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


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


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.

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.