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Chits and Giggles

Musings from a video game professional that prefers spending his own time playing non-digital games with friends and family.

Archive for Joshua Gertz

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In Preperation of Greatness!

Joshua Gertz
United States
Lake Forest
California
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In a week I will be hosting another gaming night, though this one is a little different then my previous ones. In particular Ive told everyone ahead of time what we will be playing...Arkham Horror.

Ive had one RSVP so far but at least I will finally be playing something I enjoy a bit more than round after round of Apples to Apples. Not that I don't enjoy the more family orientated game nights but I have been feigning for some Ameritrash with others.

That said, my family game nights are getting pretty popular...I think we had about a dozen people at one time and probably close to 20 people total if you consider who cycled in and out. So with that I have started to look at things that may be compatible and make everyone happy. I purchased Dixit for an alternate version of Apples to Apples. I am also looking at Wits and Wagers for next month.

I really do believe if they would try some of the other games they would like them. 7 Wonders plays up to 7 people but no one seems to be interested when I ask, Dominion for a group while another plays Ticket to Ride. I wish they would at least try it. Bleh.
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Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:40 pm
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Slacking Game Group

Joshua Gertz
United States
Lake Forest
California
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Man this last few weeks has sucked for trying to get people together for gaming.

In my last post I described how no one showed up to my game group and my holiday guests somewhat amused me by playing a few games with me...though they did enjoy themselves in the end so it wasn't a total pity party for me.

Yesterday was my next scheduled game group night at my house. We run a pot luck as well rather than trying to figure out what to cook for a meal, everyone brings little snacks over to munch on through the night.

Well only one person showed up...

We played a 2 player game of Small World in which I completely dominated him and then we both played our first game of Blood Bowl Team Manager. In the middle of the BB game his wife called to have him pick up the kids from grandmas house and come home.

Another big disappointing day for my gaming group and attempt to get people together to have some fun.

On the plus side I got to see a friend I hadn't seen since my first year of college 8 years ago...he was the one person that showed up. He also said he regularly plays games with a few people that he can bring over next time...bonus!

So in two weeks I have a geeks only game night, which I know my college buddy is coming to, where we are going to try and play some heavier games...well longer games anyway; Arkham Horror, Power Grid, Agricola, Puerto Rico, Cyclades.

Then in Feb I have another Family Boardgames and Potluck scheduled...I think making the distinction between scary 3+ hour long game nights and family/party games night is important from here on out.

...as long as people start showing up.
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Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:53 pm
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Holiday Guests

Joshua Gertz
United States
Lake Forest
California
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Well this holiday season has been hectic to say the least. I feel I now need a vacation from my vacation...I have to go back to work tomorrow, ending what should have been a relaxing time off.

I started with my sister in law visiting from New York to meet her niece for the first time. While awesome, it also meant that my in-laws invited us to breakfast everyday at 5am and pretty much had people over non-stop from Dec 24th to December 26th. No sooner than she leaves and I think I have another week of peace and quiet does my wife tell me her friend is visiting with her kids.

Now, I don't really mind but my wife's friends son is extremely hyper and all over the place. I have to get myself in the right frame of mind before they visit because he is just of a personality that rubs me the wrong way...mainly because he doesn't listen when you tell him not to do something, stopping for five minutes and then proceeding to go back to doing what you just told him not to do. I am also pretty sure he is stealing my video games...along with using a 1986 Mets batting practice ball signed by Darryl Strawberry and Gary Carter to play fetch with the dogs.

Speaking of the dogs, his hyper activity puts my Australian Sheppard on red alert and he is bit him more than once...just a nip mind you, specifically when he is running around and it seems like the dog is trying to herd him, not really bite him. In any case, he has been told many times not to run around when near the dog, he ignores it every time he is here and he gets nipped every time he is here. While I secretly laugh about it, it always puts me on edge because I am always worried that at some point it may not be a nip.

Again, I have to prep myself for the visit. And frankly, I don't enjoy the company when they all come. He just has a bunch of personality quirks that drive me nuts. The Why? question over and over, I want that over and over and plain ignoring everyone.

So on Dec 30th I had planned a game night at our house months before I found out about our guests. I was really looking forward to it because so far all of vacation resulted in zero games played to this point. Slowly as the day progressed the text messages came in...sick, kids sick, didn't get back into town yet, hungover, etc. Arghhhhh........

So game night was cancelled.

On New Years Eve my wife convinced them to all play a few games. My wife came to me and said, "Everyone wants to play some games". Great! was my first reaction but then I started to think about it and my response turned to, "With him?".

I knew it before we started; bent cards, spilled drinks and no focus. Then game night turned into work...how can we mitigate this problem. No drinks at the main table, put them on the coffee table. No games with cards...damnit, I know my wife wants to play Ticket to Ride. Focus, well this one is easy, just keep him involved.

Needless to say Ticket to Ride now has some bent train cards and Destination Cards. Now some may say, "whats the big deal?" but being somewhat OCD I wont be able to play it until the issue is fixed.

It was tough too because he ignored the Destination Cards and just built connections wherever, it was quite funny as well since he never blocked me, just everyone else. He did throw a fit at the end when he lost which was the only time I cringed since that was when the cards got ruined.

We also played a few games of Tsuro which worked really well since it was short and durable. Then we played a few games of Hey That's my Fish which also went over well but by this time it seemed like the kid was just looking for attention and I decided I was done for the night.

All of this really makes me wonder how well I am going to handle the next few years as my daughter turns 2 this April. The kid in question is 7 and it probably doesn't help that his mom pretty much ignores everything he does...he is just looking for attention I think and in a way I want to yell at his mom for not paying attention to what he is doing.

They left this morning, my last day of vacation. I didn't get to start painting Super Dungeon Explore like I had hoped for. I didn't get to start a PbP RPG game and I didn't get to start building my gaming table.

I do love the holidays but I think I need a vacation now.

How was your break, if you had one?
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Mon Jan 2, 2012 5:24 pm
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Bringing in the New Year!

Joshua Gertz
United States
Lake Forest
California
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Well, its been months since my last blog post and that's mainly been because of the crunch time I had been working leading up to the holidays to ensure that 80+ people got the week or so off to spend with their families.

So whats happened since then?

Well I think I have added about 20 new games to my collection, had two more board game nights at my place, did my first thrift run and got my wife to play a few new games...which she enjoyed thoroughly...at least she told me so.

Now that 2011 is gone, whats the new year got in store for me?

Well, I have made a little handy dandy 2012 Goals Geeklist to share. The list contains the meat of what I am hoping to accomplish in the new year regarding my little gaming addic...err hobby. But, in case you don't want to follow the link...here is a brief recap:

1. Continue my Wisdom of Crowds Shopping List
2. Collection of 125 Games
3. Introduce my gaming group to some "heavier" games
4. Build a Decent Gaming Table, Shelves, Bar and Painting Table
5. Thrift
6. Start gaming with my 2 Year Old Daughter
7. Start doing some Video Reviews
8. Paint Super Dungeon Explore Minis...though this might be changed to just "pimping my games"
9. Donate in 2012 by the end of January
10. Get Risk Legacy and find regulars to play it with
11. Get back into RPGs in some fashion...maybe PbP

Some things that may be added...

A. Design and release at least one game through Game Crafter or similar self publishing means.
B. Add more content in the form of sessions, reviews, blog posts, videos and forum posts...this may just be an addendum to #7 above.

So what about real life? What was my new years resolution/s?

1. Eat Better, not for me but so my daughter doesn't think fast food is real food.
2. Once my property has a wall...hopefully by February...plant fruit trees and a large garden to help with #1.
3. Go out more! I spend too much time inside, at the least go down to the park on the corner with my daughter for a few hours each weekend.
4. Plan outings when my wife and I are both off on the same day.
5. Keep moving forward, always be actively working on something even if its just writing a blog entry...I tend to do nothing for hours every day.

I think this about covers everything in the last day...or at least it sums it up.

What have you planned for this year?
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Mon Jan 2, 2012 8:48 am
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Please Play With Me?!?!?!?!

Joshua Gertz
United States
Lake Forest
California
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My visitors came and went without so much as a breath of cardboard! Its not a bad thing, they were staying with my family but had some priorities to take care of while here.

I had another friends birthday party on Saturday night where I was asked to bring some boardgames. I brought 3 games over; Dominion, 7 Wonders and Letters from Whitechapel hoping to get them to the table...no dice.

Again not a bad thing, we did have some good conversation but looking back my greedy side wishes the conversations were taking place while playing one of the above games.

I have to start a regular boardgame group or something because I really am having bad cardboard withdrawals here.

-Gertz
My Shopping List - Vote for what I buy each month.
My collection - Added commentary to each entry as I can.(reviews, sessions, blogs, etc.)
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Sun Aug 14, 2011 6:50 pm
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Context and Audience

Joshua Gertz
United States
Lake Forest
California
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So how do you judge?

Now my wife and I have some friends visiting from out of town next weekend. The are devout Christians while my wife and I are not. My wife goes to church occasionally and I myself an Jewish, though have never been very religious.

I know our friends well, as you can imagine, and know that I can be my normal crude self...it doesn't make them uncomfortable. As far as gaming goes, if we attempt to get them to play something, I could bring out anything and be ok with the theme. They both play video games that include Gears of War, Halo and other violent games.

Aside from religion, there is also age to be concerned about. Do you adjust your game selection based on age?

Since I work in the video game industry I am a proponent of a parent being the final censor if they want their kid to see something or not. I don't think its the job of a minimum wage clerk to be a censor. (though I will admit that if a 12 year old kid tries to buy a rated M video game that they should withhold the sale) Its so easy to look up gaming related videos and screenshots online that no parent should have the excuse of not knowing a game contains violence.

That said, I also believe in the ability of a mentally healthy kid to understand the difference between real life and play. Just like before video games, kids played Cowboys and Indians and knew it was a game. This is also part of parenting, if the kid doesn't know the difference most of the time its due to other psychological issues and/or lack of parenting. I digress though.

So when you have guests over, how do you judge what to take out? My gut tells me to let them browse the games and break out the ones they want to and to answer questions if needed. Throwing in the obligatory...that's going to take about 4 hours to play when needed.

Lets here it...

-Gertz
My Shopping List - Vote for what I buy each month.
My collection - Added commentary to each entry as I can.(reviews, sessions, blogs, etc.)
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Sun Aug 7, 2011 10:19 pm
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Introducing my Wife to Board Games

Joshua Gertz
United States
Lake Forest
California
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There are days when I come home and all I want to do is play a game of Dominion, 7 Wonders or even Munchkin. Most of the time though my wife is uninterested in anything beyond a common board game like Scrabble or Monopoly.

I don't mind them but they don't really provide much of a distraction to me either.

Now she has played Magic before and Zombies! with just her and I which didn't work out very well. In fact she really liked Magic and even bought her own cards for a time, but it didn't last that long because I was playing competitively at the time.

Now don't get me wrong here, I didn't curb stomp her with power nine or anything. We would pace each other and I kept the cards that I used to play with my wife separate from my collection. When I got a pack I bought one for my wife as well and we each added another pack to our sets to play with each other. Its just certain things come natural to me because of my tournament background and it was the small things that dramatically tipped things in my favor 90% of the time.

So how do I get her to play game again? Take a look at my collection and please give me some insight!

Or/and...take a look at my Shopping List and thumb the items you think would work well.

-Gertz
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Sat Aug 6, 2011 9:41 pm
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Neglecting Traditional Gaming

Joshua Gertz
United States
Lake Forest
California
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I love board games, card games, role playing games and all forms of non-digital gaming...except for maybe live action gaming which makes me a bit uncomfortable. Specifically when I am around people that don't break character while at work...but I digress.

I kind of lost touch with that while I was at college for the last 8 years. You would think that it would be the perfect place to enable my addictions but that was not the case. I focused solely on my school work, which was gaming...it was just building video games. My time was spent mainly working in 3D applications, 2D applications and then later on a switched to Project Management which led me to the boring life of Word, Excel, Outlook and Project.

After eight years away you kind of forget.

It wasn't a complete disregard though, for a brief time I did have a regular board game group that met about once a month. I even bought a few games for the group. I picked up Arkham Horror, Descent, Zombies!!!, Munchkin, Bang!, and a few other smaller games...mainly nostalgia.

I was even trolling this forum for a long time prior to actually joining.

The end of last year I left my job in Phoenix and moved back to Las Vegas. Mainly for family. I did live here previously so I do have a lot of friends here and while having a little BBQ and Beer get together with old friends and catching up I remembered what I liked most about non-digital games...they breed memories.

You see, if I am part of a large raid in a MMO I cant really have a beer with the Warrior who tanked and talk about the memories. Well I guess you can if your on a chat service but its very detached. When I play a good game with other people at a table, we talk about it for years if the event was memorable. Hell there are some RPG groups I will remember for the rest of my life because of how much fun I had.

I also have a family now, married with a daughter, and video games don't always fit the bill, especially for sharing with more than one person on the same machine. Instead non-digital gaming allows me to enjoy a game and spend quality time with my family. Even just having a mindless conversation with my wife while playing is much more enjoyable then the few words that we yell at each other while we are playing video games on separate PC's.

So this is my first blog post about games here, I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you tune in for more posts in the future. Do you have any reasons for preferring one gaming medium over another? Let me know!

Also, I would like you to help me create new memories by visiting my Geeklist Shopping Cart and help decide what I will buy for the month.

Thanks,
-Gertz
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Sat Aug 6, 2011 2:28 am
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