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Weekly Digest #22

Updated: Jan 19



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Don't get Bored by the Board!

By: Abhimanyu Rao



As the world progresses into a more technology-centered age, and almost everyone over the age of 7 has heard of, and probably even played, more than one video game in their lives. Whether it is on a specific console, a phone, a tablet or a laptop, as these games become more and more popular, people have begun to forget about the originals, the OG games. What OG Games, you ask? The ones that predated the screen as the original entertainment, the ones that kept us busy indoors, the ones that were called… board games.


Unfortunately, as video games continue to captivate people’s attention, board games are finding lesser and lesser space in families’ schedules worldwide, because people have started to believe them to be the relics of a bygone era, that have had their time in the spotlight, and can now finally rest in peace. They have become obsolete. Luckily for them, board games had me on speed dial, so today, I am here, being interviewed by my completely tech-savvy and unaware of board games alter ego- Mr. Screenbhimanyu Screen III. (SSIII)


SSIII: Well this is all well and good, but what in the world is a board game?


(Me)AR: A board game is a converter. It functions on a simple energy is neither created nor destroyed. They just take the disappointing, but still present, energy of boredom, and convert it to a more exciting, heart-thumping, kind of energy called “Boardom”! (Sorry, but I will torture you with these puns for the rest of this article!). They are a source of fun, and quality time, and must never be thrown off the drawing “board” of a “Family Fun Night” plan.


SSIII: Argh! The puns! Anyway, we now know what board games are. Hooray! But why does this make it any better than anything else? I can get the same level of energy from my video games that you hate!


AR: Firstly, let me get this straight, I don’t hate video games. I just said that video games have begun overshadowing board games, and that’s sad, because board games have so much to give, but are slowly being forgotten. I don’t hate video games at all!


Secondly, board games are just like books, there are always, and trust me, I mean always, a board game for everyone. Whether ‘Cluedo’ is your little grey cells’ personal trainer of choice, or the businessman in you hones their skills with a little ‘Monopoly’, or you try to master your grasp of the English language with some late night ‘Scrabble’ or get your mind in a knot over ‘Taboo’, or strategise over the new superhit ‘Catan’; there is always a board game for everyone. While board games may not be able to facilitate your board-ing a spacecraft and blasting off into space the way several video games will be able to, they have a feel to them that other games don’t have.


Thirdly, board games get us to employ different skills, all that are very hard to replicate with other forms of entertainment. For example, the popular board game ‘Twister’ will encourage players to work on increasing their flexibility and strength, so

that they can stay in those tricky positions for longer, ‘Catan’ employs the players’ ability to have both short-term and long-term goals, and try to make choices on what it is that they want more, ‘The Game of Life’ teaches people to make choices, and how to deal with difficulties that life will throw at them, and ‘Scotland Yard’ teaches people how to use their limited information to try and reach a viable hypothesis, and use that, followed by some experimental moves, to reach a conclusion.


SSIII: I think that’s all for today folks! Thank you Abhimanyu, for answering these questions!


AR: You’re very welcome! I really enjoyed the interview!


Now, I did answer those questions to the best of my ability, but I’m no expert. Due to this, I decided to ask for the opinion of a real expert, Mr. Karan Lahiri, Advocate, who is pretty much an expert on all things board game related!


Here is my interview with our board game champ, Mr Karan Lahiri-

AR: In an age where everyone is busy with video games or Netflix, do you think playing board games is still fun and relevant? If yes, why?

KL: Yes, I definitely think it is. When I was your age, I thought that it honed strategy and other such skills; now I play it because it’s a great way to spend time with friends and family members, and make memories! And now when you are stuck at home, it’s a great way to fight boredom, and spend time with the people you are with. It is also like travelling, because like travelling, it is a great way to spend time with people you love the most.


AR: What are your favourite board games?

K

L: My current favourite is Scythe, which is about economy building and territory control.It also has a great online version on Steam. I also love Star Wars: Rebellion (Pictured) which is great, but you need to set aside at least three hours of your day for it, because it takes a lot of time to set up.

There are also some games that are really good for both people who are huge board game fanatics, and for people who don’t enjoy board games that much.There's 7 Wonders- a game that we’ve (me, my wife Vrinda, my brother in law, my parents, and my entire family) played the

most. It accommodates anywhere between 3-7people.There are lots of expansions to the game, we have the Cities, Leaders, and Armada expansions, but don't have the Babel expansion. In the game, you start with a famous civilisation, like the Roman Civilization. You have basic resources, and get cards for your civilisation.there cards are placed on the civilization board, and interact with other players' cards. It’s loads of fun! I can’t just name one game- there are a lot of great ones out there.


AR: Just how competitive do your board game sessions get? Sometimes, my brother Agastya and I throw stuff at each other - have you ever reached that stage?

KL: I get very competitive, I have also thrown stuff at a lot of friends, and especially at my wife Vrinda. Usually, I use the rulebook to find the rules, and prove that I am right, because I am always the first to read the rulebook! Part of the fun is arguments around the game. Catan is a very rule oriented game, where you need to refer to the rules a lot, but apart from the game, it’s interactions like these that make games fun!


AR: What board games would you recommend to our readers?

KL: I have a bunch of recommendations, but first let me explain something related to these recommendations. There is a broad distinction between mainstream and hobbyist games. Mainstream games are like Monopoly and Jenga, that are in the mass market, that a lot of people play. I will talk about a lot of Hobbyist games, the kind where people are willing to set out hours to play, and the pieces and boards are very beautiful. A bunch of European games, or Euro Games, as they are called. These include Catan, Ticket to Ride, Puerto Rico and Power Grid. In Power Grid, you have a map of a city, and you have to power your cities to move forward. As you go further into the future, coal becomes more expensive,and nuclear energy becomes much cheaper. The Nuclear Power Plant is a huge investment, but it helps in the long run.


Some two player games that I recommend: Vrinda and I played a lot of the game called Jaipur, and 7 Wonders Duel. They’re great games, you should all get them.


There are also games that are not strategy games, but are light and fun, and you can play them with up to 20 friends. Code Names is really good, it’s good fun.There is also Dixit, there are really beautiful cards, you describe them with one phrase, and put it face down. Then everyone else will put their cards face down, and others need to guess which one was yours.. You get points for guessing, for fooling someone into choosing your card, or not letting anyone guess your card.


There is also a lot of online content on board games. Board Game Geek, run by passionate people, has detailed reviews of games, and it’s really good. Also, there’s Shut Up and Sit Down. It’s a website, and also has a podcast. They cover board game ratings, and discuss board games.


Then there is also Board Game Arena to play board games online. It has 7 Wonders and Puerto Rico. You Don’t need a lot of internet bandwidth to play it, and it’s quite fun!


Then there is an engine for heavy duty games, called STEAM.It’s an app on your computer that has a lot of games. We play Scythe on it, and this very cool game called Terraforming Mars.


But before you get stuck online, remember that it is better to get some physical board games, because I feel that they are more meaningful, and the boards and pieces look really good!


AR: Thank you so much!

Wow folks! What a day! I have had the pleasure of being interviewed by my good friend and alter-ego Screenbhimanyu, I have had the honour of talking to a true board game connoisseur and master, Mr. Karan Lahiri, and I have got a lot out of all of this. So always remember, however fast the world is progressing, it will never forget its roots, and board games will always be with us. They will be the original, and while they might be sidelined, they will never be forgotten, NEVER...

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Cover Story-


The Musk Mission- Big Space for a Big Question

By:Agastya Rao



Our planet is like a tiny speck of dust in a giant dusty mansion. Like Sir Terry Pratchett’s Carpet People, no dream is too big and no person is too small to explore. Which is exactly what humans have been trying to do. Ever since the dawn of time, humans have been like nomads and have been moving around the Earth in an endeavour to find a better place to live in and have a better livelihood. The Oregon Trail, the Gold Rush, and people moving from mountains to plains are good examples of this.


Following these very ideas, us humans didn’t stop there. From the time the Wright Brothers invented and flew their first aeroplane, travel has become quicker and more advanced. Then there were certain curious individuals who wanted to explore the unexplored, and they wanted to go big- space sized big. With that- space travel began.


The Cold War brought an icy fight to get to space, and then to the moon. As space travel increased, so did the Sci-Fi movies and the curiosity (both the Rover and the emotion :)

As technology improved, people with the resources, brains and the idea to colonise space have been lauded by many and received heavy flak from environmentalists.


As Elon Musk’s SpaceX invented the iconic and groundbreaking Reusable Rockets, and with the company's aim to send a human space crew to Mars by the year 2024, I shall explore the controversial topic that has made heads turn (Nodding with assurance and shaking with disapproval) “ Colonising Space”.


Why are we going to colonise Mars and Space?



The one question that must be running in your heads and that of the millions of other people when they heard we were going to colonise space- What? Where? When? And most importantly- Why? One of the main reasons is to explore and research about Mars, see how habitable it is. Another contributing factor is, like a possible alternative to our planet- with Global Warming, wars etc (More on this later). Mars is similar to Earth in quite a few ways, and there may be a lot of hope for Mars.


Other companies with their eyes set on space.


SpaceX isn’t the only company out there that is planning on space and exploration and colonising space. Here are some others-

(Pictured- Mars' possible future in my imagination)

-Blue Origin- Jeff Bezos made his fame and billions with Amazon, but also has his own space exploration company. Named Blue Origin, it has been one of the main competitors of SpaceX, and also has reusable rockets- which are aimed at decreasing the cost of space travel and making it affordable for people. They have also made lunar landers and transport for the moon, and perhaps even to stay there.


Many countries and companies are trying their best now, after many years to go up on top. As the world’s newest second richest man Elon Musk’s SpaceX goes up against the world’s richest man Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, it is exciting to see who will come up on top.



-Virgin Galactic- Founded by billionaire Sir Richard Branson and former Aerospace Engineer Burt Ruan. They also aim to have space travel open for everyone. They are currently about to run their first crewed space flight. They have not gained the same amount of attention and success as SpaceX and Blue Origin, but we are sure they will catch up in no time.




-India’s ISRO was the first in the world to send a satellite to Mars. It is possible that they could also be in the running to head there.


Now comes the last and final big question- should we dump Earth and forget about it and let it rot, and go around the universe looking for planets to colonise and take resources from- like in James Cameron's Avatar? Or will we slowly send a group of colonists to Exoplanets that are habitable like in the Netflix show- Lost in Space?


For that we will have to know what Exoplanets are. Exoplanets are planets that orbit stars and are similar in survival conditions to good ol’ planet Earth, and that we may be able to survive on. In my opinion, as important as it is to explore space and look for Extraterrestrial Life (Which there definitely is), it doesn’t mean we trash one planet up and move onto the next one like a bunch of plunderers. Let us first make sure that Earth is safe, green and clean and then prepare for missions to explore space.


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The Paperless Press: World Tour

By:Mihir Rao



In Weekly Digest #18, I talked about space and its mysteries. But, one does not need to exit our solar system to see something amazing! So, today I will be doing the Paperless Press World Tour!


We will start with, arguably some of the most wondrous places you will see!


Of course we are starting in India, with the Taj Mahal! Readers, you all probably know everything about the Mahal, but for anyone who doesn’t, the Taj Mahal is one of the 7 Wonders of The World, and it was made by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan. When his wife Mumtaz Mahal died, he made this ivory-white palace to house her tomb. This palace also has his tomb too.


Now, let’s go a bit to the North East, to the Great Wall of China, which is great, indeed.

Measuring over 8,500 km in length, it was made as protection against other groups. It was also used as a trade regulation system for imports and exports, and even today, it is considered as one of the greatest architectural feats of all time!


If we go to the southwest in Rio de Janeiro, then we have the statue of Christ the Redeemer, a statue of Jesus Christ holding his arms out, as if the entire city of Rio is under his protection. It is over 38m tall, and has been here for over 50 years!


Not too far from here, we have Machu Picchu, the Incan Temple in Peru! It was constructed on a 2430 m tall Mountain Ridge, by the Incas..



Now, let’s go to the limits of natural creation (at least on Earth):


The Mariana Trench is the deepest naturally occurring point in the world, going even more than Mount Everest, the tallest peak in the world! Scientists have tried to go

down to the depths of this trench, but the water pressure is too high. However, the creepy thing is that sounds have been detected coming from the depths of this boundless trough. This suggests that maybe even life exists in the deepest, darkest places.


Let’s journey now from the deepest trenches to the highest peak: Mount Everest. It is the HIGHEST natural structure, measuring in at more than 4000 meters tall! This means that about 100 India gates would fit in to be as tall as the peak.


This is but just a glimpse at the marvel that is our Earth, and it doesn't even cover a FRACTION of the beauty of nature. We don’t need to look out at space, and be sad that we can’t explore it, because we have so much here on our little blue planet for us.


‘When you love what you have, you have everything you need.’ - Jenny Marchal

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By: Agastya Rao

  • Punch it, Chewie! Harrison Ford is back to reprise his role as Indiana Jones and fans will be waiting for the movie to come out. The movie is set to release in the year 2022. So yes, it will take about a year or two- but I assure you it will be worth the wait!

  • An Indian-American pilot may be heading straight for the moon! Nasa announced that Raja Jon Vurputoor has been selected as part of a team that is going to be heading to the moon in possibly as close as the next four years! They always say shoot for the stars, I guess we ought to shoot for the moon instead!

  • The TIME magazine has named U.S President elect Joe Biden and U.S Vice President elect Kamala Harris as the joint- ‘person of the year’. The U.S elections made history, with the largest numbers of voters in the last 120 years. Kamala Harris also made history for being the First Woman and First Woman of colour to be elected as Vice President.

  • The species of the Bison are finally coming back! The numbers of the European Bison are increasing. This is good news for the environment. Sadly, the numbers of 31 new species have been labeled as extinct in the IUCN List. We at The Paperless Press hope that we see more species out of danger.

  • Colonel Prithak Singh Gill was no ordinary member of the Indian Armed Forces. He served not only in the Indian Air Force and the Indian Naval Forces, but also in the Indian Army. He was a fighter pilot for The Royal Indian Air Force, then served in the Indian Navy and then in the Indian Army as a Gunner Officer. He turned 100 today, and at The Paperless Press, we would like to thank him and salute him for his service, and… wish him a very Happy Birthday!

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The Changemaker Report- Spark the Spirit



Dear readers,

This time we bring to you an initiative by students from the Grade 10 of the Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon, that is doing a great initiative, and we would love for you to support them in their cause. They focus on “ building a profound understanding of mental health as a whole by understanding our own selves a little better” Here is a short message from them-about them-


“This year has been hard on all of us, especially in terms of our emotional well-being. Being isolated in your houses with very limited access to the outside world along with the complications of online school has not been great for the mental health of students. Let’s admit it, online school sucks, it really does. I am pretty sure you, dear reader, have many pending assignments and find it hard to pay attention in online classes (you are a literal god if this isn’t true for you). Many of us have been dealing with work stress, anxiety, burnout, and sometimes even depressive phases. And you are not alone.

To help us students deal with this and to help build a profound understanding of mental health as a whole by understanding our own selves a little better, there is a new initiative in our school-Spark the Spirit.

Spark the Spirit is a student-led club in our school which helps start constructive conversations about mental health to destigmatize this topic. They also have a chatbot and various resources which you can check out on their website-www.sparkthespirit.in


If you personally feel that you can lead a part of this club in your School and create a positive impact on your peers, then they have got the perfect opportunity for you.

Fill this google form to be a leader of your school’s own spark the spirit club-https://forms.gle/wLDi1UJa3bYtVkYH9

If you have any questions or are going through a tough time and would like to talk to someone, you can contact them at sparkthespiritsns@gmail.com or on their Instagram @sparkthespirit.

Closing on a note to whoever needs to hear this-You are loved and valid and there are people who deeply care about you, thanks for being here and helping in creating a kinder, more caring world”. :)

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By: Mihir Rao

  • The earth is 70% water, and 30% land. We still haven’t managed to explore the entire land part of Earth.

  • Yale University recently found out why large animals such as Lions, tigers, and Elephants still exist in large numbers in India. They found out that early humans used to co-exist with the megafauna, and used to integrate them into their lives.

  • Recently, an 8 mile painting was found in the Amazon Rainforest. Researchers say that the painting was probably made about 11,000 to 12,000 years ago. These pictures give us a ‘picture’ (pun intended) of what it was like to exist in the ice age.

  • Just off the English coast, a new species of sea dragon was found by an amateur fossil hunter named Steve Etches. When he found it, he thought it was extremely weird and unusual, so he gave it to the University of Portsmouth, and they found out that it belonged to a new type of species that they hadn’t seen before! The species of the fossil of the dinosaur he found was the Ichthyosaur, which was said to be 2 Meters long and lived more than 150 Million years ago!

  • In China, a company called AutoX backed by Alibaba, created and tested the first self-driving car on the roads of Shenzhen. This was one of the biggest industrial milestones in the history of machines! Now, they have deployed over 100 ‘Robo-taxis’ in China!


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A.Amazon Prime

-Nanny McPhee

B. Netflix

Boss Baby - Back in Business, Season 3

C. Disney + Hotstar

  • Mulan (Live action)




By: Abhimanyu Rao


Tennis.



Leander Paes is planning to break an unbreakable record, by qualifying for a record breaking eighth Olympic Games! He is already the record holder, with seven appearances at the Olympics, and plans to make it eight, because he wants India’s name to be in history books forever! We wish him good luck for this incredible endeavor!


Basketball



King James (LeBron James) has been crowned (get it - king- crowned) the TIME magazine’s Athlete of the year. He has just come off a great season, after leading the LA Lakers to a 17th NBA title and is currently tied with the Boston Celtics for the most championship titles record. He was also the Finals MVP (Most Valuable Player) for the 4th time.

The Los Angeles Lakers battled it out against the Los Angeles Clippers for the first match of the NBA preseason games. This is the second league that the NBA has organized during the Covid-19 pandemic. In a surprising decision by the Lakers, two of their best players, TIME magazine Athlete of the year LeBron James, and 7 time All Star Anthony Davis, were benched! Despite this, the Lakers won the game, showcasing just how great a team they really are!


Formula 1



Sergio Pérez won the Sakhir Grand Prix with a whopping ten second lead on the runner up Esteban Ocon! This was a huge change from the previous results, as the usual leader, Lewis Hamilton, had contracted Covid-19! Thankfully, he has now recovered, and is ready to sweep the leaderboards once more!


Cricket



Australia won the third T20 match against India by 12 runs,on Tuesday, the 8th of December and will now begin their test series on the 17th of December. The West Indies is currently trailing by 336 runs in the second match of a two match test series. The match will continue tomorrow, and the suspense is killing us!

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Video book review- #8

Looking for Books? See how we rank this week’s top book- The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown

Reviewed by: Mihir Rao



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Visit these pages to see some of our other endeavours!

Visit A Dogs Daily Antics to laugh your heart out with crazy captioned dog photos!

Visit TheChinappaChannel to see some quirky but nice videos that will make you roll with laughter


Our Request to you-


Here at The Paperless Press, we are committed to saving the Earth and making it a better place. The AQI (Air Quality Index) has rated Delhi pollution as severe. By bursting firecrackers, we are not only polluting the air and ruining our lungs, but are also running the risk of severely injuring birds and animals.This festive season, it is our humble request to you to stop bursting firecrackers, and to stop other people from bursting firecrackers. Only together can we make the world a better place. As always, as our motto goes, ‘Pressing a head for a better world’. We shall be saving paper, one article at a time.

A Note To Our Readers:

We thank our readers for supporting us these past months. We truly hope you enjoyed this digest and we hope this put a smile on your face. Here at The Paperless Press, we strive to provide free,fun and positive news. We would be very happy to receive your feedback and receive guest submissions from our readers. We hope that you spread the word and enjoy reading our digests.


-The Paperless Press

We hope this issue brightened up your day!


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