Monday, December 26, 2011

Top 11 from '11

2011 has seen 72 new-to-me games cross my table. Everything from the 4000 year old game Go, including grandaddy of miniatures Warhammer: 40,000, and finishing out with the newest of new games Dungeon Petz. Here is how I break down these games as my top 11 in 2011:

11. Twilight Struggle -  Currently the #1 game on boardgamegeek.com, this game is a very good game. I only got to play it one time, so I don't know how good, but from that single play it deserves a top 11. This isn't a sunny afternoon, let's play a quick game with the kids game. This is a two player, drag out fight, that takes plenty of time and brain power. Time will tell if it makes it to my top 25 like two other Matthews' titles (1960: the Making of the President and Founding Fathers).

10. Tikal II - I really like the original Tikal and so thought I'd like this one too, which I did. In this game you are archaeologists exploring one of the temples of Tikal. You have to set yourself up to have paths around the temple so you can get to the places you want to go. The best part of the game though is the action track around the edge of the map. If you want to take a specific action, you can jump way ahead, but you can never go back which makes for some great tension.

9. Quo Vadis? - I like negotiation games, even though more often than not I lose, because I'm always the first to talk up. I only got to play this once, but the one play was great fun. Basically, the game is the opposite of Lifeboats if you've ever played that. You are voting people into the Senate and thus giving them victory points. Once the Senate is full, the player with the most victory points is the winner. I liked that this one doesn't make everyone hate each other the way that Lifeboats does, but it still gives that feeling of pure negotiation and broken promises!

8. Dominant Species - Other than Eclipse later on the list, this is probably the deepest game here. It is a game about the evolution of species and is very good. You do have to go into it, knowing that the cards are very powerful, and will cause huge amounts of player made chaos. I've played it 3 times over the course of the year and would happily play it again. Also, for some strange reason, I really like the minimalist production design of the game.

7. Nexus Ops - I've always heard about how great this game is and now that I've played it a couple times, I agree. This is the game I'd use as a gateway game for those Risk players in your life. It's got plenty of dice rolling, a modular board, great figures (especially in the old Avalon Hill edition). The best part though, it plays in about 45-90 minutes. So it plays quickly. Fantasy Flight Games is coming out with a new edition soon, so be on the look out.

6. Ninjato - How can a game about Ninjas not be in the Top 11 from '11? This is basically a quick worker placement game where players only get 21 actions throughout the 7 rounds of the game. With these actions you are stealing treasures from various houses, then using these treasures to learn about rumors or buy the loyalty of family members. The reason I enjoy the game is the 'tweener mechanic, that is sometimes used in gambling, that is used for fighting with the ninjas. Also, I might be a bit bias, because I own the first copy that was ever in existence.

5. Haggis - I really enjoy Tichu, a ladder style card game, where the goal is to be the first to go out. Haggis does what Tichu does, but it does it for 2 or 3 players, which is a real treat since Tichu is exclusively a 4-player game in my opinion. I'm very disappointed that this one is out of print, because I'd like to pick it up if it ever does come back into print. If you are a traditional card game player, I suggest you buy this one if you happen to see it available.

4. Eclipse - This is really high on the list for only being played once. I don't own the game and probably won't, due to the price and having Civilization, which scratches a similar itch. However, I really liked this game. It gives the feel of an epic space game, but in 2 or 3 hours. A few years ago I played Twilight Imperium 3 and Eclipse gives me everything that game gave, but Eclipse does it in 3 hours instead of 8 hours.

3. Jaipur - This is another gem of a game. We picked it up at GenCon this year and have been playing it ever since. Two players, cat and mouse type play, that makes you want to play another round. Also, I love winning and claiming "my bearded friend!" I think we've sold 2 or 3 copies to people of this one after playing it or telling them about the game.

2. The Castles of Burgundy - This is the #14 game in the Alea Big Box series and while theme is lacking, innovative dice mechanics and cool combos make it a great game. I'm liking it best with 2 or 3 players, as 4 players makes it take quite awhile, but it is still good. Krista and I have played two different Best of 5 series of this game, so you know it's got to be good.

1. Warhammer: Invasion - This game is just great. I haven't been into a collectible card game like this since 2005 when I was still playing the LotR: TCG. The living card game, as this version of games is called, basically allows you to know exactly what cards you are getting when you buy a new battle pack and also gives you the full amount of a single copy of  a card that you can have in your deck. The game play is great, especially how cards can be placed in three different zones or played face down as developments. This makes for some really tough decisions. I've played it over 90 times since March, two tournaments, and I'm looking forward to more!

Finally, I wanted to mention the Dust Award. I give this out to the WORST game of each year, in honor of the game Dust that I played a few years ago and was just horrible. Out of the 72 New-to-Me games this year, this not-so-much honor goes to Fossil. I played it once and really didn't like it at all. The thing was, I wasn't the only one, everyone else at the table also didn't like it. This one will be going on my trade list, perhaps it is an acquired taste, since Game Magazine did name it Game of the Year in 1999.

This was a tough list to make, specifically because other than Warhammer: Invasion, all the other games I rate an 8/10, so deciding which should be 4th instead of 6th was tough. There are several other games from 2011 that I rate 8/10 that didn't end up making the list, but probably easily could when I get a chance to play them more.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Hobbit Trailer - My Reaction

If you didn't already know, I love all things Middle-earth! I've read The Lord of the Rings (all three books) about 10 times. I've read The Hobbit probably 5 or 6 times. I went to watch the Fellowship of the Ring in theatres 8 times. I have several video and board games based in Middle-earth. I'm currently painting LotR miniatures. I have a complete basement decorated in Lord of the Rings memorabilia, including swords and axes. I say all this so you know where I'm coming from when I discuss the first Hobbit trailer:


I'll start with a couple things that I'm a bit unsure about.

 First, which I might have mentioned in a blog a long time ago, what is up with Thorin's wimpy beard? I mean, this is the King of the Dwarves! Give him a beard worth a dwarf. Weta did a great job on Gimli, I was hoping for similar greatness in looks from Thorin. No Salsa Dancing Dwarf beard. Okay, I'm done ranting on that, I'll still like him I'm sure. 

Second, what was Galadriel doing with Gandalf's hair exactly? There doesn't need to be romance in these movies, but if Jackson wants to take some real "creative liberties" than he should do so with maybe Bard. Gandalf is a Maia (basically an angel) and wouldn't be worried about romantic love affairs. 

Okay, now on to the awesome parts of the trailer. 

First, other than a few of the dwarves beards, I love them! Their armor is awesome and I'm excited to see some dwarves get some love this time around, rather than all the elf love that was going on in Lord of the Rings. Dwarves have always been my favorite fantasy creatures, mostly because they build awesome underground kingdoms and the beards.

Second, the song is great! Tolkien uses songs in his writings quite often, which I know is difficult to translate into a more adult, non-musical, blockbuster. However, if the trailer is any preview, Jackson will incorporate whenever he can. There is nothing silly about the song and it makes the 2 minute trailer feel epic.

Third, we briefly see the lower parts of the Trolls in Trollshaw forest, but that brief image makes me really wonder how this will be handled. The trolls didn't do any talking in LotR, but they do a lot of talking in the Hobbit. I'm curious whether Jackson will just make it a small battle or be more appropriate to the book and have the dwarves all be captured by the Trolls.

Fourth, it is so great that many of the previous actors are back! Specifically Ian McKellan and Cate Blanchett! Nothing like seeing the continuation of the story, well pre-continuation by having the same actors. Cate Blanchett, specifically in the Fellowship of the Ring, is powerful!

Fifth, I just got done watching Sherlock Holmes BBC Series with Martin Freeman in it. He is the perfect casting for Bilbo. Better than Elijah Woods for Frodo in LotR, because he is actually closer to Bilbo's real age. 

So to finish up, if you can't tell, I'm looking forward to the Hobbit. Sure it is just 2:30 seconds of footage, that may or may not even be in the movie, but yahoo!  I'll be there at 12:01am on December 14, 2012 to start the journey! In the mean time, go out, read a good book (I'm talking about the Hobbit and LotR here) and have a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Love of a Father

Music is a powerful thing. The lyrics with that music are also powerful. So I just thought I'd share some song lyrics that I've been thinking on since Sunday. Occasionally, I'll write about theological things on this blog, after all its in the name, but to me How Deep A Father's Love by Stuart Townend is better than any article or discussion I could ever have. So here are the words:

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Painting Some Trolls

I was going to write about email quotes I've received over the past few years, but I'll write about that later. My buddy Juan showed me how to paint miniatures a bit last month and so I painted some trolls last night to add to the orcs that he and I had painted. My Sauron army is done and now I got 6 other armies to go before I'm finished with my War of the Ring game.




Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sherlock - A BBC TV Series

I remember what my Grandma Daulton got me for my 12th birthday over 14 years ago. I remember like it was yesterday, going into Half Price books after a meal at Ponderosa, and purchasing the combined collection of Sherlock Holmes short stories. I still have that huge book and have read it probably 10 times over the last 14 years. So you know I'm a big fan when it comes to Sherlock Holmes.

Last night we finished watching the BBC series "Sherlock" on Netflix and it is awesome. I've been bugging people around me that they need to watch it, which I think they do, but I'd thought I'd write a blog about it too. Sherlock Holmes has been done many times in movies, the worse interpretation in my opinion being the current American movie series with Robert Downey Jr. playing the great detective. But everything that the American movie does wrong, the BBC series does right. It modernizes Sherlock Holmes, with all his quirks and social issues, and puts him in our modern world of internet and smart phones. He behaves exactly as I'd expect him to behave, even having a "three patch problem" which refers to using nicotine patches instead of smoking the pipes he would've smoked in Doyle's classic literature. He is arrogant and bored without a crime being committed, just as he should be, but just as he should be he is also a great actor when needed to get the information he wants. The series is determined, dramatic, funny, and a great mystery series that I would recommend to everyone and especially Sherlock Holmes fans.

The series is currently only 3 episodes, that are 88 minutes long each, so I'm really looking forward to season 2 which is coming out in the first quarter of 2012. I was reading a review the other day and there were hints of Adler, Hound, and Reichenbach! So will we see the only woman that ever bested Holmes? Will that hellish hound take the life of the man with the butterfly net? Will Moriarty and Holmes fall to their deaths near the rushing river? I don't know, but I will be waiting anxiously to find out!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Madden Challenge

Over Thanksgiving I got to spend some time with my buddy Trevor and we played 15 games of Madden 11 over the time we were there. I beat him 9 games to 6. I always play with the Colts and he always plays with the Vikings. We've been playing versions of XBox football since 2005. We've played hundreds of games since then, which isn't an exaggeration.

When we were still playing NFL 2K5 (which may be the best console football game ever), we did a best of 100 series. We played something like 125 games of Madden 2007. We were both working full time, our wives were still in college, and so in the evening while they were doing homework we'd play best of 3 series. This was really easy since we lived next door to each other. Then he moved to Minnesota and I moved back to the Hoosier state.

Since then we've played like this last weekend, when we happened to be visiting each other, with our record being 30 games in 5 days (yes, we're obsessed). We've also played a couple dozen times via XBox live as well. Without a doubt, even more than my board games, Madden football games is my most played type of game. I'm still not good at it, since but nothing like booting up for some Colts v. Vikings action and telling your buddy to shut it as you sack his quarterback.

Some other things Trevor and I competed in while in Minnesota, I was able to come out ahead this time, next time it'll probably be him
:
Ping-Pong: 5 to 3
Air Hockey: 2 to 1
Bowling: 2 to 1
3 Point Shoot Out: 2 to 1
Monopoly: 1 to 0 (I am never playing this game ever again. I think I might write someday how come)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving

This is going to be a quick copy and paste, more than a blog. Just wanted to thank the Lord for being God. Providing for me, both spiritually and physically, even though I deserve nothing. Here is the actual 1863 Thanksgiving Day proclamation that made the last Thursday of November officially a National holiday:


By the President of the United States of America.


A Proclamation.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gamer Knowledge

The other day I when we were playing a game with some friends, Krista said something about them not having "gamer knowledge" and that is why the game seemed more difficult for them to pick up. I teased her about making up terms and we moved on. However, the more I've been thinking about it, the more I think she is right.

I want to define a couple terms here (yes, definitions of language is what makes the world go 'round. Also, money makes the world go 'round. And God. A lot of things have been said to make the world go 'round). So the first term is Gamer Knowledge, as my wife so termed it is the knowledge of many different games, their mechanics and rules. I want to compare this to Gamer IQ, which is another term I've heard. Gamer IQ to me would be how quickly someone understands the strategies and nuances of a game. So not the rule set or the mechanics, but the point of the game.

So if you or I don't have gamer knowledge or gamer IQ, that doesn't make you a stupid gamer, but both come with time. However, only to a point. I think gamer knowledge isn't natural, all of it comes from playing a variety of games. Gamer IQ on the other hand, is partially natural and partially learned. The more games you play, the more your gamer IQ grows and expands, but part of it just comes to you. You learn the rules and you just know how to win or at least be very competitive.

The reason I've been thinking about this is because of the results of one of the blind play tests of my game (I'm not calling it Den of Thieves anymore, just don't know what I'm calling it). The people who played it aren't what I'd call gamers. They were doing me a favor and play testng it and took it in a completely dfferent way than I would have ever thought (which is exactly what I want from playtesters!). It really showed me that I wrote the rules with a certain gamer knowledge expected from the players, so I had to clarify in my rules to fix them so that people who haven't played a lot of the games that I've played would be able to understand them quickly and cleanly.

So there you go. Gamer knowledge and gamer IQ. Get you some of the former to increase some of the latter. Or just play some games for fun, which is the best reason to play.

Friday, November 11, 2011

GeekDad

Based upon the recommendation of a friend, I looked up a blog called GeekDad. It has some board game stuff, which is why I was interested in it, but it has so much more for the more the dads (and moms I would think) out there who are interested in the various “geeky” parts of our culture. If you like Star Wars there are conversations with authors or maybe a picture of some kid in his R2D2 costume. If you enjoy Legos you’ll find links on there to some cool Lego designs. If you are into books, they have some reviews of those. The whole twist though is that most of the content is Star Wars with your kids, board games with your kids, Legos with your kids, etc. The idea being this is all fun stuff and it can be fun stuff with your kids too!

I liked the blog so much I chose to follow it. Now I can’t unfollow it for some reason. There are so many contributors to it that my list of blogs to read is basically all GeekDad now! Which is driving me crazy. One of these days I’ll figure out how to unfollow it or maybe follow just certain contributors, but until then, I guess all I’ll be reading about is the best way to create a life sized CP3O while watching the latest Muppets movie and changing a diaper.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Unpublished Prototype Review

My 2,700th game played since March of 2006 was an unpublished prototype and so it gets the honor of being a review of mine in the Every 100 Games Series.

The Excitement
Like many gamers I've dabbled in making my own games for a long time. I even won the county fair grand champion in 4H for the Do Your Own Thing category with my game Kingdoms, which was pretty much Axis & Allies, with some changes on a airbrushed and hinged piece of wood. I played a lot of games of it in Junior High and High School and still actually have it. 

Then fast forward to college and I try my hand at making a CCG type game, I can't remember the name, it had knights, took a ton of my time, I never played it with anyone, and it just sat there. But I was having a blast doing it. 

Now I'm on to another design called Den of Thieves, which is a quick filler type game, and have been playing it a lot with which is why I'm writing this review. It was my 2,700 game played and the game right before was Deer Season, a prototype of a friends. The point here is that there is just something exciting about creating a game and working on it with friends that are in the mood to create as well.

The Hit or Miss
Creating your own game is exciting, but what about playing others prototypes, that is where it can get sticky. Sometimes you find that hidden gem that you know one day is going to be the next big thing board gaming land, but if we're honest with ourselves, most of the time they won't be that good because well their still being worked on. Now, this still being worked on phase is pretty cool when it is your game, but it is less cool when it is someone elses. So this is where I've decided to make sure it's a compromise. You play my game, I'll be willing to play yours, both games get played and we both feel like we've made progress.

Don't Push It
Finally, the bad about unpublished prototypes. You get stuck in that stinker of a game and waste 2 hours of your life that you won't get back for a game that will likely never see the light of day again (I've done this with several of my own games throughout the years, I mean you don't see a designer badge here do ya?). Instead you could've been playing the perfectly balanced game of El Grande or enjoying some Warhammer Invasion. Instead though, you forced yourself or maybe it was your buddy who asked...begged you to spend those 2 hours, the only 2 hours away from kids, work, car repair, soccer games, and the in-laws you've had all week, to play a game written on index cards with blue ink and pizza smudges.

Overall
The world of unpublished prototypes is an unknown one, which I think is why it has such a draw for us gamers. I mean, after all, Twilight Struggle started somewhere.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Eragon Gets His Inheritance

Usually, I do my best not to get involved in book series that are in the process of being written. For example, I started Lord of the Rings 40 years after it had been written, just to be sure no sequels were coming. I waited to read Harry Potter until the summer that the 7th book was coming out, since by the time I finished The Half-blood Prince, The Deathly Hallows was all done and waiting for me.

I buy even less books than series I read that aren't finished. Not sure how much sense that sentence makes, but this week I did something I've never done before. I pre-ordered a book. Now I've pre-ordered the board games before, and video games, and even the LotR Blu-Ray set, but never a book. However, Inheritance, the 4th and final book of the Inheritance cycle, which I've been reading since 2004 is coming out in November. The first two books, Eragon and Eldest, I have in paper back. I bought Brisingr in hard back within the first couple weeks it was out and now I've pre-ordered the last. I'm reading Brisingr again, for a second time to get prepared for the end, and it is even better than I remember it.

So, if you like fantasy books and coming of age stories, then you should get on this boat. You are in the great place that I'm not in, you can pick up book number 1 and begin reading and by November they'll have the final book ready for you to jump into and finish about the same time everyone else does.

Also, on a side note, Eragon the movie, sucked. They really blew it with that one and I wish someone else would pick it up and do it right, invest in the story, and don't try to shorten it into a 1.5 hour fantasy romp of a movie, but make it as epic as the books and at least 2.5 hours long for each of the 4 movies that would have to be made.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Quick Thoughts

1. Alternate Reality Fantasy - Thought of a couple other things having to do with Dracula. The Fury of Dracula a board game where hunters are chasing Dracula a few years after the Brom Stoker's book. Dracula really didn't die, instead he is terrorizing Europe again. Anyways. Good game. Also, along the same vein (hehe...get it?), is a book called the Historian, which is also about a alternate Dracula story.

2. Den of Thieves is already taken for a game name. So I've got to think of something else.

3. I watched The Last of the Mohicans the other night. Good movie. Good book.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Den of Thieves Update #2

Okay, it has now been 2 months since I got the game design bug and it has picked up again. Enough so that I have now set a goal for myself to have a self-published game by January 2012, with a medium for would-be buyers to purchase it, and it have an entry on boardgamegeek.com.

This week saw quite a bit of progress. Not only did I decided on the theme of thieves attempting to steal magical items in a 12th century middle eastern country, but I also made my second prototype. I did change a few things up, the biggest thing going from hexes to regular playing cards. I liked the hexes, but after doing more research into getting that produced, it would just cost me too much to have the hexes made. Since this project is to just get the game made, not shop it around to would be publishers, I figure cards will be easier to get produced, still look good, and still be good game play wise. One thing that I did find switching to cards is that since you can only move in 4 directions now, it is a lot easier to block your opponents thieves from moving.

Also, I talked to my good friend Jeremy, who has a graphic design degree I believe and enjoys drawing. He has officially been commissioned to do the art for the game. By commissioned, I mean asked to do a few sketches for me, if he wants to do so. Commissioned sounds much more cool though.

Also, I've been thinking about company names, because after all you never know, maybe this will get huge and Rio Grande or Z-Man or Mayfair will buy it from me. Or maybe they won't. It'll just be fun to have a company name. I'm leaning towards two different ones. First, is Antler Games. Why you ask? Well, I like Antlers and killing the things that have them. Second is Ekka Board Games. Where does Ekka come from? Elanor Kaylee Krista Adam.

Again, like before, if you are interested in play testing the game, let me know. I've got a couple lined up already, but I can get you play test copy so you can tear the game apart and help make it better.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Looking Glass Wars

I’ve been reading a book recently called The Looking Glass Wars, which is basically a reimagining of Alice in Wonderland. I all just finished watching Tin Man, a 2007 mini-series about the Outer Zone, which you quickly realize is the land of Oz from the classic story.  I’ve also enjoyed, though apparently most didn’t, the movie The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I’ve decided to give this genre of fiction a name. Let’s call it Alternate Reality Fiction (ARF) fiction.

Now there can be alternate reality fiction, for instance a lot of Fantasy Flight has Taunhauser, a board game about that is themed about the World War continuing. That isn’t what I’m talking about. That is taking real life events and saying how would they’ve have been different if this happened. What I’m talking about is taking a classic work, say Sherlock Holmes or Oliver Twist, and tells a different story set in their universe.  Maybe Moriarty isn’t really a bad guy and him and Holmes team up? Maybe Oliver grows up to be some spy that sneaks into the Ottomans in the late 19th century to gather information for Great Britain? There are a ton of possibilities for this genre that haven’t been explored yet. I’ve heard of a book called Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. That is what I’m talking about, taking classic literature (though it could be argued if Pride and Prejudice is classic literature) and turning it on it’s ear!

So, lets get back to a quick review of the book.  We find out that the story everyone knows about Alice isn’t really the truth, instead her name is Alyss and she isn’t a child of this world, but is actually from Wonderland where she her evil Aunt Redd has taken over the queendom. I’m not done with it yet, but I’m really liking it. I’ve read both Through the Looking Glass and also the original Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and I’ve got to say, he must’ve been high when he wrote them. The Looking Glass Wars is good thus far and I recommend you take a read, even if you aren’t a fan of the original works.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Kgeekaboo

I know this blog tends to be about theology or board games or sometimes some geeky things I’m doing,
but in reality it is also about life. Though life can be all these things, it is much more than that. So I
wanted to write a bit about something that I’ve been doing with Kaylee for the past few weeks when I
come home from work.

I pull in the drive from work, get out of my truck, and come through the garage door into the dining
room. Kaylee is usually there, pretty excited about seeing me. I’ll usually give her a hug and kiss and then
go give Krista one too. Eventually, maybe after checking my email or talking with Krista or just sitting on
the couch, I make it back to the bedroom to change out of my work clothes. This is when Kaylee wants
to play “kgeekaboo floor”. First she insists that I put her up in the bed, then she wants to be covered
up. Next she asks me to lay down with her and get under the covers. I tickle her a bit and she and I play
peek-a-boo with the covers. Eventually though she starts saying it, “kgeekaboo floor daddy! Kgeekaboo
floor!” What this means is she wants me to slide, under the covers the whole time, off the bed on the
floor. Then squiggle around to the other side of the bed and jump up and yell “boo!” while maybe
tickling her. She greets this action with squeals of delight.

So that, my readers, is life.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Economic Value

Economic value has always fascinated me. First, let’s define the term. According to thefreedictionairy.com is “the amount (of money or goods or services) that is considered to be a fair equivalent for something else.” Being about as pure of a capitalist as one can be (minus a few things such as private military or the selling of organs and probably other things I haven’t thought about), I’m looking at this term from a pure individualistic standpoint.

What has got me thinking about this again was a discussion I had with a friend. They were telling me how their family recently purchased some art and had me guess how much they spent. I guessed $200, thinking that was an extravagant amount of money to spend on art. In reality they’d spent about 3 times that much. Which I, of course, thought this was crazy (my friend actually suggested I write about this in a blog, so they know this is going to be discussed). So then I got to thinking, what would be worse for me than buying some random art from a local art fair for that amount of money? First thing I came up with was the opportunity to follow my neighbor’s dog around with a poop-scooper. I’d rather spend my goods, services, and money on art than that.

What other things though amaze me that people give a large economic value to? Name brand clothes is one thing that jumps to mind. People are willing to give a lot of money for a shirt if it has a specific logo on it. Concerts are another one. People will spend a ton of money to go listen for a few hours to some person sing (or lip-sync in the cases of a lot of ‘em) and after they are done, what do they got to show for it? A couple pictures on Facebook. Finally, Coldstone Creamery. That’s right, I’m calling them out. The amount of economic value that they place on their ice cream is similar to the economic value I would place on a large gold nugget. Too bad for them I don’t place the same economic value on their ice cream as I place a couple bent quarters, let alone a gold nugget.

I can’t leave though without admitting that I place economic value on some items that most of the world doesn’t. In particular, I’ve been willing to spend $88.50 for a board game before.  Then there was $12 Japanese popper fishing bait that I bought in Wisconsin, because we were hard up for top water baits thanks to the Muskies taking them all. Then of course there is the immediate agreement to go eat at Yats should anyone ask.
This brings me to my final point. Economic value is a very personal point of view. My friend’s art purchase makes no sense to me, but you slap that art onto the side of a boat and maybe you got me thinking about upping its economic value. Economic value not only depends greatly on who the person is, but what that situation that person finds themselves in. Let’s take the Cold Stone example I gave above. I recently (about 3 months ago, which is recent for a Cold Stone visit by me) took my wife there when her parents were in town. Why?! Because the goods and services I traded (extravagant amount of money even with a half off coupon for ice cream) was worth in my situation the goods and services I received (making my mother-in-law and wife happy and keeping peace in the world).

Maybe my next blog will be about economic value from a theological standpoint. Now that ought to be something.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

HR Indiana Conference

Just got back from my first ever HR Indiana Conference in downtown Indianapolis. I appreciated that my work allowed me to have a few days to go and learn what is going on in the human resources world currently and get some hours for my continuing education requirements for the PHR. Thought I'd write 5 quick things I learned or observed.

1. Social Media is THE biggest buzz phrase out there right now. It seemed like every presenter said something about Facebook, Twitter, You Tube or LinkedIn. As I'm writing this now and you are reading it later, we'll both be participating in this social media phenom that has taken the business world and our personal lives by storm the  past decade. I found it very interesting not only the suggestions of how businesses can use social media, but how they need to have a plan should it go badly, and to be sure to be ready before going on social media. Not just using Facebook, because everyone else is.

2. Probably my least favorite part of the conference was Monday afternoon's 4 hour session of "Everything Legal" that was lead by a lot of different lawyers. Now I know that human resources isn't the most exciting job out there, but I've got to say that when I feel like a text book became animated and started talking to me, that as a speaker the job hasn't been done well.

3. There was a discussion of mega-trends in business on Tuesday that interested me. In particular how important it is for companies to allow their employees telework options. I understand why this is a mega-trend and I understand that it can be used as a very useful recruitment tool. However, I find it interesting that as of now, I'm less interested in teleworking than the average 28 year old. I enjoy going into the office, seeing my co-workers, and getting the job done that way. (This of course could be because I have a 10 minute or less commute)

4. The amount of people there was interesting as well. There were over 1200 attendees this year, which from my understanding has gone up, and so it seems that human resources professionals care about continuing to educate themselves. Now the cynical side of me thinks they probably just showed up to get their hours so they can keep that PHR certification, but maybe that is not completely true. Now that I've got a year under my belt, I think if I could go back I would, because overall the conference was good. There were some sessions, see above "Everything Legal", that I could've done without or in a different format. There were also several very good sessions including 6 Mega Trends, Social Media, and the Indiana Business Panel.

5. I realized more than ever that human resources is a female dominated industry. I counted in one session out of the 78 people in the session, only 11 were men. What does this mean for me and my career? When I go to human resources conferences, I can snicker as I walk by the huge line outside the ladies' restroom and glide right into to a nearly empty mens' restroom.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fruit Finders or Den of Thieves?

I've got the game designing bug again. This time though it isn't just the designing bug, this time it is the designing and starting a game production company bug. I'm trying to resist the urge to start a game company, mostly because of the money and time that would go into it, and the money I wouldn't get back out of it. More on this in a later blog though. This blog is about the game I'm designing.

I've basically come up with, what so far has received good feedback from all three people I've taught it to, a  tile game that takes 20-30 minutes. I love theme in games, but to be honest, this game is all about the mechanics and I can put whatever theme I want on it. As matter of fact, right now all the tiles have letters on them from A to J to represent what they are. To give you a brief overview, without giving too much away, basically you are using these tiles to move around on a modular board and pick up other tiles. The person with the most points at the end wins.

So what should I call it and what theme should I have? This isn't going to be a serious game that is going to take forever to play, but at the same time it isn't exactly a kid's game. Its more along the lines of a family game where a family with kids 7 or 8 years old and older can play. Originally, I thought a game themed somewhat "Oliver Twist" style called Den of Thieves would be good. Everyone is playing pick pockets going around snagging things like pocket watches and snuff boxes. Then the more I thought about it, with it being a family level game, perhaps stealing stuff like the much hated character Fagin in Oliver Twist wasn't the best. So the second theme I'm considering is everyone is playing as a bunch of cute little animals sneaking around Farmer Brown's fruit farm and eating all the cherries, apples, bananas, and pears they can find. So what do you think? From what I've told you about the game, what would you like it to be?

Also, if anyone is interested in play testing it, please let me know and I'll try to work out getting a copy of some sort to you eventually. I still want to do a lot more play testing myself, before I make a "nice" version of the game with real graphics and tiles.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Syrup on Toast

A somewhat traditional weekend meal in my family has been Syrup on Toast. My dad would make it quite often on a Saturday morning for himself and sometimes for us kids. My mom would also make it for us, but I think she felt it wasn't that healthy, so wasn't as excited about it. She was never excited about us eating sugar. We had a rule that you had to have a fruit or vegetable before you were allowed to have a cookie and the earliest you could have a cookie was 10am. Maybe that is why I've been relatively skinny until I got on my own and could eat cookies at 9am.

Well, back to the syrup on toast. I've taken over the semi-weekendly tradition and make it most Saturdays for myself. I've also taken over the "don't give a bunch of sugar" to my kid thing too, so Kaylee doesn't get it all the time. Though she has had it a couple times. It's a good Saturday morning thing, even though right now by the time we're done getting Kaylee's milk, cleaning up a spill, and trying to convince her to eat yogurt, my toast is usually cold.

Here is the recipe so you can make your Saturdays better: Put 4 pieces of bread in the toaster and toast them to a light brown. Then take them out, and cover them all in peanut butter. After this, use a fork and knife to cut them into small squares. Finally, slather them with syrup and enjoy!

Oh yeah, get a big glass of milk too.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Gheos - Every 100 Games Series


My 2,600th game played since March of 2006 was Gheos and so it gets the honor, or maybe just the bad luck, of being a review of mine. I first played Gheos several years ago, enjoyed it, but never played it again. Then at GenCon 2010 I was able to trade an unplayed copy of Hunting Party for it and since then I’ve played it about a dozen times. I really like it!


Game Summary
The easiest way for me to describe Gheos to a gamer would be if took Acquire and Carcassonne, squished them together, threw in just a pinch of meanness, then you’d have Gheos. In it you are playing the roles of gods creating land masses, starting civilizations, getting followers in those civilizations and then using war and immigration to destroy and move those civilizations. You have 3 scoring chips that you can use throughout the game to score points, there are epoch tiles that get pulled from the bag which also score points, and you can also score points by placing certain tiles. The game then ends when either all players have used all their scoring chips or the last epoch tile has been drawn. There is one final scoring after that and the person with the most points takes the victory.

The Three Things I Like Most About This Game
First, it is really mean. You can cause a war or immigration and completely wipe out your opponents followers. People tend to get attached for some reason to the civilizations they start and then when you come in and destroy their puny followers, sometimes even from two different civilizations, it causes them to weep in anguish. Okay, maybe it isn’t all that bad, but it makes for some great fun when you place the tile that causes the red civilization to get destroyed and pay to do it with a red follower.

Second, the stock aspect of the game gives me enjoyment. The very limited amount of 5 followers per civilization makes each follower extremely important. Put that along with only being able to get one follower a turn, unless you are able to start a great civilization with lots of wheat symbols and it makes them even more important. Trying to diversify yourself, so that you won’t lose everything should a war or immigration not go your way, but also trying to be hand in hand with your opponents so that they won’t hurt you provides some great tension.

Third, the push your luck aspect of the epoch tiles adds tension to the game. You never know when they will come out and all 8 in a four player game could potentially come out in a row, so trying to balance using your 3 scoring chips for the most points possible becomes very important. It is horrible to use them too early and only score 5 or 6 points per chip, but it is even worse not to get the chance to use them at all, because the last epoch tile comes out. This is even more magnified since you can only use 1 scoring chip per turn.

Final Thoughts
Gheos has a permanent place in my game collection. Partially because it fits that niche between Acquire and Carcassonne as a tile laying and stock game that no other game I own does and partially because of the absolute meanness of the game. That meanness though is something you should be careful about if you are trying to pick this up on the secondary market (I don’t think it is in print right now) for a friendly game. So for that reason this might be a better game for your game group than it will be for your family gathering. Gheos is one of my top 25 favorite games of all time, which at the writing of this review, is saying something since I’ve played over 475 games. So, if you haven’t yet, be sure to go out and give this game a try if you can find it.

Monday, August 8, 2011

GenCon 2011

Well my 7th GenCon is over and I had a blast! Lots of games, friends, and fun. I was so excited I even took Wednesday off leading up to the con. I should've taken today off, because I'm tired. Instead of writing a big huge blog about it here, I did a geeklist over at boardgamegeek.com. You can check it out here: GenCon 2011 Experiences - With Pictures! For those of you interested, you can read about it there and see a few pictures or check out my facebook page for all the pictures and some videos eventually. I'm looking forward to GenCon 2012!

Friday, July 22, 2011

GenCon is Coming

A lot of people have their favorite holidays each year. There is Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years, Easter, Independence Day, and plenty of others. However, just from a pure fun standpoint, for me none of these make the cut. My favorite holiday is more like a holiweek and that week is GenCon! In less than two weeks, I’ll be attending my 7th GenCon Indy and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve been going since 2004, with a small break for the year I got married, and I imagine I’ll continue to go for a long time. Since I’ll continue to celebrate Thanksgiving and I like GenCon even more than that.

Maybe later on I’ll write a blog about my history at GenCon, but this year I’m excited about several games/events that will be there, and so would rather write about them. Compared to last year, where I was only interested in Heroes of Graxia and no events, this year I’ve got at least half a dozen titles and a couple events that are trying to worm their way into my collection and schedule.

First on my list, to at least play and possibly purchase, is 7 Wonders: Leaders. This is the expansion to the game that has dominated the gaming world since last December. I love the game, my wife loves the game, our families enjoy it, so this probably is a slam dunk as far as expansions go. The one thing I’m worried about is adding even a few minutes extra time by selecting 4 leaders. It is almost like adding another ½ round. Part of the draw of 7 Wonders is the short play time, so we’ll see how this plays out.

Next is Ninjato and this one is going to be the tough one for me. There are only going to be 50 copies at GenCon and so I won’t have the opportunity to play it before purchasing. I’ll have to get there first thing just to be able to buy it and even then I might be late. It is a new game designed by a couple guys from right here in Indianapolis, I’ve seen it in person, I’ve read the rules, and it looks awesome. It is about Ninjas.

The Ascension expansion one that I really want to try out as well. Ascension debuted at last year’s GenCon and was the only game I purchased at all from the Con. It impressed me that much. I’ve been looking forward to an expansion all year and am glad they waited a whole year to do one. However, I’m hesitant about it. I was hoping they wouldn’t just add more cards to the main deck and just call it a day, but it appears that is what they’ve done. So this will be a try before I buy for sure.

Smallworld: Underground is the latest expansion/stand alone game in the Small World series. If you read my Top 25 Games blog, you know that Small World is in my Top 10 Games of All time. This expansion is also a stand alone, with a new board and enough races and powers to play on its own. The only problem I have with this is that it comes with a stand alone price. Since Krista isn’t a huge fan of Small World, it doesn’t hit the table as much as I’d like, so I might pass on this one. I’m still excited about it though and will try to get a play in for sure.

I’m going to play in the World Championships of Warhammer: Invasion. That’s right, the World Championships. I haven’t played game tournament, since Vineta in 2008 and that wasn’t a serious tournament. This one is scheduled to last 8 hours, but I’m guessing it’ll be more like 4 or 5 for me if I’m extremely lucky. Most of the players will have all the cards, I don’t, but I hope my deck plays well enough to get me one win.

A second event I just learned about, which I understand is free, is the North American qualifiers for the World Championship of Dominion that will be held in Essen, Germany later this year. If you win the tourney at GenCon, they’ll fly you to Essen, pay for your hotel, and your ticket into the Speil, and if you win THAT tournament you get 1,000 Euros! So, I’m telling myself, why not play. I love Dominion and maybe I’ll get a chance to play some of the Cornucopia expansion.

Finally, the GenCon Math Trade is looking great this year. This is sort of like a before GenCon event, but I’m counting it. I have 9 games up for trade, all of which I got for free or have had for a very long time or just don’t like, and hope I get a few games I’m interested in. This is a fun way to meet other gamers at the convention and also try out a game I would never buy, but I’m willing to trade something I don’t play for.
So all that is what I’m excited for when it comes to GenCon 2011 here in Indianapolis. After the convention is over I’m sure I’ll do a write-up of my experiences and at least cross post it here.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Humanity is the Answer

It's been a while since I posted, so I wanted to post something, but don't have a lot of time right now to enter this well thought out philosophical/theological statement. However, I did want to write something.

Last night I was watching Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. Boring movie, if I were you, I wouldn't bother. Unless you want to see a bunch of numbers floating between buildings, because they think that is cool and about the most exciting part of the movie. However, there was one quote that struck me and very interesting and very true. In the movie Michael Douglas plays an ex-con who gets out of jail (SPOILER ALERT!) and tricks his daughter's fiance into convincing her to give him $100 million by insisting he wants to be closer to her. But instead, he takes the money and runs. When the fiance confronts him about taking the money by asking Douglas the question, "Did you ever really want to repair your relationship with your daughter?" Douglas answers, "Sure I did. I'm human." Then the fiance asks him, "So why did you do this?" To which Douglas replies, "Same answer."

That struck a chord with me. I've always been of the opinion that humans want that feeling of completeness and being filled. Whether it is money, relationships, fame, or a million other things. We naturally feel like we're missing something and need to fill it up. The character Douglas was playing had this same issue. He wanted to fill his life up with his daughter, but he also wanted to fill it up with money. You'll notice though that either way was still taking care of him. What made me think though, is his answer applies to me as well. I know, this surprises those of you who thought I was an alien born on another planet, sent to Earth for truth and justice. I'm not though, just a human, that when asked "Why did you do it?" would respond the same way.

So the whole reason I wrote this post? Just for me to think about what it means to be human and where that puts me in relationship with God.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Being a Husband

A couple weeks ago I was able to watch game 6 of the NBA Finals in 3D and a buddies house. I had a great time, but the thing I actually remember most was what one of the announcers said. When talking about Dwyane Wade, to paraphrase he said Wade had come through a lot in the past year because of a custody battle over his children. Which was brought about from him cheating on his wife and her filing for a divorce. Then, literally just a minute or two later, the announcer praised Wade for being great father, very loving and doting to his children. I immediately said, "What the world?!"

To me this is a very twisted view of what a loving and doting father really is all about. To be a loving father to your kids, you have to start with your wife. You can't love your kids, with out first loving your wife. Do you think caring for your kids starts with running around on your wife? Absolutely not. Loving your kids begins first by honoring your wife. They see their mother being treated respectfully and with love by their father, then they will know not only how to love their mother themselves, but will feel the love of their dad. What kind of love is given to a kid by destroying the home and splitting the family? It doesn't matter how doting you are too them, giving them gifts, taking them to their baseball games, or piano lessons doesn't fulfill the need of having a safe and loving environment for that to take place in. That loving environment starts with the husband loving the wife. It is the husband's responsibility to do it too, it starts with him.

I'm writing this on my 6th anniversary with my wonderful wife Krista. I love her a whole lot and so part of the reason I'm writing this is to remind myself of my own responsibility and promise I've made to her. To love her and cherish her and thus love and cherish our kids.

In Titus, when Paul is discussing leaders, he points out being a leader starts with being faithful to your wife, then taking care of your children, then leading in the church. So today, I challenge you, and myself, to be that type of husband (or if you are a wife encourage your husband). One that loves his wife and by doing so loves his children.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Top 10 Fiction Books

I just don't have any creativity right now, so I'm doing another repost from an old Facebook note I did before I started this blog. I did just read "True Grit" by Charles Portis, which would get an honorable mention on the list. If you've never read it, you need to do so.

This was a tough list! What are some of your favorite books?

Honorable Mentions: Harry Potter Series by Rowling, The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne, The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper, The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis, the Warlord Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell, Call of the Wild by Jack London, the rest of the Inheritance Cycle by Paolini, and countless others that I've read.

#10 - The Daybreakers by Louis L'Amour. There is a reason that he is called "the best western writer of them all!" The Daybreakers is the first of the 17 Sackett novels that L'Amour writes and I think his best. Ty Sackett, the Mora Gunfighter, is my favorite character because of his wild side that he has. I enjoy how he kills the a Higgins at Orrin's wedding and the final duel between him and Tom Sunday.

#9 - The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock Holmes at his best. I remember reading this for the first time when I was 12 years old in the Sherlock anthology my grandma had gotten me and being sucked in completely. It shows Holmes at his best, shows Watson as the ever faithful, and really gives the reader a chance to get to know all the characters more than the short stories allow.

#8 - The Haunted Mesa by Louis L'Amour. This is a modern western about our world and another world that is in a different dimension. Not only does L'Amour bring his usual rough cowboy saga with some great landscape descriptions, but he does it in a way that is unusual to him and for that I really like it.

#7 - Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. I had never heard of this book until this year. When I read it in a single Saturday I was blown away. Great storyline, great ending, great book. This is a must read for any guy out there. I'm looking forward to going further in the series.

#6 - Eregon by Christpher Paolini. Who doesn't want a dragon of their own? A great start to the series that I couldn't put down. Probably what I liked best about it is the physical toll that the magic takes on the wielder. The further away something is, the bigger it is, the heavier it is, all comes to play how much physical stamina is needed to use magic on it.

#5 - The Walking Drum by Louis L'Amour. A great epic tail of a wronged child who goes from slavery to education to revenge. All set in the middle ages of Europe and the Middle East. It was the first of what was meant to be a trilogy, but L'Amour never got around to finishing it before he died.

#4 - The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter. This is a romanticized tale of Sir William Wallace defending Scotland against the English. Wallace is the picture of chivalry, but his enemies are the worst traitors you can ever imagine. Lady Helen is beautiful, the battles are terrible, and by the time you are finished with the book you want to Scottish.

#3 - The Two Towers by JRR Tolkien. Though not as good as the two novels that sandwich it, TTT really has a lot to offer. Most notably the entrance of Gollum as a steady character and meeting the Ents. However, probably my favorite part from it is when Gimli sounds the Horn at Helm's Deep!

#2 - The Fellowship of the Ring by by JRR Tolkien. If the FotR had the end of the story, I think it would be my number 1. It has "The Walking Song", Bilbo's Party, the Balrog, and the oldest creature in Middle-Earth - Tom Bombadil who remembers the first rain drop and acorn.

#1 - The Return of the King by JRR Tolkien. This makes number one over the Fellowship barely, mostly because it see the conclusion of the story. I love the Sam & Frodo relationship, with Sam carrying Frodo to the end of the journey and going with him, even though he knew that they'd probably never come back. I also like when Theoden charges at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. Also, my favorite non-person character in the series is in RotK. That is Grond: Hammer of the Underworld. The 100 foot long battering ram

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Top 10 Comic Book Hero Movies

I made the post below on my Facebook page almost a year ago. Just watched Thor this week and it's been awhile since I wrote a blog, so I thought I'd repost it here. Thor didn't make it, though it was good, it isn't great.

Hey everyone. I've decided to do a blog on a whenever-I-feel-like-it basis. The point of these notes will be the Top 10 - Whatever. These can include everything from my Top 10 Bible verses to the Top 10 things to do in the Summer to The Top 10 Presidents. I thought I'd start off on a lighter note for this one, so here are my Top 10 Super Hero Movies:

#1 - The Dark Knight. There is not a doubt in this one. Heath Ledger's performance, the "Wanna see a Magic Trick" scene, the semi-trailer flipping end over end, it is just a great movie! Even though I enjoy the light, comedy feel of earlier Batman movies, the dark & gritty feeling of this movie just makes me enjoy it.

#2 - Ironman. An awesome movie. The opening scene is great where Tony's caravan gets attacked. Plenty of humor, great fighting, excellent special effects. Another super hero who isn't perfect, but still manages to be a super hero. I also find it interesting that he lets everyone know he is Ironman. This is very different than many super hero movies.

#3 - Spiderman 2. Dr. Octavius makes this movie! The villian that doesn't want to be a villain. Usually I am all about the villains that you love to hate, but in this case Doc Ock is a villain that you feel sorry for and want to see him kick his problem, namely a sweet machine that has attached itself to his spine.

#4 - X-Men 2. I continue my favorite Comic Book movies with yet another sequal. X-2 delivers everything I want in a comic book movie, lots of fighting, cool special effects, and great villains (Magneto). Probably my biggest reason for liking this one is Nightcrawler and his story line - how he is a mutant that is obviously a mutant is interesting.

#5 - Superman. You just can't be the 1st Superman movie starring Christopher Reeves. He is everything that Superman is supposed to be: polite, smart, big and good-looking, a pillar of justice and truth. It is also fun that he turns back time by flying around the world. Gene Hackman also is an awesome Lex Luthor.

#6 - Batman: The Movie. That is right, I'm going there. If you have never seen this classic starring Adam West, then quit reading this note and go watch it. It has everything. The Bat-Shark Repellent, the Bat Boat, the walking up buildings and random people poke their heads out, and all the other crazy wacky stuff that makes this a top 10 comic book movie!

#7 - The Punisher. I'm not talking about the most recent one, but the one that came out a few years ago. This one is one that I had never heard of until I watched it on TV one day. I loved it. My favorite scene by far is where the Punisher comes up to John Travolta and says, "I've killed one of your sons" ,then there is a big explosion, "make that two of your sons and now I'm going to kill you." He gets his revenge on the bad guy.

#8 - Spiderman. Even though I don't like the Green Goblin mask, since it reminds me of a Power Ranger, I liked the movie a lot. It brought some great shots of Spidey swinging through the city, has some witty comments from our hero, and makes for a fun and exciting movie.

#9 - The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
I know this will probably be the most controversial one, but I liked it! Sean Connery is always good in a movie and it was fun for me to see heroes of the books from my childhood come to life - even though they were very different than I imagined.

#10 - Batman. Jack Nicholas as the Joker is great! Even though I really liked the new joker, I still like the old Joker just as well. He is funny, but obviously someone that you don't want to cross. The over-the-top everything, similar to the original Batman movie, makes for a good romp.

Honorable Mentions:
-Fantastic Four
-Superman 2
-Superman 4
-X-Men
-Batman Begins

So now you may know me a bit better.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Building Things

I enjoy building things. I'm not good at it, but I do enjoy it. After going to the Geekway, I came home with 4 or 5 more games than I left with thanks to raffles and trading, so I'd run out of room for all my games. To remedy this problem, I decided to build a game shelf (ignore the fact that I'm not building shelves to support my habit). That is what I did this weekend.

Friday night, I went to Lowe's and bought three 1"x12"x6'pine boards. I already had the stain and screws that I needed to complete the project. My plan was to build a 42" tall shelf, with 2 other shelves within it, and the last shelf being about 2 inches above the ground. That way the two ends would act as legs and I wouldn't have to worry as much about getting it steady on a floor, since there would be only 2 points of contact instead of one long board at the bottom. By the time I started though, I completely forgot I meant to do it this way. So it turned out as one big box. With 2 shelves in the middle. Giving me 4 total shelves, if I decide to use the top as well.

It felt good to complete it. I'll never be the best woodworker, but I do a practical job. What that means is it won't be a family heirloom, but it'll hold games or books or tools or whatever else for the next 20 or 30 years.

Other things I've built my kitchen, big utility shelves in the basement that cannot come out, a blanket box for the basement, two bookshelves that I built my sophomore year at college for my dorm (still got those in the basement), and for the future...a Crokinole board...maybe...someday...if I can get help.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Email Signatures

I send thousands of emails from home and work each year. Some about nothing important at all and some that have national security at stake (okay, not really, but I like to think so). I have 5 lines on my signature block at work. My name, my title, my company, my phone number, and my fax number. These all seem to be reasonable to me. However, I've received a few emails in the past days that have made me think maybe I'm not following proper email etiquette. Some of them have had 10+ lines explaining how to contact their grandma and what is the best thing to do in a tornado warning. So without further ado, I'd like to tell you I'm going to improve my email etiquette.

V/R,

Mr. Adam Daulton, MBA, PHR, Esquire
Blogger
Theology, Board Games, and Life
www.blogger.com
The Internet
The Daulton Household
A Street In Indianapolis
Indiana
United States of America
North American Contitent
Earth
The Milky Way
The Universe
317-XXX-XXXX cell
317-XXX-XXXX wife's cell
317-XXX-XXXX Neighbor's Cell
73899373 Cat's Collar ID Number
adam.daulton@email.com
1-800-Flowers
911
Softball Coach
238-23-2323 Fake SSN
Yats Is Great
And so is Bacon

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Found Old Draft

There are some things in the life of a man that are important. These things can be as simple as being able to not throw like a girl and as complex...okay, I guess important things to men aren't complex.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Collecting Games

When is something collecting? I've always been a collector from the time I was young. I like having things organized and listed and nicely collected. Here is a quick list of things I've collected: baseball, hockey, football, and basketball cards. I think I have many of these still somewhere around my house. At one time I really collected David Robinson cards & Reggie Miller cards. My two favorite players in the the 1990s in the NBA. I've also collected stamps and I think I still have a Ben Franklin stamp from 1903. Another thing I collected was Pogs. You remember those? They were popular for about 1.7 days back in 1996 or there abouts. I loved getting all the eight balls.

Now I'm an adult, I collect other things. Louis L'Amour books, which I still need about 10 to have a complete set of novels. Though I'm tired of them publishing a bunch of short stories together, with only 1 new story in the book that they found in some file drawer somewhere. I also collect board games and that is what spawned this post. I just bought another game, Dungeon Lords, which is an awesome game and in my Top 25 Games of all time.

All of these things that I've collected though, doesn't make me a collector. I hear what are thinking right now, "You have over 100 Louis L'Amour books and 100 board games and still have pogs sitting around and don't think you're a collector?!" Okay, I understand your chagrin, but let me explain why I'm not a true collector. I collector collects just to collect. I collect to use. I have played all but 2 of my board games, read every Louis L'Amour book, and as for the pogs...okay well, we won't go there. So I'm a collectuser. I like having everything organized and loved my match box cars collection that I kept in a bucket when I was nine, but I always raced those cars and play my board games or read my books.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Day 1 of Kaylee and Dad

It's been a long time since I have posted. I've thought of plenty of things to write about, but have either not wanted to spend the time to write about a serious subject that I should do some research on or thought about writing about something not serious and then thinking I should write about something serious. So instead today, I'm going to write about my day yesterday.

Got up at the normal time, went into work from 6:30-9:30, but then things became abnormal. I took Krista and Ella to the airport, for their trip to California, then Kaylee and I headed up to Carmel where we stopped at Play It Again Sports to get some softball supplies and after a lot of chasing Kaylee around came out with a couple softballs, a scorebook, and a pair of batting gloves.

After that we went to the McDonald's at Carmel Drive & Keystone. She had about 3 McNuggets and I got the #1 as I usually do. By this time she is starting to get tired and cranky, but we continued on our journey to the library to pick up Smallville Season 9, yes I enjoy the Superman Teen Show, and World War Z. I'm not usually a zombie fan, but this was recommended to me by two different people, so I thought I'd give it a read.

We came home and Kaylee finally took a nap, while I continued my quest to beat Portal 2. I got stuck though and so didn't do so. Then with Kaylee up I buzzed my head while Kaylee ran around in the driveway, we had dinner, watched some SportsCenter online, and then Kaylee got her much needed bath. Then off to bed for her while I waited on Trevor to make it here.

Trevor made it around 12:15am, we talked until about 2am, and then went to bed. It was a long day, but a good day. This isn't the most entertaining post, but it's been such a long time, I figured I needed to write.

P.S. I'm really itching to play Rise of Empires, a new board game a buddy gave me, so I'm excited that game day is coming soon.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thoughts on Classics

I’m reading Lord of the Rings again for probably the 8th or 9th time, which first off shows you I have good taste and second shows you that I’m in a bit of a rut. However, thanks to my mom, I’ve always been an avid reader and thought I’d share some thoughts on many of the classic books that I’ve read. I’ll exclude LotR here, because I think I’ll probably do a future blog completely on it alone. I’ll also define classic as “at least 25 years old” which is really young when it comes to books. This isn’t a top ten list or even a list of the best books ever, just a list of books that have randomly come to mind.

Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens (1859)
I’ve heard a lot of negative feelings towards this book, and though it isn’t one I’ll search out to read again, I enjoyed it. I enjoy historical fiction, probably my favorite genre behind fantasy, and this book provides that from the view of people that could’ve existed at the time. I really find the character of Sydney Carton appealing because the distaste I have for him, yet at the same time the devotion he shows to Lucie.

Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card (1985)
When I read this book, I couldn’t put it down, reading it in one 24 hour period. It draws you into young Ender’s life, his understanding the world, and the hope for mankind that depends on these young warriors. In a way, similar to Lord of the Flies it magnifies all the things we adults do, but from the perspective of children. The ending is also absolutely great!

Moby Dick – Herman Melville (1851)
I remember watching the movie Moby Dick with Patrick Steward as Captain Ahab and was amazed by it. I immediately went to the library and got the book. It starts so cool with “Call me Ishmael” and all the information about Queequeg. Then it becomes a lecture on the biology of whales, which bored me so much I slobbered on my pillow while reading it. If you want to know the story of Moby Dick, watch one of the movies. If you want to learn about whales, watch the Discovery channel. The two shouldn’t have been mixed into this sneaky book that is short on story and long on blubber.

Mysterious Island – Jules Vern (1874)
This one comes to mind, because it is probably the least known of Jules Verne’s works. It is the sequel to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, but for the most part not really. Like many books of that era it is about people that are shipwrecked on an island and how they make do, building contraptions and innovative mechanical things, while trying to survive with each other and without civilization. In my opinion, Jules Verne is one of the greatest authors ever and this is one of his best!

The Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum (1900)
This book is crazy and barely like the movie. The biggest difference between the two is the wizard. In the movie he only appears as a giant head, but in the book he is a giant head and a beautiful lady and all kinds of crazy things in-between. I think this book is worth the read, especially if you are a fan of the movie, but since I’ve read it once I won’t be reading it again.

So there you go, 5 books covering 134 years of literature. You ought to be good to go now when discussing classic books at your next tea party.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Cutting Grass

I mowed the lawn (saying lawn makes it sound so much nicer) the other day for the first time this year. I love the smell of that first cut of grass after the spring rains have brought it to life! This could be because from the time I was 12 until I was 21, I cut grass non-stop ever year. It brought a sense of accomplishment and pride at getting a job done. I enjoyed it, though there are times I don’t want to do it. There is something about going out and starting the mower and making a couple laps around the perimeter of what you are going to mow and then making straight (okay, perhaps mine are a tad bit curvy) lines back and forth, systematically removing the tall shoots of green from the ground. I know as the year wears on and I’ve had to mow close to 30 times, and the yard gets dandelions, and then turns brown, and the heat reaches 100 degrees, I’ll not want to mow anymore. That first mow though, the one that lets you know spring is here, will always be something I enjoy. Even when I’m old, I’ll probably sit on my front porch and smell the freshness of it while the neighbor kid cuts the grass for me.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Hadahopetep Almost Gets It Done

Last night had a chance to play Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game with my brother (Jeden), Cherry (Kirsche), and Ryan (Ryan). What follows was found in some caves in Scotland along with William Wallace's kilt.

From the Histories of the Scholar Adam.

Early in the history of Civilization four powers rose to dominance. In the North East of the world the Americans, led by Ryan the Hoarder, began to thrive. In the South East the great regime of Hadahopetep of the Egyptians began to explore North, but ran into the Sea of Wet and were repelled back. In the South West the Chinese quickly discovered horseback riding and began a rapid destruction of thatch hut raiding for the culture that is found in all thatch and the name of their leader Jeden was met with fear and trembling throughout the land. Kirsche of the Germans led his people in the North Western realms of Sand and vowed peace no matter how much blood.

During the ancient times it became clear that a deep and thriving hate was had between Hadahopetep & Jeden when there empires immediately began competing over huts and villages in-between their lands. The Chinese though being faster and more powerful early on held the advantage. However, the Egyptians with the famous Colossus of Alexandria and Stonehenge in City #2 were able to catch back up towards the middle ages. Germany stayed in their corner and built building after building year during the ancient times, making some exploratory adventures towards the Chinese, but upon seeing their aggression, turtled back into the North West. The Americans used their vast hoards of spices and cloth to improve the culture of their people and survive great events such as the destruction of thousands of acres of lands outside Alexandria.

During the middle-ages Jeden decided to push and prod Hadahopetep of the Egyptians by moving an army of Archers & Spearmen into the regions around City #2. Hadahopetep consulted with his queen, the beautiful I’mStuck-re and in order to deal with the threat of the Chinese built the Hanging Gardens of City #2, which people to this age say has a nice ring to it. Going using the new armies that flocked to the Gardens, the Egyptians destroyed the Chinese in the Battle of the Small Imps, laying to waste the Chinese and taking culture from them. Mean while, since nobody felt the Germans were a threat, all the powers were giving them trade. The Americans though, seeing the military build up that was occurring between the Chinese and Russians began building their forces, while continuing to hoard all cloth, silk, iron, uranium, spies, and any other type of resource they could get their hands on.

Finally, comes the conclusion of these histories, where many lives were lost and Kirsche of the Germans employed me to write of them. With the American discovery of Atomic Theory, through no overt aggression of the Germans, Ryan the Hoarder performed a dastardly deed and nuked the once great city of City #2 in Egypt. Destroying not only the great Scientist Charlie, but also spraying round up on the Hanging Gardens that were present in that city. This resulted in the Yellow Army of the City of Pancake, which was located just south of the American city of Juniper, advancing to Juniper and a magnificent battle taking place. In this battle the forces of the Hoarder were driven back and the city was destroyed. However, being very aged at the time, Hadahopetep forgot to steal a technology (namely Atomic Theory) and instead just researched on his own at that time. I’m now employed by Kirsche because of this dreadful mistake. Hadahopetep, had he not been so senile and dumb, could’ve gone to space during that year on the back of Computers and Atomic Theory. The seasons advanced though and the day before Hadahopetep and the week before the Hut Pillager Jeden, my master Kirsche developed space flight and ruled the world. However, in a small way Hadahopetep felt good, knowing that he could’ve nuked Landlocked, the American city with no water, if he wanted too.

So as you wander this land and perhaps come upon the ruins of that tantalizing city City #2, remember that Hadahopetep of the Egyptians thought once to rule this world, but anger against Jeden and a long standing history of making widows of his northern neighbors drew too much attention to him, allowing the peaceful cherry picker German to hire me to write history.