Before he became a young star in the NBA, or a No. 1 draft pick, or a standout in the world of college basketball, Zion Williamson played his high school hoops at Spartanburg Day School in South Carolina. He dominated at that level, putting out mixtapes that quickly became the stuff of legends.
At one point, Williamson was on the receiving end of a pretty unique honor. Drake posted a picture on his Instagram account back in 2017 of himself in a Zion high school jersey, which blew up and brought a ton of attention his way.
Fast forward to Monday night and in an interview with Ernie Johnson on NBA Together, Williamson recalled that moment, which he believed was a launching pad to where he is now.
“I think he posted it, like, late at night, and I woke up in the morning to, like, just crazy notifications on my phone,” Williamson said. For a second I was like, ‘Oh my, something happen?”
Williamson explained that he was starstruck as a 16 year old who just got love from Drake on Instagram, which made going to school that day a little more fun than usual.
“I think that was kind of a start to everything,” Williamson said. “Because after that, I went from No. 12 at Spartanburg Day School to Zion, and everybody knew me. It all happened so fast, from my junior year, the start of it, No. 12, to end of junior year, well, that’s Zion.”
Williamson might be the NBA’s brightest young star, but of course, everyone has to start somewhere. For Williamson, that somewhere was two places: Spartanburg and Drake’s Instagram account.
Thanks to the ongoing pandemic shutting down film productions and basically the entire movie theater business as we know it, Marvel has been forced to push back the release dates for virtually all of its upcoming films including Thor: Love and Thunder, the highly anticipated sequel to Thor: Ragnarok.
But on the bright side, director Taika Waititi is actually a huge fan of the delay, particularly the rare, yet much needed opportunity that a lot of movies could use. In an interview with Total Film (via Heroic Hollywood), Waititi practically relishes the chance to make Love and Thunder even better while opining on how far too many films are rushed into production before scripts are even finished.
There are a few positive things I can take away [from the Covid-19 crisis]. One of them is that a lot of these films, and films in general, are rushed, or you don’t have as much time as you’d want to have on the script and things like that. We’re still writing Love And Thunder, and I think it’s good to just keep writing, and then you know, we’ll have a really, really good script. And with writing, especially, you should use as much of that time as possible to get your story right, because you never really get it later on. Film is an industry where you’re always complaining about not having enough time. I think, right now, we’ve given ourselves a huge amount of time to work on all sort of things, so we may as well use it.
One of the things Waititi won’t be working on, however, is whether to keep Thor’s more rotund “Lebowski Thor” look from Avengers: Endgame. The director recently revealed in an Instagram Live video that he feels like that gag is “done,” so Marvel fans can presumably look forward to a more ripped and shredded Chris Hemsworth when he returns as Thor in February 2022.
Working at a grocery store during the COVID-19 pandemic is a stressful situation, but for Matthew Simmons, it made it nearly impossible to do his job.
Simmons is deaf and relies on lip-reading to help most customers at the Vancouver store. So when they started wearing masks to prevent the spread of the virus, Simmons couldn’t be of much help to those who asked him where to find Gorilla Munch or Trader Joe’s frozen lasagna.
“When customers (wearing masks) come up to me to ask a question on the floor, I always said, ‘I am Deaf and need to read your lips so I can help you,'” Simmons told Today.
“Some of the times, customers didn’t want to lower down their masks and shook their heads ‘no’ and walked away from me. It made me upset because I couldn’t help and left me feeling defeated,” he continued.
It was also difficult for him to communicate with his coworkers.
The store’s first attempt to help Simmons communicate during the crisis was to put another team member with him at the register. Although it was a big help, it made him feel “truly different or disabled having to depend on someone to do my job that I am completely capable of doing and was hired to do.”
Simmons works at Trader Joe’s part-time on the weekends and during summer. During the week, he’s a teacher’s assistant at a school for the deaf.
COVID-19 hasn’t just made life difficult for deaf people to communicate with the hearing world, it’s also caused problems among those who communicate through American Sign Language.
“When wearing a mask it cuts off 55% of facial communication and even if using ASL it is heavily based on facial expressions in order to make sure the communication is understood clearly,” Simmons said.
To keep his on-the-job independence, Simmons found some new solutions to help him so his job. He purchased a shirt online that says “I’m deaf” on the front, and “tap on the shoulder” on the back. He also got three wipe boards to carry around with him so customers can ask him questions.
He also had Plexiglas put in front of his register to protect him from the virus and wrote “Hi My name is Matthew. I am deaf and read lips'” on the protective barrier.
“When I opened the register, the first customer read it and wrote down on the small white board stating, ‘It must be hard with everyone wearing masks! Thank you for your help. :),'” he said. “This made me feel better and I was able to start smiling again!”
Simmons’s story is a great example of someone with a disability and their employer coming together to make the best out of a difficult situation for the worker, the store, and its customers.
WWE’s Chief Brand Officer gained a new title today: Ad Council Board of Directors member.
While WWE‘s wrestlers get ready to have a ladder match in/on top of an office building, the company has experienced more drama behind the scenes. As the coronavirus pandemic spread throughout the United States, WWE drew media attention by continuing to produce television, being designated an “essential business” in Florida, and by the intersection of the McMahon family’s business and political interests becoming more obvious through the actions of a Linda McMahon-run SuperPAC and Vince McMahon being appointed to the government task force to reopen the economy.
Meanwhile, WWE has attempted damage control, emphasizing the safety measures at their tapings to both the wrestling-focused and mainstream entertainment press. The company also released a Community Impact Report about their charity work and company policies and worked with the Ad Council to release a coronavirus awareness PSA, which notably did not mention social distancing.
Honored to be joining the @AdCouncil Board of Directors and serve alongside an incredible group of business leaders who endeavor to serve the American public with meaningful campaigns around important social causes. https://t.co/LhQAY6X4qk
That PSA was good enough for the Ad Council though, apparently, because the organization announced today that Stephanie McMahon has been elected to its board of directors. The board’s most recent project, according to the Ad Council’s website, was leading “the media, marketing, advertising and entertainment industry’s response to the COVID-19 crisis with unprecedented communications efforts.” The list of new members also includes executives from other companies whose response to COVID-19 has been criticized, including Walmart and Amazon, whose workers will be part of a strike on May 1 about working conditions during the pandemic.
With Vince working with the President, Linda running a SuperPAC, and now Stephanie on the Ad Council, that’s a significant amount of McMahon influence on the U.S. response to COVID-19.
Michelle Wie’s been a mainstay in the world of golf for more than a decade. Once the most highly-regarded young golfer in the world following her decision to turn pro when she was 16, Wie’s carved out a steady career on the LPGA Tour, registering more than 60 top-10 finishes and five wins in her career.
Physical fitness plays an important role in Wie’s career, with a wrist injury she suffered as a 17 year old teaching her the importance of adding some type of non-golf exercise early on. Of course, that has been magnified in recent years as her career has progressed and the miles have racked up. Now, Wie is one of the many athletes who agreed to appear on Iron Sharpens Iron, Cam Newton’s Quibi show that features athletes from different sports discussing the methods in which they train — Wie paired up with Olympic gold medalist and beach volleyball great Kerri Walsh Jennings.
Uproxx Sports caught up with Wie to talk her cameo on the show, the role fitness plays in her golf career, the surprisingly similarities between the golf and beach volleyball, and much more.
How did your involvement in Iron Sharpens Iron come about? Did Cam reach out to you directly, or did it happen through some different channels?
My agent actually represents Cam, so I had heard of the opportunity through my agent, which I initially was like, “Wow, this sounds like a really cool idea,” and then especially after I heard about who they paired me up with, I was so excited.
Kerri is a legend. Why were you so excited to work with her?
I mean, like you said, Kerri’s an absolute legend, and just growing up watching her play beach volleyball — I think growing up in Hawaii, we have such a big beach volleyball culture, and as you’ll probably see in the episode, I am not very good. So watching someone on TV, growing up idolizing her, and then just being able to spend one-on-one time with her and her husband on the court was just incredible.
A question or two about golf and just your history with the game as a form of fitness. I think when we think about golf and athletes, it’s something that gets thought of as something that people do on days off, during the summer, those sorts of things. How do you believe golf is beneficial as a form of exercise and cross training for other athletes?
Oh, it’s great. I mean, you hear of golf — like you said, all the football players and a lot of basketball players, they love playing golf, even hockey players, and I mean, tennis too. All other sports, you hear of athletes getting obsessed with the game, actually. I think it’s so great, because I think it allows you to use different muscles. I think being so specialized in one sport, no matter what sport it is, you’re doing the same motion over and over again, and you kind of get stuck in your own ways and stuck mechanically with your body moving in one direction or one way, and that’s definitely how I feel in golf, for sure. So it’s always good to really just change it up. I think it’s really good for your body to do that, and mentally as well too.
I think golf is such a mental sport, and I think people that play a lot of team sports and whatnot, they find this extra challenge in playing golf because it’s such a solo sport, and a lot of the game happens in between your two ears. So I think it’s a great mental challenge. I think it’s a great mental exercise. For walking, I love walking and playing. I mean, a round of golf is about five to six miles. You walk 18 holes, you’re walking six miles a day, which is pretty great. So I think it’s good, I like it, and I think it’s really useful too.
You’ve been playing the game for however many years now, and you turned pro around when you were 16. Plenty of folks think that they’re invincible when they’re 16 years old.
When did your routine start to incorporated more physical stuff so that it wasn’t just, “I’m heading to the range and working on my short game because I’m 16 years old now and don’t have to worry about these fitness-related things”?
I think it happened quickly for me, because I had a pretty big injury when I was 17, 18. So rehab after that, and trying to take my fitness really carefully and cognitively after that was definitely very important to me. But I think taking fitness in general, because even though I had injuries, I was still super limber. My body was doing things without me even thinking about it. I could just go up onto the range and start hitting balls, full shots, and nothing was hurting. Everything was working well, and then all of a sudden you hit later on in your career and you try to do that, and things start cracking that shouldn’t be cracking.
I definitely, within the last couple of years, have really taken fitness seriously. I think I was doing fitness long before, where … we touched base on this in the episode. I was doing really heavy weights and all that, but I think Kerri and I actually, surprisingly, even though how different our sports are, how we train and how we recover and focus on taking care of our bodies are very similar. That’s something that was a definite eye opener for me, and reassured me that I was doing the right thing. If Kerri Walsh Jennings is doing it, then I have to be doing something right.
Could you map out some of those similarities? Any that were, I don’t want to say surprising to you, but like you mentioned, when you found out that Kerri is also doing these sorts of things, you go, “Oh, wow, yeah, I am doing something right”?
I think a big thing in golf is thoracic motion, keeping everything limber, taking care of your shoulders. The shoulder thing wasn’t as surprising, but the thoracic motion, how much she focused on that, was shocking to me, because what you think of volleyball, it’s not a lot of horizontal turning like golf. But you don’t realize how much horizontal turning that they actually do when they serve or when they spike, and they wind up to do a big spike. So that was definitely an eye opener for me, and just how we do stuff, how we train. I really, really enjoyed what she taught me, and yeah, it was a really great day.
Just specifically, what things did you share, or did you want to go in making sure you shared with Kerri, because you thought they could be relevant to her experience as a beach volleyball player?
Well, I mean, I think she was really excited to get golf-specific lessons, because I think her husband plays a lot. So I think she was really excited to learn that aspect of it, which I was really surprised at how quickly she picked it up, as someone that has never played before. She was getting the ball airborne within five minutes, which just shows how great of an athlete she is. But for me, when I actually was filming it, I was going through an injury, so the way we did the episode, I was really focused on recovery and the mental aspect of the game. We did a couple of eye exercises, which I felt were really unique to the game, which you have to have strong eyes to play golf. I think in other sports as well too. You don’t realize that your eyes are muscles, and you have to train them like you would any place else.
You mentioned that you learned about some of the similarities between your two sports while Kerri was going through the things that she was talking about. Was there any new things that you learned about beach volleyball that you went, “Oh, you know what? I can maybe start to incorporate this into my daily routine.”
I think just, some of the workup that she showed me, it was the same thing, but she was doing them differently and approaching them differently and seeing them differently. So a lot of TRX movements that we were doing, a lot of stuff on the physio ball. I want to definitely incorporate more stuff in the sand. I think that the explosiveness of jumping from the sand can really help in golf, and I really feel like if you can do that in the sand, almost using your legs as power on stable grass, I think that would be very beneficial.
Let’s say you get a call and says, “We want to do this again and we want to have you involved again,” who are some athletes whose brains you would love to pick for something like this. Have you ever gotten any particularly interesting tips from someone in another sport that you’ve adopted in the past?
I don’t know. I mean, I would love to pick the brain … I saw Carli Lloyd’s name was on there. Even though we’ve crossed paths a couple of times, but I’d definitely love to pick her brain on what she was thinking when they won the championship, and press situations and stuff like that. I always find it really interesting to talk to athletes about how they handle pressure situation. But yeah, I think if the opportunity came again, I would love to be involved again.
Just a few quick ones here to wrap it up. First things first, something I’m sure that people say to you all the time, I personally am horrific at golf. What is a very simple piece of advice when it comes to hitting a golf ball that you think people can sometimes take for granted?
I think, do less. I think it can get very complicated. So I think just keeping it really simple and still thinking athletic. It’s a really awkward motion for people who don’t play, but like Kerri Walsh Jennings and I were talking about, the setup to the golf swing is the same athletic cluster you would find in almost any other sport. So just bringing it back to athleticism and bringing it back to simple motions and good tempo, I think helps a lot.
I saw that you announced earlier this year, you’re expecting a daughter, and that a goal is wanting her to see you play. What do you need to do to achieve that goal, both in the short and long terms?
I definitely have to get back into playing shape. The injuries that I had that stopped me from playing last year, it was a blessing in disguise. It gave me another year to get better. But I think just really focusing on mental game, being really sharp and focused. I think having a daughter and having that new goal in mind, it definitely puts different perspective on things, and I think it’s going to help me to focus, because it’s a new goal of mine, for sure.
BadBadNotGood is a versatile group, as they’ve collaborated with everybody from Ghostface Killah to Future Islands frontperson Samuel T. Herring. As far as producing their own output, though, it’s been a while. Their latest full-length release, IV, came out in 2016. Today, though, the group returns with a pair of new songs, “Goodbye Blue” and “Glide (Goodbye Blue Pt. 2).”
As the titles suggest, the tracks are connected to each other. While “Goodbye Blue” features singer Jonah Yano and has shades of R&B and classic vocal jazz, “Glide” takes things in a more instrumental jazz direction, more closely aligned with the work the band has become known for.
The band’s Chester Hansen says of the new tracks:
“The end of 2018 was the beginning of the first long break from touring that we’ve had basically since we started as a band. It was a time of reflection and the opportunity for us to explore all sorts of things. ‘Goodbye Blue’ was one of the songs that came out of this. Eventually, we worked some of the melodies and feeling into a second instrumental which felt like it stood on its own, but was definitely a companion piece. We hope that everyone enjoys these two songs and they offer some peace in these troubled times.”
Listen to “Goodbye Blue” and “Glide (Goodbye Blue Pt. 2)” above.
In what’s becoming a recurring theme for the late-night host, Kate Hudson dropped a bombshell on Jimmy Fallon by revealing that he had a chance to date her back in the day, but he never made a move.
While dialing into The Tonight Show on Monday, Hudson revealed to a flabbergasted Fallon that if she had known he was into her while the two were filming Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous, she would’ve been into it. Unfortunately, she never received any signals from Fallon, who apparently thought he was making his interest very clear at the time. In fact, he even revealed the crush on a 2018 episode, which Hudson saw after “like 100 people” sent her the clip, and she genuinely had no idea how Fallon felt at the time. Via Entertainment Weekly:
“Jimmy, if you would have actually made a move, I would have totally gone there,” she said. “I remember thinking to myself, ‘Why has Jimmy never made a move?’ And then I just kind of realized, ‘Oh, he’s not into me like that.’ And so, then I met Chris [Robinson].”
Fallon protested her retelling of events, exclaiming, “That’s not the story at all!”
While Fallon might’ve thought he was sending out strong vibes, he does have a history of completely blowing it with famous actresses. Nicole Kidman infamously stopped by The Tonight Show in 2015 and told a story about the time she went on a “date” with Fallon, who she was genuinely interested in. There was just one small problem, Fallon had no idea they were even on a date, and he honestly thought the two just happened to be at the same David Fincher party together. So instead of paying attention to Kidman, he blew her off to play video games. (Jimmy…) The whole thing left the actress so bewildered that, by the end of the “date,” she just assumed Fallon was gay and went on to marry Keith Urban.
Finding a great travel movie right now offers us the chance to dream of far-flung adventures again. To fantasize about parts unknown. To get whistful for the open road. It’s visual inspiration for a life uncommon.
Hulu might not be as heavily stocked as Netflix, but they definitely have some hidden travel gems tucked away in their archives. That’s not to say these are the best travel movies ever made — some of them aren’t even specifically about travel, per se. But they will definitely stoke your wanderlust dreams until it’s safe to strike out again.
At the very least, the best travel movies on Hulu will provide a couple of hours of distraction. And we all need a little of that right now.
Wow, this movie made waves when it came out. North Korea hacking scandal, movie execs lost their jobs, people were talking of war — all for a simple buddy comedy with Seth Rogen and James Franco. That seems like so long ago now.
Anyway, the politics and history of this film aside, this is really a buddy travel movie at its heart. Two longtime friends set out to a very foreign land for work and high jinks ensue while lessons are learned. It’s formulaic, sure. But Rogen and Franco feel like real travel buddies in the this and Randall Park nails it as the North Korean dictator at the center of it all.
This is a nostalgia pick, especially if you grew up in the 80s and early 90s and watched a lot of cable after school. This is also a great adventure flick, time tested. The whole film is about getting out of your comfort zone, embracing adventure, and finding people along the way.
Sure, this is a very 80s movie. But we’d also argue it’s a great 80s travel movie that still holds up. Plus, Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner are on fire on-screen together next to a great comedic turn from a young Danny DeVito.
On the complete opposite spectrum of movies with travel at the core, you have this dramatic turn from James Gandolfini. Gandolfini turns in a beautifully nuanced performance as a grieving father who’s in New Orleans for business. He befriends a young stripper, played by Kristen Stewart, and he and his wife take her in, sort of.
Melissa Leo gives a wonderful performance as the grieving mother. The whole thing is a bit of a tearjerker at times but also offers a great feel for the city of New Orleans outside of Bourbon Street.
Two wandering brothers bounce from being hitmen to miners to losers (spoiler alert, we guess) in this revisionist western. The real treat of this film is the brotherhood felt thanks to Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly’s performances. They bicker so damn well in this movie but truly love each other in a way that feels very real.
Plus, they’re pretty much moving through Gold Rush era California through the whole film, adding a clear travel element throughout.
Professional wrestling is at the heart of this biopic of former WWE superstar Paige. Why is this on a travel movie list, you ask? The bulk of this film is about Paige leaving her home in very grey working-class England for the sun-kissed beaches of Florida to attend the WWE’s training camp — under the tutelage of a very understated Vince Vaughn no less.
A big plot point of this film is Paige not really digging being in a new situation, trying to change herself to fit in, and simply wanting to go home. Any traveler worth their salt knows exactly how she feels in those moments. Though, be ready to cry by the end of this one too (I definitely did)
Horror and travel are great bedmates when it comes to cinema. This absolute classic follows a group of women on their cave diving trip. It’s an outdoor adventure with a tightknit crew. Then, everything goes horrifically wrong.
If you haven’t seen the film, we’re not going to spoil it because this movie is a classic for a reason. Just be warned, this movie gets very, very claustrophobic.
This is a wild tale of a group of prisoners escaping from a Stalinist gulag and walking damn near across Asia towards freedom. The film follows a group of escapees led by Jim Sturgess playing Janusz Wieszczek, a Polish citizen who was arrested by the Soviets when they invaded Poland in 1939 alongside the Nazis. Ed Harris, Colin Farrell, Mark Strong, and a young Saoirse Ronan give solid performances as other escapees.
The film is also beautiful to look at thanks to direction from Peter Weir and the cinematography of Russell Boyd on location in Bulgaria, Morocco, and India (both had previously worked together on the travel-friendly Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World).
This is a solid film. But, most of all, it’s a great lesson on how to travel efficiently. The airport scene wherein George Clooney schools Anna Kendrick on how to travel well when you travel all the time is worth the price of admission alone.
The whole movie does become a lesson in travel in every form from meeting random people you’ll never meet again but still having huge emotional moments with them to the drain on your life travel can be yet how deeply addictive it is.
Back in the nostalgia machine, Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo’s Vacation is a family road trip classic. Hell, you don’t even need the family to have felt a lot of the pitfalls of a long road trip that are covered in this 80s comedy. This movie speaks some real traveling truths that ring true to this day — like getting somewhere only to find it closed and the severe disappointment that brings.
Taika Waititi’s Hunt For The Wilderpeople is like a warm hug on a bad day. The film follows a young Indigenous kid, Ricky, and Hec (played amiably by Sam Neill) as they wander the New Zealand backcountry trying to avoid child services taking Ricky to a foster home.
The film has a Huck Finn foundation of wonder with Waititi’s razor-sharp sense of humor and drama layered over top. This film doesn’t pull any punches. It’s touching, hilarious, and wanderlust-inducing. You might end up watching it twice in a week and shedding a tear or two along the way.
Perhaps you’ve read the news lately, but it’s been a really good idea to spend a lot more time at home for the foreseeable future. There are a lot of ways to spend all that extra time in your dwelling, but as weeks turn to months and uncertainty remains, it may be a good idea to switch things up at this point.
Playing board games is a leisure activity that’s inevitably become more popular during life in quarantine. As people spend more time at home and slowly grow bored of activities they normally turn to for entertainment, the board games they may have collecting dust are given another chance to shine. And for those looking to deepen their collection, all this time at home might be a great opportunity to learn some new games.
Buying new board games, however, is an investment. And unless you’ve played a game before, it can be tough to know if it will work well in a variety of situations and with different amounts of players. One of those tough situations might be one you’re in right now: living with another person who may not like games as much as the other. So let’s take a look at some great two-player games to pass some time while social distancing that also play well in the larger groups you hope to host for a game night when all this is over. Maybe you already have a solid board game collection in the house to pick from, or you’re looking to make a purchase or two that fills out your collection. Bonus points awarded here for any game that also happens to play great over Zoom.
Ticket to Ride: Europe
The classic American version of this game works great with two players as well, but there’s something about a trek across Europe in this sequel title to the Alan R. Moon classic that works particularly well in pairs. The routes are a bit more unfamiliar, for one, and the added game element of tunnels and ferries make this one a bit more interesting than the original’s gameplay. The game is easy to learn, plays relatively fast and the variety of routes means there’s a lot of replay value in this one even if it’s just for two, at least for the time being.
This might be the most popular game on the list, or at least the one it’s most likely you already own, and that’s for good reason. Scrabble is a classic word game almost everyone knows how to play, but they may not have experienced it in heads-up format. That’s how the pros play it, and with all that board to work with it makes the game a fascinating one strategically. Whether you’re someone who turns the game into a territorial slog or just try to make as many fun words as possible, there’s a lot of fun to be had if you have the right opponent. You can also choose to be as strict or lax about the real rules of the game as you’d like, which is always a fun conversation to have.
Zombie Dice is a quick press-your-luck game that’s over in minutes and a great way to waste time among groups large and small. The goal is to roll the dice and harvest “brains” without also rolling three shotgun blasts, which kill the zombie (which is you). The three kinds of dice — green, yellow, and red — have different odds for rolling brains or blasts, and luck can play a big part, which means anyone can win on the first game. It’s not exactly a strategy-packed extravaganza, but not every game needs to be. Sometimes you just wanna be a zombie for a bit. This is also a game, like Ticket To Ride, that you can find at most big box stores if you need something in a hurry.
There’s certainly a bit more strategy to this one than others, but it’s fairly easy to pick up and offers a lot of replay value to hone in on how you want to play. Carcassone is a tile game where players add to a landscape and get points for building cities, farms and surrounding abbeys with land. It may sound abstract, but the goal is to build the play surface and use your colored meeples to collect points in a variety of ways, some only becoming clear after the game is over.
It’s a way to keep everyone invested in the game regardless of how they think they’re doing, and the end result can be surprising to people who feel like they’re not doing enough to win. It’s a game that works well with just two people, and if you have a lot of down time it’s a great game to work on your strategy for future game nights. If not, it’s fun to build roads and try to complete cities before your tile choices run out.
If you need a bit of Lovecraftian horror in your life, this cooperative dice-rolling game is tough to beat. This is a simplified version of a game like Eldritch Horror, but it’s still a formidable test no matter how experienced of a gamer you are. The game consists of cards with specific die rolls you need to get in order to collect tools and objects needed to stop an otherworldly monster from devouring the planet. There’s a lot of replay in the characters you play and rooms you encounter, and smart planning may not be enough to win this one. But it is a fun challenge that’s worth playing in larger groups, too.
Cooperative games are easy and safe to play in quarantine because there’s little chance or sparking a dispute you can’t avoid by leaving the house. Castle Panic is a perfect low stakes survival game in which the goal is to outlast an onslaught of attacking orcs and other monsters hoping to topple a medieval castle. The mechanic is simple to understand — each round moves the baddies forward and introduces new ones on the edge of the forrest ring — and your job is to kill them with corresponding cards before they reach the castle and knock down walls and towers. It takes a bit of teamwork and coordination to get it down, but it’s a quick learn that offers a bit of instant satisfaction for surviving a temporary siege. There are also some fun expansions to switch the experience up if you get a bit too good at defending your castle.
There are a lot of options when it comes to city-building games, but Tiny Towns plays great with two players and is as fast as it is cute. Players build 4X4 grid of a town using a pool of shared resources, trying not to waste squares with useless or not valuable buildings. It takes a bit of planning to get it all down and really earn your planning degree, but it’s a fun resource management game worth mastering for nights when you can dominate the six-player version.
This may be the simplest game on the list, but it’s full of endless possibilities and even works well with up to eight players. A blank board is slowly filled with tiles with lines on them, each of them unique. Players are dragons that must follow the path on the tiles, with the goal being to stay on the board for as long as possible without taking a path that leads off the side or into another dragon. It’s fast and full of seemingly random choices until, all at once, it’s a matter of life and death. On normal game nights it’s a great warm up game, but if things get competitive with your gaming partner it can quickly turn into a game you play over and over again.
So let’s say you really want to get into it, and are willing to sit down with a multi-hour, evolving strategy game made for only two players. In that case, the only real argument here is which player wants to be the Soviet Union. Twilight Struggle is behemoth of a game, but if you’re coexisting with a serious gamer it’s an excellent title to lose a few hours in and is worth playing several times over. There’s no denying it’s a complex game, though: It quite literally is a board game version of the cold war, with each side attempting to rewrite history while also staving off nuclear disaster.
The rules of the game evolve with the passage of time, as well as real life historical events from the actual Cold War. But the results can be very different, depending on how you play, and the game is a great duel among history buffs who happen to be quarantining together.
With their upcoming album The Prettiest Curse, Hinds aim to pivot from their former lo-fi aesthetic and instead opt for crisp guitars and noisy vocals. The Madrid-born four-piece has taken all they’ve learned on the road and transmuted it into their forthcoming third record. With the latest track, “Just Like Kids (Miau),” Hinds details their loathsome touring experiences when men, without prompting, critique their looks, music, and career.
Directed by Keane Shaw, the brightly-colored video calls back to the MTV era of videos. Recorded in a studio with neon backgrounds, Hinds playfully use props to further narrate the track’s lyrics. The song itself is a tongue-in-cheek message to those who have given them unprompted advice, also known as mansplaining. “‘Can I tell you something about you and your band? / Cause I’m sure you’d love to listen to my advice / You’re always out of tune / And there’s no place there for you’ / Dude, do I know you,” Hinds harmonize on the track.
In a statement, Hinds said the song is about all the unsolicited advice they’ve received over the years. “‘Miau’ is a cocktail of all the comments and ‘advice’ we’ve had to listen to during all this years in the band. From random strangers, ‘friends,’ and industry. Oh wait…the guy sitting next to you in the bus probably has an opinion too! if you wondered how does it feel to be a girl in a band, here you go.”
Watch the “Just Like Kids (Miau)” video above.
The Prettiest Curse is out 6/5 via Mom + Pop. Pre-order it here.
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