Category Archives: Learning

Growing gamers

The most recent newsletter from NatureBoy’s school included a description of the Chess and Game club, which began…

Hey… are there 3,875 Orcs behind that door? […] Yes, Chess Club is back, but now it’s more than just pawns and checkmates.

How could I resist?! I sent off an email to the teacher, offering to volunteer with the group. He was happy to have me, so today I packed a couple different games that I thought might interest the middle school gaming crowd:

When I arrived, the teacher welcomed me, and explained that he had forgotten his games at home, so I was glad that I took those games with me.

After a perfunctory introduction, I gave a brief description of the three games. The teach also offered chess boards “as always.” One student wanted really wanted to play Catan, so NatureBoy and I joined him to give that a whirl. Several kids played or watched the labyrinth game with the teacher. Infernal contraption had no takers.

The club meeting is short, about forty minutes, so the Catan game had gone a few rounds, but folks seemed to have a good time. I was invited to be a regular participant, so I think things went well.

The teacher said that one of the games he wants to bring in is Wings of War. I’ve played some variants of Wings of War miniatures with TedMan, but this is a card-only game and can support eight players, I think. Anyway, I had fun; NatureBoy had fun; the kids seemed like they were enjoying themselves.

I’m just waiting for the opportunity to get a Pen and Paper RPG in there. Maybe Mouse Guard? NB also said he though WizWar would be fun to bring.

Game On!

Summer reflections 2: Picnic Table

I built a picnic table during my vacation in August. I hadn’t built anything this involved in quite a while, probably not since the chicken coop over ten years ago. It seemed like this ought to be a pretty straight-forward project, and I spent time looking at plans online until I found a set that I liked.

Then it was off to the local hardware store for lumber and fasteners. I decided to make the legs out of pressure-treated lumber, but the rest is regular 2x framing material.

First step was to cut the lumber to dimension. I did find a couple errors on the plans as I went, though:

  • Part B, cross stretcher that supports the seats, needs to be 60" long (as indicated in the elevation), not 84".
  • Part D, seat members, need to be 84" (same as table top), not 11-1/4".

Luckily, I was very careful to measure twice, and double-check the diagrams, before cutting.

Materials, nicely stacked.

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Happiness in an email sig

I’m purging the email that accumulated while I was out for a few days, and I noted the text below in someone’s signature.

Simple guidelines to happiness:
Work like you don’t need the money,
Love like your heart has never been broken and
Dance like no one can see you.

Maybe it’s trite and lacking in depth, but it caught my attention. And the theme I see in all three lines is to let go of fear. That’s a message that I need to absorb.

Hard work pays off

NatureBoy started Kempo Karate classes at the very end of January, and has been working hard. We even enrolled in in Martial Arts camp for this school vacation. Yesterday, he told us that we would be surprised when we picked him up today, and to wait for him in the car. So we arrived at the dojo, and NB came right out sporting his new yellow belt. He couldn’t have been prouder. Neither could we.

Well done, NatureBoy.

Northeast Wars

Northeast Wars logo

I’ve volunteered to run two role playing games at the upcoming Northeast Wars gaming convention. These will be my first experiences GMing convention games, but I’m pretty excited.

The first game is Dogs in the Vineyard, by Vincent Baker. The characters are a sort of religious police watching over communities of faithful pioneers in a setting much like territorial Utah.

Whitefalls – Dogs in the Vineyard
Townsfolk were much relieved when the infant daughter of the Steward recovered from the fever sickness. Their joy soon turned to grief when the young son of the miller was found in the woods near town, beaten to death. Horror and fear have become suspicions and accusations that fester and threaten to tear the town apart. You’re there to protect the Faith and make things right — one way or another. You are one of God’s Watchdogs.

The second game is a scenrio for Faery’s Tale, a rules-light rpg where the characters play faeries in a fantasy forest; the kind of place where any “Once upon a time” story could take place.

The Magic Pool – Faery’s Tale
The Laughing Brook’s cool, clear water flows quickly from the hills deep in Brightwood Forest. And legends tell that the pool at the source of the brook has mystical powers. But recently, the voice of the water sings of sadness, its waters clouded with mud and filth. Already, the animals and plants near the fouled waters are grown sickly. What malevolence has tainted the Laughing Brook? Who will venture to its source and restore the Laughing Brook before this blight spreads throughout Brightwood? You are a faery, and you’re the only one who can. Soar.

I’m very excited to run these games. I have a lot of prep work to do over the next few weeks. But I’m looking forward to it.