Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Tom Standage

A Game, a Gadget and an App

A card game for adults only, the best e-reader yet, and chemistry-set heaven

Tom Standage | March/April 2015

A GAME Cards Against Humanity
Cheerfully describing itself as “a party game for horrible people”, Cards Against Humanity is having a moment. Launched in 2011, with funding from Kickstarter, it quickly acquired a cult following in geek circles. It gained more fans with the help of expansion packs and charity fundraising stunts, and crossed into the mainstream in 2015 via an introductory video featuring the ladies of “Downton Abbey” (you can watch it here). The basics of the game are easily grasped: one player reads out a sentence from a “question” card, and the other players put down “answer” cards to fill in the blank; whoever provides the funniest answer (in practice, the filthiest or most disgustingly inappropriate) takes all the cards. It sounds simple, but what makes Cards Against Humanity so compelling is its ability to reveal hitherto unseen depths of depravity in your friends’ personalities. Its humour is definitely not for children; and you probably won’t want to play it with your parents, either.

Cards Against Humanity British edition £20, expansion packs extra

 

A GADGET Kindle Voyage (
with Origami case)
The seventh incarnation of Amazon’s category-leading e-book reader, the Voyage is the best e-reader on the market. Compared with previous models, the screen is crisper and sharper, the battery lasts longer, the page-turning is easier (just squeeze the frame gently) and the backlight adapts to the surroundings—even turning the brightness down gradually when you’re reading at night, as your eyes adjust to the darkness. But perhaps the cleverest thing of all is the optional Origami case. As well as protecting the screen when not in use, the case neatly folds up, its internal magnets snapping together to form a rigid stand in both portrait and landscape mode. Reading in bed, or on the sofa, has never been more comfortable.

Kindle Voyage £169 (Wi-Fi only), £229 (with 3G). Origami case £39.99

 

AN APP Molecules by Theodore Gray

A follow-up to the author’s earlier “The Elements” and “The Elements in Action” apps, this beautiful interactive book takes the next logical step and considers molecules. Gray is like a knowledgeable favourite uncle, cheery without being patronising, and utterly rigorous. He explains the basics of chemistry and how slightly different arrangements of atoms can have very different properties. He then lets you play with accurate, wiggling 3D models of various molecules to gain a feel for their behaviour. By doing so, he writes, “you will gain more understanding of how molecules work in five minutes than an earlier generation of students did in five years.” He grumbles that children are not allowed chemistry sets any more, but this app is the next best thing. In some ways, in fact, it’s better.

Molecules by Theodore Gray for iPhone and iPad, £10.49

 

Readers' comments

Sign in or Create your account to join the discussion.