Books written by Ray Sullivan

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Apple Plays Risk With eBooks

There's a board game that's sat in my cupboard gathering dust, not because it isn't very good, but because everyone thinks I grow horns as soon as the dice start rolling.  The game is called Risk and if you've never tried it then have a go.  Just make sure you don't play with someone who creates characters such as Barry Liam O'Feld, the megalomaniac evil genius anti hero of Project: Evil.

The idea of this game is to achieve world domination - there is no second place in Risk and definitely no such thing as a draw.  You play to  win.  Initially you are allocated countries randomly, to which you spread your limited 'armies' across.  Your competitors do likewise and then you wage war on each other.  The only vocabulary you need is the following few words: Stomp, stomp  stomp and stomp.  The attacker throws up to three dice and the defender chooses to throw up to two in defence.  Highest scoring attacking die is matched to highest scoring defending die, second highest attack versus remaining defender if applicable.  Throwing two sixes in attack is a great attack, two sixes in defence is superb, unbeatable.  Sounds easy, is easy, but requires the tactics of Sun Tzu and the luck of the Irish.  A good game lasts for hours, great games last for days.  That's probably the other reason it stays in the cupboard, come to think of it.

Anyway, it would appear that Apple have been burning the midnight oil playing Risk.  I mean, nobody is doubting that world domination is an aim of Apple and to be fair, they seem to be succeeding.  For starters, they've sold enough iPads since its launch two and half years ago to provide one to every three Americans. Or one to every Brit in the UK with change.  Their latest bid for world domination is through their Apple iBookstore distribution network, which has just added pretty much the whole of Central and South America from Mexico down to the tip of Chile, and New Zealand.  This takes their distribution to fifty individual countries worldwide and positions them ahead of their competitors as far as I can tell.

The Central and South American stores are a great move - the whole region is a major expanding collection of countries that are tipped to be highly influential Internationally in the near future and Apple have obviously recognised this.  There's an opportunity for Spanish and Portuguese language writers to gain greater exposure in these regions and in Europe, but also for English language writers to gain exposure to this wonderfully diverse range of countries.

The surprising addition, though, is New Zealand.  Not surprising that it should be included but that it wasn't already.  In September Apple's book sales were, in descending order of sales rank, from the US, Australia, UK then Canada - all predominantly English speaking (with a bit of Spanish and French thrown in for good luck).  I know New Zealand is a distinct and unique country to both Australia and the UK, but it is a no-brainer that it also shares many of the same qualities and characteristics of both of these countries.  I expect Apple will start seeing some great sales returns from New Zealand real soon.

In an unannounced aside, I note that Amazon have added Japan, ostensibly from the same broad geographical region as Australia and New Zealand, or at least that's how Risk sees it.  I understand that Australian eBook readers can use the UK Amazon site to buy books, not at all sure about NZ - but Amazon have no dedicated facility for either.

So I welcome all the new arrivals in the Apple community; Central America, South America and New Zealand.  I only have one question.  How did Apple get to New Zealand via South America?  In Risk you can only get there via Asia.  But win NZ and Australia and you have the safest continent on the board.  Amazon might want to think about that!

However Apple got there, I think they must have thrown a couple of sixes on the way.


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