Monday, June 29, 2015

Hot Topics: Silver and Oil

I have returned from Dice Tower Con, which bang-for-the-buck is the best darned gaming convention on the planet (that's right, GenCon! I said it.). Now,  I'm hard at work. While you wait to see what I'm up to -- think Greece, gold and energy -- I had two columns published while I was away ...

Deep in the Dragon’s Belly: A Visit Inside a Silver Refinery

I recently returned from a trip to Mexico, where I checked out a silver mine.
I’m a big believer that “boots on the ground” beat a fancy suit every time. That is, I find checking things out in person helps me determine if a company really has something worth investing in.
Here are four reasons why... Read the Rest
If you’re looking for weapons of mass destruction, then look no further than the oil war raging between the U.S. and the oil sheikhs of OPEC. The war has hit a lull… for now. Oil prices are stuck in a range… for now.
But there are forces afoot that could open a new front in the oil war, and send prices careening lower until someone cries “Uncle!”
The good news is that there are potentially extraordinary opportunities for shrewd investors. Read the Rest
Note: By the way, in that column I recommend oil tankers. Showing that great minds think alike, the Wall Street Journal's Christian Berthelsen wrote on the the same idea on the same day, and he has some nice charts, too. Read that story HERE.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Afternoon of Dice Tower 2015

Lunch was a long affair as first I had lunch with my son Petey, then I sat with my wife while she had lunch. 

First, I returned to visit the publisher I played with last night. It was the debut of a game that hadn't even arrived at the convention yet.

You can see that Dawn: Rise of the Occulites has some great bits. However, I probably won't play it again.

The game is at card-drafting game and you trying to get your little tribe of alien creatures across a primitive world. Along with cards drafting, there's also dice rolling. I happened to suck at both during the game, but that's not why I was disappointed.

I was disappointed for a number of reasons. 
these little creatures are supposed to carry gems around, and there's no slot on them to carry the gems.
When someone starts losing, as I did, the game still takes a long time to play out. There's no chance for a come from behind victory as there was with Clockwork Wars.
The card system was confusing. There must be a way to simplify this.

Again, the game has great bits, but I prefer a game that is not a slog. Especially $225 worth of slog. I'll pass.

The next game was lots of fun, and it hasn't even been Kickstartered yet. 

Adventure In is a simple yet fun -- and certainly fast -- card game that is designed to be played in the time while you're waiting for your D&D game to get organized. 15 to 20 minutes of fun, battling monsters with the weapons and items you draw from the deck or "buy" at the Inn. The designer, Ken, gave me a fast and furious intro to it. I am definitely checking out the Kickstarter.

Then I played a great card game. 

Everyone takes a turn passing out cards. If you bust 13 you're out. Meanwhile, you decide which of the other players you hate the least as you hand out cards and they rack up points. Highly recommended for kids of all ages.

I also checked out a game that looks complex, challenging and engrossing.
Wow. Not a casual game, obviously, but very cool.

And now to the raffle.

Morning of Dice Tower 2015 -- day 1. Roll for the Galaxy, ya bastard

The first game if the morning -- before the con opened -- was Roll for the Galaxy.  This is one of our family favorites. 

I got dealt good tiles and they kept coming. This is the first time I have won this game in months. Huzzah! 
Then it was time to stand in line. Tom Vassel came by and apologized for the line being so long. He is a towering giant of a man hiding under a red hat. By the way, he does great board game podcasts
But the wait was cool. We got to make new friend and see old ones. 

Cindy got sucked into some kind of spy game (Spyfall) played with your smart phone with a group of people standing around you, all of them on their smart phones. A la Werewolf, you end up voting for who you think is the spy. Unlike Werewolf -- which I personally think is an annoying game -- in the spy game you answer questions to give each other clues. I think the questions come over the iPhones.
There was lots of laughter I that one. And the spy was found out. Cue the cigarette and the firing squad. 
I immediately went to cool stuff and bought two scratch and dent games -- dungeon fighter and Sheriff of Nottingham. Both good deals.

Then I sat down with a friend to try a game he backed on Kickstarter. It was being demonstrated by the publisher, and the final version wasnt published yet. We played with the game's designer.

I just don't think I'm smart enough for this game. I won't be buying it and I don't think I would play it again.

And now, lunch.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

First Night at Dice Tower Con

We arrived in Orlando on a rainy evening for Dice Tower -- for my money the best board game convention on the planet. Other people come to Orlando for Disneyworld or Universal. But this is where the real fun is. 
Anyway, the engine in the van was still ticking when we started playing our first game. Mind you, the Con hadn't started yet. Still we set down with a new friend we met in an elevator, and Cindy taught us a game called Iota
As that wrapped up, I got drawn into another game that a publisher was debuting right behind us.
This one is called Clockwork Wars. It's pretty awesome, and I'm not just saying that because I won. 

It's a worker placement/area of control game. You can also buy cards that give you special abilities, and each person plays a race with its own special abilities. Mine were the Troglodytes.

Also, you can buy these huge Guardian/monsters. I was able to buy two, but I wasn't able to stop the third from eating one of my research centers.

The big beast is called a leviathan. It's the one that ate my research center. My guardian, helpless to stop the carnage, kneels and weeps.

I came from behind to win by two points. What a nailbiter.

So, the convention is off to a great start. I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow. Where else can you just walk into a convention, with no waiting line, and play a magnificent looking game with the publisher?

Also, I've already seen Tom Vassel, a board game  celebrity. I consider that a good sign

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Head-And-Shoulders Topping Pattern in US Dollar?

Let's check out the US dollar again. It sure looks like the mighty greenback is forming a head-and-shoulders top. We'd need to see a confirmed close down through the neckline for this to be true. Don't jump the gun. 

Visit to see more great charts.
(Updated chart)

I will point out that gold is already reacting positively to the dollar's decline. Oil, not so much.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

US Dollar Heads Lower To Test Support

I'm traveling in Mexico -- in fact, I just visited a great silver project -- but I wanted to show you an updated version of the US dollar chart I keep kicking around. It's the dollar as tracked by the UUP. 

Visit to see more great charts.
(Updated chart)

You can see that the US dollar had a terrible day on Wednesday. This was due to statements from the Fed that the market perceived as doveish. 

The FOMC said that “economic growth has moderated somewhat” over the past month, which is a significant downgrade from the last statement wherein it said that activity rose “at a solid pace”. 

This sent the US dollar lower, and it's likely going to test that first support level I've watched for some time.

Gold is getting a bid on dollar weakness. Crude oil is up, but not very much at all. Both bear watching in the days ahead.

Vaya con Dios from Mexico,


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Check Out the Bullish Action in Canada

Here's a chart of the $TSX ... Canada's main stock index.
(Updated chart)

We need follow-through, of course, but this is a pretty bullish set-up.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Charts I'm Watching -- $TNK, S&P 500, US Dollar, Silver, $SSRI

I'm back from four days away. While I was away, we saw Teekay Tankers (TNK) rally to a 52-week high ...
The volume on Monday's surge was 4.4 million shares, about 4 times normal. And no news ... yet. Somebody knows sumpin'.

If you're a subscriber, you know my bullish thesis on tankers, particularly TNK and two others.

We know that ...

I continue to be bullish on oil tanker stocks.

Other charts ...
(Updated chart)

It sure looks like the S&P 500 failed its breakout from the Danger Zone. However, the uptrend still holds.

Meanwhile, the US dollar continues to be a juggernaut.

(Updated chart)

Silver and gold are both disappointments, though silver had an interesting day yesterday ...

(Updated chart)

Note how there was huge volume -- silver and gold actually bolted higher at the open yesterday -- then it spent the rest of the day giving it back. Bitter disappointment.

That said, check out SSRI, another $10 Trigger Alert recommendation ...

(Updated chart)

SSRI looks much better than the underlying metal. It's in a bullish and improving uptrend.

That's all for now. Have a great week.