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- What’s a Skookum Anyway?
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From time to time I get requests for copies of the rules to my boardgames. It seems to be widely believed that in return for my having earned 25 cents in royalties when a copy was bought 35 years ago, I am obliged to offer such support indefinitely. I say this because these requests are seldom accompanied by a donation.
I will be happy to discuss options for delivery of the original rules if you make a donation of $10 or more. Sorry, I cannot supply any other components or lists of components.
Time marches on… All my freeware games except Turncoat were compiled for 16-bit Windows (remember Windows 3.1?). They will run under 32-bit Windows but not under 64-bit versions.
A simulation of a card game pitting you against three AI players, based on a design by Marcel-André Casasola Merkle. The theme is a struggle for control of a Renaissance city. Although it’s easy for you to be put out of the running just by turn order, the system has surprising depth.
For Windows with .NET Framework. There’s no setup file; just run Turncoat.exe from the extracted folder.
Jotto is a traditional word-guessing game more akin to code-breaking games such as Mastermind than to the comparatively simple-minded Hangman. You guess a five-letter word and the computer tells you how many letters are matches—but not which ones. A real brain-teaser.
This version chooses from over 2,900 words and also checks your guesses against its wordlist.
For Windows (32-bit only).
The Animal Game, also known as Shou Qi or the Jungle Game, is a traditional Chinese board game similar to Stratego. Each player has a team of eight animals that move around the board and capture smaller animals. The object is to get one animal into your opponent’s den. In this version, you play against the computer. A very enjoyable strategy game for children as young as 5, and even adults will find it challenging on the higher skill levels.
Learn more about the board game at The Jungle Game page.
For Windows (32-bit only). On-line Help.
A simple, fast-paced dungeon crawl based on the author’s popular card game, once called “the best game since Diplomacy.” You form an exploring party and enter a six-level cave full of treasures, creatures, and traps. Try to make friends, defeat enemies, and steal as much booty as you can carry. The game can be played in less than half an hour and is equally enjoyable for children and adults.
The game has 35 types of characters, treasures, and magical artifacts and allows you to set the size of the Cave and the occurrence of stairs.
For Windows (32-bit only). On-line Help.
What’s a Skookum Anyway?
Skookum means “mighty” or “excellent.” It is one of the few surviving words from Chinook, a trade language or pidgin spoken on the coast of British Columbia and the American Northwest till about the 1920s. Chinook borrowed words from English, French, and various indigenous languages. Skookum was originally a Salish word for a demon or monster, hence something “awesome.”
Some other Chinook words still in occasional use:
- chuck — water, as in Skookumchuck, a place of strong tidal currents or rapids; saltchuck, the sea
- muckamuck — a person of great importance, a bigshot
- tyee — chief. A name for the salmon also known as chinook, spring, and king (or, according to some, a specimen of this fish weighing 30 lb. or more).
Here are the rants about noise that I wrote when I was involved with the Right to Quiet Society. I pretty much gave up the struggle after realizing that almost no one else cared, but I still believe in what I wrote. And things have gotten worse, not better—especially on television, which is so jarring as to be largely unwatchable.
In recent years Canadians have started to become aware of the damage being done to civil liberties by the kangaroo courts set up by federal and provincial governments in the name of “human rights.” I like to think I was 25 years ahead of the times when I wrote this letter to the long-defunct contrarian periodical The Idler.
I recently came across this article on the mysteries of programming graphics on the old Kaypro CP/M computers. I had forgotten I wrote it, and it’s only of historical interest now, but it is probably the most complete documentation of the subject in existence.