Introduction – Artemis


This is Artemis. Goes by Arty in short. He’s my cat. A bit of information, to introduce him:

  • He’s three years old at the time I’m writing this post.
  • We’ve (me and my partner) had him for almost a year and a half now.
  • He came with the name. When we were driving him from the shelter back home, I kept calling his name and he kept responding by meowing, so we figured he knows his name and decided to keep it. We middle named him Rainbow since it rained and we saw a rainbow while we were driving him back home also. It’s kind of hilarious to name an all-white cat Rainbow.
  • He was a stray kitty but must have had some people around since he socialized and did not become feral. Poor kitty cat has been to the shelter twice. He’s never going back again.
  • His original name was Jack. Somehow I can’t see him as a Jack at all, it doesn’t suit him.
  • We believe he was named after the white cat Artemis from Sailor Moon manga. We were trying to find a hashtag for him and a bunch of them came back with the cartoon cat, so we realized that’s probably his namesake.
  • According to his vet paperwork, he’d had an undescended testicle. Random fact to know about your cat.
  • He’s a bit of a tomcat since he was neutered pretty late, around 1 year old, and had time to develop muscles due to testosterone. The fact that he was neutered late makes us wonder if he’s ever had kittens.

We love him so much! If you’re ever contemplating getting a cat (or any animal, really), please adopt. There are so many good cats out there, needing a forever home. We’re so happy we are able to provide him a good life.

So there you go! Now you know a bit about my cat as well. Hopefully I’ll write about him further in the future.

Exploding Kittens Solo Variant

Exploding Kittens is one of my favorite card games. How could it not be? It is a card game that involves cats! Also, Matthew Inman‘s artwork and text on the cards are hilarious.

However, it is not easy to find someone to play hilarious card games with all the time, so I wanted to come up with a way to play it solo. Ever since I heard about Inman’s (and his co-creator Elan Lee’s) newest card game (Bears vs. Babies), I was inspired by the idea of Exploding Kittens as a deck building solitaire. You see, in Bears vs. Babies, you build these monsters (bears) to fight against an army of babies. And I figured, since there are a lot of Cat cards in Exploding Kittens with no instructions, they can act as the army of babies and I could fight them using action cards, building a (mini) deck (instead of monsters). In Bears vs. Babies, the army of babies usually get activated when their nap time is disrupted (provoked) by one of the players, and I thought, the Kitten cards could activate (provoke) the Cat cards in Exploding Kittens. So, that’s the main point, and below is my full variant:

  • Start with a Defuse card. Shuffle two more Defuse cards into the deck. Discard the rest of the Defuse cards. Defuse cards basically negate the Kittens (just like in the original game) and stop the Cat cards from attacking you (the provoking).
  • You can either hold a group of the same type of action cards (just Attack cards, for example) or two different type of individual action cards in your deck at all times. This rule is also applied to Defuse cards. You can swap an incoming action card with a card from your deck, and whichever doesn’t stay in your deck must be discarded.
  • 4 of the action cards work for you and two of them work against you. The ones that work against you are Nope and Shuffle cards. When a Shuffle card shows up, you must shuffle the deck immediately. Nope cards cancel out one of your action cards on your deck. You must choose and discard one of them immediately. For the action cards that work for you, below are the instructions:
  • Attack kills a group of Cat cards. Whenever the Cat cards show up, always keep them in groups in the middle of the table, for example, keep all of the Beard Cat cards together. All of the Cat cards in the middle construct the enemy Cat army.
  • Skip lets you kill individual Cat cards. Skips are stronger together, one Skip card only kills one Cat card, two Skip cards kill three Cat cards, three of them kill five Cat cards and four of them kill seven Cat cards.
  • See The Future acts as Adjust the Future (similar to the one from Imploding Kittens, the expansion pack) and affects 5 cards instead of 3. Basically, you can see and re-adjust top 5 cards.
  • Favor lets you “recruit” the Cat cards for your own army. You recruit them in groups.
  • You can use the action cards on your deck at any point. You cannot use an incoming action card right away, you must either put it in your deck or discard it without using.
  • Whenever an Exploding Kitten shows up, the army of the Cat cards attack you. If you cannot stop them with your own army (Cat cards on your army and on the enemy army fight and cancel each other out) or with the action cards, you lose the game.
  • At the end of the game when the main card deck runs out, the Cat army attacks you one final time even without being provoked by an Exploding Kitten, sort of a “Hail Mary” situation.

If you can make it to the end without being destroyed by the Cat army, you win the game!

Below are the links to the original games, if you’re intrigued:

Exploding Kittens

Bears vs. Babies

Hope you enjoy this variant! Let me know what you think in the comments.

Hive (Pocket) Chess Board Variant

Hive is one of my favorite 2-player, abstract games. I like the idea of not needing a board and being able to play the game on the go, but one thing that frustrates me about the game is the fact that there is no board. The tiles are very slippery, which mess up the setting and sometimes confuses me about which tiles are connected. So, I wanted to come up with a variant where you can use a simple chess board, making the game easier to play and spicing things up a bit when you’re playing at the comfort of your own home.

  • The pieces go inside the squares on the board just like chess pieces do.
  • The starting player can put their first piece anywhere on the board, although, to not trap themselves at a corner, it is suggested that they start from somewhere in the middle.
  • One Hive Rule is still effective, with the addition that on the chess board, diagonal squares are also considered connected for this variant.
  • The Queen Bee still has to be placed within 4 turns, movement is still disallowed until the Queen is placed.
  • Queen Bee still moves one at a time.
  • Beetle also still moves one at a time and can go on top of other pieces. Beetle is kind of a crucial piece in this variant, you will see in a minute why that’s the case.
  • Grasshopper still jumps over other pieces with the addition that it must land on the closest empty square in the direction that it moves.
  • Spider still moves thrice and does not backtrack.
  • Soldier ant can still move freely adhering to One Hive Rule.
  • Lady bug still moves thrice, but it doesn’t have to get down on this variant, it can stay on top of other pieces, again, will be explained shortly.
  • Mosquito still imitates the other pieces that it touches.

Objective of the game is still the same: surround the enemy Queen Bee, with one crucial addition: It must be surrounded entirely by your own pieces! If there is still an enemy piece touching their queen, it doesn’t count as surrounded. Because chess board is much more limited than having no board at all and the diagonal is considered connected, this rule is added to make sure the game can be played (at least for some time) and does not automatically end while trying to keep the hive connected.

Because there are pieces that can go on top of each other (Beetle, Ladybug, Mosquito imitating either), it is possible to cover your enemy’s pieces and still surround the Queen. This is why Beetle is kind of crucial and Ladybug can stay on top of other pieces so that there is one more kind of bug that can cover other bugs. With the Mosquito imitating other bugs, there is a bit of a strategy added, you might want to keep it closer to Ladybugs and Beetles so that you have one more resource to cover up the enemy bugs. Finally, you can include some defense tactics by keeping some of your cover-up pieces close to your Queen so that you can stop your enemy from covering your pieces by covering their cover-up pieces. But also, you need some of them to cover-up the enemy, so I think this variant is quite balanced.

Hope you enjoy playing Hive like this. If you do, please let me know what you think in the comments!

Yuri Level 4 – Mini Walkthrough

If you got stuck on Level 4 on Yuri like I did, fret no more! It is highly likely that you couldn’t figure out how to climb the spider-web stairs (you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about once you get there). The first stairs break right in the middle, which is easy to discover. Second stairs is not so easy to figure out though. So here is your mini-walkthrough: they break at the very left, above the spider guarding it. It’s a bit tricky to jump over that spider and break the web, but once you know it is there, it shouldn’t take too much of your time.

Hope this mini walkthrough helped you!

Yuri by Fingerlab

Yuri is a great platformer by Fingerlab on iOS (and Mac). You play as a tiny cosmonaut (Yuri) wandering through a strange place crowded with bugs and other flora and fauna on your bed-skate, collecting fireflies. 

The controls are very simple, there are only three buttons on the screen: left, right and up. The physics engine is hyper-realistic which can be challenging sometimes but not impossible, hence making the game enjoyable.

It seems like there are 10 levels so far, but more might be coming according to the “coming soon” sign at the main screen. Still, the current 10 levels are packed and should provide enough fun for quite a while. I have been playing it in the past few weeks and made it to the 6th level so far.

Below are the links to iTunes and Mac store:



Hope you enjoy it!