One other thing I liked about Minecraft for my kids was that it's not as polished and easy to use as most modern games (and console games especially). The players actually have to struggle and figure it out and tune their settings and figure out how it works behind the scenes a bit. This is so much better and they learn so much more than just sticking in a disc and having the game run!
If you don't mind hating your friends after the game, Mario Party can be fun.
Bananagrams is the most age-independent word game I know;
We have a good time with bananagrams as well, I just have to remember not to be too happy when I do better than my kids.
Set: as above.
I absolutely loved it when my 9 year old daughter would beat me at set. Well, after the initial pain of losing went away.
Anyone else like Rummikub? Similar to these games, anyone can play and do well, it just takes a little bit of a different way of looking at games when you can re-arrange the tiles to suit your needs...
My family and friends have had quite a bit of fun with pandemic. It's nice not to have only 1 winner (when you win), it can reduce the stress imparted by games like settlers of catan (which we love so much it gets hyper-competitive). Agricola is almost a middle ground, there's slightly less direct competition, so it doesn't get quite as heated.
We've only played the base version of Pandemic. I would appreciate feedback on the expansions. Has anyone played those? Are they worthwhile?
Government surveillance needs to include a significant component of surveillance of the government to protect the sovereignty of the people!
This may sound odd, but that's actually a good thing. In short: If laws are enforced consistently, then bad laws are eventually removed. If laws are enforced selectively, they are used to punish those who don't have the political power to change them.
Which is why tax rates on the wealthy are dropping, but not so much for everyone else. Those with the political power to get things changed, tend to make changes that favor themselves. Currently, financial power is strongly correlated with political power, ergo, the financially wealth pay less taxes.
I think I'm mything the point of this post...
I totally second that opinion on Pandemic. It's nice to win or lose as a group, instead of having a fun evening with friends have only one person "win" at the end. Any other team games like that you'd suggest?
I don't know.
You might consider http://www.sans.org/ training classes/conferences. They're mostly focused on security, so that has to fit for you, but I've learned a lot in both of the classes/conferences I've attended with them.
The "open all" approach is bad administration, imo.
I concur with your opinion.
There are two types of people in the world: Those who crave closure
and those who don't.
I think you're wrong on the balance of good/harm. Do you know how many people died of cholera? Typhoid? Simple diarrhea? How often have you had ameobocentosis?
I'm not sure you're entirely correct here. I think you're right that "average" people won't be able to do good 3D design, but I'm seeing more and more gallery sites open with very interesting 3D models available for free. I think there's a good analogy to the early computer industry. We had very few users that weren't power users, because it was a pain to learn. But then, more and more people created interesting software and the hardware advanced and it became cheaper and easier to get involved (thanks to shareware, freeware, hardware clones, etc.), and now we've got these crazy pocket computers with amazing apps for $.99. I think 3D printing and production may follow a similar adoption model, we're just in the early-adopter, hobbyist, hardcore geek phase now.
What might a 3D printer do with material to build a robot powered by a Raspberry Pi?