Rip in Heaven

This is the beginning of our Boulder CD Mix Exchange.

I got April by default, by taking the longest to join in, yet I am hardly a pathfinder in this very musaical group. So, what can I bring you? I have decided to go with a particular genre and epoch, namely, "Songs by which you were conceived" ...implying, not to put too fine a point on it, that THIS is the kind of music I was listening to at the college party when everyone (else) was - well, you know, looking for a couch.

So, like a deadly frozen space alien, or an ancient French wine, I will hope these artifacts will come out of hibernation as potent as they were when new, and will serve their purpose again!

Moreover, I can go back even further. Reaching all the way back to the misty past, to my mom's beehive hairdoo, cateye glasses, and avocado polyester miniskirt, I see an orb of obsidian spinning in an oaken coffin I'm not allowed to touch. Sounds come out, primitive pulsing compulsion, and somehow I know the singer is talking about my Mom and Dad and I'm uncomfortable because something inappropriate is going on, but I don't know what 'cause I can't translate the entendre's! That was me, hearing what could have been the soundtrack of my own creation! Eeww. So, you got THAT track coming to you, as well as many other artifacts. It's supposed to be like a party tape, happy overall with a beginning warmup, a frenetic dance phase in the middle, a sexy hookup phase after that, and some soft music for cuddling at the end, or walking around at 2:00 AM cleaning up, depending on which group you find yourself in.

Happy listening.

Matt has kindly provided a link to sample my retro mix, and also the path to the google doc that forms our manifesto, I guess.

Here's the track list. The idea is supposed to match a party, going from soft (preparation phase) to very happy, to frenetic, to silly, to love songs, then sad ones, and finally something quiet for falling asleep. The last track is a little out of character, an acoustic piano cover of the best song ever, the cure's Just Like Heaven. Done slow with heavy percussion, it loses it's joy and becomes the after-party musing.


Diplomacy is a board game involving dealmaking, surprise, treachery, and world domination: in short, the techniques of Diplomacy. In anticipation of a dinner party, here is the short version of the rules (according to me) as well as a stern recommendation to get out there on the internet and read up: this is not a trivial game. However, with some effort, the rules can be condensed as follows:

  1. Just one unit (Army or Fleet) in any province at a time.
  2. Some regions, equipped with a star are supply centers, and will support (feed and equip) an army or fleet. You pick. Obviously, control lots of these to have lots of armies.
  3. Armies or Fleets can occupy coastal land, but ONLY armies inland or fleets at sea (duh).
  4. Game sequence is a) diplomacy -> b) write orders -> c) reveal & resolve. During diplomacy you make deals with each other. Writing orders is done by secretly specifying, for every unit that is to act, if & where it will go, and what it will do. Then everybody throws down at once and all work together to figure out what happened.
  5. Bad or illegal orders devolve into orders to Hold position.
  6. Orders you can give are Hold, Move(& thereby possibly Attack), Support or (if you're a fleet) Convoy. These are your only "verbs" in orders.
  7. In all engagements, might prevails: the most units wins. If equal forces meet it's a standoff, and everyone holds.
  8. Even friendly units can't swap position: borders between regions can "handle" only one unit across their borders per turn. A Convoy operation can literally circumvent this stricture.
  9. To win a battle, Support either a Hold or an Attack (and you must specify which you intended.)
  10. You cannot successfully Support if you find yourself Attacked from the flank.
  11. Losers are dislodged, (after rendering any support they may have been called on to provide).
  12. Fleets in ocean (not coastal zones) can convoy 1 Army across the water, and with multiple fleets, any oceanic distance may be traversed in a single turn.
  13. A standoff occurs when equal forces attack/support a single (possibly empty) province.
  14. Dislodgement of any unit conducting a Convoy operation causes the transport to fail.
  15. After losing, dislodgement means you must write a retreat order and carry it out immediately, and you may not retreat to (a) your attacker's land (b) any occupied territory (duh) or (c) empty region that experienced a standoff.
  16. Every two turns (winter and summer are the metaphor here) you disband or add units according to the starred provinces you control.
There are some other rules, one of my favorite being, An army with at least one successful convoy route will cut the support given by a unit in the destination province that is trying to support an attack on a fleet in an alternate route of that convoy. Bone up on that one before the game, please, because it comes up kind of a lot.

Chicks Rule

A minimal ruleset was sought. We got it down to 10.

1) Play with a Tarot deck, and 4 or 6 players, in teams of 2, with partners sitting opposite one another.

2) Deal all the cards down, with the extras left as a "kitty."

3) Play for tricks, where the high card of the suit led (or trump card) wins each hand, and the winner leads the next hand.

4) If (and only if) you cannot follow the suit led, you may play any card in your hand.

5) A Tarot deck has a fifth suit ordinarily called trump. (...or the "major arcana," if you're majorly into Tarot) Chicks Rule has a variable trump suit that changes from hand to hand, so for clarity we simply renamed the fifth suit "bettys" to distinguish it from trump.

6) Before play begins, players bid, naming the quantity of tricks, and the suit they'd declare as trump. Suits are (in order) bettys, spades hearts, diamonds, clubs and "no trump." There is a suit order (only) to distinguish between two numerically equivalent bids: 5 no trump is an incrementally higher bid than 5 clubs.

7) The bid winner picks up the kitty, and discards an equal number of cards from her hand. No one else sees these cards.

8) Chicks rule. (Meaning, in this game, the Dame or Queen card outranks the Rex or King)

9) A Tarot deck has a card called the "fool." In this game, it is renamed the Nymph, and is the top trump: the most powerful card in the deck. If the hand is being played with "no trump," the Nymph reverts to a betty, albeit the highest one. (If your deck has a "universe" card and it has a chick on it, you can use that one for the Nymph instead of the Fool.)

10) If the team that won the bidding takes as many tricks as they proposed to, they score that many points. More tricks don't add points, (so it pays to bid all you can) but if too few tricks are taken, the opposing team accrues the value of the contract. To save time, teams on the defense can confer openly and elect to simply concede the balance of a hand.

History of the Game

"Chicks Rule!" was developed in a single night of extreme frustration in Los Barilles, Baja California. With no wind, numerous injuries and too much alcohol, a small team of engineers turned to nonstop cards to pass the time. After Bridge, Tarot, Rook, Hearts and War were exhausted, we tried to come up with a game that did not contain arbitrary rule baloney of Tarot, or the scoring complexity of Bridge, but retained team play and complex bidding strategy. Additional commentary on the rules is solicited (mailto: but please keep in mind our intent to keep the rules very simple. Chess has simple rules with complex and interesting consequences, we hope this game does, too, and will try to keep it that way. This is the only legitimate source of adjudication for Chicks Rule, and all changes are subject to editorial review by the founding team of Marc, Guy, Trina, Peter, Robert and Mark. If you like Chicks Rule!, please send $10,000.00 to Mark, c/o Blue Spruce Designs.

Some simple notes on the Tarot deck for the uninitiated:

a) There's no Ace. There's a one, but it's low.

b) The "face cards" sometimes have letters to identify them: V,C,R,D (Standing for the words Val-yea, Cheval-yea, Rex and Dame, with aplogies to whatever the actual French pronunciation is supposed to be. Or, in the vernacular of the game, chump, chump on a horse, dude and Chick.)

c) Keep in mind the major arcana suit (the one with all the pictures) has 21 cards in it, instead of 13, so if that suit ends up trump, it's a long one.

d) It's easier to play if you write the numbers on the upper left corner of each card. Or, buy a more "conventional" looking deck that's laid out that way. (Impossible in Boulder.)