Category Archives: Games and Gaming

Odd Language #224: [Not] A Laughing Matter

There is a joke about a foreign-language student in a home-stay program having trouble with a newspaper article. The student could not understand why the person was charged with what seemed to not be a crime at all.

The issue: The student was reading the crime’s name as “man’s laughter” instead of “manslaughter”. When corrected by her host, the student was quite abashed.

Playing on this same pronunciation difference, the game Smallworld by Days of Wonder has a slogan of “It’s a world of *s*laughter, AFTER ALL!”

Attack-X Gaming Convention Last Weekend

The big event of the year on my social calendar happened last weekend (from Friday to Sunday, September 15-17, 2017): Attack-X, Kamloops’s own gaming convention.

I played some Dungeons & Dragons.

Once again, I played The Mutant Epoch by Will McAusland (who lives in Kamloops).

I played some board games. I bought some board games.

Oh, yeah, there was tabletop wargaming, too. (It is the main focus of Attack-X.) The wargamers had a good time, and once again, I got to see some very nice painting and game setups.

I had a great time.

Attack-X Gaming Convention This Weekend

The big event of the year on my social calendar is happening this weekend (from Friday to Sunday, September 15-17, 2017): Attack-X, Kamloops’s own gaming convention.

Attack-X is mainly for tabletop wargaming, but once again, I will be there upholding the boardgaming contingent. There will be other gaming, too (some RPG and historical gaming, at least).

Come see some very interesting games. Tabletop wargaming with all those painted figures and scenery is an aesthetic treat even if you do not play.

Come play some games.

Brick and Mortar Also Build Community

Many people do things through the Web. This can be very useful. It can save time and money. It can also short-change the local area.

A friend (Duncan) and I play board and card games at a local hobby store (High Octane Comics & Collectibles (their Facebook page). I might not have met Duncan otherwise, and he suggested another group (our next meetup) that we now both game with.

If Duncan and I were playing some on-line game, we might not have any other contact. Duncan is great for playing quite a few different games with.

Kamloops is not a large city, and it is nice to find people to game with. It is also very useful to be able to see games before purchasing them.

For the past few years, we have had had a gaming convention in Kamloops: Attack-X. This got going because of local contact. I met the head of the convention at High Octane.

High Octane and other gaming stores are very useful for meeting people. It is one reason why I give them business.

You can enjoy good company with people in your own community.

Very Bad Rules Call, Very Good Writing

One of the on-line strips that I follow is Weregeek. The author-artist, Alina Pete, has a very good grasp of gaming (mainly roleplaying games) culture.

She has just recently concluded a story line where a gaming session went very very badly. There have been a lot of comments from people arguing and discussing what happened in the story. She definitely struck a chord (and nerve) with gamers. While I cringed at the situation, it was very powerful writing.

The strip deals with a circle of friends both in-game and out-of-game. It has plenty of pathos and humour (including some of the best/worst puns I have ever encountered).

If you are interested in gaming, check it out.

Bad Rules

Have you ever played a long game where two players are competing fiercely and a nasty rules argument gets going?

If you ever wonder why gamers can be so picky on rules, this is part of why. Ambiguous rules make for horrible arguments, and they will happen right when it really matters.

As a gamer, it is not fun to play a long game and get into a situation where two players both think they are right about a rule interpretation, each was counting on his interpretation, and it turns out that both interpretations are valid.

No one ends up happy. If you write rules, please make them as clear as possible.

Odd Language #181: When After?

“Ongoing: After the first time you play an action each turn …” – instruction on Jason card in Smash Up.

The issue: Does this mean 1) immediately after the first time you have played an action in a turn, 2) only the second, third, fourth, etc. times you play an action in a turn, or 3) as in point 2 but immediately? I suspect that the first was meant, but all three are possible.

Smash Up is a game by Alderac Entertainment Group. It is great fun. It has fairly simple mechanics, but there can be some tricky side effects. This means that clear language is a must.

Important Games

I like playing board games. They are a lot of fun. Working out how to use the rules effectively is good, mental exercise.

Not everyone agrees with me. I sometimes run across people who do not particularly care about the rules. A common line from such people to excuse their behaviour is “It’s only a game.”

Try that line on one of their games, and watch the explosion.

Games do have rules. In the interests of peace, if you are playing a game, play by the rules. Do not give someone else a hard time for playing the game correctly. If you really do not want to play the game, then do not play it, but please do not ruin someone else’s game.

Sideswiping Oneself

Sometimes, you just “know” that things are a certain way. And they turn out not to be. You might never find this out, because you did not check.

I had an example of this almost happen to me just recently. I was up in Grande Prairie, Alberta. When I am out of town, I like to check out the local game stores. I did a cursory check on Saturday, but did not see anything near the hotel I was staying at. Monday, I wanted a slushy. I already knew that the local Esso did not sell them and found out that the Petro-Canada did not either. I asked where a 7-11 was. It turned out it was 24 blocks away. I almost did not go. When I got most of the way there, I found another convenience store that does sell slushies. I wanted a BIG one, and the biggest size was not that big. (I thought that if I was going to walk all that way, I was getting a BIG one.) I continued walking downtown.

And saw a game store. It turned out that within one block, there were three game stores and a game cafe. I spent time checking them out. It turns out that Gande Prairie has a very active gaming community. A relocatee from Edmonton (Alberta’s capital) said that Grande Prairie has a better gaming community than Edmonton.

As it was around 5 P.M., I also thought that they would be closing soon. It turns out that the game stores are open late every weeknight, and the game cafe is open until midnight. I am used to game stores closing at 5:30 or 6:00 most days.

And to think that if I had not been so pushy about getting that slushy, I never would have walked downtown. And if I had not decided to check anyway despite the hour, I never would have known about some excellent stores.

Analysis Paralysis

Given two choices, A and B, which would you pick? Some people pick C by not making a choice.

If one can not decide, one can go back and forth between A and B without coming any closer to a decision. This is called analysis paralysis.

I once saw this happen in a game. One player had analysis paralysis very badly. It did not show at first, but as soon as the game got involved, he slowed right down. The other three players would be done in five minutes or less total, and he would take much longer.

Finally, they went off and played a game of the same game with another set. They finished their entire game, and the slow player was still puzzling over his turn.

Sometimes, decisions are not made, because it would mean losing somehow. Suppose that there are two ways of doing something. A and B each have their advantages and disadvantages. If either A or B were clearly superior, the choice would be easy. However, if the two are close, neither set of supporters may be willing to “give up”. Thus, C (doing nothing) happens.

Not making a decision is almost always wrong.

Go ahead. Decide that I am right or that I am wrong, but please decide!