The Pandemic: Legacy board

AeroPress

I’ve been a coffee addict for a long time, but I only recently became a coffee snob. That’s how I got into the AeroPress method of coffee brewing. It’s not the most aesthetically pretty of the coffee-brewing methods—managing editor Laura M. Browning correctly opined that it has all the charm of medical equipment—but what it lacks in good looks it makes up in results. The AeroPress uses a plunging method, sort of like a French press, except here you’re pressing the water plus grounds through a paper or metal filter straight into your cup, rather than pressing the grounds to the bottom of the French press. The AeroPress makes the cleanest cup of coffee I’ve ever had, and even if you’re not into weighing the coffee or obsessed with getting the right grind, this method is actually pretty hard to fuck up. Imprecise measurements and inaccurate timing will usually still result in a delicious cup of coffee. [Caitlin PenzeyMoog]

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Shopping

No, not the physical act of shopping, which I kind of hate in most cases. I’m talking about Shopping the band, a British trio that’s been pumping out catchy, concentrated bursts of throwback post-punk since 2013. I first heard them at a Shannon And The Clams show in October, where their pointed guitar licks and bouncy bass lines grabbed my attention and dragged me from the venue’s dingy basement bar to the show floor. The band’s two albums, Consumer Complaints and Why Choose, stick within an especially twitchy strand of post-punk, embodied by the detached vocal deliveries and abrasive guitars of Delta 5 and Gang Of Four. It’s a sound that’s been mined and expanded on so much over the years, but what I love about Shopping, familiar as its music might be, is that it’s gotten to the heart of that style and, instead of trying to build on it, completely stripped it down to the sparse, infectious essentials. [Matt Gerardi]

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Pandemic: Legacy

This might be a tad premature, given that I’ve yet to actually play a full game, but I’m ridiculously in love with Pandemic: Legacy, the new “persistent strategy” board game from original Pandemic creator Matt Leacock and Risk: Legacy’s Rob Daviau. The feeling of raw potential is just too intoxicating to resist; I look through the box, full of sealed packages that I’m not allowed to open, or the instruction manual, which is full of open spots for me to sticker in new rules, and I just feel giddy. At its base, the game is still Pandemic, the old cooperative classic of rising tension and risk vs. reward; you and your team of specialists jet around the world, treating diseases, synthesizing cures, battling against the cruelty of the clock. But now, when things go wrong, they go wrong for good; outbreaks permanently (as in, slap a sticker down on the board, because Montreal just started rioting) damage cities, destroy resources, and can even kill your characters (which means you physically rip their card to shreds). Meanwhile, the game’s ominous Legacy Deck tracks the spread of the world-threatening diseases, and the persistent changes that last from game to game. I think there are people for whom a self-destructing board game sounds like the worst kind of tension, but for me, it just tastes of interesting consequences, my gaming drug of choice. I’ve already got a perverse anticipation going for the first time I have to declare a city utterly fallen to the disease, never to be entered again, or when one of my hardened CDC agents falls in the line of duty, resigned to the literal trash heap of history. [William Hughes]

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