Kono: A Strategic Board Game (Now Available!)

Kono: Title Screen

Kono: Title Screen

It’s an exciting evening here… Kevin’s new iOS game, Kono, is live on the App Store!

Kono: 7x7 Board Mid-Game

Kono: 7×7 Board Mid-Game

It is a free strategy game that reminds me partly of checkers and of Go. You and the computer have pieces filling the board. Jump over your own piece to capture the opponent’s piece. Reduce the opponent down to one piece or trap the pieces so the enemy can’t move, and you win!

The rules are really simple and easy to learn. Either jump over your own piece to capture an enemy, or move your piece one step onto an empty space. That’s it. The rules are easy enough for all ages to learn.

Kono: Settings Screen

Kono: Settings Screen

There are also four difficulty modes in the game. It starts you off on Intermediate. If the game is too hard, you can hop over to the settings screen and change it to Beginner. Or if you want a greater challenge, try Advanced or Expert.

Kono : Game Center Achievements

Kono: Game Center Achievements

Kono is also linked up with Game Center now so you can earn achievements by completing the different board layouts, and so on. Check out the list and see what challenges await you.

Kevin also has plans for the future of Kono, including a two-player mode and quest mode, which will include other board layouts and pieces. He may even add the ability to create your own levels once those are in place. For now, though, there’s a ton of strategic gameplay to be had.

Huntington Phoenix Logo

Huntington Phoenix Logo

On a personal note, Kevin added a link on the title page explaining some of the struggle his mom endured as she battled cancer. Though she is no longer with us, the essence of her generosity and kindness will also be in our hearts. Check out the link in the app and you will be redirected to the Huntington Phoenix website where you can read the story and optionally choose to click through to donate for cancer research. Kevin does not receive any compensation for, nor has he any affiliation with, the donation links. Like his mom, he just wants to help others.

Kono: Red Wins - Earns an Achievement

Kono: Red Wins – Earns an Achievement

If you have an iOS device, please take a moment and download the game and give it a try. It is free to use and play. Then, please post a review in the App Store so the game can be rated worldwide.

Mr. Wizard’s World

Photo credit: imdb.com

Photo credit: imdb.com

When I was a kid, I liked to know how things worked, especially if I could then explain it to someone else and help them understand it. It turned out that I liked the explanation part so much, it led me to my career as a teacher. But why science? In some part, I have Mr. Wizard to thank for that.

When we first had Nickelodeon on cable, I stumbled upon this show out of the blue. It didn’t take long for me to become enamored with Don Herbert, better known to me then as Mr. Wizard. He demonstrated so many aspects of daily life and explained the science behind it. I wanted to know what he knew. I wanted to do the things he did. And more than that, I wanted to be one of those lucky kids on his show. Of course, it was all in reruns by the time I was watching it, so that was clearly impossible without some time travel magic.

I remember an episode about Newton’s Law of Inertia, which says an object in motion stays in motion unless an unbalanced force acts on it. (It also says an object at rest stays at rest unless an unbalanced force acts upon it, which is more obvious.) The “motion” part of the law doesn’t make a lot of observable sense in our daily lives, if you look around. Roll a ball across the floor, and it certainly comes to a stop. Even a billiard ball on a perfect pool table stops eventually, as does an ice skater plying her craft. So how is this law true?

Well, in each of those cases there are two forces at work against the object in motion: friction and, to a lesser degree, air resistance. Both work to stop the object even though we can’t see some magical Gnome of Friction pushing on the ball to stop it. No, instead it is science and exploration that has the answer.

And Mr. Wizard explained it on a bicycle. As a child, I was amused by watching this sciency grandfather guy on a bicycle with a tennis ball, but there he was, and I still remember it. He tossed the ball up and caught it. Easy. Then he rode the bike forward and tossed it up, and he still caught it. You see, the ball has forward momentum because it was moving with him on the bicycle. Tossing the ball straight up, it did go up, but it also went forward because it had momentum in that direction that was uninterrupted and therefore its inertia kept it moving forward.

You can easily try this. Take any object and practice tossing it straight up and catching it. Once you’re good at it, do the same thing while walking forward. You will still be able to catch the ball because it is moving with you. If you toss the ball up and then stop moving, the ball will fall in front of you because it will keep moving forward.

It seemed so easy when I saw it. And two years ago when I had my high school physics class, I suddenly remembered this example and used it to demonstrate the concept. It is part of my repertoire with my middle school students too now.

Mr. Wizard also taught me about electricity, magnetism, chemical reactions, and even why fireworks light up different colors. When I committed myself to following my passions for science and teaching, I wanted to follow in Mr. Wizard’s footsteps and inspire my students the same way.

I hope, as Dr. Wolf, I do help inspire them.

(Imdb.com photo link: http://www.imdb.com/media/rm4251491328/tt0085060?ref_=tt_ov_i)

Review: Vibrations by P.E. Padilla

My Rating: ♦♦♦♦◊

All in all, Vibrations is a good story with a magic system based on the science of vibrational energy from atoms. I appreciated the scientific basis and the connections discussed throughout. Meditation techniques and fighting strategies were also explained clearly as part of Sam’s training.

The journey takes some time to get going, but along the way the reader gets a good feel for the characters and their growth. Settings and scenes are well-described and help the reader to envision what is taking place. There are some instances of repetitiveness and over-explanation, but not excessively so; it suggests the story is more geared for a ‘new adult’ audience, to coin a relatively new term in the industry.

There are some surprises and intrigue which keep the story moving along. Some things that surprise Sam don’t necessarily surprise the reader, but it is still interesting to live with Sam’s view on the world around him.

I enjoyed this story and would recommend it for those who like to grow and learn with the characters and are willing to partake in numerous training sessions with Sam and the rest of his group. The action picks up in the second half with a satisfying conclusion. I would pick up book two.

Find Vibrations here.