Candy Crush Saga is a candy-themed game that is very similar to Bejeweled in that both games have similar goals and are addictive. Once you begin playing, it’s hard to stop. Here are some steps you can follow either on your smartphone or on Facebook to get started.
The Absolute Basics
- Get familiar with the game board. When you start a game, you will see the game board in front of you, covered in candies. Notice how the candies sit in specific places and the area behind them is kind of gray? The gray area where the candies sit is the game board. You will only be able to move candies in those areas (which means if there is a hole in the game board, you cannot move candies across it).
- You will also see your bonuses at the top (discussed below), and your target score for that particular game.
- Below or to the side, you will see Moves with a number. This is the number of actions you are allowed to take before the game ends. The game ends not when you reach a particular score but either when you run out of moves or you accomplish the goal of the individual game.
- You will also see a score progress bar. Every time you crush candies (as discussed below), you’ll earn points. These points will help you progress through the levels. If you do not earn enough points over the course of completing a level, you will lose a life. Lose too many lives and you’ll be forced to go back to the start of that section of the game. Lives can be viewed on the larger game screen, where your progress through the levels is shown.
- Match sets of 3 or more candies. The game is played by swiping candies, in any direction (so long as it is not blocked), to create sets of 3 or more matching candies. When matched, the candies will crush and shift the candies above them, allowing you to accomplish a series of different goals. If you create sets greater than 3, you will create candy combinations. These are powerful candy crushing machines which work in a variety of ways.
- If you match four candies, a special candy will be created which will burst an entire row if matched as part of another set of 3 or more.
- If you match 5 or more candies in a T or L shape, you will create a wrapped candy. These explode the square of candies surrounding that tile (when matched) and then explode a subsequent 3×3 block wherever they settle.
- If you match 5 candies in a single row, you’ll create color bombs. These look like balls of chocolate covered in sprinkles. These will crush all candies on the board of the same color as the candy you swap them with. They do not need to be merged into a set of three. Choose which color they crush wisely.
- You can also match any two special candies with each other. This will produce a variety of effects. Combining striped and wrapped candies and stripes and color bombs are especially productive, as this will clear a large number of candies.
- Use your boosters. You can earn a few of the boosters in the beginning of the game. You can also purchase most boosters within the game using actual money. These can help you win a level when you’re too frustrated or unable to continue. Be careful how you use them, however, as you never know when you’ll need one. Be strategic.
- There are boosters which add moves, the lollipop hammer (which crushes the desired candy on the board), shuffle candy (which will rearrange the board), among a number of other boosters. They should be explained as you earn them, though almost all you will have to buy.
- Reach the set goal in the game. Each level will have a set goal. This can be reaching a specific number of points, destroying a specific set of tiles (jelly-covered tiles), or other goals like forcing items to fall to the bottom.
- Progress through the levels. You will play a series of games, each with a different game board and many with different goals, which will progress you across the levels. The game is split into sections of 15 levels. In order to progress to the next section of level you will have to acquire tickets (3, to be exact). These can be given by your friends who play Candy Crush or you will need to purchase them.
Strategies to Win
- Eliminate complicated or dangerous candies from the board first. There are some tiles, like bombs or chocolate, which should alway be eliminated first if they exist on the board these will inhibit your progress or cause you to lose. Bombs end the game is not eliminated in the move limit specified on their face, while chocolate will multiply if not destroyed.
- Pay attention to the edges of the game board. You will have many levels where the game board is not a perfect rectangle, or includes a number of gaps in the board. You will need to plan around these gaps and they can make it incredibly difficult to make paired sets.
- Reshuffle the board if it looks too challenging. Once you become better acquainted with the game, you will be able to tell when a game board will be too difficult to complete. You can reshuffle the board using boosters or by exiting the game before you do any moves.
- Get your friends to play the game. The best strategy to progress in the game is to get your friends to play. It is a social game and there will be a variety of benefits to having your friends play. Friends can give you boosters, the tickets needed to progress through the levels, as well as a variety of other benefits.
- Largely ignore the suggestions the game makes. The game will make move suggestions if you idle for too long. These suggestions are random and it will usually be in your best interest to ignore them. If you don’t have a time limit, take the time to find out if there is a better move available. If you are only trying to increase points before a time limit runs out, take the game’s suggestion.
- Here is a list of the candies you will find in each level:
- An orange hard-boiled candy
- A red jellybean
- A purple or pink flower jelly
- A dark blue lolly-pop
- A yellow lemon drop
- A green bubblegum square
- Some levels will have different goals that you must reach, including the following:
- Reaching the target score in the limited moves you are allotted.
- Reaching the target score within the time limit.
- Clearing all the jelly. Note that some have 2-3 layers of jelly.
- Reaching the ingredients by clearing a path through the candy.
- Collecting orders.
- If you do not log in with your Facebook account, you may have to pay a small fee in order to get more lives once you’ve lost them if you do not want to wait the designated time.
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- A smartphone or computer
- A Facebook account
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Ideal when traveling, waiting in a queue or simply when you need to pass some time, the dots and boxes game is easy to put together and play with just paper and pen.
Creating the Play Board
- Draw the grid board. The board can be practically any size or shape but usually it consists of between 3 and 9 rows and between 3 and 9 columns. It is necessary that the grid board be uniform. Draw dots at evenly spaced points that represent rows and columns in the amount of your choice.
- For a beginner game, it’s recommended that you start with a square grid of dots at the upper end, such as 9×9 or 6×6. For a challenge, try 5×5.
- For a computer generated version, visit http://www.math.ucla.edu/~tom/Games/dots&boxes.html and simply type in the amount of rows and columns you’d like. You can either print this grid off or you can play against the computer if you’re so inclined.
Understanding the Rules
- Aim to be the player who makes the last move. This is generally the winner because of the “long chain rule”, which means that at one point in the game there will be left a long chain in which the last player gets to make a whole row or column of boxes, shutting out further play. The rules of the game are:
- Each player takes it in turns to draw a line that joins two dots, either horizontally or vertically. The dots must be adjacent (hence, no skipping over any dots).
- When a player completes a whole box, he or she gets to identify ownership of that box in some way. It could be a letter, a particular color or a shape. The person who completes the box takes the next turn after identifying it.
- When the whole grid is filled with boxes, the game is over and the person who has made the most boxes wins (as identified by the letter, color or shape).
Playing Dots and Boxes
- Choose which player is to go first. You could toss a coin, go by age or simply agree. Have the first player join two unconnected adjacent dots with a line, anywhere on the grid.
- Player two will go next, in the same manner.
- Continue until a player draws the fourth connecting line. This will complete an box and earns that player a point for that box. The box-creating player then takes another turn.
- Continue play until all of the boxes are complete. The player with the most points wins. “Congratulations!”
- As noted, the points are typically recorded by placing, in the box, an identifying mark of the player, such as an initial or color. You could also choose to add up the points on a separate list rather than using an identifier, but that’s more effort and isn’t as handy when you’re traveling or hampered for space.
- Use any bit of scrap paper available to make the grid. It’s a great way to use up the back of used paper before recycling it.
- When you’re feeling confident enough, draw grids in non-rectangular shapes, such as using hexagons or triangles!
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- Pen or pencil
- Additional colored pencils or markers if using color as the box identifier
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Baseball is one of America’s most beloved and iconic sports. Read these steps to learn how the game is played, and how to play it yourself.
Basics and Setup
- Understand the basic concepts of the game. Baseball is a team sport played on a special field over the course of several periods of play, called innings. Each inning is further divided into two parts, the “top” and the “bottom,” during which one team tries to score points while the other team defends the field. Points are scored by hitting a thrown ball (the baseball) with a bat, and then running around part of the field and returning to the start position. If the runner is tagged with the baseball by the defensive team before completing the run, the runner is out. After three outs, the inning moves forward and the teams switch places.
- College and professional baseball games are played over nine innings. Less intense levels of competition usually feature six or seven.
- The entire defensive team is always on the field. Offensive players try to hit the ball one at a time, so to start with there’s only one offensive player on the field. As play progresses, up to four offensive players may end up on the field, but only one batter is up at any given time. The other three players are simply waiting in safe spots to complete their runs and score points.
- There are three safe spots for runners, one at each corner of the running area, called bases. The bases must be visited in order to score a point; a runner can also choose to stop on a base and wait until the next play to continue running to the next. Bases are explained in greater detail below.
- Get familiar with the infield. The baseball field (sometimes called the “baseball diamond”) is a specially-designed field composed of two basic parts: the infield and the outfield. The infield is the center of action. It’s defined by four rugged pads set in the ground, called bases, at equal points from each other, forming a square diamond shape. The path from each base to the next is made of dirt, rather than grass. Inside the diamond is a grassy area, and near the middle of that is a low dirt mound with another plate on it called the pitcher’s mound.
- The batter (offensive player) stands at one base, called home plate, and waits for the ball to be pitched from the pitcher’s mound so he or she can try to hit it with the bat. There is a painted rectangle on either side of home plate called a “batter’s box” that defines where batters are allowed to stand. Another painted box behind home plate defines where the catcher crouches to catch the ball if the batter misses it.
- While the other bases are four-sided and typically made of canvas, home plate is five-sided and made of rubber, to distinguish it. There is also usually a tall fence cupped around home plate to prevent stray balls from hitting the audience behind.
- Bases are numbered counterclockwise from home plate: first, second, and third. Second base is on a direct line from home plate through the pitcher’s mound.
- A baseball that’s hit and lands to the left of third base or the right of first base (as seen from home plate) is considered a “foul ball,” which invalidates the play. Foul lines are usually painted on the field to show where the border is.
- There are regulation distances that define a proper baseball infield. Each base is 90 feet apart from the next. The pitcher’s mound is 60.5 feet from home plate.
- Get familiar with the outfield. Past the dirt border that defines the infield is a large swath of green turf called the outfield. The foul lines continue on through the outfield, but otherwise, the space is open and undefined by structures or lines. There are a few defensive players in the outfield – the left, center, and right fielders – who try to catch and/or return long-distance hits. The outfield bulges out in the center, behind second base. The outer edge of the field is called the “fence.”
- Unlike the infield, there’s no strict rule regarding the size of a baseball outfield. American professional baseball fields have home plate-to-center field fence distances ranging from 390 feet to 435 feet.
- Learn the roles of the teams. Each team is composed of 9 players, all of whom have specific defensive positions on the field. During offensive play, all players act as batters, taking turns trying to hit the ball. Once the ball has been hit, the batter can begin to run from home plate around each of the bases in a counterclockwise order, to complete a run back to home plate and score a point. The defensive team tries to recover the ball and tag the batter with it, ending the play. The 9 defensive roles are as follows:
- The pitcher pitches the baseball towards the batter. The ball has to be pitched at a certain level and straight over home plate to be considered fair, but a good pitcher can still make it very tricky to hit.
- The catcher crouches behind home plate with heavy protective gear and a special mitt, and catches the ball when the batter doesn’t hit it. The catcher can also pick up and throw a ball in play, if it lands close by.
- The first baseman guards first base. He or she must be very good at catching the ball; if the first baseman manages to get a hold of the ball before the batter has made it to first base, it’s almost impossible for the batter to avoid being tagged out.
- The second baseman guards the area between first and second base. In addition to tagging runners out at second base, the second baseman also helps catch ground balls before they roll into the outfield.
- The shortstop stands between second and third base and returns balls to any of the basemen to help get an out. Shortstops see a lot of action in a typical game – more than any other defensive position – as most right-handed batters tend to send the ball into the shortstop’s area.
- The third baseman closely guards third base, and must also have an exceptionally strong throwing arm to send balls quickly to first base, all the way across the diamond. This is because (as with the shortstop) many right-handed batters send the ball straight towards third base when they hit it.
- The outfielders are three players who guard a different section of the outfield – left, center, and right, as previously described. Their job is to catch high and long balls and prevent the batting team from scoring easy runs by simply hitting the ball hard.
- All defensive players are allowed to use a large leather mitt on one hand to help them catch the ball. The catcher’s mitt is even bigger and thicker.
- Understand the role of umpires. The umpire is a member of the field not affiliated with either team, and sworn to impartiality. It’s the umpire’s job to watch closely and announce the result of each play. There are typically a few umpires at most games: one at home plate, and one at each of the other three bases. Some games also place two umpires in the outfield. The umpire at home plate typically calls the start of the game.
- Harassing or intentionally touching an umpire can result in severe penalties, and is to be avoided at all costs. Whether or not you agree, the umpire’s word is final.
- Learn about outs. Only offensive team members can get an out. Once a player is out, he or she is removed from play, and from the batting rotation, for the rest of the inning. Once three players are out, the defensive and offensive teams switch. There are several ways to get an out. The commonly seen ones are described below.
- If a defensive player catches the batter’s ball before it hits the ground, the batter is automatically out no matter what else is happening, and even if the ball was caught in foul territory. This is called a “flyout.”
- If a defensive player touches a runner with the ball (or a glove holding the ball) while the runner isn’t standing on a base, the runner is out. The ball must be held in the defensive player’s hand; beaning the runner with a throw is unacceptable. This is called a “tag out.”
- If a batter passes on a chance to hit a fair ball (one that wasn’t too high, low, or close to the batter’s body), or if a batter swings and misses, he is given a strike. Three strikes result in an out, called a “strikeout.”
- On first base only, if a fielder touches the base while holding the ball before the runner can reach it, he or she is out. This is called a “ground out.”
- If a runner is standing on a base and has to run forward to make room for the next runner (as only one runner can be on a base at a given time), he or she can receive a “force out” if a fielder at the next base touches the base while holding the ball.
- Learn about strikes, balls, and fouls. While at bat, one of four things can happen each pitch: a strike, a ball, a fair ball, or a foul ball. These terms sound confusing because they seem to overlap, but they’re actually fairly simple to learn:
- A strike is an indication that the batter either could have swung at the ball and didn’t, or swung at the ball and missed. Foul balls can result in strikes as well. After three strikes, the batter is out and the next batter steps up to the plate (until three outs are reached).
- A ball happens when the pitcher pitches a ball that’s too far outside the hitting area to be considered hittable by the batter. After four balls, the batter “walks,” which is a free advancement to first base. Batters will occasionally try to crowd the plate and earn a walk rather than hit the ball.
- A fair ball is a ball that the batter hits which lands between the foul lines, allowing the batter to run for first base. A fair ball is what most batters want, most of the time.
- A foul ball is a ball that the batter hits which lands outside the foul lines. Unless it’s caught and turned into a flyout, a foul ball just counts as a strike; however, in most cases, players can’t get more than two strikes as the result of hitting a foul ball. Additional foul balls aren’t counted.
Playing the Game
- Set up the field. Each defensive player takes a position on the field. The shortstop, second baseman, and outfielders stand in the middle of their areas. The rest of the players stand on specific spots: pitcher on the mound, first and third basemen on their bases, catcher behind home plate. The batter stands in either the left (right-handed) or right (left-handed) batting box on one side of home plate. The umpire briefly checks to verify that everyone is in the proper position, then shouts “play ball” to begin the game.
- Pitch, swing, and hit the ball. The pitcher will attempt to throw balls that are difficult to hit, while still remaining inside the “strike zone” where the batter is expected to try to hit them. The batter does his or her best to quickly judge whether or not the ball is safe to hit, and then swings at it. If the batter connects and the ball doesn’t cross the foul lines, it’s in play.
- Pitchers often use fastballs, curveballs, changeups, and sliders to confound batters. The fastball is what it sounds like – very fast – as is the curveball. A changeup involves the pitcher pretending to throw a fastball but actually throwing a much slower pitch, confusing the batter’s sense of timing. A slider is a difficult-to-throw ball that combines most of a fastball’s speed with a curveball’s lateral movement.
- Run the bases. While the ball is moving across the field, either through the air or along the ground, the batter (who is now called the “runner” or “baserunner”) drops the bat and runs as fast as possible towards first base. As long as the runner doesn’t get a flyout, tag out, or ground out, he or she can stop at first base, or keep going until it’s no longer safe. In the meantime, the fielders work to collect the ball and return it to the runner’s position to get him or her out.
- Fielders are allowed to throw the ball to each other or run with the ball in order to get it close enough to the runner to get an out. Runners aren’t allowed to touch the ball on their own.
- A runner who isn’t in danger of being forced or grounded out can sometimes avoid being tagged out at a base by sliding underneath the baseman and trying to touch the base before the ball touches him or her. As long as even one fingertip or toe is touching the base before the runner is tagged, he or she is safe.
- Steal bases. In most instances, the runner won’t be able to complete an entire circuit of the bases on a single play, so he or she must stop at a base and wait for the next batter to step up to the plate. However, at any time, the runner may attempt to “steal” the next base by running to it before the pitcher realizes what’s happening. Since the pitcher is usually the best thrower on the team, stealing a base is very dangerous: the pitcher can turn and throw the ball to a baseman instead of the batter, allowing an easy tag out.
- The basemen can also pass the ball to one another, trapping the runner between two bases until he or she makes a desperate (and usually futile) attempt to slide into one of them. Runners can’t leave the line between the two bases, either: there’s no running off into the outfield and then circling back around, for example.
- Runners are safe while on bases, but they aren’t required to stay on a base. Most runners prepare for a possible steal by scooting out a little ways from their current base, but not far enough that they can’t scramble back to it if they have to.
- Load bases. Only one runner is allowed on each base at any time – this is where the force out rule comes from. However, since there are three bases, up to four runners can be on the field at a time. When all three bases have a runner, the offensive team is said to have the “bases loaded,” meaning the next fair hit or walk will necessarily result in either a run or an out. Having the bases loaded isn’t necessarily the most ideal situation for a team, but it’s very exciting for the audience.
- Hit a home run. Sometimes, the batter hits the ball so hard or so well that he or she is able to run around the entire diamond before getting an out, scoring a run on the first hit. This is called a “home run.” Most home runs are the result of the ball being hit past the fence at the back of the outfield, at which point it’s completely out of play and all the fielding team can do is watch.
- A home run hit while the bases are loaded is called a “grand slam.” Obviously, a grand slam is worth four points (one for each runner), and can turn the tide of a difficult game or virtually guarantee victory. Grand slams are exceptionally rare, but very exciting.
- Drive forward with regular plays. Home runs are fun, but not common enough to be relied upon as a means of winning the game. Instead, focus on learning how far to run after a normal hit. By knowing when to stop and wait, you can stay in play longer and raise your chances of scoring a point. There are three other runs from home plate aside from the home run:
- A single is a run from home plate to first base. It’s perhaps the most common type of run, due to its safety and flexibility.
- A double is a run from home plate to second base. Most of the time, a double is a smart choice for medium-distance hits, or hits that leave the fielding team distracted by another player on second or third base.
- A triple is a run from home plate to third base. Triples are uncommon, but they often lead to runs soon after.
- Try a hit and run play. Good contact hitters (batters who have good control over the ball’s direction once hit) can work with a runner on first to make a hole between first and second base, which is normally guarded by the second baseman. The runner on first attempts to steal second right as the pitch is thrown, forcing the second baseman to follow. The batter then drives the ball through the gap into the outfield and takes a single or double.
- Trade outs for runs with sacrifice plays. There are two types of sacrifice play, wherein a batter accepts an out for the sake of moving a runner on second or third base closer to home so he or she can score a run.
- A sacrifice bunt is a special type of play where the batter uses the bat to bump the ball from the air without sending it forward. The ball lands just in front of home plate, making it a simple matter for the catcher to retrieve the ball and ground out the batter; however, in the time it takes to do this, another runner may be able to advance to third base or even home plate.
- The very fastest runners can sometimes survive a bunt and make it to first without getting grounded out.
- A sacrifice fly is a pop fly (a high, arcing ball that’s very easy to catch) that gives a third baseman time to run home before the runner gets a flyout.
- Get multiple runners out at once. When the field is set up just right, the fielders may be able to pull off a double play or even a triple play, in which they get two or three outs on a single play. Triple plays are rare, but possible if enough force outs are available. Double plays are more common, and often involve forcing out a runner on first, and then grounding out the batter before he or she reaches first.
- Since three outs causes the teams to switch, a triple play will end the current half of the inning immediately.
- Understand the infield fly rule. This rule is only invoked by umpires, but it’s important to understand. When a batter hits a pop fly that will land in the infield, the umpire can decide it’s too easy to catch and invoke the infield fly rule. This causes the batter to be out automatically, and prevents the fielding team from getting an easy triple play by catching the ball and forcing outs at the other bases. In short, it’s a rule governing fairness of play, designed to keep things interesting for both sides. Knowing about it now will help when you hear it called later.
- Keep playing until the correct number of innings is reached. As opposed to basketball and many other team sports, baseball doesn’t have a clock or timer. Instead, the game is played until all the innings are completed. Because this can make games drag on for a long time, teams are allowed to have alternates, particularly extra pitchers (called relief pitchers) to keep play fresh from beginning to end. At the end of the last inning, whichever team scored the most runs wins.
- If the teams are tied at the end of the last inning, an extra inning is played. It is very unusual for a baseball game to end in a tie; typically, extra innings are added until one team manages to scrape out an advantage.
- Be patient. Learning to play baseball takes time and effort; getting any good at it takes even more. Every position on the field is challenging in its own way. If you stick with it, you’ll soon find yourself having lots of fun and getting a little better every time you play.
- Learn and practice as much as you can. Friends who play baseball are a great source of information, as are books, guides, and classes. In the end, though, you’ll learn the most about baseball from simply playing and getting a feel for it.
- If you’re a beginner playing defense, keep your glove near your face, so if a ball is hit or thrown to you, you’re less likely to be hurt by it (and more likely to catch it).
- Wear protective gear when you play ball. Batting helmets are particularly advised, and catchers should always wear masks, helmets, and chest, knee, shin and foot guards (the same protection that plate umpires wear).
- Remember to keep your eyes on the ball when you’re playing. Baseballs are hard; you don’t want to be hit by one.
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Solitaire is a one-player game that can be played on a computer or with standard 52 playing cards. Sometimes the games are impossible to solve, but that’s all part of the fun and also explains why the alternative name for this game is “Patience”. This article explains a basic and well-known approach to playing Solitaire. Note that variations (there are many) on this explanation of Solitaire are provided at the base of the article.
Building the Layout
- Understand the object of the game. It is to create four piles of cards – one per suit – in ascending order (beginning with Ace and ending with King).
- Start building the layout. Put down one card face up and lay six cards face down next to it. Then, put one card face up on top (but lowered slightly) of the first face down card, then put a face down card on top of the other five cards. Continue doing this, so that each pile has one face up card on top and so that the left pile has one card, the next has two, then three, four, five, six, and finally seven.
- Put the remaining cards in a separate pile and set it either above or below the piles. This pile is where you will go to get more cards if you run out of moves.
- Leave room at the top for four piles of cards.
Playing the Game
- Look at the cards on the table that are face up. If there are any aces, place them above the seven piles. If there are no aces, rearrange the cards you have, moving only the face up cards. When you place a card on top (slightly lower so that you can still see both cards), it must be a different color than the card you are placing it on top of and have a value of one less. Thus, if you have a six of hearts, you can either place a five of spades or a five of clubs on top.
- Keep placing the cards on top of each other until you cannot move anymore.
- Each pile should be alternating in color and move in descending order.
- Keep the top card obvious. The card on top of each of the seven piles should be face up. If you move a card, remember to turn the card underneath it over.
- Build your piles using aces as foundations. If you have an ace above your cards, (eventually you should have all four aces there), you may move cards of the place cards of the corresponding suit on top of the pile in ascending (A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K) order.
- Use the reserve deck if you run out of moves to make. Flip over the top three cards, and see if the top one can be placed anywhere. Much of the time, there will an ace in there! If you put down the top card, see if you can put down the next. If you put down the second card, see if you can put down the last card. Then, if you put down the last card, put down another three cards from the reserve deck. If you cannot make a move with any of these cards, put them in a separate waste stack (taking care not to disturb the order). Repeat until your reserve deck has run out.
- Once your reserve deck runs out, use the waste stack. However, make sure that you do not shuffle it!
- If you have a card that’s hidden, you can move cards around until you find places that you can hold and grab the desired card and, eventually, put it in the desired slot.
- If you use all the cards in one of the seven piles, you may place a king (but only a king) in the empty space.
- There are more types of Solitaire, such as suits and four aces. If you are having trouble with this one, or just not getting into it, try one of these.
- Always start with the deck if you don’t have any aces in your hand of cards.
- Remember that to win Solitaire, a certain amount of luck is involved.
- If you need help or want a hint and are on a computer, press the H key.
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The ukulele is a Hawaiian instrument with a carefree, jaunty sound. It is pitched a fourth higher than the guitar (two and 1/2 steps). This guide will enable you to play the soprano, concert, or tenor ukulele in GCEA tuning.
Choosing a Ukelele
- Obtain a ukulele. An affordable, but not cheap ukulele will have a nice sound quality that will encourage practicing. Ukeleles come in four basic sizes, and the size correlates to: soprano, concert, tenor and baritone (with soprano being the smallest and baritone the largest).
- The smallest ukelele, the soprano, is considered to be the standard ukelele.
- Test the fret spacing to see which you feel most comfortable with. Also, ask the retailer to play each one for you, to help you identify which sound you like the most.
Holding the Ukelele
- Hold the ukulele properly. A good hold will be achieved as follows:
- Place your thumb on the middle of the back of the neck, so you can easily slide it up and down for chord changes.
- Balance the ukulele on your stomach or your thigh if you are sitting.
- Curve your fingers. When forming chords, you want to use curved fingers and the fleshy part of the tip of your finger, so you press down only the strings you want to press down. This also requires cutting your nails to avoid scratching the fretboard.
Tuning the Ukelele
- Learn how to tune your ukulele. From the vantage point above the ukulele, the strings are G, C, E, and A. You can either download a tuning application from online, use a handheld tuner, or use a pitch pipe or online tuners to adjust these strings so they are the correct pitch.
- Turning the key so that a string is tightened make the pitch higher, while loosening the string will make it flat.
- If you are comparing to a heard sound, you should hear no wavering while plucking a string for it to be in tune.
Starting Out with Chords
- Learn to play chords. Chords are a combination of notes played at the same time. Right-handed players use their left hand for fretting and use their right hand for picking and strumming. The frets are the metal strips that run perpendicular to the strings. You actually press your finger down between the metal strips, not on them.
- For example, if you’re playing the third fret, you place your finger on the string between the second and third metal strip. The first fret is usually reserved for your first finger, second fret for second finger and so on. Place your finger as close to the fret as possible to create a good sound.
- Keep testing positioning for your fingers. When you hold down multiple strings at once at different frets (to play chords), it can be a little tricky (especially if you have short, inflexible fingers). There are usually several different ways to position your fingers for the same chord, so research them and experiment to find which one feels most comfortable for you.
- Practice chords from sight first. It’s useful to buy a pocket chord book, until you have committed the more common to memory and even afterward it’s will be a good reference for less common chords.
- Keep in mind that every time you move from one fret to another, the resulting pitch will be half a step higher or lower (i.e. “sharp” or “flat”). This is important for if you want to eventually read and play from sheet music.
- Strum with your other hand. This motion can be very difficult to coordinate, and requires some practice. Every beat of a song can be divided into two–the beat and the offbeat. Use a downstroke on the beat and an upstroke off the beat. Strumming consists of patterns of these. (Keep in mind that you can choose not to strum at times but still make the downward or upward motion in order to keep time.) Make an effort to sweep across all of the strings with even pressure and steady speed.
- You can use your thumb, index finger, or a felt pick to strum the ukulele. Fingernails or guitar picks will wear out plastic or gut strings very quickly.
Progressing to Songs
- Learn to play a few songs. Once you’re comfortable with chords, try actual songs. Start with a few very simple ones.
- Practice playing chords with a good sound, strumming with good rhythm, and switching smoothly from chord to chord. Begin at a slow tempo, and then bring the pitch up to speed.
- Many easy tabs for ukulele songs (or guitar songs arranged for ukulele) can be found on the internet.
- Depending on written or video tutorials without the help of lessons from an experienced teacher could lead to bad habits that are difficult to reverse. While you may learn just as effectively without formal lessons, proper guidance from an experienced player may be useful to correct any personal playing problems.
- Ask a local music store for the best songs and for advice about suitable teachers.
- New strings that have not been stretched out are prone to going out of tune quickly. To avoid this, try leaving your ukulele strings very tight overnight to stretch them out.
- Ukuleles are not to be played with guitar picks because these will wear out the strings. Use your fingers or a felt pick instead.
- Be careful not to drop your ukulele. It’s fragile! Use a case for transporting it about.
Edit Things You’ll Need
- Tuner (optional)
- Felt pick (optional)
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Poker is currently undergoing a surge in popularity, due in part to its prominence on television and popularity with celebrities. Want to join the fun? It’s easy to get started. Here’s an approachable overview of how to play 5 Card Draw, Texas Hold’em, and some basic strategies. Once you get the hang of it, you can easily adapt to playing other variations (described below) and improve your poker skills through practice.
Playing 5 Card Draw
- Understand the basics of poker. Poker is usually played with a standard 4-suit 52-card deck. The ace normally plays high, but can sometimes play low. A joker or other wild cards may be added. At the showdown, those players still remaining compare their hands according to the hand rankings. Suits are not used to break ties, nor are cards beyond the fifth; only the best five cards in each hand are used in the comparison. In the case of a tie, the pot is split equally among the winning hands.
- Wild cards introduce an additional hand, five of a kind, which normally ranks above a straight flush. When a joker is in play, it usually can only be used as an ace or to complete a straight or flush. It cannot be used as a true wild card.
- Become familiar with poker hand variations. The person who wins is the person with the highest-valued hand. You can’t win if you don’t know which hands will take the pot. If two players have hands with the same value (e.g. two full houses) or no one has a winning hand, then the player with the highest value card in their hand wins (Ace is highest). Print out a ranking of the poker hands and memorize the hands.
- Chip in. Place an “ante” (pronounced ant-ee) or “token bet” (pronounced token bet) into the pot (usually a spot at the center of the table, although you can use a pot if you wish). Every player places an equal amount of whatever your currency (poker chips, nickels, bills, car keys…). Whoever wins takes it all.
- Deal or be dealt with. After shuffling (showing off) the dealer distributes the cards face down starting with the player to his or her immediate left and continuing clockwise, one card at a time, until everyone has five cards. The deck is placed in the middle of the table.
- Look at your cards while everyone else looks at theirs. This is the time to evaluate how strong your hand is. Beginner players usually end up showing how strong their hand is with what is known as a tell. Some tells include; shallow breathing, lack of or too much eye contact, facial muscle flexes, etc. Trying to reduce these tells will give you a better chance. Keep your “poker face”.
- Take turns. The first person to make a call is usually the player on the dealer’s left (who was dealt the first card). That player can open (place the first bet) or check (pass the decision onto the next player). Once the pot is opened, meaning that a player bets a certain amount (e.g. places a nickel in the pot), all of the people who already had their turns have two options:
- See or call – Stay in the game by putting the equivalent amount in the pot.
- Fold – Quit the game by putting your cards face down on the table; whatever you put in the pot stays in the pot.
- After they’ve made their choices, everyone who still has a turn will have those options, plus an additional one:
- Raise – Stay in the game by putting more than the last person put in the pot.
- If someone raises, then everyone who already had a turn must see or fold again. Then the next person has their turn.
- Draw. Once everyone has had a turn (even if everyone checked) get rid of up to three cards you don’t want and have them replaced. This is done in turns, again beginning with the player on the dealer’s left and going clockwise. Choose the cards that you don’t think will help you gain a winning hand. You might get rid of three cards, or you might keep them all. If you do get rid of cards, put them face down on the table so no one sees what you had.
- Go through another round of betting. As before, the first player can either open or check, and the checking can continue until someone opens, after which players can see, raise or fold. More people will start to fold once they realize their weak hand isn’t worth the bet.
- Expose your cards. Everyone turns their cards over to see who has the winning hand. Winner takes all
Playing Texas Hold’em
- Understand the basic rules of Texas Hold’em. Each player is dealt 2 cards face down, and 5 community cards will be shown face up. Players try to make the best hand possible out of their 7 cards.
- Each player takes a turn being the dealer. In Texas Hold’em, blinds take the place of an ante. The player to the left of the dealer is the small blind, and the next person is the big blind. The big blind is the minimum bet, and the small blind is half of that.
- Begin play. Play begins with the first player to the left of the big blind. That player either calls the big blind (plays the minimum bet), raises, or folds. Play continues around the circle, with each player having to match the previous bet, raise, or fold. If no one raises, the big blind can check or raise before the next round.
- See the flop. After the first round of betting has been settled, the dealer reveals the first 3 cards of the hand, called the flop. Each player now has 2 cards in their personal hand and 3 community cards. Another round of betting begins, starting with the player to the left of the dealer.
- See the turn. After the second round of betting, the dealer reveals the 4th card of the hand, called the turn. The remaining players bet again, starting with the player to the left of the dealer.
- See the river. After the third round of betting, the dealer reveals the 5th and final card of the hand. Players bet on their hands, and the winner takes the pot. If a player bets, and the rest fold, then the winning player does not need to show his or her hand.
- Know your starting hands. When you’re starting your initial round of betting, it’s important to know whether or not the hand you have is worth playing. In Texas Hold’em, you have two cards to start, and you’ll need to decide if you should play them or fold.
- Hands to raise. Pairs of tens, face cards or Aces are almost always a good hand to raise with. An Ace and a King or an Ace and a Queen are strong hands as well. If you have these hands, bet before the flop to raise the value of the pot.
- Hands to call. An Ace with a face card, or two consecutive face cards of a different suit are strong hands to call with. Two consecutive non-face cards of the same suit can work in your favor. Low pairs should call, but not raise.
- Know when to hold and when to fold. The key to being successful at poker is knowing when to fold your hand away, or when to hold onto it. If the flop comes and you’re holding a hand that doesn’t play, check and fold. You don’t want to keep betting money at a hand that won’t win. If the flop comes and you have a strong hand, bet at it. This will force weaker hands out and raise the value of your pot.
- If your hand could play if the right cards come up, then you’ll want to determine if it’s worth holding out for them. Calculating pot odds can go a long way towards helping you make these decisions.
- Pot odds are calculated by determining the percentage chance that you have to draw the card you need. To calculate them, count the number of outs you have. These are cards that will improve your hand. Multiply the number of cards times two, then add 1 to get the percentage. For example, if there are 10 cards in the deck that could improve your hand, you have about a 21% (10 x 2 + 1) chance of getting a card you need.
- Next, you’ll need to determine if it is worth betting. Calculate the pot+bet, which is the pot total plus the bet to call. So if the pot is $ 120, and the bet to call is $ 20, then the pot+bet is $ 140. Multiply your percentage of your outs with the pot+bet. In the previous example, a 21% chance with a pot+bet of $ 140 would look like 0.21 x 140 = 29.4. This means you should call bets lower than %29 of the pot, or around $ 40. 
- Working out the pot odds is only a guideline, and doesn’t take a lot of variables into account. Use it as a basis to judge the worthiness of a hand.
- Understand the psychology. Playing your opponent is arguably more important than playing your cards in poker. You have to be able to read what your opponent is doing, as well as trick them into not knowing your plan.
- Don’t let emotions cloud your judgment. You will lose hands, it’s guaranteed. Don’t let setbacks affect your attitude and playstyle.
- Change up your pace. If you’ve been playing your cards close, and not betting wildly, start bluffing a bit more. If you’ve been bluffing, go back to playing tighter. Switching often will keep opponents from being able to predict your actions and guess your cards.
- Read your opponent. Adjust your playstyle to your opponents’. Look for players that are betting carelessly, and try to trap them. Learn to see the tells, which can give you an estimation of their hand. Some basic tells: a hand over the mouth is usually concealing a smile; shaking hands is nervous, but that could be a good nervous or bad nervous; if a player glances at his or her chips when the flop comes, they probably have a strong hand; if a mediocre player is staring at you, he or she is likely bluffing.
- Think on your feet. Don’t get bogged down with systems, react to situations as they arise. Every poker situation is different because of the human factor.
- Plan your bankroll accordingly. When you are learning, you should never invest more than what you would consider “fun” to lose. Don’t add to your bankroll after lsing everything you’ve invested. Wait until you are comfortable losing that amount again.
- When you start winning on a regular basis, adjust your bankroll to maximize your earning potential. The general rule of thumb is you should be able to afford to lose 200 bets at the highest limit. So if the limit is $ 5 bets, then your bankroll should be $ 1000.
- Track your wins and losses. This will help you figure out if you are winning or losing in the long run. Also, depending on where you live, you may have to pay taxes on your gambling income.
- 7-card stud – Same as 5-card stud but with 7 cards instead of 5. You make the best 5-card hand possible out of the cards that you have.
- Hold’em (or Texas Hold’em) – You’re initially dealt two cards (pocket cards) face down, followed by a round of betting. Then the dealer lays out the “flop” which consists of three cards that anyone can use in their hand. There’s another round of betting, followed by another card added to the flop, then another round of betting, and then the final card is added to the flop.
- Lowball – The goal is to get the hand with the lowest value.
- Omaha – Four pocket cards are dealt face down, betting ensues, and then five community cards are dealt face up. A player must make a winning hand using two of the pocket cards combined with the three community cards.
- Pineapple – Dealt three hole cards, discard one BEFORE the flop, play like Texas Hold’em.
- Crazy Pineapple – Dealt three hole cards, discard one AFTER the flop, play like Texas Hold’em.
- Cincinnati – Four hole cards and four community cards with four rounds of betting.
Poker Hands: Reference Sheet
- Royal Flush (10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace, all of the same suit) – Most valued because it’s most surprising when received. It is a common misconception that this is harder to get than any of the other set of 5 cards.
- Straight Flush (five cards in numerical order, all of the same suit) – Can’t contain a King and a Two in the same hand (e.g. Q-K-A-2-3).
- Four of a Kind (four cards of the same number and any other card)
- Full House (three cards with the same number and two cards with the same number) – ties are broken by the highest value card in the three of a kind.
- Flush (all five cards from the same suit) – Numbers don’t matter.
- Straight – (all five cards in numerical order) – Suit doesn’t matter. Can’t contain a King and a Two in the same hand (e.g. J-Q-K-A-2).
- Three of a Kind (three cards with same number, two other random cards) – If the other two cards have the same number, it’s a full house (see above).
- Two Pair (two sets with the same numbers plus a random card) –
- One Pair (two cards with the same number, the rest of the cards are random).
- Aggressive players will sometimes bet very high early in the game, although this can be risky.
- You can bluff, or trick the other players into believing you have a powerful hand, by placing high bets. If they fall for it, they’ll fold and you’ll take the pot with a weak hand.
- Conservative players only stay in the game when their cards are good. They don’t lose as much money, but they’re easily spotted (and bluffed) by more experienced players.
- Fold if some bet high in starting.
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Go is a game where two players contest for territory; it is perhaps the oldest board game in the world. The rules are simple and you can learn them in minutes. Many enthusiasts regard Go as an art; the game’s almost infinite variations have stumped even the most advanced computers. Learning to play is easy, but learning to play well takes time and practice. Read along to familiarize yourself with this ancient, intriguing, and clever game.
The Board & Pieces
- Use a standard 19×19 grid. There are 19 horizontal and vertical lines. You can use a board or make a grid yourself.
- Sometimes smaller boards are used. Often 13×13 or 9×9 boards are used for quicker games or for teaching.
- There should be nine marked points spread out evenly on the board (3rd, 9th, and 15th lines). They are called “star points” and serve as reference points or markers for handicap games.
- Have 361 black and white stones ready. This amount is for a 19×19 game. The number correlates to the amount of intersections on the board. If you are playing on a smaller board, use fewer stones.
- Black plays with 181 stones and white with 180. This is because black makes the first move.
- Keep the stones next to the board, in bowls.
- Alternate moves. Traditionally, black starts first.
- Stones can also be placed on the edge, where there is a T-intersection.
- Once a stone is placed, it cannot be moved (unless captured and removed).
- Acquire territory. This can be done in one of two ways:
- Territory is empty spaces that are bordered or surrounded by stones of the same color. The bigger the territory you surround, the more points you gain.
- Corners can be used as a border as well.
- You will lose a point if you place a stone inside your own territory.
- Employ capturing. Connect your stones together to capture your opponent’s pieces.
- Stones of the same color on immediately adjacent points are said to be connected, or joined. The connection can be horizontal or vertical, but not diagonal–the connection is along the lines.
- Fill all the adjacent points around your players pieces to capture them. Once captured, remove them from the board and keep them in a separate pile.
- No empty spaces can be within the border.
- Finish the game when all territory is claimed. Both players pass and the game is over. Count up how many points (or intersections) each color guards.
- Place all captured stones in the opposing players territory. Thus, their score is reduced due to lost intersections.
- Therefore, a captured stone is worth two points. One point negated from your opponent’s score and one point for the new empty space surrounded upon removal.
- Capturing is what makes this game a battle of wits. While gaining territory is the main goal, one must think defensively at all times.
- Know your terms. As this is an ancient Japanese game, there are many words to know.
- Liberty – an adjacent intersection
- Atari – a state in which a piece can be captured in the next move
- For example, “Your white stone over there is in atari! Haha!”
- Eye – a single empty space inside a group
- If there is an eye, capturing is not possible, as not all the empty space is filled
- Suicide – placing a stone where it can be captured
- Ko – a situation in which a stone about to make a capture can be immediately recaptured, which would repeat the situation endlessly. Capturing cannot immediately take place after a ko.
Playing a Game
- Find an opponent. Someone who is well-versed in the game will be a better teacher and example.
- You can look for a game either face-to-face or on an online go-server. For face-to-face games, look for a local chapter of the AGA, BGA, or your national Go organization. You will likely find a list of Go clubs on their websites. For online games, some Go servers are listed below.
- MSN Zone
- Start the game by choosing a color. In a handicap game, the stronger player takes white, and black places 2-9 handicap stones on the star points before white answers.
- For an even game, the colors are determined randomly. Since black has an advantage by playing first, white is compensated by taking komi, an amount of additional points added to white’s score at the end of the game.
- The amount of komi varies, but most tournaments use values between 5 and 8 points. Sometimes a fractional value like 6.5 is used to avoid ties.
- Place the first stone. This should be done by the player with black stones. It traditionally goes in the upper right hand quadrant.
- This initial move stakes out which side each player lays claim to.
- Handicap stones are considered the first move in a handicap game.
- Take turns alternating playing stones. Remember, the pieces are placed on the intersections of the grid, not the empty spaces on the board.
- Either player may pass if they see no benefit to making a move. Passing signals a desire to end the game and count the score.
- If both players pass, the game is over.
- Decide on your strategy. There are generally two options: claiming the most territory or invading your opponent’s territory by capturing their pieces (turning them into “prisoners”).
- End the game when both players pass. Black and white must both decide there is no advantage to laying another stone.
- The player who has captured the most stones and territory wins. Captured pieces should be placed on the board in the opponent’s territory, decreasing their score.
- Score the game. You can use either area counting or territory counting. The two methods agree provided both players have made the same number of non-passing moves.
- For area counting, each color scores a point for each living stone of that color and each empty intersection within their territory. White then adds their komi.
- For territory counting, each color fills in their opponent’s territory with any prisoners of that color captured earlier in the game. Their score is then only the empty intersections in their territory. White then adds their komi.
- An old proverb, paraphrased, recommends you to “lose your first fifty games as soon as possible.” This is good advice, but remember to pay attention to why you are losing (of course), so that when you lose again, you need not lose in the same way.
- Play demonstration games with stronger players. These are games where the more experienced player will play certain moves so that you recognize the proper responses.
- Read Yahoo’s rules, since they go into more detail about the different rules and strategies of the game. However, playing on Yahoo is not recommended, as the server uses the ranking system for Chess rather than the traditional Japanese system that is most widely used.
- Keep your calm, even if your position deteriorates unexpectedly. A close game can avalanche against a player, often not simply because they lost ground locally, but because they let fear overtake them and lost their concentration. Hang in there. If something does go wrong, at least make every effort to contain and minimize the loss. If it comes to it, lose or resign gracefully. The odds of playing a divine move (a single move that can turn a losing game into a winning game) are very slim, especially against experienced players.
- Online games are often played quickly, so watch your time.
- Although the rules of Go are often described as simple and natural, there are several different rule sets. Popular rule sets include Chinese, Japanese, New Zealand, AGA, and ING. Further complicating matters are game servers that claim to use one of the above rule sets, but don’t program them correctly. For example, Yahoo is notorious for allowing a player who disputes the scoring to turn the game into no pass Go. Fortunately, the situations where it makes a significant difference almost always occur in artificial situations unlikely to occur (or to be recognized if they do occur) in natural games.
- Be considerate to the other player, whether in person or on the internet.
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Angry Birds is a very widely known smartphone and electronic tablet application game that has been downloaded over 500 million times across platforms. Here’s how to play this famous game if you haven’t already tried it.
- Understand what you’re trying to do. The goal in each level is to get rid of the pigs. The complacent pigs are usually blocked by wood, glass, stone or another material arranged into creative structures. You will need to use the angry birds to get rid of both the obstacles and pigs.
- Download the game to your phone, iPod, tablet or computer. There are both free and paid versions of Angry Birds, plus an occasional seasonal special. Try the free version first; that way you can determine whether you even enjoy the game or not (it’s very likely that you will).
- You can now get Angry Birds on a MacBook if you have the MacBook App store. Likewise, the PC version can also be downloaded from the official website (in the form of a trial, similar to the free versions on handheld devices). You have to purchase an activation key in order to fully unlock the game. You can also download the game through the Google Chrome web browser’s app store.
- On an Android device the full version is available for free.
- Start by pulling back the slingshot with your finger. Moving it up or down will determine how high or low the bird flies. The further back you pull the slingshot is how far or short the bird flies. Through practice, you’ll become more skilled at aiming both at the right angle and at the right spot where the pigs are.
- If you have a computer version, you’ll be using your mouse rather than your finger.
- Lift your finger off from the screen when you’re ready. The bird should bump into an obstacle and cause some damage to it. Repeat this process until all of the pigs are gone or you’ve used up all of your birds.
- Know your birds. As you progress, you’ll notice that there are different kinds of birds and they create different results when launched. (You have to launch the birds first before tapping.) Here is what each bird does:
Red bird: The most ordinary bird; it doesn’t have any special effects other than being able to be catapulted into the pigs.
Red bird: The most ordinary bird; it doesn’t have any special effects other than being able to be catapulted into the pigs.
Blue bird: Tap the screen and it becomes three mini birds.
Blue bird: Tap the screen and it becomes three mini birds. This bird is best for breaking glass.
Yellow bird: Tap the screen and it goes very fast.
Yellow bird: Tap the screen and it goes very fast. This bird works best on wood.
Black bird: Tap the screen and it explodes instantly.
Black bird: Tap the screen and it explodes instantly. Let it hit an obstacle and after a short time delay it will explode. This bird works best on stone.
White bird: Tap the screen and it will drop an explosive egg.
White bird: Tap the screen and it will drop an explosive egg. The corpse, if done right, will fly off and potentially cause additional damage. This bird also works best on stone.
Green bird: Tap the screen and it will fly back.
Green bird: Tap the screen and it will fly back. This bird is similar to a boomerang.
Big Brother bird: Similar to the red bird, but bigger in size and more powerful.
Big Brother bird: Similar to the red bird, but bigger in size and more powerful.
- Orange Bird: Very small, but swells up to big proportions. Try to squeeze it into tight spaces.
- Pink Bird: Small, but levitates objects with bubbles. Use her to disrupt the bottoms of tall towers.
Mighty eagle: Press the button at the top of the screen and a sardine can appears.
Mighty eagle: Press the button at the top of the screen and a sardine can appears. Launch the sardines and the mighty eagle will appear. You have to pay for this feature and once you use it on an unsolved level you have to wait another hour before using it on the next level. You will not get any stars for using this bird.
- Get through each level. You pass a level once you get rid of all the pigs on that level. If you don’t pass the level on your first try, you can easily try again.
- There are seven different groups of levels in the game. Complete a group of levels and unlock another group of levels in the game. In the Angry Bird seasons version there are ten groups of levels. You can also get Angry Birds Rio which has two groups of levels.
- Once you finish the whole episode (made of two or three groups of levels), the game will encourage you to try to get all three stars in levels. This can take quite a while (fortunately, as who wants all the fun to end?). There are guides available either as separate apps or videos on sites such as YouTube and these can be of great help.
- Analyze the structure beforehand for any weak points, for example, weak supports, vulnerable foundations or places where you can get explosives into that can inflict lots of structural damage. That way you will have an idea of where to hit and even plan on how to use each of your birds.
- Check the App store for new angry bird applications and updates.
- Some levels can be passed by using just one bird only, some with 3-stars, some not (in this case, you need to use additional birds to destroy more objects to earn more points).
- There’s an online shop for Angry Birds merchandise such as soft toys and clothing. This online shop also has Angry Birds pig merchandise. These items can also be found in video game shops as well.
- Look at cheat guides (online, on YouTube, etc.) if you can’t get three stars or even pass a level.
- You can unlock golden eggs throughout the game. The golden eggs are usually hidden though.
- Try and get three stars on each level. The amount of stars you get depends on your score that you got. You can replay levels to get three stars. The mighty eagle has a different rating.
- You can buy Angry Birds Seasons with Christmas, Halloween, Valentines, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, and summer themed levels.
- Google subscribers can play Angry Birds by navigating to their Google+ page and locating Angry Birds in the online games.
- It’s addictive!
- The free version doesn’t have many levels.
- If you use the mighty eagle to pass a level then it’s out of action for an hour but if it’s a level you already passed you can use the mighty eagle again.
Edit Things You’ll Need
- iTouch/iPhone/iPad/Mac Book/Windows PC with Google Chrome web browser/G1/Android Phone/WebOS phone
- Money, for the full versions and the Mighty Eagle
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And it goes into thin air with a frog
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The piano was once an essential addition to the home, a source of family entertainment and personal musical enjoyment. Today, it continues to be an important and beloved instrument, and knowing how to play one can give you many opportunities to enliven a party, join a band or compose your own music. Learning to play the piano requires dedication, a love of music and a willingness to keep challenging yourself––basically, anyone who wishes to, can learn to play a piano.
Availability and Affordability
- Make certain you’re willing to practice for thirty or more minutes each day. If you’re not, save yourself the expense of buying the piano, books, and lessons, to say nothing of the time. The first few weeks are quite an effort and you’ll need to be prepared to persevere and learn through sheer work.
- Check your calendar. Where are you prepared to block out half an hour a day? Do you have other activities that might interfere with this time or can you shift things around?
- What about other members of your household? Are they going to be okay with the piano being played daily at certain times? If your walls are paper thin, this may also need to include consideration of your neighbors.
- Be forewarned that pianos can be very expensive. If you can’t afford to buy one, keyboards are an excellent, cheaper alternative. (There are also some great crossovers, such as digital Grands from brands like Roland and Yamaha.) If you can afford one, make sure you know which criteria you should consider when buying yourself a piano. With some luck or dedicated searching, you can often borrow a piano from someone or get an old piano that someone is getting rid of. Some schools, churches or community centers will also be willing to let you tinkle on the keys at a regular slot provided they know you’re serious about learning and will take care of their property.
- Look at online auctions and classifieds sites for old pianos at good prices. Also check out sites such as Freecycle, where unwanted pianos might turn up but you’ll probably need to get the piano tuned and possibly even restore it somewhat.
- Ring around estate sales auctioneers to see if they have any pianos up for auction. Ask to be alerted if one comes in. In some cases, you might pick up a piano for next to nothing.
- Arrange for music lessons with a teacher in your area. The classifieds or a referral from a friend are good places to start. Many schools and colleges offer piano lessons at a subsidized cost. Ask other piano students for feedback about their books or teachers.
- Find the right teacher! Your relationship with your teacher can affect the way you feel about practicing, so arrange for a trial period of a few weeks to find out if there’s a good fit. This is important for parents to acknowledge, as much as it is for the pupil to grasp.
- Know what the teacher plans to cover in the lessons. Make certain your teacher or lesson book includes time spent learning all aspects of the piano (including chords, theory, and learning pieces by heart) in the curriculum.
- In addition to studying traditional chord relationships (harmony), take a class in composition and listen to as much music as you can. Community colleges offer excellent instruction in music theory, history, and composition. Learning music theory is fun and is the best way to become a great musician, whether you want to play classical, jazz or pop.
- Playing with other people in ensembles is also an excellent idea for staying motivated and learning techniques from others.
- If you do not want to take piano lessons, it is possible learn by yourself. However, you do have your work cut out for you and you will need to be very disciplined and conscientious about practice. Teaching yourself how to play well is a tremendous task, but it can be done.
- Make use of online resources, such as the many excellent video lessons on learning the piano available on video sites.
- Whether learning with a teacher or on your own, you can use technology to your advantage. There are free internet games, such as Jayde Musica and Grand Staff Defender, that can help you with both reading music and playing piano. There are also electronic devices that can help you to practice the piano more effectively. For example, the PianoMaestro is a strip of lights that rests on top of the black keys of your piano. The lights guide you on which notes to play, enabling you to progress faster and stay motivated.
Practicing the Piano
- Sit correctly. Hand and body posture are very important. Slouching gives a bad impression and having a bad hand posture will be counter-productive to your practice.
- Keep your wrists loose and your hands flexible.
- Keep your fingers at a natural curve, as if you were holding your hands at your side. This gives you more power in your finger strokes.
- If you’re moving your hands, your elbows shouldn’t be moving as if you were doing the “chicken dance”. Instead of moving the elbows, move your wrists.
- Warm up. Practice the arpeggios, chords, scales, and other basic things at the beginning of your practice sessions. Your fingers will be “warmed up” and ready for all of your songs.
- It’s best to warm up at the beginning of every practice session with a relaxing finger exercise. This will stretch your fingers and hands and help you play with your hands relaxed.
- Practice daily for at least thirty minutes or more. Your fingers will “rust” if you do not play for even a week. However, you may find that a short break or holiday is alright, provided you practice diligently. At first, practicing might be a pain and you might get very frustrated. As your skills grow, you will become better and playing piano will become pure enjoyment.
- When you play, you should be able to see your finger bones move. Let your hand just hang and move only your fingers.
- Play covers of songs that you like. Chances are you won’t like a lot of the songs that your instructor or lesson book use to teach you piano basics. Don’t be afraid to mix it up by covering more enjoyable songs on the piano, even if they’re typically played using other instruments. Consider it an opportunity to learn from the greats while motivating yourself to play.
- Go slowly and steadily when learning a new piece. A good thing to do is play the melody with one hand, and then the other part with your other hand. Play a few times separately and then put them together. Your hands will get used to playing, so when you put them together, it’ll feel almost automatic.
- Practice a lot. The more you practice, the better you will perform. This is especially important given the reality that even seasoned performers get serious nerves before a performance, so if your subconscious knows what to do, you’ll feel a lot more confident when playing in public.
- Practice a little more each day. If you try to play 5 minutes on your first few days, your hands and wrists will most likely get tired (do not push them to play if they do or you’ll soon give up). If you practice easy pieces in little spurts each day though, your hands will build up the stamina required to play for longer.
- Improve your technique by learning in segments.
- First, try to sightread the piece without worrying if you make mistakes; then, practice each hand separately.
- Break the music into segments and learn the right hand part. Learn segment by segment, then connect them together. Keep practicing until you’ve mastered the right hand. Play through the entire piece. If you make a mistake, try to pick up from the beginning of that measure. Starting from the beginning each time you make a mistake will mean you learn the start of the song very well and perhaps never reach the end! Be patient, as this process will enable you to get through the entire piece flawlessly.
- Once you’ve mastered the right hand, repeat the process with the left hand.
- Then, repeat the process again, this time for both hands. Do not try to play at normal speed until you are secure in your fingering and notes.
- Then, increase the speed gradually. Play the piece until you memorize it and you can play fluently.
- Improve your understanding of the piece by learning in measures. Take a new piece apart by learning one or two measures at a time, and going over it again and again. The next day, do the same thing with the next few measures, and then include the last measures and play them all together. By practicing this way, you can spend quality time listening to how they sound and making sure your fingers know where to go and when.
- Don’t freak out when you can’t play a measure (or two). Just take a short break. Give yourself some time to calm down before you attack the challenge again.
- The measures on a song are not “stop signs”. When you reach a measure, never stop. Instead, continue the song at the same speed.
- Keep a regular, steady rhythm while you are playing. Just playing rhythmically makes a piece sound a lot better. Consider buying a metronome to help with this. Consider buying a piano with a metronome. A lot of pianos have them built in, and even if they don’t, a hand-held metronome will suffice.
- Try not to repeat your mistakes. Practicing the wrong way many times over will cement a mistake into your mind and muscle memory.
- Think notes and improvise. “Thinking notes” means that you know every single note you’re playing. While that sounds easy, it can be very challenging. Play a piece that you have memorized and can play very well. Now, name every note that you played without looking at the piano. Then, take a melody you’ve heard on TV or somewhere else and try to play it using your ear. Aim for knowing every note you play. While playing by ear is good, it’s a lot better if you know every note that you play.
- Learn to sight read music. This will allow you to play a large range of pieces without learning them from memory. It’s a useful skill to practice as early as possible when learning music.
- Listen to your notes and tune your ears to the keys’ pitches. This is needed on some advanced piano tests and will allow you to impress your friends by playing blindfolded!
- Play whenever you can, even if you don’t have a piano. Borrow someone else’s piano, tap out a few notes on the keyboard at the store, use your digital device’s music keyboard or just play from memory on the blank desk in front of you. Be like Paul McCartney, who can’t walk by a piano without a very strong urge to play it; the only time he doesn’t is if he would get in trouble!
- Play simple pieces by ear and make your own arrangements of them. This will help you to become less dependent on written music. When you are playing by ear, keep going! Do not start sections of the piece over again. If you miss a chord one time, you can practice so that you’ll play it the next time. The main thing is to overcome repetition and hesitation and learn to play a piece through smoothly when you are performing it.
- If you’re at a recital and your hands shake wildly, sit on your hands for a few minutes before you go out to play. It calms them down.
- It is better to play too slowly than to play too quickly when you are performing. Play evenly and with a great deal of care in your touch and you will sound professional.
- Get used to the idea that some of the pianos you will be playing will not sound amazing or be in perfect tune. This is one of the hazards of being a piano player; you can’t carry your favorite instrument with you. Try to make the best of things when you are playing an inferior instrument. A good pianist can usually make a bad piano sound reasonably good, although some pianos are in such bad condition that you should feel free to say that you cannot play that piano!
- If you are shy, practice playing in front of your family and friends. They will enjoy it, and in time, so will you.
- Curve your fingers for a stronger tone and a better quality of music. Resist the temptation of playing flat fingered.
- For players with some experience: Eventually, you will play faster pieces that are also long. If you keep pushing on the keys, you will tire out before you even finish the first page. To prevent this, lift your fingers up higher for louder notes and move your wrist so that it “follows the notes”; as the keys you press make higher and higher sounds, your wrist gets nearer and nearer to the right side of the piano when you’re facing it. Do the opposite when the sounds made by the keys get lower and lower. However, if you overdo it, there will be no point.
- Make sure your fingers don’t get cold when you play. When you have cold fingers (and hands), it’ll be harder to play the piano, and it will hurt your fingers. If you hands are cold before you start playing, don’t play, just warm them up by running your hands under warm water or holding them over a heater (carefully) for a few minutes.
- The fingering, speed, and chords in some pieces may be frustrating and difficult, but push through it. If you get frustrated, step away from the piano for a few minutes until you are ready to play again. If you do take piano lessons, remember this: You are very lucky; many parents want their child to learn piano, but not all can afford it.
- You may like to accompany a singer on piano and perhaps form a rhythm section with other instruments.
- For intermediate/advanced players: Try playing through that new piece using the chords written above the grand staff. Use your left hand to play octaves and your right hand to play the chord. Start off using the first inversion of every chord, then for a challenge, limit yourself to using only one octave and trying out different inversions of chords.
- Do not keep your foot on the sustaining pedal; it blurs your chords together and makes them sound “muddy.” If you want to correctly use the sustain pedal, play a chord, press the pedal down, and then a split second after you play your next chord, carefully lift up the sustain pedal and put it back down. Whenever you change chords or play notes from a different chord, “reset” the sustain pedal. Do not “bump” the pedal by changing it too fast. Always listen to yourself when you pedal. Your ears will tell you if the sound is blurred or not.
- Don’t set impossible goals for yourself, for example, don’t tell yourself, “I’m going to learn how to play Turkish March in one week.” You’ll probably be disappointed. However, small goals are important, so learning parts by certain dates is certainly a good incentive to work toward.
- Don’t buy a piano when you’re not sure you want to start playing it; a piano is a huge investment in both time and house space.
- Don’t limit yourself to the notes on the page. Think about what the melody is trying to convey and play the song as though it was your own––from your heart.
- Never play the same melody the same way. If the composer puts identical measures in the piece, make it interesting by using dynamics or ritardandos.
- Don’t be nervous at recitals, and play your piece with as much confidence as you can. Don’t worry about how you look. Pay attention to the thing that really counts––how the music sounds!
- Don’t slack off. Sometimes it may become tedious, but keep practicing.
Edit Related wikiHows
Soccer, also known as football everywhere besides the US and Canada, is a fun, competitive game. It is the most-played sport in the world. Now, it is referred to as “the beautiful game” because of its dazzling degrees of technical skill, team play, and individual contribution. If you’re serious about playing soccer, know that you’re going to have to train harder, longer, and faster than your opponents, and always have a ball on hand. (Maybe you’ll sleep with a ball instead of a pillow.) So what are you waiting for? Read this article and you will learn how to play this wonderful sport!
- Learn how to dribble. Dribbling is controlling the ball while running. If you want to keep the ball in your team’s possession, you’re going to need to dribble well. Dribbling is all about touching the ball strong enough to carry it forward, but light enough so that it stays by your side — and away from opponents.
- You can dribble with the inside of your shoe, above the toe (with the foot pointed down to the ground), and even with the outside of the shoe. The safest way to dribble is probably with the inside of your shoe, but in different situations, you’ll have to use different parts of the shoe.
- Learn to dribble at different speeds. When you’re running down the sideline and you’ve beaten your man, your dribbling will look a lot different from when you’re taking on a defender head on.
- When you’re dribbling slower, you usually keep the ball close to your side at all times. This way a defender has to make a move to take the ball away.
- When you’re dribbling faster, you can sometimes kick the ball further away and run to the ball. This is usually if you’ve already beaten your man. You do this because most players can run quicker off the ball than they can dribbling it.
- Learn how to pass. Passing is all about putting the ball exactly where you want it. In order to pass a soccer ball, most rely on kicking the ball using the inside of your foot. This will give you less power but more accuracy. Once you master the basic pass, you can even try to slice and hook the ball in order to pass it to one of your teammates.
- Pay attention to where your planter foot is going. Your planter foot should be right next to the ball, your toe pointed to where you want the ball to travel.
- Anticipate where a player is going to be. Because you’re often going to be passing on the fly, kicking the ball to an open space where you want your teammate to be is essential. If your teammate is running, always kick the ball ahead of them so that they can run to the ball.
- Know how to shoot. If you’re really close to the goal and all you need is accuracy, you can shoot using the sweet spot of the inside of your shoe, like a pass. But usually, you’re going to be farther away and will need power as well as accuracy,of course.
- Set your planter foot and aim the toe of the planter foot to where you want the shot to travel.
- You don’t have to get much of a running start, but you do want to bring your foot back, bending it as you do in order to get more power.
- Hit the ball on the middle laces of your shoe, with your foot pointed down at the ground. Keep your foot pointed down at the ground as you follow through.
- Use your hips to swing through the ball. Bring your foot across your body if necessary to generate even more power. This should cause both feet to lift from the ground.
- Think about moving off the ball. Some estimates say that professional soccer players run 6 to 8 miles during a 90 minute game. That’s a lot of running. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a lot of the running you’ll be doing is when you don’t have the ball. Learn how to get into open space, how to run to where to your teammate expects or wants you to be, and how to run past a defender who’s guarding you.
- Learn how to defend. Defending the goal is an underrated achievement. It can be extremely difficult staying on your man or getting the ball away from your man. There are three basic things that you need to remember when guarding a player in soccer:
- Don’t be fooled by feints, tricks, and jukes: keep your eye on the ball. A good soccer player will try to juke or feint with their body in order to get past you. They’re hoping that what they do with their body will distract you from what they’re going to do with the ball. Don’t let this happen. Keep your eyes on the ball at all times, not on the player.
- Stay in between the ball and the goal. In other words, don’t let the ball get behind you. This is harder than it sounds. It’s a delicate balance keeping enough pressure on the ball and giving the person who’s attacking enough space so that they don’t get behind you.
- Learn to anticipate the dribble. Right after an attacker hits the ball on the dribble — that’s the time when try to hit the ball away. This is called anticipating the dribble, and it’s essential for knocking the ball from an attacking player. Just be sure not to lunge and miss; you’re vulnerable when you do this!
- Get comfortable heading the ball. Try hitting the ball with your head right where your hair meets your forehead. Do not use the top of your head! When getting ready to head the ball, don’t lift your head back; move your upper torso back instead. This will give you more power and won’t strain your neck as much.
- Learn how to juggle. Juggling is very hard to master but an important part of the game. Truth be told, you won’t need to juggle very often in a game, but knowing how to juggle does several things:
- It helps you control a ball that’s coming at you from the air. Not all passes are on the ground. The ones that aren’t will need to be intercepted and controlled by some form of juggling.
- Juggling helps improve your touch on the ball. If you know how to juggle your touch on the ball becomes a lot more sensitive. Your first touch on the ball is extremely important in soccer.
- Juggling will help you use both feet better. Learning how to juggle is an exercise is using your non-dominant foot better. The best soccer players in the world can use both feet as dominant feet.
- Learn how to use your non-dominant foot. It’s really important to be able to dribble, pass, and shoot the ball with your non-dominant foot. Good defenders will take away your dominant foot and force you to play with your non-dominant foot. If you can’t use your non-dominant foot, you’ll be playing with a handicap.
- Practice only using your non-dominant foot during practice or when you shoot or juggle by yourself. Accustoming your body to the muscle memory is an important part of being fluent in your non-dominant foot.
- Practice taking corner kicks and free kicks. You want to be able to send corner kicks right in the middle of the penalty area, usually up in the air so that a teammate can head the ball in. Free kicks can either be taken quickly and simply passes to a nearby teammate, or you can organize a “set play” where you kick the ball in a certain area while your teammates execute a play.
- Be original and spontaneous with your playing style. Try to develop your own playing style, one that suits you. Are you a tricky player who relies on juking out other players? Are you fast enough to beat everyone with sheer speed? Are you great at using your body and power to blast goals? Are you expert at keeping opponents from getting off shots? Find out what kind of player you are, set goals for yourself on how you can become a more rounded player, and remember to have fun. Soccer isn’t the most popular sport in the world for no reason.
Knowing the Rules of the Game
- Understand the object of the game. The object of the game is to score more goals than the opponent scores. A goal is scored when any part of the ball passes the goal line. Goalies in their own penalty area are the only players on the pitch who can use their arms. All other players may use any part of their bodies except their hands.
- Know the positions of soccer. There are 11 total players on the pitch to start the game. Although the positions can be rearranged however the coach sees fit, there is usually one goalie, four defenders, four midfielders, and two strikers.
- Goalie: this person protects the net and is the only one on the field who can use their hands in the penalty area. The goalie has to be flexible, quick to anticipate, and good at communication.
- Defenders. Defenders usually stay behind the half-way line in an effort to help prevent goal from being scored against them. They make good outlet passes and are usually bigger physically than other players.
- Midfielders. Midfielders do the most running, as they play a combination of defense and offense They usually orchestrate the attack. They’re exceptionally good at holding onto the ball and passing.
- Strikers. Strikers are the ones who get the most cracks at shooting the ball. They need to be quick, agile, and able to shoot a stunning shot. They also need to be excellent headers.
- Know that kickoff starts the game and the beginning of the second half. One team starts the game by kicking off. The opposite team gets to kick off after halftime. At the time of kickoff, each team’s players need to be entirely on their half of play. Once the whistle has blown and the ball is kicked, the players can move freely into both halves of play, provided they are not offsides.
- Understand offsides. Offsides is one of the more crucial rules in soccer, and it’s designed to keep soccer players from cherry-picking, or bunching a lot of their players near the opponent’s goal at all times.
- A player is offsides when s/he is:
- Ahead of the ball, as well as
- In the opponent’s half, as well as
- Behind the last defender when the ball is passed to him by one of his teammates
- Offsides is negated on:
- Corner kicks
- Goal kicks
- Understand throw-ins. Throw-ins happen when the ball fully travels outside the area of play. Possession goes to the team who wasn’t the last to touch it. This team gets to throw the ball in from the place where it went out of bounds.
- A player throwing can get a running start, but must generally stop near the area where the ball went out of bounds.
- A player must bring the ball up with both hands behind his or her head and release the ball over his head with both hands.
- A player cannot lift his or her feet off the ground while they are throwing the ball. Both feet must stay on the ground.
- Know the grounds for a yellow card. A referee issues a yellow card as a warning to a player. Two yellow cards result in a red card, after which that player must leave the game permanently. Reasons for yellow cards include:
- Dangerous play. High kicking near a player’s head, for example.
- Illegal obstruction. This happens when a player intentionally takes a position between and an opponent when that player isn’t within playing distance of the ball.
- Charging the goalkeeper in the goal area.
- Goalkeeper playing the ball with his hands when the ball is kicked by a teammate.
- Goalkeeper Infringements. Unsafe play such as charging the goalie.
- Goalkeeper taking more than four steps while controlling the ball.
- Intentionally wasting time at the end of a game.
- Know the grounds for a red card. A red card can be given out before a yellow card if especially dangerous play is involved, although a red card usually results from two yellow cards. Reasons for red cards include:
- Kicking a player intentionally.
- Jumping up at a player and making contact.
- Charging a player in a rough way, especially if hands are involved.
- Charging a player from behind.
- Tripping a player.
- Hitting, pushing, holding, or spitting at a player.
- Handling the ball by a non-goalie.
- Know the difference between a direct free kick and an indirect free kick. A direct free kick is when you can kick the ball directly into the goal for a score without the ball touching another teammate first. An indirect free kick must be touched by another teammate before counting as a score.
- Know that a foul inside the penalty box results in a penalty kick. A penalty kick happens when a defender fouls an opponent in his or her own penalty box. All other players except the goalie and the player taking the penalty kick line up outside the penalty area. The goalie must stand on the goal line and cannot move off of it before the ball is struck. The ball is placed on a designated area called the penalty spot. After the ball is hit, it is live, meaning that if it ricochets off the goalie or post, it can be played by either team.
- Know the difference between a corner kick and a goal kick. If the ball goes over the goal line (but not into the goal) and was last touched by the defending team, the ball goes to the closest goal line corner and becomes a corner kick, with possession going to the attacking team. If the ball goes over the goal line (but not into the goal) and was last touched by the attacking team, the ball goes to the edge of the 6-yard box and becomes a goal kick, with possession going to the defending team. The goalie usually takes a goal kick.
- Practice your kick aim.
- When you mess up don’t quit try again.
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
- When defending, position yourself between the ball and the goal.
- If there is a call you don’t like don’t fight the referee can’t change it, so there is no use in fighting.
- If it’s hard at first, keep practicing. It’s not going to come without a little work
- Don’t argue with the referee, because you could get thrown out of the game!
- Try learning many tricks, and practice them very often so that you can easily pass defenders and run in for the goal!
- Ask your friends who have played or play soccer to teach you!
- Practice makes perfect, so keep trying and don’t give up!
- Do not eat junk food.
- Make sure that you are fit. Running around for an hour to an hour and a half can drain a lot of energy. It also helps improve your stamina so you will still be okay when someone not as fit is very tired. You can out run them this way.
- Remember, if a ball is coming in low and you’re a goal keeper, kneel. It stops the ball going through your legs.
- Learn the plays and find out what your strengths and weaknesses are.
- Al ways try your best even if you think that you play badly.
- You can get injuries from playing soccer, so be careful.
- If you get dizzy, tell the coach. Never push yourself so far that you can’t stand up straight.
- This article doesn’t contain all of the rules, so look them up if you are really interested.
Edit Things You’ll Need
- Soccer ball
- Soccer cleats (US) or football boots (UK) (preferably firm ground studs)
- Shin pads
- Soccer socks (long)
- Shorts or sweat pants (not jeans if you can help it)
- Water bottle (don’t want to get dehydrated!)
- Somewhere where you can’t break a lot and has lots of room to run
Edit Sources and Citations