A Truckload of Games from Mayfair

Here at Worldbuilders, we’ve been known to occasionally engage in some enthusiastic exaggeration. We might sometimes say someone gave us “a ton of books” when in truth, it was a *lot* of books that did not actually weigh 2000 pounds.

But in this particular case, we’re not being hyperbolic. Mayfair Games has literally sent us a truckload of games.

And it wasn’t a little truck either. There were so many games we had to get a forklift to unload it.

So yeah. There are a *lot* of games here. And we’re putting more than a thousand of them into the lottery. That means for every $10 you donate to Heifer International on the Worldbuilders team page, you get the chance to win these games as well as all the other goodies in the lottery.

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We here at Worldbuilders take our jobs seriously. When people donate something to the fundraiser, we do our best to learn everything about it so we can show it off to good effect. We feel it’s our duty to become familiar with the prizes.

In the pursuit of that duty, we made a point of playing several of these games. We did it for you, really. And for charity.

One of the things I was pleased to discover is that the games we tried out were easy to learn and quick to play. Not that I don’t enjoy a nice, brisk twelve hour game of Civilization, mind you. But that sort of game isn’t for everyone.

A lot of these you can play in an hour or so. And if you’ve ever wasted a whole evening grinding away at a game of Monopoly that simply would not die, you know that’s a good thing.

  • 100 copies of Horus.

Horus

Horus is one of the games the team managed to crack open and play together. It’s a civilization building game where you vie for control of regions along the Nile.

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Things got pretty heated. It’s a good game for a group, and Rachel had this to say about it:

I loved the game’s art, and even if I didn’t end up being King of Egypt, it was really fun trying! We all kind of teamed up against Adam at first, and then Nicole turned traitor and started stealing EVERYTHING. I don’t think Nicole and I should play games together….

Ah yes. Resentment and the end of friendships. The hallmarks of an excellent game….

  • 100 copies of Wacky Wacky West.

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This game won Spiel des Jahres. Which my four years of high school German allows me to translate as, “Game of the Year.”

Through bluffing and deception, you are trying to develop the a town in the old west that is mostly full of… well… outhouses. Build things you want, prevent other players from doing so, and destroy things in your way.

  • 100 copies of Anno 1503.

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This game is based on a computer game, which if you’re a skeptical person like myself, might tempt you to dismiss it. But this game was designed by Klaus Teuber, the same guy who made Catan. So personally, I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.

You sail around, searching for outposts, trade agreements, or treasure to bring back to the motherland, and use those resources to build up your colonies. But as colonies grow, there’s risk for some gold-greedy pirates to come along and destroy everything…

  • 100 copies of Journey to the Center of the Earth.

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Look at it journeying, there.

Adam played this one over Thanksgiving with some friends. Here’s what he had to say:

This is a fun competitive/co-op board game to see who can gather the most fame and come out on top. When we played, my friends and I had a blast trying to collect the most fossils and gold while at the same time conniving to prevent the others from doing the same. The rules are easy enough to figure out so after a single read-through, you’ll be set to play.

  • 100 copies of Nautilus, Adventure in the Deep.

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In Nautilus, groups of researchers come together to search for lost treasures, build and develop an underwater city and, most importantly, search for the lost city of Atlantis. Each researcher has his or her own passions and goals, though everyone is motivated by treasure and money.

  • 100 copies of Justinian.

Justinian

This is a game of court favor, specifically the favor of Emperor Justinian, through bribery of the other influential people in court. It’s hard to predict which members of the court will have the Emperor’s ear in the end, so you have to choose wisely and carefully…

This game sparked a wonderful history discussion that went about like this:

Me: [Looking down at the board] So… this one’s about saints?
Kat: No, it’s about Justinian, the Byzantine Emperor.
Me: Ah. Of course. Yes. I was… testing you.
Kat: Glad my history degree finally paid for itself.
  • 100 copies of Toledo.

Toledo

Who doesn’t want to be a 17th century Spanish swordmaker? In Toledo, you send your five helpers to collect the finest metals and gems to craft the best swords, as well as duel with other swordsmen to defend your honor.

It combines worker placement and hand management into a fun, family-friendly game, so gamers new and old can enjoy it if they win it in the lottery.

  • 100 copies of Amazonas.

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Amanda’s been playing this one with her gaming group, and they’ve been enjoying it. She wrote this to share with y’all:

You’re searching for rare plants and animals in the jungles of Amazonas. Your goal is to build outposts in specific places, while encountering as much of the flora and fauna as possible and making sure the other adventurers don’t beat you to the places you want to go. Competitive, but mostly strategic, and a lot of fun. Great game.

  • 100 copies of Grand Prix.

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This game is great for families and larger groups, since it plays up to six (rather than just four). It’s a racing game that uses cards to help you move cars on the track, then bid on which car you’d like to control. Since that can change between turns, you need to keep all of the cars in the running until the end, in the hopes that you end up controlling the leading car at the finish line.

  • 100 copies of La Strada.

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The team played this one together as well.

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You’re trying to establish trade routes to major and minor settlements, preferably places your competition can’t get to. It’s simple and elegant, while still being a lot of fun to play and has potential for some serious strategy.

Nicole felt particularly strongly about it:

I really liked La Strada.  Finding the most efficient way to use my resources while sneaking past Rachel was an enjoyable challenge.  That said, Rachel totally squashed me, so there may have to be a rematch in our near future…

  • 100 copies of Weinhandler.

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I played this one with the team. Generally speaking, I try to avoid playing games with them. It’s bad for morale, as I tend to viciously destroy all who stand against me.

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(This is the expression I make when I’m destroying all who oppose me.)

The fact that I won wasn’t particularly surprising. That’s just the natural order of things. What surprised me was how much strategy there was compared to the simplicity of the rules. What’s more, it’s a nice small box, so it can travel easy.

The fact that it’s a relatively brief game is nice too. After our first play-through, we decided to try it again with five people instead of three.

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(Brett is being rules monkey.)

And because I know they’ll point it out in the comments if I don’t admit to it here. Yes. It’s true. I didn’t win the second game.

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So there you go, 1100 new games added to the Worldbuilders lottery. So when you donate make sure you remember to let us know what sort of stuff you’d like to win:

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If you’d like to see the other stuff you can win in the lottery, including thousands of books, many of them rare, signed, or otherwise fancy, you can head over to the blog where I list all the donations and explain what Worldbuilders is.

Or, if you’ve heard enough and want to make the world a better place while winning cool prizes, you can make your tax-deductible donation directly to Heifer International over here.

See you later space cowboys…

Posted in gaming, Worldbuilders 2014 | By Pat15 Responses

A Familiar Story About a Well-Loved Book

Over the last two weeks, authors, publishers and fans have been sending us box after box of signed books, cool games, and geeky miscellany have been showing up at WB headquarters. So many new items it’s caused a bit of a problem: There’s no way we can show all of it off in the five days remaining in the fundraiser.

It’s a good problem to have, but it’s still a problem.

I talked things over with the Worldbuilders team, and they’ve said they’re willing to put in the extra hours. So we’re going to extend the fundraiser for one more week. Seven extra days will give us enough time to process and organize these new donations, then show them off to proper effect.

That means the new end date will be December 15, 11:59pm. 

And now a story about a familiar friend….

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If you’ve been following Worldbuilders for the last couple years, you probably know about this:

It’s a book that has been with the fundraiser since the beginning….

2008: A Gift from Gaiman.

In 2008 I was still a newbie author, barely published for a year. On a whim, I decided to try raising money for Heifer International on my blog. Things quickly spiraled out of control as other authors pitched in, helping spread the word and donating books for us to give away.

The pinnacle of the coolness/madness came when Neil Gaiman mentioned us to his vast legion of readers. He also donated a rare ARC of Stardust to the cause. Unfortunately, mail was delayed because of the holidays, so we couldn’t use the book until….

2009: Stardust for the People.

So we had this book. This beautiful book. This beautiful, *rare* book. And I was having a hard time deciding how best to use it. I knew we could auction it off and raise at least a thousand dollars, maybe a couple thousand, but that didn’t seem right somehow.

So I decided to put it into the lottery, where anyone who donated to Heifer International on our team page would have a chance at winning it. That seemed fair to me, more egalitarian.

But then something strange happened. At the end of the fundraiser the person who won the book gave it back to us. Their one stipulation is that we auction it off next year, so it would raise more money for Heifer. So….

2010: Stardust on the Auction Block.

During year three of Worldbuilders, we auctioned off all manner of things. And, as the previous winner requested, we put Gaiman’s Stardust ARC up on eBay too.

After some fierce bidding it sold for over $2500 to a lovely guy named Dan. There were many high-fives in Worldbuilders central. We were sad to see the book go, but $2500 bucks buys a lot of goats.

But when I e-mailed Dan to arrange shipping, he said he wanted to donate the book back to Worldbuilders.

I asked Dan if he was sure. He said he was sure. I asked Dan how he got to be so cool, and he said he was inspired by the story of how last year’s winner re-donated the book.

But most of the credit, he said, should go to his mom. She always made a point of donating to charity even though she never had a lot of money. Not only that, but she was a dyed-in-the-wool geek like the rest of us: she read fantasy and sci-fi, she played Infocom games…

From everything I’ve heard, she sounds like my kind of lady.

Dan told me she had passed away recently, and most of the money he inherited from her went into buying this book. He thinks she would be proud and happy to know that the money will go to helping as many people as possible through Heifer.

Dan also said that he was a big Gaiman fan, and that he hoped that this whole exchange didn’t give Gaiman a complex because nobody would keep his book….

His only stipulation was that we put the book back into the lottery next year, so anyone could win it….

2011: Stardust Full Circle.

We put the ARC back into the lottery with much cheering. After picking the prizes, I called the winner, Maayan, to set up shipping (because you don’t want something like this to show up as a surprise on someone’s doorstep).

Maayan tells me no.  She wants it back in the fundraiser. It’s sort of a thing now.

I send her a box of books as a “Thanks for being cool” present.

And Stardust goes back on the shelf…

2012: Stardust as Statistical Anomaly.

In 2012, we put Stardust back in the lottery again. Mostly because I like the idea of this amazingly cool prize being something anyone can win.

At the end of the fundraiser, we run our numbers. We cross-reference our list of prizes with our list of winners.

Amanda ran through the house yelling, after she checked it three times.

When I’m told, I look at the assistant holding the handful of papers with grim, fatherly disapproval, telling them in the gentlest of terms that they’ve fucked up and are obviously using last year’s spreadsheets.

But no. The truth is, Maayan won it *again*. For the second year in row.

This is bizarre math, people. This is like Heart-of-Gold level improbability.

I called her. She was shocked, amused, and flustered. So we sent her the book.

And she sent us back a picture.

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Here’s what she had to say:

I was really extremely surprised to win the Stardust ARC two years ago, because I don’t think I’ve ever won any kind of online contest before. I was actually sitting in a hot tub on a ski trip to Colorado when Pat called, and my friends got to watch me make the craziest faces while on the phone. A few weeks later, Neil Gaiman sent me a little card with a picture he had drawn in it, which was so nice of him.

When Pat called me this year to say that I had won again, I’m pretty sure my first words were, “No, I did not!” Surprised doesn’t begin to describe it. If I win again this year, I’m going to start to be suspicious of your randomization algorithm.

Worldbuilders is such a great fundraiser, and Heifer International is an outstanding organization. I’m thrilled to take part. Thank you to Pat Rothfuss for putting it together, and thank you to all of the authors and artists who donate the prizes! I’ve enjoyed reading the fruits of your generosity.

Then Maayan sent it back to us again.

Thanks so much, Maayan. We’re glad you at least got to touch the book that seemed so desperate to meet you.

2013: Stardust In the Lottery Again.

Last year, Stardust chose a new person to love. It chose Jennifer.

She was overjoyed, happy to have won it, and just as happy to return it.

We sent her a care package full of goodies as a thank you.

And this year, we had a cool idea – we’ve instituted a Library Card system for the Stardust ARC.

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When I was a kid, every single library book had one of these. Even now, all these years later, the sight of one fills me with an indescribable joy.

Neil graciously agreed to sign the library cards for us.

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What’s more, we are currently having all the previous winners signing the cards and passing them after keeping one for themselves of course (or two, in the case of Maayan).

That means this year, if the winner chooses to return the book, they will still have a keepsake to remember it by: signed by all the people who have loved the book before them, and the original donor, Neil Gaiman.

So, without further ado allow me to add today’s book to the lottery.

  • A numbered, ARC of Stardust in its own slipcase. Signed by Neil Gaiman.

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Not much remains to be said here. It’s a beautiful book with its own slipcase. Numbered 28 out of 250. Signed by Gaiman.

If you donate to Heifer International on the Worldbuilders team page, you have a chance of winning not only this book, but hundreds upon hundreds of other books and game donated by authors, publishers, collectors and fans.

Every $10 you donate gets you a chance to win. So if you donate enough for honeybees ($30) you get three chances to win. Donate enough for a goat along with the training and materials to care for it ($120) and you get twelve chances to win. Donate enough to provide clean water for a village ($300) you get 30 chances to win.

And if that wasn’t enough by itself, this year Neil has agreed to do an Act of Whimsy, too. When we reach $600,000, he’s going to read a book for us, and if you donate, you get to vote on what he’s going to read.

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So far, the voting is pretty close, but there is a title in the lead:

#NeilReads 12.2

Where the Wild Things Are and Jabberwocky were tied earlier in the week, but since then Jabberwocky has re-taken the lead.

For those of you who feels strongly one way or the other, we made Facebook cover photos for each team you might be interested. So, if you’re Team Jabberwocky, Team Wild Things, Team Goodnight Moon, or Team Fox in Socks, you can let your geek flag fly on and promote it with the hope of converting your friends to your cause.

Thanks for being the greatest, people. Let’s make these last days count.

Posted in Neil Gaiman, Worldbuilders 2014 | By Pat24 Responses

Delightful Miscellany

We’re getting closer to the end of the fundraiser, and things are starting to speed up. As I write this, we’re at 383,000 dollars, and we’ve been unlocking new stretch goals at an incredible rate.

If you haven’t been keeping up, you can access them all here:

Remember, if you donate on our main page, you move us toward future stretch goals and have a chance to win all manner of books, games, and other cool things in the lottery.

Cool things like these:

  • Copper Goats from Esoteric Garage.

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Earlier in the fundraiser we auctioned off a set of copper goat paperweights, based on the Worldbuilders logo.

Tait from Esoteric Garage was kind enough to send along 4 more, so we’re putting them in the lottery. Just don’t tell Amanda, because when I take that one away from her, I think she’s going to cry.

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Everything else in today’s blog is up for auction. And pretty much everything we have in here is either one-of-a-kind, or so rare as to be virtually unique.

  • Auction: Cameo appearance in an upcoming book by April White.

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April’s been donating to the fundraiser for a couple of years now, and this year she’s also thrown her hat in for a tuckerization. Here’s how she described it:

“In a world where Time, Fate, Nature, War and Death are Immortal, and their Descendants have skills that include time travel, shape-shifting, and visions of the future, the winning bidder of this Tuckerization will have a character named for them in two of the Immortal Descendant books.

In book three, Changing Nature, which will be published in January, 2015, their character will be named as among the mysteriously missing mixed-blood Immortal Descendants. In book four, Waging War (to be published in the Summer, 2015), the character will continue as part of a storyline set in modern times, and will involve at least one interaction with main characters.”

If this sounds awesome to you (and it should) bid over here.

Mary Robinette Kowal

Hugo-award winning author Mary Robinette Kowal will tuckerize your name into a forthcoming piece of fiction. What does this mean? It means that she will work your name into a story or novel depending on what your name is and which project it seems to fit best into. She’ll also send you a signed manuscript before publication. So it’s like a literary twofer.

Bid on it in all its goodness over here.

  • Auction: Kvothe’s green linen shirt from The Wind Comes cosplay stretch goal. Handmade by Mary Robinette Kowal.

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This is something of a specialty item. Mary Robinette Kowal handmade this and the rest of her costume that she wore when she came up to read her Name of the Wind erotica with me.

There are some more detailed images of the shirt, taken while she was making it. She tweeted them while she worked on it, and we borrowed a few of them for the auction listing if you’d like to see them.

The shirt looks awesome, and Mary wore it well because she’s classy like that. Now it can be all yours. Bid on it over here.

  • Auction: A ukulele doodled and signed by Hank Green.

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We offered 10 of these in the summer IndieGoGo. Amanda gushed and groaned over it, never taking the time to  buy one for herself because she didn’t think it was fair of her to nab one when they were so limited, and someone who would love it might miss out on it purely because Amanda saw it first.

I, however, did not have such qualms.

This is the one I personally bought. The folks over at the Nerd Nighters coordinated with me to buy one for Amanda, and she loves it with a powerful and deep love.

That kind of love and devotion can be a part of your life, too, if you bid on it here.

  • Auction: A personalized sketch from Karen Hallion.

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Karen has agreed to auction off a commissioned personalized sketch for whoever wins this auction, after the last auction did so well. You’ll be able to get any character of your choice meeting up with the beloved police box.

You know you want it. Bid on it over here.

  • AuctionShane Tyree will create art based on your likeness. 

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Shane’s a great artist, and has done the art for the NOTW playing cards, as well as the Commonwealth and Modegan decks for Pairs. He’ll draw you up proper, and then send you a signed 13″ x 17″ print of the final piece.

To become true art, bid over here.

  • Auction: A full set of the 7 Calamities from the Commonwealth Deck, printed and signed by Shane Tyree.

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Many of you already have the Commonwealth pairs deck we put on sale in the Tinker’s Packs. In this deck, the sevens are… significant. They’re the only number where each card has its own art. And if you play one of the variant rules, they’re the worst card in the deck to draw.

Shane has only printed 7 of each of these pieces of art. The winner of this auction will have one of those sets, so it’s going to be very, very rare. Bid on it before it’s too late.

Amber from Serpent’s Dance Designs has been donating jewelry to Worlbuilders for the last couple years. The first year, her Bookwyrm Pendant sold out before we managed to post the blog about it. Last year, we managed to auction off three unique designs from her.

This year, we’ve got nine. (That’s three threes, just so you know.) She swung by one of my signings on the Slow Regard tour,  then had me sign the backs of a few of the items so she could etch in my signature.

It should go without saying that these are all one-of-a-kind creations. But I’ll say it anyway: These are all one-of-a-kind. More pictures of each of these can be found if you follow the links below.

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In the same order as the pictures: Signed All the Truth in the World Pendant, Signed All Stories Are True Pendant, Signed You May Have Heard of Me Pendant, Etched Kvothe Pendant.

And more…

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In the same order as the pictures: All Stories are True Pendant, You May Have Heard of Me Pendant, Hatchling Dragon Pendant, Kvothe Profile Pendant.

And finally, the Ornament Package:

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A little Kvothe felt doll (with four pockets in his cloak) and a signed, etched Kvothe plate. This one’s available over here.

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Back during the Slow Regard of Silent Things tour event in Portland, I invited the Doubleclicks to open for me, and  they graciously allowed me to perform a song with them.

I failed pretty miserably, as I detailed a bit in the blog.

For their stretch goal this year, they’re letting me take a mulligan on my previous performance, I’m going to play with them again in a google hangout and try to get it right this time. Or at the very least I’ll get it marginally less wrong.

This is the keyboard I’ll be using. The Doubleclicks mailed it to us, and Angela and Aubrey have both signed it. (I’ll sign it too if you like.) If you’d like to own this glorious cat keyboard, this testament to my shame and redemption, you can bid on it over here.

  • Auction: Two tickets to the Heifer International Beyond Hunger event in Beverly Hills, CA, July or August 2015. Also in attendance: The Worldbuilders Team and Me.

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This is particularly exciting. Every year Heifer throws a swank dinner event, and this year they’re bringing me and some of the Worldbuilders team out so that we can join the fun, as well as hang out with some of our favorite people from Heifer.

This event is incredibly posh. It’s formal attire only, and lots of Hollywood celebrities will be there. The dates aren’t set yet, but as soon as they are we’ll contact you and let you know where to be and when. Hopefully we’ll all be able to hang out a bit.

Full disclosure: This auction is just for tickets to the event. You’ll have to provide transportation yourself.

If this sounds like it’s up your alley, bid here for the chance to experience it.

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There you have it folks. Bid early and bid often.

If you want to see ALL the current auctions running, you can head over here.

Posted in miscelany, Worldbuilders 2014 | By Pat8 Responses

So many Books from DAW

Today’s blog contains a LOT of books that are going into the lottery.

It’s not that we don’t enjoy doing things things like our Black Friday festivities, but the lottery is really the heart of Worldbuilders. We know you want to make the world a better place. So we just sweeten the deal a bit by giving you a chance to win cool stuff for every $10 you donate directly to Heifer International on our team page.

After all, only $30 gets a family the gift of Honeybees.

Improving Food Security and Nutrition of Coffee Farm Workers' Fa

Feliciana Martin  is a small-scale coffee farmer. Her acre farm barely supported her and her daughter until she received the gift of honeybees from Heifer International in 2012.

Since then, Feliciana has seen a noticeable increase in her coffee harvest every year. She has also been able to collect and sell honey, providing her with additional income. As a bonus, coffee honey is believed to taste better than regular honey, so she is able to charge about 10 percent more.

Improving Food Security and Nutrition of Coffee Farm Workers' Fa

(Additional note: Now I *really* want to try coffee honey.)

She collected 60 pounds of honey in the first six months and doubled the number of hives she owns. Then she trained some neighbors on the proper care of bees and gave them hives to start them on their own road to increased independence. This is called “Passing on the Gift.” All Heifer recipients take part it, and it’s a big piece of what makes Heifer’s work so successful.

Martin dreams of a better life for her daughter. Now she can make that happen.

That’s what happens when you donate thirty bucks….

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…well, that and you get the chance to win a ton of books like the ones we’re showing you today.

DAW is my publisher, and they’ve been a big supporter of Worldbuilders since the beginning. This year they’ve sent us many, *many* books. Hundreds and hundreds. Some are stand-alones. Some are full series…

And many of them are signed, like these from the lovely Seanan McGuire….

  • The Toby Daye series: Rosemary and Rue, A Local HabitationAn Articifical NightLate EclipsesOne Salt SeaAshes of Honor, and Chimes at Midnight. All signed by Seanan McGuire.

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“Well researched, sharply told, highly atmospheric and as brutal as any pulp detective tale, this promising start to a new urban fantasy series is sure to appeal to fans of Jim Butcher or Kim Harrison.” – Publishers Weekly

  • Set of the InCryptid series: Discount ArmageddonMidnight Blue-Light SpecialHalf-Off Ragnarok. All signed by Seanan McGuire.

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“Mixing mythology and monster lore (plus a good helping of snark), Discount Armageddon is fast-paced, funny and boasts a salty-sweet heroine who can cha-cha, foxtrot, and kick ass––or any combination thereof––while she sprints her way across the rooftops of Manhattan, policing and protecting the denizens of New York City’s supernatural community.” – Amber Benson

  • Set of Sparrow Hill Road ARC and a cover flat. Both signed by Seanan McGuire.

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“This is the first in what we hope will be a long series about those who walk the ghost roads from the marvelous McGuire, who writes like a dream and creates wonderful, complex, sympathetic characters like Rose and then places them in peril.” – Library Journal

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A lovely standalone historical fantasy which starts with the twelfth-century alchemists and ends up in modern-day New York. I tell you folks like Stephen that work with real history, weaving it into their fantasies… they kinda amaze me. I don’t have it in me to do that kinda research. I just prefer to make everything up…

“Leigh strikes the perfect balance between past and present, real and imagined” – Publishers Weekly

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“This beautifully told, painfully elegant story should appeal to fans of L.E. Modesitt’s realistic fantasies as well as of the period fantasy of Guy Gavriel Kay.” – Library Journal

  • The Green Rider series: Green Rider, First Rider’s Call, The High King’s Tomb, Blackveil and Mirror Sight by Kristen Britain. Mirror Sight is a signed, first edition in all sets.

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“A fresh, well-organized fantasy debut, with a spirited heroine and a reliable supporting cast.” – Kirkus Reviews

  • Auction: Hardcover copies of the Green Rider series: Green RiderFirst Rider’s CallThe High King’s TombBlackveil and Mirror Sight by Kristen Britain. All include a signed bookplate, and Mirror Sight is a signed, first edition.

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We got so many complete sets here that we’ve put one up for auction. The fifth book in the series, Mirror Sight arrived as a signed first edition, so we were eager to share it with the folks who might want it most.

If this tickles your fancy, you can bid over here.

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“Bedford builds a taut story around the dangers of a new world, the Ecolibrians’ distrust, and treachery from Ari and Ben’s home office. Readers who crave high adventure and tense plots will enjoy this voyage into the future.” – Publishers Weekly

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“A real page-turner…. Outstanding characters, especially Mags, will greatly please Valdemar fans.” – Booklist

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“Friedman skillfully blends science fiction and fantasy elements, tying them together with fairy tales and solid worldbuilding.” – Publishers Weekly

  • Auction: The Coldfire Trilogy: Black Sun Rising, When True Night Falls and Crown of Shadows. All include a signed bookplate from C.S. Friedman.

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“Hauntingly memorable protagonists, high drama, and vivid world-building mark the beginning of what promises to be a magnum opus of the imagination. A priority purchase for fantasy or sf collections.” – Library Journal

These are some seriously beautiful books, and all three have a signed bookplate, making them even cooler. To bid, check out the eBay listing over here.

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“Magic operating along scientifically testable principles: Palmatier exploits an active imagination to good effect, with characters who develop along with the story… Fantasy regulars looking for a fresh series with real bite should find it worth a try” – Kirkus Reviews

  • Sets of the Queen of the Dead series: Silence and Touch by Michelle Sagara.

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“Brilliant storyteller Sagara heads in a new direction with her Queen of the Dead series. She does an excellent job of breathing life into not only her reluctant heroine, but also the supporting players in this dramatic and spellbinding series starter … Do not miss out!” – RT Book Reviews

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“For a book all about dead things, this novel is alive with great characters and a twisty, scary-funny story that teaches you not to tango with too much necromancy. My favorite book this year, bar none.” – Chuck Wendig

  • Sets of the Night’s Edge series: A Turn of Light and A Play of Shadow by Julie E. Czerneda.

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“A Turn of Light is a gorgeous creation. Julie Czerneda’s world and characters are richly layered and wonderful—full of mystery, hope and, most of all, heart. Come spend some time in Marrowdell. It’s worth the journey.” – Anne Bishop

  • Auction: First edition copy of The Dirty Streets of Heaven. Includes a bookplate signed by Tad Williams.

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I’ve gushed more than once about how good this book is. I’ve mentioned it in the blog and on Goodreads.

So yeah, I’d say this auction is worth it. It’s a book I wholeheartedly recommend, and getting your hands on a signed first edition copy is even cooler.

If you want it, bid over here.

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“It’s a provocative world of deadly enchantment in which the dirty game of politics remains the biggest threat of all.” – Locus

  • Auction: One of Everything Published in 2014.

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(Click to embiggen the awesome)

DAW really brought the big guns this year. This set of everything they published in 2014 has over 50 books in it, and we’re auctioning it off for the giant sci-fi/fantasy geeks out there. I’ll sign my book for you too. It’s the little blue one in the bottom righthand corner….

If you want this epic book collection, grab it here.

  • BONUS: One set of one of  everything published in 2014 will be entered into the lottery.

AllTheBooks

That’s right folks, DAW sent us TWO full sets of everything they published in 2014 so we could put one up in the the lottery, too. Over fifty beautiful books, including a rather charming little blue-covered tome I’m fairly proud of.

*     *     *

So there you have it. Go to the team page and donate. $30 bucks will get bees for a farmer, (and three chances to win in the lottery) 120 dollars gets a family a goat and everything they need to care for it. (And twelve chances to win.) $500 dollars gets a Heifer… and I’m sure you can do the math.

The important thing is that your donation will make a lasting impact on the lives of people for for years to come, and you’ll have the chance to win some really, SERIOUSLY awesome stuff in the process.

Posted in Worldbuilders 2014 | By Pat11 Responses

Livestreams, Were-Hedgehogs, and Jugglers

Today, we bring you Stretch Goal Round-Up, Part Two: Livestreams, Were-Hedgehogs, and Jugglers edition.

I know it’s nowhere near as cool as the last title, but they can’t all be winners.

Today’s blog comes to you courtesy of the Worldbuilders Team. Pat spent the holiday with his family, had a signing down in Madison for IndiesFirst, and promptly come home sick as a dog.

While he sleeps it off, we’re here to grant him a break, as well as to show off the cool stretch goals we’ve passed in the last week, as well as an update on the #NeilReads totals at the end. If you missed the last collection of stretch goals, you definitely should check those out, too.

Let’s get right to it.

  • $125k: Seth Fishman hosted a livestreamed Q&A teaching everyone how to write a query letter and/or get an agent.

The livestream happened last Monday, but you can now watch the video right here. Seth talked a lot about query letters and agents, and the dos and don’ts of each.

He even brought on one of his clients, Django Wexler, to discuss the first query letter Seth received from him, and why it didn’t get him an agent.

  • $150k: Myke Cole will review Hedging His Bets.

Myke helped us get through the technical issues we had with this video, and it’s up in all its glory for you to see.

If you’ve ever wanted to read were-hedgehog erotica, but wanted to hear a review of the book first, you’ve got it here.

  • $225k: James Ernest will post a video of his signature juggling trick.

James was a juggler and performer before he made it as a game designer, and this trick is his signature trick, that only he performs. Yup. Juuust him. Sure would suck if someone stole his move, made it famous, and gave him full credit. Sure would. Enjoy all of its majesty…

  • $250K Nate Taylor & Pat stream a discussion about the art of Slow Regard

Nate and Pat  had a great time talking about the art from Slow Regard. When you’ve got an hour to spare, be sure to sit down and watch this one.

We passed both of these next goals over Thanksgiving, so the videos aren’t ready yet, but they will be soon!

  • $300k Mikey Neumann writes and reads a short story just for us!

Mikey has been planning this one for a while, and we’re pumped to share it with you once he finishes and films it for us…

“The Eye of Argon” considered the Citizen Kane of bad fantasy writing (or maybe the Plan 9 From Outer Space?), and has been embraced in its infamy by writers and fans alike. Apparently, reading this story has turned into some kind of competition. Folks are challenged to read it, exactly as written, without smiling or laughing. Grandmasters have to read it after inhaling helium.

This is going to be good, no matter how Christopher handles it.

And we’re right on the cusp of the next couple of stretch goals as well…

  • $350k The Doubleclicks play “Love You Like a Burrito” with a special guest…

This special guest may need to redeem himself after not performing the song very well at a book release event in Portland a little while ago…

This one is going to be epic as well, and the folks at Cards Against Humanity are awesome. If you didn’t see CAH’s Black Friday Bullshit sale, you really missed out on your chance to buy real, literal bullshit.

  • $400k John Green eats a Heifer International inspired meal.

Followers of John Green may already know of his history of blenderizing meals. He’s agreed to eat a meal made up of things you can get from Heifer International: Goat cheese, bacon, honey, and lots of other things he might be able to find. It’s probably going to be really gross, in a really awesome way.

* * *

I (meaning Amanda) ran all the numbers this morning to see what animal Pat may have to kiss if we pass our total from last year:

Animal Kiss 11.30

It seems pretty solidly decided in favor of llama.

There were comments here and there of people trying to campaign for the Goat, mostly to spare Pat from what has potential to be a very scary experience with the llama, so we’ll see if they’re successful in the end…

As far as the #NeilReads totals, we’ve got quite the turn of events. I went to run my totals, and when I got the image to share with everyone, it turned up like this.

#NeilReads 11.30

I did a double take when I realized that Jabberwocky and Where The Wild Things are were tied. I’d taken it for granted at this point that Jabberwocky would still have a perceptible lead.  Since I didn’t think it was fair to show you this without offering up the detailed totals, I did a new chart with those included as well.

#NeilReads 11.30.2

So that’s where things currently stand – Jabberwocky is winning with a mere $405 lead. If you want Where the Wild Things Are to win (I know I do), go in there and vote, or get your friends to vote. It won’t take much…

Hope you all had a great weekend. Stay tuned to the Worldbuilders Facebook page and/or Twitter feed, because we’ll be updating every day with things you won’t want to miss, including a massive blog tomorrow full of books from DAW.

The Worldbuilders Team

Posted in Acts of Whimsy, Worldbuilders 2014 | By Amanda12 Responses

Black Friday: Worldbuilders Style

Hope you all had a lovely thanksgiving. For those of you who don’t live in the US, I hope you had a lovely random Thursday. Myself? I took a rare day off, and spent time with Sarah and Oot and Cutie Snoo.

Today we’re having some Black Friday festivities here in The Tinker’s Packs. We’ve got new items we’ve been waiting to show off, and I’m guessing that some of you have some holiday shopping you’d like to do.

As an added bonus, you won’t get trampled to death shopping in the Tinker’s Packs. Not even a little. You have my word. That’s actually part of our mission statement. “The Tinker’s Packs wants to sell you fun, geeky things and make the world a better place by donating all our proceeds to charity. Also, nobody ever gets trampled to death (TM).”

Anyway. Here’s what’s going on in a nutshell. Or at least a numbered list.

  1.  We’ve got new items in the store.
  2.  Some of the items are of limited quantity.
  3.  We’re offering some money-saving deals in the store.
  4.  Some of the deals are of limited quantity.

For example, down below you’ll see we’re putting the decks of Pairs cards set in my world up in the store. If you buy all four decks, you save some money. But we’ve only got 150 of those up in the store. After that, if you want all of them, you’ll have to pay full price.

Get to clicking…

SentinalsPack

I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this game. And most everyone in the office has played at this point. It’s cooperative, and you play as a team of super heroes, fighting against a super villain. Each hero has power ups and special abilities to help fight the villain, defend against them, or support the other heroes and make them stronger.

And guess who has been added as one of the heroes?

Kvothe-Six-String

The folks over at Greater Than Games are awesome, and made a special promo character just for us. If you’ve already got the game and the Rook City Expansion, you can replace your Argent Adept card with Kvothe, and he’ll play with that deck.

If you DON’T already have the game OR the expansion, you can grab one or both over in The Tinker’s Packs, as well as the card.

Also, as part of our Black Friday special, we’ve got an offer of two of the limited edition Kvothe cards for $20, rather than the $30 it would normally cost. So if you want to have one to play with and one to keep as a collectible, you can do that for a little less.

PairsSet

We ran a kickstarter for these earlier this year. Now that the kickstarter has been fulfilled, we’re putting the decks up in the store for those of you that missed the boat.

NotWSamples(The full art for the Commonwealth deck. Click to Embiggen.)

I need to stress here. This isn’t just a deck of playing cards. It’s an entire game that you can learn in 3 minutes and play with your friends. I wouldn’t have partnered up with James Ernest if I didn’t think it was a cool game to have in my world.

FaenSamples

(All the Art for the Faen Deck. Well worth Embiggening.)

We’ve got four decks, each with their own distinctive art and alternate rules for play. There’s the Commonwealth deck, (the one Kvothe would use) The Faen Deck, the Princess deck, and the Modegan deck, which is from a part of the world y’all haven’t even seen yet.

We’re also running a deal where you can grab all four decks at once for a discount. But fair warning, there’s a limited number of those bundles.

If you want to grab some of the decks, just see more of the art, you can find them over here.

  • Worldbuilders mug.

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A lot of people asked if we’d have Worldbuilders Mugs in the store after the IndieGoGo fundraiser, so we’ve finally put them up.

These are beefy coffee mugs, that even fit my giant man hands in the handle. What’s more, they’re made here in the US by a company that prides itself on paying its employees a living wage, not mass-produced over in China.

If you want one, we’ve got them in the store right now.

  • Name of the Wind Posters.

We’re putting up posters from the NOTW Card Deck, The Clubs Court Cards: Ace, King, Queen, and Jack.

NotW-Clubs

You may notice that the King, Queen, and Jack make an interesting triptych:

NotW-Triptych

We have a limited quantity of each, so go grab yours while you still can.

We’ve also got the Jokers: Auri and Elodin.

AuriElodin

Auri was based on Felicia Day, and Elodin was based on Neil Gaiman, and I think they turned out great. If you want either of them to appear in your abode, you can buy Auri here and Elodin here.

We also have Auri and Elodin available as magnets, if you’re interested in such things

Magnets

You can grab the pair of them over here.

We also have the poster that showcases all the court cards in a single print.

CourtCardsB

(Seriously, click to embiggen this one.)

It has all the Court Cards in all of their beautiful glory. If you’re having a hard time choosing between the options you have, you can always just grab this one and have nearly all of them in one place.

  • Worldbuilders Magnets.

Earlier this year we ran a delightfully successful IndieGogo to support Worldbuilders. Not only was it a huge success, but I lost a bet with my staff and had to buy everyone milkshakes after we raised over $200,000. To celebrate, we made bonus gold foil stickers that went into everyone’s order.

MonkeySticker

People loved those stickers. They were the thing most people took pictures of when they sent us pictures of their prizes. Before the t-shirts, before the books, before the mugs, we got pictures of that sticker. So we’re trying something new this year.

WBMagnet

We printed up some magnets to commemorate Worldbuilder 2014, the year of the Milkshake. We’re only going to sell it for the rest of the year, and then it will be done and we’ll do a different magnet next year.

So. If you want to let your charity flag fly, you can buy one over here.

Auri Gear

The folks at Badali got early copies of The Slow Regard of Silent Things so they could help me design this necklace. It’s based off Nate’s illustration of the gear from the book, and I have to say that the folks at Badali nailed it.

It’s all brass, and this picture is actually of Amanda’s necklace, which she ordered about 15 minutes after Badali made the item live on their website.

We *just* got our first shipment of necklaces from them, and I’m delighted to be able to put them up in the store for this sale. To sweeten the deal, I’ve signed the cards of authenticity for the first round of necklaces. Of all the things we’re putting up today, I think this is going to sell out the fastest, so if you want one, you might want to grab it over here.

Edit: So… yeah. This sold out really *really* quickly.

We’ll have more in the store as soon as we can. But in the meantime, if you’re looking for other cool Kingkiller Jewelry, we have a bunch of other things in the store, including Denna’s Ring, Talent Pipes, and the Vintish Court Rings.

Three_Rings_1024x1024

You can see all the jewelry over here.

* * *

So there you have it, folks. New coolness, and all of it will count toward our fundraising goal, pushing that thermometer closer and closer to cool stretch goals, like John Green eating a blenderized Heifer International meal, or the Strong Bad making a new video just for Worldbuilders, or Neil Gaiman reading the children’s book of your choosing.

Now you can go do some holiday shopping and help make the world a better place, all from the comfort of your home.

(If you’re trying to avoid the rampant consumerism of the season, but you still want to make the world a better place, you can donate directly to Heifer International over on the Worldbuilders team page. That’s cool too.)

Posted in Worldbuilders 2014 | By Pat14 Responses

Guest Blog: Heifer International

Today’s blog comes from Heifer International by way of Vicki Clarke.  Vicki has been our contact person at Heifer since the very beginning.

Vicki Clarke Nepal

 Vicki in Nepal

After years of e-mailing back and forth, making phone calls, and staying in touch about various projects, Vicki and Maria have become pretty much best friends. It’s gotten to the point where Maria has pictures of Vicki’s kids up on her desk. (Children kids, not, y’know…. Goat kids.)

We hung out with Vicki at the Heifer Ranch. She drove up to volunteer when we had all of packaging to do for our IndieGoGo. At this point, she’s as much part of the Worldbuilders team as she is a part of Heifer.

So when Vicki volunteered to write a guest blog for us, we were happy to let her.

Without further ado: Vicki Clarke.

* * *

You can imagine we had a tiny dose of skepticism when a guy from Wisconsin contacted us claiming to be an author, and said he was interested in Heifer.  Full bearded and clad in a Joss Whedon t-shirt, he said he’d had some luck publishing his first book.

Yeah, right. 

It sounded crazy.

Word spread around our offices about this newly-minted fantasy author who said he’d match his fans’ donations to Heifer. So we watched his blog as the numbers grew and grew.

Then kept growing.

It was probably as much fun for us to watch the donations pour in as it was thrilling (and terrifying) for him to realize his fans might drain his bank account, all for a good cause.

In the ensuing years, we’ve regarded Pat and Worldbuilders with amazement and gratitude. Every year when the Worldbuilders’ fundraiser is launched, we can’t believe we are lucky enough to count this community among our supporters. And, every year at the conclusion of the fundraiser, the money given blows us away.

It is a yearly reminder that we can all be part of changing the world. That Worldbuilders chooses each year to invest in us is humbling and drives us to continue working alongside communities to help them build rewarding futures.

Heifer International - Nepal, January 2013.  Rapti Women Empowerment Project  (Project# 22-0531-21-2).  Taleyanpur Village, Banke District, Nepal.  Heifer is working with families to raise their consumption of green vegetables, milk and meat.  The partici

In those six short years, Heifer has directly and indirectly assisted more than 10 million people. The Worldbuilders community has catalyzed a movement that has undoubtedly helped us achieve those numbers. We are able to do more work and faster.

In thousands of donations, from thousands of friends, readers, fans, artists, students, teachers, engineers, gamers, fellow geeks, and more, we have worked together to do something really remarkable: provide the seeds of change to those who struggle daily for food and income.

Your donations through the Worldbuilders fundraiser over the last six years purchased income-producing animals, seeds and trees for families – from alpacas and seeds in Peru to cows and goats in Tanzania and Kenya, and poultry and pigs in China.  You helped us invest in education and intensive training in animal husbandry, environmentally sound, sustainable farming, and business development in Kenya, and community development and empowerment for thousands of women and their families in Nepal.

IMG_4984

United by one man, and one cause, we come together to do something great and do a little something to put an end to poverty.  Well, not so little, as it turns out.

  • In Ghana, we helped families turn the gifts of poultry and bees into productive farms and 75% of farmers were able to double their monthly incomes as a result.
  • In Nepal, we invested in the determination of women farmers which resulted in a ten-fold increase in household income from goat sales and a three-fold increase in total earnings from egg and poultry sales over an 18 month period.

That’s income that families use for better nutrition, school fees and uniforms, better housing, clean water, medicine, toilets, and more.

You see, all of us at Heifer want more for the small-scale farming families we work with than simply being able to feed their families for a day or for one growing season.  More than just surviving, providing life’s most basic necessities. We want them to live fulfilled, dignified lives—whatever that means for them, in their own context.

Through the fundraiser every year, you are a part of this work to end hunger and poverty: you provide the basic tools for a successful life and those gifts are transformed into hope, opportunity and dignity.

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I realize here that I sound optimistic.  I’m a realist, honest.

But just as much as I believe in each of us and our collective power, I believe in the farmers (many of them women and mothers) who have the power and determination to find their way out of poverty.

Together, we can achieve sustainable income and food security for the most marginalized.

Together, we can protect our natural resources and preserve our environment.

Together, we can end world hunger.

One of my new favorite quotes comes from a man in Bangladesh who saw what happened in his family and village when his sister became part of a Heifer women’s group.  He invested his own money and started working with the groups on Heifer Cornerstone training.  (For those who haven’t read about the Cornerstones, you can learn more here.  Or better yet, watch this.)  When asked why he would invest in the Heifer model?  He said, “If I help a few, it will be limited to that. But with Heifer’s Passing on the Gift model, my gift will continue to pass on. If everyone learns to pass on… there will be no conflict in the world.”

It’s that belief that drives us forward.  A belief in peace and in community.  A belief in families working to achieve self-reliance.  A belief in people—in who they are and who they can become.  And really?  A belief in our power over poverty.

All of us at Heifer are thankful that all of you believe in it too.

It sounds a little crazy.  But that’s my kind of crazy.

Huge thanks to Pat, Sarah, Oot, Cutie, Maria, Brett, Amanda, Kat, Nicole, Adam, Rachel, and the volunteers and friends who make the world more awesome.

*     *     *

Thank you Vicki, and thanks to everyone who has helped with Worldbuilders this year.

Here’s a our donation page, for those of you who would like to spread little love this Thanksgiving.

Stay tuned for new products and Black Friday deals in the store tomorrow.

Posted in Heifer International, Worldbuilders 2014 | By Pat1 Response
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