Zombicide: Black Plague, $89 Horrified, $45 See at Target See at Amazon Dan Ackerman/CNET • Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. Back-to-School Tech Gift Guide Dan Ackerman/CNET The Fallout 76 video game not doing it for you? Don’t feel bad, it’s not hitting the right note with a lot of people. As an alternative, may I suggest this expansive board-game version, which feels much more like a traditional Fallout game. It’s got factions, settlements, super mutants, buying and selling — and, of course, lots of deadly radiation. It’s also a bit fiddly, so set aside some serious time to learn the rules. This behemoth of a board game is expensive and occasionally hard to find (but has recently dropped from about $130 to $95 at many stores). Still, it’s worth the effort and expense to explore a rich world spiced with deep, strategic combat. Gloomhaven replaces the traditional dice-based combat with a card-based system that reduces randomness and works stunningly well. While daunting at first, the gameplay turns out to be a surprisingly simple matter of picking the right cards at the right times to beat up the big scary monsters blocking your path forward. When not fighting, you can move the surprisingly rich story forward with choose-your-own-adventure style moments that reveal the interesting depth and complexity of this well-crafted and unique fantasy world. — Andrew Gebhart Dan Ackerman/CNET We live in a golden age of video games, to be sure. New console hardware in the works, amazing advances in PC graphics hardware and esports are big business. But there’s a potentially more interesting gaming revolution going at the same time. Old-school tabletop board games have been gaining in momentum for the past couple of years, and are just this side of mainstream. They’re a natural match for PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch fans, as many take just enough of a cue from modern video games to feel familiar. Many include companion apps that run on phones, tablets or laptops, handling much of the stat-counting, card shuffling and other minutiae that can scare people off from tabletop gaming.The themes are, not surprisingly, often focused on dungeons dragons style fantasy, zombie attacks, sci-fi battles and Lovecraftian supernatural high jinks. The latest big-budget release is Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth, which combines miniature figures, map tiles, and a highly polished tablet app. Here are some of my current favorites for best board games, any one of which can turn game night into an epic multi-hour adventure. Feel ambitious and want to make your own extra accessories, game pieces or card holders with a 3D printer? We’ve got that covered, too. Got your own suggestions? Let me know your picks for the best board games in the comments or on Twitter. Aug 29 • Best college laptops for 2019 Steamforged Games See at Amazon See at Amazon reading • Put down the gamepad, these are the best tabletop board games for video gamers Dan Ackerman Dan Ackerman/CNET As a long-time Resident Evil fan, I had to snatch this up immediately. Like many big box board games, it started as a Kickstarter project, but is now available from Amazon and other retailers. Unlike arcade-y zombie games like Zombicide, the vibe here is much closer to the survival horror feel of the Resident Evil video games. If you have a 3D printer, there are a ton of accessories you can download and print, like 3D walls, doors and typewriters, to replace the cardboard tokens that come with the game. The best Star Wars game I’ve played in years isn’t a video game, it’s this challenging tabletop strategy game, where rebel heroes fight through various skirmishes with Imperial forces. There’s a fantastic companion app that not only teaches you how to play, it handles the storytelling and enemy placement, too. The miniatures are fantastic, and include a giant AT-ST, and sold-separately add-ons and expansions can add dozens of new figures. Fun fact — this is actually a remixed version of a game called Descent: Journeys in the Dark, so check that out if you want a game that plays like Imperial Assault, but with a D&D/Game of Thrones/fantasy theme. Aug 29 • Our favorite back-to-school picks for 2019 See at Amazon It’s time to get the fellowship back together. This is a great game for joining up with four other players (or just as a solo player) to go tromping across Middle-earth by moving cool-looking sculpted miniatures around map tiles. There’s a free, but mandatory, app available on iOS, Android and via Steam, which tells you how to lay out the map tiles and which monsters to fight, and provides for a certain amount of randomization. Built from the ground up as an app-based board game, it really makes getting set up and learning the ropes easy. Mansions of Madness, $79 Dan Ackerman/CNET Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth, $79 Dan Ackerman/CNET Fallout: The Board Game, $50 Star Wars: Imperial Assault, $79 Fantasy Flight Games See at Amazon Read: Fallout 76: The wasteland is more fun with friends Share your voice See at eBay Resident Evil 2, $75 Comments Deep Madness, $130 and up Arkham Horror: The Card Game, $31 You’ll have to hit eBay or a resale shop to find this giant game. So far it’s sold through two printings on Kickstarter, but there are no plans for a retail release. Trapped in an underwater research station, one to six players avoid flooded rooms and, you guessed it, Lovecraftian monsters. Derivative, but great atmosphere and art direction. Aug 29 • Save up to $500 on Microsoft Surface laptops and tablets See at Amazon There are a ton of different versions of this series of popular board games. Whether set in a prison, hospital or ruined city, they all have the same basic theme — an ever-growing bunch of zombies chase your crew around a map as you race for the exit. This version is the universal favorite, taking the action back to medieval times. There’s a handy iOS/Android app that can handle all the card-shuffling and inventory, leaving you free to focus on strategic thinking and filling the game board with plastic zombies. If you want more of a Walking Dead vibe, there are also several very good Zombicide games set in modern times, such as Prison Outbreak or Rue Morgue. There’s also a brand new iOS/Android standalone Zombicide game, which is great for subway rides where setting up a giant game board would be frowned upon. Get those “gonna need a bigger boat” jokes out of your system now. This clever new two-part strategy game is asymmetrical, which means one player is the overpowered super-shark, and the other players are hapless humans, who need to combine their skills and resources with the goal to survive and win. The best feature is the game board, which flips from the the beaches of Amity Island in the first half, to Quint’s boat in the second half, which slowly gets eaten by the shark. See at Amazon I’ve been playing an early version of this Universal-Monsters-inspired game, which hits stores at the beginning of August, and it’s a fun mix of nostalgia and modern game design, pitting players against all the classic Universal movie monsters of the 1940s and ’50s, from the Wolf Man to Dracula. Just don’t accidentally call Frankenstein’s Monster “Frankenstein,” or I’ll subtweet you. Another giant-box-game. This is one of my favorites because it includes tons of floor tiles with which to create a haunted mansion, plus dozens of plastic miniatures for investigators and monsters. The vibe is definitely classic old-school Lovecraft, and this board game actually requires you to use its companion app, which creates the layout, spawns monsters and even adds sound effects. See at Amazon Aug 30 • Hate subscription software? Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements are on sale for $60 each Jaws, $29 See All See at Amazon Dan Ackerman/CNET A stripped-down version of the Lovecraftian game subgenre. This is strictly a card-based game, so no map tiles or plastic game pieces. Even so, it has amazing narrative storytelling and laying out location cards on the table to give each player a clear picture of what’s going on and where. If you like this, it’s a “living card game,” which means new packs of cards are released on a regular basis. Dan Ackerman/CNET 6 Gaming Tablets Toys and Tabletop Games Tags Gloomhaven, $95
-Corruptions have been alleged in over 1,000 government projects worth Tk 263.5 million in Magura.Among the projects under Test Relief (TR), and Taka for Work (TW) for the rural infrastructure maintenance and renovation programme, over 100 projects do not even exist. Some 35 have been listed twice and hardly any work has been done on most of the others, according to a Prothom Alo investigation.The month-long investigation was conducted on some 35 development projects in the district.According to the Magura district relief and rehabilitation office, the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief allocated Tk 263.5 million for 1,132 projects in the 2016-2017 fiscal. As per the rules, the projects were supposed to be completed by 30 June this year.Of the allocated funds, Tk 72 million was drawn for 969 projects under TR (special) and Tk 195 million for 163 projects under TW (special).Deputy commissioner Mohammad Atiqur Rahman told Prothom Alo they are looking into the allegations of irregularities in these projects.Visiting Project SitesSome 30 tonnes of rice were allocated for reconstructing a road in Bishnupur village. But, local union parishad (UP) member Zahidul Islam said, “As far I know, no work of road construction has been done here in past one to two years.”Tk 12,98,397 and 35 tonnes of rice were allocated for constructing a Thoipara road in Dhaneshwargati UP. District Awami League leader Sarwar Mallick and also resident of the UP said that there exists no road by this name in the area. The funds of the project might have been embezzled, he added.As many as 200 tonnes of rice were allocated for six projects of dredging canals and ponds in Sreepur upazila. But, no such work was done.Likewise, 120 tonnes of rice were allocated in three projects for dredging another canal in Shalikha’s Dhaneshwar UP. But, local Narayan Chandra Shikder said, “I cannot remember any canal dredging work here in five to seven years.”UP member Ashraful Islam and also president of the three projects said, “The canal was not dredged. Despite being the project head, I know nothing about the projects.”District relief and rehabilitation officer Mohammad Zakaria said, “The project implementation officials submit reports of completing the project by the month of June and draw money.”“The DC directed Upazila Nirbahi Officers last August to investigate irregularities on the projects and they found proof of irregularities,” he added.According to the district relief and rehabilitation office, the ministry allocated the funds following demand order (DO) of three members of parliament – Biren Sikder, ATM Abdul Wahab, and Kamrul Laila.MP ATM Abdul Wahab of Magura-1 constituency said, “I distributed the projects to local AL leaders. The UNOs and PIOs are supposed to take care of the projects whether they are done or not. If this does not happen, it’s their [UNOs and PIOs] responsibility.”MP Biren Sikder of Magura-2 constituency, also state minister for youth and sports said that he did not issue any DO under TR and TW projects.“I don’t even know there were these allocations,” he said.MP Kamrul Laila of reserved women seats in parliament said, “I had a meagre allocation. My DOs were for renovation of mosques and temples. I submitted the list of allocations to the DC.”The inquiry report submitted by the UNOs to the DC office states that most of the projects have been completed and a few are ongoing.The UNO of Mohammedpur told Prothom Alo, “My investigations reveal that there has been no work on any of the projects here and I submitted report to the deputy commissioner about this. The allocations for the projects will have to be returned. No money will be given to anyone if work isn’t done.”Sadar upazila UNO Ashafur Rahman said, “Most of the projects don’t even exist. And no work has been done on the projects that are in place. So the allocations haven’t been released.”Other UNOs came up with similar accounts of non-existent and non-implemented projects.*The article originally published in Prothom Alo print edition has been rewritten in English by Imam Hossain
Heartbroken relatives gathered Friday for the funeral rites of the first victims of a military plane crash off Myanmar’s southern coast, as search teams battled heavy rains and churning waves to find scores more people presumed lost at sea.Most of the 31 dead retrieved from the Andaman Sea so far have been women and children after a fraught search by navy ships, planes and helicopters hampered by sweeping rains.A total of 122 people were on board the Chinese-made Shaanxi Y8 military aircraft when it crashed on Wednesday during a routine flight from the southern city of Myeik to Myanmar’s commercial hub of Yangon.Hundreds gathered in a cemetery outside Dawei town on Friday afternoon to bid goodbye to loved ones whose bodies had been pulled from the water the previous day on San Hlan beach, a two hour drive away.Chanting from Buddhist monks filled a hall used for the ceremonies as 10 flimsy wooden coffins were laid out.One woman fainted and had to be carried out and many others broke down wailing as the service went on.Mourners then moved outside and watched as black smoke from the cremated coffins poured out of nearby towers, drifting across the sky.“My husband identified my nephew’s body. I’m so sorry,” said a tearful Khine Zar Win, who lost her youngest brother, his wife and two-year-old nephew in the plane crash.Another mourner, Aye Aye, said five members of her friend’s family were killed in the crash.“I couldn’t sleep when I heard about them,” she said. “We lived together like a family for 15 years in the military before my husband retired.”“I have no words,” added one woman, whose daughter and grandson were on the plane. “We are so sad.”More than half of the passengers on the aircraft were from military families, including 15 children, according to the army. The rest were soldiers and flight crew.The military said on Friday it had identified 16 of the dead so far.There has been no official explanation for the cause of the crash, one of several deadly incidents involving Myanmar military aircraft in recent years.Monsoon season brings heavy rains and strong winds every year, but there were no reports of major storms along the plane’s flight route when it went missing.Storms hamper search -Fishing boats helped navy vessels and military aircraft as they continued to hunt for the wreckage on Friday, despite tides reaching over 2.5 metres, the military said in a statement.But by the afternoon officials had not announced the retrieval of any more bodies.“We are having difficulty because of the strong winds and tide,” Major Aung Win, police chief of Launglon township, told AFP.The military said the aircraft was flying above 18,000 feet (5,486 metres) when it lost contact with air traffic control at 1:35 pm (07:05 GMT) on Wednesday.The military has described the captain as a “seasoned” pilot with more than 3,000 hours flying experience.Gerry Soejatman, an independent aviation expert based in Jakarta, said initial information indicated something went wrong “not long after or just before reaching cruising altitude”.Myanmar’s former junta bought several Y8s-four-engine turboprop jets used for medium range flights-during their 50 years of isolated rule, when they were squeezed by Western sanctions.The plane’s maker, China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation, has pledged to assist with investigations into the crash.Several pieces of debris that appeared to be from the wreckage, including tyres, life jackets and some luggage, have also been salvaged.