Tag: Games


Those of you still living under rocks may not be across the Bardcore phenomenon that is about the only good thing to have hit the mainstream in 2020.

I have a slightly wider definition of what constitutes Bardcore than Wikipedia, which as of 15th October 2020 says:

Bardcore (or tavernwave) is an internet phenomenon that became popular in 2020 consisting of medieval inspired remakes of hit pop and rock songs

Wikipedia, 15th October 2020

I would add to this definition:

as well as excellent original medieval songs that are as impactful today as in the good old days

Phillip Kingston, 15th October 2020

I first got into bards when I played Everquest in my teens, a pioneering MMORPG computer game, and then their analogue in Dark Age of Camelot being the minstrel.

Here are some crackers to get you started on your Bardcore journey, you Hedge-born Knaves (a popular Medieval insult actually part of a Defamation suit in 1555).

Here is what got me into the Bardcore scene, a song by power metal group Blind Guardian who did an eclectic folk song called “The Bard’s Song (In the Forest)”. Thoroughly worth a listen:

So there you have it, if you take up my invitation to dabble in the Bardcore, you can easily lose 48 hours of your life on YouTube/Spotify’s Bardcore channels.

Nicholas of Cusa put it splendidly, speaking of the Bardcore movement of 2020:

For even he who is most greedy for knowledge can achieve no greater perfection than to be thoroughly aware of his own ignorance in his particular field. The more be known, the more aware he will be of his ignorance.

Nicholas of Cusa

Oh, if you came here for a good Medieval song, try Greensleeves, you’ll have definitely heard it before. You’re welcome.

Free Market Monopoly

Back in 2010, Fiona Borrelli and I created a free and simple expansion for the Monopoly™ board game called “Free Market Monopoly”.

The idea behind the board game expansion was to create a more stimulating game for players looking for more financial complexity, more strategy and less chance.

My favourite board game of all time remains Diplomacy by Allan B. Calhamer / The Avalon Hill Game Co, and whilst Free Market Monopoly is no Diplomacy, it is definitely an incremental step towards the Diplomacy experience.

Furthermore, a game of Free Market Monopoly can be completed in a palatable timeframe (less than 2 days, which is my shortest ever Diplomacy game), and doesn’t require 7 people to be fully functional.

Expansion Overview

Monopoly: Free Market Expansion improves and extends the gameplay for veterans of the original Parker Brothers Monopoly board game. Having played the original rule set for many years, we identified the following areas for improvement:

  • Luck in early property acquisition creating an overly dominant player;
  • No ability for property poor players to get back into the game;
  • Difficulty in recording complex financial transactions between players;
  • Utilities and railway stations become irrelevant in end-game;
  • Gameplay is quite simplistic, often deterministic and doesn’t enable experienced players to capitalise on their experience;

The following items have been introduced into the Monopoly: Free Market Expansion

  • A welfare system for struggling players;
  • Formalised lending – bank to player and player to player;
  • Regular property tax;
  • Mining exploration rights on properties;
  • A new set of chance and community chest cards with interesting and realistic scenarios;

The expansion is FREE and can be played by simply downloading and printing off the new chance and community chest cards, and a lending ledger.

t + 10 years

10 years later, I recently fired up Free Market Monopoly and have some further thoughts on how to enrich the game which I plan to release in the coming months.

Many people reached out to me over the years with praise and feedback for the expansion, including senior staffers from various departments of treasury. It also seems to have influenced other expansions including Ultimate Monopoly (2014) which I look forward to trying out. Stay tuned.

Monopoly is a trademark of the Parker Brothers.