Doctor Who: The Card Game, Card Game Review

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Doctor Who holds the Guinness record for the longest-running science fiction television show in the world, airing from 1963 till today. For those unfamiliar with the show (really inexcusable I might say!!) Doctor Who (or The Doctor) is a humanoid alien, a Time Lord, whose planet has been destroyed and is travelling through space and time with a time machine called TARDIS, exploring the universe and helping the helpless. TARDIS looks like a blue British police box, a common sight in Britain during the 60s when the show first appeared. Through the years, it has become a trademark of the show. Doctor Who has faced many enemies through the course of the show, the oldest and most significant ones being the Daleks, an alien race whose sole purpose is to destroy all beings inferior to them. Martin Wallace, a well-known independent board game designer from U.K., undertook the challenging task of recreating the atmosphere of the show in a rather simple card game. Let’s see how the game measures up to its theme and how appealing it is in general as a card game.

Game Overview

Although I am a huge sci-fi fan, I’ve seen very little of the renowned show. However as I sat down to play this game I had in my mind the general concept of “The Doctor”, his time-travelling machine and the atmosphere that the game should have. In my point of view, the fact that I’m not a hardcore fan of the game neither totally ignorant of the theme, makes me more suitable to write an objective review of the game. Let’s go through the basics of the game for starters:

In Doctor Who: The Card Game, players take the role of Doctor Who and his companions, trying to defend locations from various enemies but they also take the role of the “bad” guys, by sending enemies to attack other players’ locations. During each of their turns, players will have the opportunity to perform a number of actions, which involve playing cards. There are four different types of cards in the game:

  • Locations. Players will have to fight for the control of their own locations as well as their opponents’. Each location is worth a number of victory points at the end of the game.
  • Defenders. Defenders will be used to defend a player’s locations. There are actually 4 defenders, all based on the Doctor Who TV-series, each one with their own defense strength: The Doctor, Amy Pond, Rory and River Song
  • Enemies. Players send enemies to their opponents locations, trying to gain control of them. The enemies are well known races and monsters from the Doctor Who universe like The Daleks, Cybemen, the Sontarans and Davros. Each enemy has a different attack value.
  • Support cards. These are allies, special gadgets or events that will help a player or hinder his opponents.

At the beginning of the game, each player must pick a color and get 10 counters of the appropriate colour (5 DALEKS and 5 TARDIS). Daleks are used to indicate that we have placed an attacking enemy at an opponents’ location, whereas TARDIS are used to show that we have successfully defended a location of our own. Each player also gains a starting location which is chosen randomly. The player having the highest value starting location becomes the first player. All cards are shuffled in a face-down pile and 5 cards are dealt to each player except the player sitting to the right of the first player, who receives only two cards. There are also thirty time tokens in the game, which are set by the side of the draw deck.

Each player, during his turn, may play as many actions he wants, limited only by the fact that at the end of his turn he must give to the player on his right 3 cards. Extra cards may be bought during a player’s turn using time counters, that can be gained with a number of ways. Available actions a player may do during his turn are:

  • play a location card in front of him. He receives a number of time counters as indicated on the card
  • play one or more defenders on a location owned by him. The defender cards are played face-down on a location, leaving part of it uncovered so as the value of the location is not hidden. You cannot play two or more of the same Defender card on a given location
  • play an enemy card on an opponents’ location. In contrast to defenders, in general, only one enemy may be placed on each opponents’ location (exceptions do exist). The enemy card is placed face down near the location under attack and the attacking player puts a DALEK counter on the location under attack
  • play a support card
  • discard one or two cards to gain a time counter for each card discarded
  • buy cards by paying five time counters for each one
  • put one or more cards in the reserve. Players may put up to 2 cards in the reserve (face down in front of them) in order to use them in a later round. The size of the reserve may increase using certain support cards

There is no cost for playing any of the cards a player owns and players can perform any number of the above actions. A certain action can be performed more than once. At any case, the active player must end up with 3 cards which he must give to the player on their right. At the end of a player’s turn, he draws 2 cards from the supply and puts them in his hand. After the first player, play continues clockwise as usual.

The most interesting point in the game is combat, which occurs whenever a defender and an enemy card have been played at a given location. All defender and enemy cards are then revealed and their strength is compared. If the defender’s total strength is equal to or greater than the attacker’s, the defender wins. All attackers and defenders are discarded and the defending player puts a TARDIS counter on the location card to indicate that it is under the Doctor’s control. If the enemy wins, all defenders are discarded and the attacker must discard one or more enemy cards with total strength less or equal to the total strength of the defender.

The game ends when a player has all of his DALEK or TARDIS counters in play or when the Game End card is revealed (it is initially put on top of the 20 last cards of the draw deck). In the first case, the game ends immediately, while in the second one an “End Game” period starts, during which players continue to take turns but are obliged to take a single action and they don’t draw cards at the end of their turn. They don’t pass cards to the player on their right either of course. This period ends when a player cannot perform an action. Then all players count the victory points on their locations that are not under attack plus the enemy locations they have their DALEK counters on. The player with the most victory points is the winner.

Components

The game’s components are cards and tokens. The tokens are standard cardboard ones with nothing special to be comment on. The cards however deserve a special mention as they are all beautifully illustrated with much attention to detail. The colors used in the illustrations carry the feel of the game and all pictures are of high detail. All cards enhance the theme of the   game  and the artwork is so awesome that truly captures the eye and sets a  unique  atmosphere, especially the location and monster cards. Design of the components leaves really nothing more to be desired. 9/10

Gameplay

Usually one has not many expectations regarding gameplay when it comes to such “small” games. And when I say “small” I mean having few components and a short duration, usually called “filler” games. It is truly a big accomplishment when a game designer manages to produce a game of enough complexity and depth that can appeal to hardcore gamers out of so little material, while also keeping the mechanics simple enough for more casual gamers. From this aspect I find Doctor Who: The Card Game a rare gem that deserves a place in everyone’s game library, no matter if he is a Doctor Who fan or not or if he is a casual or hardcore gamer. The game starts aggressively right from the start, when everyone’s put down his starting location. The concept of playing cards for free, that means without having to pay a cost as it is usually done in most drafting games, gives a refreshing tone to the gameplay and allows players to develop their strategy with more freedom.

Choices are hard in every round as during each turn players have 5 cards in hand but must hand out to the player on their right, 3 of them. That is the core of the gameplay and the mechanic that gives the game a strategic aspect and depth that you will all appreciate. Which cards should you play and which should you pass? The idea of having a reserve is also interesting and adds to the depth, giving you the opportunity to set your game up the way you want in future turns. Another aspect of the game that I liked is the way conflicts are resolved. Enemies and defenders are placed blindly and are revealed only when both are present on a given location. Very clever idea that maintains a feel of suspense, as you never really know if you have won a location until the conflict is resolved. It feels that Martin Wallace has hit the nail on the head with this one, reminding us how talented he truly is! 9/10

Learning Curve

Despite the many interesting mechanics of the game, rules are kept simple as they should be for a game of this category. The 12-page rulebook can be read within about 10 minutes (in reality the rules are only 9 pages and there a lot of pictures too). At first the mechanics of the game may seem a bit strange but after playing your first game, you will have it all figured out. 7/10

Theme

The game’s theme is supported in every way in the game. From the intuitive TARDIS and DALEK counters to the characters used as Defenders and Enemies and the support cards. The locations all reflect the theme of the game, some set on earth and others on alien planets. Characters from the most recent episodes of the famous TV show are used as the defenders, while the biggest enemies of the doctor have been chosen to serve as the enemies in the game. Support cards feature objects used by the Doctor throughout the years along with special characters and events that boost the thematic character of the game. During my first play, I constantly felt being a part of the Doctor Who universe, I was completely drawn to it. The only thing that felt a bit strange is the fact that you are playing with the “good” guys in general but when you send enemies to opponents’ locations, you take the role of the “bad” guys. That feels a bit strange, disorients you and takes back some of the immersion. I think it would be better if roles were more distinct but that would probably lead to a whole new game. The fact remains that after playing for the first time, it really made me want to catch up with the TV show, maybe try to find some of the older episodes too. 9/10

Replayability

Doctor Who: The Card Game has enough depth and strategy that will ensure that you will have the desire to play it at any given time. It could surely act not only as a filler game but as the main game at the table, with consecutive plays. It’s that addictive! 8/10

Fun:

I really had a lot of fun, playing Doctor Who. There is enough player interaction through attacking your opponents locations and defending your own from attacks and there is a lot of suspense too as you wonder what enemies / defenders your opponents have placed on locations. Every aspect of the game seems to contribute to the fun factor, from the intuitive drafting mechanic to the illustrations on the cards and the feel of the theme. Time will pass fast, with this game, as you constantly have hard choices to make, endless unknown enemies to fight and control of the various locations will change many times during the game. Pure fun if you ask me! 8/10

Pros:

  • A Doctor Who game
  • Excellent support of the theme
  • Simple rules
  • Awesome artwork
  • Gameplay with depth and strategy

Cons:

  • It feels strange to play both as the Doctor and his enemies

Recommended for: Everyone including hardcore “Doctor Who” fans (Whovians)!

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Does Karate Really Help Longevity? Why Does Data Not Support It Across 118 Masters

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There has now been a study done on the issue of longevity across karate styles in concert with data crunching by a University of South Australia academic. It was done as karate is perceived by practitioners as lifespan extending, however the sport and art is unique in a number of ways given its injury rate, life-long stresses and training culture. So given that the vast majority of karate-ka that have been polled over the years believe that the art fosters a long life, highlighting the stereotype of a ‘Yoda’ like old and wise master, it was worth re-visiting as this may not in fact be the reality.

The study involved:

– multiple doctors spanning medical research, clinicians a psychologist & karate practitioners

– data that shows that lifelong karate practice in different styles has different effects on lifespan, including:

– regional effects (East, West, post WWII until today & comparisons to karate-ka born in the 1800s)

– differing types of inflammation and how it possibly ties to karate longevity

– sparring, drills, ude tanren and kata like sanchin how do each of them really impact longevity

– dojo cultural considerations

– the effect of the developed karate persona & combative environments on longevity

In particular the data shows that all karate styles’ masters, on average, die young since WWII. However the exploration of the many variables and links to style types as well as noting some differences is key (and evidence based practice approach by region, style and era). For example, the data for the masters who lived in the 1800s is somewhat unique, and attributes of training today provides possibilities as to why that it is the case. Data spanned 118 karate masters (8th dans, style founders, style successors etc.) to analyse the links to shortened lifespan in karate styles and factored in: injury rates, diets in regions, psychology and combative factors and stance/practice types.

In some ways the general idea of this existed in the 1800s despite today’s almost universal spin that martial arts results in long-term health as a core theme. Supporting this are some interesting statements on the topic by passed masters such as Itosu of the 1800s, Shito-ryu’s Mabuni, Asai of Shotokan who openly stated health may not go hand-in-hand with budo.

Understanding the pluses and minuses for certain ways of doing karate inside all of the styles from Shotokan, Goju to Shito-ryu, is key for many who have health as a central theme.

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Writing Tip – “Has Got” Has Got to Go

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Two phrases should be banished from the English language:

1. has got

2. have got

The contraction forms of these phrases – “he’s got,” “I’ve got,” etc. – should also be banned.

“Why this prejudice against these extremely common phrases?” you are probably asking. I’ll tell you why: It’s because they are unnecessarily long and tedious, like bad operas. They are weighed down by an unnecessary word, and that word is “got.” To illustrate my point, read the following sentences:

· I have got to go to the store.

· He has got to get over this.

· We have got to vote today.

Now read the same sentences without the “gots”:

· I have to go to the store.

· He has to get over this.

· We have to vote today.

You see? When you get rid of the “got” after a “has” or “have,” the world does not come to a stop. In fact, it’s a kinder, gentler world because it does not burden the reader with superfluous words.

The same goes for getting rid of “gots” after the contractions of “has” and “have,” as in …

· I’ve got it right here.

· She’s got a cold.

· They’ve got a grudge against gerbils.

Instead, write …

· I have it right here.

· She has a cold.

· They have a grudge against gerbils.

By following this strategy, you will not only make your writing more concise, but you will sound a bit more intelligent.

Please don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against the word “got.” I like it. I’m the first to defend its well-deserved place in the English language. I’ve even written an article about it. But you’ll have to admit there’s something guttural – almost Neanderthal – about the word. If I had opened the door to my office this morning to find a horde of hairy sub-humans running around inside beating each other with clubs and smearing my books with bananas, I can easily image them grunting “Got! Got! Got!” as if that pretty much summed it all up. It is just that kind of a word.

Don’t abandon it, however. It’s sturdy and useful. Just don’t use it after “has” or “have.” As the headline says, “has got” has got to go.

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Boho Chic Bohemian Style

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Sandy beaches, music festivals, boho chic bohemian style for Summer 2017 season is filled with effortless shapes, bright oranges and pinks inspired by Florida sunsets. The modern boho chic girl has everything she needs and wants – love and harmony! She wears lightweight cotton tunics, loose-fit caftans, lots of crochet, sexy cuts and sheer fabrics. Everything looks sweet and harmonized and laid back luxe. Chunky jewelry, copper bracelets, mala bead accessories and vintage head pieces complete the story.

Boheme summer street and beach looks to follow and be inspired by include fashionistas like Rihanna, Selena Gomez and Nicole Richie. If you want to be more bold try maxi gowns made of lightweight rayon, embellished with tie dye prints. These dresses are ideal for summer beach getaways, music festival or just relaxed evenings. Go for slouchy styled boho pants with crochet tanks and use lots of accessories and semi precious stones. for a playful and bold look!

Be more creative, try mismatched floral tunics for extra boheme vibes. The lightweight kaftan tunics are ideal for covering your bikinis, perfect for the resort or yoga retreats. Maxi skirts in intricate prints and summertime blues are ideal for teaming with paisley print tops and cool lemonades. Try sheer tunics that can be teamed with ripped cut-offs. Seventies chic and disco inspired dashiki tunics are quite the trend. Wear a simple dress, but embellish it with cool accessories, boho copper bracelets to Indian necklaces and earrings.

Bohemian summer caftans in vivid floral and batik prints are ideal for yoga retreats and cruises. Easy slip on and cool comfortable loose fittings caftan tunics are a must have. Funky tank tops and flowing wrap skirts in exotic Indian prints will add to the boho fashionista style. Batik prints, tie dye tunic dresses in lightweight rayon, breathable clothing for the vagabond earth caring girl.

Over sized tunic dresses worn with cropped leggings or knee length shorts can be accented with a flowy printed scarf. Go wild with sunset colors or peaceful blues, lush cotton tunics with chikan embroidery from India can be worn as dresses, cover ups or loungers. Intricate hand embroidery makes each piece unique and perfect for only you.

Silk wraps made from exotic colorful vintage saris are beautiful coverups, earth friendly up cycled sari maxi skirts are dressy and chic for the barbecue dinner or a stroll on the beach. Summer time bohemian chic clothing can be dressed up in so many different ways, its your imagination unlimited!

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Summer Is the Season of Mobile Search

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It’s Summer and that means that people will start coming out of hibernation and frolicking more (at least in the Midwest anyway). From patio to picnic more people will be turning to their phone and performing mobile search to find things to do.

To capitalize, you’ll need to be easy to find. That means it might be time to take a closer look at your mobile marketing strategy. Mobile marketing is more than just having a mobile website. It also means being easy to communicate with via a mobile device.

For example, when I land on your mobile website, chances are all I want to know is if you’re open or not and how to reach you. So, your phone and hours should be front-and-center.

With more than 8.4% of all global websites visits coming from a mobile device, you can’t risk losing me when I stop-by. Make it easy for me, please?

In the last twelve months, customers around the world have ordered more than $1 billion of products from Amazon using a mobile device,” – Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com (July 2010).

I know, I know, that’s Amazon. But you know what, those people that do business with Amazon also do business with you. They have been spoiled by brands like Amazon and now expect something similar from everyone. That’s a trend that will continue.

As smart brands continue to raise the bar, stupid brands will appear even more stupid.

Does not take a rocket scientist to get going either. Here are a few quick tips on how to make your small business more mobile friendly:

  1. Keep the most relevant information for customers on the home page and easy to find. Stuff like hours and a phone number are absolute musts.
  2. Consider building a mobile version of your website that can detect a mobile device when it’s loaded and serve a special “mobile friendly” website. If not a website, consider at least building a landing page dedicated to mobile.
  3. Think about the 3rd-party sites that most often appear in search. Yelp, SuperPages, Facebook all come to mind. Make sure that you’ve updated these platforms as well. They’re gonna show up so you might as well tend to them.

That’s a good start.

Later in the game you start dabbling with SMS campaigns and QR codes and jazz like that. For now, just master these basics and you’ll be more mobile in no time.

For more mobile usage statistics, check out this post.

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Memories Before and After the Sound of Music – Book Review

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Agathe von Trapp, born in 1913, is the eldest daughter of Baron Georg von Trapp. Agathe, her siblings and parents formed the famous Trapp Family Singers, which inspired the popular film, The Sound Of Music.This famous movie was based on books written by Maria about their lives and experiences from her perspective, which – of course – the movie producers had creative license with. After reading Agathe’s memoir, Memories Before And After The Sound Of Music, interest for Maria’s books will likely increase once again.

When I took on this project I reminisced to my husband about the bonding moments I had with my mother because of the movie; he went out and promptly rented the DVD from our local store. I think it is wonderful that the movie has survived all these years and can still be found on movie rental shelves. Memories Before And After The Sound Of Music is likely to experience similar success, simply due to how dear the family’s story has been to the masses.

The book is written as a non-fiction account from Agathe’s memory – as such, readers will see the changing times through the eyes of the eldest daughter of the family. Perhaps due to the fact that Agathe was a young adult at the time, the story does not include the causes of the turmoil. Her bitterness seeps through here and there – and at times, I got the impression that she had once harbored unpleasant feelings towards Maria and the movie producers, which seem to have healed. Agathe’s child-like adoration of her biological parents is apparent in their heroic and greater-than-life portrayal – but then, perhaps they really were like that.

Readers will find that Agathe’s book will travel farther back in time, before Maria entered their lives. The biography follows through to what happened after their escape and clarifies common misconceptions. I found it surprising that Agathe was 25 when the family left for America – the only “children” during the escape were those recently born from Maria.

Though this family’s story is definitely and inspiring riches-to-rags story, one cannot deny that this well-connected family certainly did not suffer like their countrymen. Isolated castles and mansions, pristine lakes and mountains, private farms, fully staffed estates… no, this was certainly not suffering, by any account. However, the war left the family with nothing but the loyalty and love of their fans and friends. This was enough for them to survive Ellis Island, find a home in America, record albums, go on tours and establish a successful music camp – which is operating today in Vermont.

As a fantastic bonus, the center of the book contains over 30 pages of photos of the family starting in 1875 through to images of the family today, including one shot of the next Trapp family singing group.

Author: Agathe von Trapp

Publisher: Publish America

ISBN 10: 1-4137-6026-0

ISBN 13: 978-1-4137-6026-2

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Top Review of Brig Hart

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This whole system seems crazy to me.

“The MonaVie opportunity and the R3 Global Total Support System to achieving better health and wealth.” Sounds a little crazy don’t you think? I say it is. But again, don’t want to upset anyone, it’s just my opinion.

The MonaVie product is claiming to be number one as a supper food? Brig Hart said these words himself. Who, by the way is an excellent speaker. Humble though isn’t he? MonaVie is a wine like substance, in a wine like bottle that you are to sell to your friends and family.

You will be offering the business opportunity and product to others through the follow acronym: The ITS factor, (Invite, taste and share.) “Make a list of every one you know every where…” Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Let me tell you something, If you are anything like me your reputation with friends and family for testing crazy products and programs on them is pretty bad. The last thing I ever do at this point is try to push or sell stuff to them. They know where to find me if they see me working on something that interests them.

$39.00 to get involved. Then you have the “right” to be able to buy a case of the product again, bottles of some sort of wonder wine at a wholesale price. Then you get signed up on an “AS” (auto ship) so they can continually ship you cases of this stuff. Anything like AA? (Alcoholics anonymous) You buy the MonaVie wine-like product at $32.00 each and then unload it at like $45.00 a piece.

I don’t know, didn’t people catch on to this kind of thing with Am Way years and years ago? At least that was regular products you could use every day or that regular people bought like toilet paper and T.V.s and such.

This system brings back terrifying memories of a drinkable goopy green Aloe Vera gel that I sold with Nutrition for Life. My poor mom still has some of that stuff in a box in the basement along with some other pills and stuff. Sorry mom.

I just can not support Brig Hart or this MonaVie product and selling system. Imagine trying to get people to come over to your house, drink some mystery drink and then actually buy it! THE END.

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Benefits of Venison – A Natural Fat Burning Food!

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Discover the incredible weight loss benefits of venison, how to best prepare it and how much you should eat to get maximum benefit from venison – one of nature’s amazing fat burning foods.

Venison or game meat encompasses elk and moose as well as deer. While they are harder to find, caribou and antelope are also forms of venison.

Venison is hard to come by if you are not a hunter, but you might find it in a specialty market. If you have a hunter in the family, this could also be a source of venison. You may at least get to enjoy a meal or two featuring this meat that is both delicious and nutritious and great support for your fat burning regimen.

Deer meat has a deep, full flavor and a tender, yet supple, texture. Deer can be hunted wild, or they may be raised on a farm. The flavor of the meat depends upon the diet of the animal. A deer that has foraged will taste different than a domestic deer. In any case, deer meat has an awesome flavor.

Fat Burning Benefits of Venison

Venison is incredibly low fat. It is very low in saturated fat, and it is also low in calories.

A 3-ounce serving of venison has about 134 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 1 gram of saturated fat. A similar serving of elk meat will yield 124 calories and 2 fat grams – one of those saturated fat. Moose meat contains 114 calories and 1 gram fat, but not any saturated fats.

Here are the benefits you will derive from venison: It is a great source of vitamins B12, B2, B6, and niacin. It also contains the minerals: zinc, selenium, iron, phosphorous, and copper. It is an excellent source of high-quality protein.

Venison contains iron, which is a building block of hemoglobin. This is what makes it possible for your blood to transport oxygen from your lungs throughout your body. Additionally, hemoglobin is an essential part of the enzyme systems that regulate metabolism and the production of energy.

Venison contains B vitamins (that is, B12 and B6), which assist in keeping homocysteine levels from becoming unhealthily high.

Here are the dangers of high levels of homocysteine:
The worsening of diabetic heart disease or atherosclerosis.
Damage to blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack or a stroke.

Osteoporosis and colon cancer may be prevented with the consumption of vitamin B12, which works to protect the colon against carcinogens.

Venison contains a good supply of Vitamin B2 (riboflavin). This vitamin helps with promoting a steady supply of oxygen based energy to your body. This is especially useful for the heart and muscles of the body. The protein like antioxidant molecule known as glutathione must be recycled constantly. Riboflavin helps to protect this delicate molecule.

Venison contains niacin to combat the incidence of osteoporosis. It also produces starch in the liver and muscles that can converted into energy.

Preparing Venison

When you choose your venison (deer meat) try to find meat from younger deer. It should be dark with flesh that is finely grained and fat that is clean and white. Fat is the source of the real taste. Look at the recommended sell-by date to find fresh venison in stores. Venison can be purchased in the freezer section or as fresh meat.

You’ll need to trim any fat off the deer, elk, or moose before you grill or broil it.

Venison is very vulnerable and perishable, thus it is vital to place it in the coldest section of your fridge right away. When you plan to use it within a couple days, keep it in its wrapper to reduce handling. If you can’t use it right away, be sure to wrap it properly for the freezer (using aluminum foil or freezer paper) and freeze it promptly. It won’t spoil for a minimum of three to six months.

Exercise caution as you handle raw venison, being sure to rinse any utensils completely. When you marinate your venison, be sure to keep it in the refrigerator. If you leave it out, it is sure to spoil, as it is very heat sensitive. Frozen venison should be thawed out in the fridge.

One excellent way to enjoy venison is simply as a steak or on kabobs. You can also make venison jerky. It can be substituted for many other meats such as turkey or beef in stew or lasagna.

Here are some ways to enjoy elk meat: Chili, meat loaf, roast, stew, burgers, barbecue, or slow cooked in the crock pot.

Here are some ways to enjoy moose meat: Kabobs, hoagies, roast, meatballs, stroganoff, or stew.

Recommended Serving Size

A typical portion of venison is about 3 or 4 ounces per person.

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The Slow Motion Game

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Recently, a friend invited me to stop and slow down. Just for a few minutes.

I slipped off my shoes and felt the cool stepping stones in her garden under my feet. In a few short minutes, with all systems slowed to the moment in front of me, I felt like Alice in Wonderland-one moment staring up at the giant, waving leaf of a tropical banana tree and the next moment bent down, in awe at the mini, star-shaped moss tuft peeking out between a crack in the stones.

Ten minutes later, as I finished up this walking meditation in her garden, refreshed and ready to go about with my busy day, I knew it was something I wanted to remember to continue as a regular practice for myself and share with my favorite seven year old.

“Hey,” I said to the curly haired boy, “Wanna play The Slow Motion Game with me?”

“What’s that?” he responded, with the keen skepticism of a seven year old who has been around the block and played a zillion games or two in his lifetime so far.

“Well, it’s a kind of discovery game. We slow dooooown.” I started talking in slow motion speak. “And when we look aroooound we see things that we’ve neeeeeverrr seeeeeen beforrrrrrre.”

I could see the spark of interest lit in his eyes now.

“And whoever finds the most cool stuff is the winner?” he yelled excitedly.

“Sure, something like that.”

Five… Close your eyes

Four… Slowing down

Three… Your mind is going to sleep

Two… Your body is getting very relaxed

One… You are in slow motion mode. Open your eyes… And GO… s l o w w w w w w w w…

Our bare feet made their way slowly through the back yard. The dirt felt good sinking between my toes. I watched out of the corner of my eye as the boy did his best slow mummy walk and then presently crouched down.

Between the two of us, we discovered treasures galore in our familiar backyard space.

An army of ants coming out of tiny hole in the flower bed, a bright green arrowhead-shaped sprout shooting out ninety degrees from a tree branch, a baby fly sunning its translucent wings, a baby bee buzzing. We discovered the glossy, tightly curled leaf of a waxy flower pushing its way upward, and crystalline water drops sitting in the very center of a regal succulent. A family of pincher bugs scurried away as we studied the natural, hieroglyphic markings on an old tree stump.

Long after we finished playing, the curly haired boy was still bent over, looking at potato bugs curled up in tree hollows or looking up through tree branches, discovering many more unseen treasures in the garden.

I didn’t mention to the wild-haired one the part that we would feel ourselves coming back to ourselves during this game.

I didn’t mention that by slowing down our spinning minds, we would enliven all our other senses, as we became part of the world in front of us.

I didn’t mention that by slowing down, we recharge and reconnect with that vital source within us.

I didn’t mention that part to him. I didn’t have to.

Yes, this was a good game.

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Reviewing the Game of Blackjack

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Online blackjack has surpassed the expectations of many game experts and players as well. The game of blackjack has created new and exciting experiences for many avid players. That’s why this game became the latest trend in the online gaming business. Blackjack has really come a long way. It has a rich history which can be traced during the time of King Louie, the 14th of France. Blackjack, perhaps, is one of the games which will definitely provide players with mixed emotions of excitement, tension and satisfaction.

Why should you play blackjack?
The game of Blackjack was also called Lucky 21 because the main objective of this game is to have a hand with the value closest to 21. Many players would often speculate that blackjack is a very complicated game, but in reality, this game is very easy to learn. In order for a player to win in this game, the player must know how to count and that’s it. If a player knows how to count the cards correctly, the player will have a greater chance of winning the pot. The main question though is – Why should you play blackjack?

Honestly, the game of blackjack is not that difficult to understand. Even a beginner can play this game without having any practice. A player should only be watchful of the cards being dealt by the house, and the player must only create a hand that adds up to 21 or close to it. If you want to win in this game, you must beat the house by creating a hand with a value that adds up to 21 or closer.

Many players are now enjoying the game of blackjack for the following reasons. First of all, blackjack is a game which provides players with the opportunity to meet new people. On the downside, online blackjack may somehow give you a smaller chance of meeting new people, unless you join the live dealer blackjack game. Blackjack is considered as one of the famous casino games, both land-based and online, because players can develop many strategies and tricks in order to win the game, and in return, the player experience a great amount of pleasure from it.

If you are a beginner, you must not worry because blackjack is quite easy to learn. Many online casinos are offering free tutorials for players who want to do well in blackjack. Online casinos also offer free games for those who want to practice their skills and strategies before joining the real event. The pleasure and the opportunity to win are the factors that make this game even more popular, and the fanatics will continue to grow in number for the years to come.

The upside and downside of online blackjack.
Although many players are becoming die-hard fans of online blackjack, many traditional players are still having doubts about the fairness of the online blackjack. In the traditional blackjack, players will have the firsthand experience of the actual game. The player will see the cards face to face, and the player will definitely be sure of the reactions of the dealer and the opponents.

On the other hand, online blackjack can be played in the comforts of your own home. If you are playing the traditional online blackjack, you will be dealing with a virtual dealer, and you will not see the reactions of your opponents. The only ways that you can read your opponents is through card movements and live chatting.

When it comes to security, land-based casinos have security cameras and casino managers which are always available to monitor your gaming experience. On the other hand, online blackjacks are powered by software. It also pays to know that it is possible that these softwares can be used for cheating, so the player should choose a reputable online casino to ensure that he or she will get his or her money’s worth.

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