SVP Technology at First Data Corp; large scale system architecture, infrastructure, tech geek, reading, learning, hiking, GeoCaching, ham radio, married, kids
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The Internet Went Bonkers About Cracker Barrel Firing Brad’s Wife, Spiking Social Engagement by 226%

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Indiana man Bradley Reid Byrd's wife, Nanette, got fired from Cracker Barrel after 11 years of service, and last week, the internet was having none of it. After Byrd posted a query on the restaurant's Facebook page last month asking why his wife was fired, on his birthday, the situation went viral, with the comments...

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JayM
3 hours ago
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Atlanta, GA
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The Best Sellers of 2016 and the Future of the Board Game Industry

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When the arithmetic was tallied at the end of 2016, it was shown that the board gaming industry had seen 8 straight years of growth. Thanks, Obama.

In fact, the hobby channel grew over 10% in 2016 and Bob Brynildson of Source Comics and Games in Roseville, Minnesota said that hobby board games are “getting a little bit of major market attention.” That can swing the sales on an item by thousands of units.

I can attest to that. With Source being one of my favorite FLGS (Friendly Local Gaming Shop), I have witnessed the increased foot traffic and the inventory changes that Source has made to keep up with demand.

The Future of the Board Game Industry

But can board games see a 9th year of 10% growth or will the glut of new games in 2017 finally be more than the market can support? Here are four possible outcomes for the future of the board game industry:

1. Keep on that train. Why start pessimistic? Let’s imagine a future of the board game industry where it can continue on those rails of sweet monetary success. After all, they are on a positive trajectory and the many reasons to play hobby board games is winning over more and more converts. The industry might simply keep on, keeping on.

2. The Kickstarter bubble bursts. We also know that consumer habits are fickle and that Kickstarter is playing a huge role in bringing board games to market. A couple high profile flops or simple over-saturation could almost certainly also mean a systemic unwillingness to take chances, instead relying on their core titles and expansions only, hoping to continue to appeal to long-time fans with known commodities.

Two other things to note about Kickstarter and board games:

  1. It is creating pressure on retail. If a popular CMON (Cool Mini or Not) game like Zombicide sells 30,000 copies through Kickstarter, how much wiggle room is left for the retail market. In short, why should your FLGS stock Kickstarter games?
  2. A couple high profile Kickstarter delays could sour the industry as well. And with the industry’s reliance on China to keep costs down, any disruptions in that trading market could ripple downstream quickly.

3. Retreat and get comfortable. Eights years of continuous growth could create a sense of complacency in retail. If they don’t continue to stay nimble and innovate, all these hard won new customers could just as easily dry up.

Under this future scenario, board games will return to being a niche. The hobby would continue, but it wouldn’t thrive. Creativity would be gone and there would little diversity in the titles. If Zombicide 9 would be cheap to make, the sequel would simply be pushed to market, hoping to get short term gains out of a complacent core audience.

4. The playmat expands. Encouraged by the recent success of innovative mainstream titles like Pandemic Legacy, board gamers of all genders, races, ages, and creeds could be welcomed into the hobby. This could lead to a further diversity among genres, styles, and themes. Inspired by a more diverse base, new niches could thrive and their success could raise all ships, bringing steady growth to the industry.

The Best Sellers of 2016

But the above hypotheticals are simply us trying to predict the future, which is difficult even for wizards. Let’s close this thing with the here and now, celebrating 2016, another great year for hobby board gaming. Below are the best sellers of 2016 by category. I’ll link our review if we have one and a purchase link if we don’t.

Top 7 Board Games

  1. Pandemic – Z Man Games
  2. Scythe – Stonemaier Games
  3. Betrayal at House on the Hill – Wizards of the Coast
  4. Star Wars Imperial Assault – Fantasy Flight Games
  5. Mansions of Madness – Fantasy Flight Games
  6. Carcassone – Z Man Games
  7. Ticket to Ride – Days of Wonder

Top 7 Card and Dice Games

  1. Magic: The Gathering – Wizards of the Coast
  2. Pokémon – Pokemon USA
  3. Cards Against Humanity
  4. Codenames – Czech Games Edition
  5. Dice Masters – Wizkids
  6. Exploding Kittens – Exploding Kittens, LLC
  7. Superfight – Skybound

Top 3 Roleplaying Games

  1. Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition – Wizards of the Coast
  2. Pathfinder – Paizo
  3. Star Wars – Fantasy Flight

Top 3 Miniatures Games

  1. Star Wars X-Wing – Fantasy Flight
  2. Warhammer 40K – Games Workshop
  3. Warhammer Age of Sigmar – Games Workshop

Of course, those are just the top sellers and the most popular isn’t always synonymous with best. There is so much more out there in the world of hobby board gaming to explore. That’s what’s Nerds on Earth is here for.

The post The Best Sellers of 2016 and the Future of the Board Game Industry appeared first on Nerds on Earth.

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JayM
13 hours ago
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Breast-Fed Kids May Be Less Hyper, But Not Necessarily Smarter, Study Finds

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There

Prior research points to an association between breast-feeding and higher intelligence, but a new study finds no causal link. The study does find that breast-fed kids are less hyperactive at age 3.

(Image credit: Guerilla/Getty Images)

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JayM
16 hours ago
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The Confederate Con and Today’s NeoConfederate Con

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Screen-shot-2012-04-16-at-2.36.30-PM

I really like this essay by a white southerner who grew up around Ku Klux Klan relatives and who now realizes the Confederacy was a rich man’s con job on the South’s white working class, much as conservatism is a rich man’s con job on the South’s white working class today.

How did the plantation owners mislead so many Southern whites?

They managed this con job partly with a propaganda technique that will be familiar to modern Americans, but hasn’t received the coverage it deserves in our sesquicentennial celebrations. Starting in the 1840s wealthy Southerners supported more than 30 regional pro-slavery magazines, many pamphlets, newspapers and novels that falsely touted slave ownership as having benefits that would – in today’s lingo – trickle down to benefit non-slave owning whites and even blacks. The flip side of the coin of this old-is-new trickle-down propaganda is the mistaken notion that any gain by blacks in wages, schools or health care comes at the expense of the white working class.

Today’s version of this con job no longer supports slavery, but still works in the South and thrives in pro trickle-down think tanks, magazines, newspapers, talk radio and TV news shows such as the Cato Foundation, Reason magazine, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. These sources are underwritten by pro trickle-down one-per-centers like the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch.

For example, a map of states that didn’t expand Medicaid – which would actually be a boon mostly to poor whites – resembles a map of the old Confederacy with a few other poor, rural states thrown in. Another indication that this divisive propaganda works on Southern whites came in 2012. Romney and Obama evenly split the white working class in the West, Midwest and Northeast. But in the South we went 2-1 for Romney.

Lowering the flag because of the harm done to blacks is the right thing to do. We also need to lower it because it symbolizes material harm the ideology of the Confederacy did to Southern whites that lasts even to this day.

One can love the South without flying the battle flag. But it won’t help to get rid of an old symbol if we can’t also rid ourselves of the self-destructive beliefs that go with it. Only by shedding those too, will Southern whites finally catch up to the rest of the country in wages, health and education.

The comment section on the other hand…..well, you’d better like mangoes.

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JayM
16 hours ago
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skittone
22 hours ago
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The Senate Voted to Strike Down an Internet Privacy Rule

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The Senate voted today to strike down a rule created by the Federal Communications Commission under the Obama era that regulated the conditions under which telecommunications carriers could share information about customers and laid out a protocol for companies to disclose information about data breaches. The rule, published on Dec. 02, 2016, during the final...

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JayM
4 days ago
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Atlanta, GA
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Pilot Juice Paint Marker 8-color Set Review

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(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter.)

With the Pilot Juice Paint Marker, Pilot brings their Juice brand to arts-and-crafts time. The versatile ink works on light or dark paper, or on nonporous surfaces such as glass or metal. It is water- and pigment-based, odorless, waterproof, and bleed-resistant. It is also meant to be opaque, though I had issues with that feature on all but white paper. The colors included in the 8-color set are black, red, blue, light blue, green, yellow, white, and pink. There are a number of other fun colors available as open stock or in other sets, including pastels and metallics.

On dark paper, some colors performed very well while others seemed watery. I tried shaking them and refreshing the ink in the tip, but they just didn't get to the level I was hoping for. They were really fun to use on glass. Again, some lacked saturation, but most worked well. They aren't permanent on glass, alas, so my now-lovely water glass will lose its luster when I wash it. But it does mean I can go crazy painting designs on my windows if I want (I do want).

The tip is bullet-shaped felt. It's firm, though I did get some fraying when I used them briefly on watercolor paper, which makes me question whether the tip will survive the lifespan of the ink supply. Only many hours of arts and crafts will tell.

The body of the pen is a wide hexagonal barrel in white plastic. The cap and grip section are the color of the paint inside. The grip is a little awkward in that it has four levels--the nose near the tip steps up to a narrow collar, which steps up again to the actual section (which is a bit short), which steps up again to the body. There's not an easy way to hold these without putting your fingers on an edge. None of the edges are sharp, however, and it's not the sort of pen you'd be gripping for very long periods of time, so an uncomfortable grip isn't a huge issue for these.

The cap slides in place, but doesn't click. It took me a minute to be reassured that it was securely closed. The cap does post, though not deeply.

They run a little pricier than other paint markers, but not by much. The sets are a little cheaper than buying open stock.

I'd say my biggest issue with the pens is their designation as a fine point. They're certainly fine if compared to a chisel tip, but they're among the broadest paint pens I've tried. I wouldn't recommend them for very fine detail work, but they're still fun for broader sketches. Especially on windows.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


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JayM
4 days ago
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