User Profile for topherr
Christopher Rao
United States
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Q:When I say "lawyer" what pops into your head? A:Someone who designs games about penguins." - Dormammu
"Do unto others 20% better than you would expect them to do unto you, to correct for subjective error." - Linus Pauling

"We don’t stop playing because we grow old; We grow old because we stop playing"
- George Bernard Shaw

"Money doesn't buy happiness, but it is a tiebreaker in Power Grid."

A gamer since high school. My law school thesis was even a boardgame (Survival: The Global Warming Game). I love everything from Le Havre to Junta to Magic: The Gathering to Dungeons and Dragons. I've designed about 20 games and had my first game published in 2006, Pink Godzilla Dev Kit.

My second game, North Pole, was published by Cambridge Game Factory. I am currently the in-house attorney and Director of Production for CGF.

I am blessed with a wonderful wife whose only apparent flaw is that she's a non-gamer, and 2 future gamers, Raja (nearly 7) and Tristan (4).

I run a small civil litigation firm (divorce, real estate, business litigation, personal injury) and recently founded a start-up to build case management software for lawyers. Work on an online comic strip,, from time to time.

My non-gamer life may seem incongruous to some, but it's home: Buffy and anything Joss Whedon, Rugby (I used to play), Hinduism, ultimate frisbee, writing (graphic novel, screenplay, etc.), music (Bob Dylan, Bo Burnham, Cober, Cat Stevens, Rush), reading (history, Bill Bryson), volunteer legal work for (non-consensual) victims of domestic violence, the glorious, consenual violence of American Football and the glorious use of the English language by Jane Austen.

I even found myself one Sunday morning actually TIVO-surfing between a mediocre football game and Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth, not Lawrence Olivier). What can I say? There just aren't enough really satisfying bone-rattling tackles in Jane Austen novels, and not enough sparkling repartee and dazzling social commentary in NFL broadcasts.

Highly Recommended recent books read
- Anything by John Le Carre, especially the Smiley trilogy
- Inviting Disaster: Lessons From the Edge of Technology by James Chiles
- The Alchemist
- Dreadnought: about pre-WWI Europe naval buildup
- Blind Side by Michael Lewis: about the emergence of Left Tackle as a premier skill position in American football
- The Big Short by Michael Lewis
- 1776: About the Revolutionary war

Game stuff
I started reviewing games in March, 2008, and often review games that I think haven't got the reputation they deserve. First I review all the current reviews (often as many as 7 or 10), try to distill them, then come up with something new. I've also been using a GAME REVIEW CHECKLIST I've come up with to try to help me create thorough game reviews. UPDATE, 12/08: Designing games, playing games and reviewing games got to be too much overall, so I took a hiatus from game reviews. Hopefully one day I'll get back to it. Anyway, here's my game review checklist:

"How many and how compelling are the decisions you make per minute?"

- Analysis Paralysis/Downtime?

"How intuitive, elegant and flowing are the moves that bring your tactics to life?"

"To what degree does it facilitate a rich social experience?"

"How fresh and unique are the strategy, mechanics and theme?"

- What's the freshest part of the game?

"How much do the theme, aesthetics and bits add the overall experience?"

"Who would love this game?"

- For Casual Gamers?
- For the medium weight crowd?
- For lovers of heavy games?
- Fans of X may love this game, but fans of Y may not.
- Does it hit a sweet spot? Which one?
- Luck (& Chaos) : Player Control

Give me ambiguity ... or give me something else!

Still reading? OK, here's some topherr trivia:[/b]

See my geeklist, "Stupid Things I've Done That I Survived" -

- Once co-wrote a chapter in a computer science textbook for Wiley & Sons

- Studied traditional chinese medicine and Shiatsu at night while studying law during the day (never finished degree in TCM).

- Started a web design company in late 1993, left it to be a lawyer five years later somehow not getting rich in the early internet days while many around me did.

- Inspired a character in the novel "A Great And Terrible Beauty" by Libba Bray

- Was briefly a child actor on the PBS show Carroscolendas

- Son of late novelist Raja Rao

- Father of little boy Raja Rao (and Tristan Rao)
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User Details for topherr
Registration Date: 2002-12-09
Last Profile Update: 2012-08-30
Last Login: 2016-01-22
Country: flag United States
State: WA
Town/City: Seattle
GeekMail: mail Send Private Message to topherr
Collection Summary for topherr
Board Game
Owned   319
Previously Owned   1
For Trade   69
Want In Trade   36
Want To Buy   8
Want To Play   0
Preordered   0
Wishlist   9
Commented   97
Has Parts   0
Want Parts   0
All   615
Board Game Expansion
Owned   19
Previously Owned   0
For Trade   0
Want In Trade   1
Want To Buy   0
Want To Play   0
Preordered   0
Wishlist   0
Commented   4
Has Parts   0
Want Parts   0
All   33
Board Game 12
Board Game Designer 2
Board Game Artist 2
Board Game Publisher 1
Board Game Expansion 1
Board Game Implementation 2
For Sale 0
Rating 3
Board Game Plays 583 Total | By Month | Last 30 Days | Chronological
Board Game Expansion Plays 45 Total | By Month | Last 30 Days | Chronological
Trade Rating (2) Propose A Trade With This User
Board Game Ratings 516
Average Rating 6.24
10 13   (2.5%)
9 30   (5.8%)
8 46   (8.9%)
7 124   (24.0%)
6 155   (30.0%)
5 98   (19.0%)
4 37   (7.2%)
3 12   (2.3%)
2 1   (0.2%)
1 0   (0.0%)
Board Game Expansion Ratings 30
Average Rating 7.05
10 2   (6.7%)
9 4   (13.3%)
8 6   (20.0%)
7 7   (23.3%)
6 7   (23.3%)
5 2   (6.7%)
4 2   (6.7%)
3 0   (0.0%)
2 0   (0.0%)
1 0   (0.0%)
Top 10
#1: Le Havre
#2: Tichu
#3: Railways of Europe
#4: Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm
#5: Puerto Rico
#6: Stone Age
#7: Brass
#8: Catan
#9: Magic: The Gathering
#10: Imperial
Hot 10
#1: Le Havre
#2: Railways of Europe
#3: Agricola
#4: Tichu
#5: Race for the Galaxy
#6: Imperial
#7: Stone Age
#8: Leonardo da Vinci
#9: In the Year of the Dragon
#10: The Scepter of Zavandor
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