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Wink Fun is looking for reviewers

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Calling all writers! Wink Fun is looking for reviewers. Reviews should be 1-3 paragraphs, and need to include 5-9 photos of the Fun item. If you have something fun to review (board game, lawn game, toy, magic trick, puzzles (3D or traditional), craft or modeling kit, building set, cool electronic, sporty item, etc) email me at carla@well.com to let me know what you’re thinking of reviewing. If it’s a good fit for Wink I will give you more details on what we need. Please no unsolicited reviews, and please look at the site before contacting us. Reviews pay $25 on the day they run.

Suburbia board game: a simple, subtle economic simulation

Suburbia is a technocrat’s take on urban planning. The art is streamlined to the point of austerity, there is almost no luck, and the game is unashamed to show off its mathematical guts. At heart, Suburbia is a simple, subtle economic simulation with three moving parts. Players take turns buying hexagonal tiles from an ever-changing market and placing them in their town to develop their city in ways that affect its population, income, and reputation.

The population tally (which serves as the game’s scoring mechanism) models the disadvantages of urban growth in a very clever and elegant way – every so often on the track there’s a red line, and when your population surpasses it you lose one point of income (more expensive municipal services) and one point of reputation (more density/pollution/crime/whatever). This simple mechanism creates delightfully rich feedback loops that take a number of plays to fully appreciate – grow too quickly without an economic base and your town stagnates, unable to afford the development you need to serve your population; but bring in too much business or industry and nobody will want to live there.

Buying tiles for your city isn’t just an exercise in math, though – building your city is a spatial and temporal puzzle, with a limited ability to impact the other players’ cities as well. Some of the tiles’ effects work spatially (placing residential areas next to a highway hurts your town’s reputation while placing businesses there makes them more profitable), others work based on what else is in your city (building schools helps your reputation based on how many residential areas you have), and some affect other players’ cities. Once the market is emptied out, the game ends and players score based on population, plus additional public and secret individual scoring goals that you draw at the start of each game.

This game seems to lean heavily toward being a muliplayer solitaire puzzle at first glance, but once everyone is familiar with managing the feedback loops between reputation, population, and income, and with the scoring goals that are available, denying other players what you think they need becomes pretty competitive. Another nice mechanism is that tiles from the market can be played upside down as small lakes, which provides a cash infusion but also allows you to take a tile out of the game that’s useless to you but helpful to an opponent.

Where the game can bog down a bit is in keeping track of the interdependent effects of some of the tiles, particularly the ones that affect other players’ towns, but after a few plays we got familiar enough with the tiles’ effects that it was manageable. It bears mentioning that Suburbia has one of the best app implementations (both Android and iOS) of a board game I’ve seen, with smooth design, interesting single player puzzles, and local and online multiplayer.

See more photos at Wink Fun.

The photos in Earth is My Witness are like bullets

Earth is My Witness is a classic coffee table book. Huge, weighty, colorful, and visually pleasing to almost everyone.

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75 questions about science and other great books

winkssWink is a website that reviews one remarkable paper book every weekday. My wife, Carla Sinclair, is the editor. We take lots of photos of the covers and the interior pages of the books to show you why we love them.

This week we reviewed:

Typewriter Art: A Modern Anthology – A handsome collection of this little-known art form

The Where the Why and the How – 75 questions that can’t be conclusively answered by an iPhone

Letter Fountain – A stunningly well-crafted bible of typography

Adventure Time: A Totally Math Poster Collection - Featuring 20 Removable Frameable Prints

Stencil Republic – 20 laser-cut, brown-paper stencils bound on perforated pages

The Good Life Lab – Moving from a high-powered life in New York to off-the-grid living in New Mexico

Take a look at these books and many others at Wink. And sign up for our Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

Wink's remarkable book picks of the week

winkWink is a website that reviews one remarkable paper book every weekday. My wife, Carla Sinclair, is the editor. We take lots of photos of the covers and the interior pages of the books to show you why we love them.

This week we reviewed:

The Good Life Lab – Moving from a high-powered life in New York to off-the-grid living in New Mexico

The Ashley Book of Knots – Thousands of old timey knots, both useful and decorative.

The Philosophy Book - An absorbing introductory course on philosophers throughout the ages

Masters of Deception – Optical illusion masterpieces by 20 different artists

Pirate Nightmare Vice Explosion – Found remnants of an amateur dadaist’s library

The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert – a playful, simple, informative book about wine and its many delectable smells

Take a look at these books and many others at Wink. And sign up for our Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

Wink's remarkable book picks of the week

winkssWink is a website that reviews one remarkable paper book every weekday. My wife, Carla Sinclair, is the editor. We take lots of photos of the covers and the interior pages of the books to show you why we love them.

This week we reviewed:

The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora – Joyously explosive art from a forgotten illustrator of 1940s jazz records

Big Meals for Little Hands - Sophisticated meals that kids will enjoy making as well as eating

Dian Hanson’s History of Pin-Up Magazines – A jaw-dropping seventy-year history of prurient pulp

The Timechart History of the World – A spectacular 14-foot-long foldable chart that graphs world history from 4,000 BC to today

Graffiti World: Street Art From Five Continents - Jam-packed with 2000 images, Graffiti World is the best gallery of world-wide street art

The Engineer’s Sketchbook – A collection of timeless mechanical concepts explained with basic principles

Take a look at these books and many others at Wink. And sign up for our Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

Wink's remarkable book picks of the week

Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 6.46.25 PMWink is a website that reviews one remarkable paper book every weekday. My wife, Carla Sinclair, is the editor. We take lots of photos of the covers and the interior pages of the books to show you why we love them.

This week we reviewed:

The Engineer’s Sketchbook – A collection of timeless mechanical concepts explained with basic principles

Incredible Cross-Sections - a books that simplifies complex things by bisecting objects on super-size pages

Secret Identity – The fetish art and bizarre fate of Superman’s co-creator

Recording The Beatles – A hefty book in a box that comes with tons of goodies and everything there is to know about the Fab Four recording at Abbey Road

Magic Color Flair - An enchanting collection of Disney artist Mary Blair’s delightful art

Codex Seraphinianus – This is the weirdest book you’ve ever seen

Take a look at these books and many others at Wink. And sign up for our Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

Wink's remarkable book picks of the week

Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 6.46.25 PMWink is a website that reviews one remarkable paper book every weekday. My wife, Carla Sinclair, is the editor. We take lots of photos of the covers and the interior pages of the books to show you why we love them.

This week we reviewed:

Codex Seraphinianus -- the weirdest book you’ve ever seen

The Oldest Living Things in the World -- a captivating look at ancient organisms along with a personal memoir of science and adventure

Strange Maps -- q collection of fun and peculiar maps that you won’t find in an ordinary atlas

Art Forms from the Ocean -- exquisite drawings of single-celled plankton

How to be a Genius -- fun exercises to boost your brainpower

X’ed Out and The Hive -- a thrilling continuous nightmare by comix master Charles Burns

Take a look at these books and many others at Wink. And sign up for our Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

Wink's remarkable book picks of the week

Wink is a website that reviews one remarkable paper book every weekday. My wife, Carla Sinclair, is the editor. We take photos of the covers and the interior pages of the books to show you why we love them.

This week we reviewed:

X’ed Out and The Hive – A thrilling continuous nightmare by comix master Charles Burns

Towel Origami – Transform your towels into monkeys, elephants, and other fun origami

Bee - An artist looks at the honeybee through the lens of an electron microscope

Alice in Comicland – Lewis Carroll’s famous creation goes on wild adventures in comics

Infrastructure – A field guide to the complex web of gizmos and structures that make up our world

Toy Stories – Photographs of children and their toys from around the world

Take a look at these books and many others at Wink. And sign up for our Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

Wink's remarkable book picks of the week

winkss-600Wink is a website that reviews one remarkable paper book every weekday. My wife, Carla Sinclair, is the editor. We take photos of the covers and the interior pages of the books to show you why we love them.

This week we reviewed an interactive book that invites you to complete drawings of robots, costumes, monsters, secret lairs, zap guns, sidekicks, superpowers, utility belt gadgets, weapons, vehicles, and secret messages, a book of photographs that show how landscapes change over 120 years, a book filled with facsimile documents about ten popular conspiracy theories, a 600-page graphic novel that reads like a dream, a quest to authenticate 181 would-be masterpieces of the Russian Avant-Garde, and inflatable art and architecture

Take a look at these books and many others at Wink. And sign up for our Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

Wink's remarkable book picks of the week

Wink is a website that reviews one remarkable paper book every weekday. My wife, Carla Sinclair, is the editor. We take photos of the covers and the interior pages of the books to show you why we love them.

This week we reviewed books about inflatable art and architecture, the art of mid-century modern pet food labels, basic home repair and maintenance, personal photo journal of a German officer in World War I, photos of the homes of creative people, and Rocketeer creator Dave Stevens' beautiful comic book art.

Take a look at these books and many others at Wink. And sign up for our Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

Wink's remarkable book picks of the week

Wink is a website that reviews one remarkable paper book every weekday. My wife, Carla Sinclair, is the editor. We take photos of the covers and the interior pages of the books to show you why we love them.

This week we reviewed books about Rocketeer creator Dave Stevens' beautiful comic book art, unusual maps of an ordinary neighborhood, the history of economics told through comics, visual representations of history, a visual guide to psychology, and hundreds of excellent optical illusions.

Take a look at these books and many others at Wink. And sign up for our Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

Wink's remarkable book picks of the week

Wink is a website that reviews one remarkable paper book every weekday. My wife, Carla Sinclair, is the editor. We take photos of the covers and the interior pages of the books to show you why we love them. This week we reviewed books about excellent optical illusions, the events of one day in WW1 told in the form one long continuous pen drawing printed on a fold-out scroll, Ernest Shackleton’s brave yet disastrous attempt to cross the Antarctic continent, hundreds of science-themed tattoos worn by working scientists, the sketchbooks of artists from around the world, and the greatest comic books ever published in a bound slipcase.

Take a look at these books and many others at Wink.