A missed classic

I discovered yesterday the greatest missed cover song opportunity ever. In 2003 No Doubt released a greatest hits compilation and wanted a new song to feature on it, and decided to record a cover. They considered hundreds of songs and narrowed it down to “It’s My Life” by Talk Talk and “Don’t Change” by INXS.

They chose “It’s My Life”.

I really like No Doubt’s “It’s My Life”, but hot damn…. I want to hear them do “Don’t Change”.

Friday was games night with my friends. It should have been in-person at someone’s place, but there were a couple of illnesses and we decided to convert it to online so more of us could participate. We played a new game for me, Cat in the Box, which is a quantum trick-taking game. The deck is simply 5 copies of each card, numbered 1 through to 9. Each copy is identical and has no suit.

You play tricks as normal, except that when you play a card, you declare its suit: red, blue, yellow, or green. There’s a board where you mark when you play each card. So if you lead with a 9 and say it’s blue, you put one of your pawns on the blue 9 on the board, to show that that card has been played. Other people have to either (a) follow suit by playing a card and declaring it to be blue—making sure it’s a card that hasn’t already been played by marking an empty space on the board with their pawns—or (b) play a card and declare it to be another suit. If you don’t follow the led suit then you have to mark on your personal player card (for everyone to see) that you have no more cards of the led suit (blue in this case); then in future tricks of the current hand you are not allowed to declare any card to be blue. Red is always trumps, so you can trump another led colour by declaring you have no more of that colour and playing a card and declaring it to be red (if you legally can do so).

Note that there are 5 cards of each number, but only 4 of them can ever be played, because there are only 4 suits. Also, it’s possible for you to get into a situation where you have several cards in your hand, but are unable to play any of them. For example, you have a 3, a 5, and a 6. But you’ve declared yourself out of blue cards, and the only available 3, 5, and 6 on the board are all blue. If this happens, you can’t play a card without causing a quantum paradox, and the round ends, with you scoring zero.

On top of this, after the cards are dealt you can discard any one card (to help avoid having unplayable cards), and then you have to bid a number of tricks that you expect win before the hand begins. You get one point per trick won. If you make your bid exactly, you get bonus points equal to the size of the largest cluster of your pawns on the board, connected vertically or horizontally (not diagonally). So there’s incentive to play cards of adjacent values or suits rather than more freely.

It’s a very different trick-taking game, and requires some very different strategies. I throughly enjoyed it.

Today, Saturday, I went for a 5k run in the morning and then spent the rest of the morning doing some overdue housecleaning – a thorough vacuum cleaning and cleaning the bathroom. And then the rain came in. It’s been raining heavily all afternoon and into the evening, sometimes very heavily. There’s also some heavy thunder and lightning this evening too. We’re just a tick shy of 100 mm of rain in the past 12 hours, and will likely reach that value before the 12 hours are up, with more heavy rain throughout the night and into tomorrow.

This evening our new neighbours across the hall invited us over for pre-dinner drinks and appetisers. We made some small pizza bites to take over – bite sized blobs of pizza dough topped with either tomato paste or pesto, and then a little bit of cheese, either mozzarella or feta. We sat and shared some wine and they also provided cheese, crackers, chips, nuts, dips, carrot sticks, and some dried fruit. We had a nice discussion of various things, getting to know each other better. They’re South African, having moved here from Johannesburg (which we knew), so they had some interesting stories to tell about that and various travels they’ve done. Scully got to play with their dog Sophie.

We came home after a couple of hours, and have eaten so much that just a bit of extra snacking will do us for dinner!

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3 thoughts on “A missed classic”

  1. The suits are colors?

    In my job, I have to be sure my work is “accessible”, meaning to people with various disabilities, including color blindness. So I wonder, could someone with achromatopsia or some other inability to distinguish colors distinguish the suits?

    1. Many card games have suits being colours, in fact more often than not in my experience. Even mainstream games like Uno. I definitely agree it’s an issue for colourblind people and designers should either design their palettes with that in mind or make sure there also non-colour cues such as symbols. In the case of Cat in the Box, there are enough non-colour cues that you could still play the game even with monochrome vision.

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