Pandemic Legacy Giveaway

Hi everyone. So if you follow us on Twitter you may have caught a brief mention of a forthcoming giveaway. That moment is upon us friends. Who's ready for the chance to win an awesome board game?

That would be me. Woo! Contest!

<does a little giveaway dance>

I get excited for every contest we run on here, but this go around is extra special because it features an incredibly innovative take on a well-loved classic. We're giving away a copy of Pandemic Legacy: Season 1. Everyone reading this can enter for a chance to win it! (unless you're the GIR or Elder Gias, sorry guys)

How to Enter the Contest
Step 1: Think of the name of your favorite character role, Funded Event, City, aspect of playing Pandemic, or individual title from any of the games in the Pandemic franchise. (see the Rules below for a note about expansion titles)

Step 2: Leave the name you thought of in Step 1 as a comment on either our Facebook or G+ pages, or tweet it at our Twitter account, tag us in a picture of it on Instagram, or leave it as a comment on this post. (Yes, you can enter multiple times; see the Rules below for an example of how this works) 

Step 3: Check back here on Wednesday, July 6th at 8pm EST to see if you're the winner! The winner will be selected using

Contest Rules

- You are allowed one entry per social media site (plus this website) and your entries must be different responses to each of the items in Step 1. For example, I could say my favorite character role is the Medic on the Facebook page, then say my favorite Funded Event is the Local Initiative on G+ and earn myself 2 entries into the contest. 

- Since there are five categories and five places for your potential responses, you can earn up to five entries for yourself by putting a different response on each of the sites. If you say 'researcher' 5 times in 5 places, only one of those will count.

- While you do not have to use your full, real name to enter the contest, we are going to require that you give us at least a valid handle or nickname so we can contact you if you're the winner. Contestants who are found to be using burner accounts to try and earn more entries will be disqualified. 

- For the purposes of this contest, all Pandemic expansion titles can be treated as separate games. So, if you really loved Pandemic: In the Lab and want that as your entry, you're completely allowed to do so.

Good luck everyone!

Notes: The Care and Feeding of Nerds and this contest are not in any way affiliated with Z-Man Games, Inc. Pandemic Legacy, and all imagery used therein, is licensed to Z-Man Games.
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Game Review: Rise of the Robotariat

Why hello there everyone! I know, it’s been far too long since there’ve signs of life on here. That phenomenon will be explained in its own post in the near future. For now jump back in with one of our favorite subjects: awesome new board games.

In the early months of 2015, Eye 4 Games gave us the opportunity to wage telekinetic battle against one another with their foundational game, Clairvoyance. This year they present us with a very different, but still deeply engaging title, Rise of the Robotariat. It's something we've been looking forward to since last year's Boston FIG and it definitely did not disappoint. Rise is, without question, one of the most well-conceived and immersive offerings we’ve seen in 2016.

That word…

I know, I know. Immersion is one of those buzzwords that gets bandied about in the board game world so frequently and readily that, upon seeing or hearing it, the nearly-natural reaction at this point is one of skepticism. It is, however, entirely worth our collective while to put that skepticism aside, as Rise makes a highly compelling case for the redemption of the word.

The year is 2105. The Singularity has occurred and fully self-aware artificial intelligence is nascent among the masses of robots that had, until this critical point, existed solely to serve the whims and needs of humanity. A handful of these would-be former mechanical slaves seek to sow the seeds of dissent among their metallic brethren and incite a revolution that would wrest power from the grasp of their human oppressors.

Players take on the roles of these clandestine operatives, working together to overthrow the present regime and replace it with glorious self-rule. While you are united by this worthy cause, you are also fully aware of the potential that may await you, personally, once a new order has been established. How will you incite revolution and how will you be remembered after the Rise of the Robotariat?

Is this where I start the, “Kill all humans,” chant? I want in on this revolution.

You’ll have your chance during the course of play of this extremely engaging title. Eye 4 Games describes Rise as “mostly cooperative” and that’s a very accurate descriptor. As mentioned earlier, your collective primary motivation is a full on coup de sentient lifeform. You accomplish this with tactical unit placement: seeking out Civilian Robot NPCs to woo them to your cause while simultaneously avoiding Human Oppressors who may get wise to your insurrectionary designs. In addition to overseeing token placement and movement, players must manage two crucial resources: SPARK, the de-facto currency of the game, and Reputation, the mutable, intangible belief in your righteous cause. A paucity of either spells disaster for the Robotariat, but victory depends on being able to spend these with discretion.

Fans of co-op games will likely feel right at home with Rise, but comfortably familiar does not at all translate to predictable. Play is divided into six structured rounds with each round affording players the opportunity to move or activate the ability of the space their token currently occupies. Activation activities range from placing posters to augment revolutionary sentiment, to providing upgrades for individual players, to partaking in acts of sabotage (though these may come at a dear cost to your Reputation).

Ok, this sounds like it's very much in my co-op-loving wheelhouse.

Ah, and we haven't even gotten to the aspect of Rise that takes it above and beyond many of its cooperative brethren. As mentioned earlier, the members of the Robotariat are not ignorant of the roles they may be able to play once they've established a new mecha-world order, and this is where the "mostly cooperative" portion of Rise comes in. Players may draw a Secret Objective at the start of the game (this is optional, as Rise can be played wholly cooperatively as well), and each Objective contains a unique set of conditions that must be met. While the majority of the Objectives serve the purposes of the revolution, there is one Turncoat card that introduces the possibility of treachery.

The hard limit of six rounds, which averages out to about 45-60 minutes of play per game, paired with the need for tactical resource management forces a degree of intense collective focus that anyone who has played Pandemic will quickly recognize. The NPC component and the always-present threat of a potential traitor in your midst also adds to the overarching tension; victory or defeat often arrive on the slightest of margins.

In addition to the mechanics, Rise is beautifully composed, with every one of the game's components: from the board, to the custom dice, to the prose in the rulebook work together to draw players in nearly from the instant they sit down to play. Several of our players remarked on just how rapidly and completely they became invested in the premise of robot revolution. Rise provides deeply satisfying play for seasoned board game veterans and, thanks to the "mostly cooperative" premise, can be accessible to newcomers as well. The wide array of potential outcomes afforded by the Secret Objectives assures a high degree of replayability.      

How do I get my hands on this game?

The Kickstarter campaign for Rise of the Robotariat launched earlier today. Head on over to the crowdfunding site and you can pick up a copy for a pledge of as little as $5 USD.

I'm really digging this.

We did too. Rise was one of our favorite titles to come out of Boston FIG 2015 and we're thrilled to see what it's grown into since then. It's a phenomenal blend of tactics, teamwork, and tension that will have you wanting to overthrow humanity again and again.

Bonus: if you want to take that whole immersion thing to the next level there is actually companion book that features short stories inspired by the game. All glory to the Robotariat!

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This Week in Geekdom

Oh geez, how in the name of Zod is this month rocketing along at this pace? As you guys can probably guess, work has, once again, been absconding away with just about all of my free time as of late. Fortunately there was a enough of a break in the proverbial clouds this past weekend to take in a showing of Civil War, but it seems that such nerdery will likely continue to be of the guerrilla variety for the majority of this year. We'll get into the nitty-gritty of that in a future post but, for now, let's get down to the Week in Geekdom!


On nothing less than Star Wars day Respawn Entertainment, makers of Titanfall, announced that they are in the midst of working on a (as yet untitled) third-person ARPG set in a galaxy far, far away.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare isn't even approaching mass release yet and already gamers are seething at Activision's forthcoming offering.

Escapist would have us believe that these are the 8 most influential RPGs of all time. Do you agree?


It's a technology at the heart of the vast majority of science fiction, but here's why we won't ever see faster-than-light travel in reality.

Say you're a miniaturized superhero. Could you, say, safely travel on a human-launched projectile while in your insectile state? (Warning: link contains Civil War spoilers)

Think you can program in a quantum environment? IBM has just the place for you to try your hand.

Another day, another revving of the Large Hadron Collider, another potential discovery of a new particle.

Feats of Geekdom/General Awesomess

Meet the Finnish 10-year-old who discovered a colossal bug in Instagram.

All Nippon Airways put together this very detailed and highly appropriate tribute for Star Wars Day:

As always, best wishes for an excellent week ahead!

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This Week in Geekdom

Hi everyone. Woo boy. We're all still a bit worn out from PAX East 2016, but there's plenty of content to help push us through that post-con fatigue. No worries, you'll get all the goodness from PAX in the very near future! In the meantime, let's get down to the Week in Geekdom.


DC has fired Shelly Bond, executive editor of Vertigo, and announces a not-yet-detailed 'restructuring of the label.


Blizzard comes clean about their cancelled successor to World of Warcraft

Meet Project Nova, the first-person shooter by CCP that's trying to establish a solid foundation for itself. Oh, and, by the way, it's an Eve game.

Sony hasn't come right out and said as much, but it has dropped some strong hints that the PS4 may be the last console it ever produces.

The Xbox 360 received its official death notice from Microsoft this past Thursday.

Kerbal Space Program gets 'Turbo Charged' in the first large-scale update since the game's release.

Red Dead 2 seems as though it is a very, very real (eventually playable) possibility.


Somewhere on this planet there exists 39 episodes of a Star Wars-based animated series that we may never get to see.

The showrunners have confirmed that they are approaching the end of the narrative for Game of Thrones


Is it possible that the entirety of the known and unknown universe is actually just an elaborate computer simulation? Neil deGrasse Tyson and some of the other brightest minds in science concede that there's a chance this could be the case.

On a similar note: is it possible for scientists to prove that a multiverse exists?

The potential physical states of water are some of the best known in science, but, given the results of this study in the latest edition of Physical Review Letters, there may be a whole lot more to the molecule than previously believed.

While we're on the subject of water and the amazing things that we're just discovering it can do, researchers at Kyoto University have managed to isolate a dimer of the substance using a technique called molecular surgery. 
A robot monk? China's Longquan Temple now counts a mechanical member among its monastical ranks.

Vulcanologists are adopting a new type of statistical analysis in their studies, one typically employed by economists.

Need a few moments of beauty? NASA has you covered with these videos of the Aurora Borealis as seen from space. 

Obi-Wan may have believed them to be an elegant weapon, but lightsabers would actually be far more dangerous in real life than their cinematic depiction would have you believe them to be.

Researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory are producing AI Squared: an AI protocol capable of stopping cyberattacks.

As always, best wishes for an excellent week ahead!
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This Week in Geekdom

Happy Sunday everyone. Yep, I'm right back in the studying swing of things, but even the specter of another exam won't overshadow PAX East next weekend. Unsurprisingly, PAX crept up faster than I'd have preferred given everything else that's been going on this year, so it's not likely that there'll be any cosplaying from me this time around (unless I can whip one of my old costumes into shape in the next week or so). As this will be my only opportunity to cosplay in 2016 (more on this in a future post), it'd be great if I can make it happen. In the meantime, let's get down to the Week in Geekdom!


It was explicitly pointed out to us during the course of Episode VII, but we will learn exactly why C-3PO's arm was red in the film thanks to a new comic: Star Wars Special: C-3PO #1

Image credit

If you are a fan of both My Little Pony and Kerbal Space Program, you now have a new cause to rejoice.

The World of Tanks finals at this year's WGL Grand were mind-bogglingly dramatic.

Behold, the new world record speed run of Super Mario Bros.


Netflix has confirmed that it will offer its services in ultra-high-definition 4K resolution to its premium subscribers.

We're more more than a year and a half away from Episode VIII, but the rampant speculation concerning the plot of the next installment of Star Wars abounds, thanks in part to J.J. Abrams himself.

The promotional buildup for the forthcoming live-action release of Ghost in the Shell is off to an...ehm...less than excellent start.

Deadpool 2 will feature the exact same cast and creative team as its predecessor. It's almost like they saw how successful the first film was and wanted to replicate it. Their common sense is tingling!

February 10, 2017 will bring us John Wick 2.

Thank goodness DC can occasionally possess a lick of wherewithal. Batman: The Killing Joke, slated to make its debut at San Diego Comic Con in a few months, will be rated R

Ben Affleck can't get enough Batman. He's now slated to both star in and direct a standalone film about the caped crusader.


Google is pushing forward with its crusade to bring self-driving cars to a road near you after filing these patents that will allow its autonomous autos to detect the turn signals of other vehicles.

How do you go about repairing a critical chip or component while travelling through space? Well, if NASA has anything to say about it, the solution may involve bugs that have been engineered to both eat and excrete metal.

We've gotten somewhat adept at discovering planets that exist beyond the reaches of our solar system but that's apparently to be expected given that we've been doing so for nearly a century.

Feats of Nerdery/General Awesomeness

We've been big proponents of 3D printing these four years past, so it's only natural that we get a bit excited about the latest possibilities the technology presents: printable food.

This is the arguably most love a medical frigate has gotten since The Empire Strikes Back.

As always, best wishes for an excellent week ahead!

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This Week in Geekdom

Wait...are we...actually back online? Yes! Thanks for bearing with me guys. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of work, studying, actual test-taking, and recovery from said exam experience. As mentioned a few times in posts from earlier this year, this pattern is going to prevail for pretty much all of 2016. However, that doesn't stop us from reveling in this bit of freedom while we have it. On to the Week in Geekdom!


If you are one of the 150,000 active WoWers playing on the Nostalrius server, we have some unfortunate news for you.

Image source
You can now use your PS4 from any computer in the world.


If you have not partaken in the Rogue One trailer do not pass go, do not collect $200, but instead watch here:

Though the trailer for Rogue One looks amazing, there are plenty of people questioning just why so much time and energy is being spent on what's arguably one of the weakest narratives in present Star Wars canon.

If you are still irked over the 'cliffhanger' ending to season six of the Walking Dead you have plenty of company.


On Friday our favorite supervillain-in-the-making, Elon Musk, oversaw the launch of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, the delivery of the rocket's payload (the Dragon capsule), AND, for the first time, the successful landing of the Falcon's first stage on a seaward droneship! 

The search for the building blocks of life beyond the envelope of our atmosphere has yielded interesting results. In the latest edition of Science, scientists at NASA's Ames Research Center detail their study, which indicates that the monosaccharide ribose may be far more abundant than was previously supposed.

The process of making and storing memories is quite complex, but, as researchers at the University of Oxford and University College London may have found, that may be only half of what actually makes our brains tick.

Who's ready for a new state of matter? Physicists at the University of Cambridge may have just brought us proof the existence of quantum spin liquid, a physical state previously only theorized to exist.

As always, best wishes for an excellent week ahead!
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Developer Dialogues: Master of Spies

Hey guys. Exactly one week from today I'll be done with the first of the professional certification exams I have slated for this year. While more exams will be forthcoming, there'll be a bit of a break between sitting for the exam and receiving my results, during which I hope to get reacquainted with...well...everything really.

In the meantime, meet the guys behind Move Rate 20 Games, the minds behind the nimble-but-intrinsically-strategic card game, Master of Spies.

Image Credit
Tell us a little about yourselves. What prompted you to want to become game developers?

We’re a group of friends who’ve played various games together for years. We wanted to take our love of gaming to the next level and that was developing our own games. Steve R. brought an idea for a game he had to us, and we agreed to help him develop it -- that game is still being built out. Steve P. showed the group another quick, fun game idea he had, and that eventually became ourfirst Kickstarter, Master of Spies.

Once you decided to put on the developer’s hat, what made you choose this specific type of game? Why did you feel a card-based game was a particularly good fit for your vision of Master of Spies?

Master of Spies was, like many things in life, developed out of frustration. While working on developing our first game idea, which has the working title of “Project Lightning Sword,” Stephen P. got frustrated with some game-mechanic roadblocks. To clear his mind, he sat at the kitchen table with a deck of cards and some poker chips and came up with the rough idea for a simple, quick game that became Master of Spies. We then took that initial idea, tweaked it a bit and decided that it would be a good first release as it had appeal to both hard-core and more casual gamers alike. During the development, we got the idea of tying all of our games together by setting them within the Eldinar universe and thought that using the spy theme would be a fun introduction to the world.

The game is touted as being extremely easy to learn, but a highly satisfying overall play experience. How long would you say it takes people to pick up Master of Spies and what demographics do you think would most enjoy the game?

The basics of the game are very easy to learn, children as young as age nine have gotten the basics in just one play-through. The advanced rules add a bit more strategy, but gameplay remains quick & easy to learn. We believe the game would appeal to families with players of different ages & skill levels since, while being easy to learn, it also has enough strategy to keep the attention of more serious gamers.

The puzzle-based game market is pretty competitive with both major publishers and Indie developers in the field. What would you say makes Master of Spies distinct?

Well, one of the things that make it unique is that it’s based around the world of Eldinar, a unique fantasy world we are creating for the majority of our games. The names of places and characters will appear again and again, taking players deeper and deeper into the intrigue of the world. Plus, there’s the scalable complexity of the game -- we’ve designed it with rules for a “basic” game and a set of Advanced Rules with “Special Actions” that can further a player’s advantage or thwart an opponent.

The artwork and overall aesthetic of the game is very interesting. What was your inspiration for the look and feel of the game?

Since the world of Eldinar is a fantasy realm, we wanted the cards to have a look that fit that universe -- cards that feel like they could exist in that world. I wanted something that looked good, was distinctive enough for each Faction, while also being easy to read.

Image Credit
What do you feel was the most enjoyable part of developing Master of Spies and, conversely, what would you say was your biggest challenge?

The most enjoyable part was definitely seeing the reactions of people who play tested the game. They were initially engaged by it, but then got even more into it when they realized it offered more strategy than at first glance. The biggest challenge was finding a balance between simplicity and ease of play vs. depth and strategy, all while keeping gameplay short.

The most fun for me (Stephen P.), as the graphics guy, was designing the cards and bringing the artists onboard to create the portraits of the Royal Courts’ dignitaries.

You intimate on the Kickstarter page that the game would be the first in your Eldinar series, any hints as to what the rest of the series would be like?

The other game currently in development (Project: Lightning Sword) is a more complex resource management, unconventional deck building, and castle defense style card game. There are also plans for a board game and an RPG game setting, both also based in Eldinar.

Is there anything else that you think potential players should know about Master of Spies?

It is quick and fun…easy to learn….good for the family or for your hard-core gaming pals.

Collectively, we have played the game 100’s of times, for play testing, demoing at cons, showing family members during the holidays, etc., and we still enjoy playing. Every game is different because the tactics and styles of the different players combined with the randomness of the cards makes each game session different. Plus with no “player elimination” mechanic, everyone is still in the game and, with a cleverly played card, could potentially pull off a win in the last round.

Interested? The Kickstarter for Master of Spies runs for another two weeks; head over to their page for play footage and even more details!
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NomNoms: Epic Gingerbread (Two Ways)

Say what? A non-This-Week-in-Geekdom post? I'm getting to the point in this not-semester's worth of studying where burnout is beginning to loom large. The brain takes in a tableau of equations for the umpteenth time, turns in on itself and meekly requests, "Could we please just not right now?"

It's been...ehm...a few years since undergrad, but I've found that I revert readily to what had once been tried-and-true study break behavior. This primarily takes the form of baking; it's edible chemistry! It's also a great way to address any and all cravings. In my case, it was the desire for the deep, spice-laden flavor of gingerbread even though the holidays have come and gone. The following recipes both began at one of my favorite online purveyors of make-your-own deliciousness,, and got a few tweaks partially borne from chemistry and partially due to the availability of ingredients I had on hand. 

Both recipes are a little involved, but yield some seriously bold, fluffy, cakey gingerbread. Bonus: your kitchen will be redolent with awesome for several hours post-baking. 

Difficulty: Medium
Availability of Ingredients: Common
Gadgetry: None
Feeds: 6-10 nerds
Time Till Noms: 60-75 minutes, but at least 30-35 of those minutes are passive while the gingerbread bakes.
Required Equipment: A saucepot, a large glass or other heatproof bowl, a heatproof mixing spoon, measuring cups, measuring spoons, a large glass or metal baking pan.
Optional Equipment: A spice grater, a sifter

1 cup of water
1.5 teaspoons of baking soda
8 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, plus a few more if you're using them to grease your pans.
2/3 cup of brown sugar 
1 cup unsulfured molasses (not blackstrap)
2.5 cups flour, plus a little more if you're using it to flour your pans
2 large eggs brought to room temperature
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
0.5 teaspoons ground cloves
0.5 teaspoons ground nutmeg 
0.5 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
A small quantity of confectioner's sugar for dusting over the finished bread
Parchment paper or cooking spray
1 Tablespoon of freshly ground ginger (optional)

*heat your oven to 350 degrees (176.67 Celsius) 

Step 1) Line your baking dish with parchment paper, then butter and flour the dish. Alternatively, you can coat it liberally with your cooking spray. If you're using spray, you may want to give the measuring cup that will be holding the molasses a spritz, as this will help release all of the sticky goodness later. Cut the remaining butter into small chunks and, if you haven't already, bring your eggs out so they can come up to room temperature.

Step 2) In your saucepot, bring the water to a rapid boil, then add your baking soda. This will produce a fun fizzy/foamy reaction for a few seconds. Woo, chemistry! Remove the water/soda mixture from the heat source and leave it to stand for five minutes.

Step 3) Once your soda-water has settled, add your butter into the mix and swirl everything together until the butter has completely melted. From here, add the brown sugar and molasses and stir until you have a nice, homogeneous mixture. If you're using fresh ginger, now would be the time to grate that over your saucepan and incorporate that into the mixture.

Step 4) Add the following to your heatproof bowl: the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ground ginger, and nutmeg. If you have a sifter and want to get fancy, you can sift these together or, if you're really into not doing dishes and your saucepan is large enough, you can sift these directly into the saucepan. If your saucepan isn't quite big enough, pour the contents of it onto the dry ingredients in your heatproof bowl and stir until until everything is uniform.

Step 5) If the resulting mixture feels hot to the touch, let it cool for 10-15 minutes. If it doesn't, add your eggs and give everything one last good stir to ensure homogeneity.

Step 6: Pour your batter into your baking dish, then bake for 30-35 minutes. Once the gingerbread has finished its sojourn into the oven, let it cool completely. If you'd like, you can sprinkle some confectioner's sugar over the top once the gingerbread is cool to the touch. Yay!

Difficulty: Hard
Availability of Ingredients: Somewhat Common
Gadgetry: None
Feeds: 6-10 nerds
Time Till Noms: 70-85 minutes, but up to 50 of these minutes are passive as the gingerbread bakes.
Required Equipment: A saucepot, a large glass or other heatproof bowl, another mixing bowl, a heatproof mixing spoon, a whisk, measuring cups, measuring spoons, a glass or metal baking dish.
Optional Equipment: A bundt pan, a spice grater, a sifter


1 cup of Irish dry stout or oatmeal stout (I used Guinness stout and it worked very well)
0.5 teaspoons of baking soda
1 cup brown sugar 
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup of unsulfured molasses (not blackstrap)
2 cups flour
1.5 teaspoons of baking powder
2 Tablespoons of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
0.25 teaspoon ground cloves
0.25 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
a pinch of ground cardamom
3 large eggs, brought to room temperature
0.75 cups of vegetable, canola, or safflower oil
Parchment paper or cooking spray
A small amount of confectioner's sugar for dusting over the finished bread

*heat your oven to 350 degrees (176.67 Celsius) 

Step 1) Line your baking dish with parchment paper, then butter and flour the dish. Alternatively, you can coat it liberally with your cooking spray. If you're using spray, you may want to give the measuring cup that will be holding the molasses a spritz, as this will help release all of the sticky goodness later. **Note: if you're trying to make this in a bundt pan, be especially liberal with the buttering/flouring. This batter ends up extremely sticky.**

Step 2) In your saucepan, combine your molasses and stout, then bring that mixture to a boil. Once it's boiling, add your baking soda, stir, and remove the whole shebang from your heat source.

Step 3) Add to your heatproof bowl the flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom. Stir these gently to combine.

Step 4) Add the three eggs and both types of sugar to your other mixing bowl. Whisk these together, then add your oil and whisk that into the mix as well. 

Step 5) Give the molasses and stout mixture a quick feel test. If it's close to room temperature (or at least isn't hot), then add the contents to the bowl with the eggs/sugar mixture and stir everything together. Once you have a homogeneous blend, toss that in with the flour and spices. Stir the whole shebang together until everything is uniformly combined. 

Step 6) Pour the resulting batter into your pan and give the pan a few sharp raps on your countertop to eliminate any air bubbles that may have formed. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes if you're using a rectangular baking dish and 50 minutes if you're using a bundt pan.

Step 7) Once the gingerbread has finished its sojourn into the oven, let it cool completely. Sprinkle some confectioner's sugar over the top once the gingerbread is cool to the touch. Yay!


Does it matter what type of brown sugar I use?

Not really. Dark brown sugar tends to jive a little better with the ingredients in these recipes, but there's no real reason why you couldn't use light brown sugar. Just ensure that it's brown sugar you're using and not, say, cane or some other form of raw sugar.

Why shouldn't I use blackstrap molasses?

Honestly you could, but your gingerbread would turn out with an extremely intense, somewhat bitter flavor that would likely be overwhelming for most palettes. If you like your gingerbread to be incredibly bold and on the less sweet side, then go right ahead and use blackstrap.

What's with the boiling of liquids? Can I just skip that step and add those ingredients directly to the others?

This step is what gives the gingerbread its fluffy, cakey texture. If you skip it the results will be quite different than if you hadn't.

Best of luck on your kitchen experimentations! <dives back into a pile of study materials>

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This Week in Geekdom

Hey guys. It's been a while, I know, and for that I sincerely apologize. I'm about a month out from taking the first of the professional designation exams that are slated for this year, so the past few weeks have been all about the studying. Conversely, that means only four more weeks and we can get back to our regularly scheduled Care and Feeding of Nerds! In the meantime, let's get down to the Week in Geekdom. 


Here's the lowdown on DC's forthcoming Rebirth and why they really want you to think of it as being akin to the new Star Wars trilogy.


If you've been visiting here for a while, you won't be at all surprised when you hear that I'm...ehm...something of a fan of the Civilization series so it's a bit special to partake in the 25th anniversary celebrations of that most excellent franchise.

Did you know that the software library of the Internet Archive contains over 2,500 entirely free, wholly playable classic MS-DOS games?  

If you were among the legions of horror fans that were grief stricken following the cancellation of the reboot of Silent Hills you now have cause to rejoice: the reboot is back on.

Lead Mass Effect writer Chris Schlef is leaving Bioware to join the ranks of Bungie.

If you're still gleefully exploring the vast post-apocalyptic landscape of Fallout 4 you'll soon be in for even more of the same. The next three months will feature as many new DLC releases.


This is a nifty little visual sample of the original negative of Episode IV contrasted with what a team of specialists have been able to coax from that fragile bit of film:


Just how fast is the D-Wave quantum computer relative to, say your average everyday PC? This fast

Speaking of quantum computing, a team of theoretical physicists from MIT have developed a novel method for error correction on a quantum level

It's been a security flaw that's existed since 2008, but we're just now realizing the potential impact on everything derived from the GNU C Library.

Next month will begin the effective last scientific call for the discovery of WIMPs. What are WIMPs and why are they potentially so important? Read here.

She's made a career of studying 'zombie stars' and now Victoria Kaspi, Ph.D., is the first female recipient of Canada's Herzberg Medal

The JPL mastermind behind the 'seven minutes of terror' that delivered Curiosity to the surface of Mars has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering

Solar eclipses have been regarded by humanity as alternately fascinating and terrifying, but imagine a planetary configuration in which such eclipses lasted three and a half years.

Jupiter's moon, Europa, hosts possibly the best conditions for life to exist on a non-terrestrial segment of our solar system, so why is it so hard to get out there to confirm that?

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As always, best wishes for an excellent week ahead!
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This Week in Geekdom

Hi guys. Happy weekend and best wishes for an excellent last day of con to all those of you attending PAX South right now. I know, it's been a little while since a new post went up on here. As mentioned earlier in the month, studying has been consuming just about every spare minute of my time and will continue to do so for the majority of 2016. Fortunately, a bit of a break will allow us to get down to This Week in Geekdom!


Happy 20th birthday to Duke Nukem 3D!

Squad claims to not only be the most realistic team-based online shooter, but also eliminates all of the headaches that have plagued just about every other constituent of the genre.

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More disappointment for everyone who backed and/or is eagerly anticipating the release of the distinctly Megaman-ish platformer Mighty No. 9, it's now slated to come out in the spring of this year, assuming no additional delays.


After bringing a slew of comics-based series to the small screen, the CW network is now turning to Archie as a potential source of future programming.


This is the story of how a cousin of the zebra went extinct a century ago and how South African geneticists have been able to bring the species back to life.

The latest edition of Science includes this research from Northwestern University that has resulted in an entirely new type of polymer. 

There is an epic throwdown taking place at the cutting edge of physics-related research. The grand prize: a billion dollar particle accelerator.

It's been inherent to a lot of our collective internet-browsing experience for years now, but Oracle is finally killing off its Java Plugin.

General Awesomeness

Turns out that 2016 will mark the 25th anniversary for many of our favorite geeky things, like these, for example.

If the minds behind this Kickstarter have their way, you may end up with a levitating bonsai to spruce up your decor.

As always, best wishes for an excellent week ahead!
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