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Exam Code: CLSSMBB Practice test 2022 by Killexams.com team
CLSSMBB Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt

Exam Code : CLSSMBB
Exam Name : Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt

The ASQ Master Black Belt (MBB) certification is a mark of career excellence and aimed at individuals who possess exceptional expertise and knowledge of current industry practice. Master black belts have outstanding leadership ability, are innovative, and demonstrate a strong commitment to the practice and advancement of quality and improvement. Obtaining an ASQ MBB is acceptance and recognition from your peers.

The target audience for the ASQ MBB certification are candidates who are or have been employed as MBBs within their organization, or well qualified certified Six Sigma Black Belts (CSSBB) who have substantial experience in each of the major Topic areas within the portfolio.

To become certified as an ASQ MBB, a candidate must successfully meet all requirements. To be eligible to apply for the MBB examination, a candidate must hold a current ASQ Six Sigma Black Belt certification (CSSBB) and pass the MBB portfolio review process. Within the portfolio, a candidate must have one of the following experience levels:
1) At least 5 years of experience in the role of a SSBB or MBB.
OR
2) Completion of 10 Six Sigma Black Belt projects.

Candidates must be able to meet these minimum eligibility requirements in order to have their portfolio reviewed

The Certified Master Black Belt (CMBB) is aimed at individuals who possess exceptional expertise and knowledge of current industry practice. Master Black Belts have outstanding leadership ability, are innovative, and demonstrate a strong commitment to the practice and advancement of quality and improvement. Obtaining an ASQ Master Black Belt is acceptance and recognition from your peers.

The Master Black Belt certification is an test that consist of 110 multiple choice items and a performance-based assessment that measures comprehension of the MBB Body of Knowledge. 100 of the multiple-choice questions are scored and 10 are unscored. The performance-based portion of the test includes situation specific materials that candidates will be directed to evaluate and respond to. It is offered in English. Total appointment time is five-and-a-half hours, test time is 5 hours and 18 minutes.The second portion is a performance-based assessment that measures comprehension of the CMBB Body of Knowledge. It includes situation-specific materials that candidates will be directed to evaluate and respond to. This portion is two-and-a-half hours long and is also an open book format.

Topics in this body of knowledge (BoK) include descriptive details (subtext) that will be used by the test Development Committee as guidelines for writing test questions. This subtext is also designed to help candidates prepare for the test by identifying specific content within each Topic that may be tested. The subtext is not intended to limit the subject matter or be all-inclusive of what might be covered in an test but is intended to clarify how the subjects relate to a Master Black Belt’s role. The descriptor in parentheses at the end of each entry refers to the maximum cognitive level at which the Topic will be tested. A complete description of cognitive levels is provided at the end of this document.

I. Enterprise-wide Planning (20 Questions)A. Strategic Plan Development Describe and use strategic planning tools and methods such as Hoshin Kanri, X Matrix, SWOT, PEST, PESTLE, Ansoff Matrix, Porter’s Five Forces, TQM, Business Process Reengineering, Balanced Scorecard, and business excellence models (Baldridge, EFQM, ISO, Shingo) and their utilization in developing enterprise planning. (Apply)B. Strategic Plan Alignment1. Strategic deployment goals Describe how to develop strategic deployment goals. (Apply)2. Project alignment with strategic planDescribe how to align projects to the organizational strategic plan. (Analyze)3. Project alignment with business objectives Describe how to align projects with business objectives. (Analyze)C. Infrastructure Elements of Improvement Systems Describe how to apply the following key infrastructure elements. (Apply)1. Governance (quality councils or process leadership teams)2. Assessment (organizational readiness and maturity models)3. Resource planning (identify candidates and costs/benefits)4. Resource development (train and coach)5. Execution (deliver on project results)6. Measure and Improve the system (drive improvement into the systems, multiphase planning)D. Improvement Methodologies Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the following methodologies, including their associated tools and techniques. (Apply)1. Six Sigma (DMAIC)2. Design for Six Sigma (DMADV)3. Lean (PDCA, Kaizen)4. Theory of constraints

5. Business systems and process management 6. Other problem-solving methods (8 disciplines, root cause analysis)E. Opportunities for Improvement1. Project identification Facilitate working sessions to identify new project opportunities that can be prioritized. (Apply)2. Project qualification Determine the elements of a well-defined project (e.g., business case, charter), the process for approving these projects, and tools used in project definition (process maps, value stream maps, QFD, FMEA, critical-to-x where x can be customer, design, cost, and quality). (Apply)3. Stakeholder managementDescribe how to identify, engage, and strategically align stakeholders. (Analyze)4. Intervention techniques Describe techniques for intervening across levels to prevent potential project failures. (Apply)5. Creativity and innovation tools Use creativity and innovation tools to develop concept alternatives (divergent thinking). (Apply)F. Pipeline Management1. Pipeline creationCreate, manage, and prioritize a pipeline of potential projects for consideration. (Create)2. Pipeline life-cycle managementCreate a selection process that provides a portfolio of active improvement opportunities that are clearly aligned and prioritized to meet/exceed strategic goals. Monitor, re-evaluate, consolidate, and retire pipelines as needed. (Create)3. Regulatory impact on pipelineAssess the impact of regulatory statutes on prioritization/management of pipeline of potential projects. (Understand)4. Pipeline risk managementUse risk management and analysis tools to analyze organizational elements, to appraise portfolios and critical projects, and to identify potential problem areas. (Evaluate)
8Certified Master Black BeltII. Organizational Competencies for Deployment (20 questions)A. Organizational Design 1. Systems thinkingApply systems thinking to anticipate the effect that components of a system can have on other subsystems and adjacent systems including emergent properties. Analyze the impact of actions taken in one area of the organization and how those actions can affect other areas or the customer, and use appropriate tools to prevent unintended consequences. (Analyze)2. Organizational culture and maturityDescribe the implications organizational culture and maturity levels can have on improvement program implementation, including potential barriers. (Analyze)B. Executive and Team Leadership Roles1. Executive leadership rolesDescribe the roles and responsibilities of executive leaders in the deployment of improvement programs in terms of providing resources, managing change, and communicating ideas. (Analyze)2. Leadership for deploymentCreate action plans to support optimal functioning of Master Black Belts, Black Belts, Green Belts, champions, and other participants in the deployment effort. Design, coordinate, and participate in deployment activities, and ensure that project leaders and teams have the required knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes to support the organization’s improvement program. (Create)C. Organizational Challenges1. Organizational dynamicsUse knowledge of human and organizational dynamics to enhance project success and align cultural objectives with organizational objectives. (Apply)2. Intervention stylesUse appropriate intervention, communications, and influence styles, and adapt those styles to specific situations (i.e., situational leadership). (Apply)3. Interdepartmental conflictsAddress and resolve potential situations that could cause the program or a project to under-perform. (Apply)D. Organizational Change Management1. Change management modelsDescribe different change management models (Kotter’s 8 Steps, ADKAR, Competing Values Framework). (Apply)2. Techniques to gain commitmentDescribe how to gain commitment from the organization’s leadership for the improvement effort. (Understand) 3. Techniques to overcome organizational barriersDescribe various techniques to overcome barriers to successful organizational deployment. (Apply)4. Necessary organizational structure for deploymentDevelop the inherent organ-izational structure needed for successful deployment. (Apply)5. Communications with managementDescribe elements of effective communications with management regarding organizational benefits, failures, and lessons learned. (Apply)6. Organizational culture change techniquesAssess culture of the organization and its ability to problem-solve and improve. Describe techniques for changing an organizational culture, such as rewards and recognition, team competitiveness, communications of program successes, and appropriate cascading of goals throughout the organization. (Apply)
9Certified Master Black BeltE. Organizational Feedback 1. Voice of the customer and voice of the processAssess the appropriate collection of Voice of the Customer and Voice of the Process data, both internal and external. (Evaluate)2. Capturing and assessing feedbackDevelop a customer-focused strategy for capturing and assessing customer feedback on a regular basis. (Evaluate)F. Organizational Performance Metrics1. Financial measuresDefine and use financial measures, including revenue growth, market share, margin, cost of quality (COQ), net present value (NPV), return on investment (ROI), cost-benefit analysis, direct costs, indirect costs and opportunity cost, project cash flow, and breakeven time performance. (Analyze)2. Business performance measuresDescribe various business performance measures, including Balanced Scorecard, key performance indicators (KPIs), and the financial impact of customer loyalty, and describe how they are used for project selection, deployment, and management. (Analyze)III. Project Portfolio Management (15 questions)A. Project Management Principles and Life Cycle1. Project management principlesOversee critical projects and evaluate them in terms of their scope, goals, time, cost, quality, human resources requirements, communications needs, and risks. (Evaluate)2. Project management life-cycle elementsApply phases of project manage-ment life cycle (initiation, planning, execution, control, and closure). (Analyze)B. Project Portfolio Infrastructure and Management 1. Governance methods and toolsDevelop governance documents, tracking tools, and other methodologies that will support project success. (Create)2. Cross-functional project assessmentAppraise interrelated projects for scope overlap and refinement, and identify opportunities for leveraging concomitant projects. Identify and participate in the implementation of multidisciplinary redesign and improvement projects. (Evaluate)3. Executive and midlevel management engagementFormulate the positioning of multiple projects in terms of providing strategic advice to top management and affected midlevel managers. (Create)4. PrioritizationPrioritize projects in terms of their criticality to the organization. (Evaluate)5. Performance measurement Design, support, and review the development of an overall measurement methodology to record the progress and ongoing status of projects and their overall impact on the organization. (Evaluate)6. MonitoringApply appropriate monitoring and control methodologies to ensure that consistent methods are used in tracking tasks and milestones. (Analyze)7. Status communicationDevelop and maintain communication techniques that will keep critical stakeholders and communities apprised of project status, results, and accountability. (Create)
10Certified Master Black Belt8. Supply/Demand managementGenerate accurate project supply/demand projections, associated resource requirements analysis, and mitigate any issues. (Create)9. Corrective actionFacilitate corrective actions and responses to customers about the corrective action and its impact. (Analyze)C. Project Portfolio Financial Tools1. Budgets and forecastsAssess and explain budget implications, forecasting, measurement, monitoring, risk analysis, and prioritization for portfolio level projects. (Evaluate)2. Costing conceptsDefine the concepts of hard and soft dollars and use cost of poor quality, activity-based costing, and other methods to assess and prioritize portfolios. (Apply)IV. Training Design and Delivery (10 questions)A. Training Needs AnalysisAssess the current level of knowledge and skills in each target group in relation to the skills and abilities that are needed. Determine the training requirements for each target group by using tools such as a gap analysis to compare actual performance with potential or desired performance. (Evaluate) B. Training Plan ElementsDesign training plans to close the knowledge and skills gaps. Refine the plans based on the number of people needing to be trained in a particular technique or skill, and whether multidisciplinary or multi-level competency training is appropriate. (Create)

C. Training Materials and Curriculum Development1. Training material sourcesDetermine whether to outsource the training or develop in-house, including considerations such as cost, availability of internal subject matter experts, and timing. (Analyze)2. Adult learning theoryDevelop or select training methods and resources that adhere to adult learning theories. (Analyze)3. IntegrationEnsure that the training harmonizes and leverages other tools and approaches being used and that it is aligned with the organization’s strategic objectives and culture. (Evaluate)4. Training deliveryMonitor and measure training to ensure that it is delivered effectively and efficiently by qualified individuals. (Apply)D. Training Program Effectiveness Develop an evaluation plan to assess, verify, and Improve the acquisition of required knowledge and skills within schedule, budget, and other constraints. (Create)V. Coaching and Mentoring Responsibilities (10 questions)A. Executives and Champions1. Scoping and resourcingCollaborate with executives and champions on scoping projects and selecting individuals and assignments for various projects. (Evaluate) 2. Executive reviewsCollaborate with executives and champions on reviewing projects, including timing, questions to ask, and setting expectations for project timing and completion. (Create)3. Leadership and communicationCoach executives and champions on the need for constancy of purpose and message, and the importance of using clear communication techniques and consistent messages. (Evaluate)4. FeedbackUse constructive techniques to provide feedback to champions and executives. (Evaluate)B. Teams and Individuals1. Belt coaching and mentoringDevelop a career progression ladder for belts. Assess their progress and provide constructive feedback to enable them to work effectively on team projects. Use coaching, mentoring, and intervention skills as needed, including canceling or reassigning projects if necessary. (Create)2. Project reviewsCreate guidelines and expectations for project reviews, and perform them in a timely manner. Assist project leaders in selecting appropriate content for presentation to management. (Create)3. Team facilitation and meeting managementPractice and teach meeting control, analyze team performance at various stages of team develop-ment, and support appropriate interventions for overcoming team challenges, including floundering, reviewing, and diagnosing failing projects. (Create)4. Non-belt coaching and mentoringDevelop information that will help non-belt project participants to advance their understanding of improvement initiatives and develop the necessary skills and knowledge to become effective belts. (Evaluate)
12Certified Master Black Belt12Certified Master Black BeltVI. Advanced Data Management and Analytic Methods (25 questions)A. Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA), Process Capability, and Control1. Propagation of errorsUse propagation of errors to evaluate measurement systems based on calculated values from multiple inputs. (Evaluate)2. Attribute (discrete) measurement systemsUse appropriate tools and methods (e.g., percent agreement, Kappa, Kendall, intra-class correlation coefficient) to analyze and interpret discrete measurement systems. (Evaluate)3. Variables (continuous) measurement systemsUse appropriate tools and methods (e.g., X – R, X – s, individual and moving range) based on control samples to analyze and interpret continuous measurement systems. (Evaluate)4. Destructive measurement systemsUse appropriate tools and methods to assess a destructive measurement system. (Analyze)5. Process capability for non-normal dataCalculate capability using Weibull and other methods for non-normal data. (Apply)6. Automated process control (APC) and statistical process control (SPC)Recognize when to use APC instead of or in conjunction with SPC. (Understand)B. Measuring and Modeling Relationships Between Variables1. Autocorrelation and forecastingIdentify autocorrelated data, including time-series modeling (e.g., ARIMA) and forecasting. (Analyze) 2. Multiple regression analysisApply and interpret multiple regression analysis, including using variance inflation factors (VIFs) to identify collinearity issues. (Analyze)3. Logistic regression analysisApply and interpret logistic regression analysis, including binary, ordinal, and nominal data considerations. (Analyze)4. Model fitting for nonlinear modelsApply and interpret fits of models that are nonlinear in the parameters. (Apply)5. General linear models (GLM)Apply and interpret GLMs such as ANOVA results (crossed, nested, and mixed models), simple linear regression, multiple regression, ANCOVA (analysis of covariance) and continuous MSA. (Apply)6. Components of variationSelect, calculate, and interpret components of variation and nested design studies. (Evaluate)7. SimulationApply simulation tools such as Monte Carlo, dynamic process simulation, and queuing theory. (Apply)8. Linear programmingUnderstand how linear programming principles, such as critical path analysis, can be used in modeling diverse types of problems (e.g., planning, routing, scheduling, assignment, design) to optimize system performance. (Understand)9. Reliability modelingUse reliability modeling and tools to enhance reliability of a product or process. (Apply)10. Qualitative analysisUse appropriate qualitative analysis tools (affinity diagrams, force field analysis) and analyze the results. (Analyze)
13Certified Master Black Belt13Certified Master Black BeltC. Design of Experiments (DOE)1. Factor relationship diagramApply and interpret factor relationship diagrams. (Apply)2. Complex blocking structuresRecognize other designs for handling more complex blocking structures, including Latin squares and balanced incomplete block designs (BIBD). (Understand)3. DOE approachesRecognize when to apply approaches such as screening designs (including Definitive Screening Designs), response surface methodology (RSM), mixture experiments, evolutionary operations (EVOP), split-plot designs, Taguchi designs, and computer-generated designs (e.g. D-optimal designs). (Understand)D. Data Management and Analytics1. Enterprise data managementRecognize and understand data management elements such as data governance, data architecture, data life-cycle management, data quality (accuracy, timeliness, consistency, completeness, uniqueness, validity, conformity, precision), meta data, master data, data privacy, and data security. (Understand)2. Data analyticsRecognize when to apply predictive analytic approaches such as decision trees (including random forest, boosted forest), neural networks, partial least squares, text analytics, image recognition, and pattern recognition (structured and unstructured data). (Understand)E. DFSS (Design for Six Sigma)DFSS tools: Recognize and understand tools such as QFD, TRIZ, morphology box, and axiomatic design to generate design concepts. (Understand)

Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt
GAQM Master test
Killexams : GAQM Master test - BingNews https://killexams.com/pass4sure/exam-detail/CLSSMBB Search results Killexams : GAQM Master test - BingNews https://killexams.com/pass4sure/exam-detail/CLSSMBB https://killexams.com/exam_list/GAQM Killexams : 1st Test vs Bangladesh: Test of Rahul's captaincy

KL Rahul

IMAGE: KL Rahul hasn't been exactly exceptional in terms of cricketing smarts as far as captaincy is concerned and this series where he is likely to get two games will be an acid test as far as his long-term leadership ambition is concerned. Photograph: BCCI/Twitter

KL Rahul's tactical acumen will be tested along with his batting prowess when a depleted Indian team clashes with a tricky Bangladesh in the high-stakes two-match series, the result of which will have an impact on India's chances for the World Test Championship final qualification.

India are currently fourth in the WTC table behind Australia, South Africa and Sri Lanka. The only way of qualifying for the final in June is to straightaway win both the Tests against Bangladesh and then all four at home against Pat Cummins' Australia to eliminate any ifs and buts.

The journey starts at the Zahoor Ahmed Stadium, which has traditionally favoured the batters but also offers some turn towards the business end of the match.

The visitors will start as overwhelming favourites in Test format, in which the Bangladesh is yet to beat India but the absence of Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja could hurt the side.

Jadeja's absence on these kind of tracks always puts Indian team on the back-foot especially when the opposition team is batting in the third innings or fourth innings.

Jadeja-Ashwin duo, at least against lesser Test nations on sub-continental tracks could be lethal but Axar Patel has done his hard yards over the past two seasons as the second choice left-arm spinner.

As many as 10 Indian players, if all are fit, select themselves in the playing XI and the most important call that the two Rahuls -- skipper KL and head coach Dravid -- need to make is about the fifth specialist bowler -- a third pacer or a third spinner.

Whether India will field a third choice specialist spinner in wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav or slow left-arm orthodox Saurabh Kumar is there to be seen.

Saurabh, who has been a star performer for India A team in the recently concluded two-Test series against Bangladesh A with 15 wickets, would feel that he has made his case for a Test Cap in at least one of the two games.

Rahul's test as a leader

In the past one year, Rahul hasn't been exactly exceptional in terms of cricketing smarts as far as captaincy is concerned and this series where he is likely to get two games will be an acid test as far as his long-term leadership ambition is concerned.

On Monday, during the trophy unveiling ceremony with his counterpart Shakib al Hasan, Rahul told the mediapersons that his team "plans to play aggressive cricket" as they know what exactly needs to be done in order to reach the WTC finals for the second consecutive time.

But Rahul, whose performances in white-ball formats has been a bit underwhelming to say the least, will have to walk the talk in terms of showing the required intent and aggression in batting department.
He will have young Shubman Gill for company with Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer manning the middle-order.

Rishabh Pant will be back in what could safely be termed as his favourite format where his uncluttered batting has been a delightful spectacle for the Indian fans.

In the bowling department, Umesh Yadav, a master at his craft on barren sub-continental tracks will have Mohammed Siraj, Ashwin and Axar Patel for company.

In case a third pacer is selected instead of an additional spinner, the choice will be between two bowlers of one-Test experience -- domestic doyen Jaydev Unadkat and the skiddy Navdeep Saini, who is more remembered for being at the other end when Pant created history at the Gabba.

As far as Bangladesh team is concerned, it will be hurry to change its dismal winless record against India over the past 22 years.

In the traditional format, Bangladesh has never had the bowling resources to trouble teams regularly even when they have played at home. Pacers Taskin Ahmed, Ebadot Hossain, Shoriful Islam along with spinners Shakib and Taijul Islam would love to alter the script.

But they do have a steady batting line-up for home conditions with skipper Shakib having 4000 plus runs under his belt. Add Mushfiqur Rahim's tally of 5000 plus runs and another former skipper Mominul Haque's 3500 plus aggregate, the batting does have a solid look.

Teams

India: KL Rahul (captain), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohammed Siraj, Saurabh Kumar, Kona Bharat, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhimanyu Easwaran.

Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan (captain), Litton Das (wk), Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mominul Haque, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Anamul Haque Bijoy, Khaled Ahmed, Ebadot Hossain, Shoriful Islam, Taskin Ahmed, Taijul Islam, Najmul Hossain Shanta, Rejaul Rahaman Raja, Zakir Hasan (wk), Nurul Hasan (wk), Yasir Ali.

Match starts: 9:00 am IST

Mon, 12 Dec 2022 20:27:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.rediff.com/cricket/report/1st-test-vs-bangladesh-test-of-rahuls-captaincy-india/20221213.htm
Killexams : 6 Games Like Jenga (And They’re All On Amazon) © Provided by Bustle

I love a good Jenga match, whether it’s in its original form or one of its countless variations (the giant block tower currently standing in my backyard should be proof positive of this claim). However, the famous stacking game isn’t the only way to test your dexterity. There are a number of games like Jenga that can provide old-school entertainment while stimulating your competitive nature.

What To Look For When Shopping For Games Like Jenga

A good Jenga-like game challenges your hand-eye coordination and decision-making skills under time constraints. This can be achieved by balancing objects, aiming at targets, or fitting puzzle pieces together.

When deciding on the right Jenga alternative, consider the recommended number of players. Are you looking for a one-on-one match, or do you want a game that will entertain a group? Some of the games below are designed for two players, while others can be played by up to four. If you’re simply looking to challenge yourself, there are also games that can be played solo.

Playing time is another critical element. Jenga typically takes five to 15 minutes per game, which requires you to think on your toes and keeps things from getting stale. Most of the games on this list can be played in a similar amount of time, but others can take as long as 30 minutes.

While all of the games below are kid-friendly, plenty of Amazon reviewers have attested that they’re also fun for adults and families. After all, Jenga is rated for ages 6 and up, but it’s still a thought-provoking and entertaining pursuit for grownups.

If you’re ready for a new addition to your board game collection, check out these eight games like Jenga, which are all available on Amazon.

Shop The Best Games Like Jenga

In a hurry? These are the top picks:

  1. A Disc-Flicking Dexterity Game With A Tournament-Quality Board: Brybelly Tournament Cronkinole & Checkers
  2. A Balancing Game You Can Play Solo Or With A Group: Melissa & Doug Suspend
  3. An Award-Winning Strategy Board Game That’s Popular On Amazon: Blokus XL
  4. A One-On-One Strategy Game That Tests Your Sense Of Balance: Rock Me Archimedes
  5. A Stacking Tile Game For Puzzle Enthusiasts: Z-Man Games NMBR 9
  6. A High Precision Penguin-Flicking Game That's Harder Than It Looks: Brain Games ICECOOL

A Disc-Flicking Dexterity Game With A Tournament-Quality Board

Brybelly Tournament Cronkinole & Checkers

Amazon

© Provided by Bustle

Pros: Includes a checkers board; wood finish lends a classic aesthetic

Cons: No storage case; pegs may need to be reinforced with glue for a secure fit

This official tournament-size Cronkinole board is a premium spin on a popular 19th-century Canadian game. Although it lacks the stacking element of Jenga, it requires the same level of planning and physical dexterity. The objective is to flick discs towards the center of the board while hitting your opponent’s discs, and the first person (or team) to score 100 points wins.

The 30-inch game board is considered regulation size, and a wood veneer gives it a polished look. If you want to switch things up, flip it over to reveal a checkerboard. Some Amazon reviewers wrote that the small wood pegs on the board tend to come loose, but others glued them into place for stability.

One fan raved: “It took us some googling after we read the directions to fully understand how to play, but once we did...wow what a challenging yet simple experience. [...] We've introduced this game to a handful of people and nearly every one of them went out and bought the game the next day. This is a great [intro] item at a quality price.”

Recommended number of players: 2 | Playing time: not specified | Ages: 6 and up

A Balancing Game You Can Play Solo Or With A Group

Melissa & Doug Suspend

Amazon

© Provided by Bustle

Pros: Multiple variations on rules keeps the game interesting; compact for easy storage

Cons: Can be frustrating for younger players

With more than 12,000 five-star ratings, Suspend trails right behind Jenga as the second most popular stacking toy on Amazon. Even though it's made by the popular children's toy brand Melissa & Doug, it can present an engaging challenge for adults as well. The object of the game is to stack metal rods on top of one another without tipping the entire structure over. Not only does it require great hand-eye coordination, but it puts your logic and problem-solving skills to the test. The game can be played alone or in a group, and there are variations on the rules that range from beginner to advanced.

One fan raved: “First thing, right off the bat that I noticed was that you have to 'think' and logic out your moves, and calculate out what will balance and what won't.... its harder than it sounds.. but yet easy as long as you think about each piece you hang and visualize what is going to happen as you add it onto the growing structure. I found the game overall to be good quality, challenging, educational, frustrating and fun. [...] Its a good game.. that will entertain a child or an adult, or both at the same time.”

Recommended number of players: 1 - 4 | Playing time: not specified | Ages: 8 and up

An Award-Winning Strategy Board Game That’s Popular On Amazon

Blokus XL

Amazon

© Provided by Bustle

Pros: Larger format than original

Cons: Longer play time than other options on the list ; some reviewers found that the storage box isn’t durable

For a board game that enhances strategic thinking and spatial reasoning, Blokus is a fun option. The goal is to place Tetris-like plastic tiles on the board while simultaneously blocking your opponent from staking a claim in the same area. Whoever has the fewest tiles at the end wins. This game is designed for two to four players, with different rules depending on the number of participants. Blokus was chosen as a 2003 Mensa Select game for its original concept and challenging nature.

One fan raved: “Wife and I received this game as a Christmas present. We immediately fell in love with playing it as it is a great strategy/thinking game for adults--great for 2-4 players. [...] This game test your mind's ability to analyze and think about geometric shapes and figures---great for visual-spatial people. We loved this game so much, we ordered one for a friend of ours and gave it to them as a gift.”

Recommended number of players: 2 - 4 | Playing time: 30 minutes | Ages: 5 and up

A One-On-One Strategy Game That Tests Your Sense Of Balance

Rock Me Archimedes

Amazon

© Provided by Bustle

Pros: Handsome wood construction; easy to learn

Cons: Game can move at a slow pace

Rock Me Archimedes is a two-player game that provides the same tension and level of suspense as Jenga, only without the commotion of a collapsing tower. Named after the Greek mathematician who studied the principles of sinking and floating, the game requires you to move marbles on a rocking board without upsetting the balance on your opponent's end. It requires dexterity, critical thinking skills, and excellent visual perception. Although the game is designed for two players, some Amazon reviewers added that it can easily be modified into a team-versus-team activity.

One fan raved: “[T]here are almost endless strategies to try to make the game different every time. At first glance, this seems like the type of game in which a single approach, once figured out, trumps all others. So far, though, that does not seem to be the case. I have purposefully tried different strategies each time I have played, not only to keep it from being repetitive, but to experiment with several approaches that may work once you figure out how your opponent tends to play. All in all, this is an attractive game that you can easily leave out as part of your room decor, but is also very fun to play.”

Recommended number of players: 2 | Playing time: not specified | Ages: 6 and up

A Stacking Tile Game For Puzzle Enthusiasts

Z-Man Games NMBR 9

Amazon

© Provided by Bustle

Pros: Great for puzzle lovers; card deck keeps the game interesting

Cons: Less social than other games

Think of the game NMBR 9 as a marriage between Jenga and Tetris. The objective is to stack oddly shaped tiles based on directives that are drawn from a deck of cards. Tiles must by laid in a specific direction, which requires advanced planning and sharp spatial reasoning skills. Each player builds their own tower of tiles, so the game involves parallel as opposed to interactive play. This can be a pro or con, depending on your preference for socializing over games. Nonetheless, a number of Amazon reviewers noted that it’s an excellent choice for anyone who loves puzzles and abstract concepts.

One fan raved: “A very simple game for 2-4 players involving laying and stacking oddly shaped pieces. It is difficult to master but everyone I have played with loves it. Plays fast so you can easily play again and again trying to beat your best score. No player interaction, just a fun experience strategically laying tiles. Great game for fans of Tetris stacking and abstract games.”

Recommended number of players: 1 - 4 | Playing time: 20 minutes | Ages: 8 and up

A High Precision Penguin-Flicking Game That's Harder Than It Looks

Brain Games ICECOOL

Amazon

© Provided by Bustle

Pros: Board game built into the box for easy storage

Cons: Longer play time than other options on the list

Don't be fooled by the child-friendly visuals — ICECOOL is an all-ages board game that can test both your dexterity and strategic thinking skills. The object of the game is to flick penguin-shaped game pieces around a board while collecting fish tokens. The tokens earn you a fish card, and whoever has the most points based on their cards wins the game.

Like Jenga, it requires some foresight and smart planning in order to maximize your performance. As one happy Amazon reviewer wrote, “Most kids games are terrible for the adults who get wrangled into playing, but I'd consider playing this even without the kids.”

One fan raved: “What a fantastic game for the entire family. One of those rare 2-99 yr old games. Played with my 2 yr old and 5 yr old, and they loved it. Even if you don't follow the very basic simple "tag" rules, its still fun. AND tricky to be good. Cant say it translates to life long skills in dexterity where flicking plastic penguins will come in handy, but the improvements in planning, hand/eye coordination and general game play are high. After the kids went to bed, I convinced my wife to play and we played a couple games. Short and sweet and good dynamics to be entertained.”

Recommended number of players: 2 - 4 | Playing time: 30 minutes | Ages: 6 and up

Fri, 09 Dec 2022 10:45:25 -0600 en-US text/html https://www.msn.com/en-us/entertainment/gaming/6-games-like-jenga/ar-AA156E76
Killexams : The Unlock is Here: Riot Games and Benefits Come to Game Pass The Unlock is Here: Riot Games and Benefits Come to Game Pass © Xbox Wire The Unlock is Here: Riot Games and Benefits Come to Game Pass

Calling all top fraggers, ARAM mains, master tacticians, and meta breakers! Riot’s biggest PC and mobile games are now available to Game Pass members, along with a Malphite-sized heap of additional unlocked benefits and rewards.

Here’s what just got unlocked, plus details on regional availability and some limited-time bonuses for players who link their accounts before January 1, 2023.

Games and Benefits

Valorant

Blend sharp gunplay and game-changing tactical abilities in Valorant, Riot’s fast-growing 5v5 character-based tactical shooter. Take on foes across Competitive and Unranked modes as well as Deathmatch, Escalation, and Spike Rush.

Starting today all Game Pass members will unlock:

  • All current Agents
  • Access to every new Agent as soon as they’re released
  • 20% Match XP Boost given to Battle Pass, Event Pass, and active Agent Contract progress

League of Legends

Get in on one of the most played competitive games in the world and a mainstay of the MOBA genre. In League of Legends, a game that blends speed, strategy, and intensity, two teams of five powerful champions face off to destroy each other’s bases.

Starting today, Game Pass members will unlock:

  • All 160+ champions
  • Access to every new champion as soon as they’re released
  • 20% XP boost

Teamfight Tactics

In Teamfight Tactics, an auto-battler strategy game, players combine League of Legends champions and items in limitless formations to outsmart and defeat seven other players in a match of wits and quick decisions — all with an adorable Tactician by your side!

Starting today, Game Pass members will unlock:

  • 1-Star Rare Little Legend Tacticians
  • 4 Arena Skins that are available until April 2023, and 1 Arena Skin on a monthly rotation thereafter

Legends of Runeterra

In this strategy card game, skill defines your success. Mix and match iconic champions, allies, and regions of Runeterra to unlock card synergies and outplay your opponent.

Starting today, Game Pass members will unlock:

  • All cards in Foundations Set

And if that wasn’t enough, we also have another game and set of benefits coming in January!

League of Legends: Wild Rift

Built from the ground up for mobile, League of Legends: Wild Rift brings the classic 5v5 MOBA gameplay of League of Legends to mobile devices. Players can team up and test their skills in a fast-paced game with smooth controls and a streamlined feel designed for touchscreens.

Beginning in January, Game Pass members will unlock:

  • All 80+ champions
  • Day-one access to every new champion as they’re released
  • 20% XP boost

Plus, players who link their Riot Account and Xbox profile by January 1, 2023, will also get a bonus reward in each game:

  • Valorant – Pocket Sage Buddy
  • League of Legends – Masterwork Chest and Key
  • Teamfight Tactics – Little Legend Rare Egg
  • Wild Rift – Random Emote Chest
  • Legends of Runeterra – Prismatic Chest

For Game Pass members in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam, benefits for League of Legends and Teamfight Tactics will begin unlocking in January 2023. Game Pass members in India will have access to all benefits starting today for the titles available in this market.

How to Link Your Account and See Your Rewards

Connecting your accounts is easy. Installing and playing a Riot game through the Xbox app on PC will automatically prompt you to link your Xbox and Riot Account or create a Riot Account if you don’t have one yet. Once your accounts are linked, your benefits will be unlocked, and you’re ready to play!

How to Access Your Benefits:

  • Install the Xbox App on your PC and ensure its updated to the latest version
  • Open the Xbox app on PC and select any of Riot’s games
  • Click Play or Install
  • From there, you’ll be guided through the steps to creating a new Riot account if you don’t already have one and link it with your Xbox profile
  • After linking your accounts, you’ll receive a notification that your benefits are unlocked and ready to go. The unlocking process can take up to 24 hours, but once you receive the notification you can check out your hoard of unlocked content in your in-game collections with the Rewards Program indicator

If you’d like more information, please check out these Support articles:

We are thrilled to be teaming up with Xbox to bring these benefits to Game Pass members! Link your account today to try the newest Agent, find a new pocket pick, start a dance-off on the Convergence, curate your perfect deck, and more.

Mon, 12 Dec 2022 07:00:00 -0600 en-US text/html https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/the-unlock-is-here-riot-games-and-benefits-come-to-game-pass/ar-AA15caFc
Killexams : DeepMind's New AI Uses Game Theory to Trounce Humans in 'Stratego'

Humans are quickly running out of board games we can still play without being utterly clobbered by AI. In the past, researchers demonstrated AI’s ability to best humans at chess, Go, and, recently, Diplomacy. Now, you can now add the strategy game Stratego to that ever-growing list.

Researchers from Alphabet-owned DeepMind, according to new research shared with Gizmodo, say they’ve created a new AI agent capable of playing Stratego at a “human expert level.” The AI, called DeepNash, won nearly all of the matches it played against other AI’s and had an 84% overall win rate when competing against human players in online games. DeepNash, which learned to master the game by playing against itself, was able to make complex decisions and consider tradeoffs in “extraordinary” ways previous AI systems couldn’t.

While Stratego may not initially seem like the most obvious example for training an AI, the researchers say the game’s combination of longer-term decision making and imperfect influx of imperfect information make it a unique test bed. The game is typically played by two players and involves both strategy and deception. Players each have their own “armies” made up of pieces each with their own respective values. Players win by either capturing an opponent’s flag or capturing all of their moveable pieces.

All of those pieces with their different values result in an extremely large amount of possible moves and outcomes. The researchers said Stratego has far more “possible states” than Texas Hold ‘em poker, and even more than Go, which is often heralded for its immense variety of possible choices.

To win, DeepNash mixed both long term strategy and short term decision making like bluffing and taking chances. It’s rare that two of those things can be done at the same times so well by an AI agent. Stratego’s combination of long, strategic thinking and making decisions based on incomplete or limited information have mostly thwarted past AI models.

‘“DeepNash was able to make nontrivial trade-offs between information and material, to execute bluffs, and to take gambles when needed,” the researchers write.

DeepNash appears to draw influence from American mathematician John Nash who, among other things, coined The Nash Equilibrium. In a nutshell, that equilibrium refers to a solution in game theory where both opponents facing off against each other no longer have any incentive to deviate from their initial strategy. Of the many possible scenarios, the Nash Equilibrium, in game theory, is often considered the “optimal” outcome.

DeepNash at its core attempts to locate the Nash Equilibrium in Stratego games using a new combination of self play and model-free reinforcement algorithm learning called “R-NaD.” By using both that algorithm and deep neural network architecture, the researchers were able to create a winning bot, even in exceedingly complex situations. Though DeepNash was trained to compete in Stratego, DeepMind appears to have created a game theory genius.

Researchers tested DeepNash by facing it off against other bots and against “top human players” on the online gaming platform Gravon. DeepNash achieved a minimum win rate of 97% against the bots. Its performance against humans was only slightly worse, with an overall win rate of 84%. The AI ranked among the top three players both in year-to-date and all time leaderboard.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time an AI algorithm was able to learn to play Stratego at a human expert level,” the researchers said. 

Thu, 01 Dec 2022 11:41:00 -0600 en text/html https://gizmodo.com/ai-deep-mind-stratego-1849842361
Killexams : Bored Ape Yacht Club Conquered NFTs. Can It Master the Metaverse Too?

More than 2,000 people were crammed into a Brooklyn warehouse for the occasion. Shielded from a cold November night, partygoers indulged in an open bar lit up by the blue, green and red strobe lights pulsing through the makeshift club. Following appearances by Beck, Chris Rock and Aziz Ansari, the main event of the evening was a performance by The Strokes. Wylie Aronow was swaying with his girlfriend as they listened to the live set, when she turned to him and uttered three surreal words: "You did this." 

Just a year prior, Aronow was living "bed to bathroom" with colitis, a disease that can cause chronic inflammation along the digestive tract. The illness forced him to drop out of college and caused him to languish for much of his 20s. Now Aronow is better known as Gordon Goner, one of the creators of the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT phenomenon.

Along with the three other founders -- Gargamel (Greg Solano), Emperor Tomato Ketchup (Kerem Atalay) and No Sass (Zeshan Ali) -- he'd organized the show everyone was watching. They'd also gotten help from Guy Oseary, the famed manager of Madonna and U2, who signed a deal to represent BAYC the month prior. It was Nov. 4, 2021. The Bored Ape Yacht Club was scarcely seven months old. 

The concert concluded the final day of Ape Fest, a string of activities taking place in New York, tailored for holders of Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs, which are crypto tokens that prove ownership of a digital item. Earlier events included a yacht party and an art gallery featuring NFTs from the collection. For many, that week signaled the Bored Ape Yacht Club's transformation from an online curiosity to a tangible subculture. 

"It's only in those moments of taking a break that you see how much your life has changed," Aronow said in an interview. "It just hit me so hard." 

Bored Ape Yacht Club founders Zeshan Ali (red Hawaiian shirt), Kerem Atalay (green hoodie), Wylie Aronow (charcoal T-shirt, red shirt) and Greg Solano (black hoodie). Yuga Lab's CEO, Nicole Muniz, is in the center. 

Yuga Labs

The Bored Ape Yacht Club has grown bigger than anyone could have possibly predicted. Aronow says he initially envisioned BAYC as a Web3 version of the streetwear brand Supreme. It's grown into something drastically more ambitious, mixing apparel, live events and an upcoming video game. Yuga Labs, the company the four founders formed to launch the Bored Ape Yacht Club, now has over 100 employees, and is valued at $4 billion.

Blockchain technologies like crypto and NFTs form the basis of Web3, the supposed next generation of the internet that seeks to take control of the internet away from major platforms like Amazon, Meta and Google. But detractors say that Web3 and all of its components, NFTs and crypto chief among them, are merely Ponzi schemes, that the battered valuations of bitcoin and ether represent years of hype finally making contact with reality.

In an area where scams and fraudsters are ubiquitous — see the recent collapse of the FTX exchange and its disgraced founder, Sam Bankman-Fried — Yuga Labs aims to prove that Web3 can not only be legitimate, but is in fact the future.

"There's a Satoshi Nakamoto quote, 'If you don't believe me or don't get it, I don't have time to try to convince you,'" said Yuga Labs co-founder Greg Solano, aka Gargamel, referencing bitcoin's pseudonymous founder. "I think that's the wrong attitude. I understand that people don't understand it. We want to build the roads, the infrastructure, that makes this inherently fun." 

In the past 20 months, the Bored Ape Yacht Club has become the poster child of NFTs. Though far from their all-time high, the cheapest BAYC NFT on sale costs around $88,000, making it a hard club for newcomers to easily join. Even Yuga's secondary NFT collection designed to be more accessible, Mutant Ape Yacht Club, has a base price of just under $19,000. To create a more achievable entry point, Yuga Labs is looking to the metaverse, building a crypto-integrated game it hopes will help usher in the next generation of Web3 adopters.

It won't be easy.  

The Bored Ape and the bear market

It's a bad time to be in crypto right now. Really bad. 2022 saw bitcoin and ether, the two biggest cryptocurrencies, plunge precipitously from their November 2021 all-time highs. Ether, the cryptocurrency on which much of the NFT world relies, is down more than 70% from its peak.

The pain inflicted by the so-called crypto winter is felt far beyond the blood-red color that dominates year-over-year price graphs. The implosion of the Terra stablecoin in May wiped billions from the market, causing some ordinary people to lose extraordinary amounts of money. Things have only gotten worse since then.

November saw the bankruptcy of FTX, a crypto exchange once worth over $26 billion which earlier this year participated in Yuga Labs' latest funding round. The job of an exchange like FTX is to buy and hold cryptocurrencies ordered by its customers. How that mandate resulted in $8 billion of debt exemplifies many of the worst parts about cryptocurrency: limited accountability taken advantage of by shady founders, leading to spectacular crashes. 

In October, Bankman-Fried, better known as SBF, was one of crypto's most trusted faces. His fall from grace has inflicted enormous harm on crypto's already beleaguered reputation. Calls for regulation have been amplified, most notably by Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who warned that an unfettered crypto industry could tank the economy.

"There's extraordinary regulatory scrutiny right now, and it's only going to get worse," said John Reed Stark, former chief of the Office of Internet Enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission and current president of John Reed Stark Consulting. "I don't think any company that I've ever seen [in crypto] has the maturity or the wherewithal to be capable of handling that kind of regulation."

Yuga Labs is one of many companies the SEC looking at as it investigates the wider industry. Its challenge is not only to make Web3 accessible, but to do so at a time when both scrutiny and skepticism in all things crypto are greater than ever before.

"Yuga isn't impacted by anything that's happened directly, but what's happened is horrible and I think hurts the entire industry," Aronow said of FTX's collapse. "This was something that a large portion of the space trusted, thought was a good guy, and now we're seeing behind that mask, and it's ugly."

All Yuga Labs can do now, he said, is focus on its priorities. Its next key project is Otherside, Yuga's concept of the metaverse. While Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, sees the metaverse as a big virtual-reality world, Yuga Labs is going in the opposite direction. To bring in the largest group of people possible, Otherside is being designed to work on web browsers — both PC and mobile. 

Like World of Warcraft, a game Aronow and Solano have sunk countless hours into, Otherside will be a large fantasy world with quests and a storyline. But it'll also double as a platform, like Roblox and Minecraft, where players often spend time building, roaming and just hanging out. 

In both Minecraft and Roblox, a large part of the virtual locales players spend time in is built by players and companies, like Nikeland in Roblox, not the game's developers themselves. The difference between these established games and Otherside is the concept of digital ownership. Items you buy or make, unlike in Roblox or games like Fortnite, are treated like digital property — you can sell them, swap them or gift them once you're done.

Gamers have thus far proven to be an unexpectedly tough sell on Web3. Though gaming is an obvious next step for NFT technology, gamers have reacted with fury at various studios' attempts to integrate NFTs into their wares. That can be chalked up to both a suspicion of NFTs as well as a history of predatory microtransaction tactics by established gaming companies. Ubisoft, Square Enix and EA have all faced the wrath of disapproving gamers, but Yuga Labs is betting that people will come around once they experience actual digital ownership.

"People spend $120 billion each year on digital assets and games on their phone, and those are sunk-cost systems," Solano said. Once that money goes in, it can't come out. A proposed purpose of Web3 technology is to change that.

Otherside is Yuga Labs' upcoming metaverse game, developed for PC and mobile browsers.

Yuga Labs

Yuga's proposition is that Otherside can use crypto and NFTs to form an in-game economy that would otherwise be impossible. Items created in the game can be owned as NFTs. Selling those NFTs, or creating in-game services people use, can earn you crypto. The idea isn't to create a playground for get-rich-quick schemes, but to develop a platform where people have the same financial incentives to create a digital item as a physical item.

"There's a base idea here, which is you want to incentivize creators," Solano said. "The best things that have come out of gaming in the past 20 years or so, much of it is mods and user-generated content and stuff that they can't monetize directly on their own, [so creators are] forced away to go to Patreon." 

Solano is referring to games like Skyrim, which have enthusiastic modding communities that are over a decade old, and Dota, a full game that's actually a mod of Warcraft III. One of the most critically acclaimed games of 2021 was Forgotten City, a mod of Skyrim. 

Aronow and Solano couldn't deliver a firm release date for Otherside, insisting rather that the platform will open up incrementally. Adopting the decentralized ethos of cryptocurrency, it'll be built alongside its community, with regular "Voyager Trips" — closed betas — informing how it's built. 

Crucially, despite it being a Web3 game, you won't need crypto or NFTs to play it. 

"Otherside is very much an open platform and an open world," said Yuga Labs CEO Nicole Muniz, "because we're looking at the entire ecosystem, and we want to onboard the next 100 million users onto Web3."

Otherside is ambitious, and its success is far from assured. But Yuga's efforts are worth paying attention to. The speculative bubble that has enveloped the NFT space for much of the past two years has aroused fierce debate over whether there's any actual, mainstream use to the technology. Whichever way it goes, Yuga's metaverse bet will prove someone right.

Six CryptoKitties.

CryptoKitties

The world's first ethereum game

NFTs have been linked to gaming almost since their very inception. In November 2017, amid the mania of bitcoin approaching $20,000 for the first time, a firm called Axiom Zen launched an app called CryptoKitties on ethereum. It was billed as the world's first ethereum game.

CryptoKitties allowed people to own cartoon cats as tokens on the blockchain. Among the first notable NFT collections, it posed the question: If currency can be owned as tokens on a blockchain, why not digital assets? 

CryptoKitties was a proof-of-concept experiment, but calling it a "game" is a stretch. Axiom Zen allowed around 35,000 CryptoKitties to be minted in the year following the app's launch. If you bought two, you could breed them to create a third CryptoKitty. What a kitty looked like depended on the traits of its parents. Some traits were rarer than others, making some CryptoKitties more valuable than others. 

At its height, CryptoKitties was popular enough to crash the ethereum blockchain, which wasn't efficient enough to deal with the transaction demand. But interest died off after a few months. 

"I bought a couple [CryptoKitties] back in 2017, but it was kind of this blip," said Solano. "It captured crypto Twitter for a moment, everyone was talking about it when it came out, then the model just wasn't there. … I kind of just forgot about it." 

Solano had only been into crypto for a few months when CryptoKitties launched, having invested a few hundred dollars in ethereum alongside his brother-in-law on a whim in autumn 2017. Curious about cryptocurrency, Solano joked that he "put the hook in" Aronow, knowing that Aronow, once sufficiently titillated by a new idea, would tirelessly research the Topic and "crush you with all the stuff he dug up about it."

Aronow's propensity for falling down rabbit holes, for immersing himself in various virtual worlds, is in large degree related to his battle with colitis. He dropped out of college due to the disease, and said he spent much of the next decade stuck at home.

"There were periods of peaks and valleys, times where I was more than capable of going outside," he explained. "But for the vast majority of that, I was bed to bathroom."

It was only in early 2021 that Aronow's condition abated, which he chalks up to a combination of Western medicine, alternative medicine and diet. It was almost exactly three months after he started feeling better, Aronow said, when he got a text message from Solano: "Hey, wanna make an NFT?"

Sixteen of the 10,000 CryptoPunks. The NFT collection launched in 2017 for free. They now regularly sell for six figures. 

Yuga Labs

The NFT playbook

CryptoKitties aroused a huge amount of attention for a few months, but the longterm NFT success story of 2017 was CryptoPunks. 

Launched for free by Larva Labs in 2017, it's a collection of 10,000 pixelated avatars that's considered the first profile-picture (PFP) collection. It's famous for encoding traits into the tokens — different hairstyles, accessories and clothing — making some more valuable than others. In many ways it wrote the playbook followed by NFT creators four years later. Most NFT volume comes from such PFP collections, and most of those collections feature around 10,000 pieces.

Aronow and Solano were inspired by CryptoPunks, and followed many of its cues. But in creating the Bored Ape Yacht Club, they ended up writing the NFT playbook's second edition. 

BAYC boasted a few key differences from other early 2021 projects. For instance, every Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT costs 0.08 ether, about $230. At the time, so-called "bonding curves" were in fashion, where the price of minting an NFT went up as more were sold. In one egregious example, the first NFTs cost 0.1 ether to mint, while the last cost 100 ether. 

The Bored Ape Yacht Club also came with a roadmap. While CryptoPunks began and ended with art, BAYC promised prolonged benefits to owning the NFT: merch drops, access to games and more. 

Last and perhaps most crucially, buying a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT also meant buying the IP for that ape. The most famous example is actor Seth Green, who's working on a sitcom featuring his ape. One BAYC owner used their simian as a mascot for a burger restaurant (Bored and Hungry), while a pair of friends bought an ape and, creating a backstory for it, turned it into an author, writing a whole book (Bored and Dangerous) in character. Just this month Adidas used its ape, who it named Indigo Herz, in its World Cup advertisement. 

Adidas' Bored Ape, Indigo Herz, had a cameo in the company's recent World Cup 2022 ad. 

Adidas

Holders of Bored Ape NFTs are incentivized to use their ape to expand the brand. The more that image is spread, the more valuable, in theory, the NFTs become. That's good for holders and for Yuga Labs, which takes a 2.5% cut from every BAYC NFT sold. Whether this works in the long term is anyone's guess, but it's a type of crowdsourced marketing that only exists in NFTs right now.

What didn't take off, however, was the feature that Aronow and Solano actually built the Bored Ape Yacht Club around.

When they agreed to "do an NFT," among the duo's first ideas was an NFT that would grant access to a shared canvas. The hope was that a community could form around an artwork everyone contributed a piece to — an idea Muniz, a longtime friend of Aronow who at the time was advising the pair, called "special" and "a little pretentious."

Muniz sensibly guessed that the first thing anyone would do is draw a dick on the canvas, and encouraged Solano and Aronow to work backward from that presumption. 

The shared canvas eventually became the bathroom wall of a dive bar. That dive bar eventually became part of a yacht club. That yacht club eventually became located in an Everglades swamp, in homage to the pair's Miami upbringing. The yacht club would be populated by apes, cartoonishly embodying the crypto slang "ape," an affectionate term for investing money without doing any due diligence first: "I just aped into this coin. I have no idea what it does."  

The "bored" part was inspired by crypto Twitter. The pair became fascinated by crypto traders they knew to be worth millions who would spend all their time shitposting on the platform.

"There was something deeply fascinating about someone who would post all day about cryptocurrency, and just have like a cat profile picture or whatever, who you could cryptographically verify was worth millions and millions of dollars, and late at night they would be like, 'Who wants to play League of Legends with me? I'm bored,'" Aronow said.

Solano and Aronow paid five artists to design the ape traits. These would be fed into an algorithm, which then generated the 10,000 cartoon primate avatars the world has come to know and love/hate. Two friends, Zeshan Ali and Kerem Atalay, were brought on to write smart contracts and handle the tech side of things. Ali and Atalay are Yuga Labs' other two founders. 

The upfront cost of the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT launch was about $40,000. Months later, after it had become an unexpected success, each of the five artists got paid an additional $1 million for their work. (Seneca, the lead designer, contends her payment was "not ideal.")

Buying an ape would come with the ultimate enticement: the ability to add a pixel to the club's dive-bar bathroom wall every 15 minutes. 

"As absurd as it is," Solano said, "that was our way of pushing the space forward at the time."

The bathroom wall collage never took off — but the collection sold out in under 24 hours, generating $2.3 million for Yuga Labs.

Ape Fest 2022: One of many Bored Ape holders to get a tattoo of their ape. 

Yuga Labs

Bored Ape summer                                   

Josh Ong bought a Bored Ape during the collection's opening sale, paying $235 plus a $15 transaction fee. He still holds it — as I look on OpenSea now, there's an offer on Ong's ape for $85,000. Ong, who's known for wearing the same Hawaiian shirt that his ape dons, said he was curious about the idea of crypto tokens granting access to online communities, and liked the BAYC art enough to drop 0.08 ether on it. 

The Bored Ape Yacht Club collection did well in the months following launch. Its floor price, which is measured by the cheapest any owner has their NFT listed for, fluctuated between $3,000 and $15,000 until July. But, Ong recalls, it really got going that August when Steph Curry bought an ape for $150,000. Not only did the NBA star use his NFT as a profile picture on Twitter, where he has 17 million followers, he joined and chatted with other holders in the group's Discord, the messaging platform on which most NFT activity occurs.

Many more celebrities would buy into the Bored Ape Yacht Club and use their NFTs as a profile picture, including Justin Bieber, Timbaland and Gwyneth Paltrow. Not all of the attention celebrities drummed up for the BAYC brand was positive. A January segment on the Tonight Show featured host Jimmy Fallon comparing his Bored Ape with Paris Hilton's. The interaction was mocked online, and some like Stark criticized it as an example of market manipulation.

Still, the higher the Bored Ape Yacht Club's floor price rose, the more celebrities flaunted their apes on social media, the more owning an NFT came to resemble an actual elite club pass. 

The day after Curry bought his ape, Yuga dropped the Mutant Ape Yacht Club. All BAYC holders were gifted a vial of mutant serum. That serum could be saved or could be used on their existing Bored Ape to create a new Mutant Ape Yacht Club NFT.

A Bored Ape on the left, a Mutant Ape on the right. 

Yuga Labs

The Mutant Ape Yacht Club was designed to both reward holders and to make the brand more accessible. By that time, the Bored Ape floor had risen to a level that made it prohibitively expensive even for those deeply convinced of the future of NFTs. The MAYC collection consisted of 20,000 NFTs: 10,000 from vials airdropped to BAYC holders, and 10,000 that were sold to the public. 

The public sale was a Dutch auction starting at 3 ether, or about $9,000. It sold out almost immediately, netting Yuga Labs another $96 million.

Around that time, Ong held one of the first offline Bored Ape Yacht Club meetups. It was a small affair: A few friends he'd met in the group's Discord were going to be in New York for an NBA game. They thought about ways to market the Bored Ape Yacht Club, ways to bring the disparate community together. Ong organized two more meetups before thinking big: an actual yacht party.

Ong got the founders on a Zoom call. "We had this crazy idea to throw an actual yacht party at NFT.NYC [in November]," he told them. "And if Yuga wants to be involved, if you wanna put up some money…"

"They looked at each other, they'd just finished the Mutant mint, and said, 'I think we can cover the bill.'"

The idea turned into Ape Fest, a party that for the past two years has taken place concurrently with the NFT.NYC convention. In 2021, Ape Fest consisted of a yacht party, an open gallery featuring artwork from the Bored and Mutant Ape collections, and the Strokes-headlined Brooklyn warehouse party to cap it all off. 

The founders were unsure about how much demand there would be, how possible it would be to transfer energy from Discord to real life. When they arrived at the gallery space where Ape Fest wristbands were being given out on day one, they found a line wrapped around four city blocks. Solano helped deliver out wristbands. Because the founders were still pseudonymous, most people assumed he was venue staff — someone even asked if he was a Yuga intern. 

Later, Ong recalls, when artworks were being set up in the gallery, Aronow entered the room to help, but was blocked by security.

"He got bounced from his own event," Ong chuckled.

Doxxed Ape Yacht Club

Aronow and Solano made the decision to remain pseudonymous at Ape Fest 2021, not making their real identities as BAYC founders known. Looking back, they now say they were "overthinking it."

For better or worse, pseudonymity is a foundational feature of Web3 culture. The Bored Ape founders originally "doxxed" themselves after discovering that a BuzzFeed reporter who'd uncovered Aronow's and Solano's identities intended to publish a story about them.

Bad actors frequently use the pseudonymity that's accepted in Web3 for ill ends. Sketchy founders are able to create a project, be it a cryptocurrency or an NFT collection, make money, vanish before fulfilling whatever utility they promised, and then repeat the process. I asked Muniz, Yuga's CEO, if pseudonymity becomes a liability for a company with the size and mainstream ambition of Yuga. 

"We really think of Yuga as an experiment on Web3 values," Muniz said. Web3 isn't just about owning your digital assets, she said, but owning your identity too. It's a principle applied to both the products Yuga makes and the way the company itself runs. 

"We have people on staff that are fully pseudonymous, I don't know their real name. I could, as CEO, go to HR and say, 'I wanna know this person's name,' but I would never do that. … The 'real identity' thing, I can't speak to what other people are doing, but I do think people should have that choice. You should be able to own your identity." 

Aronow and Solano rejected the suggestion that there was anything untoward about their pseudonymity. 

"Number one, three months before we ever launched the collection, we were an LLC registered in Delaware and the state of Virginia," Solano said. "We were never hiding, we were just pseudonymous. We were just interacting in a way that frankly is very natural in the space and very natural to what a lot of people of our generation that have grown up playing MMORPGs, or living on AIM." 

The issue of pseudonymity is polarizing even within the NFT space. The wisdom of the accepting the practice was questioned in May when the founder of a popular collection, Azuki, was discovered to have started and abandoned two previous NFT projects. "I wouldn't trust anyone who's not doxxed," a former Pixar designer-turned-NFT creator told me at NFT.NYC in June. 

The Bored Ape founders were doxxed for four months by the time of NFT.NYC 2022, and would no longer be confused as interns. Yuga's founders spent Ape Fest 2022 in June being crowded by community members eager for selfies and autographs. 

Their personal space wasn't the only thing more crowded that year. Ape Fest was another example of the NFT industry at large following Yuga's path. At NFT.NYC 2022, NFT brands competed with one another to host the biggest party with the most famous guests. Madonna performed at World of Women's NFT.NYC party, while Doodles' show featured an announcement that Pharrell Williams was coming on as chief brand officer, which preceded a performance by The Chainsmokers. 

Meanwhile, Ape Fest 2022 turned into an actual music festival, with four days of performances by the likes of Lil' Wayne, LCD Soundystem and The Roots. It was headlined by Eminem and Snoop Dogg debuting a music video in which they transform into their Bored Apes. 

Ape Fest 2022 was headlined by Eminem and Snoop Dogg debuting a new video featuring their Bored Apes. 

Yuga Labs

Building the club

When Aronow and I first spoke, I asked him what he thought about the wave of NFTs making promises they were never actually going to keep. Various collections have claimed improbable goals of disrupting fashion, fitness and gaming. In response, he told me about DentaCoin.

In the 2017 crypto bull run, while he and Solano were on crypto Twitter every day, Aronow encountered a cryptocurrency called DentaCoin. It claimed it would forever change the dental industry through blockchain wizardry. It may have sounded plausible to the uninitiated but, to people in crypto, it was an obvious and absurd marketing tactic. 

"There's a lot of feasibility for the future use cases of NFTs, but with every bull run comes the DentaCoin," Aronow said. "There's always the people who are going to try and take advantage of a situation, and it may not be easy for the public to suss out what's legitimate and what's not." 

There were dozens of NFT collections being pumped out each day in the months following Bored Ape Yacht Club's success. Few register on anyone's radar. I asked the Bored Ape founders how much of their success could be chalked up to being at the right place at the right time. There was a brief moment of silence.

"We didn't sleep at all afterwards," Solano said of the period following the April 2021 BAYC launch. "We spent that whole summer, and eight months later, working 14 hours a day." It was nearly 8 p.m ET and the sound of Slack notifications popping off was easily audible in Solano's background. 

Aronow added: "Within a few months of selling out, we were in Garga's mom's backyard in the middle of the summer heat, packaging up hats and T-shirts, figuring out how to fulfill merch orders, in the middle of COVID. 

"And then, shortly after that, throwing a giant festival on a yacht and a giant Brooklyn warehouse. I hadn't worked in a decade, Greg was a book publisher, Zeshan and Tomato were software engineers, and we were figuring out how to throw major concerts months after selling out the collection," Aronow said. 

"You make your own luck." 

Despite helming the most lucrative NFT collections, Aronow and Solano insist the grind of building a company — of working 14 hours a day, every day — means not much has changed. It's only during the occasional break, like watching The Strokes play at a gig you organized, that it hits you.

"It's probably been much more surreal for my wife than it has been for myself," Solano said. "She'll overhear a conference call and be like, 'Was that so-and-so? That's crazy, you're talking to these people,' and I'm just like, 'I don't know, I gotta get to the next meeting.'" 

If anything in life has changed, Solano says, "it's just a shitload more Uber Eats." 

Web3 Disney

Yuga Labs has conquered the NFT world. The Bored Ape Yacht Club is the second biggest NFT collection of all time, and Mutant Apes the third. The only collection to surpass BAYC is CryptoPunks, buoyed by its historical significance as the first notable NFT set.

And in March of this year Yuga Labs bought CryptoPunks, the ranked No. 1 in trading volume of any NFT collection ever, off Larva Labs, along with another popular collection in Meebits, ranked No. 11.

"I like to use the analog of Web3 Disney," said Muniz, who was appointed Yuga Labs CEO in February. BAYC is Yuga Labs' Mickey Mouse, Muniz explained, while CryptoPunks and Meebits are the company's equivalent of the Star Wars and Marvel acquisitions. Otherside, the metaverse platform Yuga is building, is like its Disney World. 

Of the 10 top NFT collections of all time, Yuga Labs owns 5: CryptoPunks, Bored Ape Yacht Club, Mutant Ape Yacht Club, Otherdeed for Otherside and Meebits.

OpenSea

I asked if there's any contradiction in a Web3 company owning a set of collections that are responsible for between 30% and 40% of the market volume.

"This is where we're not like Disney," Muniz answered. "We might own 30% to 40% of the market, but also our holders own 30% to 40% of the market, and I mean that in an IP sense. Our collections are some of the only collections that truly deliver away IP rights. … You have exclusive commercial IP rights, and that also means, by the way, Yuga does not." 

She brought up the example of the art galleries at Ape Fest, which showcase various Bored and Mutant Apes. In each case, Muniz said, they had to ask for the holder's permission to use the ape. When Adidas put its ape, Indigo Herz, in its World Cup ad, Solano said, they didn't need to ask Yuga Labs first. 

"The biggest condition for us doing that deal is that we would be able to decentralize the intellectual property," Solano added. Prior to Yuga's acquisition, Larva Labs retained IP rights to CryptoPunks. "That was the thing that was most important to us. That was the thing that underpinned our reasoning for all of this."

This success, as lucrative as it's thus far proven to be, is limited by its concentration on NFT circles. To grow from here, Yuga needs to onboard more people to NFT space — or make a product that appeals to people who would never buy an NFT. Otherside is designed to be the solution to both problems. 

A big birthday break

The Bored Ape Yacht Club rang in its first birthday in a big way: by breaking ethereum. On April 30, 2022, Yuga hosted its biggest public sale yet when it launched its Otherdeed collection. Unlike the Bored and Mutant Ape collections, these NFTs aren't designed to be used as profile pictures. They're deeds for virtual land in Otherside.

Buying an Otherdeed NFT comes with two benefits. First, holders are able to participate in Otherside's beta tests, deliver feedback and inform how the game is ultimately made. Second, once Otherside is live, the plot of land depicted in a holder's Otherdeed NFT will become theirs in the game.

Yuga is still in the first of three development phases for Otherside, so can't confirm the precise parameters of land ownership. Other Web3 metaverses, like Sandbox, allow players to use their land to set up shops, farm resources, build accommodation, rent spaces out for events and host advertisements. 

In total, 55,000 Otherdeeds were sold, raising about $320 million for Yuga Labs. But ethereum proved unable to handle the load, and was inaccessible for about three hours. Many people paid $1,500 in fees for transactions that failed — meaning they were unable to mint their NFT — showcasing a glaring weakness of blockchain technology. 

Four Otherdeed NFTs that represent plots of land in Otherside. There will eventually be 200,000 Otherdeed plots. 

Yuga Labs

"It's incredibly challenging," Solano said. "We knew the right thing to do would be to reimburse people for lost gas fees, so that was a huge priority for us." Yuga Labs paid $265,000 in refunds for people who paid ether for failed transactions. 

"It's the insane level of demand we've experienced at different points, the same way when we had lines four ways around the block," Solano added. "It's like, 'Wow, amazing, people want to come see this,' but also 'Fuck, we have lines four ways around the block.'" 

Otherdeed holders — of which there are just under 34,000 — are sure to be excited about Yuga's metaverse. Overcoming the wider public's uncertainty, suspicion and resentment of NFTs will be the true test. 

Stark, the former SEC enforcer, questions whether the NFT space can untether itself from rampant speculation. "Once you turn it into a marketplace it's no longer a place where people play the game, it's a place where everybody's trying to get cool stuff so they can sell it for more money," he said. 

"If you want to flex with some really cool-looking cartoon character, that's your world, have at it. I think that's not the reality. … What everybody is selling is this notion that you're gonna get rich."

Yet in other areas where NFTs have historically been criticized, substantial progress has been made. A common, justifiable objection to the adoption of NFTs has been the enormous carbon footprint of ethereum, the blockchain on which most NFTs are built. But in September the blockchain adopted a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, changing the way new cryptocurrency is "mined," lowering its carbon output by over 99%.  

"If that was truly where the reticence lied, that's now been solved," Solano said. "Have feelings changed as drastically as the facts? Not yet." 

Muniz is confident that the technology will eventually win people over, that we're still at the "56k modem" stage of Web3. Aronow is aware of the baggage that terms like "NFT" and "metaverse" come with, and says the names might eventually be changed to be more palatable to mainstream audiences. But regardless of the name, Aronow says that eventually people will see the inherent value of owning their digital goods.

"It's only a matter of time before a company, hopefully ours, is going to demonstrate that value through a really fun game," he said. "That's going to open the flood gates. There's no going back from that moment."

Sat, 10 Dec 2022 22:00:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.cnet.com/culture/features/inside-the-bored-ape-yacht-clubs-4-billion-metaverse-bet/
Killexams : Bangladesh Vs India: Test Of KL Rahul's Captaincy As India Looks To Push For WTC Final Qualification

KL Rahul's tactical acumen will be tested along with his batting prowess when a depleted Indian team clashes with a tricky Bangladesh in the high-stakes two-match series, the result of which will have an impact on India's chances for the World Test Championship final qualification.

India are currently fourth in the WTC table behind Australia, South Africa and Sri Lanka. The only way of qualifying for the final in June is to straightaway win both the Tests against Bangladesh and then all four at home against Pat Cummins' Australia to eliminate any ifs and buts.

The journey starts at the Zahoor Ahmed Stadium, which has traditionally favoured the batters but also offers some turn towards the business end of the match.

The visitors will start as overwhelming favourites in Test format, in which the Bangladesh is yet to beat India but the absence of Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja could hurt the side.

Jadeja's absence on these kind of tracks always puts Indian team on the back-foot especially when the opposition team is batting in the third innings or fourth innings.

Jadeja-Ashwin duo, at least against lesser Test nations on sub-continental tracks could be lethal but Axar Patel has done his hard yards over the past two seasons as the second choice left-arm spinner.

As many as 10 Indian players, if all are fit, select themselves in the playing XI and the most important call that the two Rahuls -- skipper KL and head coach Dravid -- need to make is about the fifth specialist bowler -- a third pacer or a third spinner.

Whether India will field a third choice specialist spinner in wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav or slow left-arm orthodox Saurabh Kumar is there to be seen.

Saurabh, who has been a star performer for India A team in the recently concluded two-Test series against Bangladesh A with 15 wickets, would feel that he has made his case for a Test Cap in at least one of the two games.

In the past one year, Rahul hasn't been exactly exceptional in terms of cricketing smarts as far as captaincy is concerned and this series where he is likely to get two games will be an acid test as far as his long-term leadership ambition is concerned.

On Monday, during the trophy unveiling ceremony with his counterpart Shakib al Hasan, Rahul told the mediapersons that his team "plans to play aggressive cricket" as they know what exactly needs to be done in order to reach the WTC finals for the second consecutive time.

But Rahul, whose performances in white-ball formats has been a bit underwhelming to say the least, will have to walk the talk in terms of showing the required intent and aggression in batting department.

He will have young Shubman Gill for company with Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer manning the middle-order.

Rishabh Pant will be back in what could safely be termed as his favourite format where his uncluttered batting has been a delightful spectacle for the Indian fans.

In the bowling department, Umesh Yadav, a master at his craft on barren sub-continental tracks will have Mohammed Siraj, Ashwin and Axar Patel for company.

In case a third pacer is selected instead of an additional spinner, the choice will be between two bowlers of one-Test experience -- domestic doyen Jaydev Unadkat and the skiddy Navdeep Saini, who is more remembered for being at the other end when Pant created history at the Gabba.

As far as Bangladesh team is concerned, it will be hurry to change its dismal winless record against India over the past 22 years.

In the traditional format, Bangladesh has never had the bowling resources to trouble teams regularly even when they have played at home. Pacers Taskin Ahmed, Ebadot Hossain, Shoriful Islam along with spinners Shakib and Taijul Islam would love to alter the script.

But they do have a steady batting line-up for home conditions with skipper Shakib having 4000 plus runs under his belt. Add Mushfiqur Rahim's tally of 5000 plus runs and another former skipper Mominul Haque's 3500 plus aggregate, the batting does have a solid look.

Teams India: KL Rahul (captain), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohammed Siraj, Saurabh Kumar, Kona Bharat, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhimanyu Easwaran.

Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan (captain), Litton Das (wk), Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mominul Haque, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Anamul Haque Bijoy, Khaled Ahmed, Ebadot Hossain, Shoriful Islam, Taskin Ahmed, Taijul Islam, Najmul Hossain Shanta, Rejaul Rahaman Raja, Zakir Hasan (wk), Nurul Hasan (wk), Yasir Ali.

Match starts: 9:00 am IST. 

(Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from a syndicated feed; only the image & headline may have been reworked by www.republicworld.com)

Mon, 12 Dec 2022 20:04:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.republicworld.com/sports-news/cricket-news/bangladesh-vs-india-test-of-kl-rahuls-captaincy-as-india-looks-to-push-for-wtc-final-qualification-articleshow.html
Killexams : Amazon Games Teams Up With Bandai Namco to Bring Blue Protocol to the West

The Game Awards on Thursday saw Amazon Games publishing a new title with Bandai Namco, called Blue Protocol. 

Blue Protocol is an anime free-to-play MMORPG, or massively multiplayer online role-playing game, developed by Bandai Namco Online and Bandai Namco Studios. Players will journey through the violent world of Regnas with their own created character, using one of five classes: the Blade Warden, the Twin Striker, the hurry Strider, the Spell Weaver and the Foe Breaker. 

The game was first announced in 2019 and has had online tests done in Japan, but Thursday's reveal showed that Amazon Games will help in bringing Blue Protocol to North America, Europe, South America, Australia and New Zealand. This will be the third MMORPG that Amazon Games has published, including New World and Lost Ark

Blue Protocol will have a closed beta test for PC in early 2023 and then launch in the US for PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X|S in the second half of the year. 

Thu, 08 Dec 2022 13:00:00 -0600 See full bio en text/html https://www.cnet.com/tech/gaming/amazon-games-teams-up-with-bandai-namco-to-bring-blue-protocol-to-the-west/
Killexams : Mike Leach: An offensive innovator, a revolutionary, a master wit, a Pirate and a friend

The first time I met Mike Leach, he was in his office munching out of a bag of Hardee's. In his free hand was a remote he was using to roll game film back and forth. A snapshot of a man who could multitask.

That was back in 1999 when Leach was Bob Stoops' first offensive coordinator at Oklahoma. Back then, most of us didn't know the Air Raid offense from a spreadsheet -- but a pirate was in the making.

Along with it, a revolution was coming. Leach was leading it.

He perfected concepts honed over stops at Iowa Wesleyan, Kentucky, Texas Tech and the vast reaches of his mind to create space sideline to sideline. You load up the tackle box, and he would unleash greyhounds out on the periphery for deep shots. Go out and double team those speedsters, and he'd hand it off inside.

That was the easy part. His offensive formations took over the game. You see Leach's Air Raid today from Division III to Andy Reid's creative play calls with Patrick Mahomes. They may not know it or admit it, but they can trace all of it back to an eccentric native of small-town California, raised in small-town Wyoming who ended up among the all-time greats.

Leach died Monday night following complications from a heart condition. He was 61.

Luckily, in this modern digital age, we all had front row center seats. If it wasn't his schemes that rejuvenated fortunes at Texas Tech, Washington State and Mississippi State, it was his antics that made him something funnier, deeper, more important than the average coach.

He was more comfortable giving marriage advice than talking ball. He wrote an entire book on the battle tactics of Geronimo. Journalist Bruce Feldman popularized Leach's nickname, "The Pirate," is their fine book, "Swing Your Sword: Leading the Charge in Football and Life."

He made the offbeat his life's work whether football or fun. He could rip apart defenses or joust with administration. The latter cost him his job at Texas Tech in 2009 after alleged mistreatment of a player. Leach fought for his remaining unpaid salary for years.

"They still owe me for 2009, the last time they won nine games," Leach told the Lowndes County Dispatch last year.

His legacy will endure beyond the boundaries of the white lines. He remains Texas Tech's winningest coach, peaking in 2008 with an 11-2 season and No. 2 ranking that featured a dramatic last-second win over then-No. 1 Texas. At Washington State, he did the unthinkable winning at least nine games three times in eight seasons. In the history of the program, only Mike Price had achieved that feat with the Cougars. Leach did with a standout 11-2 campaign in 2018.

Wanting to test himself in the SEC, Leach was in the process of turning it around at Mississippi State in his third season. The Bulldogs head into their bowl game 8-4, now with heavy hearts and wondering what could have been. It was the 19th time in his 21 seasons as a head coach that Leach led his team to a bowl.

In his first game in the nation's best conference in 2020, Leach coached Stanford transfer quarterback K.J. Costello to SEC-record 623 yards passing against LSU. This season, QB Will Rogers threw more passes than anyone in the country (566) and led the SEC in passing.

To the end, the Pirate kept firing -- from the hip and from the shotgun.

In small-town Pullman, Washington, he could walk to work doing media interviews on his phone.

"Are you the coach?" a passerby could be heard asking.

Those are also words you would not hear from the average citizen of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, but Nick Saban wouldn't be caught walking anywhere because of the potential for being mobbed.

Not so in The Palouse.

"This is the quickest way, and of course, I walk to school so I can get something done," Leach said. "Walking to work, getting the phone calls done. Multitask."

He was good at that.

Our friendship started early in his Texas Tech career when I pointed out, for all those offensive yards, precious few of his quarterbacks had reached the NFL. He called to duke it out over the phone. By the end, we had reached an understanding and a camaraderie.

To the point I visited him in his new home in Key West, Florida, prior to his first year at Washington State. During an eight-hour walking tour of the resort town, we visited Ernest Hemingway's home and seemingly every bar in the southernmost tip of the United States.

One even had a Washington State helmet proudly displayed.  

By the end of the trek, it was midnight. I got back to my room filled with trivia, football, more than a few adult beverages and a singular question: "What just happened?!"

In that sense, I also knew what it was like to play for Mike Leach.

Leach will gladly share the spotlight with those who had a hand in perfecting the spread offense -- his former coaching boss Hal Mumme, visionary Bob Stitt and Chip Kelly. It was under Mumme where Leach developed the Air Raid.

Leach was, simply put, a genius -- both athletically and culturally. The man could be rough around the edges. He was known for publicly calling out players who didn't perform to his standards. Sometimes, it was unsightly; for the most part, his players swore by him.

And besides, what did I know about his quarterbacks? One of them who never played in the NFL is USC coach Lincoln Riley, who has coached three of the last six Heisman Trophy winners. Kliff Kingsbury played as a backup but is known these days as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. Four of his quarterbacks threw for 5,000 yards. One of them, Graham Harrell, is an established college offensive coordinator.

The Leach coaching tree is now a sequoia, rooted in the Air Raid. The concepts he left behind were used by Stoops to win the national championship at Oklahoma one year after Leach left for Texas Tech. Stoops quarterback that year, Josh Heupel, eventually became offensive coordinator and coached a Heisman winner at OU, Sam Bradford.

You saw more than glimpses of Leach's influence in Tennessee's turnaround this season under Heupel. Aside from perhaps the service academies, every program in the country uses some form of his concepts.

Leach defined a game that was already becoming more about speed than contact. He made the shootout a way of life. And in a strange way, he didn't seek the spotlight; he reacted to it.

He seemed to love coaching in out of the way burgs -- Lubbock, Pullman, Starkville.

He didn't need the bright lights, just lunch out of a brown paper bag and a remote.

Tue, 13 Dec 2022 01:22:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/mike-leach-an-offensive-innovator-a-revolutionary-a-master-wit-a-pirate-and-a-friend/
Killexams : Here Are The 18 Best Yu-Gi-Oh! Video Games © Provided by TheGamer

Konami has made no shortage of Yu-Gi-Oh! games over the last two decades. In fact, it seemed like the only franchise it cared to make video games about until Silent Hill recently came back. Though the game has gone through countless changes to the way it’s played, Konami has been there every step of the way to deliver players as many Yu-Gi-Oh! games as anyone might ever want.

RELATED: Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Best Synchro Monsters In The Game

But what are the very best Yu-Gi-Oh! games, both including the built-in nostalgia fans have for the older titles as well as which ones are the most fun to play these days? Here’s a look at Yu-Gi-Oh! games that most fans would agree were must-plays, either now or on release.

Updated December 10, 2022 by Dominic Allen: There are so many Yu-Gi-Oh video games that there were definitely more than 15 greatest among them. This year alone brought Master Duel, the definitive official Yu-Gi-Oh TCG simulator. Most Yu-Gi-Oh titles are focused on the card game, but some early on have different rules, and some offer completely different games to play. What's cool about a lot of these games is that they're a time capsule of the Yu-Gi-Oh TCG at the time of release. By playing them, you get a sense you're playing a completely unique experience to the modern-day TCG. Cards that have been banned for years, or cards that have been neutered by erratas, can be played in their original glory through these games.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Power Of Chaos Trilogy

If you were growing up in the early 2000s, the Yu-Gi-Oh game you played on PC was likely one of the Power of Chaos titles. These three Yu-Gi-Oh games are very interchangeable, but each has a unique character. What makes these titles stand out is the heavy amount of voice acting. Dan Green as Yugi, Eric Stuart as Kaiba, and Wayne Grayson as Joey have so many lines that it's enjoyable to play just to hear what's new.

Even the duel fields match the characters. Yugi's field has an Egyptian motif, Kaiba's is tech-based, and Joey has a street look. These games are quite fun to play but can get old due to the small card pool. After you've heard everything from the characters, you'll feel like you're essentially done, but it's still fun while it lasts.

Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds Decade Duels (Xbox Live Arcade Game)

In the whole lineup of Yu-Gi-Oh games, there is a clear evolution. You can trace Master Duel all the way to Yu-Gi-Oh 5Ds Decade Duels, the series' first downloadable game for Xbox 360 and later PS3. The game offers a campaign in the style of a tournament, with each match being a best of three. The opponents have wild decks, but that's a part of the fun. It feels great to conquer these overpowered decks.

Even when the game launched, the card pool and banlist were outdated. Cards like Royal Oppression and Dark Strike Fighter, which were already banned, are playable. You won't know just how broken Royal Oppression is until you've used it for yourself. This Yu-Gi-Oh game is a fun time capsule of what the TCG was around 2009 and offers a unique experience.

Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds World Championship 2011: Over The Nexus

The final game in the "World Championship" lineage, Yu-Gi-Oh 5Ds World Championship 2011: Over The Nexus somewhat adapts the storyline World Racing Grand Prix arc of the anime but also tells an original story prior to that to build your own character.

RELATED: Yu-Gi-Oh!: Best Monster Removal Cards

The game is loaded with cards for players to collect, and the Speed Duels introduced in earlier titles never played better than here. For Yu-Gi-Oh 5Ds fans, this game is the one to play.

Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship 2005

The swan song of the original Yu-Gi-Oh anime games on the Game Boy Advance, Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship 2005 plays a bit clunkier than later titles in its card battling and deck-building, but it makes up for that with charm. Players take control of a custom character who is looking to become the King Of Games by winning in major tournaments.

Players can explore an overworld populated with all their favorite characters from the anime and buy cards from Grandpa Muto's game shop. Little touches like Joey challenging you to a duel of Time Wizards and Kaiba trying to stump you with duel puzzles go a long way in making this Yu-Gi-Oh game one of the best.

Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Duel Academy

If you ever watched Yu-Gi-Oh GX and wished you could enroll in the school, Yu-Gi-Oh GX: Duel Academy is the game for you. This GBA title puts players in the role of a new student at Seto Kaiba's Duel Academy making their way through the ranks of Slifer Red, Ra Yellow and Obelisk Blue.

The game truly immerses players in the setting by answering quizzes, climbing up the dorm ranks, and even playing through some storylines of the anime. Its card pool isn't as deep as other Yu-Gi-Oh games, but it makes up for it with a unique premise.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Dungeon Dice Monsters

Yu-Gi-Oh video games have experimented with several spin-offs in their history, but few did it better than Dungeon Dice Monsters.

Taking familiar monsters like Dark Magician and Blue-Eyes White Dragon but making dice their home instead of cards, Dungeon Dice Monsters is a fun side game based on the game created by Duke Devlin in the anime. The title isn't too deep on features and the A.I isn't spectacular, but this is a solid change of pace from the Yu-Gi-Oh card game.

Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship 2008

As the final game on the Nintendo DS to focus on Yu-Gi-Oh GX, Yu-Gi-Oh World Championship 2008 had to go out on a high note, and thankfully it does.

RELATED: Yu-Gi-Oh! The Best Tag Team Duels In The Anime

For those looking for just a simulator of the card game, this is your best bet as its interface is among the smoothest in the franchise and has the biggest card pool of any game prior to Synchro Summoning being introduced. If you're here for the story and nods to the anime, this has all you could want. With tag duels, anime opponents from GX and the original series being unlockable and a story mode that sees you going up against Duel Spirits.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Worldwide Edition: Stairway To The Destined Duel

A game released during the early days of Yu-Gi-Oh, Worldwide Edition took everyone through a trip of the original Yu-Gi-Oh! anime.

Players could travel through Battle City, running into different challengers both from the anime and random other opponents. After defeating a number of Ghouls, the player has to run the gauntlet in a pyramid to earn the opportunity to defeat Marik.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Dark Duel Stories

This game is fun purely for the fact that at the time we barely knew what the rules of Yu-Gi-Oh were, so this title didn’t follow any of those rules at all. There were a mess of different rules instead, like the player losing their trap cards if they aren’t used during their opponent’s turn, and only being able to have five cards in the hand at the start of the turn.

Though it worked off some of the wackiest rules, it’s still an incredibly fun game for anyone who was around to play back then. DDS is also notable for the incredibly expensive promo cards that originally came with it. You could have either two sets of cards, one of which had a Secret Rare Exodia, Dark Magician, and Blue-Eyes. Sealed copies of this version can go over $1,000.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monster Coliseum

Releasing for the PS2 in 2004, Capsule Monster Coliseum allowed Yu-Gi-Oh! to become a bit more experimental. The game played a bit more like chess than actual Yu-Gi-Oh, and the goal was to destroy all of an opponent’s monsters or make it, so their symbol was destroyed.

The game put players in the position of Yugi as he entered a tournament for Capsule Monsters, which allowed him to battle against his friends and former opponents from the anime until he finally battled against the Millennium Item holders, including rival Seto Kaiba.

Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship 2007

After so many years on the GameBoy Advance, World Championship 2007 finally allowed players to take the next step in dueling. This game gave players access to the new protagonist of the Yu-Gi-Oh! series, Jaden.

RELATED: Yu-Gi-Oh: Best Instant Win Cards, Ranked

This game made it possible to duel online via Wi-Fi, and even allowed players to edit the look of their characters. Featuring leaderboards and the ability to voice chat before the duel started, this Yu-Gi-Oh game felt like the future of dueling.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Duelist Of The Roses

A PlayStation 2 game that released in 2003, this title took the Yu-Gi-Oh! series in a completely different direction. Yami Yugi became the head of the Tudor dynasty, going at it with his rival Seto Kaiba who became Christian Rosenkreuz.

The player was meant to duel on either the side of the Yorks or the Lancasters, and had its own unique dueling mechanics because the rules weren’t enshrined like they are now.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Forbidden Memories

Forbidden Memories wasn’t a good Yu-Gi-Oh! game. We love it because of its nostalgia, but they kind of threw some rules together for the title. The game had no concept of Tribute Summoning, and no such thing as Effect monsters.

Even Polymerization wasn’t a thing yet, which is fascinating because fusions made up some of the most powerful cards in the game. What was fun about it though is the player got to be transported back to ancient Egypt to duel all of Atem’s old opponents.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Tag Force 5

Tag Force 5 was the last version of Tag Force that was available in the States in English. By this point, the Tag Force games had taken the place of the World Championship titles in terms of sleek interface and interaction.

These games were able to do solo duels or tag duels either online or in person, and incorporated cards all the way up to the end of the synchro era. This is probably the purest Yu-Gi-Oh! game available on the PlayStation Portable.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links

Whether long time fans like it or not, Duel Links is one of the most popular Yu-Gi-Oh games ever released. It’s been worked on for the last five years, and at this point has content all the way up to the Link era.

RELATED: Yu-Gi-Oh! The Best Link Monsters In The Game's History, Ranked

The rules have been significantly changed to slow the game down and make it easier to understand, and thus far over one hundred million people have tried the game. If nothing else, it provides a great way for people to enjoy Yu-Gi-Oh without spending too much money.

EDOPRO

This fan version of the Yu-Gi-Oh! game is easily the absolute best in the series. Every card is available for players completely free, allowing them to test decks without spending hundreds on expensive cards.

At the same time, it allows for a wide variety of versus modes, including using custom banlists, custom cards, and the ability to face actual players online. Everything is automated, which means players will have to study rulings themselves, but this is easily the best version of Yu-Gi-Oh available.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy Of The Duelist - Link Evolution

This is the legal way to play the game as it actually exists in the TCG these days. Link Evolution is an upgrade to Legacy of the Duelist, adding cards from the Link Era of Yu-Gi-Oh! and the new Master Rules which alter the way Pendulum monsters can be summoned.

This game is about as packed with content as possible, with the ability to battle against the major character of all the series from Yu-Gi-Oh! up until Yu-Gi-Oh VRAINS. The only reason not to get it is if players already purchased Legacy of the Duelist when it released, as this game is only an update of that.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel

In 2022 was when a full-on official Yu-Gi-Oh TCG simulator was released. Master Duel is the most refined game yet in terms of simulation. It's one of the best-looking card video games around with 4K visuals. It is a free-to-play game, but if you're only looking to play one deck, you can probably craft it with the available resources the title gives out for free early on.

The banlist is strangely a combination of both the TCG and OCG banlists. This could be frustrating for some who just want to play the format they know, but it also allows you to play cards banned normally, like Maxx C. While the title is slow to catch up to the TCG, it's still the best official Yu-Gi-Oh game to play right now.

NEXT: Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel: Every Structure Deck, Ranked

Sat, 10 Dec 2022 02:15:14 -0600 en-US text/html https://www.msn.com/en-us/entertainment/gaming/here-are-the-18-best-yu-gi-oh-video-games/ar-AA158dsc
Killexams : The Cooler Master Orb X is a $15,000 mega pod for work and play null © Cooler Master null

Lots of people put effort into their home office or the setup for their ultimate gaming PC. You need the best gaming chair, a desk for your keyboard and your mouse, etc. But what if you could take care of a lot of that all at once… in an immersive pod?

That’s the question that Cooler Master seems to have answered with its new Orb X, a gaming pod that is designed to be the future of gaming. And it’s certainly futuristic. The pod is surrounded by ARGB LED lighting strips that deliver it a look almost from the movie Tron, with a monitor arm that swings up and down to let you into the pod.

As ridiculous as the picture I’m painting for you may sound, it appears the reality is pretty nice. Our friends at Tom’s Hardware got to go and test the Orb X out last month and they came away pleasantly surprised with the level of immersion. Almost as important, they didn’t find the immersion to be claustrophobia-inducing. 

They did note though, that the design feels more suited for a public gaming station rather than a personal home entertainment pod, which seems at odds with who would actually want to buy this setup. To be fair, the marketing for Orb X agrees with Tom’s Hardware’s assessment. 

Cooler Master has a teaser trailer that shows people sitting down to take an emergency meeting or gaming at a bar. Given that we don’t yet know the price for the Orb X, maybe businesses will be the sole target audience, but if you’re interested in Cooler Master’s immersive pod, you can register for the waiting list at its website. 

While we don’t know officially how much the Orb X will cost (rumors are it will be $15,000), we can’t imagine it will be cheap. The pod includes a reclining chair, an extra large desk that will wirelessly charge your phone, 2.1 surround sound speakers and a monitor arm that can support up to three 27-inch monitors (or one 34-inch monitor).

Of course, you’ll also need to buy the monitor(s). While the Orb X comes with everything you need in terms of ports and wiring, you still need to buy the monitor(s), PC, keyboard and mouse. So if you think you could be interested in the Cooler Master Orb X, make sure you check out our buying guides to the best gaming PCs, best monitors, best keyboards and best mouse so you’re prepared to build your ultimate setup. 

Even if you aren’t interested in buying the Orb X, the holidays are the perfect time to get a great PC gaming deal, so check out our deals coverage if you’re looking to upgrade. 

Tue, 06 Dec 2022 04:01:00 -0600 en-US text/html https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/shopping/the-cooler-master-orb-x-is-a-15000-mega-pod-for-work-and-play/ar-AA14Zbp6
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