It has been shown previously that dogs and horses have the ability to discriminate human emotional facial expressions. This is thought to be a by-product of their close working relationships with humans during domestication. Because dogs and horses are required to work together an understanding of human emotional facial expressions is actively an advantage making the attribute self-selecting. In contrast, goats have been exclusively domesticated as production animals and as such are less likely to have been selected for reading subtle communicative cues from humans. A study carried out at the Buttercups Sanctuary for Goats, suggests otherwise however.
– Image from pexels.com
A total of twenty goats were tested (eight females and twelve males), receiving a total of four test trials each. Each trial consisted of a pairs of greyscale still human faces of the same individual showing positive (happy) and negative (angry) facial expressions and over all the trials, the goats’ first interactions were more often with the positive image. They also tended to spend more time with the positive image compared to the negative one, indicating that goats can distinguish between human faces conveying different emotions. These results suggest that goats are attracted to “happy faces”, and have been reported by McElligott and co-workers in the Royal Society journal Open Science.1
– Image by boardGOATS
1Nawroth, C., Albuquerque, N., Savalli, C., Single, M-S., McElligott, A. G., R. Soc. Open. Sci. (2018), 5, 180491; doi:10.1098/rsos.180491.
A couple of months ago, Reuters reported that according to un-named sources, investment bankers had been hired to run the sale of Asmodee. The claim was that the sale “could value the company at over €1.5 billion”, but there was no credible information as to who the potential buyers were. This mystery has now been solved with the announcement that PAI Partners have entered into exclusive discussions to acquire Asmodee, a company with an enterprise value of €1.2 billion. So, who are PAI Partners and what do they want with Asmodee? Well, PAI is a European private equity company, that grew out of the merger between the French banks, BNP and Paribas in 1993, with a management buyout completed in 2001. They have invested in a wide range of companies covering everything from yoghurt (Yoplait) to tyres (Kwik Fit) to cargo handling (Swissport). Obviously PAI are interested in making money from Asmodee, but at this time there is no evidence to suggest that would by by asset stripping. Price increases would be almost inevitable however, as the Studios would be under pressure to provide a good return on the investment.
The 2018 winner of the coveted German Game of the Year or Spiel des Jahres award is Azul. This has been a very popular game within the group and to us has been the stand-out game this year since Essen. It is very easy to teach with a surprising amount of depth and is beautifully produced, making it a game we are always happy to play. The Kennerspiel des Jahres was awarded at the same time. This honours more challenging games and this year was awarded to Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburg. So far this has only been released in German, so we have not been able to play it yet. In addition, there was a special award for for Pandemic Legacy: Season 2, which the jury felt was the benchmark against which all other legacy games should be judged. The Kinderspiel des Jahres award was announced last month and went to Funkelschatz (aka Dragon’s Breath) which is dexterity gem collecting game.
KickStarter is a crowd-finding platform, where people seek financial support for their latest, greatest idea. All sorts of bizarre and unusual things can be found there, as well as a lot of boardgames. One of the more curious projects currently seeking financial support is “The Edible Games Cookbook“. Designed by a professional game designer cum amateur baker, the hard-back book presents a series of “food experiences to play with friends and family”. The campaign page says that players “might be required to crack a secret code that’s baked into cream puffs; keep a straight face while eating something gross; conjure up a delectable morsel from a mishmash of ingredients; perform “sacred”, food-related rituals; test their memory and taste buds … and that’s only half the games”. There is a sample chapter available, if you want to have your taste buds tickled, and the project runs until Friday 20th July 2018.
Sadly, Peter Firmin, “father” of Bagpuss and Basil Brush, passed away yesterday after a short illness, aged eighty-nine. In addition to the old, saggy cloth cat (baggy, and a bit loose at the seams) and the anarchic fox (boom BOOM!), together with Oliver Postgate, Peter brought many other childhood favourites into our homes. These include, The Clangers, Pogle’s Wood, Pingwings and What-a-Mess. To gamers though, the most interesting are probably Ivor the Engine, Noggin the Nog, both of which have recently inspiredboardgames that Peter Firmin personally illustrated in his unique and beautiful style. He was a lovely man who will be greatly missed by all who knew him and those who were inspired by him.