Congress is Thinking of Allowing Online Gambling

It’s a question that’s come up repeatedly for discussion in Congress, and things are serious enough that legislation is actually being considered to legalize Class III gambling, the kind that they usually like for online gambling outlets – poker, blackjack, betting and roulette. Of course, lots of people are really encouraged by where this is heading – they love gambling, and they wonder why the government should stand in the way of people being able to run a little organized entertainment. And they hope that the government could get off their back once and for all. Those who are against this move sees the very involvement that the government has in the problem to be a sign that gambling is not entertainment – that it is an activity that comes with considerable baggage of social harm.As minor a kind of gambling activity as these games seem to be, you do have to admit that no one mostly ever tries to kill themselves over non-gambling debts, or tries to run away from town or steal from their company. These happen so very often with debts that come out of online gambling, that one is forced to wonder whether this might be an activity that is irretrievably mired in something much worse than entertainment. The truth is, gambling is an activity that attracts terribly addicted people; other forms of personal entertainment usually do not land one in terrible debt. You may certainly consider online gambling a right to freedom of expression you hold that shouldn’t be tampered with. If really online gambling were just one more kind of entertainment, wouldn’t it be worth it to keep it away from the country simply for the several lives it would save, and the families it could keep together?It is difficult to comprehend how online gambling can actually be be this dangerous; the fact is, when you have it on offer all the time in your own home, the ability to get addicted and to game yourself out of house and home is an ever present threat, and it can turn into the worst kind of gambling ever – even more serious than heading out to Atlantic City every weekend.The problem with online gambling over the real world equivalent of it is, there is hardly any way that these businesses can be supervised by the government for fairplay. You could not leave it to the gambling website owners of course, because they could easily profit from defrauding the player. And most of the time, these websites are all in specific foreign countries where there are no laws that govern this kind of thing. But do you know what – Doyle Brunson one of the world’s biggest stars in poker, in his book, says that even the highest level of poker professional goes completely broke several times in his career. It’s just a part of the lifestyle. You have to realize that the gambling industry is one that deals in $400 billion in turnover worldwide. You wouldn’t want half of that to go out of the country if online gambling were legalized, now would you?

Solitaire Lexicon – A Glossary of Terms Used in Solitaire & Patience Card Games

When you play solitaire card games, you’ll come across a few terms which you may not be familiar with, but which can help you to understand and appreciate the game.Ascending Sequence
A run of cards that goes up in value (e.g. 9-10-J).Building
Playing one card (or group of cards) upon another, according to the rules of the game. Building may be specified one or more in several ways, according to the rules of a particular game:

By Alternate Color – Build red on black, or black on red, regardless of suit
By Color – Build red on red, or black on black, regardless of suit
By Suit – Cards must be played in a sequence of the same suit
Down – Cards must be played in a sequence of descending rank
Regardless of Suit – Build using rank alone, ignoring color and suit
Up – Cards must be played in a sequence of ascending rank Color
A standard deck has two colors: Hearts and Diamonds are red, Clubs and Spades are black.Column
A vertical pile or group of cards.Deal
To turn up cards from the deck and place them in the leayout.Deck
Most games use a standard 52-card deck of playing cards with no Jokers. There are also many games that use two 52-card decks shuffled together. A few games use non-standard or cut decks.Descending Sequence
A run of cards that goes down in value (e.g. J-10-9).Discard
Cards permanently removed from play.Face Card
A King, Queen, or Jack.Foundation
This is the ultimate destination for cards in many games. The Foundations may be part of the original layout, or they may be created during gameplay, according to the rules of the particular games.Hand
Cards remaining after a layout has been dealt. A hand must generally be kept face down until called for in the game.Layout
The initial ordering or placement of the cards on the table (or screen). The layout includes the stock, wastepile, foundations, tableau, and reserve.Pack
Another name for a deck of cards.Patience
A single-player card game. Known as “solitaire” in America.Rank
The numerical order of the cards is generally A-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-J-Q-K, with the ace ranked lowest, and the king ranked highest. In some games the ranking is continuous — downwards from 3-2-A to K-Q-J, or upwards from J-Q-K to A-2-3. Also, in some games the ace is ranked above the king. In still other games, the ace may be ranked at the top or at the bottom as a player chooses.Redeal
To pick up cards from the layout and them re-deal them. In some games the cards must be picked up in a specified order. Also, some games the cards are shuffled between redeals, and in others they are not.Reserve
Some games include a reserve, which is generally pre-filled with cards from the stock during the initial deal. These cards can often only be removed from the reserve in specific ways, which vary from game to game.Row
A horizontal pile or group of cards.Shuffle
To randomize the cards in a deck. This is typically done be hand, by splitting the deck into halves and then riffling them back together a few times. A mechanical card-shuffler may also be used. In computer solitaire, the shuffling is performed by a random-number generator.Solitaire
A single-player card game. Known as “patience” in England.Stock
Where the cards are dealt from. At the start of a hand, the stock contains the entire deck (or decks). In general, cards are removed from the stock and played to the foundations, tableau, or waste, until the stock is empty.Suit
A standard deck of playing cards has four suits: Hearts ?, Diamonds ?, Clubs ?, and Spades ?. Each suit has 13 cards (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A).Tableau
Single cards, groups of cards, or piles of cards, each of which may be manipulated as described in each game. The tableau is generally the part of each game that gives it its own distinct flavor.Value
The numerical value of a card. For number cards the value is simply the face value of the card (2, 3, 4, etc.). For the other cards, the ace generally has a value of 1, a jack has a value of 11, a queen has a value of 12, and a king has a value of 13.Wastepile
In many games, if a card cannot be played to a foundation or tableau pile, it is moved to a wastepile.Winning
This varies by game, but generally involves: putting all the cards into some predefined order; filling the foundations; or removing all the cards from the tableau.

Horse Fun and Games – The Making of a Card Game

For those of us who love everything equine, horses and games make a great entertainment combination. Creating a horse-themed card game is hard work and requires a lot of careful consideration. This article talks about the early days of discovery for the developers at Funleague Games as they embarked upon the journey of designing their very first card game called “Perfect Stride: Cross-Country!” Naturally, as with many things, the game started out as an idea. We wanted to create a fun horse game that was fanciful and stylized, yet still stayed somewhat true to the experience of riding a horse. Representing the idea of racing at high speed across country on horseback through a card game presented its share of challenges. We experimented with a lot of ideas and several times we experienced moments of “aha! This is it!” and away we’d go full-steam…only to discover a problem. The gameplay logistics were the main sticking points. We were cutting some new ground with this card game; it wasn’t closely based on any other specific game so we didn’t have a tried-and-true template to work from. Rather, we referenced bits and pieces of gameplay elements from other games we’d played and from our own vision of how we thought things should work considering the experience we were trying to emulate. Two other resources that have definitely been invaluable are Board Game Geek and Board Game Designer’s Forum. Thanks to everyone there who has posted such excellent info! Here are some examples of things we had a tough time figuring out: Our card game is essentially a race across country on horseback. You jump obstacles along the way…how do you represent that? Do you use tiles? Do you lay the cards out all at once, or one at a time? Face-up? Face-down? That kind of thing. Another element we struggled with was how the rider order was represented during the course of the race.If you were in first, but then dropped back to third, how would you know? We tried a bunch of things such as using charts, placing a token amongst the jump cards, etc. After a lot of trial and error, we eventually figured out a system that wasn’t confusing (unlike our earlier versions). We also struggled with trying to inject some strategy into the gameplay. We definitely didn’t want this game to be all about “luck of the draw”. We wanted the players to have to evaluate each situation and choose a best course of action. Strategy does add depth to a game, but on the flip side of this, a bit of chance can really spice things up and keep you wondering as you draw that next card. As this was a racing game, we didn’t want the players to get too bogged down pondering their options. That would detract from the idea that you were all moving at high speed over terrain in a dash for the finish line. Those were just some of the many things we needed to figure out as we developed our initial idea into something fun, functional and richly thematic. After emerging from the idea phase, we entered a stage of development where we needed to examine more practical business considerations: How big should the deck be?That has proven to depend upon a few things such as number of players, how many variables we were prepared to deal with, printing costs and art costs. We wanted the deck to have substance, yet still maintain some kind of control on the budget.
What should we price the game at?Now that one is ongoing. Naturally we need to make some sort of profit as a reward for our hard efforts and the main way to estimate what kind of pricing is involved is by breaking down the “per-unit costs”. For example, we make an initial assumption that the first print run might be about 5000 copies. Therefore, we would get a printing quote for 5000 copies of the game. And then add to that the cost for artwork creation. And legal fees. And advertising. That sort of thing. Add all those costs together, and divide by 5000. That will be our per-unit cost.How should we package and present the game?We need to look at a couple of key things here. One is; what kind of presentation will be most appealing to people? We want the theme to be immediately recognizable and we want to convey the message that this is a quality game. A game where it’s a high-calibre entertainment experience made of durable materials that will be a pleasure to handle. The other consideration is how much will the packaging and materials cost? Printing/manufacturing costs are arguably THE most expensive part of creating a board or card game. And the quotes will vary widely with each print shop we approach.Legal stuff?A board or card game is a creative product. It’s art and entertainment, meets commerce. There’s intellectual property, copyright, trademarks and other basic business considerations. We recognize that it’s a good idea to protect our hard work and ensure that all communication is organized and in writing. Legal stuff is not only about protecting what’s ours; it’s also about being clear about obligations when engaging in business with another party. When it comes to hiring artists to create artwork for a game, copyright ownership is one of the biggest key factors. It’s important to ensure clarity about who owns the art. Paying an artist to create artwork doesn’t necessarily mean we actually own it. It’s essential to have an “Artist Agreement” in place. This is a legal document that details the rights and obligations between Funleague Games and the artist. Artists work hard to do what they do best (we know this firsthand…Jeff and I are both professional artists) and naturally will want to be clear about all the details involving the work they do.What kind of art style am I looking for?This is an important thing to figure out, but it can be a tough one. The style of art is heavily influenced by the style of the hired artist(s) working on your project. It’s important to choose carefully who will be creating the visuals for the game. Arguably good art will sell more copies of a bad game than bad art on a good game. People like things to look “cool” or “beautiful”. Make sure you deliver in spades in this area by having a strong vision for what your game should look like and by only hiring artists who have an art style compatible with that vision. Art style should also take into consideration the target market your game is aimed at. In the case of Perfect Stride: Cross-Country!, I’m going for a style that is distinct from other games on the market. I also want the style to be inclusive and appealing to the full range of my target audience. For example, I need to avoid an art style that is too “young” as my target audience are people ages 7 and up. I want to feature artwork that has a fun innocence to it, but at the same time possesses enough refinement to appeal to a more mature audience.Who’s our audience?This is important right out of the gate (now there’s a theme-appropriate expression :) . Even at the earliest design phase it’s important to know our demographic. For example, if we designed a game to include a lot of deep and subtle complexities or tons of arithmetic, chances are that kids under 7 years of age could find the game too difficult. As for Perfect Stride: Cross-Country!, I feel that this will be a game that can be enjoyed by almost everybody, but the primary audience will likely be people who love horses. And as there is an element of strategy to the game, the very young may struggle with some of the gameplay concepts.Marketing?This is SOOOOoooo important. If Jeff and I never bother to get the word out about our really cool game, how are we going to sell it? Entire books (and even university degrees) are devoted to the topic of marketing, but suffice it to say it’s important that we learn a little bit about how to promote our product. Not only will we not sell any (or very few) copies, but so many people will never get the chance to enjoy a super-fun horse-themed experience! As our game is very strongly based on a specific theme (or niche) one of the first things we’ll do is seek to get the word out at places where the horse-loving public like to visit such as horse-themed websites, tack shops, equestrian magazines, etc.As you can see, we have our work cut out for us, but the creation of this card game has been a wonderful journey so far. We look forward to the time when the game is complete and ready to be enjoyed by many!


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