DnD Wars: A New Beginning

I've started playing DnD again. I used to play with friends when I was a wee lad, back in the 80's, but stopped for a number of years and a number of reasons. Work and life took over; the reality of fatherhood set in quickly enough, and I soon lost touch with role playing games, and other games, in general. Now a couple of decades later, I find myself once again delving into dungeons, chasing the almighty gold piece, and living a rogues dream. I admit though, it did feel a bit weird on day one. Maybe it's the age factor: I'm a lot older, and maybe just a little wiser.
Regardless, I did have a lot of fun getting into charachter, and coming up with some good ideas. By the way, we are playing something called, Tyranny of Dragons. If you don't know what it's about, I suggest you Google it, or get your hands on your own copy and read through it. I think the theme is pretty cool. I mean, what's not to love about Dragons, wizards, and rogues, hashing it out in a dungeon?
Besides having to re-learn the rules, I think I did quite well in the sessions we've managed to get through. There's been some ups and downs for sure, but all in all, I've had a blast playing with friends and strangers. The DM is good too, so that helps tons.
Now, to figure out how to get that spider-silk armor done sometime soon...


The Walking Dead: Why I think Daryl Got Whacked.

Spoiler Alert! Read on at your own risk.

So if you don't know who I am, or what I watch, I'm a big time Walking Dead fan. I just love the show, and what they've done with it. I don't think Fear is as good, and there have been a few weak episodes in the past, but TWD is, by far, my favorite show on TV. I read the compendiums, and I've played the game on XBOX 360. I buy the merchandise, and I go to bed thinking of zombie's...ok not quite, but you get the idea.

So the start of the new season is just around the corner, and all of us TWD watchers are trying to figure out who got caught on the business end of Lucille. In the books, of course, it's Glen. Glen, by the way, is my favorite character, both in the show and in the books (until he died of course), so I would just hate for it to be him. I think we need an asian guy playing a major character to keep living, in a main stream, big time production. But that's not why I don't think it's Glen. I honestly see Glen becoming a bigger part in the story. I can see him at the Hilltop, alongside Maggie, or even joining the Kingdom. Perhaps his story is done, but perhaps it isn't. I just think he has a bigger part to play.

Despite the plethora of material suggesting otherwise, my pick as to who dies, is Darryl. I know, I know...there are soooo many Daryl lovers out there, and so many people who study every frame of the trailer saying it has to be someone else, but there are a few compelling reasons why I think it's him.

1. He isn't in the books. This, by default, means that at, any point in time, he can be legitimately taken out of the picture without ruining it for us novel followers. I think his story has seen it's end, and his leaving the show won't do anything to impede its overall progress, or alter the main story, because he was never part of the original tale. Maybe this point is weak, but maybe it's not.

2. His story is done. I admit, I love Daryl,and I love his crossbow. I hated his brother, but loved his demise. Daryl had a great role to play in the first few seasons, bringing so much drama to the screen in the form of the "good" brother. We got to know him better as Beth got to know him better, and we got to love him, season after season, because he is just so fucking cool. Even so, I think his story is over. Daryl, for me, is this nomad biker guy who is this iconic voyager/scout type of dude, who made his mark in the first few seasons, as the group was striving to survive against hordes of dead, and even the living. Now with the Negan story in full throttle, I don't think he is so interesting any more. The crossbow is getting old, and his motorcycle thing already transferred over to his other project. The only story which might hold water would be something surrounding the guy with the burnt face...Dwight. Truth be told, I think Dwight might actually serve as the Daryl replacement.

3. Because all good things come in three's. Now this one may be a little weak...but here goes. Daryl already has several projects going on for him, and it makes sense to cash in on those, instead of on TWD. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like he does so many other things, that TWD might seem like beneath him now, in the sense that he is much bigger than a co-star, and can carry on as the big fucking cheese. I think he is just too big for the show, and that would actually make Rick Grimes into the co-star, which would be the end of TWD as we know it right now. We all know that Carl will eventually take a bigger role, so the show really doesn't need him. I guess the same could be argued against Glen in that the show doesn't really need him either, except that I don't think Glen is nearly as big, so him staying on the show wouldn't hurt anything. Of course, I'm Asian, so there's a little bit of brotherly love playing too.

4. And just because I wanted four reasons...If Glen does bite it, I'll probably cry, and I don't want to cry.

I'll Stand By You, If You Stand By Me

This evening I watched Stand By Me. If you haven't seen it, and you don't know what I'm talking about, it's an old movie, from the mid 80-'s, and based on a novella by Stephen King. It's a classic coming of age movie that I intend to show to my children as soon as I can. I think there is something to learn in this movie that, as a father, I find incredibly hard to explain: the magic of friendships.

Like your first kiss, how can you explain childhood friendship of having never experienced it? This movie is one of only a few that have ever made me feel incredibly at home. How do I explain that? I can't. I just can't, and even if I tried, my words wouldn't do it justice.

I'm a bit of a Wil Wheaton fan, and that was the main reason why I ended up watching that movie tonight. I urge you all to do the same, but not just to see four great actors as kids, but to see how a director makes magic - how a director can bring an idea to life in a way that I think we can all relate to somehow. Watch it for the idea's that come alive, that jump at you through the screen, and ask yourself how you feel.

Until then, I sincerely hope you guys watched it - they don't make movies like that anymore - and that's too bad.

Probability in Writing and Gaming

A friend of mine was asking when I would write about Probability. There's an inside joke here that's just too complicated to explain, so just take my word for it, and say it's funny. Anyways, I was wondering how I could relate probability to writing, because in gaming, well, you roll dice or something, and that's all there is to it, basically. For example, on a six sided die, you have equal chances of rolling any number from 1 through 6, so your probability of rolling any one of those numbers is 1/6. In writing, it's a little harder to figure out.

First let's choose an appropriate definition for probability, as taken from Dictionary.com.

Probability: a strong likelihood or chance of something.

So I was thinking about how my own stories unfold, and how some kind of something happens in them, and I realized that writing is all about expressing probable or less probable events, that happen in any given setting (well, for me anyway). This is what is traditionally called the Plot. The plot is the driving force behind any good story. You need something to happen, and that something, or that probable, or not so probable event, must be interesting, and in my opinion, drastic, while obeying the laws of probability. For example, let's say the hero in your story needs to do something really spectacular. If the chances are that your character will fail, then let him fail - don't play God unless that is the entire basis of your story. Your writing will be that much richer for it, and your readers will believe in it. I also think that your characters will be that much easier to relate to. I love reading about how a character progresses through both successes and failures; how they figure out how to do things on their own. I prefer seeing a character go through a realistic series of wins and losses, just how we do in real life, and how they eventually come out on top. It's just so satisfying to me when I can say I get what they're doing.

In any case, I urge you to think about the probability of events the next time you write - I know I will.

Walking, walking, everywhere...

So I've taken up the fine art of walking. Yup, you heard me: Walking. It may sound relatively boring, and easy, and not so difficult, but in all honesty, walking is amazing.

A few weeks ago I started feeling like shit, and I mean really like shit. I felt tired, and sick all the time. I was cranky and just pissed off at everything - kitchen sink included. It took heart palpitations, and chest pains to bust my balls enough to get moving. So I decided to walk, because mainly I'm not in any shape to run, and I really don't like running anyhow. It hurts my legs, and knees, and feet, and ankles, and fucking everything else that's connected. So running was def out.

My first walk took me 1.5hrs to complete, and I walked just over 6.5km. I was tired at the end of it. My feet were sore. I was sweating like a bull in heat, and I could barely finish it. But I did it. I went out the next few days, and then days turned into weeks. I now walk anywhere between 6 and 10km daily. Last week I put in over 40km total, and I've lost weight, feel better, am no longer as stressed, and I actually lost some tummy fat! Exercise is good - go figure!

Oh, and I do walk at a pretty fast pace - enough to make me breathe heavily, and boost my heart-rate to about 75-80% of my max. I think that's pretty good. I also took the time to think out my problems of the day, while admiring much of the city I live in. I notice more and more each and every time I go out. I wrote my short story while on my walk, just thinking of what I wanted to say, so walking is also creatively productive too. I've also been sleeping better, so there's an added bonus of sorts.

Maybe walking might not be the most intense activity out there, but it has helped me immensely, and I just can't get enough of it.

So whatever you do, just do it, dude! Walk on!

Sinking Ship of Creativity

So I've been thinking recently about how I want to continue writing this short story for the CBC Short Story contest. I let a friend read it, which felt weird, but oddly exhilarating, but I've put off editing it any further. I've hit a crucial point in my writing, I think, where the mo just ain't jo-ing.

What to do?

I think I've got an idea where I want this thing to go though, which is good. It's just that I get these sudden bursts of creativity, followed by lapses of creativity, which makes it hard to fully concentrate on delivering the goods when I need them delivered. So it's hard to finish what I've started - or no - it's hard to polish up what I've started. Finishing something crappy is pretty easy. Making it sound just right is fucking insane! I literally keep a thesaurus open, and a dictionary, just to make sure what I am writing makes sense. It's helped my vocabulary though, so there's that. I would encourage anyone to that too. It helped me tons.

Anyway, hopefully I'll get this thing finished, and at a point where it's good enough to let other people read it. The 25$ it's going to cost to submit it as an entry is irrelevant compared to crossing off this thing from my bucket list, so I'm all in on this one.

Wish me luck.

The Magicians

So right now I've started reading Lev Grossman's The Magicians. I saw it the other day while wandering the straits of Indigo in Laval. Along with one of those newfangled water bottles - the ones you can add fruit to a sieve type of thing inside - I picked up the first book of his Magicians trilogy. I had a good idea of what the story was about, in that it was supposed to be a mix of Harry Potter, and Narnia, with a dash of bad language. Which it isn't...but it's pretty close.

The basic story is about this adolescent genius, Quentin Coldwater, who basically gets a chance to go to a real magic school (Brakebills). For magicians...for five years...who will eventually fall into a discipline (House?). Sound familiar? Oh, and like Narnia, you can only get into Brakebills through some special event, like through a portal or doorway (closet, anyone?).

I've gotten about a third of the way in, and I am a bit disappointed, actually. Whereas the book is well written, the story is somewhat lagging. I don't feel any affinity to the main character either, nor do I for and of the supporting characters. There is simply no one that I am currently "rooting" for, in other words.

I like his take on magic, and how it works, but the idea, as much as I would like to think is better than J.K Rowlings', just isn't as a whole. I mean I like his vision of how magic works, and what you can do with it. I think that's bang on. I also think he writes better than JKR, so there's that. But it's missing that awesome story that came with one of the most brilliant evil doers of all time. Basically, from what I have right thus far, there ain't much substance behind the flash.

Maybe I'm being a little harsh, and maybe I'm not, so just judge for yourselves. Borrow the book, and read some lines. Who knows, once I'm done, I might edit this post to reflect a different opinion...either way, for now, I'd wait until it's on sale.

A Short Story Contest

The 2017 CBC short story contest will be open for submissions starting this September. This year, I intend on submitting something that I recently wrote, called In The Brine.

I'm not sure how it'll fare, and I'm not even sure how good it is, but one of my writing goals has been to enter an open contest like this. I have two published articles, in a regional magazine, so I figure what the heck. No shame in trying!

Hopefully some of my writer friends can lend me a hand, and let me know what they think of my piece. I'll be talking to you guys shortly. Maybe after I've done the contest, I'll post it online, and maybe you too can let me know what you think.

Until then, play safe, and be cool everyone.

Playing Oblivion

Have you heard of the game, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion? If you haven't, well basically it's an open world concept role playing game. It comes on several platforms, including the XBOX360, which is the console I am playing on, and I think it was released before 2010, which makes it old. However, I have a soft spot for older games, so I figured that I would finally play it through, from A to Z. The game is way too huge for me to review, or go through in detail, but this is not what this post is about. Rather, I am going to tell you how the beginning of the game helped me to think about a very important RPG concept, and believe it or not, writing concept: Character creation.

Character Choice in the realm of gaming
 
Skill-sets are more than just statistics found on your character sheet. They are the "what is" and "what is not" values that your character, and you by extension, own. I think he most important concept to understand, within the gaming environment, is character creation.

I began role playing long ago, under the tutelage of my friend's brother. We played AD&D back then, and our character choices were limited, yet, fascinating. I fell in love with the Ranger, and Half-Elves, and even played a warrior Dwarf at one point. It was awesome, but I admit I was more interested in rolling, and re-rolling, my characters stats until they were worthy of keeping. That was until I played a dagger wielding human mage, whose sole purpose in life was to get stuff, and keep it.

Now high scores are nice, when rolling for saving throws and such, but I missed the most important thing: character development. Character development, for me, is taking a character from level zero, whatever his initial description might be, and developing him into something special, through missions, events, whatever, while adding your own spice to the pot. I sincerely believe that it is more important to believe in your avatar, than just having a kick-ass beginning character.

So my mage was the first time I made a character that really suited me, and my goals for that particular year. I began by sketching out his basic attributes, what I thought he might be like, and left the dice rolling for later. I created a greedy magic user, who specialized in daggers, and long ranged attacks, via magic missile. Who knew how fun this guy would be to play! I didn't care about what his initial values were for intelligence or whatnot. I didn't care that he had only a few measly hit points to spare, before he went down. I got into the character, and played him ruthlessly.

"Mortimer Axeliak" became my favorite go-to guy in the fantasy world, and I loved playing him. And I think is the key. I've played lots of characters that were fun for a night, or a session, but none that every had the lasting impression that Morty had on me. In gaming, having fun, rather than simply looting or winning, is key to a successful campaign. Even with a crap DM, a fun character will make it worthwhile.

So before you guys go all "stats are what counts, man, bottom line!" on my ass, just think about the last time you really had fun, and why. I will suggest to anyone new to the RPG world that they very carefully examine the individual races, and classes, and just forget about stats. Play something that appeals to you, regardless of what others think, and I promise you, your time spent choosing a great character will not have been in vain.

Character Choice in the realm of writing

As for writing, I think there is nothing that drives a story better than character. Plots and devices absolutely make a novel come alive, but the character is what gives the book it's soul.

Personally, when I write, I make a lot of errors. My ideas are disjointed, and my grammar ain't so good, yo! I don't think about that stuff, because I am just not there yet. What I do think about A LOT, is how interesting my characters are, and how I can develop them. How they become motivated to take certain actions, or how dynamic I can make them. You have total control over everything in your own stories, so make your ideas come alive through characters. Story lines revolve around them. Shit doesn't happen alone. People are what makes shit happen.

Play safe guys!

An Awesome Keynote Address

So instead of posting something about myself, I'd rather you all go read Wil Wheaton's keynote address to the 2016 Mensa Annual Gathering. It is brilliant, and inspiring, and touches on so many relevant points. I can relate to much of what he said, not everything, but enough that I could say that I might have written some of it myself. Just go to Wil Wheaton dot Net and read his shit...he's awesome.

What it' s like, liking Everything

I have a lot if interests. Chess, games, writing, sports, exercise, nutrition, classical music, classic rock, painting and drawing, sculpture, science, programming, and a whole bunch more. Liking a ton stuff is fun because wherever you go, there's something to do. There is nary a dull moment in my life, because I have so much to look forward to, and so much that I respond to.

But there is a catch: Liking too much is horrible. 

So horrible that, yes indeed, it deserved a bold font. Liking too much has given me so much, in terms of pleasure form the world. I can go to a butterfly exhibit and feel happy to learn about all the different types of butterflies landing on my shoulder. Or I can go to a gym, and work out until I drop. I can go to a book store, and spend hours sifting through the newest releases, or the coolest board games.

But from so much, comes so little too.

My interests varied so much, that it took me years to realize what I had truly been passionate about, what truly inspired me, what allowed me to be the person I wanted to be. Much of what I had done, and what I had learned, and what I had seen, or felt, was very superficial. I had been a generalist, striving to become a specialist.

It wasn't until I really started learning to program, and manage databases, that I realized how much I had been missing when skimming the surfaces of those cool things I liked. Programming taught me that, while you can be decent if you know the basics, the real programmer goes in all the way past his neck. He needs the elementary substances that programming is all about, in order to be truly prolific at his art.

And so I began to really pick and choose what I wanted to explore, to examine. I began to sink past the surface element, and study, instead, the meat of my interests, and this has made such a difference in what I can, and can not do, or rather, what I choose, or choose not, to learn.

I think my writing, and gaming, had suffered for it too; probably more so my writing. Without having that single focus, or that single goal to guide me along my life-path, I had unknowingly spread my interests too wide to make any meaningful contribution to my writing, or gaming world. I had been trying to do too much, too quickly, and with only the most superficial of knowledge.

So now my plan is to slow down, and take an even pace, and to learn more; to plunge into the deep end. I plan to spend more time watching the clouds roll by, so that eventually, I can really write something good.

What I Hate about Magic The Gathering

I've been playing Magic since the mid 90's, when you could buy yourself a copy of the Black Lotus for just over a hundred bucks. I think I bought my first set of magic cards from the Unlimited set. The jump from fantasy board games, and RPG's to a fantasy card game was easily made, and I thought that this game concept was just brilliant. I wouldn't say that I was any good at the game, but I did have a lot of fun.

Of course, I didn't always play magic. I played for a few years, then quit, went back, then quit again, only to come back just a few years ago, around the time the 2012 core set was released. I've been playing sporadically ever since.

Now, as my post title suggests, I want to write about why I hate MTG. Before I begin, I must give some details on my playing history. As I stated above, I was introduced to MTG back in the mid 90's. I started off buying those starter decks, and some booster packs as fillers. They were all pretty standard cards. I didn't really explore buying individual cards, nor did I have any idea how many cards there were in circulation, or what kinds of abilities any of the cards I didn't own, had. So I was playing, more or less, blindly. I put together some cool cards, added some lands, and by trial and error, was able to put together some fun decks. My friends basically did the same, and so we started playing on a regular basis, with relatively equal decks, of radically different sizes and cards.

I never sat down and analysed anything about MTG, deck sizes, lands per deck ration, creature abilities, casting costs, or mana curves. It was all just pure fun for me. But not so for some of my playing buddies. They were into everything that was magic, and spent tons more cash on cards than I ever did, or could. In short, and without bashing those guys, the game quickly became a pay-to-win TCG. My friends quickly became more interested in winning than just having fun, and they basically bought every card available in order to get the most valuable cards, both in price and playability.

All else being equal, I believe that the better player will win most of the time, given that all conditions are the same for both players (obviously in a two player game), within reason. I couldn't keep up with my friends in terms of buying cards, or constructing decks, so the game became disagreeable for me not because I kept on losing, but because I was starting at a CPD, or Card Playability Disadvantage (a term of my own). In general terms, that means that there is often a core resource imbalance, which alters the chances of winning any game, usually in favour of the player with the highest aggregate value of core resources, where said core resource aggregate is calculated as the total value of all benefits (or effects) of all cards, in relation to it's converted mana cost, and timing (how it can be played). (I honestly don't know if that sounded right, but writing it once was enough!)

I began analyzing all of the cards I owned, and went even so far as giving relative values to a few of those cards, depending on it's type, converted mana cost, and the abilities or effects they may have owned. Let me say that gone are the days that the dreaded 6/4 Craw Wurm would see any real game play! Vanilla = Bad. :-(

Maybe the idea that vanilla cards are bad (or just not really playable), is what I dislike the most. What deck will ever again see that awesome (and terrifying) 6/4 Craw Wurm being played? What deck would include a creature card that costs so much, yet has no other benefit besides a possible P/T per CMC ratio? None, that's what deck. None. Those fucking awesome "vanilla cards" have been replaced by an army of "ability cards", and that's what's truly disappointing.

Daily Routines are the Scourge of Mankind

I was driving into work this morning, staring into a blinding sun, and blaring the music on the radio. I was thumbing the drum beats on the steering wheel, to some old AC/DC song, while I silently mouthed the lyrics (cuz I can't stand the sound of my own voice). It was the first day back from vacay, and I felt tired. I was back into the routine of life, and I hated it! My week long hiatus from the daily routines of traffic, work, and then more traffic seemed like a figment of my imagination, even though I had technically still been on leave not six hours ago. And as I was driving over the bridge, I thought about it...routines, as comfortable as they may seem, are the scourge of mankind.

I think most of our lives rotate around this idea that routines are good. And they are, to a certain extent. They make us comfortable, and they relieve stress in a very relevant way, and they offer a convenient way to keep our lives organized; straight and narrow. All good things. But what if those very same routines deprive of us something more important, more useful? And by something more important, I mean, creative energies. What is more dear to a writer, or gamer, than having the ability to create something out of nothing? To find the flaw in the seemingly perfect landscape? To make reality from our dreams?

I was watching this film a few hours ago, and in the film I heard this amazing quote: Everything that is or was, began with a dream. That simple line just slew me. This was how I felt about life, about writing, about gaming. The Dream, for me, is the fuel for my creativity, for my writing, for my gaming. Routines stifled my voice in a way I never realized. I was blindly following the daily labyrinthine routines of the rat race for whatever reason, and I was actually suffering for it. My single week of vacation allowed me to change it up, mix up the pot, and take a fresh look at what exactly I wanted out of life. And having done so, I awakened from this ground-hog day nightmare into a new and improved awesome dream.

So on the way home this evening, I contemplated taking a different route. In the end, I didn't but still, I thought about it. And although I didn't change much in terms of physical routines, I did feel different, just by making that one small change in the way I thought about routine. The way I thought about how I should get from A to B changed just very slightly. And directly because of that one small change, I was able to write this post.

You may or may not agree with me, but whatever the case, I think the next time I write, or play a round of Magic with the boys, I will focus on taking chances, and doing things a little bit differently, just to see where that brings me.

Doing is more than just thinking about it!

So I've been thinking about what I wanted to say today. I haven't written anything other than the last two blog posts, and I haven't played anything except for poker the other night. I really can't say that I could really offer anything substantial, as far as reviewing poker goes. But I can write about how it felt to play something I don't think I am very good at.

Poker was, for me, just a game of cards. You were dealt some cards, that held some value, then you made some bets, and whoever had the highest combination of five random cards, won. Whoopee. But last night, when I was playing with my wife and a friend of ours, I actually took the time to sit and watch the other players faces, expressions, and body language. I took notice of the way they both bet as well. And something extraordinary happened. I noticed some little details I hadn't before. Details that I never would have imagined were important, or how they could help my writing ability.

So I thought about how I could bring that sort of attention to writing or gaming, in general. For writing, I realized that I could spend an entire chapter writing about how the face works when people show emotion, like when they laugh, or cry. I could write about how your eyebrows might twitch, or how one's lips might curl after eating a slice of lemon. Now I won't say that writing about how one's ears may move when they laugh could be anything great, but I will say that paying attention to details are just what my favourite authors do on a regular basis. They pay attention to these little things, and describe them in new and fun ways. Just read a few Neil Gaiman novels, and you'll see what I mean.

As for gaming, I think that reading body language and facial expressions are incredibly important. Take MTG for example. You might think that playing magic is only about the deck...well it's not even close to being just about that. I have beaten players just because they were impatient, or frustrated, or because I just knew instinctively that they were slapping all of their eggs into one major card. There is no greater advantage than knowing exactly what your opponents plan is, because you can effectively create your own winning conditions without fear of being countered, or tricked. If you don't believe me, I challenge you to play a game of chess with anyone who knows what an ELO is!

In any case, what I did learn from last night's poker, was that even my best game face wasn't enough to win.

The Passion of the Game

I recently asked my wife a seemingly innocent question, which went something like this...

Hey honey?
- Yes...

What are you passionate about? Like what do you have passion for?
(four second bizarre pause...)
- Helping kids...why?

Just asking...

So why is this important? Well for one thing, I realized, after a few hours of contemplation, that finding your one true passion is a hard fucking thing to do. I mean it's akin to climbing Mount Everest for me. It's like hitting that perfect golf shot...twice in a row.

So I thought about what I had been passionate about throughout my life, and I realized that amidst all the change, and growth I had gone through as a child, teen, adult and father, there had only been one or two things I had ever truly been passionate about. One is martial arts...I just loved to see Bruce Lee fight. The way he always kicked the shit outta those dumbass Japanese dudes, that could only speak with some lame cowboy accent, was just so awesome!

The second is kind of a tie between two things: Writing and Gaming, which is what this blog will be about.

Now writing, I think, is self explanatory. You write. Period. Poetry- songs - prose - anything. You put words onto paper, that simple. Not so easy to write something interesting, mind you, but writing is what it is.

Gaming, on the other hand, is not so simple to explain. I mean games have existed since the moon, and I wager (haha) that games will exist until the end of time (or at least until you role a natural 20...)...alas...I digress.

I remember playing games as a kid, with my family and friends, and never being really good at them, except for stuff like...ummm...well...Uno? Seriously, I never was a mastermind at game tactics or strategy. I loved playing things, and figuring out how things worked superficially, but never did I think too far in advance about how the game could be won, or lost. I just played for the rush of playing. That is, I did until I found AD&D, and to a lesser extent, Axis & Allies and Shogun (Samurai Swords).

My only exposure to anything mildly similar to a basic RPG had to be Monopoly. Now if you think about it, Monopoly is really a form of RPG. If you think about it, in Monopoly, you choose an avatar to play with, roll dice for movement, draw cards that have a semi-random effect on you, gather resources in the forms of money and property, while making decisions on your "TURN", to either build something or try to escape from jail. Sounds a lot like role playing to me...just add a Dwarf token, and change the word "jail" to "dungeon" and you're all set.

But really, Monopoly taught me at least two important concepts about gaming: Resources and Planning. It even taught me the relative value of possessions, which is akin to a player's strength attribute, or even the relative usefulness of a magic item, let's say. And although I never did consider myself any good at Monopoly, I was a better AD&D player, and a pretty strong force in both A&A, and Shogun. This due to perhaps some latent talent I might have owned, but probably due more to just being able to think outside of the box, which many of the gamers I have encountered in my life can do rather effortlessly.

I think that gaming has been, and will always be, a part of my life, because gaming, and writing, are my true passions. What are yours?

My first post for 2016!

So I've been thinking about so many things to write about that I didn't have time to write...weird, I know. But let's say that I am back...for now. That's not to say that I don't want to blog...it's just that with the family and stuff, finding time to type a few hundred words seems like a lost cause. Anyways, this has to be short and sweet, because I have two wee ones pulling at my t-shirt. Have fun and be cool everyone!