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[End of Dragons] Ideas for 9 new Canthan elite specializations

Few new elite specialization ideas for the Canthan expansion, with no new weapon types involved:

Elementalist: Skyfire

Mesmer: Trickster

  • Gain Spectres instead of Clones. Spectres are weaker than clones, but replicate themselves on destruction, reducing their size and power. A normal spectre will spawn two medium spectres, a medium spectre will spawn two small spectres, and a small spectre won't replicate any further. Shatter skills affect all spectres no matter their size, adjusting their strength to the size of each shattered spectre.
  • You can wield the Shortbow weapon in combat. All five shortbow skills work as channeled skills, employing multiple consecutive projectiles at once. Each of these projectiles is weaker individually, but their combined effect has the same strength as any common ranged weapon. When all the projectiles hit their target, the strength of the combined effects double.
  • Gain access to Shout slot skills. Shout effects are divided in three phases, each triggered by one of the three spectre sizes. The first phase is triggered by the mesmer and normal spectres, the second by medium spectres, and the third by small spectres. Completing the three phases will unlock an additional fourth effect, triggered by all spectres at once. Shouts are inspired by Canthan poetry, each phase covering one out of four verses.

Necromancer: Apothecary

  • Gain Plague Bomb, Toxic Pollen, Afflicted Miasma, Scarab Spore, and Plague Shroud instead of Death Shroud. Plague Bomb throws an explosive to the target area. Toxic Pollen, Afflicted Miasma, and Scarab Spore work as enchancements for your bombs. Activate and combine them to modify the effects of your plague bomb, leading to a total of eight possible combinations. Plague Shroud turns the necromancer into a walking combo field. All plague skills consume life force.
  • You can wield the Pistol weapons in combat. Pistol skills gain additional effects depending on the active plague enhancements.
  • Gain access to Elixir slot skills. Elixirs work as ammunition skills, consume their charges sparingly to gain various passive effects, or consume them all at once to induce a frontal area of effect vomit attack.

Engineer: Dreadnought

  • Gain Dreadnought Suit and Phase Shield instead of tool belt skill five. Activate the Dreadnought Suit to drive your own combat armor, gaining alternate tool belt and weapon skills for all your engineering kits. Phase Shield will replace your endurance bar while the dreadnought suit is active, sacrificing dodge rolling in exchange of a bonus health bar.
  • You can wield the Mace weapons in combat. Mace skills are inspired by the core engineer Tool Kit utility skill, which has been removed and replaced by a new gadget elite skill. Additionally, maces are not exclusive for the dreadnought elite specialization, and once unlocked can be used by the core profession and any other elite specializations as well.
  • Gain access to one new healing engineering kit, one new utility gadget, one new utility elixir, one new utility engineering kit, one new utility turret, and one new elite engineering kit. These new slot skills are exclusive for the dreadnought elite specialization.

Ranger: Bulwark

  • Gain Pet Focus instead of Pet Swap. Both pets are deployed in combat simultaneously, pet focus letting you command the beast skills of one pet at a time.
  • You can wield the Shield weapon in combat. The fifth weapon skill turns defensive mode on and off, reducing your movement speed in exchange of alternate weapon skills. This affects the fourth shield skill, as well as all three skills from main-hand axe, main-hand spear, and main-hand sword.
  • Gain access to Venom slot skills. Venom effects are applied to the ranger, both pets, and up to four other nearby allies. Once used against a target enemy, their negative effects stack, increasing their strength the more hits the target receives.
  • Find and tame Juvenile Crab, Juvenile Eel, and Juvenile Phoenix pets during your journey across Cantha.

Thief: Shadowblade

  • Gain Shadow Blade and Shadow Strike instead of Steal. Shadow Blade summons an exact copy of the thief, with half the attributes and health. This shadow blade companion will follow the thief for ten seconds, mimicking all of his actions within a delay of two seconds. Shadow Strike commands the companion to shadowstep to the target foe and gain a stolen skill.
  • You can wield the Greatsword weapon in combat. The first weapon skill has five chain steps instead of the usual three. Weapon skills two to five gain stronger effects the further the chain progresses, and will not interrupt it when used. Successful hits by the shadow blade will count as a step forward for any chains on progress, greatsword or not.
  • Gain access to Stance slot skills. Stance effects are applied simultaneously to both the thief and the shadow blade.

Guardian: Spiritcaller

  • Gain Virtue Attunement instead of Virtue Activation, Just was Xun Rao instead of Virtue of Justice, Resolute was Reiko instead of Virtue of Resolve, and Courageous was Ashu instead of Virtue of Courage. Attune to a virtue to strengthen its passive effect, disabling the effects of the other two virtues in the process.
  • You can wield the Warhorn weapon in combat. The warhorn gains alternate weapon skills depending on the active attunement.
  • Gain access to Spirit slot skills. Just like warhorn skills, spirits gain different effects depending on the active attunement.

Revenant: Windwalker

  • Gain Wind Walk instead of dodge rolling. Hold the dodge key to dash instead of dodging, dash distance increasing the longer you hold down.
  • You can wield the Greatsword weapon in combat. Weapon skills two to five work as charge skills, gaining stronger effects the longer you hold down. Wind Walk does not cancel charge skills, giving it good synergy with greatsword skills.
  • Invoke the power of the legendary tengu windwalker, Tsuru Whitewing, and gain access to Legendary Windwalker slot skills. All five windwalker skills depict famous tengu paintings, representing different events across tengu history. Skills six to nine represent how each of the four tengu houses came to be, in turn inspired by the four winds. The elite skill, "The Great Wave off Shing Jea", represents the Great Tsunami itself, and the culmination of the tengu journey.

Warrior: Thunderlord

  • Gain Thunder Bell instead of Burst weapon levels 2 and 3. Thunder Bell summons a mystical cannon bundle, which can alternate between ranged and melee modes through weapon swap. Carry it on your left shoulder to fire thunderbolts against your enemies, or use both hands to wield it as a blunt weapon and crush them at close combat. Thunder Bell is considered a level 2 burst skill, and once activated, both the ranged and melee versions will replace the previous weapon bursts with their own level 3 burst skills.
  • You can wield the Staff weapon in combat. Weapon skills two to five work as sequence skills, unlocking additional skills on successful hits.
  • Gain access to Preparation slot skills. Preparations gain stronger effects depending on individual adrenaline thresholds.
Some lore tidbits, for those interested:
  • Elementalist - Skyfire: Ancient naga battlemages, brought back from the dead as the frozen waters of the Jade Sea brim with life once again. Horrorized at the woes of the modern world, they gather the Luxon clans and the kappa tribes for war.
  • Mesmer - Trickster: Members of the Jade Sisterhood, they run the brothels, casinos, and theatres of Kaineng City. They specialize on blackmail, bribery, and deception. Their influence seeps deep into the Canthan aristocracy, making them impervious to the law.
  • Necromancer - Apothecary: Cultists of the Am Fah, self-proclaimed freedom fighters for the lower classes and lesser races of the empire. They will stop at nothing to overthrow the emperor, resorting to biological terrorism if necessary. After all, they can always blame the Celestial Ministry.
  • Engineer - Dreadnought: The noble men and women who drive the war machines of the empire, their combat armors admired and feared by allies and enemies alike. Rumor says their cannons are powered by the spirits of ancient deities, imprisoned by the dark sorcerers of the empire.
  • Ranger - Bulwark: Elusive beastmasters of the sidhe race, renown wardens of the Echovald Forest. Driven crazy after the Jade Wind, few survived to regain their sanity. As the Kurzick rebels and their dredge allies expand carelessly across the forest, conflict will once again be inevitable.
  • Thief - Shadowblade: Assassins of the Obsidian Flame, gone rogue after the guild was disbanded by the Celestial Ministry. They wage a secret war against the empire's corruption, supported from the inside by the remaining loyalist factions. Their numbers are thin, but their resolve unshakeable.
  • Guardian - Spiritcaller: Forefront of the Celestial Ministry, guardians of tradition, followers of the old ways, and the last remaining ritualists of Cantha. Mouthpieces for the imperial propaganda, they channel the echoes of the fallen heroes of the empire, binding the spirits of criminals to their service.
  • Revenant - Windwalker: Elite tengu bodyguards and executioners, they pay for the crimes of their Sensali ancestors with lifetime service and utmost devotion to the human imperial throne, deeming their brothers beyond the sea as nothing but despicable traitors.
  • Warrior - Thunderlord: Warrior monks of the Sai Ling Order, they commune with the Great Celestials to channel their might, embarking on quests across the countryside in search of deeper enlightenment, vowing to, one day, become Closer to the Stars.

Bonus: New weapon types

Few new weapon type ideas, for a total of 18 ground weapons:
As part of a new player experience, each core profession would unlock some of the old and new weapon types for free, without any elite specialization requirements:
  • Elementalist: Greatsword, Polearm.
  • Mesmer: Pistol (main-hand), Warhorn.
  • Necromancer: Axe (off-hand), Polearm.
  • Engineer: Scepter, Knuckles (main-hand and off-hand), Focus.
  • Ranger: Spear.
  • Thief: Spear, Knuckles (main-hand and off-hand).
  • Guardian: Spear.
  • Revenant: Axe (main-hand), Mace (off-hand), Knuckles (main-hand and off-hand).
  • Warrior: Polearm.
Further unlocks would become possible through either new elite specializations or additional updates to the core professions. Note that this section is independent from the new elite specialization ideas.
Had these gathering dust for quite a while now, figured I'd rewrite and post them.
Hope you liked the read!
EDIT: Same thread at the official forums.
submitted by Lon-ami to Guildwars2 [link] [comments]

10 More Overlooked Single Player Indie Games

Here’s a link to the first post with 10 other overlooked indie games.
Introduction
We're all familiar with the Hotline Miami's, Hollow Knight's, and Celeste's of the world. These are some of the indie games that hit the big time. Of course, for every one of these games, there's 100 other indie games that have been glossed over, relegated to a spot in a digital store few people will ever find themselves in. I wanted to bring attention to some of these lesser known indie games. I'm going to order them according to Metacritic Critic Ratings. Some of the games at the bottom have pretty low critic ratings. I personally disagree with the low scores of these games, but it's only fair that you hear from more than just me.
Price will include a link to the U.S. store page of the game. Price is in U.S. dollars.
1. Inertial Drift
2. Pumpkin Jack
3. Pato Box
4. Ultra Hat Dimension
5. Penarium
6. SINNER: Sacrifice for Redemption
7. Tamashii
8. Daggerhood
9. The Bunker
10. Cybarian: The Time-Traveling Warrior
Have you played any of these games? What are some other overlooked single player indie games?
If you’re looking for more indie games to play, see my post here:
submitted by Underwhere_Overthere to xboxone [link] [comments]

20 Overlooked Single Player Indie Games

We're all familiar with the Hotline Miami's, Hollow Knight's, and Celeste's of the world. These are some of the indie games that hit the big time. Of course, for every one of these games, there's 100 other indie games that have been glossed over, relegated to a spot in a digital store few people will ever find themselves in. I wanted to bring attention to some of these lesser known indie games.
I'm going to order them according to Metacritic Critic Ratings. Some of the games at the bottom have pretty low critic ratings. I personally disagree with the low scores of these games, but it's only fair that you hear from more than just me. Keep in mind that games with only one or two User Ratings on Metacritic will not show the score. A game needs at least three User Ratings on Metacritic before the score will be shown. This is not the case for Critic Reviews.
Price will contain the U.S. PlayStation Store link to the game.
1. Hayfever
2. Valfaris
3. Four Sided Fantasy
4. Bleep Bloop
5. Horizon Shift ‘81
6. Daggerhood
7. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight
8. Ultra Hat Dimension
9. Remothered: Tormented Fathers
10. Reverie
11. Inertial Drift
12. Cursed Castilla (Maldita Castilla EX)
13. Pato Box
14. The Count Lucanor
15. The Bunker
16. A Tale of Paper
17. Late Shift
18. SINNER: Sacrifice for Redemption
19. Verlet Swing
20. Neon Drive
Conclusion
My top 5 on the list in order would be the following: (1.) Hayfever, (2.) Valfaris, (3.) Cursed Castilla: (Maldita Castilla EX), (4.) Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight, and (5.) Bleep Bloop.
Have you played any of these games? What are some other overlooked single player indie games?
If you’re looking for more indie games to play, see my post here:
submitted by Underwhere_Overthere to PS5 [link] [comments]

The Bollywood film ‘Dhoom’ (2004), misinterpreted as an action thriller, is in fact a rigorous allegorical analysis of economic policies, particularly in the Indian context in the early ‘00s.

Spoilers ahead.
Connoisseurs of film are undoubtedly well-aware of La Nouvelle Vague, aka, the ‘New Wave’—an experimental movement in filmmaking with its origins in the French cinema of the 1950s, with an emphasis on exploration of personal themes such as existentialism, iconoclasm and absurdism. Although the ‘New Wave’ is considered to have met its chronological end in the late 1960s, to be followed by successive movements like ‘New Hollywood’, ‘Cinema Novo’ and ‘Dogme 95’, the influence of la nouvelle vague continues to be keenly felt in the artistic masterpieces of Bollywood production house YRF. Under the skillful hand of renowned auteur Aditya Chopra, the studio has produced a lineup of commercially successful arthouse flicks that continue the French filmmaking renaissance of the ‘50s, successfully infusing avant-garde storytelling techniques with high production values and modern Indian themes. Nowhere is this revolutionary vision more evident than in films like DDLJ (a masterpiece in abstract, absurdist storytelling), Mohabbatein (a sensitive examination of the taboo topic of attitudes towards adolescent self-gratification), Kal Ho Naa Ho (an ambitious adaptation of historian David McCullough’s book 1776), Jab Tak Hai Jaan (a religio-philosophical drama that engages in debate upon the tenets of Christianity, Shaivism, and the cultural taboo of Kala Pani) and, of course, the Dhoom franchise.
As YRF’s most popular franchise, the Dhoom series has, with each installment, made great independent strides in cinematic theory and practice. Although—as read above—YRF films explore a wide, varying range of topics as a whole, the Dhoom franchise focuses exclusively on the examination and discussion of economic and socio-economic matters of policy and practice in the Indian context. Over the course of 3 films, the discourse acquires a rich depth, with the analysis of issues including the economic costs and benefits of national highway construction, the clash between entrepreneurial aspirations and the security of bureaucratic employment, the 2008 economic recession in the BRICS context, and the causes and consequences of non-performing bank loans and a profiling of defaulters of on said loans. Indeed, a first course on Indian economics at any prestigious institution may well be framed around careful viewing and discussion of the Dhoom films. In the careful hands of Aditya Chopra and Vijay Krishna Acharya (Dhoom 1/2/3, Tashan, Thugs of Hindostan), each Dhoom film achieves a delicate balance between the overt cops-and-robbers heist story and the covert exploration of complex economic schools of thought.
As the 1st film in the franchise, Dhoom (2004) establishes the storytelling framework for the films to come, and by itself explores the challenges and opportunities presented by Indian economic policymaking in the early ‘00s. The film features an all-round star-studded cast, with support from Honorary Roadie & Stardust Awards nominee Esha Deol, Star’s Sabsey Award winner Rimi Sen, and Indian Telly Award nominee Arav Chowdharry. At the film’s helm are Lions Club Award winner John Abraham, Sansui Award winner Abhishek Bachchan, and Emmy nominee Uday Chopra. Series regulars Bachchan and Chopra play Jai and Ali respectively, Jai being a policeman and Ali a small-time mechanic with a penchant for fast bikes and disinterested women. Abraham essays the villainous role of Kabir, part-time restaurant waiter and part-time leader of a gang of biker thieves.
The film begins with a series of daring heists pulled off by Kabir’s gang, relying on their high-speed bikes to orchestrate sudden thefts and promptly escape the scene soon after. Their exploits catch the eye of Jai, a lifetime appointee to the post of Assistant Commissioner of Police. Jai, however, finds himself out of his depth and through a series of accidents, makes the acquaintance of Ali, a mildly-seedy mechanic and bike racer. Initially reluctant to be associated with law enforcement, Ali is eventually induced to join Jai’s cause and attempt to chase down Kabir and his merry band of men. Dhoom is slow and deliberate in its setup, and the film’s early minutes are heavy on subtext and detail, therefore, it is essential to take in the plot in small increments, so as to be thorough with one’s analysis.
In an allegorical sense, Jai, as a police officer, represents bureaucratic authority and the security, comforts and powers of government employment. Abraham’s Kabir, as a thief, is a laissez-faire capitalist, relying on his material advantage in the form of fast bikes and his manpower advantage in the form of skilled bikers to partake in a series of one-sided transactions with economic entities such as banks and government funds. In this sense, the act of robbery in Dhoom is merely a transaction between two private parties wherein one side gains an unfair amount at the other’s expense, absent external interventionism. In addition to being a free-market advocate, Kabir is also an employee at a pizza parlour, which seems to be the film’s attempt at exploring both the growing role of the service economy as a share of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and the amorphous nature of employment within the modern ‘gig’ economy. Caught between the competing ideas of state-control and free capitalism, Chopra’s Ali is a stand-in for the directionless youth, lured by the safety and dignity of a government job, whilst simultaneously seduced by the potential for greater wealth presented by free-market capitalism. The film’s plot is overt in this depiction, with Ali simultaneously fearful of Jai’s authority, yet desirous of wielding said authority as an employed policeman. Furthermore, in an action sequence set in Mumbai’s Chor Bazaar—a flea market specializing in illegally-hawked goods—Jai and Ali get into a fight with goons in the market, and are forced to make a hasty escape after being outnumbered. Ali bringing Jai to the market illustrates his ties to the informal, underground economy—a large, undocumented component of the Indian economy—and Jai’s subsequent fleeing the scene highlights the failed outcome of government attempts to regulate this grey economy by force and bluster.
Initially at a loss for clues, Jai is eventually able to deduce that Kabir’s bikers arrange their heists in close proximity to highways, providing as the highways do quick getaways after. This is no doubt an allusion to the economic importance of the National Highways Authority of India’s flagship ‘Golden Quadrilateral’ national highway construction project. Kabir, the raw capitalist, is empowered in his capitalistic pursuits by the government’s infrastructure investments, and John Abraham’s moody expression throughout the film is in no small part perhaps due to the discontentment within Kabir’s mind about his enterprise’s dependence on resources provided by the state. Having deduced Kabir’s MO, Jai and Ali attempt to catch him in the act. However, Kabir and his gang appear to have substantially faster bikes than Jai and Ali, which is undoubtedly an allusion to the government’s perceived ineptitude and inability to generally compete with private enterprise. Left chafing and chasing the dust, Jai catches a lucky break when an overconfident Kabir offers him a clue about his upcoming crime, with the catch being that if Jai fails to avert it, he must recuse himself from the case and leave Kabir to his entrepreneurial pursuits. Kabir, the staunch capitalist, is here hinting at the idea of termination clauses in Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), agreements between enterprises and governments for mutual benefit. Whilst the government naturally retains the right to sever the partnership at any point, Kabir clearly believes that he, as the private party, is also entitled to terminate the contract should the government, aka Jai, default on the agreed-upon terms. Formally known as the ‘Authority Default’ concept, Dhoom represents this idea in the form of a simple, easy to understand challenge between Jai and Kabir.
Even as this layered conflict plays out between Jai and Kabir, Ali is enamoured by the mysterious ‘Dilbara’ (Esha Deol). Little is known about Dilbara, however, like other characters in the film, it may be reasonably assumed than she is also an allegorical depiction of an economic concept. Ali’s infatuation with her suggests that she is perhaps intended to be portrayed as a vague, undefined avenue of aspirational employment. Furthermore, the fact that she (as is later revealed) is in fact a part of Kabir’s gang, yet also harbours feelings for Ali, leads one to conclude that Dilbara represents a form of compromise between dirigisme, aka restrictive state-controlled economy, and laissez-faire anarcho-capitalism. The filmmakers leave the specifics of this compromise vague, however, Dilbara’s skimpy outfits perhaps represent the scantiness of opportunities presented by this nebulous alternative.
Returning to the main plot, Jai, despite being forewarned, fails to foil Kabir’s next robbery, despite being able to take down one of his gang in the process. Left short of a gang member, Kabir attempts to recruit Ali, left sidelined by Jai following their failure to catch Kabir. The jilted Ali readily embraces Kabir’s neoliberal worldview and the duo jet off to Goa, where Kabir has his eyes set on one final score from a casino. Subtextually, the casino and gambling in general represent what is in Kabir’s eyes an essential component of his brand of capitalism—rampant speculation and volatility that may be manipulated to one’s benefit. There may also be an addition reference to British academic Susan Strange’s seminal 1986 work Casino Capitalism, a critique of unregulated banking and financial systems. However, Kabir is more likely than not to be derisive of such thoughts, and therefore, if this reference was intended, it may merely be made to indicate the filmmakers’ complete mastery over both Keynesian and Austrian schools of economic thought.
The importance of dance numbers in YRF films cannot be overstated. Even as Bollywood music gravitates towards being little more than catchy jingles designed to elicit maximum publicity, the music and dance numbers in YRF films complement the plot perfectly, serving to both entertain and narrate. Dhoom is no exception to this tradition of excellence. On the eve of Kabir’s final heist, an inebriated Jai shows up at the casino, claiming to have left police employment and moved on. Kabir, however, is rightly suspicious, given as Jai is still a cop, and is merely attempting to lure Kabir into a false sense of comfort as a prelude to catching him in the act. This Jai accomplishes by putting on a song-and-dance in front of Kabir to convince him of his abandonment of state-sponsored socialism and his embrace of Kabir’s unrestrained capitalism. The song is entitled ‘Salamee’, a clever homophone of ‘salami’, a sausage that consists primary of beef. The consumption of beef was, in a landmark 2005 Supreme Court judgement, forbidden on grounds on anti cow-slaughter laws. Kabir, as an opponent of government intervention, would likely have been opposed to the idea of such a restriction being imposed upon him. Therefore, to show his solidarity to the cause, Jai takes to the stage in front of Kabir and sways to the refrain of “Naye kal ko aao kare, hum karein, karein/Salami, salami, salami/Kar le salami…”.
The subterfuge is apparently successful, and a placated Kabir is lulled into a false sense of security by Jai’s reinforcement of his worldview. However, as mentioned, Jai’s conversion is little more than a ruse, and a hoodwinked Kabir is successfully caught in the act by Jai and Ali, who is revealed to have been Jai’s mole all along. The ever-slippery Kabir, however, weasels his way out of Jai’s clutches, and flees with his loot. Although Dhoom 3 would better address the phenomenon of loan defaulters taking flight from the verge of captivity, Dhoom too takes a cursory look at the occurrence, although Kabir does not quite embody a loan defaulter. He is merely the free-market capitalist, the robber baron caught flouting regulations and fleeing from the consequences of government intervention. A long chase sequence ensues, with Kabir fleeing but ultimately cornered by Jai and Ali at the precipice of a sea-facing cliff. Facing a choice between certain captivity and death, Kabir chooses to fly off the cliff with the last of his loot. In a literal sense, Kabir merely dies by falling off the cliff into the sea. In a figurative sense, faced with the prospect of his enterprise being forced to comply with ungainly regulations, Kabir chooses instead to offshore his business, and make for better waters, thus bringing his character arc to a natural and satisfying conclusion. A frustrated Jai bemoans his end, representing the government’s exasperation at ultimately failing to bring a rogue enterprise to heel. Ali, having seen his capitalistic expectations dive off a cliff with Kabir, chooses in the film’s final shot, to finally pursue the path to safe, steady, state-sponsored employment after all, asking Jai if he finally is a bona-fide police officer, as the film fades to black.
The topical nature of Dhoom is a cause for admiration, even a decade and a half after its release. The film successfully ties together strands of economic and socio-economic thought from its time—the ‘Golden Quadrilateral’ project received a major fillip in the first years of the new millennium, the service sector encountered a boom around the same time, as did the contribution of outsourcing to employment and economic growth. The rise of men like Kabir is perfectly timed in the post-License Raj years, as the country embraced capitalism over state socialism. Yet, the lure of stable, ‘safe’ government employment holds true, and powers men like Jai and seduces men like Ali. Dilbara’s unknown fate at the end of the film—left waiting for Ali by the side of a road—is representative of the uncertain outcomes of economic models with time. On a meta note, the Dhoom franchise’s casting of Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra in every film is a nod to the ‘Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act’ of 2005, a flagship government initiative that guarantees employment for a certain number of days out of the year, in the form of unskilled labour.
In summation, Dhoom rightly deserves its place as a seminal film in the annals of both YRF and Indian cinema. In its own right, it is a bold, experimental film that marries erudition to entertainment. It is also the progenitor of its celebrated franchise, providing the springboard from which future films would explore similar issues in an equally deft and precise fashion. To YRF, the Dhoom franchise, and Indian cinema, the film Dhoom is nothing short of a bottle of nitrous oxide, that when attached to a bike, propels it into the stratosphere.
submitted by throwaway_intuition to india [link] [comments]

2020 Playing Card Holiday Gift Guide

My favourite decks from the past year

Playing cards make the ideal gift, particularly the many beautiful custom decks available nowadays. Almost everyone can use a deck of cards at some point, so they have an instant and universal appeal, especially if a deck has some customized artwork and is packaged in an appealing tuck box.
In this list I want to focus on some of my favourite decks that have come out in the past year 2020. This year has been a challenging year for many of us in light of the coronavirus that has swept across the world. But in the middle of all this darkness, there have also been some bright spots, which include the brand new crop of custom decks that have appeared in the marketplace.
The suggestions I'm making are very much a matter of personal choice, and other playing card enthusiasts might make other choices. I haven't seen each and every deck that hit the market in the past year, and there are undoubtedly plenty of other worthy decks that qualify for a list like this. I've also not included any decks that have haven't yet been produced, even if they have been crowdfunded. This list strictly covers decks that you should be able to obtain from online retailers and resellers. I've also not included so-called "hype decks" that sell out almost immediately at the publisher level (e.g. Fontaines), but only those that enter retail channels and are more widely and readily available.
I've also included links to where you find them at PlayingCardDecks so that you can see images of the tuck boxes and cards for each item, and because they're the retailer I personally buy playing cards from the most. But you should be able to find these decks at most online retailers.

Popular Series

Several series of playing cards have become brands of their own, and achieved nearly cult status from collectors. This past year has seen some great additions to the line-ups from popular series that include big names like Jerry's Nuggets, Cherry Casino, and NOC.
Jerry's Nugget Aqua Playing Cards - Jerry's Nuggets are a modern icon in the world of playing cards, due to the cult status of this deck, which was praised by cardists around the world. It was originally printed in the early 1970s, and was so much in demand in recent decades that copies fetched over $500 in the secondary market. A very successful reprinting of the original blue and red decks happened in 2019, and in the past year we've seen multiple reprints in different colours. Among my favourites in this series are the bright colours like orange, yellow, and green, which have all appeared in the past year. But there's also something for those who prefer a more muted look, such as steel and black. For more in this series, see Jerry's Nugget decks.
Cherry Casino Tropicana Teal Playing Cards - The Cherry Casino decks capture a retro vibe, and are a throwback to the old fruit machines from gambling halls, with their distinctive cherry artwork. For me the real appeal of this series lies in the gorgeous card backs, which have a metallic sheen making them feel instantly different from all other decks. The face cards are all quite standard, so that makes them ideal for card games or card magic. Multiple new colours continue to appear in this series, such as Flamingo Quartz Pink, and most recently McCarran Silver. For more in this series, see Cherry Casino decks .
NOC 3000X2 Purple Playing Cards - The acronym NOC originally stood for Nothing Only Colour, and in line with this the initial decks in this series were all very minimalist. Many people like to collect and use the NOC decks, and over time the series has evolved somewhat. The most recent releases show some new splashes of creativity, and with the NOC 3000X2 deck we travel into the future, past the year 3000. Vibrant purples and pinks inhabit the landscape of the cards, for a very modern and flashy look that is particularly well suited to cardistry. This particular deck is also available in a matching pink version. For more in this series, see NOC decks.

Popular Brands

There are several big brands that you can count on for quality, and this year was no exception, with big companies like Theory11, Ellusionist, and Art of Play all continuing to contribute wonderful playing cards to the market.
James Bond 007 Playing Cards - When it comes to glamorous tuck boxes, it doesn't get much better than the luxury of playing card producer Theory11. This wonderful deck is a tribute to agent 007, James Bond. I collect most of the Theory11 decks, and this one is particularly terrific, with a supreme tuck box, and Bond-inspired paraphernalia on the court cards and on the card back. Close observers will find many Bond gadgets and more. Theory11 have put out several stylish releases in the past year, another one being the Hollywood Roosevelt deck. For more, see Theory11 decks.
Shadow Masters Legacy v2 Playing Cards - One of the companies at the forefront of the custom playing cards movement was Ellusionist and their Black Tiger deck continues to be a modern icon. While they've since been overshadowed by the many custom decks produced in the crowd-funding era over the past decade, they continue to produce some memorable decks from time to time that are worth picking up. The Shadow Masters Legacy v2 is a black deck in the classic Ellusionist style, and represents the kind of thing that made them great to begin with. A jet black background is the chief feature of this deck, and the red and white used for the artwork and pips stands out beautifully against the inky black. This deck compares favourably with any other deck from the modern era. For more, see Ellusionist decks.
Yellow Wheel Playing Cards - The brand Art of Play is the home of influential cardists Dan and Dave Buck. Their Red & Blue Wheel decks are among my all-time favourite decks, with gorgeous metallic inks as part of a split-pip design. The Yellow Wheel deck is their latest entry in the Wheel series, that retains the original card backs but now in yellow. But the highlight is the card faces, with the split pips employing a stunning metallic silver that complements the cards beautifully. This is a completely custom deck that is certain to impress anyone who sees it. Art of Play produces many new decks each year, and their Henry & Sally deck is a fun novelty release also worth checking out. For more, see Art of Play decks.

Popular Designers

They are a very select group, but there are some notable designers in the playing card industry who have developed a real name for themselves, have generated a large following of loyal fans, and continue to produce high quality custom decks on a regular basis.
Italia Radiosa Playing Cards - Italian designer Giovanni Meroni is the man behind Thirdway Industries, and his playing cards are in high demand from collectors around the world. His signature style is immediately recognizable in each of his decks, and this one is no exception. Along with its companion Italia Segreta, it's themed around the wonders and secrets of Italy. The unique court cards are the real highlight, showcasing Giovanni's usual creativity and style. The number cards are also fully custom. These are the kinds of decks that will hold their value well in years to come. If you want even more vibrant colours, check out Modern Idols, from the same creator. For more, see Giovanni Meroni decks.
Postage Paid Playing Cards - Behind the brand Kings Wild Project is Jackson Robinson, who is one of the few professional designers that actually makes a living out of designing playing cards. This deck was inspired by the idea of playing cards functioning as postcards, each with its own stamp and post paid stamp. All 50 US states are represented on different cards, and everything about this deck is fully customized. This deck was produced in only limited numbers, so it will be out of stock in most places. But if you're quick, you can still grab Jackson Robinson's General Admission deck, which applies a similar concept to tickets, with each card representing a vintage ticket stub from the early 20th century. For more, see Jackson Robinson decks.
Kodiak Playing Cards - From popular designer Jody Eklund and his Black Ink Playing Cards Company, comes this delightful deck of playing cards that is geared to the poker player and collector. The cards have a very classic look, but offer a fresh take on the designs of the court cards and pips. Jody is highly respected for his approach to graphic design, and these cards will prove an excellent choice if you like playing card games, and want to bring something stylish and attractive to the table. For more, see Jody Eklund decks.

Magician Decks

Most magicians can perform their magic with any deck, but typically they prefer to do card magic with a deck where novelty and customization are minimal, so as not to distract from their magic. These decks are well suited to performing magic, and contain bonus gaff cards or other secrets that enable them to produce miracles not possible with ordinary decks.
Card College Playing Cards - These decks are a tribute to the most outstanding modern teacher of the fundamentals of card magic, Roberto Giobbi. Mr Giobbi is the author of Card College, a series of best-selling books which are the modern gold standard for learning card magic. Available in red and blue, these decks are simple and practical for the working magician, and as a bonus each contains two double backer gaff cards. If you want more luxury, check out the stunning Luxury 3 Deck Set, which has even more stylish cards, individually numbered tuck boxes with unique origami style features, packaged in an attractive acrylic box - the ideal collectible or gift for magicians.
Remedies Royal Blue Playing Cards - The Remedies decks come from popular creators Daniel Madison and Daniel Schneider, and this is a successor to the Remedies Scarlet Red deck. Many collectors love the Black Roses brand of playing cards, and collect whatever they produce. This blue Remedies deck has a classic and minimalist look with bold blue card backs, and is very functional and practical. The inclusion of a special Angle Zero gaff makes it ideal for magicians.
DMC Elites Red v5 Playing Cards - Of all the marked decks I own, the DMC Elites is easily my first choice whenever I want a marked deck with cards that can be easily read from a distance, due to the clever and yet almost invisible marking system it uses. This deck has previously been released in several different colours, and now incorporates Tamariz's Mnemonica stack. All you need is the deck, but there is a terrific Passport book available separately, which will give you some great ideas for routines you can pull off with this great marked deck. For more, see Marked decks.

Cardistry Decks

Card flourishing has really boomed in recent years, and especially shines when cardists use a deck that has colourful and striking patterns optimized for cardistry, that enhance the visual aesthetics of cards in motion, as these decks show.
Neon Orange Cardistry Playing Cards - This deck represents Bicycle's attempt to meet a demand for a relatively low-cost deck geared towards card flourishing. The card backs have a geometric design, and the faces are all identical and completely non-standard, showcasing the latest evolution in playing cards optimized entirely for cardistry. Bright colours ensure that the cards look visually appealing in fans, spreads, and flourishing moves. Alongside this vibrant orange deck is its blue companion, the Neon Blue Aurora deck.
Autumn Circle Cardistry Playing Cards - Tally Ho is a classic brand that USPCC has been producing for a long time. The circle back design of the typical Tally Ho deck has become iconic, and is especially appreciated by those who enjoy card flourishing. Each year the folks at Bicycle produce some in-house decks for special occasions, and the Autumn Circle Back deck is a lovely result. The colours capture the warmth and glow of autumn leaves and the mood of harvest time, while the pattern on the card backs is perfect for cardistry.
ArrowDynamix Cardistry Playing Cards - Given the high volume of cardistry decks appearing all the time, it can be difficult to come up with something completely original, but this minimalist deck has accomplished exactly that. Each card features a giant vertical arrow on the card backs, and a giant horizontal arrow on the faces. With carefully choreographed sequences and moves, you can create truly unique patterns and effects that you simply can't achieve with any other cardistry deck.

Animal-themed Decks

Do you love animals, or do you have an animal lover in your life? There are a lot of wonderful custom decks that are tributes to our four legged friends, or depict some of our favourite creatures.
Woof and Whiskers Dog Playing Cards - The real appeal of this deck is the cute tuck box, which has cardboard ears that fold up, to complete the look of the friendly dog on the front of the box. I would have liked to see some more customization with the number cards, but it's still a very charming deck, with delightful custom artwork on the court cards and aces. This is one of two Zoo 52 decks, so if you like the Dog deck, you'll also want to pick up the Playful Paws Cat deck, which is equally cute.
Aviary Playing Cards - There are a lot of independent creators that produce Bicycle branded playing cards with the help of industry giant USPCC, but this big name producer also releases its own in-house decks. This is my favourite of their four newest releases that hit the market at the end of 2020, and is a very classy looking deck with artwork inspired by a traditional look, but with adjustments to give it a custom feel, and the presence of several birds carefully positioned throughout the deck. Of the four new releases from Bicycle, the Sea King deck is also proving to be very popular.
King of Tigers Playing Cards - If you're looking for a deck with bling, this is it. The card backs have a borderless tiger skin pattern, which has been printed with some of the latest technology that makes use of foil for a truly eye-catching look. The tuck box is even more glamorous. While the court cards are clearly inspired by traditional courts, the Jokers bring back the tiger theme strongly, and the tiger skin look recurs throughout the deck.

Food-themed Decks

Recent years have seen some wonderful novelty decks themed around different kinds of food. These are always a great way to whet your appetite for a card game, or to show off to family or friends, and have proved a real hit with collectors.
Squeezers V3 Playing Cards - Good luck getting your hands on decks from this extremely popular series from Organic Playing Cards, because they sell out quickly. These fruit inspired decks have delightful tuck boxes, and this grapefruit themed deck even comes in a tuck box that looks like a juice box, and is actually scented like grapefruit. The cards themselves are quite practical, but add humorous grapefruit themed elements to the court cards, and new bold colours. OPC's 2020 releases also included the watermelon-themed Carvers deck, while their current release sees the brand go in a slightly new direction with the corn-themed Shuckers.
Noodlers Chicken Playing Cards - If you like the concept behind the Organic Playing Cards series, you'll probably also enjoy this deck, which has a similarly styled tuck box to the Squeezers decks, but represents a packet of ramen noodles. The orange colour on the card backs and pips has also been inspired by the noodles theme. The artwork on the court cards has a quaint and cute style, with each character depicted in a light hearted style quite different from standard courts, and all holding a bowl of noodles. For a final laugh, the Jokers provide us with the necessary packet of "chicken seasoning" to add to our noodles.
Citrus Playing Cards - Created by Flaminko, the Deliciousness series has been somewhat overshadowed by the more successful fruit inspired cards from Organic Playing Cards. But I love the Flaminko decks, because they apply customization to all elements of the cards, including the pips. This novelty deck is well suited for card flourishing, card games, and collectors, and cleverly captures all that is juicy and wonderful about citrus fruit.

Music-themed Decks

Music is another evergreen theme, and there's a solid range of lovely decks for the music lover, whether your taste is classical or more contemporary rock-and-roll.
Composers Mozart Playing Cards - This deck is part of a series that also includes other composers like Bach. These decks are true collector pieces, and make a wonderful tribute to some of the greatest composers of all time. The tuck boxes have a very classical look, and metallic ink enhances the gorgeous card backs. Meanwhile completely custom artwork on the faces emphasizes a vintage and classical feel. They are great for music lovers and collectors, but if classical music isn't your thing, then check out the Rock and Roll deck.
Piano Player Playing Cards - If the piano is your instrument of choice, this is a deck for you. The creative tuck box is available in two styles, one with two black keys and the other with three black keys, which means you can place two decks alongside each other to create a larger keyboard. Fully custom characters inhabit the court cards, with the keyboard motif returning in the details of the artwork. Small touches like this really make this creative deck a thing of unique beauty.
Soundboards v3 Midnight Playing Cards - Remember the old walk-man cassette players? In the 1980s these revolutionary electronic devices were among the first to make your personal music collection portable. The Soundboards deck replicates the look of a classic walk-man, and the Jokers complete the look by bringing the cassette tape look into the box. This Midnight edition has a dark look, so you might also want to consider the red deck if you prefer a more traditional colour.

Fiction & Film themed Decks

Most of us love a good story, whether it's in the pages of a novel or on our screens. Here are some great custom decks that are loving tributes to some of the best from the worlds of fiction and film.
Jane Austen Playing Cards - Fans of the classic novel will appreciate the loving treatment that Jane Austen's famous novels have received in this delightful tribute from the Art of Play label. Each suit represents a different novel, with the court cards featuring the lead characters in the story. The design of the characters is inspired by period costumes and reflects the fashions from the time in which the stories are set. The classy tuck case ensures that everything is nicely packaged and well presented.
Star Wars Playing Cards - Theory11 achieved a real coup by acquiring the rights to bring the Star Wars brand to playing cards. They were the perfect company to ensure that the result was a classy deck that did justice to the world of the films. This pair of Light Side and Dark Side decks begins with a top quality and highly attractive tuck case, as we've come to expect from Theory11. The court cards all feature different characters from the movies, and the design is the perfect blend of customization and playability, making this a practical deck you can bring out for your favourite card game, or to give to the Star Wars fan in your life. A similar pair of decks was produced later in the year in White and Black.
King Arthur Playing Cards - The result of a collaboration between Riffle Shuffle and Studio Muti, this pair of red and green decks tell the story of the famous Arthurian legend. For me it's a personal and nostalgic childhood favourite, in light of the adventure and imagination it evokes. But as impressive as these decks are, they pale besides the King Arthur Gold deck, which has gold metallic ink on the faces, and gold foil on the card backs, for a truly extravagant look. Inside and out, this is a stunning tribute to a timeless classic from the world of fiction.

Space-themed Decks

So I cheated. I already have a section devoted to cardistry, so I figured I'd sneak in a second category, by including some cardistry decks that all have a space theme. These decks all feature colourful visuals that work well for flourishing, but can also be enjoyed by collectors who appreciate their vibrant colours and exuberant designs.
Solokid Constellation Playing Cards - This set of twelve decks captures the twelve different star signs. It was produced by Bocopo, a company well known for producing colourful custom decks that appeal especially to cardists and collectors. These decks are typical Bocopo offerings, with evocative colours that are unique to each different deck, to help capture a different feeling for each and every constellation. If you like vibrant colour, you'll certainly find something to enjoy here.
Stargazer New Moon Playing Cards - Several different decks have now appeared in the Stargazer series, but the recent New Moon deck is probably my favourite. The circular moon that appears on all the card backs makes it an ideal deck for card flourishing moves like spins and twirls. The face cards have some truly vibrant colours, and capture well the feel of a night sky bursting with colour and life.
Sirius B v3 Playing Cards - I fell in love with the style of the original Sirius B deck, so this third edition was always going to win me over. The court cards consist of a blur of colours that look like paints mixed together, and this style has also been applied to the pips. The colours are the real appeal here, and the signature design of the card backs also looks very nice in card flourishes.

Transformation Decks

I personally adore transformation cards, and consider them to be one of the most fascinating and memorable types of playing cards there is. The idea is that you take the pips and incorporate them into a larger picture that forms a unique work of art, for each and every card in the deck.
Cotta's Almanac #1 Reproduction Playing Cards - This historic deck was first created in 1805 by J.C. Cotta, and was the very first of its kind. Themed on the "Joan of Arc" play by Schiller, the beauty and creativity of these cards will still win over collectors today. Lovingly produced in a high quality modern edition, this recreation is the first of the entire series of Cotta transformation decks that is being reproduced by PCD.
5th Kingdom Playing Cards - This deck is possibly my favourite original release from PCD in the past year. It is an outstanding example of the creativity and originality of a semi-transformation deck, where the pips have been cleverly incorporated into the artwork. Each suit represents a different culture, turning each individual card into a work of art that can be admired and enjoyed.
Pack of Dogs V2 Playing Cards - This transformation deck is the work of John Littleboy, who has produced a number of such decks in his inimitable style, including Pack of Dogs, Kitten Club, Mermaid Queen, and Bag of Bones. The number cards are my favourites, and in this deck each of these represents a larger art piece with a dog. Each suit has a progressive image, so they don't feel totally unique from each other. It's more like a series of consecutive snapshots, and you can use flip animation to tell the story. Littleboy's Kitten Club V2 deck applies a similar concept to cats.

In-House Decks

PlayingCardDecks doesn't just sell playing cards, but Will Roya also uses his wealth of experience to team up with designers and graphic artists to produce high quality custom decks under the PCD label. Here are some great custom decks that were published in-house over the course of 2020.
Astronaut Playing Cards - This novelty deck is a delightful creation that will please anyone who has an interest in space and space travel, in light of its unique theme. The Kings are all depicted as astronauts, while the Queens and Jacks represent space travellers. The card backs have a futuristic look with neon lights, and this look carries over to the number cards, which are highly customized with unique red and blue pips.
Beekeeper Playing Cards - There are plenty of bee themed playing cards already on the market, but the artwork style gives this one a truly unique feel. Two decks were produced, one with light card backs and the other with dark card backs. This is a great novelty deck for the collector, because there's especially some delightful creativity to be found with the bee-inspired pips, and the detailed custom artwork on the court cards.
Testament Classic Playing Cards - This is a Biblical themed deck created by artist Ben Green. It's intended as an art deck, with the images on the cards depicting Biblical characters from well-known narratives. Representing a dual love for playing cards and a love for Bible-inspired art, this deck will especially appeal to the collector.

Out-of-the-Ordinary Decks

I'm a sucker for highly unusual decks with a high degree of novelty, and even though these are not ones I'd typically use for playing card games, they have very unique features that make them stand out from your average custom deck.
Starry Night Puzzle Playing Cards - Fancy a deck that doubles as a jigsaw puzzle? This clever deck takes its inspiration from Vincent Van Gogh's famous painting, The Starry Night. The artwork on the card faces is all taken from the painting, and all the cards can be pieced together to make a single giant picture, thus effectively functioning as a large puzzle. Yet each card has clear indices so it's still something you can use for card games too. Definitely unique and out of the ordinary, this set of playing cards is a perfect choice for fans of classic art and paintings.
Falcon Razors Deluxe Throwing Playing Cards - Rick Smith Jr has made multiple world records in throwing playing cards. His baseball background holds him in good stead, but anybody can learn to throw playing cards if you use the techniques Rick teaches. These throwing cards were a collaboration with legendary flourisher De'vo, and were featured in one of this year's viral videos from Dude Perfect, which featured Rick and his amazing card throwing. The cards are slightly thicker than standard Bicycle stock, to ensure extra durability and performance for card throwing.
AQUA Invisible Plastic Playing Cards - If you're looking for something completely different, this might hit the mark. This is a ground-breaking deck that is the closest thing to being invisible. All the cards are made out of completely transparent plastic, after which a high gloss transparent printing is applied to selected areas of the cards to produce the designs and pips. So each card is effectively completely transparent, and yet you can see its unique artwork and determine its value and suit. The handling is surprisingly better than you'd expect for a completely plastic deck, and it's certainly something unique.

Other Gift Ideas

Do you want to let your gift recipient make their own decision about what to get, or are you not quite sure what to buy? Here are a couple of special gift ideas that might help out, even if it is to give your family or friends a convenient way to enable you to select your own gift!
Firstly, there's a wide range of accessories available for playing cards, like card clips, card cases, and more. Alternatively, consider a gift card, which is available in amounts of $10, $25, $50, $100, and $200. There's also the popular Pip Box Club, which has been around for over two years. Subscribers get a selection of decks and goodies shipped to them each month, and offers great value with each box.
Boxing Day Sale: Right now you can take advantage of a special sale at PlayingCardDecks, and save $10 off any order over $30 by using the code box20. This coupon is valid from Boxing Day until the end of 2020.
Happy shopping, and happy holidays!
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What Are You Reading? 11/19/2020 - Get the F- Back Inside Edition

What Are You Reading? 11/19/2020 - Get the F- Back Inside Edition

Hello and welcome to our Weekly "What Are You Reading?" topic!

Come one, come all, to this weekly thread, where you can openly discuss books that you've read, are currently reading, or plan to read. Discussion of all books are welcome, whether they be DC, Marvel, Image, Boom!, Dark Horse, IDW, etc. You can discuss webcomics, manga, or even those mythical novels that don't have pictures in them. Just be sure to keep spoilers covered via Reddit's spoiler markdown >!spoiler!<. You can also post pictures of your collection or recent purchases.

Beary's Rec of the Week:

While Jason Aaron is often known as a Marvel guy, notable for his lengthy runs on Wolverine, Thor, and Star Wars, he's done a fair amount of work for DC under the Vertigo imprint. Scalped, one of the big highlights of his career, is a gritty crime saga set on an impoverished Indian reservation, and was partly inspired by real-life of Leonard Peltier, a Native American activist who was arrested for the murders of two FBI agents. It tackles some uncomfortable topics such as drug addiction, cultural identity, racism, and poverty, though it's very much a modern western at heart.
Scalped follows Dashiell Bad Horse, a troubled man who returns home to a poverty-stricken Indian reservation in South Dakota after fifteen years. He enters the employ of Lincoln Red Crow, the Tribal Council President and local crime lord who is attempting to lift the reservation out of poverty through the opening of his casino. Red Crow is also the target of an FBI investigation. Dashiell must gain Red Crow's trust by enforcing Red Crow's brutal control of the land, while also avoiding confronting his troubled relationship with his mother, an activist protesting Red Crow's casino. Oh, and Dashiell is also an undercover FBI agent. Things get spicy.
It's a slow read at first, as one may find the characters to be rather unlikeable at first glance, but once it hits its groove, you'll find that the series slowly chips away at the characters and reveals some surprising depths underneath. Aaron is a writer who likes to takes his time in exploring the perspectives of multiple characters and how their lives are affected by the environment they live in. If you've read his work on the excellent Southern Bastards, then you'll find many similarities here. It's also not shy about violence, language, or unkempt nudity, but it's not self-indulgent about it.
A word of warning, though, if you're looking for physical collections. Scalped is one of those series where DC went about reprinting in the last few years, only to stop in the middle. There are three lengthy paperback volumes that collect the first 34 issues of the 60-issue series. For the rest, you'd have the go for either the older (and shorter) paperbacks, or the Deluxe Editions.
So, what are you reading?
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Former investment bank FX trader: some thoughts

Former investment bank FX trader: some thoughts
Hi guys,
I have been using reddit for years in my personal life (not trading!) and wanted to give something back in an area where i am an expert.
I worked at an investment bank for seven years and joined them as a graduate FX trader so have lots of professional experience, by which i mean I was trained and paid by a big institution to trade on their behalf. This is very different to being a full-time home trader, although that is not to discredit those guys, who can accumulate a good amount of experience/wisdom through self learning.
When I get time I'm going to write a mid-length posts on each topic for you guys along the lines of how i was trained. I guess there would be 15-20 topics in total so about 50-60 posts. Feel free to comment or ask questions.
The first topic is Risk Management and we'll cover it in three parts
Part I
  • Why it matters
  • Position sizing
  • Kelly
  • Using stops sensibly
  • Picking a clear level

Why it matters

The first rule of making money through trading is to ensure you do not lose money. Look at any serious hedge fund’s website and they’ll talk about their first priority being “preservation of investor capital.”
You have to keep it before you grow it.
Strangely, if you look at retail trading websites, for every one article on risk management there are probably fifty on trade selection. This is completely the wrong way around.
The great news is that this stuff is pretty simple and process-driven. Anyone can learn and follow best practices.
Seriously, avoiding mistakes is one of the most important things: there's not some holy grail system for finding winning trades, rather a routine and fairly boring set of processes that ensure that you are profitable, despite having plenty of losing trades alongside the winners.

Capital and position sizing

The first thing you have to know is how much capital you are working with. Let’s say you have $100,000 deposited. This is your maximum trading capital. Your trading capital is not the leveraged amount. It is the amount of money you have deposited and can withdraw or lose.
Position sizing is what ensures that a losing streak does not take you out of the market.
A rule of thumb is that one should risk no more than 2% of one’s account balance on an individual trade and no more than 8% of one’s account balance on a specific theme. We’ll look at why that’s a rule of thumb later. For now let’s just accept those numbers and look at examples.
So we have $100,000 in our account. And we wish to buy EURUSD. We should therefore not be risking more than 2% which $2,000.
We look at a technical chart and decide to leave a stop below the monthly low, which is 55 pips below market. We’ll come back to this in a bit. So what should our position size be?
We go to the calculator page, select Position Size and enter our details. There are many such calculators online - just google "Pip calculator".

https://preview.redd.it/y38zb666e5h51.jpg?width=1200&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=26e4fe569dc5c1f43ce4c746230c49b138691d14
So the appropriate size is a buy position of 363,636 EURUSD. If it reaches our stop level we know we’ll lose precisely $2,000 or 2% of our capital.
You should be using this calculator (or something similar) on every single trade so that you know your risk.
Now imagine that we have similar bets on EURJPY and EURGBP, which have also broken above moving averages. Clearly this EUR-momentum is a theme. If it works all three bets are likely to pay off. But if it goes wrong we are likely to lose on all three at once. We are going to look at this concept of correlation in more detail later.
The total amount of risk in our portfolio - if all of the trades on this EUR-momentum theme were to hit their stops - should not exceed $8,000 or 8% of total capital. This allows us to go big on themes we like without going bust when the theme does not work.
As we’ll see later, many traders only win on 40-60% of trades. So you have to accept losing trades will be common and ensure you size trades so they cannot ruin you.
Similarly, like poker players, we should risk more on trades we feel confident about and less on trades that seem less compelling. However, this should always be subject to overall position sizing constraints.
For example before you put on each trade you might rate the strength of your conviction in the trade and allocate a position size accordingly:

https://preview.redd.it/q2ea6rgae5h51.png?width=1200&format=png&auto=webp&s=4332cb8d0bbbc3d8db972c1f28e8189105393e5b
To keep yourself disciplined you should try to ensure that no more than one in twenty trades are graded exceptional and allocated 5% of account balance risk. It really should be a rare moment when all the stars align for you.
Notice that the nice thing about dealing in percentages is that it scales. Say you start out with $100,000 but end the year up 50% at $150,000. Now a 1% bet will risk $1,500 rather than $1,000. That makes sense as your capital has grown.
It is extremely common for retail accounts to blow-up by making only 4-5 losing trades because they are leveraged at 50:1 and have taken on far too large a position, relative to their account balance.
Consider that GBPUSD tends to move 1% each day. If you have an account balance of $10k then it would be crazy to take a position of $500k (50:1 leveraged). A 1% move on $500k is $5k.
Two perfectly regular down days in a row — or a single day’s move of 2% — and you will receive a margin call from the broker, have the account closed out, and have lost all your money.
Do not let this happen to you. Use position sizing discipline to protect yourself.

Kelly Criterion

If you’re wondering - why “about 2%” per trade? - that’s a fair question. Why not 0.5% or 10% or any other number?
The Kelly Criterion is a formula that was adapted for use in casinos. If you know the odds of winning and the expected pay-off, it tells you how much you should bet in each round.
This is harder than it sounds. Let’s say you could bet on a weighted coin flip, where it lands on heads 60% of the time and tails 40% of the time. The payout is $2 per $1 bet.
Well, absolutely you should bet. The odds are in your favour. But if you have, say, $100 it is less obvious how much you should bet to avoid ruin.
Say you bet $50, the odds that it could land on tails twice in a row are 16%. You could easily be out after the first two flips.
Equally, betting $1 is not going to maximise your advantage. The odds are 60/40 in your favour so only betting $1 is likely too conservative. The Kelly Criterion is a formula that produces the long-run optimal bet size, given the odds.
Applying the formula to forex trading looks like this:
Position size % = Winning trade % - ( (1- Winning trade %) / Risk-reward ratio
If you have recorded hundreds of trades in your journal - see next chapter - you can calculate what this outputs for you specifically.
If you don't have hundreds of trades then let’s assume some realistic defaults of Winning trade % being 30% and Risk-reward ratio being 3. The 3 implies your TP is 3x the distance of your stop from entry e.g. 300 pips take profit and 100 pips stop loss.
So that’s 0.3 - (1 - 0.3) / 3 = 6.6%.
Hold on a second. 6.6% of your account probably feels like a LOT to risk per trade.This is the main observation people have on Kelly: whilst it may optimise the long-run results it doesn’t take into account the pain of drawdowns. It is better thought of as the rational maximum limit. You needn’t go right up to the limit!
With a 30% winning trade ratio, the odds of you losing on four trades in a row is nearly one in four. That would result in a drawdown of nearly a quarter of your starting account balance. Could you really stomach that and put on the fifth trade, cool as ice? Most of us could not.
Accordingly people tend to reduce the bet size. For example, let’s say you know you would feel emotionally affected by losing 25% of your account.
Well, the simplest way is to divide the Kelly output by four. You have effectively hidden 75% of your account balance from Kelly and it is now optimised to avoid a total wipeout of just the 25% it can see.
This gives 6.6% / 4 = 1.65%. Of course different trading approaches and different risk appetites will provide different optimal bet sizes but as a rule of thumb something between 1-2% is appropriate for the style and risk appetite of most retail traders.
Incidentally be very wary of systems or traders who claim high winning trade % like 80%. Invariably these don’t pass a basic sense-check:
  • How many live trades have you done? Often they’ll have done only a handful of real trades and the rest are simulated backtests, which are overfitted. The model will soon die.
  • What is your risk-reward ratio on each trade? If you have a take profit $3 away and a stop loss $100 away, of course most trades will be winners. You will not be making money, however! In general most traders should trade smaller position sizes and less frequently than they do. If you are going to bias one way or the other, far better to start off too small.

How to use stop losses sensibly

Stop losses have a bad reputation amongst the retail community but are absolutely essential to risk management. No serious discretionary trader can operate without them.
A stop loss is a resting order, left with the broker, to automatically close your position if it reaches a certain price. For a recap on the various order types visit this chapter.
The valid concern with stop losses is that disreputable brokers look for a concentration of stops and then, when the market is close, whipsaw the price through the stop levels so that the clients ‘stop out’ and sell to the broker at a low rate before the market naturally comes back higher. This is referred to as ‘stop hunting’.
This would be extremely immoral behaviour and the way to guard against it is to use a highly reputable top-tier broker in a well regulated region such as the UK.
Why are stop losses so important? Well, there is no other way to manage risk with certainty.
You should always have a pre-determined stop loss before you put on a trade. Not having one is a recipe for disaster: you will find yourself emotionally attached to the trade as it goes against you and it will be extremely hard to cut the loss. This is a well known behavioural bias that we’ll explore in a later chapter.
Learning to take a loss and move on rationally is a key lesson for new traders.
A common mistake is to think of the market as a personal nemesis. The market, of course, is totally impersonal; it doesn’t care whether you make money or not.
Bruce Kovner, founder of the hedge fund Caxton Associates
There is an old saying amongst bank traders which is “losers average losers”.
It is tempting, having bought EURUSD and seeing it go lower, to buy more. Your average price will improve if you keep buying as it goes lower. If it was cheap before it must be a bargain now, right? Wrong.
Where does that end? Always have a pre-determined cut-off point which limits your risk. A level where you know the reason for the trade was proved ‘wrong’ ... and stick to it strictly. If you trade using discretion, use stops.

Picking a clear level

Where you leave your stop loss is key.
Typically traders will leave them at big technical levels such as recent highs or lows. For example if EURUSD is trading at 1.1250 and the recent month’s low is 1.1205 then leaving it just below at 1.1200 seems sensible.

If you were going long, just below the double bottom support zone seems like a sensible area to leave a stop
You want to give it a bit of breathing room as we know support zones often get challenged before the price rallies. This is because lots of traders identify the same zones. You won’t be the only one selling around 1.1200.
The “weak hands” who leave their sell stop order at exactly the level are likely to get taken out as the market tests the support. Those who leave it ten or fifteen pips below the level have more breathing room and will survive a quick test of the level before a resumed run-up.
Your timeframe and trading style clearly play a part. Here’s a candlestick chart (one candle is one day) for GBPUSD.

https://preview.redd.it/moyngdy4f5h51.png?width=1200&format=png&auto=webp&s=91af88da00dd3a09e202880d8029b0ddf04fb802
If you are putting on a trend-following trade you expect to hold for weeks then you need to have a stop loss that can withstand the daily noise. Look at the downtrend on the chart. There were plenty of days in which the price rallied 60 pips or more during the wider downtrend.
So having a really tight stop of, say, 25 pips that gets chopped up in noisy short-term moves is not going to work for this kind of trade. You need to use a wider stop and take a smaller position size, determined by the stop level.
There are several tools you can use to help you estimate what is a safe distance and we’ll look at those in the next section.
There are of course exceptions. For example, if you are doing range-break style trading you might have a really tight stop, set just below the previous range high.

https://preview.redd.it/ygy0tko7f5h51.png?width=1200&format=png&auto=webp&s=34af49da61c911befdc0db26af66f6c313556c81
Clearly then where you set stops will depend on your trading style as well as your holding horizons and the volatility of each instrument.
Here are some guidelines that can help:
  1. Use technical analysis to pick important levels (support, resistance, previous high/lows, moving averages etc.) as these provide clear exit and entry points on a trade.
  2. Ensure that the stop gives your trade enough room to breathe and reflects your timeframe and typical volatility of each pair. See next section.
  3. Always pick your stop level first. Then use a calculator to determine the appropriate lot size for the position, based on the % of your account balance you wish to risk on the trade.
So far we have talked about price-based stops. There is another sort which is more of a fundamental stop, used alongside - not instead of - price stops. If either breaks you’re out.
For example if you stop understanding why a product is going up or down and your fundamental thesis has been confirmed wrong, get out. For example, if you are long because you think the central bank is turning hawkish and AUDUSD is going to play catch up with rates … then you hear dovish noises from the central bank and the bond yields retrace lower and back in line with the currency - close your AUDUSD position. You already know your thesis was wrong. No need to give away more money to the market.

Coming up in part II

EDIT: part II here
Letting stops breathe
When to change a stop
Entering and exiting winning positions
Risk:reward ratios
Risk-adjusted returns

Coming up in part III

Squeezes and other risks
Market positioning
Bet correlation
Crap trades, timeouts and monthly limits

***
Disclaimer:This content is not investment advice and you should not place any reliance on it. The views expressed are the author's own and should not be attributed to any other person, including their employer.
submitted by getmrmarket to Forex [link] [comments]

Understanding The Difference Between Motel And Hotel Real Estate Property

Understanding The Difference Between Motel And Hotel Real Estate Property
You might have thought about investing in motels for sale in your life. However, most people don’t know the difference between motels and hotels. Some use the names interchangeably. When you are traveling and far from home, you will need a place to stay. There are numerous options – bed and breakfasts, hotels, campgrounds, etc. but for most travelers, their cornice comes down to two main types of accommodation – motels and hotels. Each of these types of accommodation services has its purpose and has its price. The one that is better for you depends on your needs, how much you wish to spend and how long you will be there.
https://preview.redd.it/thjtubn413861.jpg?width=345&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=6f8b683b1152139200df4a5092f9f239d3d200d9
Definition of a hotel
A hotel comes from a French word for a business establishment that provides meals, lodging services and other services.
Definition of a motel
A motel on the other hand came along later after the hotel. It comes from the words motor and hotel. It is meant to describe a business establishment that provides some services associated with a hotel but not necessarily all the services provided by a hotel. Motels started as inns along the first major motorways. They offered rest to exhausted families on vacation and explores.
Architecture
Motels and hotels differ in construction and layout. Hotels can have hundreds of several floors and rooms. They generally have elevators, staircases and internal corridors leading to rooms. On the other hand, motels for sale online have one or two floors and guests can access their rooms from the parking lot directly. Some hotels exhibit specific styles of design and architecture.
Personnel
Motels and hotels employ different types of employees. Hotels might have concierges that offer dictions and advice to local sites, bellhops that carry luggage to guest rooms and so on. They might also employ housekeepers, chefs, doormen, parking valets and elevator operators. One or several managers might be on duty to supervise workers and help solve various problems. On the other hand, motels employ a comparatively small number of employees, typically housekeepers and receptionists. Small motels might have receptionists who perform laundry and housekeeping duties.
Services
Generally, hotels offer a wider range of services compared to motels. These might include an on-site restaurant, room service, and cocktail lounge, on-site recreation and relaxation, laundry, exercise equipment, masseuse services and hot tubs. Some hotels may double as resorts, offering extensive entertainment options to their guests such as theaters and casinos. Motels offer fewer services but some motels have breakfast and swimming pools.
Other differences
Hotels and motels for sale also differ in price and the duration of stay. Accommodation in hotels cost more than motels, though the location is a key consideration. A four-star hotel in a small city might cost less than a smaller motel in a more expensive area. There are a lot of things that affect the pricing of both hotels and motels. Some of these factors include the services offered, the location of the property, the duration of stay, competition in the area and more.
submitted by TenXCommercial to u/TenXCommercial [link] [comments]

Sometimes the money is not worth it

This story belongs to my uncle who works as a hotel manager, he's kind of like the hotel hell Gordon ramsay. He's last the person they employ before pulling the plug or making the hotel profitable.
Usually his placements are minimum of 5 years and should everything go according to plan at the end of that five years the hotel would not need to close. (As I can remember he has never had to close down a hotel before)
The new hotel and staff he was training up are located in Zambia as part of a 5 star hotel and casino.
Now they had some wealthy man(we'll call him B) that had come from family money and continued the family business spend about $1 million every time he came to visit, mostly he spent this at the casino. Now he really thought that money gave you permission to treat the staff how ever he saw fit. He would hail the waiting staff over using racial slurs comparative to the N word in some cases he would REALLY dress up his insults. Not something I want to repeat. Bare in mind that he is visiting an African country and addressing every single staff member that was my uncle or his own ethnicity with utmost degradation.
This really started to impact the staff negatively and you could see the motivation and happiness drain from dealing with this man. Eventually all of the staff refused to serve him or interact with him which made him act more entitled. Well my uncle called up the board of directors mentioned the situation and said he does not want to do anything too rash since the client is such a big spender but with the teams permission he kicked the guy out of the hotel that day, and he was permantly banned from an international hotel group.
2 months later he got a call from another hotel group asking him about the same customer and his poor attitude, he got permantly banned from that hotel group as well.
submitted by moose_knuckle01 to TalesFromYourServer [link] [comments]

[IDEA] Making me feel like a CEO and passenger missions

So I had an idea the other day and the more I think about it the more i want it implemented into the game because I feel like X4 is lacking this.
So I love to roleplay. I love to imagine myself being this Split who survived and built up a trading empire and eventually managed to built up a large military force to reclaim the split sectors and free them of the ZYA.
You can really feel like a fleet commander in the game. You stand on top of your giant carrier, with lots of ships docked, escorts all around you. Yeah it makes you feel pretty good.
But what about those who run trade empires? Sure we can stand on our stations, and the feeling of standing on your first, own station is amazing but you don't really feel like the rich CEO you are.
All of the modules we have in the game are functional, none are purely cosmetic. I get that, cosmetics aren't as important as functional items when resources are scarce but I'd really love to have my own office. Start with a functional looking office but eventually be able to build luxurious offices with wood.That could tie in into terraforming. From what we've heard so far Terraforming won't provide any economic benefits but that would be the perfect opportunity to introduce wood and other luxury goods into the economy, population too. One or two civillian ships would be cool too, like an expensive yacht type ship or racing type ship.

This ties into the other idea: Passenger missions.These would require a new ship class however, or several rather. The idea I had was along these lines:
Regular Passenger missions: Regular, low to mid quality passenger ships. Transport them from A to B, low risk. Transport people between planets and stations.
Military transport missions: These could be retrofitted freighters for passengers with turrets. They are higher risk since you transport military personnel and thus might be attacked by rival factions. These could include transporting military personnel between stations and planets or for higher risk and reward transporting them to carriers on the frontlines. Your ships would have turrets and you might use an escort.
Luxury transport missions: I'll be honest: I love luxury space ships. These might require a lot of work, we haven't seen anything like these in X before I think. The idea is that you ferry around high profile targets, rich businesspeople, politicians and so on. Have sight seeing missions or something. Bring an escort, you likely will be attacked.These passengers have high standards, get unhappy when the ship takes damage or when you take too long. The ships would look luxurious, be it a small 'yacht' or a large luxury freighter. Man it would be awesome if we could walk around these ships even.These ships might look like the imperial ships or the Dolphin, Beluga or Orca from Elite Dangerous, or like the 890 Jump from Star Citizien (If you want to go overboard, that ship is absolutely gorgeous however).Imagine Boron looking ships like that, ahh, heaven.

Anyway, I am aware that this idea would require a lot of work since it would require the development of new ships, new mechanics and so on. It's just an idea. Maybe Bernd likes some ideas of it and wants to implement some parts of this in the future (: Man I hope we get some cosmetics or at least an office in the future! Give us luxury!

I have so many more ideas that could build onto this, casinos, leisure modules, hotels. Don't restrict yourself to trading and war, build a tourism empire!Again, these are just ideas. Maybe we get a DLC like this in the future after all the major missing races have gotten their own DLC, who knows what the future holds.

Edit:
Let's look at an example that could show how current and future features could interact with passenger transport. I'm going to touch on other ideas but they'll play into each other. These are long term ideas, as in several expansions down the line. This is how I think passenger transports could add a lot to the game but they would require other features to play into it. Passenger transport all by itself is boring, you're transporting yet another commodity at that point.
1: Populations consume luxury goods. One of the main problems we have is that the only economoy we have is an economy of war. Once the wars stall or the universe gets into a peaceful state the eceonomy will lock up. If we had an ever growing population that keeps consuming more and more luxury goods however the player would have an ongoing incentive to keep building stations, this could keep the economy going.
2: Low population happiness causes an increase in crime. High unemployment, high taxes, low supply of luxury goods, lack of access to leisure. All these things could make the population in a sector more unhappy, this could result in increased black market activity, increased pirate activity and so on.
3: Let's say Argon Sector 01 has too much unemployment, while HAT Sector 01 has too much unemployment. You could transport pops from ARG Sector 01 to HAT Sector 01. HAT Sector 01 would get a boosted economy, ARG Sector 01 has happier population and increased tax revenue and you earn money.
4: Planets steadily produce more population. This population needs to be suppplied with luxury goods and employment. This would incentivize the player to expand at a steady pace, build more stations and expand their passenger transport lines.
5: Terraforming will be a resource sink, add populations to that. Terraforming requires a lot of man power, unless they use machines. But even then those newly terraformed planets require workers. Ship them there. Lots of profits.
6: Transfer high profile persons of interest (be it political or economical) from point A to point B. You'd use luxury cruiseliners and similar for this. Maybe even space-yachts. These targets might get attacked by enemy factions. For example you might have to transport an amabassador to your capital station (your office) to sign a peace treaty. Enemy factions might attack your ship in an attempt to make you look incompetent and blow off that treaty.
7: Transfer military personnel to unhappy / unstable sectors or frontier sectors. Military personnel keeps order and is required for war. Transport them around in armed military transports.
8: Leisure modules. Cosmetic modules and leisure modules such as hotels, spas, casinos could serve to increase population happiness. Some of these modules can not be built on stations that have production modules (Like luxury hotels for example). These modules consume luxury goods as well. These leisure stations can not be placed in a certain radius of production stations maybe. They would increase population happiness and act as tourist magnets, generating extra income.
submitted by Exidrial to X4Foundations [link] [comments]

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