On Wisdom

I work with disadvantaged youth. There are some things I find are particularly helpful in their lives.

You can stop being angry about something that happens and that doesn't mean that the thing that happened wasn't wrong.

Thinking errors cause cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is a fancy way of describing the feeling we have when things suck. They are only called 'errors' because they cause dissonance - literally when we encounter things different then the way we feel they should be.

These include such things as:
The belief life should be fair.
The belief that wicked people should be punished.
The belief that people should treat us with respect.
The belief that parents should love their children.

These things are certainly desirable, but clearly there are many situations where they are not the case. Life isn't fair. Wicked people get away with stuff all the time. People don't treat us with respect, and parents often don't love their children.

You don't have control over anything but what thoughts and actions you choose to take. You can't control other people, you can't control your moods, you can't control your genetics, you can't control anything other than your thoughts and choices.

Making positive choices and thinking correctly can certainly influence those things, but at the end of the day, all we have control over are our thoughts.

On A Little Bit of the Past Reborn

In our current harsh economic climate of stupidity and malice, driven by greed to the explicit end of sorrow, a small burst of light appears.

If you've ever played any of the gold box games (Cue overhead map, with one monster being blocked off from the others, moving back and forth between two squares quickly), then you are probably also familar with Avernum and Exile. These are two game series made by Spiderweb Software that are done in that classic old gold box style.

Recently, Jeff Vogel announced that by the end of the year, he's going to be re-releasing the games for more modern platforms.

These games are known for their excellent recreation of sandbox play, their always being a Macintosh version of the game, and their excellent design and storytelling. The games have not only the engaging and difficult 'gold box' style that you remember, but are interesting enough to keep you engaged and excited to discover what will happen with your band of stalwart heroes throughout the adventure.

I'm excited about the re-release of these games. As the future wears on, I retreat more into rediscovering the things I enjoyed in the past. An excuse to replay a game like this is a welcome diversion. Like my excitement over Wizardry, I figured I'd share. :-)

On Encounters That Are Cosmic

That's it! I quit.

I said this no less then three times during our play of Cosmic Encounters, and I meant it every time it was said. I hate this game so much, I hope it gets burnt up in a fire. This is in fact the worst game ever. It is so bad it possibly does not even deserve the label 'game'.

I am eagerly awaiting my next chance to play again.

The Elements: This is basically the card game 'war' with a heavy dash of dragon poker.

The Crux
: You attempt to establish colonies on other players planets. Each turn a hyperspace gate will open, that points to a random player, at which point you will launch an attack in an attempt to kill and colonize whatever is beyond the gate. When you encounter the opponent, you each play a card with a number on it, and the higher number + the number of ships wins the combat. You then have a colony. Reach five and win.

However, things are not so deceptively simple.

You play one of a large selection of randomly determined races, and there are a variety of 'flare' cards in the number deck tuned to the races that are in play. There are also cards that neutralize powers. Each race, and all these reusable flare cards each have specific rules that will alter the flow of play. You literally have no idea what could happen next.
Ships that are lost head to the warp.
(It's that round thing in the middle)


More on that in a second.

The Countenance: When I sit down to play a game, I intend to win the game I'm attempting to play. I develop a strategy.

That is a terrible idea for this game.

I got something I thought was awesome. The race of the Losers. Their power was if you lose you win. Since it is so easy to lose at this game, I was enjoying a string of victories until suddenly someone played a card that allowed them to switch races with me.

Clearly if you are not even assured that you will have access to the same suite of powers on your turn, any sort of long term strategy becomes useless. Also, the game play basically boils down to 'which card is highest' with a ridiculous amount of variables.

The Detritus: Don't make long term plans, anything can happen. Take advantage of any situation once the opportunity becomes available.

The Final Counsel: It may sound as if I am being somewhat negative in this review about the game. I will admit, I was frustrated several times during play - but that was only because I brought my own preconceptions like "planning ahead", "playing to win", and "developing a strategy" to the table. If you sit down to have fun with your friends, this is a fantastic game. We spent a great deal of time during play laughing, and that is always a wonderful thing. I highly recommend it for an evening of off kilter fun.

Normally I would provide links to where you could purchase this game, but due to new state laws created in a vain attempt to acquire money, I am no longer an authorized amazon associate. Arkansas felt that they weren't getting their cut from online retailers, so they decided to punish the population by making them poorer. This should not come as a surprise to anyone living in america. 

On the Might of Kings

I spent the night at my new apartment last night. The move is mostly completed.

The holdup was waiting on the activation of the internet services, of course.

So, I have illumination at the touch of a switch, hot and cold running water, devices to clean dishes and clothes in under an hour, a centralized control of the ambient temperature in the room, three different ways to heat and prepare food, a device that provides long term cold storage of food items to avoid spoilage, the ability to instantaneously call up thousands of entertainers and watch whatever plays or music that I wish, the ability to instantly contact my acquaintances by letter, voice, video, or the ability to visit them in virtual spaces, and machines that will allow me to play any game of my choosing, all instantly and without the assistance of servants.

I live better then kings of men did no more than 100 earth years ago.

On a Little Thing That's Right Up Your Alley

It's time for the Steve and Zack WTF! D&D Something Awful Contest.

If you don't know what I'm talking about it's here.

Last year was the erotic monster manual, and the year before, illustrations of rift random Oni demons.

The basic premise is that you submit a piece of art, and design a single encounter to go with it. This is frankly made for the OSR. Just was shown this by a friend, and thought I should pass it on.

The 2011 WTF, D&D!? Ultimate Module Artwork Contest.
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