Tag Archives: games

Anything for Trek

I am a die hard Trekkie. I grew up watching the original Star Trek series re-runs, the movies,  the animated series, and saw Star Trek:TNG when it was brand spanking new. I watched DS9, Voyager, and yes, even Enterprise. I can’t say I liked some of the story lines in the latter, but it was Star Trek and I love Scott Bakula , so I watched it.

While my inner scientist cringed at the whole “red matter” thing, I liked the alternate universe approach for the movie reboots. Oh, and I’ve read far more Star Trek books than I can list. My first foray into “grown-up” reading started as reading every Star Trek book I could find. For one, I’ve never, ever read a bad Trek book. I’ve read some that were forgettable and some so good that I’ve re-read them a dozen times. It was sort of that way with most of the movies and shows. It was guaranteed to entertain, and sometimes it made you look deeper, and once in a while it hit with an unexpected emotional punch, but very rarely was I ever dissatisfied. Okay, there were times I sat there watching Enterprise and I argued with the TV. “That is NOT cannon! The Vulcans would never, ever do that! OMG What are they thinking?” Still, this was more of an issue of the show not conforming to prior history rather than bad acting.

So where am I going with my ode to the Trek universe?

I’m getting there….

Soup King, if I haven’t mentioned it, is a gamer. I am not. I dabble from time to time, have a bit of fun, and then get bored and wander off to do non-gaming things. I grew up with 2-D, insanely hard games like Pac-Man and Mario Brothers (Damn you level 4 dragon!…b/c I never cared enough to hunt up those 99 lives, I never made it past world 4, except once, but I promptly died when arriving at world 5). Any one who knows me can attest, I have a hard enough time navigating in the real world. The 3-D characters that traipse about in games now take rather more skill than hitting an arrow key and A (or was it B?) to jump.

In any case, some of the games he’s played have indeed looked quite interesting. He tried to get me play PortalI kept walking into walls and couldn’t get my person to point where I wanted to go. I gave up quickly. I didn’t care if there was cake promised. Besides, from what I hear, the cake is a lie anyway.

Soup King started playing Star Trek Online. Even better? It’s free. I jumped all over that.

I’m sure there are hundreds of people watching my ship wobble helter skelter though a system and wonder if I’m drunk. Maybe by the time I get high enough in rank for PvE or PvP game play I’ll quit walking into walls. Then again, this is me. I walk into walls in real life.

When I finished the tutorial the NPC Admiral said, “You’ve shown great promise.  You’ll make a great Captain.”

Soup King commented, “Clearly he didn’t see you fly.”

I retorted, “He said Captain, not pilot!”

For Star Trek though, I’ll brave 3-D game play….going where [I] have never gone before!

Don't let her pilot!

Don’t let her pilot!

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Chaos’ Cousin: Destruction

As you might have noticed, I refer to my kids as my minions, but I’m pretty sure they are really in the employ of Chaos. Chaos has this best friend he just loves to hang out with; Destruction. I think Chaos, Destruction, and the little minions have been spending wayyyy too much time together.

Oh sure, there were the small little signs, like the fact that toys which survived over fifteen years of my siblings’ and my abuse were utterly destroyed in their hands. I shan’t even go into how many DVD players they’ve killed from overuse, or the fact that my beautiful hardwood floor is irreparably damaged in numerous places. I’m fairly certain that they’ve destroyed more stuff than that one dog I had way back in college who attempted to eat my apartment. She was not suited to apartment life. Heck, I think if I add up all the stuff ALL the dogs have destroyed, the kids still come out ahead on the destruction scale.

More Signs

Mr. Smarty-pants and his sister, Miss Diva, were playing a game on the computer while I cooked dinner last night. When Soup King arrived, Mr. Smarty-pants barreled into the kitchen and announced, “I took out Santa with an AK47 and an assault rifle. ”

Wait! What? What the hell is he playing?

I suppose it’s no worse than the one game his dad introduced him to where you shot at a cartoon representation of our last president. <facepalm> Okay, maybe I’m odd, but Santa Claus is sacred. How dare he take him out! I’m emailing Santa right now and telling him to deliver coal to a certain little boy.

Of course, my meek little Miss Diva has a streak of evil, as her comment about my hat demonstrated.

Miss Drama is the obsessive sort. She fixates on a topic until she wrings out every last bit of excitement or terror, depending on your viewpoint. She asked a rather innocuous question about space last week. She wanted to know what all was out there. My friend, Ms. Sarcasm, rattled off all sorts of info, non-sarcastically. Out of everything she was told Miss Drama fixated on black holes. Over the next week, as she awoke from nightmares of black holes eating her, and yet she kept asking questions about them and going on and on about black holes.

Miss Diva asked her why she was so fascinated by black holes.

“Because one is going to swallow the earth and squash it and we’re all going to DIE.”

I promptly attempted to set her straight on some facts.

  1. Black holes are not mobile (i.e. it isn’t going to chase you).
  2. One cannot simply spawn next to the earth.
  3. Our sun will not become a black hole as it isn’t big enough.

She gave me that “mmhmm, sure, you go right on thinking that” look.

I think I hear Chaos and Destruction laughing.

Collector vs The User

I promise this post is PG! Whatever you’re thinking, this isn’t about that!

Board Games! Yes, I’m referring to the things that come in boxes with instructions and in general require no computer or otherwise high tech device to occupy the time of a group of people. They require individuals to get together in the same place and socialize FACE-to-FACE! Think hard. I’m sure if you do you can recall a pre-tech immersed moment of socializing.

Several years ago when  I delved into the world of writing I was ignorant of the existence of the short and flash fiction markets. The only short stories I had ever seen were in my school readers or the occasional anthology of a well known writer’s shorter works. So when I began to socialize with other writers, at first I could not understand they bothered to write short stories for anything other than practice. Then my eyes were opened. A whole world of magazines, e-zines, and anthologies of which my otherwise excellent education failed to inform me existed.

How does this relate to board games?

I’m glad you asked. Prior to dating Soup King, my exposure to games consisted of ones put out by Mattel or Parker Brothers. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, especially since they are geared toward families and often have rules that younger children can master. As an adult, playing “Sorry” more than occasionally can be a wee bit boring.

Back when I was a teenager, I had enough friends in the “geek” crowd to have heard of “Magic”. (In high school I was more nerd by definition. Yes, there is a difference, but I’ve unleashed my inner geek in recent years.) It sounded intriguing, but 1) I had no money to purchase cards, and 2)from my friend’s description it sounded time consuming. So, I didn’t bother requesting someone teach me. I was busy with my gazillion clubs and insane load of AP classes.

Fast forward a few years. My children collect Pokemon and Yu-gi-oh cards, but to say they play is a bit of a stretch. They play, but the rules are basically made up on the fly and changed to ensure Mr. Smarty-pant’s winning streak. Then Soup King takes me to his apartment one day and there are stacks of boxes, all board games of different types. These are more esoteric games, with books for rules in some cases, and despite “board” being in the classification, there isn’t always a board involved. He introduces me to “Dominion” and I like it. Several others follow and I’m excited! It’s a whole new world of couple and family fun! There’s a whole world of games out there from simple dice throwing monster games to complex historical battle re-enactments.

Mr. Smarty-pants attempts to cheat with the regularity of a used-car salesmen. Miss Diva falls for his snake-oil pitches as often as a naive first-time car buyer. Miss Drama, for the most part, is not old enough to play most of the games, which is why I’ve recently acquired some very simple games that she can play. A highlyimportant skill, in my opinion, is teaching children to lose as gracefully as they win, and it isn’t a skill that is learned overnight.  Playing fairly and by the rules is also important, and one which all three of them are still learning. Truth be told, I think Miss Drama is a better loser than Mr. Smarty-Pants. As long as she’s given the chance to win once at something she’s happy, as opposed to Mr. Smarty-Pants who’d rather win all of the time.

Games, especially the more esoteric ones, cost money (easily $40 and up). To me, it’s an investment and I’m all about getting the most out of my investments. It’s much like my philosophy on book buying. If it isn’t a book I’m likely to read more than once, I very rarely buy it. That is what the library is for in my opinion. Granted, sometimes I break that rule, but then I sell them to the used book store and use the credit to acquire a book that I really want. I can read my favorites
over and over and never tire of them. I’m much the same with games. Thus, I classify myself as a user. I use the books or games until they are ready to fall apart. I get every ounce of my money out of those things. So when I do buy a shiny new book or game it is always with the knowledge that it will be well used.
Soup King is a collector. He owns more computer games than I imagine he’ll ever play. He’s decided to whittle down his board game collection, but again it is one that would take a great deal of time to make use of all of them. He doesn’t own more books than me, but that is only because my best friend gave me boxes and boxes of books before she moved away. Prior to that, I could boast that I’d read every book on my shelf. Now I try not to feel guilty about the unread books patiently waiting for my attention. So, when we go to the game store (be it digital or board game) and Soup King is drooling over a new game, I ask, “But what about XYZ? You haven’t played it.” Much to his annoyance, my question is perfectly logical. Logic beats random collecting, but it isn’t as much fun. It isn’t to say he doesn’t play his games or I don’t collect. We simply approach the process from different perspectives.
So while I save his wallet from impulse purchases that will clutter his closet, I have made it a goal to do a bit of collecting too so I can share his thrill of new game-itis while making sure he plays at least a portion of his collection. I see that as a win-win for both of us. Don’t you think so, too?
My logical approach also ensures many more future game dates where we go to the game store and try out games with other people.  A night out, without kids in tow, doing something with other adults, with laughter and fun involved… I think he can appreciate that kind of devious planning. 😉

Collector vs The User

I promise this post is PG! Whatever you’re thinking, this isn’t about that!

Board Games! Yes, I’m referring to the things that come in boxes with instructions and in general require no computer or otherwise high tech device to occupy the time of a group of people. They require individuals to get together in the same place and socialize FACE-to-FACE! Think hard. I’m sure if you do you can recall a pre-tech immersed moment of socializing.

Several years ago when  I delved into the world of writing I was ignorant of the existence of the short and flash fiction markets. The only short stories I had ever seen were in my school readers or the occasional anthology of a well known writer’s shorter works. So when I began to socialize with other writers, at first I could not understand they bothered to write short stories for anything other than practice. Then my eyes were opened. A whole world of magazines, e-zines, and anthologies of which my otherwise excellent education failed to inform me existed.

How does this relate to board games?

I’m glad you asked. Prior to dating Soup King, my exposure to games consisted of ones put out by Mattel or Parker Brothers. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, especially since they are geared toward families and often have rules that younger children can master. As an adult, playing “Sorry” more than occasionally can be a wee bit boring.

Back when I was a teenager, I had enough friends in the “geek” crowd to have heard of “Magic”. (In high school I was more nerd by definition. Yes, there is a difference, but I’ve unleashed my inner geek in recent years.) It sounded intriguing, but 1) I had no money to purchase cards, and 2)from my friend’s description it sounded time consuming. So, I didn’t bother requesting someone teach me. I was busy with my gazillion clubs and insane load of AP classes.

Fast forward a few years. My children collect Pokemon and Yu-gi-oh cards, but to say they play is a bit of a stretch. They play, but the rules are basically made up on the fly and changed to ensure Mr. Smarty-pant’s winning streak. Then Soup King takes me to his apartment one day and there are stacks of boxes, all board games of different types. These are more esoteric games, with books for rules in some cases, and despite “board” being in the classification, there isn’t always a board involved. He introduces me to “Dominion” and I like it. Several others follow and I’m excited! It’s a whole new world of couple and family fun! There’s a whole world of games out there from simple dice throwing monster games to complex historical battle re-enactments.

Mr. Smarty-pants attempts to cheat with the regularity of a used-car salesmen. Miss Diva falls for his snake-oil pitches as often as a naive first-time car buyer. Miss Drama, for the most part, is not old enough to play most of the games, which is why I’ve recently acquired some very simple games that she can play. A highlyimportant skill, in my opinion, is teaching children to lose as gracefully as they win, and it isn’t a skill that is learned overnight.  Playing fairly and by the rules is also important, and one which all three of them are still learning. Truth be told, I think Miss Drama is a better loser than Mr. Smarty-Pants. As long as she’s given the chance to win once at something she’s happy, as opposed to Mr. Smarty-Pants who’d rather win all of the time.

Games, especially the more esoteric ones, cost money (easily $40 and up). To me, it’s an investment and I’m all about getting the most out of my investments. It’s much like my philosophy on book buying. If it isn’t a book I’m likely to read more than once, I very rarely buy it. That is what the library is for in my opinion. Granted, sometimes I break that rule, but then I sell them to the used book store and use the credit to acquire a book that I really want. I can read my favorites
over and over and never tire of them. I’m much the same with games. Thus, I classify myself as a user. I use the books or games until they are ready to fall apart. I get every ounce of my money out of those things. So when I do buy a shiny new book or game it is always with the knowledge that it will be well used.
Soup King is a collector. He owns more computer games than I imagine he’ll ever play. He’s decided to whittle down his board game collection, but again it is one that would take a great deal of time to make use of all of them. He doesn’t own more books than me, but that is only because my best friend gave me boxes and boxes of books before she moved away. Prior to that, I could boast that I’d read every book on my shelf. Now I try not to feel guilty about the unread books patiently waiting for my attention. So, when we go to the game store (be it digital or board game) and Soup King is drooling over a new game, I ask, “But what about XYZ? You haven’t played it.” Much to his annoyance, my question is perfectly logical. Logic beats random collecting, but it isn’t as much fun. It isn’t to say he doesn’t play his games or I don’t collect. We simply approach the process from different perspectives.
So while I save his wallet from impulse purchases that will clutter his closet, I have made it a goal to do a bit of collecting too so I can share his thrill of new game-itis while making sure he plays at least a portion of his collection. I see that as a win-win for both of us. Don’t you think so, too?
My logical approach also ensures many more future game dates where we go to the game store and try out games with other people.  A night out, without kids in tow, doing something with other adults, with laughter and fun involved… I think he can appreciate that kind of devious planning. 😉

Elementary Dear Watson…

One of the best things about children getting older is that they can do things with you as opposed to you doing things with them. For example, a toddler might want you to play blocks with them or be the monster that chases them around the room. The games vary as they get older, but the key point is that they make up the game and the rules. Then comes the day when they can read and play games that come with instructions longer than a paragraph. We’ve played Life, and Monopoly, Sorry, Topple, Rummikub (to name a few), and all of those even my youngest can at least “help” with if not play on her own. Of course there’s that rocky transition from “everyone wins” to the realization that only one person can win the game. Losing graciously is an important skill, and some of us take more practice at it than others. One of the very few times my grandfather ever found the need to discipline a grandchild with more than a verbal warning was when my brother threw aside the chessboard and smacked me because I’d won. That incident taught my brother and me two very important things:

1) Grandpa might seem laid back, but it’s REALLY not a good idea to disobey him.

2) Sure it sucks to lose, but it sucks more if you can’t play anymore and get another shot at winning. So play NICELY!

All of us parents go easy on our kids when they are little. I did, but I also made sure that they lost from time to time too. There are still sad faces and “How come he/she wins all the time?” Thankfully nastier behavior, for the most part (disclaimer: I say that, but then I might play a game with them tomorrow and it will dissolve into WWIII.) is limited to, “Booyah! I won and you didn’t! HAHAHA!”

There is one game that even I hesitate to play with Mr. Smarty-pants. It isn’t because he’s a bad sport. It’s because he wins.

EVERY TIME!

Even the very first time he played, when he only had half an inkling to the rules and didn’t mark anything down like you’re supposed to, he made the right call. What game is it? Clue. He’s played regular Clue, and at my house we have the Harry Potter edition. I like the Harry Potter edition as it adds a little more complexity to the original game.

While he dances around, and literally shows us half his cards, we’re diligently attempting to solve the mystery. Before the game even starts he starts his psychological campaign.

“I know who did it! I know who did it!”

Mr Smarty-Pants is highly adverse to sitting unless it is in front of a computer screen. He claims it is due to the long hours of sitting at school. So, even dinner often includes multiple requests of , “Please sit down.”

I think the dancing around is a diversionary tactic designed to trick us into revealing our cards on accident or allowing him to “dance” just close enough to sneak a peek at an opponent’s cards.

He’s highly successful, considering he’s never lost. That, of course, is the reason I keep playing. I can’t allow such a record to go unchallenged!

He sites his newfound interest in the great Sherlock Holmes as inspiration.

Well, he does match the energy of  Holmes’ flying high on cocaine. No, correction; I’m pretty sure he exceeds the literary sleuth in energy. If I put him on a giant hamster wheel and hooked it up to a generator, I’d never have to pay for electricity again.

I’m not so sure Mr. Smarty-pants and Holmes are in the same league, but if his winning streak keeps up, I may have him pick the lottery numbers and buy a ticket.