It’s time for 5 minute default meetings Beyond just virtual boards to play on The Unsubscribe Experiment The internet high wire act Hearthstone’s Year of the Phoenix! Ben Lee, Blowfish Studios

I imagine any Godzilla attack is rather unexpected until it happens. So, yes, colour me deeply surprised to see Wizards of the Coast work with the kings of kaiju, Toho Co, to bring us the crossover we never knew we needed in the new Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths premier card set.

Here’s the trailer, which is perfectly up to par on all the recent amazingly well executed MtG trailers until things suddenly take two wild twists.

One is the bizarre choice of Joan Jett’s Bad Reputation where we really would have been expecting the usual epic orchestral vibes or something moodier than a rocking cool track more comfortable in a retro teen movie sequence. But let’s set that aside.

The second is the real stunner. After a cool fight sequence with mega roach and flying spirit cats, our featured planes walker Vivien Reid whistles for extra backup. And dammit I was hoping we’d actually see Godzilla make an appearance in the clip, but instead we get a flash of the ‘Godzilla, King of the Monsters’ Legendary card that will appear in the set. WHAM.

No doubt the time it takes to develop these trailers was on a much longer timescale than the final pen went to paper on the licensing deal between Toho and Wizards.

We will be getting a lot more than just Godzilla in the set. But… and it’s a big ‘but’… the Godzilla Series cards will NOT be appearing in draft booster packs.

Fans will only be able to obtain Godzilla, King of the Monsters (while supplies last) by purchasing a draft booster pack display through a Wizards Play Network store. Each sealed draft booster pack display will contain a random Godzilla Series Monster card. Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Collector Boosters will also contain two random Godzilla Series Monster cards. The Godzilla Series Monster cards will not appear in draft booster packs.

Read on for the full list of 16 classic monster cards heading into Magic.

This is the time to win our time back.

Wasn’t that first couple of weeks of remote work exciting? Boy howdy we all learned a lot and discovered things they thought were impossible are actually possible.

But one thing has already become way too possible. The ability to act like a time vampire from your colleagues even when you’re not in a shared office. Just as we escaped the clutches of Cheryl knocking on a cubicle divider and immediately launching into a speech whether you were busy or not, the video conference is being used as a way to fill our calendars with back to back meetings all over again.

Video calls are great. A boon for remote work. They’ve proven how connected we can remain when we can’t share a physical space. But seriously, do we need so many of them? To bastardise the old adage:

“That Zoom meeting should have been an email.”

But there’s a perfect answer that the Googles, Microsofts, Zooms and Apples of the world could help solve forevermore. Kill the 30 minute default meeting and crush that default down to 5.

Right now, we aren’t walking from a desk to a conference room. We’re not commuting. We’re not rushing back from some client face to face. We’re all right here, at our desks, trying to get things done. And we can get check-ins done without a lot of the built in waiting time and preamble and wasted moments and just get down to business.

5 minutes. We call, we see each other, we say hi. We check-in about the specific thing that needs checking in on, we say goodbye, we get back to business. We can be enthusiastic about a 5 minute check-in.

By making 5 minutes the default, we put the onus on the person calling the meeting to have a specific reason for extending that time window to something bigger. It becomes an active choice that requires explanation, not the default marker of how much time everyone has the right to steal from the team they work with.

And by making 5 minutes the default, we demand that people show up on time! Running late? You missed it. Meeting is over. Tell your boss what was more important than that sharp 5 minutes of team time.

When we sharpen the time we let people take, we remind each other what our time is worth. A lot.

That’s the discovery most people should be uncovering during our enforced remote work time right now. We can get more focused work done, and focused time is a blessing to deep work and deep productivity. Meetings should be a sacred time to deal with roadblocks that are slowing down the work that gets done when we aren’t in meetings.

A lot of software lets you change the defaults. We can technically make this change ourselves. But like the chrono-thieves they are, the people who love calling too many meetings are never going to change without systemic change.

Our new world order under the book of Zoom is yet another newer format that only lets you define meetings in half hour blocks. No! Enough! Of all things, video should be the sharpest tool in the drawer.

Google. Microsoft. Apple. Zoom. All the rest of you out there doing calendars. The coronavirus crisis is the perfect time to give us our time back. Reset the defaults. 5 minutes at a time. It’s good for today, it’s great for tomorrow.

Luke Lancaster is back on the show with Seamus, discussing how to not just stick to virtual tabletops and other specific digital tools for our remote boardgame experiences. Luke even ran a game of Mr Jack via Twitter!

We get specific on the games, and kinds of games, that suit playing without constant access to a board, virtual or otherwise, and the particularly good reasons for using the likes of Roll20 and Tabletop Simulator to get involved.

Find Luke on Twitter: @lglancaster
Find PAX Australia on Twitter: @paxaus

No, don’t unsubscribe from Byteside! That’s not the experiment!! Seamus has been unsubscribing from all his video streaming services… but he’s still using them all exactly the way he always has. Huh? How’s that work? Listen to find out!

Plus changing NBN plans, those CVC questions, and testing speed upgrades. And playing tabletop roleplaying games over the internet – is there a good way to do it?

All that and Friday Zoom drinks, Audio Technica’s microphone giveaway, and more.

Digital services are blowing up in all kinds of ways, whether becoming the new hotness or collapsing under the weight of all this new work from home traffic. What are we searching for? Efficient work, entertainment or a sense of real connection?

All this plus random acts of kindness, esports replacing real sports, and more.

A big new year for Hearthstone. Unquestionably biggest yet. So The Scrapyard gets some Hearthstone specialists together to talk shop. Demon Hunters. Outland. Priest reworks. Ranked ladder changes. New / returning player experiences. And lots more!

Come share our excitement at what’s coming next for Blizzard’s fantabulous digital card game.

Seamus is joined by Stirling Coates (@stirlingcoates) and Kosta Andreadis (@toadovsky).

Ben Lee is the co-founder and Managing Director of Blowfish Studios based in Sydney. He’s been a games and software developer for over 20 years and Blowfish has been producing games for nine years – and recently they also started publishing games too.

They’re best known for their Siegecraft games but have a super diverse range of games across consoles, PC and mobile. Lee is also particularly insightful on running a game studio as a business, and what you can learn from other businesses of all stripes, not just other devs.

Big thanks to IGEA for helping to line up this interview, and Byteside will be working with them to do a lot more developer interviews throughout 2020.

Full Transcript Also Available

As the coronavirus crisis continues to worsen, tech has a massive role to play in keeping us together while we’re physically isolating ourselves to avoid the virus.

We look at the places where tech can help, from education to entertainment, and where it is failing. Plus how the world will be different in the adoption of remote presence tech on the other side.

Plenty of that plus a look at the new OS heading to Sonos hardware.

We’re being encouraged to self isolate if we can, which is great news for many geeks. But if you can’t gather around a table for a boardgames because that’s a bit too close – what are you going to do?

Yes, you could play a video game, but sometimes we want the tactile boardgames experience. So this week we’re exploring the many aspects of playing boardgames when you’re home alone. Solo games (and playing co-op solo). Games via remote access. Digital boardgames online. RPGs online. Right down to deck construction as a game!

There’s enough here to keep you mining new games, and games you already own, for the long months ahead.

We’re not angry about Warcraft 3: Reforged, we’re just disappointed. Yet we’re still in love with what this game is and hope for light at the end of the launch tunnel.

Speaking of tunnels, how about that coronavirus? It comes up not once, not twice, but THREE times in actual ways that actually relate to Blizzard games.

And then we slide way off topic as Kosta gives us a detailed synopsis of the movie Outbreak. Still not sure if he loves it or is just trolling…

Check out Kosta’s Warcraft 3: Reforged review here:
https://www.ausgamers.com/games/warcraft-3-reforged/review/

42 years of Megadodo Publications great work, The Hitchhikers Guide, leads off the show with immortal advice for our age.

From there, Nic and Seamus explore the TV adaptation of ‘The Last Of Us’ – Will it be good? And why do we still keep chasing the dream of game-to-filmed-entertainment crossovers when they’ve all been so bad?

Also – should Jack Dorsey leave Twitter? Surely something has to give? Plus we look at the magic of @ Home distributed computing for good, with Folding@Home now working on Covid-19 and SETI@Home closing down (but in a good way).

And finally, what’s the deal with ‘Contagion’ being so popular on Bittorrent right now?

Ellen Broad is a boardgame designer. But that’s not actually why I’m talking to her for Uplink. The boardgames was something of a byproduct – her main focus is being a rather brilliant thinker on all things data and AI.

In her career, Broad has worked for governments and UN bodies to help plot the future of data, digital issues and AI ethics, and she has also worked for Australia’s digital transformation and innovation body, Data61.

She has worked as the head of policy for the Open Data Institute and today she is a Senior Fellow at ANU’s 3Ai Institute. You can also buy her book – Made By Humans: The AI Condition.