long as they work. Rifkin was a genius by making world and local rankings for his games. It made people addicted. He had one where you should fit tiles together ... Take It Easy. And he also had an obscure one - Danger Zone."

Aries went on, "The Egyptian sticks game was Senet. ... Oh: When I look down the list, I see Bug Dice too. I had a guest here for years, who played that almost every night. He passed away this winter, and I get a bit sad when I see that table. It was his place. Shows how you get to know people here is SL - over a nice little boardgame." She would describe the game, "The Object of Bug Dice is to get the best score on 15 dice (3 sets of 5).  You get 3 rolls to do this (the initial roll of all 15 dice and 2 additional rolls of all or some of the dice). For each set of 5 dice on the table  the allowable combinations are: BUG (five of a kind) counting 30. Full house (any three of a kind and any pair) counting 28. Large Straight (ie: 2-3-4-5-6) counting 30. Little Straight (ie: 1-2-3-4) counting 21. it's a Blue Brock game."

She also mentioned the sim has escape rooms, "You enter a room/house, and the door is shut, so you have to use objects avaiable to "solve puzzles" to find/make tools to get out. I think they are about the same in difficulty. I don't know many who have actually solved it. Less than a handful. One is a bunker, the other a cabin and the third is a library. So different backstories."

Eventually, someone else walked over to talk to Aries, Geeza Matfield. He had been out of Second Life for a while, came back, and seeing the crowd here on the map thought there was a tournament. Aries introduced me to him, "Geeza used to be one of the regular and very good En Garde players, from the earlier days. (smile) "Good place to come," Geeza told me, "Aries has been running this place for years." Of his strategy for En Garde, "it's a bit like poker and blackjack, count the cards and try to read your opponent. If you can do that, you have a chance." Aries grinned, "I think Geeza also liked to psyche out his opponents." Gezza chuckled, "I did like scaring that little bunny." Aries told me the fencer in question was orginally in a pirate roleplay, "but in the end, she was a tiny bunny." Geeza commented, "she just got scared by my costume a bit at first till she got to know me. I think she was in it more for the social than the serious competition some of us treated it like. She was usually delighted to win a game, then hang out." Another person joined the conversations, and there was talk about players in the past whom passed away, or stopped playing when they had kids or something else in real life demanded attention, "We lost a lot of players and friends over the years. Both to death, and to life." Geeza himself would say, "I wouldn't mind a little comeback but weekends are pretty much impossible these days."

Aries is a supporter of the Dragons Nightfall Relay team, and lets captain Darkstone Aeon use the sim for events. "And for the future," she told me, "I plan on having more competitions and tournaments for the boardgames. And for the future: I plan on having more competitions and tournaments for the boardgames. And I have some plans for some games that make players visit all three sims. (smile) Finding clues and solving problems."

Before I left, the band playing saw me and thanked me for coming by.

So it looks like people will continue to have fun at Boardgame Beach for some time to come.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, April 12, 2021

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

By Gemma Cleanslate

Easter brings lots of chocolate to mind and tummy. It reminded me that I had been to a place you really need to visit. Just Aboner(Justice Vought) of Oxygen has created Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in second life... Chocolate and other candy everywhere. Just was the creator that brought us the Greenies tribute last year (link).  

“Based on the Movie Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. This interactive experience will be sure to bring back many memories of that Great Classic Movie!
Start By first "trying" to get your Golden Ticket at the Candy store!
Touch , Ride , Jump , Float , Sit, and have fun!
Enjoy , Justice”

The entrance to it all is at a corner candy store called Wonka Bar. Here you stop and pick up the  golden ticket to get into the factory. The place is filled with all the delights you ever would want but is just the beginning of an adventure.

Walk along the path between the building and you will pass poor Charlie’s family home. Take a look to see the life he lived. Move on to the other road to reach the tunnel to the gates of the factory. Be very careful here . As you pass through the gates you will notice signs that state,”....” . Well of course being a reporter  I ignored the admonition and ... I just say pay attention to the sign.

The first stop in to the office of the factory. I spent time there looking around at the artifacts , posters. Both Willy Wonkas have their portraits there . In the classic 1971 Willy  was played by Gene Wilder. The 2005 remake has  Johnny Depp as Willy. Roald Dahl is the author of this story for children and had a message for them and us that is depicted in both movies.

I entered the door that said Golden ticket . A garden of lollipops, toffies, and chocolate everywhere greeted me as I arrived. At that point I called my friend to join me . Chocolate waterfalls and and a river with candy bars to cross over .We hopped into a passing boat and drifted down the chocolate river and through a tunnel into the factory .I hope you have your music on . Willy’s ghost voice might tell you something.

Another sign that I had to disobey was on the wall in the lobby that said Don’t  but my friend saved me from trying it and grabbed a fiz drink. ! Well , it is up to you . Following directions we jumped through a window and finally reached what looked like a large auditorium in the factory. I jumped into a hole in the floor and found myself in a room filled with televisions of all sizes and shapes. (Remembers one boy in the movie obsessed with tv.)

From there we landed in the bubble gum room. Careful where you step  in there! Lots of bubble gum everywhere and then to the guts of the factory where there is a magical ride on a candy bar high above the city passing over Charlie’s house and back into some part of the factory and finally into the little shop where you can pick up any little gifts you missed along the way. Golden tickets tees are only 10L too. We lived through it all with good memories of survival . If you have never seen  the movies look for them on the web. I asked Just how long it would be in sl and his answer was “forever”  My candy urge is satisfied for a while. But for memories and the fun experience,  just take a trip yourself starting here: .

Gemma Cleanslate

Friday, April 9, 2021

The Outer Garden

By Rosie (RougeRedHead01 Resident)

When you visit the “The Outer Garden” you will find a land of what I call “beautiful chaos.”  Only if you look around; up and down will you see the beauty and chaos. It is important to look up.

When you land it takes a bit for your eyes to adjust then you will see a beautiful scene of snow; light and delicate. At the landing point, to your right is the group joiner, guest book, a free gift, and a teleport. My suggestion is to resist the teleport. Walk around and investigate.

You will see trees decked with sparkling snow. Everything here appears fragile even down to what is perceived as iron gates is wire thin. It is filled with poses which makes it a photographer’s delight!
It was here I met a photographer who asked if he could photograph me. Mr. Pier Munroe asked me to put on a white dress.  The final photograph was a deaf girl standing between a piano and cello in this land of beauty.

There are levels to explore but I am not going to tell you how to go from place to place. That ruins the adventure. Bring a friend or maybe more and experience the beauty together. Walk around and investigate but no running as you might miss something. Look for the obscure chapel. You might even end up in an hourglass. This is quite a stunning place to explore. My mind goes to how do people get such creative ideas?


Have a happy adventure!


Monday, April 5, 2021

Scenes From Bellisseria

By Gemma Cleanslate

 I had so many things on my plate that I have not been able to get around Bellisseria. I took a little tour around some of the sites that exist in the present Bellisseria as it is now. Jon Ree does a marvelous job of sending out updated information as new sites appear so there will be more as the continent grows and expands.

One of the first stops I made was to the volcano in the Yancey region. I hope the nearby residents have a lot of insurance. It is 80+ m high and is bubbling so it is of concern but hopefully the Moles will keep it under control. I took a look inside and that was enough. There are actually six volcanoes on this continent. I am not sure if all are active, but will check that out.

At Franklin Hollow next to the railroad I found a great fossil of a dinosaur having been there millions of years ago. They are in the rocks that were removed to place the railroad is my guess.

 I am amazed there is not a fence to protect them from visitors touching. I hope the smoke from old train engines do not harm them.

Below the waters of a lake in Gridlock region there is a large skeleton of a dragon. The dragon was large and practically intact so it is my guess that it must have crashed into the lake while flying by.

My trip  to a new unnamed region called at present, SSPE1171 landed me at  a pleasant pavilion that overlooked Hotsprings where one can get a good view of the region . It has seating so relax and enjoy the mist from the waterfall and springs. This region has a great deal of water and is very lovely. If you aim for the center of the island in the lake you will land near the pavilion. Anyone can visit this continent and enjoy the amenities in the protected lands.

Monnia is a strange region. The Moles must have worked here during the winter and built an ice fishing shack on the huge lake. There are ice flows still on the lake and so far the shack is still safe. I wonder how long they will stay. Will they come back for the Shack? We will see.

Again the Moles have left a camper in a secret place under the waterfall. I looks like they still correspond a lot with and about Magellan. 

Check the computer if you go there . Or, this may be one of the hiding places where Magellan still visits. Looking at the remnants on the desk.... one of his cigarettes still burns!! That is a sign!

I went over  to Decker region to the waterways and dropping under water. Here I found another fishing shack almost destroyed. Now I know what will happen to the fishing shack on the ice flow unless Abnor Mole grabs it soon. It also adds to my suspicion of where Magellan is hiding since he left his hideaway in the Mountain of the Linden Realms.  There are so many waterways, ponds,  rivers, lakes and oceans in Second Life. Who knows ...

My last stop of the day was at Die Betrunkene Maus (The Drunk Mouse), a new gathering place in the regions that opened  with new Chalets as a Bellisseria home choice. There is plenty of room for big dinners or meetings or dance parties. Or a great place to hang out with friends for happy hours.

I ran into Claw Streeter there with a tankard of beer already in his hand. Go visit this spectacular  building and check out the new area. If you want more landmarks just ask I will send them.

Gemma Cleanslate

Friday, March 26, 2021

Return to The Deathlands

By Bixyl Shuftan

It's been a while since we at the Newser first wrote about The Deathlands, and some time since we last did an update. Described as "an isolated post-apocalyptic island community where a handful of hardy survivors desperately cling to what passes for life after the nuclear winter," life certainly seems grim when you first drop in, with what looks like a ghost town in the desert full of wrecked buildings.

Dropping by while I was still in my Platinum Avatar Challenge as a tiny dinkie, I didn't look very threatening compared to the rats I saw crawling about. Maybe because I still smelled like a fox, they avoided me.

There was an opportunity to make a few Lindens, presumably for newcomers. There were little trees in spots in the sim that when touched gave a little cash.

Going  a little further, I found out one reason the rats were nervous.

I soon found a shooting area. There were a couple HUDs needed to play, and a free weapon provided.

Modern weapons sure are light these days.

To play the game, you need to be part of the Deathlands group. After that, just wear the Huds, have a weapon, and walk in and start shooting mutant spiders, zombified soldiers, scarabs, and other enemies. 

The larger spiders can shoot venom at you. That or otherwise being touched by a baddie results in lost hit points. Presumably bullets by other players will hurt you too, but when I was there we were careful not to hit one another. Other Deathlanders might not be so steady with their arm.

I didn't do too badly, getting a score of 82. I think it was mostly spiders.

I soon ran into Rebel Wolf, also known as The Baron, the man who runs the Deathlands. 

After I had a good look at the shooting area, there was something he wanted to show me.

He wanted to show me the bunker. 

"Can never have too many blast doors."

Inside was plenty of old equipment. "Sats and 'puters still work," Rebel commented, "We just have no idea what they are telling us"

"THIS was the problem...a 56K modem dial up."

There were some stocks of food here.

And of course there was the coffee, "Coffee was made by 'ays. It's Deathlands strong wolf blend. Gotta have coffee in Second Life."

There was a generator room to power the place, "It's a diesel genny. Well ok its nuclear, works better."

There was also an armory and a repair bench. There were plenty of rifles and submachine guns, enough for a platoon. 

"I'm wearing the SAC SR 16, a very nice weapon."

One room had "Wolfs humble bed, with moonshine, aged two weeks." Rebel commented after paying tier, he often felt like curling up in a ball.

There were also a couple maps on a table. Rebel commented "Yes we are planning to take over other sim."

"Got nukes? we do."

"Of course we have time for fun too." Rebel then grabbed a fire extinguisher, and fired it at me, chuckling, "Bix is on fire!"

Next was the decontamination shower, "I'll stay clothed so folks don't get blind. Also is good for the fleas."

Leaving the bunker, Rebel showed me a lookout tower.

Rebel told me he had a working tactical missile, "Its only 80-some years old what can possibly go wrong?" But opening the silo, something went wrong.

We checked out a concrete building next to a reactor tower, "Old reactor control room. Some stuff still working. Some guy named Homer Simpson worked here."

But the water running through didn't look so good. Rebel had different ideas, "Hey green water is NICE!"

Rebel showed me a garden area on top of a building, "Some food is grown on rooftops," explaining much of the area's soil was still recovering from radiation and other poisoning.

"I have a green thumb. Oh wait, that's rad poisoning."

But not all of the waters were too toxic. Rebel showed me a fishing area, "Yes we eat the fish. Help yourself."

There was some greenery nearby to prove the point, but one plant looked weird, "This plant watches ya. Awww, it likes you."

There was more greenery nearby, encouraged by moisture, "fresh water from mountain, broken pipe." He did caution me, "Don't pick any leaves off my marajuana  plant." I then asked with a grin, "For medicinal purposes?" Rebel grinned back, "Of course."

Medical care in the Deathlands can be a problem. The only one with a Medical Degree is (NPC) Doc Mengele. "Probably should not use him unless yer really sick," Rebel cautioned, "He's a little insane." Rebel went on to say there was a strong rumor he was the great-grandson of a certain German whom made his way to South America in the later 1940s, though of visitors, "not too many pick up on that."

We walked through the streets for a while, and at one point Rebel invited me to sit down, on a chair with a lot of wires, "Trust the wolf." I hesitated, so he sat down himself. The results were lots of electric sparks. When it was over, he called it getting his "Daily buzz." My response was I'll stick with coffee.

The last part of the area Rebel showed me was a place were there were several children, "We even have kids here. ... They a little crazy though." He commented this was the part of his sim that's gotten the complaints, "I have actually been yelled at for this." But he did say there was a certain reason why the NPCs were there, that one of the more troubling aspects of a post-apocalyptic world would be what happens to the kids, "How would kids be treated, loved, ignored, cast aside?"

It was about this time Rebel told me he had to take care of some real-life matters, inviting me to stick around at the shooting area or wherever else I wanted to explore.

On a final note, my avatar challenge in the dinkie fox soon ended after my tour. Rebel might say the background radiation or something else in the area cured whatever ailed me.

Post-apocalyptic themes aren't for everyone. But there is a message. What if our lives of material comfort, in which the only thing driving us nuts are things like a certain cartoon getting canceled and not being able to score with the ladies, were all of a sudden taken away and the matter of simple and basic survival became a day to day concern? Perhaps some of us whom think we're prepared wouldn't be, and some of those who think they'd be dead meat would end up not just surviving but starting up the path to rebuilding.

Bixyl Shuftan