Author Archives: Wizard Prang

Geek. Maven. Teacher.

When “Affordable” ain’t

Before Obamacare became law, my employer offered three plans: HMO, PPO and High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP). I opted for PPO, which had a combined deductible/copay/coinsurance of $1000/year per person.

The year the act became law, HMO and PPO options were taken off the table, and we were offered the option of HDHP, which had a combined deductible/copay/coinsurance of $5000/year per person. They took great care in repeatedly telling us that this decision had nothing to do with Obamacare, but was to do with “the higher costs of health insurance”, while ignoring the fact that the single biggest changes in the the cost of healthcare was the increased costs to health Insurance mandated by the new law.

“Pull the other one, it’s got bells on it”.


My lady has multiple allergies and several other health issues, which require several expensive (up to $300/month *each*) drugs. Before Obamacare, I had to find $1000/year to pay for these. At about the cost of a high-end cellphone plan, this was annoying, but bearable. Under HDHP, however, I paid the first $2500 of all medical costs which we usually burned through by March and then 20% of all subsequent costs until we had spent another $2500, which happened around September. For the last three months of the year, however, all health costs were covered at 100%.

This led to an interesting interlude a few years ago: I was picking up her drugs and when the pharmacist told me that there was no charge, the fellow behind me said “Free drugs? How do I get some of that?“. I riposted with: “Easy. Just spend five thousand dollars“, to which he replied “Forget I asked.”.

So for me, Obamacare translates directly to a four-thousand-dollar-per-year pay cut – and that’s just for her; if I get sick, that’s another five grand I’ll have to find. this is why I flatly refuse to refer to it as the “Affordable Care Act.” I think it’s the height of understatement to say that I’m not a fan.


Obamacare is not all bad news; two good things came out of it were The removal of coverage limits was a good thing, and Health Insurance companies could now no longer deny coverage on the basis of Pre-existing conditions. However, both of these changes increased the exposure of Insurance Companies, and those costs were passed on to the Customer – Mr. and Mrs. You-and-me. But the biggest insult about Obamacare was the ridiculous Supreme Court decision that effectively made purchasing healthcare mandatory; a mandate that has since been overturned by Executive Order, and rightly so, in my opinion.

The Healthcare system in the USA used to be a perfect example of capitalism in action; It takes about a million dollars and twelve years to train a doctor about the same as a fighter pilot. Unlike the Air Force, however, the Physicians train themselves at their own expense, so it makes sense that they should set the value of their services. As an aside, this is tempered by the fact that the AMA and licensing authorities effectively conspire to restrict the supply of doctors, which keeps prices high. This seems to be working; there are, for example, plenty of unemployed attorneys, but the unemployment rate of qualified and licensed physicians is effectively zero, and an M.D. is often perceived, rightly or wrongly, as a license to print money.


The problem with Obamacare is that it attempts to mix the worst of Capitalist and Socialized systems while getting the best of neither, and ends up being less than the less than the sum of its parts. The young were forced to pay for coverage that they did not want, in order to subsidize the unemployed, the itinerant, and the poor. The quasi-free-market Health Exchanges, while a good idea in theory, have not worked out well in practice; prices have spiraled in recent years, and many insurance providers have left the business or gone out of business.

I, for one, would like to see Obamacare repealed. But it will not be until something better is offered. And by “better”, I mean that “nobody loses any coverage that they currently have”, that simply won’t happen. This is in accordance with Prang’s Law of Freebies, which goes as follows:

Once someone has gotten used to free stuff, they will never voluntarily give it up, and will fight tooth-and-nail to keep it

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Be Unkind

I have been a member of Stack Overflow for nearly six years. It is a truly great resource for solving IT technical problems.

Recently they announced a change in their Code of Conduct. Whenever I see a change in the rules, I always ask myself “Why?”. I checked it out, and the sub-heading grabbed my attention:

The word “Kindness” jumped off the page. This is a site for people with knowledge to share and solve technical problems. Let’s look at the examples that they gave:

Looking at the “correct” versions, they are far more wordy and verbose than their terse, brief versions. So why the obsession with Kindness? Then the answer hit me:

Girls

The “correct” answers on the right are the kind of flowery, fluffy, unnecessarily verbose replies that are written by girls. I have found that when it comes to writing assignments, women tend to write a lot more than men, and they concentrate a lot more on presentation, while men are generally more terse and concise.

Men are (or should be) raised to be as impervious as possible to insult; “sticks and stones”, and all that. We insult each other to motivate each other. We rag on each other to toughen each other up. No less than an authority than the bible says: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another“. In another place, it says: “The wounds of a friend are to be trusted“. We live in a harsh reality, but that’s just the way it is.

Girls, on the other hand, operate by a different set of rules. They are highly susceptible to shaming language, and as a result are often far more easily offended. Women say sexist things all the time, such as “All men are dogs“, and we are encouraged to suck it up – and we do. But try saying something like “All women are…” in today’s corporate culture, and you may very well find yourself both unemployed and unemployable. So much for “Equality”.

As a counterpoint, let me take you back to the last century, to an article written by one Eric S Raymond, called “How To Ask Questions The Smart Way“, which deals with precisely this subject:

What we are, unapologetically, is hostile to people who seem to be unwilling to think or to do their own homework before asking questions. People like that are time sinks — they take without giving back, and they waste time we could have spent on another question more interesting and another person more worthy of an answer.

We’re (largely) volunteers. We take time out of busy lives to answer questions, and at times we’re overwhelmed with them. So we filter ruthlessly. In particular, we throw away questions from people who appear to be losers in order to spend our question-answering time more efficiently, on winners.

If you find this attitude obnoxious, condescending, or arrogant, check your assumptions. We’re not asking you to genuflect to us — in fact, most of us would love nothing more than to deal with you as an equal and welcome you into our culture, if you put in the effort required to make that possible. But it’s simply not efficient for us to try to help people who are not willing to help themselves. It’s OK to be ignorant; it’s not OK to play stupid.

So, while it isn’t necessary to already be technically competent to get attention from us, it is necessary to demonstrate the kind of attitude that leads to competence — alert, thoughtful, observant, willing to be an active partner in developing a solution. If you can’t live with this sort of discrimination, we suggest you pay somebody for a commercial support contract instead of asking hackers to personally donate help to you.

Returning to StackOverflow, it is obvious to me that this rule change was put into place for one purpose and one purpose only: to make the site more “female friendly”. The unintended consequence of this change is that the vast majority of contributors to the site will now have to write far more than they need to in order to jump through linguistic hoops to make sure that those with frail constitutions are not offended. Faced with the extra effort, many will simply not bother to respond.This is not a call for unnecessary cruelty; I am all for courtesy, and there are some things that one simply does not say in public conversation. But mandating speech, requiring us to say certain things, is not the way to go about solving this problems.

Ladies, if you are that easily offended, perhaps the Internet is not the place for you.

Ten things that you didn’t know about Roe v Wade

Source: Pixabay

  1. “Jane Roe” was no angel: The woman in the case, Norma Corvey, had been in and out of prison and had already had two children before she was twenty. She was, in her own words “unemployable and depressed”, and when she got pregnant for the third time, she didn’t want the child.
  2. By hook or by crook: At the time, the law in Texas prohibited abortions. She was advised by friends to file a false rape accusation, which she did. The accusation was (rightly) dismissed because she didn’t report the rape to the police at the time. When that didn’t work, she tried to get an illegal abortion, only to find that the clinics near her had been closed down by law enforcement. In desperation, she found a pair of female lawyers who took the case all the way to the Supreme Court.
  3. The case was moot: Norma never had an abortion.The child who triggered the case was put up for adoption.
  4. Roe v Wade was never about “Women’s rights”: The case was heard by the Supreme Court as a privacy issue, not as an abortion issue. The case was fought primarily as a right for physicians to practice medicine freely and with a minimum of federal oversight
  5. The right to life is important: In its ruling, The Supreme Court found that the state’s duty to protect life outweighed the mother’s privacy rights at the point where the fetus was viable. In the 70s, viability was about six months. Today it is abut four. When artificial womb technology becomes available, that will effectively drop to zero, at which point viability will, at least theoretically, trump abortion.
  6. The case was not fought on the morality of abortion: One of the arguments was whether consent to sex equaled consent to parenthood. The court rightly found no such equality.
  7. The trimester model: A woman had the right to an abortion during the first trimester. During the third Trimester, the fetus was viable, and abortion would therefore be murder. the “trimester model” was dismantled in subsequent Supreme Court cases.
  8. It is Constitutional. Sort of…: In its majority finding, The Court deemed abortion a fundamental right under the United States Constitution… even though there is nothing in the constitution that deals directly with the matter. Legitimizing abortion is “a matter of privacy” is a joke, as it does not supersede the “right to life” enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.
  9. Roe V Wade is a bad law: Since the case was settled, many Supreme Court justices have said that Roe v Wade was a bad decision. A prime example was none other than Ruth Bader Ginsberg https://www.law.uchicago.edu/news/justice-ruth-bader-ginsburg-offers-critique-roe-v-wade-during-law-school-visit
    Jane Roe is anti-abortion:
  10. Roe Repented: Norma Corvey subsequently regretted her actions and the landmark case which bears her name. She went on to become a pro-life advocate. Before she died, she created a website called www.endroe.org.

A digital book-burning

I recently meandered across a story called “Alex Jones will never abandon deranged propaganda, that’s why Twitter needs to ban him“. As is often the case for opinion pieces, comments to the piece were neither requested nor required. So here we go…


If untruthfulness was the basis of censorship, half of the liberal media would be in jail. Sadly, there are no laws in this country against mendacious libel as there are in the United Kingdom

Every week the tabloids disgorge a fresh cargo of sex, lies and fanciful tales at supermarket checkouts throughout the land, and nobody seems to get upset. While I voted for Trump in the last election (and I called it five months out) I am not a fan of Alex Jones. I find him to be a blowhard. I have never been a fan of either Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, though I have agreed with some of their ideas, principles and positions. By the same token, I find Michael Moore to be a delusional blob of feel-good socialism. But they all have every right to speak, write, make movies, and do their thing. And I would oppose any attempt to censor or silence any of them.

Last time I looked, Ignorance wasn’t a crime. If it were, the Bernie-Sanders socialists would be up on charges for failure to understand basic mathematics.

Close but no Cigar, bucko. While you are absolutely correct in saying that Twitter/Google/FakesBook et al are private organizations who can do as they please, that is not the point. The point is that these organizations are blatantly practicing partisan politics while pretending to be politically neutral. To quote Judge Judy Scheindlin: “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining”

Another true-but-disingenuous statement. First up, the left increasingly uses “Hate” as a catch-all phrase for “criticism that I don’t like“, in the same way that they use Alt-Right to describe “someone I want to describe as a Nazi/Fascist/Racist/White supremacist, but can’t use those terms without looking like an intellectually dishonest idiot“. Most sensible people define “Hate speech” as something along the lines of “Any speech that calls for harm to another person”. By this definition, Maxine Waters’ call to harass Trump’s Staff in public is hate speech, as are the consistent calls to assassinate President Trump. Kathy Griffin’s infamous photo stunt may be a form of hate speech. No liberal media outrage in either case. Liberals, your political slip is showing.
Secondly, the NFL’s decision to ban players from any kind of political grandstanding is right and reasonable; the players are paid to play ball, and the League, who pays their salaries, can do as they please. If players want to play politics, they are more than welcome to do so on their own time. If I walk into a Starbucks wearing a MAGA hat, I should be treated the same way as anyone else. However, if I work there, my employers have the right to require me to remove it or leave. The bottom like here is the same: Don’t mix politics and business.

There’s the H-word again. Whenever you see that word, substitute “WAAAAH! SOMEBODY SAID SOMETHING I DIDN’T LIKE!” Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Let them speak, and let the chips fall where they may.

If there’s one thing that the last few Administrations have taught us, it is that a power that is given to one president is inherited by the next one. That which is created by the stroke of a pen can be destroyed by the stroke of a pen. The use of censorship to silence your opposition may one day blow up in your face.


He’s hitting all the buzzwords here. These people use cellphones and Postal serviced to communicate. Want to ban those as well? And what about the ISIS Recruiters on Social Media, are they being shut down with the same alacrity? Why is “Kill all white men” perfectly acceptable speech, but substituting the word “Black” is somehow racist?

This is just plain dishonest. Is the Post Office answerable for letter-bombs? Is the phone system legally responsible for wire fraud? Of course not. Is Facebook responsible for every DuckFace Selfie? So why is Twitter being held responsible for every tweet? And what, pray tell, is “real fake news”?


I am a firm believer in free speech, as long as it does not infringe upon anyone else’s rights. But that includes speech that I may disagree with. No one has a right to not be offended or outraged. If I don’t like it, I can spend my time, attention, and dollars elsewhere. Twitter has a competitor — Gab.Ai — and a lot of Conservatives, both reasonable and crazy – have moved there.

Bottom Line: The author is trying to suggest that Twitter can and should be some kind of digital safe space. Even if that were feasible, it would be an extremely bad idea.

Rebirth of a Nation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXPhLXuJ90I

  • What if I told you that Donald Trump was not a Nazi?
  • What if I told you that Republicans are not Fascists?
  • What if I told you that Fascism came, not from the right, but from the left, and always has?
  • What if I told you that the Ku Klux Klan was originally the paramilitary arm of the Democratic Party?
  • What if I told you that,before they became enemies, Adolf Hitler admired President Roosevelt’s Progressive policies, and considered him to be “One of us”?
  • What if I told you that the Nazi Nuremberg laws, which turned the Jews into second-class citizens were based on the Jim Crow laws created and passed by Southern Democrats?

I’m not going to tell you any of those things. I leave that to Dinesh D’Souza, who lays out his case in this engaging film, which I watched a few days ago.

The movie starts with a depiction of Hitler’s last moments in a German Bunker, before answering the question “What is a Nazi?” (Answer: “The German National Socialist Worker’s Party“), defining Fascism (State control and regulation of the private sector), and examining the political and ideological similarities between Hitler, Mussolini and Franklin D Roosevelt.

The movie goes on to examine the life and times of a Republican President who was so controversial and so incensed Democrats that they were openly calling for his assassination and were willing to divide the nation and go to war to bring him down. Sound familiar?

It should… it was Abraham Lincoln.

D’Souza draws parallels between Presidents Lincoln and Trump that are sure to warm the hearts of liberals everywhere.

But don’t take my word for it. Watch the movie. Hear out his claims, and disprove them if you can.

Roe V Wade… for men?

There is a lot of noise coming from the “Loony Left” that President Trump is bent on “Reversing Roe v Wade”. As with so much that comes from the liberal media, this is a complete red herring; he has said no such thing, and there is absolutely no evidence to support this. (Returning abortion decisions to the states is not repeal, it is simply following the constitution). Nor would it be easy; a “settled law” Supreme Court case cannot easily be reversed by Executive Order, the only thing that can stand against it is legislation – and that has to come from Congress.

This got me thinking… instead of reversing Roe v Wade, why not expand it? We live in an age of equality, so why not expand Roe v. Wade to apply to men as well?

Right now you are thinking that the Wizard has lost his marbles. “Men can’t get pregnant, so how can abortion be an issue?” And you would be right, except for one thing: Roe v Wade was not about abortion. That was the practical upshot, to be sure, but the plaintiffs did not fight the case on the morality or merits of abortion-on-demand; they would have lost that argument. Instead, the case hinged on one simple question:

“Is consent to sex consent to parenthood?”

The court, quite rightly, said no, and that was how the case was won. A woman cannot be forced to have a child against her will. So far so good. But by the same token, if a man doesn’t want a child, why should he be forced to pay for it?

The sad fact is that an increasing number of women are mis-using their fertility as a way to collect dollars from wealthy, desirable men. And they are getting it. Some women are getting pregnant for famous sports starts and then taking them to court, often for ridiculous sums. This practice needs to stop.

A few simple changes to the law are all that is needed to fix this:

  • No child support for children born out of wedlock with the father.
  • Compulsory paternity testing at birth.
  • Standardized or itemized child support costs.

Most men would look at that list and find it to be fundamentally just. Many women will consider it fundamentally unjust. But a woman who is pregnant has three ways to avoid the burden of parenthood; abortion, adoption or legal abandonment. Men have none. Even men who are the victims of statutory rape by an adult woman are still on the hook for eighteen years of child support if she gets pregnant. This has to change, otherwise men will continue to disengage.

…or, we can just keep doing what we are doing and hoping for a different result. Good luck with that.

Truth and Consequences

Henry Cavill is an actor who recently got himself into a spot of bother with a horde of yammering harpies. In an interview with GQ, he said the following:

“Stuff has to change, absolutely,” he adds, addressing men’s behavior. “It’s important to also retain the good things, which were a quality of the past, and get rid of the bad things.

“There’s something wonderful about a man chasing a woman. There’s a traditional approach to that, which is nice. I think a woman should be wooed and chased, but maybe I’m old-fashioned for thinking that.

“It’s very difficult to do that if there are certain rules in place. Because then it’s like: ‘Well, I don’t want to go up and talk to her, because I’m going to be called a rapist or something’. So you’re like, ‘Forget it, I’m going to call an ex-girlfriend instead, and then just go back to a relationship, which never really worked’. But it’s way safer than casting myself into the fires of hell, because I’m someone in the public eye, and if I go and flirt with someone, then who knows what’s going to happen?
“Now? Now you really can’t pursue someone further than, ‘No’. It’s like, ‘OK, cool’. But then there’s the, ‘Oh why’d you give up?’ And it’s like, ‘Well, because I didn’t want to go to jail?’”

Unsurprisingly, the girlies went nuts. Here are a couple of their offerings

It’s not about rape, sweetheart, and you know it. And it is not about men trying to “position themselves as “victims”” either. This is an example of a female trying to move the goalposts by changing the subject.

You wish. His exact words were “wooed and chased”, which clearly shows romantic, rather then terroristic, intentions. Oh, and I’ve seen your picture; you have little to worry about.

Everything he said was 100% true. The irony is that a man talking to a magazine that is ostensibly aimed at other men (GQ, if you didn’t know it, stands for Gentleman’s Quarterly) can cause such ire among a bunch of women. This is not about rape or sexual harassment, it is about perceptions, accusations, trial-by-media and witch-hunts. We now live in an age where a man’s life can be ruined over one accusation without any proof; Google “Brian Banks” if you don’t believe me.

For men in the twenty-first century, the ground is shifting under their feet. First it was rape; a serious crime that is committed by about 5% of men, but for which the other 95% are somehow guilty by association and are therefore responsible for policing and fixing.

Then it was Sexual Assault, which, while also a crime, is often far less serious; touching a woman inappropriately — and the term is often loosely defined — is most often solved by confronting, either with words or a good old-fashioned slap, and requires jail time only in the most extreme cases.

Having made men aware that inappropriate touching is bad, they them moved on to the next target; Sexual Harassment. Once upon a time, powerful men hired pretty young secretaries to look pretty, fondle, and occasionally sleep with. If truth be told, many of today’s powerful men probably miss those days, but they are gone. And I suspect that at least a few pretty young girls are probably upset that the powerful big-shots in the corner offices are forever beyond their reach, thanks to the advent of the Pence Rule, an entirely rational reaction to the specter of Sexual Harassment.

Almost all employers are now bending over backwards to make sure that we are aware of (i.e., they can’t be sued over) sexual harassment. Which will kill any chances of a young woman finding a husband in the workplace, cos all of the high-value guys are either Gay, already taken, or understandably gun-shy.

Cavill’s biggest mistake, in my opinion, was apologizing. To be fair, his apology was actually for the confusion that his remarks may have caused, but to the horde of yammering Social Justice Harpies yapping at his heels, it was a victory and another male scalp to add to their collection. My take on this is to never apologize for being right, Misunderstandings should be cleared up, but not from a position of submission. If I had a say in the matter, I would have advised Mr. Cavill to call a press conference and say the following:

“There are some in the media who would chide me for my use of words. They would say that the word “chase” makes some women feel uncomfortable. However, it should be obvious to anyone with an ounce of sense that the word was used correctly in context. Most men understand that #MeToo is in danger of morphing from a genuine grievance, to something that looks a lot like trial-by-media and punishment without due process. If you are one of those who is that easily offended by a misunderstanding, you just made my point for me. Thank you.”

Ladies, changing society to make you feel more comfortable is all well and good, but don’t think for a minute that such change comes without consequences. And one of those consequences is that in the age of #MeToo, the only men who can effortlessly approach women are men who have nothing to lose.

Good luck to you

IronThrone Rocks!

Once in a while an absolutely fantastic game comes along. A game that leaves you wondering how they managed to pack so much detail into the hardware and software at at heir disposal. Such games are known as “Megagames”.

About a month ago, I discovered IronThrone. I call it a MegaGame because it is actually severally several games cunningly lashed together so as to become greater than the sum of its parts.

  • Castle Mode: You are the Lord of a Castle. Build and upgrading it. Train troops. Recruit heroes and dress them in the most fashionable armor you can lay your hands on.
  • Town Mode: In front of your castle is a town which has some problems that you must solve. This is a simplified “Dungeon Siege” type hack-and-slash. Completing quests, which takes about fifteen minutes, gives you daily buffs that will help you elsewhere.
  • World Mode: Outside of your castle is a big bad world full of monsters, NPC Strongholds, unclaimed resources, and, of course, other Lords. Are you ready?
  • There are several other modes, such as Dimensional Combat, Team Deathmatch and Battle Royale

One personal observation: One thing that I find deeply amusing is that the female heroes are extraordinarily pretty, with supermodel figures, child-bearing hips, and world-class fighting skills.

This is not a complaint! Red-blooded men want to look at pretty girls; always have, always will. Before some of you ladies get all bent out of shape and demanding average (i.e., fat) women in videogames, remember that , and that the male fighters are all magnificent specimens of masculinity as well, and none of us guys feel inadequate, so please grow up.

While it is perfectly possible to play the game without spending a bean, this purchase is highly advisable If you are serious about this game. Besides, I like to reward good-quality programming. Purchases range from 99c mini-packs to huge $100 aliquots of golden goodness. The packs are well-price and give excellent value. So far I have spent about $20, in the form of five one-dollar packs, one five-dollar pack that gives a bonus chest every five levels up to 25, and one ten-dollar purchase that gave me a bunch of permanent buffs.

Like what you see? Head over to www.playironthrone.com and get your own castle. And yes, if you are worthy, you will get a dragon of your own.

One thing that impressed me about IronThrone (I’m still not sure if it is one word or two) is the level of attention to detail. Too many games are coded by folks for whom English is a second language, and it shows, in the form of poor spelling and grammar, but not Iron Throne. I did  find one typo though:

What can I say? It’s a gift. And a curse.

Spot the Racist

Loses job, series cancelled

*crickets*

If one is racism, how is the other one not?

Planet Commander – Review

As anyone who has spent more than twenty seconds perusing this blog can tell, I like space combat games. I have been a fan of the genre since I discovered Elite, way back in 1981. Since then I have played literally dozens of these games, including StarLancer, Freespace I and II, The Homeworld series, Freelancer, and of course my two current faves, Vega Conflict and Dreadnought.

Planet Commander is the latest in this long line. I’ve been playing this for a couple of months now. You start with one ship, and can unlock and buy more as you progress through the game. Like Dreadnought, this is an online multiplayer game: you participate in online battles up to 4v4. You can only fly one ship at a time. If the ship is killed, you can move on to another of your ships until you win, leave the game, or all of your ships are destroyed. You then get points (which improve your ranking and level) and cash (Coins and Crystals). The ships come in different shapes and sizes, ranging from Frigates through Destroyers, Interdictors, Cruisers, Battleships, all the way up to the Dreadnoughts.

The game is a lot of fun and is well-balanced; my one most glaring criticism is the pricing structure. Things start off well enough; an introductory pack costs about $3, and a follow-up pack which unlocks a ship costs another $8 or so. They are decent enough value, and most players can have a lot of fun for $11. The following pack, which unlocks the Kingsword Cruiser (I find myself wondering whether that is pronounced “King Sword” or King’s Word“) is just under $17, which is a little expensive for me – but the ship alone costs $27 to unlock, so there you go.

Many of the ships automatically unlock when you reach a given level, but some ships – including the top ship in each tier – can only be unlocked with a liberal application of cold, hard cash.

  • Wyrm Frigate $10.49
  • Olympus Destroyer $12.49
  • Reaper Interdictor $16.99
  • Kingsword Cruiser $26.99
  • Soul Catcher Battleship $42.99
  • Nemesis Dreadnought $55.99
  • Tyrant Dreadnought $112.49

That adds up to $278.43, which is way too high for a phone/tablet game.

In my opinion, such a game should not cost a player more than $100 in total… in which case those ships are overpriced by a factor of three.

Who are you calling an “Imperial Star-Destroyer”?

Bottom line: a fun game, especially if you have a tablet (I have three!). Decent value if you buy the first two packs, and you will get months of play out of that modest outlay. But the subsequent ships are overpriced, and if you play it long enough I am pretty sure that you will come up against a pay-to-win barrier.