July 31, 2005


Make it a Cheapass night! posted by Jess

I've said on many occasions how much Matt, myself, and our friends love to play board games.

A very small company called Cheapass Games noticed two observations about board games, as noted on their website: They a lot of money, and are the same in most ways, except for the board.

In their words, a board game usually consists of a board, instructions, and then the remaining parts such as dice, timers, counters, markers, and pencils can account for about 75% of the remaining cost of production which gets passed on to us, the consumers.

Cheapass Games has a solution to the problem. Their games consist of a board, instructions, and anything else unique to that game only. They tell you what extra pieces you need to "borrow" from another game, such as timers, dice, etc. As they put it, they'd rather invest in one good set of "gaming paraphernalia" rather than have twenty sets of crappy ones.

Because of this, the games are relatively inexpensive to buy, and take up a very small amount of space. In addition, the primary game creator over at Cheapass Games, James Ernest, is proving to be a brilliant mind in game design. His games are easy to learn, mind-bogglingly unique, and incredibly fun to play.

Our favorites:

Give Me The Brain!
This is a card game in which all players are Zombies, working at a restaurant called "Friedeys". The bad news? There's a lot of work to be done, and only one Brain to pass around. Be the first to aquire the Brain (dice) to get your tasks done and thus get rid of all your cards.

Each card is a "job" with other helper cards. Some jobs are one-handed, meaning you can do two in one turn. Other jobs require both hands, and you can only play one of them. However, you're a zombie, so that "extra" hand you find lying around in a helper card can become handy to play another job.

This is probably the most entertaining (and quick) of all Cheapass games we've played. Not only is it fun to play, but the cards themselves are hysterical in both text and pictures. "Give me the Brain! I have to make a Cheezabunga!"

Kill Dr. Lucky
Kill Dr. Lucky is a board game that will probably take about an hour, but is incredibly fun. The board, cards and rulebook are provided, you need the people markers.

The board is set up with lots of numbered rooms. Dr. Lucky is a playerless character who moves from room to room also. Your job, as players, is to aquire a weapon card, manage to move to the same room Dr. Lucky is in, and kill him without any other player "seeing" you do it. By seeing, I mean being in any other room that has a line of sight in conjunction with the room you are in.

Strategy City, folks!

For the more optimistic people, there's also Save Dr. Lucky.
This game reverses the strategy, except you now have to save Dr. Lucky, while making sure someone else is in your line of sight to watch you do it.

This game is especially fun because if you play this immediately after playing "Kill Dr. Lucky", there's a fun set of penalty rules for saying the wrong thing, ie. "I'm going to kill him with..." Gotcha! Wrong game, dude!


Deadwood

Deadwood is a fun board game about trying to make as much money as you can by being a movie extra. This is probably our favorite board game among all of them.

The game comes with rulebook, board, and cards, and you need to provide 6-sided dice to use as people markers, several more 6-sided dice to use as currency, and coins as markers.

Players use 6-sided dice to represent themselves, and the current good-role level. Upon making more money, you can go to the Audition house to pay money to "up" your dice, say from a 2 to a 3 and get better paying roles that way. At the end of the game, he who has the most moolah, wins!

December 13, 2004


AtmosFEAR is the leaderboard of board games! posted by Jess

It used to be that every time Matt and I played board games, we always said the same thing - why don't we play these more often? They're SO fun!

Well, fortunately for us, Reality TV hit the airwaves, and so Matt and I turned to good friends, good laughs, and good games!


Here's some of our favorites:

Scrabble

An oldie but still a goodie, just be sure to have the official "Scrabble Dictionary" at hand. Though Matt and I have yet to get that 50 point bonus for using all 7 tiles at once, we've come close. Don't forget our variation, "Scrabbizzle", in which if you can use it in a sentence, you can play it.

Malarky

This game involves no board, but a lot of bull. A question is read aloud, such as "How did the Oreo cookie get it's name?", or "Why do Twizzlers have the texture around the edge?" Each person gets handed a card, and only one has the right answer. You then go around the room giving your "answer", and each person votes at the end. This game has never managed to be boring, and we've yet to find someone that didn't like playing. Major hint: Proper names and dates work WONDERS. But from experience, trust me. It's hard to believe that the last three question coincidentally all happened during the Great Depression.

AtmosFEAR

Our current favorite! This is a board game that you play along with a DVD. Race around the board getting keys, while the clock on the DVD counts down from 49 minutes - no pausing! The Gatekeeper will appear on screen at random intervals ("Maggots!") to taunt you and make you do all sorts of silly things. You can draw time cards, in which you watch the clock to do certain things. For example, when the clock reaches 38:33, yell "Stop!" If anyone jumps, you get to take a key from them. The Gatekeeper is hysterical, and the interactions are random, so you can play the game over and over again and still hear something new that makes you laugh. Oh, and the really neat thing? The game comes in 5.1 surround sound for the background eerie noises. Though the Gatekeeper and noises might be a little scary for younger children. I took a screenshot of the TV so you can make your own decision. But, it's a great family game, up to six people can play.

The Gatekeeper:

DSC01544.JPE

And he says WE'RE ugly and stupid?


October 23, 2004


Great Moments in D&D Roleplaying posted by Jess

Well, the BBQs, baby showers, and late night garden parties are over. Corona & limes, lawn chairs and tank tops are traded in for flannel pyjamas, late-night fires, and a nice glass of merlot.

The end of the summer also means that a new season of D&D campaigning can begin, now that schedules settle down on the weekends.

What better way to get us all psyched up for the new season than posting great moments of years past? The ones we still talk about? We've all been playing together since we were in the dorms. The bottom line of D&D is having fun with your best friends. And have fun we do...

Before we get started, I used our real names when we're talking about what we're going to do. When it's something the character said in gameplay, I state it, then put the player's real name in parentheses, if I can still remember their character's name!

DM = Dungeon Master, the person who is running the campaign.
GM = Game Master, the same thing, except that's what it's called in Heroes, which is not Dungeons and Dragons, it's a cyberpunk roleplay game.

***

DAY TO DAY BANTER

Shaylee the wizard (April): "What is there to eat in this place?"

Barkeep (Matt, DM'ing): "Meat and soup".

Shaylee: "What's in the soup?"

Barkeep: "Meat."

***

Great big ugly monster looking at Whistler (Nate, DM’ing): "MMMmmm…Lunch!"

Whistler the Kender (Jess): "GREAT idea, I’m starving!" Calling back to others, "Its okay guys, he just wants some company for lunch, that’s all!"

***

Melodie the bard (Cindy): "Can I do an interpretive dance for you?"

Rest of party: "NO!"

...Melodie continues asking all day long...

Later, in a pub filled with goblins...

Melodie (Cindy): stands on bar and throws down a platinum piece, "Drinks are on me!"

Matt, DM'ing: "They all start cheering."

Cindy: "Are they looking at me?"

Matt, DM'ing: "Yep, you've definately got their attention."

Melodie (Cindy): "Now that I have your attention, I will now do an interpretive dance..."

***

Jay, DM'ing: "Your sword is cursed. It doesn't like dwarves."

Sword, continuously yelling over the course of the day: "DWARVES SUCK!"

Drew, playing a dwarf: "Figures."

Xander as fighter (Nate): "Sword, shut up! You're going to give away our position."

Jay, DM'ing: passes note around to each player.

Note: you hear in a faint whisper, 'dwarves suck.'

***

Nate, playing a cleric: "With this spell I cast, anyone who worships the same God I do gets +2 on save rolls."

Cindy: "Yay, I get it!"

Matt, DM'ing: "You do?"

Cindy: "It says so right here on my character sheet!"

Matt, DM'ing: Reading aloud – "Not practicing, just major holidays."

***

IN BATTLE

Matt, DM'ing: "Cindy, you're up. What do you want to do."

Cindy: "Conjure up a tree and hide behind it."

Matt, DM'ing: "A tree has mysteriously appeared in the dungeon. Calista has disappeared."

Rest of party: "Ummmm… can we roll a Widsom check?"

***

THE GREATEST D&D MOMENT EVER:

The rest of our party was chained up in a room by a Mind Flare. Ernie, playing a fighter, was the only character not captured. If he could not rescue us, this campaign was over.

Chris, DM'ing: "Okay Ernie, you're right outside the door."

Ernie: "I am going to kick open the door, throw my battle-axe, and hit him in the head."

Chris, DM'ing: "Wow, that's a serious called shot with LOTS of room for error and fumbles. I can only give it to you if you roll a 20. Otherwise, guys, it's been real!"

Rest of party: Holding breath as we watch Ernie roll.

The dice rolls across the table, and teeters on the brink of falling off, only to lie slightly angled at the edge of the table with the 20 plainly on top.

Much whooping and hollering ensues.

***

D&D Reality TV:

"Who Wants to Marry a Hydra?"
"Joe Platinumaire"
"Bardic Idol"
"Third Eye for the Psionic Guy"
"Last Bard Standing"
"Making the Adventurers"
"Real World: Dungeon House"
“Average Heroes”

***

HEROES CAMPAIGNS (Cyberpunk role-play game)

Ernie, upon entering a crowded dance club: "Yo."

Matt, DM'ing: "No one's paying any attention to you."

Nate: "I take my machine gun, and shoot it up at the ceiling."

Matt, DM'ing: "Everyone screams and hits the floor. They’re all watching you now, silent."

Nate: "My friend said 'Yo.'"

***

Matt, GM'ing: "Okay guys, your jeep is now equipped with a semi-automatic machine gun at the back of it. Before you finish buying it and leaving, is there anything else you want to buy/add to it? You still have money left."

Cindy: "A licorice dispenser!"

Jess: "A hot chocolate machine!"

January 19, 2004


Syberia & Uru: Ages Beyond Myst posted by Jess

I've mentioned several times how much Matt and I love to play adventure computer games.

We've long discovered that two brains are better than one, and love spending quality time with furrowed brows clicking on items until we find the right one. Now that I have my laptop, it's even better. We bring out the speakers & subwoofer to the living room, put on a fire and play the night away.

We just got done playing Syberia, and just started Uru: Ages Beyond Myst.

A few notes.

Syberia was named Editor's Choice for many games sites, ie. Gamespot. Matt and I were really disappointed. Granted, the backdrops and scenery were breathtaking. The story was good, however extremely abrupt and anticlimatic at the end.

But the real disappointment lay in the game itself. It really wasn't a game, it was more click-and-walkthrough. The puzzles and conversations spoon-fed us the answers. For example, we walked into a room, and there were only two things to interact with: a card lying in plain sight on an otherwise empty desk, and a card reader right beside it. Not much guesswork there.

Then we'd talk to a character, and the character would say something like, "first you need to flip that lever over there. Then the train will go."

So needless to say, while it was beautiful to look at, I won't be recommending it to anyone.

We just started Uru last night. Here's two signs that this is going to be a good game:

1. The game starts, and the puzzles involve first figuring out what the puzzles are.

2. Within two minutes of the game starting, we have to pull out a notebook and start writing down symbols.

I'll post more on the game once it's finished. But it's looking good so far!

For more information:
Syberia
Uru: Ages Beyond Myst

December 15, 2003


ICP Strikes Again posted by Matt

Well the ICP (Insane Craps Posse) made it back to the casino once again. This time we rocked the table for over four hours and hit the slots. We got to the casino around 6:30 and saw our favorite pit boss (John). We asked him where he would be setting up and we followed him over to a small group of 3 tables. One of the tables was good to us before so Bill & I stood there to guarantee a spot. The ladies were off to play the slots.

Just to give you a bit of background, a lady (also named Jessica so I wont add any confusion) at my office does astrology and said that Dec 12 was "Jess's Night" to go to the casino. This started to prove itself before we even played craps. Jess sat down at a slot machine and without any money in the slot, the machine started flickering and adjusting its wheels. Jess hit the button and it spun up! Ok, one free spin but that gave Jess 16 coins. By the time craps started, we had to drag her away from the machine (not really, we dont want to get kicked out of the casino before we even play).

So, now back on topic, we were hoping to have a $5 table. John was nice enough to start our table off as a $5 but either after one roll or before any, he changed it to a 10 and the dealers at the table were shouting "Grandfathered In". Basically, anyone else coming to the table had the $10 minimum bet but we got to keep our $5. That was pretty sweet.

Anyhoo, we were piggy-backing bets, making come bets, and place bets up the wahzoo. I had a steady income from the hard way bets and everyone else was hitting yo's, points etc. The night was off to a good start. I was doing well so I asked the dealer how many people were at the table. He said 10 so I counted up $11 and tossed out a one-time bet of a YO for everyone. Well the lady hit and everyone got paid $15, including the dealers. Nobody knew why they were getting paid. It was a mass of confusion until they all realized what I had done. Then it was a table of hooting and hollering.

I made a lot of instictive bets friday night and they paid off. A last minute "any seven" bet got me an extra $35 on Jess's roll. Even I was rolling well and making points. Everyone left a winner.

So what time did we leave the casino? Oh, about 1-1:30 am. Not too shabby. We were at the craps table for four hours in which time we also made over $300 for the dealers. They were lovin' us (except for Jess apparently which I will get to). We then proceeded to the slots where I made a quick fifty. Around midnight, we went to the martini bar to reflect on our day. We were talking about the 11 way yo I made and all the hardways, our new found love of the come bet and just how much fun the night was overall. Then we started to try and guess what they gave us for points. I said at least ten but everyone else was a bit skeptical of it. Turns out that Bill, April and I got close to 24 points while poor jess got shafted with about 11 points. Every time we go, she seems to get the least amount of points out of all of us. We dont know why, but I have a few theorys. I think the best theory right now is I dropped all the money on the table for chips and just gave Jess half of it. They saw me change double of what I was playing with which could have had a lot of weight on the points. We are going to ask next time we got though.

Well, that was our night and we cant wait to go again. The dealers love us for making the game more exciting for them as well. We bring so much excitement to the table, they dont even want to go on break. With all our cheering for the "shoo-tah", we bring more bets to the table so we (only me so far) get some perks. And when we left we asked to see the box with all the chips we won for them. It was over 3/4 full!

If it didn't before, our file in the players club should say some really good things about us now :-) Cant wait to see what happens next time!

September 24, 2003


The (I)nsane (C)raps (P)osse strikes again! posted by Jess

On the spur of the moment on Monday, we decided to go to Mohegan Sun and play Craps. Just to be little goofy, (and, well, because we could), we also decided to wear these funny hats we picked up at Six Flags earlier in the summer, figuring it would be fun to try and get everyone into the game, as we always do. Craps is a very dynamic, very social game, and it’s incredibly fun to try and change the mood of the table.

So, four of us went, and picked a table, looked at each other, and brought out our hats and put them on. Immediately the whole table started giggling and asking us what they were for, to which we replied “absolutely NO reason at all!”

DSC00474.jpg

Me, Matt, Bill and April (yes, ladies and gentleman, Bill is indeed the one and only Muggle F’uggly of half-orc fame. Sorry ladies, he’s a married man!) enjoy getting the mood of the table up, and also trying to help out the dealers. The bets started flying.

We’re throwing two-way bets (meaning we throw in a little more, like a dollar. If the bet wins, it goes to the dealers also), three way bets (meaning if the bet wins, it goes to the dealers AND the shooter), and start screaming our heads off. One shooter had NO idea what was happening when he won, and the dealer placed his winnings in front of him. He thanked Matt profusely for that one once he understood what happened!

The mood became contagious. A young woman next to Bill started throwing two-way bets. The dealers were incredibly thankful, telling us that it doesn’t happen very often. Pit bosses were coming up to us and asking us to “jingle our hats”. People at our table were cheering. April went to the restroom, and people were stopping her to ask why she was wearing her hat, and that the staff was talking about it.

Even the dealer turned to Matt and said that didn’t want to go to break, even though he had to because he didn’t want to miss the action.

I had a good rolling spree, but by the next time around, I was out of money and couldn’t play anymore. A man at the table said, “you’re not shooting this turn?”, threw me a five dollar chip, and said, “now you can.”

At this point I must add that as usual, before making my point, I managed to roll two sevens in a row much to the delight of the table. But at least now I know the odds of that.

We managed to stay cheering at that table for 4 and a half hours. Even on the way out, people were telling us now neat it was that we did something different.

Sometimes it’s fun to do things when there’s absolutely no reason for it at all.

September 15, 2003


A really crappy blog entry. posted by Matt and Jess

In addition to silly things Matt and I come up with to think about (how do they get soda bottles filled so close to the top without the foam overflowing? When exactly is the carbonation added? Ok, so that one was mine…(do you see what I have to put up with on long car rides? Keep reading, it only gets better), we think about math questions.

In fact, there’s nothing better than a terrible, horrible, KEEP YOU UP AT NIGHT brain buster of a question (if it keeps me up at night, I think I would rather it be something good then terrible. She makes it sound like heartburn). Well, this one is probably quite easy for some people. Though however difficult it comes, I love trying to work them out myself, or, what usually ends up happening, with Matt.

Matt and I live very, very close to two major casinos on the Northeast, Foxwoods (bleh) and Mogehan Sun (amazing).

We’ll be the loud ones screaming “IT’S TWO-WAY YO TIME, SHOOTA!” at the craps table.

I have this uncanny knack for always rolling the same number twice (always is a bit overboard. To say that means 100% of the time and though recent events would suggest that this is pretty close to 100%, I don’t want all you notes people camping out in my driveway to go on a get rich quick trip to the casino though we’d love to see you all!), before making a point value.

So I got to thinking, just HOW amazing of a feat, if at all, is that?

I started talking to Matt about it. We quickly discovered that we needed to clarify the actual question. For example, ‘what are the odds of rolling two numbers in a row’ and ‘if I roll a 7 on the come out roll, what are the odds that I’ll roll a 7 again?’ are two entirely different questions.

By the way, click 'continue reading' at the end for a quick lowdown on how Craps works, by Matt.

The first question doesn’t care what the first roll is, only that the second roll comes up with the same number as the first. The second question means that it has to include for odds that the 7 MUST come up on the first roll.

(on a side note, that first question could be misinterpreted… this is usually the root of my confusion when Jess asks me a question. I say there is a 100% chance of rolling 2 numbers in a row. However, rolling 2 numbers that are the same is an entirely different story. Granted, over time, I came to understand they way she thinks and just answer the “real” question) Matt’s a smarty-pants.

What I tend to do that’s unusual, is before establishing a point (4,5,6,8,9 or 10), I will always roll either two 12’s, two 7’s, or two 11’s, etc.

At this point I think I’ll “hand the dice” (craps joke, har har) over to Matt because this is where he wrote up a document for me that I didn’t understand. So let’s see if he can explain it a little bit better for me (and you of course).

Ok, to answer this question you first need to understand what the odds of rolling each number is.









NUMBER(s)ODDS
2 or 121:36
3 or 112:36
4 or 103:36
5 or 9 4:36
6 or 8 5:36
76:36

Simplified the 3 and 11 are a 1:18 chance, the 4 and 10 are a 1:12 chance, the 5 and 9 are a 1:9 chance, the 6 and 8 are a 1:7.2 chance and the 7 is a 1:6 chance. This table also shows that there are 36 possible outcomes of rolling the dice (keep in mind that all values on the left in the odds column are doubled EXCEPT for the 7… you do the math unless you want me to get funky with combinatorics. )

Now onto the real question asked by Jess. “What are the odds that I don’t roll a point on my come out roll and the second number I roll is the same as the first?” ( I still did not understand this question until she started writing up this blog. I still don’t understand the answer… let’s see if his continued rant will help!)

So the first question we need to ask is what are the odds of not rolling a point. Having already established the 4,5,6,8,9, and 10 as points, we can see that there are 24 ways of rolling a point. That leaves 12 ways to NOT roll a point. Jess has a 1:3 chance to not roll a point on the come out roll. Now it is time to get all mathematical on yer asses. The numbers in question are 2,3,7,11 and 12. The odds of rolling a 2 or 12 on the first roll are 1:36. The odds of rolling it again on the next roll is 1:1296 (or 1 in 36 squared chance). This is because the second roll is based on the first roll. The odds on the 3 and 11 are a 1:324 chance and the 7 has the best odds which is 1:36.

This squaring holds true only for numbers that have the same odds for coming up. It does not suggest that the odds of rolling a 7 followed by a 12 will be 1 in 1296… the odds for this are 1:216 which is the odds of rolling a 7 times the odds of rolling a 12. (ok, enter a bit of combinatorics. This is where I stopped understanding when he sent me the document. The number of possible outcomes on a single die is 6 (1,2,3,4,5, or 6). The number of possible outcomes on two dice is 36 or C(6,1)*C(6,1) where C is defined as 6 choose 1 and has a mathematical formula of 6!/(6-1)! or generically, C(x,y) where 0<=y<=x equals x!/(x-y)! and ! is defined as factorial.) *** LADIES AND GENTLEMEN… SHE UNDERSTOOD IT!!! *** Well, he still had to explain it out loud after writing it. (please see SAT = Stupid Annoying Test for more on <-( Say it fast it sounds like MORON) that.)

Well I hope my open parens have matched my closing ones, that always gets me when I write up code. Too bad I can’t compile my document before I sign off on it. I also hope that my math is correct. I in no way make a claim that I am, or ever will be, a master of combinatorics… that stuff is like a bad hangover (please see my trip to Japan for MORON my hangovers).

At least it’s not heartburn.

Quick Craps Primer:

To the person who has only “seen” craps, they, more often then not, think that it is the most confusing game at the casino. Between the dice rolling, the players shouting, and the chips flying across the table, it is no wonder why this is the assumption. Well this couldn’t be any further from the truth. Here is the low down.

There is a round puck on the table with the word “OFF” on one side and “ON” on the other. This is a marker. When it says “OFF”, the person with the dice, a.k.a. the shooter, has not yet rolled a point. This is known as the “come out” roll. When it says “ON”, it is placed on the “point” that the shooter rolled. A point is a 4,5,6,8,9, or 10.

Now there are 5 numbers missing and depending on what the puck shows, they behave differently. When the puck shows “OFF”, a 2,3, or 12, a.k.a. “craps”, are usually bad, and a 7 or 11 are usually good. When it shows “ON”, a 7 is usually bad. I say usually because you can bet with the house or the shooter. Most, if not all, players at the table are betting with the shooter and if they are not, I don’t play at the table. As a result, the rest of this “low-down” will be describing how to play with the shooter.

The first bet you should make on the table is called a “Pass Line” bet. This one is really easy to do. When your standing at the table, simply take an amount of chips totaling no less then the table minimum, and place it on the pass line in front of you. If you have never seen a craps table before, don’t worry, the pass line is clearly marked. If a 7 or 11 is rolled, all bets on the pass line pay 1:1 (ex: if you put $5 on the pass line, you win $5). However, if craps is rolled, all pass line bets are collected by the house and you must place a new bet on the pass line. Any other number rolled is a point.

Once a point is rolled, you can place an amount of money behind your pass line bet, also known as backing your bet. Depending on the odds the house gives on the specific numbers can determine how much you can back it with. For instance, at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, you can back the 4 and 10 with up to 3 times your pass line bet, the 5 and 9 with up to 4 times your pass line bet and the 6 and 8 with up to 5 times your pass line bet. What you are betting on is that the shooter will roll their point again before they roll a 7. If they do, pass line bets win and if the shooter should “seven out”, the house collects all bets on the pass line.

Well, that is a brief introduction into craps and there are plenty more bets that can be made on the table. From one time bets like craps and yo, to place bets and hard ways, the table always offers plenty of excitement. Just remember, go with money you can lose and not money to gamble to make enough for the mortgage.

August 25, 2003


Why Sunday D&D is so much fun... posted by Jess

Goofing off and silliness with your closest friends. Does it get any better than this? (aside from the cheesecake, danish, potato chips, skittles and veggies & dip).

Setting: Dwarven town of Tulderoc Gap. Just settled into the local tavern Chippendwarfs after a hard day's exploration and battle in the local dungeon.

Melodie (Cindy), the party’s bard, casts a simple spell on the bowl of peanuts sitting nearby to make them chocolate covered. Thinking she’s onto something, she tries to make a quick buck by selling them to the soon-so-be sloshed tavern patrons.

The half-orc barbarian Muggle F’uggly (Bill) has had a bad dice-rolling day (whoops, I mean he’s just been rather clumsy) and decides he needs to redeem himself by drinking. LOTS of drinking. Deciding to engage in a drinking contest with a dwarf sitting nearby, a platinum coin (hey, we still got SOME spoils) flies across the bar and the keg starts flowing.

Thirteen beers later, a very inebriated Muggle and a sort-of inebriated dwarf are still going at it (Bill’s rolling has not improved). Artimus (Nate), the foolhardy cleric steps in to defend Muggle’s honor and prove he can hold his ale.

Let it be said at this time that Shaylee (April), the half-elf wizard is very responsibly doing research in the town library.

Not wanting to miss the action, Melodie joins up with her life-partner Maven (Jess), the party’s devious rogue to start a betting pool among the tavern. The ale continues to go down smoothly.

Artimus seems to be doing alright, his speech is only just starting to slur whilst his dwarf contender is having trouble seeing straight. Muggle, on the other hand, has just slid off his chair in a heap on the floor. Artimus is soon to follow, however, it is noted AFTER the dwarf. Melodie and Maven are quite happy, having placed their odds on Artie.

Melodie, quite upset at the lack of interest in her interpretive dance of the night’s events, decides her act needs a quick pick-me-up. Thinking quickly, she casts a spell to turn Muggle and Artimus red and green, respectively. Then she proceeds to levitate and spin them above her, while dancing and singing underneath them.

Muggle has had a lot of ale. Muggle should probably not be spinning right now. The flying upchuck manages to hit three dwarfs, who proceed to walk up to Melodie and dump their glasses of ale all over her.

Maven, who sees her life-partner get soaked screams, “no one goes after Melodie!” and proceeds to take the remnants of chocolate covered peanuts and start flinging them at the dwarfs.

The dwarfs grab Melodie. However, being ever-resourceful, she decides now would be a perfect time to cast Blink, a spell that makes her continuously disappear and reappear somewhere else in the close vicinity. While Muggle and Artimus have stopped spinning, they continue to levitate for several more minutes.

While the two men are floating, Melodie is popping in and out all over the room, and Maven is throwing peanuts, Shaylee walks in the door and shakes her head.

Finally, the men are pulled down and Shaylee puts them to bed. Melodie and Maven are kicked out of the tavern.

Who then proceed to turn invisible and levitate up to Shaylee’s room so she can let them back in.

There’s always a way, right? :-)

May 20, 2003


"Gamers". Damn stereotypes! posted by Jess

Libby has commented on an article she read in which the author discusses whether computer games are considered productive or counter-productive. Thankfully, it seems that the three of us share the same opinion (that games are NOT counter-productive).

What I found interesting was that the author of the game didn't take it a step further by discussing different game genres and the merits of each. Libby, along with the author, mentioned Half-Life and the like, the main merit being the ability to blow off steam and take a break only to focus stronger later (I won't go into bragging rights after making a fabulous shot :-)

I wanted to talk about the merits of puzzle-solving adventure games.

Matt and I play together, discussing the choices and the next step. There's just something amazing about locking ourselves in the house for the weekend, enjoying each other's company, solving the game, and emerging with brains bursting (and hurting) from having to come up with lateral ways of problem solving in order to move on.

Among our favorites:

Zork: Grand Inquisitor (you'll be laughing the moment the credits roll)
The Longest Journey (the story will suck you in. Fabulous puzzles)
The Neverhood (Claymation. Extremely silly, with great puzzles)
Grim Fandango (Based on the day of the dead. It's like a movie)

Now for those like me, that eat up the opportunity to solve a puzzle, you will find no greater thrill than The Stone. Most puzzles are created such that you know what you have to do, you just have to think of a way to get to that result.

Imagine not even knowing that you have to do. The Stone is an online game in which you are given a picture. Sometimes there are mouseovers, sometimes not. You look at what you see, plug them into a search engine, and go nuts. Not only do you have to solve the puzzle, you have to find out what they are asking in the first place. It's solving a puzzle in which the first puzzle is finding out what the actual puzzle is. The link above contains sample puzzles.

Now, onto more merits of computer games (well, this one isn't really a computer game. It's a video/arcade game). But the benefits just can't be ignored. I'm talking about Dance Dance Revolution.

This game involves techno music, a pad on the floor with 4 arrows in each direction, and corresponding arrows on the screen. Arrows will shoot up to the beat of the music. When the arrow that comes up synchs with the arrow on top of the screen, you have to hit the arrow on the pad.

Not only is this an incredible aerobic workout, the advancing levels of the game can help your reflexes become razor sharp. Even CBS News has noted that some elementary schools have adopted this game as part of their phys ed programs.

It appears I've gone on a bit longer than I intended to, I just can't ignore the fact that I think these "games" have helped me become a better person all around. Productive? I'd say so.

Don't get me started on Dungeons and Dragons. Yes, Matt and I still play, and hope to play this with our future children. Why? Because of the virtues it teaches. What I have I learned from it?

Patience. Turn taking. Chivalry. Teamwork. Problem solving. Comraderie. Honor. Math (yes, really!). Oh, and lastly thanks to Cindy, I have learned that no matter how many orcs you search, the last one always has a precious gem in his boot.


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