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Tycho / on Wed, Jan 13 2021 at 12:01 am

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I want to apologize for my ill-considered foray into teen nutrition. And also necromancy. I regret the necromancy. That is to say, I apologize if you were offended by my necromancy. Right? I mean… isn't life, just… Death? Man, I hope this works!

One of my favorite developers, Zachtronics - who I guess are local to me, but the Internet makes everyone simultaneously local and distant in an odd way - just put out a weird, free game on Steam called NERTS Online.  Maybe it's not that weird. It's solitaire, but multiplayer, which I guess sounds sort of like a joke. Lost Cities is one of the best games of all time, and it borrows a lot from the idea of "multiplayer solitaire," but Nerts is a bit more literal - except for the truly genius addition of a Pokemon TCG, Prize Card-like section called the Nerts pile. But since Nerts is based on Racing Demon, a game from the 1800's I suspect the prize card pile itself is borrowed from here. Here's what makes it brilliant, in either game: you don't have access to your entire deck. That means you have to work to get it, and in Nerts that means a shared set of aces for all players, creating something like an upmarket, artisanal Slapjack situation in real life but mediated somewhat here in the digimal realm. Also in either game, you win once you've gone entirely through that special pile.  Those are the basic ideas.  You'll get it very, very fast.  

My friend Sam wrote about it on Ars Technica, but you can also grab it and play it with ease, and even just send people links to join your lobby. They've actively tuned the game for smaller playercounts in a recent patch, and worrying about where you're gonna come up with a red 10 might be a nice, temporary reprieve from what you are actually worried about. 

(CW)TB out.

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