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Subject: Geek of the Week #68 - Mark Jackson rss

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Jonathan Degann
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Ladies and Gentlemen, it's time for the new Geek of the Week!

Mark Jackson

Mark has created some of the most interesting game sits and projects around. He created "The Apples Project" in which he polled dozens of long time experienced gamers to find out their recommendations for best games in a wide variety of categories - from best Wolfgang Kramer game, to best city building game, to best game to play with your "significant other" to most beautiful game. He and Stephen Glenn did a similar poll of experienced gamers called "The One Hundred" to determine an "official and completely authoritative 100 best games of all time ever without question" .

The Apples Project is at
http://applesproject.blogspot.com/

And The One Hundred is at
http://fluffysnoop.blogspot.com/

While his list is above questioning, Mark is not. That's why we brought him here to be Geek of the Week!

Here is his brief biography:

Quote:
I was born & raised on the West Coast (Seattle, Portland, L.A.)... but
through a weird twist of fate, ended up going to college (Baylor
University - Sic' Em, Bears!) & seminary (Southwestern Baptist
Theological Seminary) in Texas. (Even married a Texan...) I was a
youth minister for over 13 years, serving churches in Alabama,
Colorado, Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas & Tennessee. (Yes, you guessed:
youth ministers in my denomination don't tend to have long tenures.)

In 1997, I resigned from the church I'd served for the last five years
in order to plant/start a new church in the Nashville, TN area... it
was a rock-tinged coffeehouse "come as you are" kind of church - and
for the next five years, I loved being a pastor to people who'd burned out
on traditional church structure. We closed the doors (well, actually,
stopped meeting & sold all the equipment) in the fall of 2002 - and,
oddly enough, after 20+ years of living in the South, returned to the
West Coast.

I now live in Fresno, CA, with my wonderful wife, Shari, and my two
boys, Braeden (5) and Collin (1). I'm the pastor of a small-ish (125
in worship on Sunday mornings, 40 in an innovative service on Sunday
nights) church in Easton, a rural community just south of downtown
Fresno. (With the freeway, I can be anywhere in Fresno in 25 minutes
or so.)

But this is Boardgamegeek and you kids came here for the gametalk...
so, here's my gaming timeline:

1974-5 - I begin using my allowance to buy boardgames - The Sinking of
the Titanic, Dogfight & my first non-American game, Project CIA.
(Titanic & Dogfight are long gone - but I still have Project CIA!)

1977 - My aunt takes me to a games store in Burbank to buy me a game
for my birthday... I choose Avalon Hill's Outdoor Survival, which
leads to nearly a decade of wargaming (Arab-Israeli War, Wooden Ships
& Iron Men, Third Reich, Squad Leader, Civilization, Diplomacy, etc.)

1979 (I think) - My friends & I read an article in Games Magazine (I
was a charter subscriber) about this new phenomena, "role-playing
games." This is all it takes for us to get insanely immersed in
Dungeons & Dragons, as well as a bit of Dragonquest & Traveller. I am
the GM for all but a few of these games... and when I bow out
following the infamous "red dragon" incident (see my blog -
http://akapastorguy.blogspot.com/2006/06/day-i-quit-playing-...
for details), we pretty much stop playing D&D.

1983 - I buy my friend Keith a copy of 2nd edition Talisman for
Christmas... and then buy him an expansion for birthdays & Christmas
for the next couple of years. Every time we're together in So Cal, we
play multiple times. Rule of thumb: "Don't let Ken have the
soul-sucking sword... he stops trying to win the game & just goes
around beating on the rest of us." This begins a 5 year love affair
with Games Workshops board games - Fury of Dracula, Warlock of Firetop
Mountain, etc. (There is no love affair with Rogue Trooper, which is
just bad.)

1984 - I buy my friend Tim a copy of Axis & Allies as a "thank-you"
gift for transporting to a church job interview halfway across Texas.
(I didn't get the job.) As we drive back to his family home in
Corsicana for our spring break, I read the rules to him as we drive.
When we finally get there at nearly midnight, we decide to set up the
game, "just to see what it looks like." When that's done, we decide to
play "just the first turn." Sometime around 5 am, the game is over
(Tim won, as he did EVERY time we played.)

1987 - I buy my first "German" game - Hare & Tortoise, thanks to a
good review in Games Magazine. (Say what you want to about the Games
100, but back in the day, it was one of the best sources for
information for gamers.) This is followed by purchases of a number of
other Ravensburger titles - Flying Carpet, Enchanted Forest, etc.

1989 - I'm getting ready to get married... and begin selling off two
things in order to prepare financially: my comic books (Batman: A
Death in the Family helped pay for Shari's engagement ring) and my
wargames. Over the next few years, I'll use trade credit to help
purchase a full 3rd edition Talisman set - and then, much later, sell
it to a nice man in Sweden to pay for a major Adam Spielt order. Ah,
the circle of life.

1990 - I get married. Is it any surprise that the aforementioned Tim
is my best man & Keith is my only groomsman? Over the next few years,
I pretty much divest myself of GW and AH games, leaving only the most
non-wargamer/non-fantasy gamer friendly stuff in my collection. At the
same time, Roborally enters my life, as does Perudo & Family Business.

1995 - I've learned enough over the years to know that a red pawn on
an imported game box means "Spiel des Jahres" - unfortunately, I don't
get the difference between nominee & winner. Either way, I spend over
$100 in a game store in Cinncinati, OH, to purchase Linie 1 and
Manhattan, and the Euro collecting frenzy begins. Thanks to Mayfair, I
start snapping up their uglified versions of German classics: Modern
Art, Detroit/Cleveland Grand Prix, and this newfangled trading game,
The Settlers of Catan. (Man, what an ugly mess the first two editions
of THAT were... sigh.)


1996 (I think) - Again, thanks to Games Magazine, I find out about
Alan Moon & White Wind Games... and decide I want to order Phantoms of
the Ice, because I really enjoyed the old AH game, Slapshot. Ordering
consists of calling up Alan Moon (really!) and chatting with him -
then sending him a check. In 1997, that connection leads to my
invitation to the Gathering... which I was unable to use until 2002.

1997 - I make my first forays onto the rec.games.board usenet group
(wow - doesn't that seem dated... and it wasn't even a decade ago.)
There I meet Rob Wood, who lives across Nashville from me. We game
together (he brings Die Hansa - blech) and he & his wife, Cindy, help
me start Game Central Station, a gaming group in Nashville, TN, that
is still running. They teach me Bohnanza & Lowenherz & a plethora of
other great games. Also in 1997, I make the pilgrimage to San
Francisco (during a 7 week trip around the western U.S.) to Gamescape,
where I buy German copies of El Grande & Siedler von Catan das
Kartenspiel. I am officially hooked - I am now buying games I have to
translate.

1998 - Fed up with the inadequate rules for Titan: The Arena (a GREAT
game), I create my own website, Game Central Station. (It is now at
http://www.theswitchingyard.com and sponsored by the good folks at
Games Surplus.) Lots of stuff ends up there - including a massive pile
of translated Settlers variants - which is sadly lost when Yahoo dorks
out & eats my website. (The information still exists on my computer...
I just don't have a way to load it up without massive re-editing.
Sigh.) That same year, I also begin tracking the Five & Dime lists and
publishing my results. But the biggest news in '98 is my connection to
Ted Cheatham, one of the founders of Gulf Games, through Rob Wood.
Thanks to a great friendship with Ted, I end up being invited to Gulf
Games 2... and my gaming world is never the same.

2002 - Yes, I finally attend the Gathering of Friends... and also
create The Apples Project (check out the 2nd incarnation of that at
http://applesproject.blogspot.com).

2003 - My move to Fresno means I have to create a new gaming group -
but thanks to the kindness of Ray Mulford, I get to take over the
leftovers of a group he'd formed years ago. The Fresno Gamers (aka
PNDH) rise from the ashes & begin meeting at my house every Monday
night.

2004 - My appearance on Geekspeak generates a lot of interest... and
is the first of many podcasts I have the opportunity to sit in on.
(Boardgames to Go, Garrett's Games & Geekiness, The Dice Tower and
finally the Boardgaming Roundtable.) I think it was '04 that I also
was the "owner" of the Pub (aka Nigglybits yahoo group) for about six
weeks - I'm still miffed at Nick Danger for tossing me the keys &
running away "like a leetle girl!"

2005 - I start my own personal blog (http://akapastorguy.blogspot.com)
as well as act as the publisher of Stephen Glenn's The One Hundred
(otherwise known as "The Official & Completely Authoritative 100 Best
Games of All Time Ever Without Question"... so there!) at
http://fluffysnoop.blogspot.com. BTW, it still makes me go "huh?!"
that no one could figure out that we were using a bit of sarcasm with
that title. Evidently, we needed an emoticon... or a stinkin' neon
sign. Sheesh.

2006 - My son is finally coming into his own as a gamer... and is
trying desperately to learn how to play Memoir '44 and Battlelore.
(Yes!) In other news, I make a 2nd run at The Apples Project, which is
still going on.


Come up for air, and now take a look at his "Two Truths and a Lie".

Quote:
1) I played keyboards & sang lead in a rock'n'roll band.
2) I played the part of Horace Vandergelder in a community theater
production of Hello, Dolly.
3) I got thrown out of Disneyland by a security guy wearing a Main
Street costume.


And last of all, here's a couple of questions to get the wooden cylinder rolling:

1) You sometimes go by the moniker "Fluffdaddy" because of your
especial enjoyment of "fluffy" games. What do you think makes a
fluffy game work well? Apart from its lightness and shortness, what
do you think that a fluffy game requires for success that wouldn't
work so well in a meaty game?

2) You've especially distinguished yourself in the hobby through the
creation of "The Apples Project". How did that idea get started? When you see
people asking for game recommendations on the Geek, do you want to
reach out and say: "We've already done the work for you! Just visit
the Apples Blog!"


3) I've heard that as a minister, you've sometimes used game analogies
in your sermons. Care to tell us about a few of your most memorable
ones?
 
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James Fehr
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Congratulations Mark! I hope you enjoy your week in the spotlight and that it being over the Christmas holidays doesn't dampen the general interest in this thread.

I've really enjoyed listening to your interviews on the various podcasts you've appeared on. I appreciate your enthusiasm, the depth of your gaming knowledge, and your great communication skills.

So a few questions for you:

1) I understand that you tend to favor lighter games, but what is your current favorite game that is classified on BGG with a game-weight rating of at least 3.75?
2) Have you ever thought about starting your own podcast?
3) What is your all-time favorite geeklist?
4) How many boardgames are you giving to friends and family this Christmas?
5) If you had to live in any country outside of the U.S.A., which country which you choose?

Merry Christmas Mark!
 
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Mark Jackson
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First, thank you, Mr. Degann for that introduction. I'll get right to your questions.

Jonathan Degann wrote:

1) You sometimes go by the moniker "Fluffdaddy" because of your especial enjoyment of "fluffy" games. What do you think makes a fluffy game work well? Apart from its lightness and shortness, what do you think that a fluffy game requires for success that wouldn't work so well in a meaty game?


I think there are four things that make a "fluffy" game work:

1. whimsy - Whether it's the theme or the artwork or whatever, there has to be a whimsical sense to a good fluffy game. In Teufel's Kuche, for example, has devils with cute little chef caps;

2. nifty bits - No one is clamoring for a copy of the Dragontales memory game... but add 4 wooden chickens & chunky tiles w/ art by Doris and Chicken Cha Cha Cha is a winner.

3. a smidgen of decision making - A good fluffy game is NOT mindless... but the decisions do not slow gameplay to a crawl.

4. consistent gameplay - In other words, the game "delivers" a good gaming experience on a pretty consistent basis.

I did a Geeklist on this a while back...
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/1434

Quote:
2) You've especially distinguished yourself in the hobby through the
creation of "The Apples Project". How did that idea get started? When you see people asking for game recommendations on the Geek, do you want to reach out and say: "We've already done the work for you! Just visit
the Apples Blog!"


The Apples Project began for two reasons:

1. I wanted a way to draw traffic to my website, Game Central Station (now located at http://www.theswitchingyard.com) in celebration of 5 years of gaming goodness.

2. I was tired of hearing the yearly Whining At Awards Results.

I've come to believe that giving awards based on a particular time period is pretty much nonsense UNLESS you have a specific target in mind and/or you divide games into groups. That's why the German awards for children's games are usually spot on - this year, top honors went to The Black Pirate (Haba) for the SdJ and Nacht der Magier (Drei Magier Spiele) for the DSP. OTOH, Thurn & Taxis won the regular SdJ... and while it's a perfectly good game, no one is going to be going ga-ga about it 10 years from now.

Hence, the Apples Project... an attempt to compare apples with apples. What's the best exploration game? What's the best area-control game? What's the best game for 7+ players?

And, since it's not really an award, each category would have a list of five "winners"... and an extended list of nominees.

As to the game recommendations questions - yeah, I wish more folks would take advantage of the original project (http://theswitchingyard.com/theresults.html) or the current project (http://applesproject.blogspot.com).

Quote:
3) I've heard that as a minister, you've sometimes used game analogies in your sermons. Care to tell us about a few of your most memorable ones?


The best one is not actually mine - I borrow it from a pastor in the Bay Area (John Ortberg). He has a sermon entitled "It All Goes Back In The Box" in which he combines the parable of the rich man who decides to build barns to store up his wealth, a pithy Seinfeld quote on boxes, and the story of his grandmother teaching him to play Monopoly to talk about giving of our time, talents & treasure to God.

Grandma's first lesson is how to win... and once he accomplishes that, her 2nd lesson is that win or lose, whatever you manage to accumulate, "it all goes back in the box." Ortberg applies that to us... whatever we manage to acquire (he he, game reference!) in this life is going back in the box when we die. What matters is what we do with it right now.

I've often used translating games (I've translated/babel-lated a number of German kid's games) as a metaphor for getting comfortable with Scripture. You learn a language by using it - even though I had 2 years of high school German and a year in college, I wasn't very good at reading it. But because it was involved in something I wanted (playing games), I took the time & effort to improve my skills. The same is true with the Bible - it's not a simple book you can just pick up and graze through like a copy of Reader's Digest. It's a serious book that requires work & commitment on your part... and the more time you spend with it, the more you get out of it.

In a similar vein, I've written more than once about "gamer lingo" - at how we as a gaming community use specialized language. What starts out as a good idea (terms like "kingmaking" and "AP" are helpful in describing certain gaming phenomena) quickly turns into a way to set ourselves apart from the world - a way to differentiate between those "in the know" and "outsiders". The same is true in evangelical churches - where phrases like "washed in the blood" and "walk down the aisle" have the same off-putting effect.

Finally, I've used Salvation! The Game of Saints & Sinners (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/14507) as an example of crappy theology. (Wow - it makes me shudder just thinking about it.)
 
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Mark Jackson
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fehrmeister wrote:
Congratulations Mark! I hope you enjoy your week in the spotlight and that it being over the Christmas holidays doesn't dampen the general interest in this thread.


Me, too. I'm thinking it may give folks MORE time to grill, as they'll be home & have access to the Web. Granted, many of the Geekizens may be home & actually playing games, so it's all good.

Quote:
I've really enjoyed listening to your interviews on the various podcasts you've appeared on. I appreciate your enthusiasm, the depth of your gaming knowledge, and your great communication skills.


You didn't mention my exquisite personal grooming. cool

Quote:
So a few questions for you:

1) I understand that you tend to favor lighter games, but what is your current favorite game that is classified on BGG with a game-weight rating of at least 3.75?


Wow... good quesiton... and in order to answer it, I had to learn how to manipulate the database.

I don't OWN any games that are weighted that high... soo-prise, soo-prise. Of those listed between 3.75 - 4.10, I really like the original Funkenschlag. I'd also play Civilization again if I was independently wealthy and could afford to spend one of my thousands of days of not working on a 12 hour game.

Quote:
2) Have you ever thought about starting your own podcast?


Every once in a while, then I come to my senses. I really like being a guest - I get to spout off without having to think of new things to say every week and I don't have any of the computer/sound hassles that go with doing something like that.

Quote:
3) What is your all-time favorite geeklist?


As an old AH wargamer, Alan Moon's My Four Years at Avalon Hill (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/11076) is classic.

I also like my geeklists... but then again, who doesn't?

Quote:
4) How many boardgames are you giving to friends and family this Christmas?


Hmmm, he says, quickly doing the math.

Eight. 3 kids games (2 to my son), 2 party games, and 3 gamer games. Oh, yeah... and four more games/expansions to my Secret Santa target.

I guess that makes 12.

Quote:
5) If you had to live in any country outside of the U.S.A., which country which you choose?


I don't know. While I like the IDEA of Germany or England or Australia or even maybe Denmark (wouldn't it be cool to prank call Mik cheaply?!), I'm really kind of a homeboy.

Ask me what state I'd like to live in.

Merry Christmas Mark!
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James Fehr
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Quote:
Ask me what state I'd like to live in.


OK, what state would you like to live in?
 
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Mark Jackson
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[q="fehrmeister"]
Quote:
OK, what state would you like to live in?


If I lived alone, probably Oregon. But my wife gets pretty bummed out from the constant rain, so I think I'd stick with Tennessee or California.

 
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We'll take ya down here in Texas, Mark.
 
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GRATZ! Mark Jackson, and what do you think upon a "remake" with the 'Avalon Hill' "Blitzkrieg" game? I've got some 'notions' on this as well with NEW and 'improved' methods for 'reviving' the "corpse" of THAT with. Have you any "pity" on that 'wretched' "step-child" or others akin to such? I'd be willing to take on some "projects", while upon in this manner as well, with some "gleaning" from the BEST amongst ourselves in this demeanor and formulate a 'co-operative' aspect from this as well, wouldn't you agree?
 
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GROGnads wrote:
GRATZ! Mark Jackson, and what do you think upon a "remake" with the 'Avalon Hill' "Blitzkrieg" game? I've got some 'notions' on this as well with NEW and 'improved' methods for 'reviving' the "corpse" of THAT with. Have you any "pity" on that 'wretched' "step-child" or others akin to such? I'd be willing to take on some "projects", while upon in this manner as well, with some "gleaning" from the BEST amongst ourselves in this demeanor and formulate a 'co-operative' aspect from this as well, wouldn't you agree?


Yikes, Robert - did you swallow a freshman comp student?! Whole?!

So, with what I can understand of what you wrote - mind you, that was a very small amount - here's my thoughts:

I didn't know that someone (who?) is trying to republish AH's Blitzkreig. I owned Blitzkreig back during my wargaming phase - and I only managed to play it once with a real live other person. (By comparison, I probably got in 10-15 games of WSIM, 10+ of 3R, and 20+ of SL. If you don't understand those acronyms, just ignore this post & go onto the next one.)

I think the idea (an abstracted wargame) is interesting but has pretty much always proved less than successful. Most people who like wargames want to fight wars with at least some echoes of history - and you can't do that very well with those kind of systems. (This explains, in part, the appeal of the Gamemaster series games - they're pretty abstract but they retain a strong sense of period.)
 
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Aldie wrote:
We'll take ya down here in Texas, Mark.


That'd be mighty fine of y'all... since I did marry a Texan. (I do like Texans in general, even if I think that large chunks of the state would get kicked out of the Ugly Bug Ball for being, well, too ugly.)
 
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Markie Mark wrote:
I think it was '04 that I also was the "owner" of the Pub (aka Nigglybits yahoo group) for about six weeks - I'm still miffed at Nick Danger for tossing me the keys & running away "like a leetle girl!"


Okay, so that's how you're playing it, eh? Here's how I see it going down:

You hear a knock on the door. Slightly miffed at the interruption, you pause playback of the Muppets season 2 disc 3 dvd and set the 3/4 empty Snapple bottle onto the end table as you lift your stocking covered feet from the ottoman. Walking to the door with each stride getting more purposeful than the previous, you grasp the door knob and open the door with enough force to cause what little hair you have left to wisp from side to side.

You stare blankly, yet steely, into open space. There's nobody there. Glancing down onto the porch steps you see a lone manila envelope addressed simply to F-diddy. A puzzled and somehow knowing look crosses your face as you bend over to pick up the envelope. It is also at this time you realize that a man of your age really does need to begin some kind of exercise regimen.

Opening the envelope a key falls into your open palm. Attached to the key is a key ring with a picture of Richard Dean Anderson on it. You peer inside the envelope and see a canary yellow post-it note stuck near the bottom. Reaching in and pulling it out, you see the following test scrawled on it: "I'm toast. The bar is yours. I know I'm leaving it in good hands. Nick."

A smile creeps across your face. You walk, no, dance out into the front yard and scream to nobody in particular "YES! It's mine, all mine!"

For the next few days you keep your new found power a secret as you devise all the ways you are going to put your stamp on The Nigglybits Pub. Muppet curtains. Snapple happy hour. No smoking!

Fast forward a few weeks. You're sitting next to a empty twelve pack of apricot tea, having not shaved or showered for three days. A headless Ernie doll is lying admid cotton stuffing and you can't recall the last few hours. Reality has hit you, and hit you hard. What you thought was going to be a joy ride turned into a paved one way road to a private hell.

But in this emotional state of despair a new enlightened vision comes to you and you realize the job of barkeep, the job I made look so effortless and joyful, was in reality a high wire balancing act the likes of which humans have not seen since the flying Wallendas.

So go ahead and call me "a leetle girl". You are one of the few people who can appreciate what it was I accomplished for those oh so few years.

That said, you're still not getting this yellow sun dress back from me! It goes great with my new lavender pumps.
 
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It wouldn't be right for Mark to get GttW in week 52 and not do some serious pimping for Five & Dime lists. Let's hear it!
 
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gamemark wrote:
GROGnads wrote:
GRATZ! Mark Jackson, and what do you think upon a "remake" with the 'Avalon Hill' "Blitzkrieg" game? I've got some 'notions' on this as well with NEW and 'improved' methods for 'reviving' the "corpse" of THAT with. Have you any "pity" on that 'wretched' "step-child" or others akin to such? I'd be willing to take on some "projects", while upon in this manner as well, with some "gleaning" from the BEST amongst ourselves in this demeanor and formulate a 'co-operative' aspect from this as well, wouldn't you agree?


Yikes, Robert - did you swallow a freshman comp student?! Whole?!

So, with what I can understand of what you wrote - mind you, that was a very small amount - here's my thoughts:

I didn't know that someone (who?) is trying to republish AH's Blitzkreig. I owned Blitzkreig back during my wargaming phase - and I only managed to play it once with a real live other person. (By comparison, I probably got in 10-15 games of WSIM, 10+ of 3R, and 20+ of SL. If you don't understand those acronyms, just ignore this post & go onto the next one.)

I think the idea (an abstracted wargame) is interesting but has pretty much always proved less than successful. Most people who like wargames want to fight wars with at least some echoes of history - and you can't do that very well with those kind of systems. (This explains, in part, the appeal of the Gamemaster series games - they're pretty abstract but they retain a strong sense of period.)
oh, you're NO "fun" anymore!
 
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fehrmeister wrote:
OK, what state would you like to live in?


gamemark wrote:
If I lived alone, probably Oregon. But my wife gets pretty bummed out from the constant rain, so I think I'd stick with Tennessee or California.


Tell her I said: It's. Not. Raining. Here. Today.
(Of course, it rained like heck just last night...).

But seriously, why Oregon? I mean, I know why Oregon for me, but for you, what's your attraction? Don't you realize what moisture can do to precious cardboard?? And how would your job be different here in Oregon, a state that ranks at or near the bottom in the number of people who regularly attend church?

Congrats on being the Geek this Week.
(p.s. If you meet my mother, who lives in Clovis, say, "Hi". Don't worry about figuring out who she is. She'll tell you everything. Really.)
 
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richtoosoon wrote:
But seriously, why Oregon? I mean, I know why Oregon for me, but for you, what's your attraction? Don't you realize what moisture can do to precious cardboard?? And how would your job be different here in Oregon, a state that ranks at or near the bottom in the number of people who regularly attend church?


My mom & dad live in Columbia City (north of Portland) and I spent part of my life in Beaverton (age 1.5 - age 5). I like the climate, I like the vibrancy of the city, I like the Oregon coast being close by... and the whole "nobody goes to church around here" thing just means there's lots of people who need to hear about Jesus.

Quote:
Congrats on being the Geek this Week.
(p.s. If you meet my mother, who lives in Clovis, say, "Hi". Don't worry about figuring out who she is. She'll tell you everything. Really.)


Clovis is on the far side of Fresno from me... though we end up going that way a lot, what with Farmers Market & one of the two game stores in the area located in Old Town Clovis.
 
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Dave wrote:
It wouldn't be right for Mark to get GttW in week 52 and not do some serious pimping for Five & Dime lists. Let's hear it!


Let's call it shilling, shall we?

But Dave is correct - it's time for all of you to get your five & dime lists together (games you've played 5+ times in 2006 and games you've played 10+ times in 2006) and send 'em to me at fluffdaddy@gmail.com.

If you want to see last year's results (as well as compiled results from 8+ years of five & dime list), check out http://akapastorguy.blogspot.com/2006/02/five-dime-2005-reca...
 
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Steve Cates
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Congrats Mark! It's been great gaming with you these past couple months in Fresno! Most people on the geek don't know the mad skills you have in Loopin' Louie but I've seen them first hand. Which leads me to the first question.
1) Have you devloped the strategy guide for Loupin' Louie yet? LOL
2) What's your favorite place to eat in Fresno/Clovis/Easton?
3) Since we haven't got to play yet, which BattleLore creature is your favorite?
 
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Have any particularly truly great fluffy games slid under everyone else's radar in the past 6 months?

You usually plumb the depths of HABA, Selecta, and Simba a little more thoroughly than the rest of us.

I'm only now useful at unnameable and unknown things that crawled out of the dark corners of Europe from the 60's and 70's.

Moo,
Frank
 
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Nice GotW Congratulations on that et al.

But to the questions

1) After looking up that christian game I do share your view of it. (But not being christian, not likeing it's not that suprising. And it does seems to fit most peoples view on organised religion in anyform). But could a religious game ever be succesfull according to you or will it always be 'Bad Thelogy" regardless of religion and so on?

2) I just can't not ask about roleplaying as we in Sweden has a regular, you can't play roleplaying games for they are satanistic, or make you a murdurer. Besides your personal bad experience (Yes I went and read that too) is roleplaying right or wrong for christians (and is organizing groups for geting them banned from stores the right thing? (I know my view but...)

3) I just can't avoid asking this at this time even if it isn't boardgame related, what is your view on non-christians celebrating christmas.
 
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Joe Huber

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Let's see...

How soon do you think you'll be ready for your next 18xx game?

What game that you've played but don't own would you most like to add to your collection?

How small could you compact your collection without suffering significant regret?

Who have you had the most luck converting to the joys of fluffy games?

What Essen game that you haven't tried are you most interesed in?

When are you ginally going to make it to an April convention again? There's a stretch of ~three years in a row coming up wherein there's no Easter conflict...

Which would you rather do - play Assassin again (rules as published) or circle O'Hare again?

You list writing as a hobby - ever given a go at creating the Great American Novel?

Merry Christmas!
 
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Mark Jackson
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fbranham wrote:
Have any particularly truly great fluffy games slid under everyone else's radar in the past 6 months?

You usually plumb the depths of HABA, Selecta, and Simba a little more thoroughly than the rest of us.

I'm only now useful at unnameable and unknown things that crawled out of the dark corners of Europe from the 60's and 70's.


I haven't been plumbing as much lately - which is odd, since I now actually have a child of game-playing age.

Gamers with boys need to take a second look at the Jurassic Park games: Lost World Jurassic Park Game, The & Jurassic Park III Island Survival Game, both of which are out of balance & kind of goofy and... wait for it... a ton of fun. If you can suspend your "must play a balanced game" meter for 30 min. or so, these are enjoyable experiences.

In the land of Haba, everyone should try Akaba at least once. (I'm still longing to try Der schwarze Pirat.) Insel der Schmuggler is silly but moves quickly & is fun to play.

In the land of Selecta, Giro Galoppo is a kid's game for adults AND kids. A racing game with a streak of mean that has STUNNING wooden pieces.

No new Simba stuff recently... sorry.
 
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ironcates wrote:
Congrats Mark! It's been great gaming with you these past couple months in Fresno! Most people on the geek don't know the mad skills you have in Loopin' Louie but I've seen them first hand. Which leads me to the first question.


Quote:
1) Have you devloped the strategy guide for Loupin' Louie yet? LOL


I do NOT have mad skillz - I am but a simple student compared to the Master Looper, Frank "Moo" Branham.

The strategy is pretty simple... take out your best opponent as quickly as possible AND sit with the worst player to your immediate left. Beyond that, you get good at Loopin Louie just like you get good enough to play at Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice.

Quote:
2) What's your favorite place to eat in Fresno/Clovis/Easton?


Fresno: it's a toss-up between Max's Bistro (over on Bullard) and Doghouse Grill (right across from Fresno State. Max's is high-end food w/artsy atmosphere & great service... while Doghouse is a sports bar/grill with AMAZING tri-tip sandwiches.

Clovis: we've pretty much settled on Cool Hand Luke's - their Raspberry Chipolte Spare Ribs are to die for.

Easton: well, we don't have much in the way of "fine eating" in Easton - but I'm a big fan of Dave's, a little walk-up just across the street from the high school. They make great milkshakes and excellent greasy fries/burgers.

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3) Since we haven't got to play yet, which BattleLore creature is your favorite?


The only one I've actually played with is the Giant Spider - important safety tip: get him into a forest pronto & set up your own mini-Mirkwood.

The one I'm most looking forward to using is the Hill Giant. I think you need to set him up mid-line and in range of the enemy... then HEAVE boulders at 'em.
 
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virre wrote:
1) After looking up that christian game I do share your view of it. (But not being christian, not likeing it's not that suprising. And it does seems to fit most peoples view on organised religion in anyform). But could a religious game ever be succesfull according to you or will it always be 'Bad Thelogy" regardless of religion and so on?


First, I want to be a bit more specific about the problem I have with the aforementioned Salvation! The Game of Saints & Sinners. The game "teaches" that connection with God (and your eternal destination) are based on summing up the total of good things you do & subtracting the total of bad things you do (which includes accumulating $). The higher your total, the more likely you are to make it. This could not be further from what I believe the Bible teaches about grace & salvation. My relationship with Jesus is based NOT on what I can do and/or have done, but on what Jesus did/does for me.

But you, Virre, asked about whether I think this is true for all "religious" games. No, I don't think you or I can rule out a good (heck, an excellent) religious game being published. However, it's a little like hoping that Adlung will write a clear set of rules - we can hope all we want but it's not very likely to happen.

Quote:
2) I just can't not ask about roleplaying as we in Sweden has a regular, you can't play roleplaying games for they are satanistic, or make you a murdurer. Besides your personal bad experience (Yes I went and read that too) is roleplaying right or wrong for christians (and is organizing groups for geting them banned from stores the right thing? (I know my view but...)


Let's take this in pieces:

Does roleplaying make you a satanist or a murderer?

Absolutely not. Can it influence tendencies that are developed elsewhere? Sure.

Is role-playing right or wrong for Christians?

I think that's a call for individual believers to make... there is no verse in the Bible that says "Thou shalt not role-play." (As Virre mentions, you can check out more of my thoughts on this in my blog post "DW, Bill Cosby, & Evercrack" - http://akapastorguy.blogspot.com/2006/07/dw-bill-cosby-everc...)

Is organizing groups to get RPGs banned from stores the right thing?

There's really two questions here:

a) Do I think that boycotts & protests are a good idea? Do they "work" to accomplish spiritual ends?

No, not really. I think that people of conscience (regardless of their religious affiliation) can & should choose to partake or not partake of certain things. However, I think that most "morally based" boycotts/protests serve to focus more on the protesters than on the actual problem at hand. We end up providing the mainstream media an easy target to shoot at.

b) Do I think that boycotts & protests are "evil"?

Also no. Here in the U.S., people have a right to free speech. A conservative parent picketing a game store for carrying RPGs which depict demonology & the occult has the same rights as a gay man who protests in front of a cathedral to point out religious teachings he believes lead to more deaths from AIDs. Both of them should be arrested if they trespass or violate the law; both of them should be afforded every constitutional right to express their beliefs & attempt to convince others to agree with them.

Quote:
3) I just can't avoid asking this at this time even if it isn't boardgame related, what is your view on non-christians celebrating christmas.


Christmas is a time when people of all religions come together to worship Jesus Christ. (noted theologian, Bart Simpson)

I think it's great that non-Christians celebrate Christmas. This was nicely summed up by a pastor I know of who blogs, Joe Thorn (in a post entitled The American Christmas - http://www.joethorn.net/2006/12/14/the-american-christmas/):

Quote:
I hear from quite a few people that all of this amounts to us pretending to like each other for a few days of the year. That the smiles, acts of kindness, and all the holiday cheer is a superficial facade that is dishonest. But I disagree. I think it is less of a lie and more of the recognition that this is the way it is supposed to be. It is a yearning to be and experience what is right, what is best. It is a recognition of the imago dei, and seeing that, even in literature, is exciting. It resonates with fallen humanity.

Understanding this helps me to better connect with the culture redemptively. I do not feel the need to fight with the world about the true meaning of Christmas. Instead, I can find common ground from which we can talk, really talk, about Jesus. Sure, Christmas is about the best in humanity, the need to be compassionate, restorative, kind, generous, and selfless. The stories we tell at this time of year ought to be held up, because all of this, in one way or another, points to Jesus. Who else more perfectly demonstrates love for the poor, compassion on the broken, the forgiveness of sinners and redemption to all. Who has sacrificed more? Who has given more? Who has loved more? Who has shown us a better picture of all that we celebrate at this time of year? Who else can make the holiday hope of humanity’s restoration a reality?


 
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huber wrote:
Let's see...

How soon do you think you'll be ready for your next 18xx game?


Hmmm... I kind of want to try 2038 (cuz you've enthused about it so dang much), but I just can't imagine when I'd get the time. Whadda say we slot that in the next time I get to the Gathering?!

Quote:
What game that you've played but don't own would you most like to add to your collection?


Descent: Journeys in the Dark and/or Jenseit von Theben

Quote:
How small could you compact your collection without suffering significant regret?


Ooo... maybe 450 games. (It's nearing 750 right now.)

Quote:
Who have you had the most luck converting to the joys of fluffy games?


My success has been widespread... but recently it would have to be my Under 30's guys Bible study group. These guys have fallen in love with Attacktix, Papua, Clash of the Gladiators, Attacke & Diamant.

Quote:
What Essen game that you haven't tried are you most interesed in?


It's a photo finish between Space Dealer & Settlers: Fall of Rome.

Quote:
When are you ginally going to make it to an April convention again? There's a stretch of ~three years in a row coming up wherein there's no Easter conflict...


It's a cash flow & parenting issue... vacation time is MUCH better here at NewLife (this is a church that actually seems to want the ministerial staff to be well-rested & emotionally healthy) but leaving Shari with the boys for a week seems a bit much just to go play games.

That said... man, I want to be there.cool

Quote:
Which would you rather do - play Assassin again (rules as published) or circle O'Hare again?


Circle O'Hare - it got really overwhelmingly funny the longer we taxied. (Read the whole story on my blog: http://akapastorguy.blogspot.com/2006/07/gulf-games-18-wedne...)

Quote:
You list writing as a hobby - ever given a go at creating the Great American Novel?


I took a couple of stabs at writing a sci-fi/fantasy novel while in high school... but nothing since then. I used to write a lot of short stories, but that's pretty much gone away in the last ten years. I really like writing my blog - and I write nearly every week for a church e-newsletter, which can be a lot of fun.

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Merry Christmas!


And also to you, my friend!
 
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Happy Boxing Day!

So Mark, did you get any boardgames for Christmas?

Have you had a chance to play any of them yet over the holidays?

Also, where is the best place to view your own personal five and dime list for the year of 2006? (I see you don't track games played on BGG)
 
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