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Gaslands Refuelled: Vintage Disney

Sara Bear
United States
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I've been looking at trying Gaslands: Refuelled for 4 or 5 years. Well, Refuelled is an update from last fall, but looking at Gaslands in general.

With the changes in my gaming this year, how often I game, how much new vs/old/tried and true I'm doing, the therapeutic value of games with some kind of toy-like experience to them, like Funkoverse Strategy Game, I checked on this game again, and the Kindle version of the rules was on sale for $1.99, being usually between $11 and 20 somewhere.

I am going through figuring out and processing some repressed childhood trauma, and play is a language that really works well for me, and I've been discovering through some play therapy just how useful and therapeutic it can be. I am playing much more new to me than usual; I generally play variety anyway, but learning something new is, or feels, more distracting to me from intense stuff, than when I think about an old favorite. I have been challenging that thought/perception, though, by pulling out a few favorites lately.

Still, I am trying not to judge my pull to new new new, because I'm trying to go with how I feel a lot lately, in helping myself through this difficult, intense stuff.

Gaslands Refuelled is quite fun, at least as far as I got, anyway (more on that near the end). I didn't play with the several Wonder Woman cars I've picked up in the last couple years with Gaslands in mind; I went with a couple of Disney cars I picked up, because I felt so connected to younger me when I picked up and drove them; healing experiences for young me are quite important, so again, I went with what I felt, which doesn't come naturally to me as an overthinker.

I also chose a pair of VW-ish Beetle cars, because the learning scenario has two teams, each with one car and one buggy. Though these Punchbuggies were larger than the Disney cars, I used them as the more lightweight Buggy for each team, because it would have been a clash in my mind to counteract that and go opposite of the natural fit for those. My daughter game me these Punchbuggies out of herr small collection of special ones she'd saved from her childhood; she seems more connected to the ones she kept, so I dont feel badly.

I printed and cut out the templates, and a couple of dashboards for each team. I printed out the quick reference, but I'm going to have to make my own (see near the end for more discussion).

I thought about what to use from around the house to represent the start, finish, and obstacles on the track, and I decided my beading supplies, which I've stored away as I need to sort through and move on 2/3 of it, would have things to use. I've made a selection of things, some not used in this game, to keep in a drawer with the cars, for buildding hedges, fences, rocks, and things in future.

Here's the starting lineup of Team Jumbo/Dumbo against Team Gepetto/Pinocchio (Punchbuggies are playing the parent in this scenario).

From gallery of sarebear62

The starting line is a netting seed bead bracelet I made when I was new to beading. I chose silver lined seed beads for the picots on the outside edges of the netting; the silver lining inside tarnishes; eventually I'll remake the bracelet, as it feels and looks awesome on, but I'll need a magnifier first as my eyes aren't what they used to be . . .

From gallery of sarebear62

An almost racer's eye view of the course. Oh, I need to say that each vehicle is armed with a forward mounted machine gun (which no one was ever in range of, I don't think) and two handguns, as each vehicle had two crew, a handgun for each. The handguns have a 360 degree firing arc; the FMMG has only forward. You get 2d6 per machine gun.

From gallery of sarebear62

This is a destructible obstacle as far as the game goes; it's a flower hedge that I was going to have each half need to be destroyed to remove it entirely; if one half got pasted, I'd just fold the thing in half. The bracelet I used has been in a bag to be repaired as the beading thread broke after some wear; you might see the thread poking up.

From gallery of sarebear62

Another destructible object; there's a rosebush on the course! What's a Disney race without flowers and birds?

From gallery of sarebear62

A sterling silver finish line! Handmade for me by my husband of tiny sterling silver jump rings, in the euro 4-in-1 chainmail pattern. A few years later, I developed a nickel allergy, and this bracelet is not nickel free. It serves as a fancy finish line, though!

The other obstacles are trees, a cow statue, and a big purple crystal rock. These are represented by jars of colored beading thread, a black and white stone pendant, and a small container of primitive amethyst sticks, which not long into the game I started using to count who had gone, and for which gear phase. One stick meant they'd gone for gear one, two meant they'd gone for gear two, etc. I will likely use these or an equivalent in future games.

Raring to go, Team Elephant won the roll for Pole Position, and started first.
From gallery of sarebear62

Dumbo goes a straight medium length, choosing to use the shift for being a trivial maneuver to shift upwards (I forgot to add a hazard token to each car's dashboard when doing that, but catch it soon enough in the game I can figure out who has what (partly from looking at the photos of the moves they made/templates used)).

This is important because the last thing on a turn is checking to see if you wiped out, which you do if you have 6 or more hazard tokens; ANY vehicle with 6 or more wipes out, if they meet that condition, during the wipeout phase of any vehicle's turn. (Collisions and things can have you gaining hazard tokens even when you aren't taking your turn in the race.)

From gallery of sarebear62

Gepetto takes a curve to Dumbo's left, and . . .

From gallery of sarebear62

shoots at Dumbo! Walt is turning over in his grave. However, Karma can be quite fitting . . . stay tuned!

Gepetto shoots both handguns; the template is shown to check range with. You get 1d6 for each handgun, and Dumbo gets to try to evade with one die per gear level, and is currently in second gear. A 4 or higher hits, a 6 critical hits for 2 damage. You need a 6 to evade a hit. Gepetto here makes a total of 3 hits, with one normal and 2 for the critical hit; Dumbo evades none of them.

Damage is marked on the dashboard.

Jumbo goes; I didn't take pictures of everything, even though it feels like it! Everyone ends in 2nd gear after their 1st move off the starting line, and the resulting hazard token for each shift up will be corrected later.

From gallery of sarebear62

Pinocchio did a low speed hairpin turn to the right, and then fires both handguns at jumbo, making one normal hit. Jumbo fails to evade.

Dumbo, then Gepetto, then Jumbo go, each shifting gear up to 3 (hazard token for each them corrected later), from using a trivial maneuver off their template for the move they made. You get a free shift icon, as if you'd rolled the shift dice (which rolling gives you shifts at the equivalent of 4-6 on a d6, slide, spin (one of those is at 3, on at 2, I forget), and 1 is take a hazard token. You also take a hazard token if you can't eliminate doing a slide or spin. Sometimes it may be advantageous to slide or spin, though! Shift lets you shift up or down and take a hazard, get rid of one hazard token, or eliminate a spin or slide result you rolled.)

From gallery of sarebear62

Pinoccho made a hairpin turn; he was not able to get a trivial maneuver shift.

One question I have is, can you use trivial maneuver shift icons to, instead of shifting, get rid of a hazard token? Because the times I did roll the shift/hazard dice, I never got enough to deal with the hazard results, let alone remove hazard tokens I already had.


From gallery of sarebear62
Dumbo's third move was a nice curve to round the end of the flower hedge; I rolled shift dice and ended up spinning. You have choice in how much you spin it in this case; I spun to face the finish line, rather than go the direction the end of the curve had me facing without a spin. Sometimes spinning or sliding can be advantageous! Though you do gain a hazard token for it. More than 1, if you get multiple spin hazards (not sure if the same is true for slides).

From gallery of sarebear62
Gepetto saw the downside of sliding . . . waay way down to the bottom of the Cliffs of Sanity.

From gallery of sarebear62

Gepetto's feeling a little down . . . .

From gallery of sarebear62

Here we have another slide that is a close shave for Dumbo's mother! She almost slid into a tree!

From gallery of sarebear62

Pinocchio comus up on the right rear-ish of Dumbo, and fires off a pair of handguns. He doesn't hit, but perhaps he was distracted by the fantastical aerobatic maneuvers he must've made to get three 6's to unquestionably evade every possible combo of hit except for two crits.


From gallery of sarebear62

Dumbo attempts a move, rolling some shift dice, and ends up backwards and with 6 or more hazards, and so wipes out, moving forward into the flower hedge obstacle (which would have that half destroyed, now) . . . Between the move, figuring out how I wanted to use the dice results I got, and so doing the move & roll, spin, wipeout, and collision (which at this point I was looking up a ton about wiping out and collisions and destructible objects and the damage you do to it and it does to you), I felt my brain just going . . .. I'm done, had enough, it's a therapy day and you've gone as far as your brain had legs for.

From gallery of sarebear62

I fought the feeling for a minute or two but, in the same vein of trying to recognize what I'm feeling more, and go with it when appropriate, I did just that soon enough.

Plus, printing and cutting the stuff took time/energy, as did finding, sorting through, and selecting materials for use in the course. I had several hours of fun, though! (I'm not the speediest person).


There were a couople times during the game that i looked at the Quick reference sheet I'd downloaded and printed, and thought (after checking the kindle version manual) that with just a couple more words and a number, they could have improved the usefulness of the reference.

I don't remember what these were but I'll be making an improved reference for myself, possibly a double-sided sheet with collision, weapons, attack and smash attack stuff, on the back.

There are also other advanced rules, but I'm not ready for those yet. I do appreciate that the collision and final position/final interrupted position sections, and things like that, have multiple examples and explanation, as with the numbers of situations you could potentially get into, that could be really helpful.

The moment when I felt this game had me, as I was reading the rules, was The Carnage Rule, which is something like, if there's an unclear situation, make the choice that causes the most carnage. That suits me to a T.

I feel like ethe rules were laid out decently to fairly good, for much of the basic game stuff. I do feel like there's a couple things that you will ending going back and forth a lot; flipping back and forth, in physical copy parlance. I used the search function to help with finding some things, but I think the player aid I'm going to make, will help me more. I also might make an index for the book (note to self, go into the kindle book and see if it has one), because of the, for one or two things, you have to look in multiple places..

I feel like they did a decent job of putting much of what should go together, togetther, in a fairly logical order of learning. I've seen much worse! I just need to improve things a little bit, for my needs.

Probably way more than anyone wanted to know about my playthrough, except that it does hit or touch on many of the gameplay basics with this partial game, gives a sense of it.

Some things show better visually, in some ways, like the movement templates. I probably ought to mention the things here that you need to know. There's trivial maneuvers that give you a shift, and hazardous ones that give you a hazard token. It depends which move template you are doing, in which gear. At some gears, some moves aren't available, Of the ones that are for a particular gear, some will be safe than others in that gear. Some will give you the shift opportunity.

I also really like, but was occasionally chagrined by, the Use the first move template you touch. It helps prevent AP, and trying things out, but then you try to visualize it without touching them, so I tried to keep that to a minute or less before just picking one, to keep in the spirit. Playing solo, though, you can take as long as you like, if you want.

I love the toy aspect, I love the DIY use what you've got aspect to making a course. I don't have intentions of ever modding or painting cars and stuff, but I could use variouos crafty skills I have in various media, like beads, weaving, knitting, etc, to make stuff. I'll probably mostly keep it to what I have in the drawer of beading stuff I put together, like some wooden barrel beads my dad made me that I still have some of, some cheap (way too cheap for me to want to wear it, not sure why I bought it) chains that might make good fencing/course guides/barbed wire stand ins, and other things.

Anyway, I intend on playing more, though I am not sure if I'll get to making an improved player aid soon or not.
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Sat May 9, 2020 4:59 am
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Earthquake Shenanigans, Acquisitions, Improving Approach to Gaming with Health Issues, Creating a Solo Game Selector/Utility Book

Sara Bear
United States
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Earthquake shenanigans

The recent earthquake didn't knock anything over, not even the boardgames. It did come close to sending some Star Wars vehicles on an unexpected journey:

From gallery of sarebear62

From gallery of sarebear62

Groot was safe in his social distancing pot (obviously not 12 foot diameter, but we don't have a pot that big, nor room for it):

From gallery of sarebear62

I set up a game after, to help detect aftershocks, though I debated whether the clatter of pieces might be too jarring:

From gallery of sarebear62

The aftershocks were much fewer and far between (after the first two days) than they'd estimated, so it didn't stay up for more than a day or so. It didn't go up until the next day, and didn't do much of anything, despite the plethora of 2.0 too 3.ish shocks that day.

It's funny how engaging the scientific observation part of your brain, helps to reduce anxiety about the aftershocks, because it's hard for both anxiety and curiosity to co-exist. They did, but the curiosity significantly reduced the anxiety, so I'm tickled I could use gaming in a way to help with that.


Happy Birthday to me, feeling like a Ferengi (acquisitions), some things I've been playing

Between the rest of my Christmas money, and my birthday in February, and a bit of trading, acquisitions were more than they've ever been in a several month period. Probably more than any half year, and definitely more than most years (a couple years ago I had alot, for me, going in and out)

From gallery of sarebear62

My husband got me the DC101 two pack Funkoverse expansion for Valentine's Day, as I'd recently gotten the 4-pack DC set for a steal of $10. I later got with Christmas and Birthday money, Harry Potter both Funkoverse sets, and Kool Aid Man. Bandido, and the expansion to Fallout (not WWF).

From gallery of sarebear62

Fallout, birthday present, played with my husband and not likely to be solo'd as we love playing it together.

I traded for a batch of mosty PnP's. I'm kinda spacing out trying them, as it's nice to have new without having to spend to get it, and I've been trying so much new to me this year, I'd like to play more tried and true in there as well.

The Oceans pnp I got in that batch, while it will probably be quite some time before I try the actual Oceans game, I am in love/joy with the art, and have pulled some themed or matching sets of cards, ten sets, 4 of each, or 4 that fits a theme like jellyfish, or tentacles. I use these to play Daniel Solis' Year of the Dragon, that was designed for when the system/deck Book of Dragons was published.

I love playing that with a vareity of decks, especially as the original cards are tarot sized and take up more space, which is an issue when out and about (pre-pandemic), and I like the variety of having options. Oceans is near or at the top of the list for this game, for me, though. LOVE it.

From gallery of sarebear62

The sets of 4 identical cards, and some sets of 4 different but categorized cards, to make up the 10 different sets of four I need. Teeth, tentacles, jellyfish/bioluminescent, are several of the four differeent cards, sets.

Other games played recently include:

New to me:

Deadball, Ada Lovelace: Consulting Mathematician, Batman: The Animated Series Dice Game, Groves

Tried and true:

Fields of Green, various Fluxx'es, Castles of Caladale, Das Labyrinth des Pharoa


Gaming more frequently; changing my approach, health issues and gaming

I have been working on playing more games; rather, of having an attitude that it's easier than I think to get up and play something, and that I can take small steps and small decisions to make this happen.

When you live with a variety of health issues that can really make the inertia of continuing to just sit/lay down and continue what you are doing, generally be, or feel, rather, much easier, less stressfull, less painful than other things, thats often what you do.

But, I've working on changing the attitude about it. Which has been leading to good success in playing more, and some good efforts on organizing things in a way to make playing easier, or even choosing what to play, easier.

It doesn't take a huge amount of effort to make this change, but it does take trying to apply an attitude more consistently, and a bit of targeted self-talk to help push through the fatigue, fog, pain, and inertia of not getting up and doing much that comes along with these health issues, or often does.

Sometimes for a week or two when I'm on the edge of a migraine, or other issues that interfere, then no, but generally, I'm finding I can do more than I thought I could, I just need to make it as easy as possible, in my push to play more games.

With that push, though, a problem that had beeen increasingly on my mind since oh maybe August or so, and increasing with time and acquisition, especially the explosion of new lately, is the following, which deserves it's own marked out section in this long blog post.


Making a physical solo games selector book, to help with remembering what I have to play, and for which moods/brain fog levels they are suited for

From gallery of sarebear62

Cardstock and leftover plastic from plastic binder dividers I cut up and disc-bound punched for my planner.

I'd been finding that I was having an increasingly difficult time remembering everything I have available to play solo, and then choosing from it. Apparently I've surpassed some threshold of having more than I can easily remember without aid. I remember most, but it feels like I'm scrabbling to pull it all togeether, and that's not the most pleasant feeling, so I'd decided I would get around to making a physical solo games selector aid for myself.

From gallery of sarebear62

There are multiple sizes of sheets, usually more than one per "page", to accomodate my need to update/add/move info and things around to suit my needs. I include a variety of differently sized "pages" at the front, with my games listed undere various categories, that I tried to put categories on each "strip page" that sort of went together in some way.

After all the Christmas and Birthday money and other acquisitions, it's really come to a head. I put it together in the days following the reecent 5.7 earthquake in Salt Lake City; though losing power was a mild concern at that time and for a week or so after, it wasn't why I made the book.

From gallery of sarebear62

The rest of the book is sorted by the heaviest fibromyalgia brain fog level I feel a game is suited for. You see that on the left, a list of ones for that brain fog level. The first three strips making a "page" are on the right, starting with the lowest BGG weight game in the fog category, and going up from there. Most games are this 1/3 of a "page" size, but there's several I made bigger, like Deadball and Funkoverse, for reasons.

Some of the strips for the games have a variety of spots to put specific information; I stopped after awhile putting that, since it was too many games to do that (I can do it over time as I play them) and I may want to change what information I'm putting. I will list these things farther on.

This is a usable, complete (for now, mostly) proof of concept as far as what it is, the size, and stuff. That's why it's only cardstock covers and not laminate.

I needed something relatively simple, but also with enough to it that it suited my particular needs; that it would have some other utility in it besides solo game selecting, like perhaps logging gameplays, so I can put them in BGG later, logging game trades/incoming/outgoing, especially outstanding Kickstarters, a dry/wet eraseable scoresheet, and maybe a few other things. The plastic you see on the cover, and 6 or 7 pieces of various sizes between each fog level section, will serve to record this stuff with a wet erase marker.

From gallery of sarebear62

A closeup of a "page" of three game strips. Though I stopped putting every spot of info on all the strips, I kept the most thought through stuff, the most frequently referenced info, along the top of the page strip. Things like My rating, BGG rating, 1pg People's Choice last year/overall, players, play time, BGG weight, where it's physically (or digitally, in a few cases) stored, and Brain Fog Level. Game name on next line.

It might sound ambitious, but I've been thinking about it for awhile. When my mind whirls and whirls with anxiety, I'll often set it to work on something productive/creative like this instead, and it works nicely to do that. It means I think some things through to an exacting level of detail sometimes, though.


Tools/materials/other info about my Solo Selector book

The discs are Happy Planner discs you can find for that brand at various craft stores. The punch I used is a heavy duty, $80 Levenger Circa one that will punch through multiple pages, chipboard (to a point, extra thick ones might be an issue) and I've used it on some plastic, transparency stuff, and laminate. I'd prefer to not test it on the thicker laminates (not sure what thickness of laminate I've punched for my planner).

These are used for disc-bound planners; the punch creates a mushroom shaped hole in the paper. You can pull pages and things out and rearrange as needed. Some disc-bound brands/systems are compatible with some other ones, some are not, or are compatible with the other ones that don't play well with other types either.

I cut the disc bound punched white paper, into strips exactly in half between disc-bound punch spots, by centering adjacent mushroom punchhouts on lines that were an inch apart, straddling the cut line which was halfway between them. Some trimmers don't have measuring lines that close to the cut line, though.

I also used a We R Memory Keeprs heavy duty corner chomper. Each of these does two sizes of corner rounding, but one of the two for sale gets worse reviews. I have the better one, I wish the other was good too . . .. anyway, I use it to round the corners on everything, including the plastic used in this book. Sometimes I need to clean it up a little, but I'm still perfecting my punching technique. And the type of plastic that I need to clean up, is different than the laminate I've used.

Cardstock was from a big pad of scrapbooking, thick linen finished nice rebound to ot cardstock, teal front, purple back, so I don't mistake which side is front.

On the front, in silver gel pen (because when I'm using the clear plastic for scoring a game, I don't want text on the cover competing visually with what I'm writing on the plastic) I've written: Sara's Solo Game Selector, "Shall. We. Play. A. Game? - WOPR, Wargames"

The other info currently on some of the page strips, besides what I listed under the last photo, are:

RBL (rulebook learn)
RBR (rulebook refresh)
S (Setup)
T (Teardown)
FP (Physical fiddliness)
FM (Mental fiddliness)
Vis (visual aesthetics)
OS (Other sensory)

next line:

Org (organized)
PA (player aid(s)
Type of solo (self-explanatory) further info, if needed, like variant author, variant rating, will go on the back of the strip - I might change this and put the rating for how solo plays, next to the type of solo)
TS (I've forgotten what this one means, I need to go back to my notes from making the book)
Thm /I (Theme score, and Implementation of it score)

Next line:

Relax/Tense/Puz (With my TMJ, I've been becoming increasingly aware that a few board games increase my physical tension; these things are partially an attempt to become more aware of how I feel, and give me an idea of what games might be better avoided when my TMJ is acting up) How reelaxing/How tense/How puzzley the game is
UIXVis Dis (User interface experience issues, visual discrimination; this one will go on the back of the strip, only for the few games that have any issues here)

I just thought of another option to add. How involved is scoring, is there a scoring pad?

Because I've been meaning to come up with a way to assess what is important to me in games, to define the issues, and measure or score the things that would be useful to me to do so, and figure out a selectionof these things that would give me an overall picture of why and what I like about the game, and how much or how little it fits some of those things.

I don't have to track everything, but this is a stab at starting to define the ins and outs of what works for me in a game, what doesn't, and why. To various degrees. I think some of the things I'm coring, like physical and mental fiddliness, rulebook issues, and other things, are partly why some games that are weightier than you'd think would work at a certain brain fog level, work. It's because they run smoother in those areas than other games, even some lighter games, do . . . We'll see over time how this turns out.

Anyway, I've gone on too much. If there's anything else you'd like to know, just ask. Oh, yes, I do feel I need to add a list of my topj x number of games to the front, that's been feeling like it needs to be in there. A legend for the abbreviations in-book would be good, too.
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Wed Apr 8, 2020 7:16 am
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A New Year, and Christmas Money Burning a Hole in My Pocket

Sara Bear
United States
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Time for new pants! And a bucket of water, my pants are on fire . . .

Okay, so I received two games for Christmas:

Animal Upon Animal: Small and Yet Great!
The Cave

I received some cash, though.

Here's my feelings and thinking about what I'm looking for (besides my solo radar Geeklist).

1. I need to try some more different types of games/mechanisms/whatever, and see what I like, don't like, and why.

2. I need to go for some of the no brainer I'm pretty certain I'd love it, kind of games. They won't be in print forever (for example, something like Factory Funner, had a lot of issues in manufacturing I've heard, before it was gotten right; it's a lot of odd shaped punchboard pieces).

2.a. These games include Factory Funner (& Bigger), Habitats, Healthy Heart Hospital (despite length), Roll Player probably, Explorers of the North Sea

3. I have some thematic holes I'd like to fill in my collection, but if nothing looks suitable right now, something will probably come along later. In some cases, what I might want in those regards, might be an out of print game. Walnut Grove would give me a fun soloable western, as well as worker placement (plus tile laying, which I love.) But it's OOP and high priced.

3.a. themes like dolphins, dragons (rather picky about the art, though, it's what started to sour me on The Mico), various science topics that speak to me like breeding animals or plants for specific traits, geology, Oceans and marine life, Space, celestial stuff, birding (Wingspan got me into it, and I may reacquire at some point), national parks/camping/stargazing/nature, and some other things.

4. I have some specific mechanisms I'm looking for in a game that suits me in both game length/weight/complexity, and is the rulebook good, does the game look appealing (it needs to probably not have art by Klemens Franz, and usually not art by The Mico, but for Explorers of the North Sea, I'll make an exception, as his people art, and a few other things, is what bugs me and most of the art in the game isn't people.)

4.a. I am looking for a bag builder, but Orleans is borderline . . . . it's really lengthy, for one. I've looked some at Groves, but the majority of SGOYT reports tell me gameplay would have issue(s) for me. Some of the same issues people mentioned, though I can't remember them right now. Altiplano is a no, I'd prefer Orleans to it if it came to that. I see a decent number of bag builders in production or being planned, so I'm hopeful something will come down the pike eventually for me. I think there probably isn't something for me right now, but I could be wrong!

4.b. I'd love a city builder. There seem to be a TON of these that kickstarted in the last year or so or are right now or are planned to soon. Thing is, a significant minority of these give the impression to me (and I could be wrong) of people with little to no experience in the board game industry, who want to cash in on the boom with what they guess is a popular theme. Sim City was popular for a long time.

4.b.1 City builders I'm considering are Neom, and Warsaw (there's an unofficial solo variant for that last.) The fact that Neom's disasters, are something people try to find different ways to implement, has me holding off (though the designer has introduced an official variant for them I think), and I'm also worried my mild visual discrimination issues might have a problem once there's more than five or six tiles out. Warsaw . . . I'd like to see if any other 1 Player Guild players try it, but sometimes you have to be the first.

4.c. I'd love a dungeon crawler that really suited me, but there's a lot of things I'm looking for (both for it to have, and not have), and I don't think there's one out there yet, though Terminator Genisys, despite being tactical, actually looks really fun to me, and easy to learn and run, so there's that.

4.d I need to try a racing game. I played Formula D at a boardgame shop on a quarterly meetup day, and had fun. For solo, I'm considering Rallyman; Peloton is a more distant consideration. I'm less sure of this category than a, b, c, though.

5. I'm curious to try another game or two by Vangelis Bagiartakis, designer of my favorite game, Fields of Green, and several Daniel Solis designs have me watching what he does. Conversely, I'm not sure that for Uwe Rosenberg, anything but Fields of Arle, which is arguably too heavy, or maybe Nusfjord or Cave vs. Cave, would suit. I just find what I've seen in other games of his I've looked at, there's something about the way he thinks that doesn't fit well with me with some of how or what he does stuff in games.

5.a. Portal Games is a no, because of previous issues with bad smelling components, and rulebook issues.

5.b. Gamewright is one I look to before many others, because of stellar customer service.

6. Northstar is a game company I like to support, which lends weight to Warsaw (and it has some, but probably not too much, similarity to my favorite game, Fields of Green.) If Oceans, upcoming, were soloable, it'd be a shoe in. I've recently given up on getting anyone to play Evolution with me, though I do use an assortment of cards from it to play other games with (Daniel Solis' Year of the Dragon from Book of Dragons is one, and playing Herbaceous is another; important to note I own both of those, I feel.) Apparently my husband wasn't into it, but wouldn't tell me for a long time because I was so excited for it. We communicate better now . . .! And I keep my eye on Northstar (that sounds wise!).

6.a. I am considering, if they have where you can buy just a deck or two of the Oceans cards, doing that for the art on them, and using them as I use the Herbaceous cards, the Book of Dragons cards, and some others, to play various games that you just need x number of cards that look the same, in x number of varieties. I haven't found a ton like this yet, but the Evolution art is so pretty, and I love the Oceans art even more, that it would have to go in my mental health/self care kit.

7. I like to think of myself at least as a part time member of the Cult of the Tried and Tested, or Cult of the Old. One reason I went for The Cave, though there were a number of bigger reasons. I am not opposed to new, but hype, if it is more than what you'd expect from any game release, tends to have me going, ok, I need to wait, because I tend to get caught up in that and want it to feel part of . . . well, something. I am not opposed to new, I do like to get at least one new release a year (I only bought a couple games last year, so that's how it goes around here.)

8. I tried Mystic Vale just after Thanksgiving, and thought it was neat. I often have problems with keyword sprawl and a bunch of questions on card interaction questions with deckbuilders, and while I suppose since you still have 60 different "cards" at most, crafted into 20 different sleeves, you could still have some, but as I was learning the game, I kept intuitively asking the next logical step, or intuitively extrapolating what the next thing was. I'm not used to that with many games, let alone a deckbuilder, albeit an unconventional one. It's a great sign. Gorgeous art.

However, it currently doesn't have solo. The next expansion coming soon brings that, though, so I'd like to see if that's good. I loved the play so much though I'm tempted to wait a month, and read reports, and then buy if it's promising (and buy at least several expansions, to mitigate an issue of just going green/tree as a dominant strategy, until having enough expansions adds enough other optioons.

Several other things give me pause. The cost to buy the card, is nigh unreadable if you aren't sitting in front of the market display, and even then you are picking them up often enough for that, and text details. The other issue is since it's a bit fiddly to put away, pulling the multiple cards out of the sleeves, they ought to have put a different symbol on each expansion card for each expansion, to help sort them out after. They didn't. And they continue to print more with these same issues as far as I know (I'm guessing the cries of, now we need to replace what we have, from people who'd be upset if on new printings they updated these issues, is partly why not. Cost of making the changes, too.) Still, I don't consider them insignificant issues.

But I loved the play! But . . . it'll be a pain in the NECK to sort out later (honestly I'd probably keep it in one configuration for some time, maybe even a year, since I play a large variety of games (for me), slowly . . .)

EDITED: 9. Been interested in media that conveys going on a journey, lately. Probably going to get Amber Mines for Near and Far, I'd been trying to get rid of it but will not now. Lord of the Rings, though I've heard the rules aren't great and the game needs tweaked a bit. I don't know if any of that is summarized somewhere, I do have a copy. I forgot to list PARKS under the no brainers above. Not sure if I'd need Tokaido once I had that . . .

That's probably WAY too much for now, but perhaps I can stop thinking about it so much my mind won't stop whirling (when my mind speeds up like this from various health issues, I try to set it to work on something positive; end result is I overthink/overdo this sort of thing, but it helps me manage my health issues, and it's my blog, so there you go.)
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Fri Jan 10, 2020 4:25 am
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Attempting to play a physical game of Ticket to Ride (USA) with Alexa

Sara Bear
United States
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I'll update this blog post throughout the evening, assuming I get farther.

She asked how many players, and I said one. She then said Woohoo! and looks like it's just me and her, or something like that.

She asked at some point, Do I know how to play, and I responded yes. Oh, first thing she asked was if I was playing USA or Europe, and informed about the two different versions.

She asked if I wanted setup instructions (I think), and I said yes, so off we went. But short as the first instruction was, I think it was tickets and train cars, or tickets and train cards . . . I am realizing that hearing brief instructions, is falling into the same I forget it almost immediately zone of my fibro brain fog, as taking a pill does (I usually forget within 10 seconds if I've just taken one).

I asked her to repeat that last, and she just repeated her last sentence, which was something like, tell her Alexa, next, when I'd done what she'd said. So then I asked her to repeat the last instructions, and I still got the same response. I tried repeat the first instructions, start over with setup instructions, and got nothing different, although eventually she was saying when you are done with setup, say next.

I don't know if there's any setup different for playing just one person vs. her, so I then tried to start the whole skill over, didn't work. Tried to exit the skill in a variety of ways; Exit skill, use a (different skill, any one would do, but she wouldn't), Stop, End, whatever the most obvious things were, she just kept saying say next when done with setup. We were about to unplug and reboot her, when I said, Alexa, Shut Up! And that had her exiting the skill, so them's the magic words, I guess.

They really need to have in there commands for repeating the last step, the first step, or the step about "insert a couple words here that'll be just specific enough for her to know which step you are talking about". This is the kind of functionality I am used to. Starting over the instructions at minimum, I can see my third, "step about x" one might be too much programming, who knows, but repeat last instruction, etc, is stupid they don't have that in there.

So, about to go try this again. With the magic words, ALEXA, SHUT UP! ready at hand. I hope she doesn't put me where I last was, with no option to start the instructions over (though putting you back where you were WITH an option to repeat instruction, if you haven't started the game yet, would be cool.)

Will report back in later with how it's going. Or not.


I'm back. This thing has multiple issues. Most of the game was played from 8pm to 8:30pm my time, with several questions, probably 4 or 5 in that time, practically all of them needing reworded for her to answer at all, and there was one she wouldn't answer at all no matter how I asked it, and another that need 5 attempts or so before hitting on the "right" way.

I had to look up myself, whether or not locomotives drawn in your first draw, off the top of the deck, let you draw another card or not. They do, but that was one of those details I couldn't remember as it's been a while since last I played. I asked it so many different ways my husband in the room was getting annoyed with it and her. I was probably around 8-10 different asks, so I just looked in the physical rules at that point. I tried to word it the most obvious way possible, and asked from different directions of looking at it.

Next time, maybe I'll keep notes on specifics, but after the locomotive top deck draw question, the game felt like it was flowing fairly smoothly for being figuring out the Alexa thing, for figuring out how to ask certain questions.

Oh, another thing, is before gameplay even started, she got stuck in a loop, twice, that went on for 3-5 iterations before we managed to say something that had her move forward; I don't know if this is because we'd been trying to play the game three times and had shut up'd out of it three times, or what. So there's a problem. It's not always clear she's waiting for info from you during the pre-gameplay stuff, but it's hard to say for sure as she was looping and so it's hard to pin that issue down.

Several times during this experience, she exited the skill without us requesting and no notice. There wasn't any train music anymore. There was one time she thought I wanted to end the game, and asked about jumping to the end of the game and warning me that meant I couldn't take turns anymore or something. I said no to that and we continued. But the skill just turning off, so I had to restart . . .she did remember where we were, and usually or always mentioned what the last move she'd made was.

OH. That brings to mind, after asking her a number of questions, or usually one question but multiple attempts (occasionally her reply clued me in to how I could better ask it, but mostly I had to figure it out myself) I would forget who had gone last. I asked her, and she'd mention the last move she'd made, but would not say whether she or I had had the last turn. I tried asking multiple ways and it was clear this isn't programmed in. It needs to be. The one time my husband couldn't remember either, I just took a turn, because I was annoyed the function wasn't in there, so I wasn't going to give the turn to Alexa if I didn't know.

Still, I was having pretty good fun for the last half hour of the game, despite some of the issues that cropped up. I learned to tell her Alexa, Go (I don't remember her saying that was how to tell her to take a turn until a little bit into the game, so I'd been saying, Alexa, Your Turn; my fibro brain fog could be an issue here, or it could have been in the loops where she was talking over herself some or so close to it it seemed like it). I learned to get her to go much faster, as she'll do some effects after you claim a route, and such. I do wish after I claimed a route, she'd take her turn ten to 15 seconds later without having to tell her, or that there was an option in the program to have her auto take turns after claiming a route. But then I suppose that might have you forget to trigger her turn other times . . . OH.

You know what I wish, there's these buttons you can buy to tap and play games with alexa. It'd be SO handy if I had one of those, and could just hit it for her to go. Not that saying Alexa, go, is hard.

I tried tracking score myself early game to compare to how she was scoring it but I got off with her 1/4 of the way through, so I just let her do it.

Trying to ask her how drawing tickets works, took a number of times to hit on the right way.

I did my first turn of the game wrong (I'd like to say it was on purpose, but I'd just been looking at locomotives, and my foggy brain had it, hey, use the color you need plus something else, which is what I did.) She checked the first three to four routes claimed of the game or so by me, if I had the color needed (she didn't mention wild locomotives, though, and didn't mention them in a relevant question I was asking something, but did mention it later in something else.) to claim the route , on non-grey routes, to reinforce that.

I did tell her early on I knew the game (it's apparently been longer than I thought, though, but that was good for testing it I suppose.)

I had fun, despite the frustrations, but she left the skill slightly more than halfway through scoring, which was frustrating, but as she scores herself first, and we'd gotten a couple tickets into me, I had her score all done and just needed to do mine. It was annoying scoring when I had thought I wouldn't have to, and the third ticket I was scoring of mine with her, she kept not understanding what the names were so then she asked how many points I think, and she dropped out of the skill right after that.

She scored 117, and never asked to draw any more routes even though it looked like she was just going for the longest routes she could do at some point after she'd done as much on her routes as she could. I scored 112, and lost because I took two routes late game, and didn't finish one of them, though I did get longest route, partly because of a block I did on her mid-game.

I did find I drew off the top of the deck most of the time, whereas in multiplayer I probably only do that a third of the time for at least one of the cards (if I didn't pick a faceup locomotive.). She's using her own virtual train deck, so the card display only refreshes when you pull from it.

I quite enjoyed the play, despite the technical issues. Also, I need to note that being on the autism/asperger's spectrum, one of my things is my language processes brain differently (okay, as soon as I saw that's how it was coming out of my brain fogged brain, I finished it that way because it's funny, but you know what I meant to say). So it may be that perhaps I wasn't asking the ways others would, but I've had Alexa on a Kindle fire tablet (before the port broke earlier this year) and used to that, and then we've had a DOT for maybe a year now or a bit more, and a Fire TV Stick for several months. (Though the stick . . . either it's faulty, or I don't know what . . . but that's another story.)

So I'm pretty used to what to say, but I've never used a skill nearly as extensively as this one, a skill nearly as complex as this one. Usually I have her play music of some time, set reminders, remember appointments, tell me jokes, rarely look on Amazon for a product, play relaxing sounds from nature, stuff like that. Because a lot of skills I've tried are just shallow pieces of barely programmed, and not worth the time or effort.

This one, I am impressed with the amount of work that must have gone into it, but I am less than impressed that repeating instructions isn't in there. I also wonder how poorly or well the game will go for people learning it. I found when asking the questions I did, that some of the time, you had to have a degree of knowing something about what you'd forgotten, that was higher than I thought you should have to know about what you'd forgotten. Like it felt like you had to know close to the answer to your question, in order to ask the right way/thing. I do get that in a game, you kind of have to have an idea of what part of the rules to go to find what you are looking for, and you have to kind of know hey I've forgotten something about the way drawing locomotives works, or drawing new tickets, or whatever.

I'm just saying there were a couple instances where it felt like I almost had to know the answer, in order to get the information out of her.

Still, after the first big hiccups, that took me probably half an hour to get through, I played the rest of the game in half an hour, and then scoring took ten minutes because I did half of it myself. With only one live player, it might take 5 minutes if you have a lot of tickets. I had 7 or 8 I think, and you have to report each.

I'd give them a c+ to hard b-. I do expect that ones I know better what to expect from her on it, that I won't be bumping up against issues as much, and I did like that in help mode (you have to say Alexa, help, if you want to ask a question) you could get out of it by saying Alexa, nevermind. Or, if she answers your question (she always asks if what she answered was helpful) and you answer yes to her was it helpful query, she goes back to game mode on her own. There was one instance where I said yes she was helpful, where she wasn't, because it was clear by that point I wasn't going to get what I was looking for and that was easier than saying no, and then saying Alexa, nevermind.

Other people might not be as generous with how they'd rate the skill or her performance doing the skill as high as a hard B-, but I've had enough experience with Alexa to know there were a lot of things going right.

Before I played, I wondered if she would have levels of difficulty that she could play on, easy, medium, hard but now I can see they have way too much work to do before they could even do that, even if they were inclined.

I had a good time though, despite the hiccups and bigger issues, so take that as you will. On a BGG scale of 1-10 of the experience, I'd probably give it a 6. Needs some work, but there's some good stuff there too.

I'd like to thank the people who worked on it because it was a really neat experience (despite the glitches) in my opinion.

It's funny, because just last week I was reading a short story anthology called Robot Uprisings (I highly recommend it, but the Velveteen story, and the last story, are quite grim.)

[Hey, Alexa, did I successfully fool the human populace into thinking you aren't . . AGGAEEGAJGOAG!]

- no humans were harmed in the production of this blog post.

Edit: Sara answers more questions here: Comment
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Sat Nov 16, 2019 2:12 am
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Catching up on the state of my gaming

Sara Bear
United States
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It's been a long time since everything before my last couple of posts. My feelings and opinions on some things have shifted and evolved, so I thought I might go over some of that here.

What I learned, what's changed, newly figured out likes and dislikes, or further figuring out more clearly others I'd identified before . .. what's come, what's gone, what am I looking for, what am I no longer looking for . . . anything like this.

In future, I may do a once yearly, or maybe twice a year, reflection (but, consistency isn't my strong suit . . .) For now, I may cover the last year or two or three. We'll see.

Last I wrote, here, I was liking Card City XL. That changed, because of trying and playing, oh, heck, the name of it just fell into a foggy hole in my brain . .. it's something on a spacestation, with a weird round way of picking what you are doing.

Anyway, playing that . . . it highlighted for me that the thinking involved in how the different types of zones grow in Card City XL, is kind of sideways to the nap of my brain (if my brain were a fuzzy/furry velvet fabric, which has a right way to rub it, and a way that is going against the nap). It wasn't completely unnatural, but it was not fitting nicely into my brain anywhere.

This space station game, with alpha and beta phases, it felt like a new kind of thinking to me, but one that wasn't unnatural, or sideways to the grain or nap of my brain. It was just something never encountered before, and I found it slow to learn it, more like slow to get the feel of it. With time, I would have picked it up completely, but the game was fiddly enough for it's length that I moved it on for that reason.

Far Space Foundry, that was it! I have some fun pictures, like:

From gallery of sarebear62

(Crystals not included in game; I used crystals from the BGG store, in place of the chipboard crystal tokens)

From gallery of sarebear62

Several loaded ships.

From gallery of sarebear62

Lego figure not included. I built her myself; considering a name for her, possibly Ronnie Raygun.

I think I got more fun out of how it looked, than how it played. That's okay, that's how some of these things go. But this is an example of how a game that has nothing to do with another, can change my perspective on that other game. It was both spatial thinking type things in both games, but in very different ways/applications.

I moved Card City XL on too, around that time. It wasn't only because of how the districts grew was sideways to my brain, but it was also, and this is a big one, that out of all of the games I had at the time, it was right on the waterline of the beach upon which my fibromyalgia brain fog encroaches. Meaning, it didn't take a lot of brain fog to make the game not fun for me. I had meant to try to keep every game that suits me well, but I think the fact this game doesn't settle into me quite right, combined with the fibro fog thing . . .It's not worth keeping for the 1 day out of 60 I might be able to play it, and more likely would only play it once or twice a year. And on low fog days I'd rather play something I love, that needs low fog, rather than something I quite like. So it was a combination of how close it was to the ow-tide line of my fibro brain fog, and being kind of not the most natural fit for me.

It was fun, and I really enjoyed being able to play a variety of different ways.


Now I think I will list everything that's come in and gone out, since January 2018 (maybe including the Christmas just prior). And then pluck a few things out to talk about. Most people will probably skip this section, but it's useful for me.


Oh My Goods w/ Longsdale expansion Dec 2017 Christmass gift
Lost Expedition - January 2018 kind of a trade/kind of a gift. Not going into it further.
Knot Dice December 2017
Fuse December 2017
Forbidden Desert December 2017
Timeline: Inventions - Christmas 2017?

I think I did a little too much Black Friday shopping.

Kodama: The Tree Spirits - I think late fall or winter, possibly December 2017 or so, was a gift of a mostly complete slightly damaged version (missing the scoreboard and tokens, a few cards had a line pressed into them, I made my own scoreboard using own tokens, and I barely notice the other.)
Four Against Darkness, digital, January 2018? Yeah, no. Rulebook is insane.
Takenoko - Jan/Feb 2018 PIFF recipient
Ticket to Ride USA Jan/Feb 2018 PIFF recipient
Friday February 2018 was either a trade, a solo chain of generosity, or something like that.
Sylvion Feb 2018 I was chosen or won a drawing, to receive this. My first Oniverse game, and probably my last. In person, the art on many of the cards was not my preference. And setup was fiddly.
Card City XL - In, February 2018 BGG Trade
Fields of Green - February 2018 Purchased from The Game Steward, as my birthday present
NMBR 9 - February 2018 birthday gift from a friend
Petrichor - Spring 2018 kickstarted a year? previous
Postcard Dungeons - Spring 2018 kickstarted in January. Print was way small for my eyes.
Colorpop - Spring 2018
Pirate Den - Spring 2018
DC Deckbuilding Teen Titans Spring 2018
Rogues, Birds of Prey and maybe one other pack, Spring 2019
I think there was one more thing in this sale but I forget.
- the above five were on low low very low prices for Funagain's Clearance sale.

New Bedford & expansion & promos - May 2018 snapped up an auction for $30 for both, with a wonderfully modified box that holds everything nicely.
Far Space Foundry - In, July 2018 one of the Fair Trade it Forward lists
CYOA: House of Danger - Summer 2018 one of the Fair Trade it Forward lists
Legacy of Dragonholt- Summer 2018 I won a copy from ENGN!
Castles of Caladale summer 2018 one of the Fair Trade it Forward lists
Karuba summer 2018 traded Sylvion for this
Dream Home summer/fall 2018 a trade either BGG trade system match or one of the fair trade it forward lists
Sagrada summer/fall 2018 I think it was a fair trade it forward, could have been a regular trade
Mega Land Aug 2018 purchased at Target. This game is one reason Laukat isn't an autobuy for me anymore.
The Reckoners - November 2018 (my Epic parts didn't come until about April or May? of 2019) preordered after almost, but not, kickstarting. Hearing how not durable the dice are, is having me consider moving it on if they don't offer replacements, durable ones, for purchase.
Sprawlopolis Nov/Dec 2018 - they were unprepared for fulfillmenet of so many orders, but it's a great game (I use two goals, not three)
Discover Lands Unknown - December 2018 won off an SGOYT contest.
Herbaceous - December 2018? or was it 2017? Christmas gift
Doctor Who Fluxx December 2018 Christmas Gift
Fields of Green Grand Fair - @ New Year's going into 2019 Kickstarted after discovering in Feb this was my favorite game.
Mr. Cabbagehead's Garden - @ New Year's. Wish the neighbors weren't thick punchboard, makes it less portable.

Castellan yellow green 2018? Somebody traded this to me for something on BGG

Sherlock Holmes consulting detective Jan 2019 Part of Amy's package to me from solo chain of generosity.
Pick a Seal Jan 2019 Pick a Seal was also in that chain of generosity package.
Wingspan - January 2019 purchase
Obsession and expansion (jan/Feb 2019) Given to me by Dan, the Designer. That still floors me. I think the only game I've bought since, has been Silverton. Without his generosity, I'd not have been able to get it (and I may be selling off some games to put myself in a better place from overdoing it in 2018)
Lord of the Rings (cones edition) Spring? 2019 (condition was horrid, I might be able to salvage the figures, and something else, that are sealed new in what looks like new from factory packaging. Trade from Fair Trade it forward
A4 Quest physical kickstarted copy - summer 2019 kickstarter received
Tricky Tides summer 2019 kickstarted in 2018
Silverton summer 2019 purchase used off Geekmarket

PNP's in:
LoTR Adventure Deck game - Jan 2018 Solo chain of generosity
Orchard spring 2018 printed
Hereos of Tenefyr Trial version received some pnp's to craft from Roger
Silk (Arcade) Road Maker ditto
Raging Bulls ditto
one of the Fair Trade it Forward lists
Mini Rogue part of trade with micropul 2018?
one of the Fair Trade it Forward lists
Micro Space Empire a gift mailed to me with a few other small pnp's from a fellow 1pger
Micropul Feb 2018
Loot Boxer late summer 2019
Page Quest digital files, Feb-Summer 2018
Good Little Gardens Oct 2019
Seven Bridges pnp KS Oct 2019


Oh My Goods w/ Longsdale expansion summer 2018 ugh. such a slow slog. Traded
Cities first half 2019 Traded
Morels Summer 2018 Traded
Parade summer 2018 Traded as a reluctant sweetener (I like it, my husband is eh, so off it goes).
Dragonheart summer 2018 Traded
Imperial Settlers June 2018 Traded on Fair Trade it Forward
Star Realms (I received another copy in trade as a bonus, though I don't need it) Traded
A4 Quest physical kickstarted copy - spring 2019? Felt like I wasforced to sooner than most people went to a backup, on one of the fair trade it forward lists. It's one of the reasons I don't go back to those; the condition of Lord of the Rings is another. Traded fair trade it forward
Postcard Dungeons - late summer or into fall 2019 sent as sweetener on a trade
Tricky Tides Aug/Sept 2019 sold to a fellow 1pg member
Castellan, red/blue and yellow green Gave to my best friend
February 2018
Fuse early 2018 Traded
Gloom of Kilforth Jan 2018 Solo chain of generosity
LoTR Adventure Deck game - summer or fall 2018 traded? or one of the chains
Star Trek Panic December 2018 Gave to my older brother
Sylvion summer 2018 traded for Karuba
Compounded 2018 Traded
Decktet 2018 Traded or fair traded it forward
Firefly the Game 2018 sold to a fellow 1pg member
Jambo 2018? traded
Lost Cities 2018 summer traded
Pandemic 2018? sold with several others I'm a bit vague on the trade (Acquire, I think, and something else)
Perry Rhodan: The Cosmic League Traded
Star Realms and Gambit Traded?


Well, most will probably skip most of that. I'm trying to get a rough idea, and this does it for me, of several things.

Which ways I've been acquiring games, when, how often, which of those ways tend to work out better for me. How much I'm spending, and how much I'm trading, in any given year. I have been given or won 3 or 4 in the past year and half, which given my reduction of incoming games, has been really nice.

I wasn't doing a ton of kickstarting, but it was more than I ought, and it was swayed too much by hype or marketing. I've super slowed that down, almost stopped it for some good stretches of time. Playtested with public reports games that are inexpensive, and look perfect for me, like Crystallo . .. that one was easy to do. Without public reports on the game, I am trying to put up a hard wall of NOPE. Expansions are a bit different, for a game I love like Obsession, it's a yes. Trying to raise the funds to get the 2nd edition, currently.

After Christmas, and my birthday, I am often given money, and sometimes games, so those don't come out of the usual budget. Wingspan this year used Christmas gift money to purchase.

It's nice to see that this year I have been more disciplined. Only a couple of purchases (Wingspan, Silverton), only a couple of Kickstarters, small ones at that (Crystallo, Seven Bridges pnp, though the designer is giving me that pnp, personalized, whether it funds or not! Wow! The designer of Obsession GAVE me the first edition earlier this year, with expansion! Again, Wow! I'm humbled.)

Trades this year include getting Sherlock in the Solo Chain of Generosity, getting Pick A Seal as a bonus gift along with it . . . I had a negative experience with the chain/forward list where I received Lord of the Rings. I'm still grossed out by the box, and all the dusty spotting on the boards which could have been anything. He did resolve it with $20, but the way he acted, like he knew about the boards all along but checked if he'd posted a photo, and hadn't, so he sent me the money . . . . .there is no way anyone wouldn't have complained if he'd posted a photo of the boards condition on a list like that. It's my experience that people are very vocal about such issues (and in this case, at least, I'd agree, as I do in some others.) So despite the fact it was technically resolved satisfactorily, I'm left with a taste of possible purposeful deception in my mouth. The other negative experience was early this year or last year sometime. Amy's package in January makes up for a lot of that, though. It was super generous!

I feel that many of these lists for trading are too cutthroat for me, and I don't need that stress, besides worrying about condition received. It could happen in any regular, direct trade, or a math trade (which I had a condition issue once, in), but I feel like direct trades . . .it's just simpler, even with value being subjective, and sometimes very personal, no matter the objective value that Geekmarket history can often provide. I can live with the more objective value, but I've experienced someone valuing very similar $$ games, with no OOP issues or things like that, at vastly differing values. And I, personally, am probably a bit stuck on the value of the Goonies playmat . . . mosty I try to go with objective, but I'm human, as is everyone else.

At some point I'll start sorting this info. A Google document would work for that.

This post with the rough list, will be a start for me, there.


I have more to say about the state of my gaming as I've discovered, refined, and otherwise developed my thoughts and feelings on gaming, various mechanisms, and other things. This is plenty for now, and will probably be followed by posts on other things, before coming back to it.
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Mon Oct 7, 2019 12:38 am
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Fogging with a Gaming Brain (Gaming with Brain Fog)

Sara Bear
United States
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A BGG friend sent me a link to this article today.

I was excited to see someone else writing about this kind of thing (though of course never excited to see someone else has to experience unfun health issues, though I know of course that's just part of life.)

There's a lot we agree on and some things I differ, but I would imagine part of it is your preferences mixed with the health issue, and how it affects you, and the cause being different, can sometimes mean it's causing some sometimes subtle differences from how a different condition might, as brain fog can be caused by a number of things. I don't mean to sound like I'm judging what she wrote, when I say I agree, or disagree. I'm not judging, it's just from my perspective of what's worked better than other things, as I'm sure is the same for her and why she says what she does. This is one reason I'm glad to see more people talking about this, because more perspectives gives a fuller view of the experiences, issues, problems, solutions, depending on the mix of symptoms you have.

Also, keep in mind about me that:

My own combination of issues, health stuff, etc., is affecting everything I say, so you may notice a hefty helping of sensory things added in, since those are a great thing for me, anyway, and can be for others, sometimes. Health issues, being autistic spectrum, and stuff, can also make you oversensitive to some things, so you figure out what works for you. Or figure out if there are things I am not addressing, because I either haven't thought of it, experienced it gaming wise yet, or it's not been part of my life or health experience, yet. Or because my issues skew things certain ways. Please comment about anything, but especially these types of different things related to gaming that you want to contribute!

Memory issues are both part of the fog, and their own thing, too. Memory issues will be it's own whole post sometime.

Also, I'm using a portable keyboard, that keeps adding a t to but, and some other things, so if it seems like my typing is atrocious, that's why.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional, nor ever played one on tv.
Don't take my, or tv doctors', opinions, feelings, statements, as medical advice or recommendations. Your doctor can do that for you.

I thought the article was great, and wanted to respond with my thoughts on all the categories she mentions, and maybe add some things of my own, or related stuff.

The part where she goes, "Squirrel", is so me, and in fact we use that quote from UP, I think it is, all the time.


I agree with everything she says here. I have another option or two besides this, which I will get into after reacting to all her topics.


Definitely a part of what I do. I would add, here, that games with the lowest barrier to entry, to playing, and a little less so, putting away, are the best here, as the fog gets more and more. So easy to learn or refresh rules. When possible, the most elegant, low ruleset game design possible, for your heaviest fog where you are still up for a game. I find NMBR 9, Timeline: Inventions (that's the only Timeline I have), Knot Dice, War (many say it's not a game but if you want the interaction of gaming without having to think much if at all, it's perfect, especially with a beautiful set of cards, or a license that speaks tto you, like Wonder Woman for me) . . . These are my top super foggy but still want to game, games. With Knot Dice I usually play Book of Kells.

So easy and/or lowest amount of rules, a game without a huge faq, a game that doesn't tend to inspire keyword questions, or card interaction questions (as many deck builders, and LCG type or collectible games like Dice Masters, tend to do, because keyword sprawl becomes an issue), not AP inducing, easy set up and fairly easy take down, though I can set something that needs sorted out, aside until I'm up for it, if I need to, quick playing time, or at the very least, doesn't overstay it's welcome, and probably a game that leaves you wanting more (these tend to be games that don't drag, you almost always want more, depending on how you are physically feeling . . .). Rulebooks are a big thing, here, and from things that look like trends to me, it feels like more publishers are paying more attention to usabilty, accessibility, comprehensability, and other things, in regards to rulebooks. Rulebooks having issues, is probably the biggest reason a game that appeals to me in one, or usually multiple to many other ways, are a no for me.

Basically, I would add everything to do with accessibility that I've said above, and also include repack, organize, or repackage a game in a more accessible way to play, set up, and somewhat to tear down . .. .or whatever works for you.

I added "Another note about Rulebooks" section after reacting to her article.

I could always play Sprawlopolis with only ONE goal, if needed. I usually play with two, because I find three too brain busting burny, even with low to no fog. Give yourself permission to do it how you need, as I know some think house rules are going against the designer. Games are art, yes, but they are also a consumer product, adaptable to your needs and wishes in ways Movies, which are also art, and consumer products, are not. House ruling, adapting games, are all a part of the board game community, despite those who prefer it not. I haven't seen a designer ever say no house rules, though some do say please try it without house rules first (they did put a lot of work into designing/balancing the game!) If it helps you and brings you joy, do whatever you need or want to make it more accessible, and more fitting for you and your situation. That's my philosophy, anyway.

I don't want to start a big discussion about house rules being acceptable or not. For me, they are, and they are a big part of adapting things to the variety of conditions I have. An increasing number of games are being designed with increasing accessibility, however, there's a limit to how flexible they can be, depending on each game's design. It's up to you to see and decide how and if you can fit it to you. Just give yourself permission to. It would increase sales for these people. so I hardly think they'd object. Besides which, once you buy it, you can do as you wish (though I do, myself, try to play it as designed first, unless I KNOW, from other people's reports, that tweaking one or two things would really fix something that would otherwise be a problem that would keep me from buying it). Well, I guess I've said enough, I'm open to some conversation on it. Just be respectful. These are just my feelings and opinions.


When foggy (and possibly tired, from fibro fatigue, for me anyway) this is a great thing. Though sometimes I am tired without having a bunch of fog, and so I can lay in bed if needed, and read some rules. It's possible other people may have conditions with a mix of symptoms in addition to the fog, and they may wax and wane at least somewhat independently of each other. These rules need to be fairly approachable, though.

There are a rare few games out there I could try new when foggy, like Timeline Inventions, because you can explain the rules in 30 seconds (more like 90, for me, but you can see my problems here), because it's so simple, and intuitive (I just wish they'd come out with a larger version for aging eyes.)

For the most part, though, stick to what you know is the best idea, here. As with any guideline, I'm sure the author knew there are probably a few almost no rules, elegant, intuitive design, light things, like explaining connect four to somebody who'd never played.


Seems like a good idea. I've been souring on many cooperatives because of not being different enough from Pandemic, or base rules Flashpoint. It needs to have something distinctive. Thing is, when foggy, the simplest, stripped down cooperatives, are probably the only possible cooperatives when foggy, and it's really hard to get away from Pandemic, or Forgotten Island feel, when you do that. Pandemic the cure, though, with it's diciness, is different enough from base, and simple enough, it still works for me. And we do keep the first two Forgotten games around (my husband loves them, and they'd be easier for me when foggy, even if not my favorite; Desert does add some stuff that might make it different enough for me, I haven't decided yet. Sky looks too thinky for me).

So as with any of these, your preferences (besides various health issues) will inform how well it works for you or not. I'm not criticizing that she didn't put such a disclaimer in her article; I'm just probably being too OCD (I actually have OCD, not doing the casual joking about it people often do on BGG.)


Great option, with more options in games coming in this mode all the time. Some game designs don't suit it well, but there's plenty of options now, especially in print and play. The 1 player guild on BGG is an AWESOME place, that I don't venture out of much anymore, because it seems much kinder than the rest of BGG.


Yes. If I'm having a hard time even getting a game out to play, then removing distractions is best. However, we live in a small apartment, so I can't just tell people to go to their room. I plan on eventually getting a noise canceling set of headphones; my current padded pair that's not a feature, they are way too cheap, but they still help tone things down for me. The noise clutter, since I need hearing aids, is an issue, as is noise and fibromyalgia makes one sensitive. (If confused, when you need hearing aids, at least for my type of issue, the brain overcompensates and so it over emphasizes cluttery noise, and stuff that just muddles together).

If I have to, I can play some small games on the bed on a board I made out of an old science project board. Often, the small, quick, elegant games I've mentioned elsewhere in this post. I made a cutout for the torso, well a bit of one, so I can snug it up to me in the recliner (not reclined). I have a previous blog post on it somewhere, with pictures.

From gallery of sarebear62


My biggest issue here is mania, not brain fog. Though making foggy purchases isn't a great idea. And no internet for a week after I've had anesthesia.

However, after 15+ years in psychotherapy, I'm self aware in a number of ways that maybe a some people aren't. And with each new game I play, I learn more about what I like and don't like, gameplay wise. I don't get to try new games near as much as other people, so I am still learning, there's a lot of things I haven't tried.

So I'd say not no new games, but they have to be carefully considered. Which is hard to impossible to do when foggy . .. .I've traded for some impulsive things, which still involves shipping money, but I unsubbed from the hot deals forum. I used to buy a couple based on that.

Now, the only hot deals I'm subscribed to is a thread in the 1 player guild, which only very rarely has anything for me.


Yes, all good stuff here, and I'll reiterate here, since it seems to fit, what I've said elsewhere, which is give yourself permission to be as flexible as you need/want, as silly and/or playful as you need/want . . . to not be perfect, to not be anything particular . . .I surprised myself with my highest ever score in NMBR 9 the other day when somewhat foggy, but I feel the order the cards come out is part of that. My score was higher than previous highest by 4 points. I might have been able to do even better if I hadn't been foggy, but that's like wishing it never rained. It was a good gaming moment, and it made me happy. The playing with only 2 goals I usually use in Sprawlopolis, is an example of being flexible. I might reduce to 1, as said earlier, if foggier.


I don't have a gaming group, but when I went to Saltcon a few years ago, the only two times we gamed with others, there was one player present at both. He's a min/maxer. Not someone I want to game with. Playing with him and the guy teaching, is part of why I'll never play Roll For the Galaxy, or anything with that simultaneous phase selection (different from simultaneous action selection) again. Just, no. There's other reasons, so getting over that experience won't make the games much more appealing to me. If it was just that, I'd work through it faster, but I have bigger fish to fry at therapy these days.

However, a third experience had a couple teaching us Castles of Burgundy, but not playing. Which confused me at first, but after processing the Roll for the Galaxy experience, with the teacher competing with us, and the way he was with that, I think it's better for teachers to not play, quite often.

Oh, I forgot another experience with others, that was really kind and healing (I'd had a well my psychologist calls the people's behavior bizarre, experience, that if their behavior hadn't invalidated their actions/opinions/treatment of me from having any weight, it would have been awful, and it wasn't great to experience, but it was powerful to realize it wasn't me, it was them.) The kind and healing experience was shortly after the bizarre, and they were kind, accepting, and understanding.

Find your people. I agree with everything she says here!

OTHER OPTIONS (as mentioned early in the post, first section of hers I reacted to)

There are some games, that are almost more activities than games. I call them gametivities. I have fun that is independent from whether I score, or whatever. Castles of Caladale is one of these. You could just goof around building without playing the game at all, either, which fits my next suggestion . . ..

Play with game components. I will fiddle with stacking and clicking these deluxe, satiny poker chips I have from a deluxe Pandante set I won (Kept the chips for fun). Sometimes this type of play is inherent in a game design, like Get Bit, where you are pulling off arms and legs . . . I think dexterity games might fit here, and being more flexible in your notions of playing; feel free to play a dexterity game by yourself (unless player interaction is so high that's not feasible), and see how long you can go . . It may be the clatter and crash might irritate you, depending on if you get irritable when foggy, which I sometimes do, but part of that is from being bipolar, and part of that is from other things, including fibro can make you really over-sensitive to sttuff sometimes, or migrainey, or on the verge of it . . .so you figure out what works for you.

Pull out some cards with stunning game art, like the cards in Wingspan, Herbaceous, Evolution, whatever floats your boat. Just looking through them can brighten your day, if you are too foggy to play.

Make sure you have a zip loc to put them back in when done, if you can't have the game box right with you; foggyness has me losing SO much stuff, it needs to have a place. If you need to create a place for things you do when foggy, to get put back where they go later, you can do that too, and create a routine and pathways in your head, so you don't lose things. Pulling things out of games to enjoy is something I do, so it's not novel; things that are new to my routine and life, like when I first got a fitbit, it would be lost almost before it was out of my hands, because I didn't have a place it would always go when charging (I didn't have charging it as a routine in my head either, so it was new), or a place it would go when taking it off to let my skin breathe or when it was sweaty after exercising . . . I have found that once something gets integrated into my life, with an organized way of managing it, some might even say a bit ocd, if they don't understand how you can lose things as easy and automatically as you blink . . once something is integrated, then it works better for me.

Any mazy pathy game, just put tiles or whatever it is down, enjoying how it looks as the paths form, maybe even tracing them with your finger (my therapist has given me some celtic knot art things to color and trace; I have Knot Dice, and if I'm too foggy to even play thee game, I can just make designs, or look at, fiddle with, and enjoy the dice, as they are absolutely gorgeous. Basically, you don't have to actually PLAY something. Just noodle around with it.

Take some fun photos of a very few game bits, perhaps in a funny way, like doing the Beatles' walk across that crosswalk (brain fog and other things won't let me pull up what that is actually called). A fellow 1 player guild member had a nice one doing this of Everdell meeples . . . I mention just a few bits, doing something easy, because you can get really involved with arrangements and things. I'm talking one minute with the bits, boom, take a photo, type stuff. Depends on your fog, though. And I'm talking casual photograpy with a point and shoot.

Photographically, I like to mash up bits from different games together, which often doesn't take a lot of bits or effort. Put the conversation bubble meeple bit from Hostage Negotiatior, on top of the epic Goonies meeple from Goonies the Adventure Card Game . . .and that is fun just even thinking about. I'll also mashup various action figures, plushies, collectible figures, licensed objects (like a Wonder Woman keychain would make a fun game piece for some games) with what I'm doing. You have permission to be silly and playful; I feel our society constrains grown ups too much there, or dour/strict parents, or whatever. Silliness and playfulness help me especially when foggy, anxious, and sometimes when depressed.

If you are too foggy to play, just thinking about some fun stuff like mashing up gaming bits, or whatever appeals to you, can be fun. It's okay to muse, daydream, drift on whatever fantastic and weird tangents that occur to you when foggy. I find my brain kind of flows different, making more weird connections between things when foggy, sometimes. It could be fun to see what you think up. Thinking is sometimes very unfun when foggy, though, so it depends on how it affects you. This is almost more a feeling exercise than thinking; feel free to be silly and go with what FEELS fun, whatever gaming ideas cross your mind. Write them down for later, if you wish, as I know I wouldn't remember them. Memory issues are a part of my thing, some short term ones generally.

Sort through your print and play gaming bits if you have them, or gaming bling stuff, or whatever. It can be fun just to do this. If you've been meaning to rebag, or put stuff into dollar store containers, or plano boxes, or whatever, this is something that can be done when foggy. Creating a new organizing system, no, but doing things you'd already planned to, or that you have a plan or something in place for, can work, depending.

Browse BGG. I'm trying to do this less when I am on the lower end of the fog scale, because I can accomplish other things more productively and effectively in this time. I need at least a little low fog time here, though, for interacting at my "best".


Rulebooks NEED to be having few to no issues that most people without disabilities would mention, in order for me to consider a game. I mean, I MIGHT buy a Wonder Woman game with a crappy rulebook, but in that case I am either going to use player made rulebook rewrites, if they exist, or just use the game bits in other games. There's only a couple hypotheticals I might consider buying in this situation . . . which is a big reason my small Kickstartering career has slowed down to a trickle. Even if they say it's going to be a good rulebook, you can't always know. It's a good sign when they emphasize it, but one wonders if some emphasize just for sales, and don't put in the extra effort, resources, money, a good rulebook often needs.

Because I can go months, or even years sometimes, between playing something, it needs to be easy to refresh/relearn, it needs to be easy to pick up and play when brain foggy (to a degree that varies with each games; some games I won't play past a certain level of fog, which is fuzzy because it's not because there's a bunch of sharp and clear fog loves, but one can generalize), partly because being easy to understand rules means the game just FEELS easier to get going in, even if you just played it two weeks ago and are very fresh on the rules.

I think a lot of publishers might not get this . .. the experience of the rulebook is part of how a game feels, and even if I don't need to look in it again when I play it two weeks later, there is always the possibility, especially with my issues . . . so it needs to FEEL like it's helpful, and not a barrier.

I like the trend in Stonemaier games recently (or longer, but I've only been paying attention since Wingspan, so I can't speak to anything before that, but I've closely followed Tapestry for awhile) for including rules aids that the playtesters say you shouldn't need after your first game or two (I'd probably need that level of one for 3 or 4 games) . .. . but it is included ANYWAY, even though it's projected to be a low use item.

Because it helps in LEARNING the game, it helps in the initial EXPERIENCE of the game, rules included, and it helps in how that game is going to go over and be experienced by new players. Or players who are picking it back up after some time (I've been migrainey for 6 or 7 weeks now and have played almost nothing; what I have played is a couple of the quick, super elegant games listed earlier in this wall o text post).

First impressions are huge, and leave a lasting impression, and as I say in the previous paragraph, EVEN if I don't need them after a handful of games, and I keep playing the game say in the next couple months, before multiple conditions decide to attack me all at once again (it happens! 8) ), even in the games where I don't need such a rules aid, it still improves my experience by knowing it's there if I DO need to look at something quick. It increases accessibility, it lowers the barrier to entry, re-entry, and dusting it off a ways down the road, and it eases the mental overhead because I don't worry I have to remember as much . . .

So PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE publishers! Consider doing what Jamey does, even if you think players won't need it after a game or two. These things improve the experience of the game even when I don't need them. It's like . . .probably like a movie set where for even some of the smallest possible harms, not life threatening or disabling ones, they still have safety measures in place that probably rarely get used. It improves the experience by being there (not a perfect analogy because generally one isn't going to get physically harmed by board games, but it's the best I could do right now.)


Aesthetic appeal of the game, and how appealing/attractive the theme/mechanics/type of game/gameplay are to me, besides accessibility issues mentioned up above under quick/easy or pause/resume, and another word on rules - I find, for me, with my combination of conditions and symptoms, that I need, in addition to accessibility, that looking for aesthetic, and other sensory if possible, appeal, as well as FEELING that the game just really FITS me, are things that help push me over the fatigue and fog barrier, to actually getting the game out.

. . . dolphins, superheroes, mazes/labyrinth, pathy/route or network building, explore (especially if it involves anything else mentioned here), a sense of discovery, engine building, adventure, a sense of upgrading, of progress . .. . meaningful decisions, I like tension of certain types in some games, so far what I can tell is based around the decisions you make, though games that inspire AP in non-disabled people, are probably a no unless it's something I love and is soloable . . . strawberries, dragons (but I'm excessively picky about dragon games and haven't run across one that suits me, yet, though Book of Dragons might), civilization building (haven't run across one yet that is accessible enough with depth enough, though Tapestry by Stonemaier might be finally, we will watch how people feel about it), my various hobbies of the fiber arts, like knitting, hand dyed yarn, weaving . . .(I don't make hand dyed yarn but it's interesting process and beautiful!), Jigsaw puzzles (is there a game involving these? I know vintage wise, there have been some games on jigsaw puzzles you have to build before you play . .. ) Games with polyominoes, and Castles of Caladale, and maybe some other tile layers, are the closest I can get to that . . .

Anyway there's other things, and defining FITS ME is still a work in progress. But being something I love, helps me get over the combined barrier of brain fog, AND the fatigue that often comes with fibro. Lots of people are tired, from working jobs, having toddlers/babies/kids in general, etc, so publishers increasing accessibility, ease of use, etc, will appeal to much larger of a demographic than just the disabled.


Well, it's not the easiest thing in the world to read. I edited a bit, spaced out some humongous paragraphs into smaller ones . . than before, anyway. There's only so much you can do when you are foggy and tend to chase squirrel tangents a bit (a few were deleted, but you still see plenty).

Thanks if you got this far. Or even partway!
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Sat Sep 14, 2019 9:37 pm
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Board/Card Games and/in Therapy

Sara Bear
United States
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Yesterday, I played NMBR 9 in therapy with my therapist 1.5 times (we did a small puzzle between the two plays, so we ran out of time on the second play).

Let me back up and say, my therapist is a registered play therapist (and a registered play therapist supervisor), and that is one of the things she brings to the table as a therapist. Sand tray therapy is something we've done once, a directed one, and it was a really useful and interesting session. That's one kind of play therapy.

My daughter has been doing some play therapy with her therapist (my 20 year old daughter), and while I don't feel it's my place to say some of the things they've done, it sounds like there's a variety of things you can do, and it's sometimes up to the patient what you do.

You might wonder, how good of a use of time, was that playing a game and doing a puzzle, with my therapist? Especially since it did reduce the talking a bit, because of thinking about how I want to build in NMBR 9, though it's a pretty light game and I would say a pretty good fit for this kind of use in therapy . . . as well as slowing down the flow of my rambling, can also have a point, sometimes.

It was an interesting mix of being in the moment, present with what we were doing, enjoying playing (and yeah, I know it's a multiplayer solitaire game, but we were still doing it together), as well as thinking a bit about what I wanted to talk about, and saying it. The thing is, even though I got less talked about, that doesn't mean that therapy was less bang for the buck, as it were. There are aspects to the therapeutic relationship that encompass a variety of things, and types of interactions, and how you relate to the therapist, the person you are transferring a bunch of emotions, roles, and other things onto based on previous experiences in your life.

I found it very healing, and it makes me feel really happy to think about therapy today. That might sound silly to some, but I'm not going to go into some of the specific to me reasons why I feel this was a particularly beneficial thing to do in therapy right now; I know she knows, and that's enough for me. There's power in different ways of relating and interacting, and I'm tickled to have been able to bring one of my favorite things to do, into therapy.

We've also done some art therapy, and today as we were packing up the two players' worth of NMBR 9 pieces I'd brought, into the 4x6 Iris photo case I had it in in my purse, she noticed Silk Road Maker, the arcade version you can find in the files section there, she noticed the board and the magnetic pieces I'd made, and asked about them, specifically if I'd made this, and where one finds things like these.

I told her about it, and as I'm typing up this post, I'm thinking that a future art therapy session, a different kind than creating how I'm feeling onto a canvas, could be cutting out, etc. a simple pnp game. I wouldn't want it to be anything that talking about therapeutic stuff could make me mess up on; nothing complicated. Something like Orchard: A 9 card solitaire game, Ambagibus, Blorg in the Midwest, and similar. I could print Ambagibus on label paper, adhere to chipboard, then cut out.

Even if I don't do that, though, I can see bringing the simplest games, like Orchard and Ambagibus, to therapy. Timeline Inventions, not a pnp, might also be a good choice. What else do you guys think might be a good choice?

I first brought a couple games in my purse, to play while waiting through my daughter's appointment, since sometimes she has me in there for some of it, and sometimes not. This came in handy two weeks ago, when my daughter's therapist told me after their session was done (why couldn't she have told me at the beginning, and given me more time to adjust) that my therapist wasn't coming in, as several of her kids had just woken up with the flu that morning. My therapist had tried to call me, but her phone was having issues and mostly people she called couldn't hear her. She did try to call me herself, and that was the problem.

It was jarring to hear this just a minute or two before I expected my session to start, and while I wasn't mad at her, knowing stuff happens in life, I was still annoyed, because you get yourself all into what you are about to talk about, the emotions, the help processing or releasing or whatever, that you are going to get that day, and then bam. It's like a pressure cooker taken off the heat with no sink to cool it down in.

After a few minutes, I settled myself down, in part by pulling out Sprawlopolis and playing it on the couch next to me. There was plenty of seating for other patients, and just enough space for me to take my city in a a couple different directions. I posted about this play here: Item for Geeklist "Solitaire Games On Your Table - August 2019 "

The next week in therapy after that, which was a week ago, I showed her a couple of games I had in my purse, and talked a little about how I used it to reset my emotions and change my focus/perspective/feelings, after that abrupt news.

Today, well, yesterday, she referred to my new purse, with all the stuff I have in it in just the right way and place and type of thing for me for a variety of situations, she referred to it as a coping kit, or something like that. I like to see it as a support, to help me deal with a variety of situations. It won't be coming along on a quick trip to the store, but to doctor's visits, which are super frequent for me sometimes, it's a boon (and I even have some food in a stack of screw on mini tritan plastic jars, for taking with medications; stuff like granola, roasted chickpeas, and stuff, mostly fiber/protein stuff.), and to other things where I know I'm going to be there a good while. A memory foam pad on the shoulder really makes it feel much lighter than it is. It's a Lug brand purse, Jamboree, and I am loving the hidden insulated compartment on the side for a water bottle (or I can put the food thing in there if needed, and water bottle in a gusseted pocket made for that size and shape of thing, like an umbrella, on the inside, where I currently keep the stack of food.)

Well, my ramble is increasing, and I've covered most everything, though I expect I may have more feelings over time about this stuff, as is usual as I process things in the days post-therapy session.

I was delighted by today's session, and am enjoying the surprising strength of the feelings and healing and positive stuff created or supported by today's session.

Gaming in therapy, who'd have thunk?

Edit: Her reaction to the game, is something I meant to talk about! She requested we play again after we finished the small puzzle! She thought it was really cool, and as we played, she noted that it felt a bit like Tetris, which is one of her most favorite games of all time, and so before we were even done with our first play, she said she was going to get the game for herself! She liked the spatial aspect of play, really enjoying the game herself, mentioning an almost meditative, relaxing feel to it. (I might have to introduce her to Kodama: The Tree Spirits, in that case, though there's a bit more to it than NMBR 9). I also mentioned how great NMBR 9 is solo, and that the 1 Player Guild is the biggest guild on BGG (most people look at me weird when I mention solo play, so saying something to give them some context or scope for something that's a new, often weird idea to them, is something I've found useful).

She also said that this sort of game/activity/puzzly type thing, is a great thing for brain fog. It helps use the brain in ways that, apparently, if you don't, they lose . . . something, over time. I have heard contradictory stuff about this in the past, and the info that physical exercise is great for the brain, but she responded with that what she was telling me was a true thing too.

Although if I was having heavy brain fog, I might turn more to noodling around with Knot Dice, than really playing anything. On a previous occasion, I'd taken my double set of Knot Dice to show her, as she'd given me a Celtic knot illustration to trace as a soothing activity, and color if I wanted (I do adult coloring as stress relief/enjoyment.). She was interested in the Dice, but the fact I'd never sent the couple of defective ones off for the replacements Matthew, the designer, had offered me, was I think a turn off for her. I did emphasize not getting those replaced was on me. She still may get some of them for her play therapy rooms, I don't know! I think they'd be awesome there.
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Thu Sep 5, 2019 8:54 am
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Boardgames as Thermometers

Sara Bear
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Not literally, unless there's a boardgame with an app and sensor that'll do an infrared temperature reading or something, which there isn't, as far as I know.

Let me also say that these are just my own experiences, reactions, things I feel are useful for me in my specific, multiple chronic condition situation, and NOT MEDICAL ADVICE.

I would also like to say, and will be adding this to an updated profile, that, though I talk about my conditions a lot, mostly in reference to gaming, around the 'geek, I am not obsessed with my health issues and things, or even halfway as concerned about them near as much as the frequency I bring them up, may sound. I bring them up so often, because given the time, effort, creativity, money, sometimes hopes/dreams, and other things that go into creating, producing/publishing, marketing, customer service, designer or publisher presence on BGG and elsewhere, with games, that I need to make it VERY clear what frame of reference for my experience with games is, things that affect in varying (but often large, and sometimes HUGE) degree, my interaction with these games. I have some anxiety about my talking about it so often, but putting something like this paragraph in my profile might help that.

Despite my variety of conditions, disabilities, whatever, I feel there may be some use for others in what I report about my experiences. I'm not the only one who has rules issues, though some are exacerbated or caused by some of my issues. I'm not the only one who needs to weight setup//teardown balanced against the gameplay, and other things. I'm not the only one who would like games to be relatively easy to pick back up and easily refresh on, after various periods not playing it/playing other things. There are other people out there with conditions that fog up the brain, or make you really tired, or chronic pain, or whatnot. These are some of the main things I think people might have use for when I talk about games, what works in some of those ways in some of those situations? As unfortunately, I have rather a gamut of different and varying in degree, health conditions. That's life.

Okay, back to the games as thermometers. I am finding this a useful analogy, especially after my recent play of Card City XL. I suspected that sometimes, some levels and variants of playing this game, might be more than a certain level of fibromyalgia brain fog could handle. This recent play was the first time I experienced that.

From gallery of sarebear62

I set up the game to play solo, using Uberstax to hold all the cards needed, except the draw deck. I was going to try the Commercial victory for the first time, with the expectation that it wouldn't be that hard to get my mind around the strategies to do it, because you have to grow Commercial to a degree in every game, for money. I was also refreshing/relearning the Normal mode rules, the pollution and parks that Easy Mode doesn't have, that I'd only played twice this last spring.

From gallery of sarebear62

I think the reverse to a different number scheme on the income indicating chits, has a certain method to applying it as the income escalates, but it's a measure of my brain fog that I wasn't quite getting it, and applied it in two ways that I did get, this game. I didn't have (much) trouble understanding that income on Commercial is one for the first, two for the second and you add to the previous square's income, three for the third and add to the previous two, four four the fourth and add to the previous three, etc. But, I was finding that I was counting that through each time, and it felt slightly thinkier than it should. I threw the chits on, but (and I'm realizing now that you probably just need one chit of the proper total for the whole Commercial Zone, but I was stuck in wanting an indicator for each square, as well as the total; this is definitely a sign of mental slowing, mental molasses, that can occur with this brain fog. You have to methodically (to varying degrees) figure things out step by step. I wanted the chits to aid with that, though I didn't realize until after the game, a bit, that brain fog was a factor; because it interferes with your thinking, understanding, and cognitive functions, again, to varying degrees.) they didn't seem to give me the whole picture, so I also added a chit or two for the total for the zone.

Sorry for that huge parenthetical . . . still trying to figure out how to describe this, and my memory of the game is . . . memory while underneath the brain fog. I think that shows in the description of it.

From gallery of sarebear62

In playing the game, and considering the pollution mechanic (if you place any industry in the same row or column as another industry, you gain a pollution; there were only two in solo to gain, but I'm not entirely sure if that's correct), I felt I did okay with it at first but then it became clear I should have planned ahead better.

Overall, my ability to do big picture planning, was handicapped in this game. I realized that a bit after, and it mainly came out in trying to grow Commercial.

From gallery of sarebear62

I kept trying to grow it, and I kept having problems putting together, mentally, what I needed to do (early on, I mistook having multiple residences next to Commercial, for the actual rule of, you need multiple DIFFERENT Residential ZONES. I knew that, I have known that and cemented that in 10-12 previous games. It felt like . . . my ability to grow Commercial, and do the thinking required, was like a fritzy electrical connection. Sometimes there was a little juice, and sometimes there wasn't.

This feels really frustrating, especially when you don't realize you are having brain fog. When that's the case, you feel like maybe it was rather harder than you expected, and you feel a bit confused because you've had previous experience, not with the Commercial victory, not with your main focus on it, but you have grown Commerical before, sometimes to a pretty good (for a beginner) size.

So when the game was over, I felt frustrated, annoyed, and not happy, that trying this Commercial Victory hadn't felt anything close to what I'd thought. I felt decently about learning the normal mode stuff.

From gallery of sarebear62

However, within about ten minutes of finishing the game, it became more and more clear to me that I'd been experiencing a degree of fibro brain fog. The first thought that came to me then was, "I feel stupid!" (like, not being able to process stuff mentally that great, it's natural that that easily reads as feeling stupid). I quickly without much conscious direction, countered that with CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) stuff that I've learned over the years, "No, you're not stupid, you have a medical condition that does this. It's not you, it's the fibro." I felt it was pretty clear (though I'm not saying I'm a genius or anything without it.

I then was still feeling the annoyance and frustration with the game, and had to think through for a few seconds what to say to that, but it came quickly, "It's not the game, it's the fibromyalgia. You suspected this would probably happen, especially with this game at some times, because spatial thinking is one of the first and easiest areas for me to notice the brain fog messing with, because I'm already aware of a little miswiring there." Further, as I realized the implications of, it's not the game, it's the illness, I thought, "The game is just helping you measure and map out, WHAT the fibro fog does to you. It helps you feel out the vague mental molasses, that can feel overwhelming and fearful, when it's a vaguely defined something, that's messing with your brain. That naturally sounds scary, put that way, but it's rather vague, and leaves a lot in the dark. You have a big fear of the unknown. This game today, and others at various times, are the instrument by which you are peering into the way fibro brain fog works, and affects you. Funnily enough, that doesn't scare you, it relieves anxiety, helps you see into what felt like a big scary thing, helps you measure it, SEE IT FOR WHAT IT IS, a medical condition, instead of some vague feeling."

That's key! I don't have to define every nook and cranny of it, but it's like the visible cold breath on a winter's day, or checking an unconscious person's breath with a mirror; seeing the breath is reassuring, it helps you gain information about their condition. It helps me feel like I can be more informed. It helps me feel I can do something, even if taking a measurement of my mental functioning, with a game, isn't SOLVING the brain fog, it's helping make me more aware of what it does, and relieve the anxiety that grows exponentially, when considering things in vague, less bounded terms. It helps me understand myself better, like now I understand why loading the dishwasher is often annoying, and sometimes frustrating. The brain fog messes with my spatial stuff, and there's waaay too many variables in the loading of the dishwasher when I'm in the midst of this brain fog. I can quit beating up on myself for that .. . ."

Well, that was a lot, but playing a GAME helped me have an insight about how this fibromyalgia affects me in everyday life, and my husband and daughter have more understanding there now, as do I. I suspect I'll figure more stuff out about myself that doesn't have to do with gaming, and it will help figure out how to deal with this, as games help me measure how it works and what it does in throwing a spanner or three into the engine of my brain.

That's probably WAY more than you ever wanted to know, and I don't know that I will always type up to this detail when having this kind of issue, but I may, sometimes.

The key CBT thing to counter the annoyance and frustration I'm getting rid of about playing this game that day, is that "being annoyed or frustrated with a thermometer, because you have a fever, is silly and illogical. It's like being annoyed with a stethoscope for hearing your heartbeat." Although some things, like a thermometer under the tongue, are uncomfortable. Or checking blood pressure on my batwing arms, that is painful. Seeing and feeling what the brain fog does is uncomfortable, but it quickly feels useful, helpful, decreases anxiety and blowing things out of proportion, it feels like it reinforces to me the come and go nature of it, so I can tell myself "you know you've handled this before, so this is just temporary, that's just the way this is; you are currently measure it when it's come rather than gone."

If it happens when learning a new game, then I will tell myself, "Put it down and either try something really light, like a game of Dream Home with my family, Herbaceous, or whatever, or switch to something else, like a book, movie, music, resting, folding laundry (which I often do to most of the above, audio books are great.)"

The annoyance with this game is being a little more persistant than with games I feel like I have gotten to know, because despite 12 or 13 games, I feel like I'm still exploring what it has to offer, like I need to try a couple more victory conditions combined with one or two different variants, to finish my first impressions of the game. However, I counter this, increasingly successfully with, "You already know you love the Happiness mode on easy level, it just fits you really well. It might not be the best after a certain level of brain fog, but you know the game is a keeper just from that way to play right there, and I'll probably love it on Normal mode too."

I'm surprised the cognitive messups, slowdowns, don't affect my gaming more than they do. I'm grateful, though (and aware, that they might affect it sometimes and I'm just not processing well enough to realize it, but usually, afterwards, something will FEEL off when recalling the game after the fog lifts, and then I'll realize it.), especially that this usually ebbs within 5 or ten minutes, though sometimes, as with this game, it'll stick around a bit longer. Less common, it'll stick around for significant chunks of the day, or longer, if i've pushed myself too hard, usually. I'm still figuring all that out.

So, Boardgames as thermometers, stethoscopes, and the like. It works for me. The CBT I do to counter the negative aspects, comes pretty readily, without much effort, which ease is a factor in how well this is working for me. I don't spend as much time thinking about it as this post sounds like, but I wanted to show you a bit of how this works, and it may give those regular readers (the few I MIGHT have!) a frame of reference for when I have issues in future. I'll link to this post in my profile, when I mention what I said near the beginning about why I think it's important to have a frame of reference when talking about the games people make.

I am going to try to get back on the CARD CITY XL horse within a couple weeks of the play in question; I think that will be a general rule with me when this stuff happens, but it depends on how I feel and other stuff.

I am grateful there are so many great games to play of so many different types, and really grateful this game has had the different modules tested on EASY, as well as the other levels, when it probably created a lot of work to do so, as this makes the game so accessible, I know I can play it in some way or another, below a certain threshold of brain fog. So many games, if they include multiple difficulties, the bulk of any additive content, is only for normal and up. At least, that's been my experience. So thank you very much!

I feel less like I'm in the unknown, and more like I can start navigating it a bit, after figuring out, sometimes with a game, how I'm doing. Then, if it sticks around, I can know better how to adapt what else I'm doing.
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Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:31 am
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Storing game accessories, and a bit of beautiful woodworking

Sara Bear
United States
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These things take up an inordinately large amount of room. The really enhance playing in a neater, more organized way, and it's generally the easier to clean up when the bits are in muffin cups, silicone ice gem trays, dollar store small containers, and the like.

So, I made a place to store this gorgeous wooden box my dad made, right next to where I game a lot. The Fun-Sense kit on top has a lot of fun and sensory objects and activities. Just the other night we went outside for a lightsaber battle.

From gallery of sarebear62

The carpet in this place was shot when we moved in sixteen years ago. I game in the recliner on the right, on a board, or on the tables you see put away on the left. We have one more folding 4x2 table, but it sits a touch lower because the rigidness lock works differently than our newer pair. So it's stored elsewhere, and only considered for things like Firefly.

We will slide the portable games kit on the top shelf, if weight balance is right for the tower, when the crafting project we are working on is done.

From gallery of sarebear62

From gallery of sarebear62

The storage ottoman you see was made by my dad. I need to get better pics of the intarsia on the sides and front. A lighthouse is on each end, and dolphins on the front. We turned the bottom cube of this no longer available craft storage system, a two drawer unit, to the left.

From gallery of sarebear62

Some small to medium games are stored within the bottom drawer. I'll probably put some of the Uberstaxx that aren't stored next to the wooden box, in the top drawer down there, and maybe some other game stuff.

On the middle three drawer cube, remotes, chargers, cable, camera are in the bottom drawer, medical stuff, physical therapy bands, handiwipes and sanitizer, Lactaid, and stuff like that for when I am supposed to stay off my leg, go there.

Top drawer we haven't decided, but it's currently holding stuff for that craft project.

Now, this beautiful wooden box my dad made, was the impetus for putting that tower there. I wish we'd done it long before. It keeps the stuff inside handy for use with games.

From gallery of sarebear62

From gallery of sarebear62

A surprise inside!

I started out storing the stuff inside in the most compact way, but it was awkward having to pull the bigger muffin tray from underneath everything so often, so we reversed the order, though it's not as efficient, it works better for the purpose. I could always put the large stuff in the drawer with some more Uberstaxx.

I have nested dice cups, with dice inside (it has a lid), snap up pleather dice trays from Target's bargain spot, silicone ice gem trays, small dollar store containers and lids, a couple packs of cards, and the bathtub draw and discard tray. A pad of paper and pencils with sharpener needs to be added. I can make my ow disc bound notebooks, that is the craft project in progress, so scorepads are no problem.
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Mon Jun 4, 2018 1:09 pm
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Lap and Bed gaming with a science project board; and Knot Dice with a Themysciran twist

Sara Bear
United States
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From gallery of sarebear62

Here's how I frequently game.

3'x2' before cutout. The far side science board flap can be flipped out to extend, the one without a hole in it. Arms up to show the board.

Snugged up to me with the cutout. Next one I make, I might try an inch, inch and a half shallower on the cutout. Because this one has a crease it's developed over almost 24 months of use, on the wrong flaps side up, a valley fold. So it works that it's a mountain crease on the right, big flat side up, it sits nice and sound and stuff, still, across the recliner arms. I am plus size, but it's still the recliner arms supporting it, unless I have a puffy blanket throw on my lap.

From gallery of sarebear62

It's a science project board. Being the parent of a single, special needs child, where these were some of the biggest challenges in school, I'd held onto a couple of them, thinking the big boards looked useful for something.

From gallery of sarebear62

Here it's not snugged up to me so I could get the cutout in the picture, but it's close to my view during play, you have seen plenty of those views in Sgoyt maybe not plenty, but some. Sometimes on the bed, an upcoming report will show my smaller board with no cutout, how it fits on a queen bed.

I've been thinking of applying felt or something else, in a way I can transfer to the next board. There's a little stain under Friday. Some games slip around more than others, and occasionally I need to shim under the front and left sides with a handtowel or something. I thought of adding a loose elastic belt going behind my back, but I haven't decided.

Edit: I should probably say the games I have fit on here. Imperial Settlers, it's a stretch. See I think I have Sgoyt entries. They were on my bed, I believe. Pandemic The Cure. Knot Dice, Timeline, Going Going Gone (not solo, three players), Oh my Goods, with Uberstax, Micropul, Friday later tonight, Lost Expotition. Maybe NOT Jellybeanstalk . . ., Dungeon Solitaire, Klondike/Patience, Lord of the Rings: Adventure Deck Game, The Architect (a pnp I like but would like some help resizing it slightly so it fits closer in penny sleeves; the type of game it is, this was something I figured it's a pnp, it can probably be tweaked to how I would prefer) . . . .I may have forgotten some.

Edit: Laser Maze (technically not a game, but close), Das Labyrinth des Pharo, Rolling America

The above was posted in a thread in the 1 player guild and I realized it would be great for blogging about gaming with disabilities, or pain or other issues.

I game this way, because I have issues with leg pain and discomfort, since my knee replacements a decade ago (at 37). Arthritis, and now a nagging leg injury/weak leg, not sure what to call that one, for over a year now, has me often doing things for that, to. Or NOT doing things, depending on the aggravation. It's been a vicious cycle . . .

Anyway, I can game more comfortably and flexibly. It's probably time for me to play with some enhancements, like surface material, and maybe I could Velcro a shim pad onto the underside of the outer corners. Or if I made a sleeve to elastic on to the board, for a playing surface, pads could be added with snaps.

I hope this post is useful, and others with issues might get some ideas.


My gallery shows a number of games on the board,

The solo aggregator shows many of them, starting in April 2016.

From gallery of sarebear62
From gallery of sarebear62

Imperial Settlers and Pandemic: The Cure, solo


Below is one of my Sgoyt reports, using the board. Many of my reports use the tablet camera, though that's changing now that I found an easy bridge between the two. Occasionally a shot is more suited to the wider shots my tablet can take, though.

The following report doesn't test the size of the board, but rolling all those chunky dice and doing a photo shoot in your lap, manipulating things the way you want,the space came in handy for that. It's not my most recent report on the game, but it's the nicest photos. And St. Patrick's Day is coming up.

These dice are gorgeous! I got them approximately a year ago, but didn't play with them until Thanksgiving, because I couldn't bring myself to because several of them are flawed, two of them I feel definitely replaceable, at least if I'd dealt with it in a timely manner. Gouged, and stuff on the two, noticeably. The others are more middling light to light stuff on several more, and since I am ocd, I don't know if it's things most people would tolerate or not.

The guy was willing, he requested pictures when I emailed him a year ago, but as gorgeous as these dice are, I just couldn't bring myself to look at them again. I believe now that I have finally played with them, my OCD was getting in the way, for a YEAR, of these fun, beautiful dice. Yes, several still have issues, though I've sold someone else on them despite that. The gouges didn't roll up in our game, and I also explained how smaller indie game people, trying a new process as developing these dice seemed to be, there might be a few kinks to work out, but he was responsive to the issues, I just took too long on my end to deal with it.

You guys don't need to hear all that.

I've just played Kells. Inspired by Jessica's Calico Critters, I have my Wonder Women helping out.

From gallery of sarebear62

Perhaps too much, but these are really really hefty dice, strong enough my nephews were building little castles and things out of them on Thanksgiving, as I delightfully watched, as they've been shy to warm up to me. My niece who I've been slowly getting to open up, came over, too.

From gallery of sarebear62

Things didn't get off to a very good start, with four open ends left, oops.

I had a series of incomplete games, and then . . .

From gallery of sarebear62

One piece unused, even two, is okay, as long as it's closed.

Everyone celebrate!

From gallery of sarebear62

Even the mysterious, and not in focus, Wonder Pig! If you squint, you can see her bracelets. There's a story there, and if you know it without googling, raise your hand.

From gallery of sarebear62

More wins, especially plenty more losses. Way more losses, really. I need to learn not to leave too many open ends.

But I mostly took pictures of the couple of wins, which scored decently.

From gallery of sarebear62

My first win was thirteen, and the others were twelve. You take the longest side of your construct and subtract it from the number of dice, 18, or 36 is doubled, though you could probably do amounts in between. So a length of 6, subtracted from eighteen, is twelve. That's next to the highest level of score in the book. It's good, the next level up is excellent.

I really like this game for Kells because it's so simple, even if it seems to be really eato lose.

The dice are stunning, though I find you have to be energetically in rolling them if you want them to roll well on average, as they are big and square edges. This is so the pathy, knotwork designs will form a nice, visually pleasing path when laid out together, and I absolutely adore that, and all the effort it must have taken to tweak the designs to get them to align up so nicely at the edges, just know it's a what you get. The trade-off, because I feel they work well enough, is very minor. I am ocd, remember.

The sensory practicality, and visual nature of these, is very very satisfying, especially in the way those paths from. I have only played the Kells game as of yet, but will try other things.

The versatility, because there are other games and puzzles, with others potentially being developed, is neat. Especially for a double set, like I have.

There's no wasted space in the box, which I wish there was a touch more sometimes, as fitting them in, in the bag, takes a minute or two to get them lined up in the bag. The bag was a limited edition, very soft lovely thing, name embroidered ish on it.

From gallery of sarebear62

These dice draw oohs and ahhs from whoever see them, and kids, or any, will be your friend. This could be a good or bad thing, depending on your personality. It's not guaranteed, but it will be a pretty big draw for many, based on my experience.

If you have a non gamer friend who likes Celtic stuff, even if they don't play it, they will fiddle with it making patterns or use as a desk toy. Maybe they will play the game. I had a stranger, a neighbor of my in laws, sit down and play it with me, and want to buy it for a friend of hers who loves Celtic stuff. I don't think this lady was a gamer, but because of her friend's interest, she sat down and played.

So it has had kind of a magical quality for me, for someone with anxiety disorders and stuff, I've pulled in people, and, because it's a game, it helps me be less self conscious.

Sorry for no thumbs up down, I'm really tired and need to post before this deletes . . .


Current favorite holiday treat is a local Ice Cream brand, Red Button Creamery, they have Orange Stick Ice Cream. We always have Orange and raspberry chocolate covered sticks at Christmas, and this ice cream is so good.

External image

I really like the color the Wonder Women added, especially when all the green. Thanks for the inspiration, Jessica! I like to imagine they helped move the blocks around. They'd be blocks, to them. And light as a feather, with their strength, too.

Edit: My playing surface/situation, is sitting in a recliner, feet up, with one of my daughter's old science projects folded display boards, folded for stability, that we cut a encircle that is kind of flat in the middle, out of the long edge, on one of the folded edges, so it can really snug up against me in the recliner and rest on the arms of the chair, and even come slightly around my sides. This gives me a great amount of playing area, and I have played Imperial Settlers, though slightly cramped, Pandemic The Cure, and some other things on it. It's larger than the other one of these we still have around, which I also use sometimes, on the bed, when I want something without the cutout.

(The previous edit was part of the Sgoyt entry. Obviously I just explained the whole setup earlier in this post. -ed)
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Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:02 am
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