games


My favorite game store in the whole world has been nominated for America’s Favorite Game Store at Goodman Games. Please click here and then click on the image that looks like the one below to cast your vote for Game Depot (Tempe, AZ).

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A few months ago I wrote about a PSA I saw at the movie, and later saw on TV and heard on the radio. I posted what I thought would be a more effective PSA. In light of recent talk of the Swine Flu pandemic, I have to marvel at the coincidental timing. A few months ago everyone and her sister started reading Twilight, and now a decendent of the very same flu that almost took our Edward has once again reared its ugly head.

Show of hands. How many of you wished for Spanish Influenza so Carlisle would come save you?

The Face of Influenza 1918-present.

The Face of Influenza 1918-present.

 

In other news, the folks that brought you Pandemic (one of my favorite games) are about to come out with an expansion. One of the new cards is an Epidemic card for a Virulent Strain. Even if you have eradicated a disease, it comes back. Some of the other cards are posted online. We played with them Saturday. It was kind of creepy how Mexico City kept popping up and kicking our asses. We ended up losing. Sure, we could blame Kyle, the Murderer of Luck, but what if it was the Swine Flu? I mean does anyone else think the virus on the box looks like Swine Flu?

            

(Images thanks to BoardGameGeek.com and CDC.gov)

Hello stalkers,

I write all the time, but never hear from you. I’m sure you’ve all seen this sort of thing circulating the internet in some form or another. Here are 25 Things about me. Now let me know 25 Things about you. No, I won’t force you to come up with 25 New Things if you’ve already done this elsewhere. I’m OK with you cutting and pasting.

1. I’m a gamer. I like to play at Game Depot especially. It’s my Happy Place.

2. I have a green spot in my right eye that comes and goes.

3. I have a green spot on my right ankle that’s not going anywhere–my shamrock tattoo.

4. I recently discovered blogging. It’s more fun than I thought it would be.

5. Movies! I love movies! I’ll see anything but horror, and if the story looks good enough I’ll probably see horror too.

6. Reading is my favorite alone time activity. I’m a sci-fi/fantasy kind of girl, but I like a lot of New Age stuff too.

7. I really dislike job hunting.

8. Pizza is my default food. If I don’t want to make a decision pepperoni pizza it is.

9. Watching TV is almost a full time job for me.

10. If I can’t be a Jedi or a wizard/witch, I want to be a vampire.

11. I decided just now to send my resume to someone in Forks WA.

12. You know when you are just falling asleep and you suddenly have that spasm and wake up? I hear most people were dreaming of falling. I was dreaming of spiders. I’m phobic about them.

13. I love dark chocolate. Always have. I have a love/hate relationship with South Beach. On one hand I love that there is a dark chocolate alternative to nearly every candy bar because they told the world dark chocolate is good for you. On the other hand I was really enjoying being the only one in the office who ate dark chocolate when vendors brought it in and everyone automatically brought me their share. No one’s sharing anymore!

14. I’m the person shuffling cards behind Sarah on the plane. Ok, so that never happened but Bobby and I usually play Cribbage when we go out to dinner.

15. My license plate says PADAWAN.

16. There are people in the world that only know me as Duff, my college nickname.

17. I love pears. There is a pear gelato at Arlecchino Gelateria in Phoenix that makes my knees buckle.

18. John Williams is my hero. He pretty much wrote the soundtrack to my life.

19. Borders is my favorite book store.

20. I have three cats: Guinness, Sam Adams, and Zima. I know what you’re thinking, but Sam was named after a football player. If I were that big of a lush he would have been named Captain Morgan.

21. I apparently don’t have issues with self-disclosure.

22. I want to be a foster Mom.

23. I didn’t get my ears pierced until I was 22.

24. My three favorite TV shows right now are Grey’s Anatomy, Heroes, and Chuck.

25. I’m writing a book. I’m very excited about the ideas I came up with yesterday.

    

Yes, you read that right. Bella Skywalker. This could only be a Random post, right? For those of you who don’t know, Random is my Unicorn friend–that mythical beast know as the man who reads Twilight. Out of the blue, this is how the texting started this evening, as if there had never been an interuption in last night’s text conversation.

Random: Finished New Moon today. Edward has confirmed that he’s a retard.

Me: You’re retarded! 🙂

Random: When you are over 100 years old and make Romeo look like a guy who knows how to make a plan work, that is truly special.

Me: You’re reading too much into it. That says a lot coming from me. He’s no more or less retarded than Romeo.

Random: Romeo is the king of dumb. And Edward is in his class at the very least.

(Agreed, but romance can make one stupid, especially boys.)

Random: And Bella is so typical. Although I expect that is the attraction for the target reader. She’s annoying as the heroine.

(Bella is typical in some ways which makes her relatable to a lot of readers. She a-typical in others whichs gives her the feeling of being special we all want. I relate to her in a big way, so I guess I’m annoying.)

Random: Then again, my favorite protagonists come from Ayn Rand and Isaac Asimov, so typical is not my cup of tea.

(Yeah, Random, I know you’re shocked, but I haven’t read any Rand and the Asimov I read was an excerpt or short story way back in the day. We read so many so close together in that class that I don’t remember what was his. As always, “It’s on the list.”)

Random: New Moon will make a horrible movie with Bella whining more than a Skywalker.

(Bella hurts on the inside but she suffers in silence. As a movie we shouldn’t be so “in her head”. Maybe it won’t come off so whiney to you.)

The texts were coming fast and furious while I was trying to find some paper to print my resume on. I couldn’t get a word in so I’ve added my thoughts in ( ).

I sat there dumbfounded at the Skywalker remark when my phone rang. I just started laughing. Apparently Random’s hatred for all things Twilight could not longer be contained in text. Rather than forgetting the books altogether, he needed to get vocal. I was still laughing when I answered. The first thing I heard was, “Bella Skywalker.” It had the ring of an epithet. I just laughed. Typical. Trying to get under my skin, deriding two of my favorite things at once: Twilight and Star Wars. And two of my favorite characters, too. Luke and Bella are the ones I relate to. Way to push my buttons, Random.

Ok, I had to admit Luke is a bit whiney: “But I was going to Toshi Station to pick up some power converters!” I didn’t read Bella as whiney though. I read her as strong. She knows what she wants and when she doesn’t get it she fights for it. She gets angry, petulant. He asserted that stamping your foot and demanding your way is just the teen version of whiney. He might have a point. But doesn’t that make the character more believable? Bella is flawed. That doesn’t mean the writing is flawed, just the opposite in my opinion.

He liked Carlisle. He relates to him most. I suppose I would have guessed that. In fact I think I did guess that once. I believe I made Random take the survey once upon a time, and predicted that he would be Carlisle. He thinks that the vampires being invincible superheroes is ridiculous, and that they should be running the world, not keeping the secret. The Volturi he thought were kind of cool. I had to admit that I never saw the point of keeping the secret even without the Volturi, as humans can’t harm vampires. But I try to let that sort of thing go. It’s fiction.

So we talked some shop, talked about the vibe at the company I no longer work for, but then we were right back to New Moon. He thought it was boring. He thought Edward was retarded. He was frustrated that Bella was going to be ok and then everything freaked out again. Basically everything I loved about the book, he hated. No big shock there.

I think the people who dislike the Twilight saga are the people who go into it expecting a vampire story. It’s a love story that just happens to have vampires and werewolves. As a friend of mine put it, it’s Vampire 90210.

We talked about the upcoming movie too. He’s convinced it will suck. He knows from the last two month’s worth of obsessing that I have my worries. If they stay true to the book, he thinks, there will be a opening scene, then a whiney birthday, a paper cut, a bit more whining, then a really long boring part in the middle, followed by about 15 minutes in Italy, and a rushed happy ending. I think that sounds about right, except that as they are actually shooting in Italy I think they plan on getting their money’s worth. If anything is going to be rushed it’s going to be the long months that Edward is gone (Random’s “really long boring part in the middle”). If they are going to screw with anything it’s going to be the beauty of Bella and Jacob’s relationship. I think they’re going to rush us back to Edward/Robert Pattinson. It’ll be tricky not having the Heart-ThRob in most of the movie.

No one I worked with recently got me like Random did. We like a lot of the same things. It is typically frustrating talking to him about geek stuff though, because we rarely agree even about the stuff we both like. No matter how frustrating, it’s always good for a laugh though. Today’s big laugh was Random saying, “If Edward had an alignment it would be Chaotic Dumb.” Thanks, Random, I needed that. I hope you had fun storming the castle tonight. And I certainly hope the Pandemic bugs didn’t get you down.

Well it’s my birthday too! The best birthday gift is that it’s cloudy today. Cloudy days in Phoenix are hard to come by, a rare treat. So it’s my birthday, and it’s cloudy, and still no Edward Cullen. I don’t think he’s coming. LOL! Yes, I joke.

What else did I get for my birthday? Well, my friend Greg bought me an improptu gift, not knowing it was my birthday, but I’ll call it a birthday gift all the same. It’s a bracelet made of these funky, spikey, latex beads. God-awful, but fun. The beads look like viruses, which he why he got it for me. He knows of my love of the game Pandemic, so he got me a Pandemic bracelet. So we played yesterday and won, thanks to the good luck of the Pandemic bracelet. Thanks, Greg, for the gift and the good game.

I made Old Man Bobby wait until today to give me my gift, or I would have nothing to look forward to on my birthday but laundry. Ugh. So I just opened my gift. He did well. His Mom said he’d been very observant to pick out such thoughtful gifts. I couldn’t resist teasing that stalkers are usually pretty observant. Yes, I joke about that, too. Yeah, yeah, yeah, so what did he get me? He got me Dead Until Dark, the first Sookie Stackhouse novel. He also got me some CDs: Sara Bareilles’s Little Voice and Paramore’s Riot! Well done, Old Man. And thanks again for taking me to see Twilight, for the fourth time, just because it was my birthday. Thank you.

The Macy’s Parade is over. The cheeseball is chilling in the fridge. The turkey is in the oven. The Holidays are officially upon us. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I for one have much to be thankful for. Highest on the list is my Uncle J. He made it through his surgery beautifully yesterday and is on the mend. They will have him up and walking around today–amazing!

I am thankful for my friends and family. They are fun, loving, and best of all supportive. I know I can count on you, and I hope you know you can count on me. I love you all.

I am thankful for my job. Sure, I complain a lot about it, but it’s hard work, so I suppose that is to be expected. I really am thankful to have a job, especially with today’s economy being what it is.

I am thankful for my hobbies. Gaming, writing, reading, and movies, have done their best to keep me sane, especially the last couple of years. That leads me to thank a few authors in particular, who have given me the means to escape when needed in the last few years: JK Rowling, the writers of such recent Star Wars novel series as the New Jedi Order Era and the Legacy of the Force Era, Andrew Davidson, and of course Stephenie Meyer. A special Thank You to the folks at The Game Depot, Arizona, my FLGS. If anyone has kept me sane (Yes, I know. I use the term lightly.) these last few years, it has been you. Thanks for keeping my hands busy and my mind occupied.

I know I have a lot more to be thankful for, but time is running short. There is dinner to be made. I’ll close with Old Man Bobby. I cannot say Thank You enough, for everything. For more Date Nights than I can count. For dealing with my many neuroses and putting up with my crap in general. For backrubs I never have to ask for. For endless games of Ask Me About My Book. For doing my bidding. And of course for all the stuff I shouldn’t mention in polite company. Thank you. I’m a lucky woman to have a “boyfiend” like you. Don’t tell anyone I said that though.

Thursday I was at my FLGS, The Game Depot AZ. I’m there so often visiting my friends, the owners of the store, that the Thursday crowd seems quite convinced that I work there. Common mistake I guess, as I you will often find me behind the counter, but I honestly am not employed there. I’ve had offers, but I prefer to keep The Game Depot my place of entertainment, rather than employment. We joke about me being their intern, as I will often grab Cokes for customers, answer questions about games when I can, and help stock the new shipments. I get paid with good conversation, and an air-conditioned environment in which to play games with my meeps.

But I digress. Thursday, I jokingly said to my friends Patty and Dave, “Let’s play a game!” knowing the great irony is that they don’t get to play when they work, even though it’s a game store. Just a few moments later a couple of guys came in trying to find a “Mom game” for one of their mothers for, you guessed it, Mother’s Day. Patty and I set about trying to find the perfect game. It had to be fun, light, but not too light. There had to be some substance, but you still wanted to be able to socialize, so it couldn’t be too thinky.

In honor of the experience, and of course Mother’s Day, I thought I’d post a list of what we came up with and maybe even add a few of my own if I become inspired at some point in the next few minutes.

Parlay – This is a card game that’s a cross between Scrabble and Poker. Your have a standard playing card deck. Each card has the added bonus of having a letter on it.  Not only do you have to come up with the best possible Poker hand, but also the highest possible point-value word. You can’t rely too heavily on either the word or the Poker hand, so neither the card sharks nor the Scrabble players are at an advantage. This, I believe, is what makes it safe for the whole family, and would keep the Moms happy.

Apples to Apples – This is a popular party game. There are two types of cards: red apples and green apples. You have a hand of red apples that have random nouns on them. The Judge plays a green card, which is a description. You try to win green apples by cleverly playing your red apples. Everyone plays the red apple card from their hand (face down) that they think the the Judge will proclaim best describes the green apple in play. For example, the Judge plays “Corrupt”. The players throw in their cards. The Judge shuffles them up and lays them out. We giggle over the crazy selection: Milk, Gym Socks, The Dalai Lama, Killer Bees, and Canada. Maybe the Judge is a Mom with a teenage boy. Gym Socks is the clear winner. The player who threw in Gym Socks wins the green apple. Whatever the Judge says goes. You can try to convince the Judge for and against certain cards. If someone else had been the Judge, and they were lactose intolerant, Milk may have won. Knowing your judge is key. The next player then becomes the Judge, and the game continues.

Qwirkle – This has been described as “Caveman Scrabble”. It’s an apt description. You have tiles with six colors and six shapes on them. High score wins. Players take turns laying tiles to earn points. To lay down tiles they must match either in color or in shape, with no duplicates. The playing area ends up looking a lot like a crossword puzzle made of colorful, geometric shapes, hense “Caveman Scrabble”.

Pickomino – More tiles to lay. These have pictures of worms on them. Cute little cartoon worms. I know, Mom, they can’t be cute enough to get you to play, but other Moms might like them. Everyone takes turns rolling dice, and trying to get the most worms. Each tile has a number on it, as well as a number of worms. The higher the number, the more worms. You begin by rolling all your dice. You choose one number and “freeze” all dice of that number. You then roll the remaining number of dice again, repeating the process until you can add up all the frozen dice to get what you think is the highest numbered tile you can take. You may end up not being able to take anything if the dice are working against you, or you may roll the exact number one someone else’s tile, and choose to steal it from them. It’s a press-your-luck sort of game. It’s fun, especially if yo Mama is a trash-talker.

Snatch – You know I had to mention my Snatch. My game boys love my Snatch. What can I say? ( See Item 4 to bring yourself up to speed ) Snatch is another tile-laying game. This one is all letters. Player take turns flipping tiles face up. When someone spots a word they call it out and take the tiles. Don’t get too attached to your words (which are your points, BTW). As soon as another player can spot another word they can turn your word or words into by adding at least one new letter, they can and will snatch your word. That’s right, I’ll take your Cud and pull her Leg to make my own Cudgel. If I’d spotted the S in on the table, too, I would have said so and made it Cudgels, but I didn’t and it’s too late now, because you can’t simply pluralize a word or add a prefix or suffix. You have to change the root of the word. Really, it’s good clean fun, unless you have dirty-minded people snatching words left and right.

If you’re interested, Parlay, Qwirkle, and Apples to Apples were three games we suggested. Qwirkle won. There’s a store copy of Qwirkle so Patty and I got to play…I mean we demo’d the game for the two gentlemen. They had fun and approved of the game as Mom-worthy. Oh and they also got LCR, a fancy version of it, which we didn’t need to “demo” because they’d already played that one.

Happy Mother’s Day!