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Subject: GEEK OF THE WEEK: Ava Jarvis (BilboAtBagEnd) rss

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GEEK OF THE WEEK: Ava Jarvis (BilboAtBagEnd)

profile: http://boardgamegeek.com/user/BilboAtBagEnd

Geek of the week is an open forum focussed on getting to know our Geek of the Week. Let's go on a journey from BagEnd into the mind of Ava ...there are back again. Join in with insightful questions (preferably not in elvish).

Ava, You certainly seem to be quite the Tolkien fan. How old were you when you first read the books? What impact did they have on you then? How far has your love for Tolkien taken you (is your home full of LotR paraphenalia, do you know how to speak elvish or write in the runes that are used on his books?)
What makes the LotR games good for you? Do any stand out as really capturing the feeling of the books? You seem to have a soft spot for quality fantasy themed games. What is missing from the market in fantasy games?

How is the gaming scene on your little island? Do you have to go to the mainland for games gatherings? Do you laugh when you read geeklists about the games you would take with you if you were stuck on an island?

What is your favourite facet of BGG? How do you collect so much GeekGold?

A recent suggestion for Geeks of the Week is to share with us all the user names of other BGGers who you regularly game with and have them write a short post about themselves and maybe some inside info on you (or leading questions based on the inside info). Who is in your gaming gang?

A game I know is called two truths and a lie.
You tell us three things about yourself. Two are true one is a lie. We have to guess which is false. (hints: Try to make your truths the most unexpected things about yourself to trick us. The lie can be very close to the truth.)
Don't tell us which one is the lie til the end of the week.
Happy Geek of the Week week geek.

You can read up on previous Geeks of the Week using this handy list of forum threads:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/84208

Though they are not the active Geek of the Week forums they can have new questions and answers posted. It is a good idea for previous GotWs to add their own link to their forum in their personal profile too.
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Any thoughts or comments about Tolkien's contemporary and friend C.S.Lewis? Have you read the Narnia series (or any of his other books) seen the Narnia film or the BBC TV version of the books?
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A while ago then ole "Scrib" had made mention about 'defining' an "avatart", for which I then 'replied' that IT could be as 'you' in a slinky, "lingerie" outfit, or some such. Gots any 'pics' of THAT?!?
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Hmmm... Ava Jarvis...let's see... single, female, intelligent, good job, lives on an island..... where's the downside here? Must look further... oh, likes abstracts eh? Well, we can't all be perfect. I guess I'd better ask the first question that pops into what passes for my mind...

Ava! Marry Me???

No wait! I didn't mean that.

What I meant was, thank you. Thank you for not having married me when I was younger. If you had I probably wouldn't have experienced the thrill of multiple divorces, the agony of bankruptcy court and the humiliation of being a man asking the police for a protection order against an ex-wife who kept breaking into my house and re-arranging my kitchen cabinets.

Now that I'm focused, I want to congratulate you for foolishly accepting GOTW status. You'll be busy all week.

Your blog as well as your steady, intelligent and enlightening BGG commentary all delve into the mechanics and often what I perceive as the "goal" of game design. That's great stuff. But Ava, what games make you laugh? Which ones are fun in the sense of bringing out the personalities at the table and make you smile when you finish the evening.


Marry me? Sheesh. DW, you're an idiot. Just take your time and stalk her. That's how other guys get all the good ones.

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Ava -- Congratulations! Another great choice for GotW.

But, how you will find time to answer all the questions? I'm sure you will manage it.

Who's your favorite Tolkien character?

What games did you play during the Christmas and New Year holidays?

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Hello all! Happy to be Geek of the Week, particularly after my relatively long period of quietness during the holidays.

Critical Mass wrote:
Ava, You certainly seem to be quite the Tolkien fan. How old were you when you first read the books? What impact did they have on you then? How far has your love for Tolkien taken you (is your home full of LotR paraphenalia, do you know how to speak elvish or write in the runes that are used on his books?)


I was in my early teens when I first read The Hobbit, and in my early twenties when I first read Lord of the Rings. Like most anybody who's read the books for the first time and got into them, they were read over the course of four days of very, very intense reading. I was a bit young to appreciate LotR back then; I think mostly in words, and primarily about relationships and society. The vision of Tolkien's landscapes never touched me for this reason (until relatively recently), but the scope of his world did. Like almost no other fantasy or science fiction world I've run into since, Middle Earth had the feel of history and in particular mythology. I'm a big fan of Joseph Campbell's The Power of Myth.

(In case you're wondering, the other fantasy world I've run into with as much weight as Middle Earth---although maybe slightly less---is Westeros, embodied in Martin's epic Song of Ice and Fire.)

It wasn't until Peter Jackson's movies that my jaw really hit the floor. Only then did the visuals hit me---and then the world was complete in my head. I will never forget my first viewing of Fellowship of the Ring---I had the fortune to watch the extended edition, in a huge lecture hall that a college group had borrowed for the purpose of watching the first movie. The lecture hall had huge speakers, and a state-of-the-art projection system, and seats that are much bigger, more comfier, and had definitely more leg room than your standard theatre (or even your very posh theatre).

Truly it was after the first movie that Tolkienism was fanned to a fire in my heart.

My home is actually not very full of Tolkien paraphenila, although I really do want to see if I can get a Crokinole board with a nice rendering of the Middle Earth map on it. I am not too fond of Christopher Tolkien's diggings into his father's draft notes, at least not after the third volume of it. (What writer really wants the world to know that in his third draft of his genre-shattering epic, his protagonist was named "Boppo" or whatever ridiculous name it was?) Still, Christopher Tolkien has done a lot that I do appreciate---such as putting together The Silmarillion and the books of lost tales from the mess of material that his father left behind.

I just did a lot of research about Middle Earth---and Christopher was a great help in that respect. Like anyone who has been thunderstruck by an idea, I look for a way to keep close to it. Research and thinking about the work is one of the best ways.

I know only a little Elvish (mostly drab stuff like 'Elen sila lumenn omentilmo', "A star shines on our meeting") and would not think to torture anybody with my pathetic rendition of elvish couplets. I never did learn the dwarven runes, but always thought that it was a brilliant thing to have a linguist write about a fantasy world... the language implies the culture and all that.

I don't think that Tolkien was the best writer in the world. I think Martin outdoes him in this respect, and so do Gaiman and Pratchett... but I do think that he was one of the best world weavers the world has seen.

Quote:
What makes the LotR games good for you? Do any stand out as really capturing the feeling of the books?


The LotR games are just another way of keeping close to the epic. Also, when you know the work so well, that back knowledge adds an extra dimension to play that is otherwise missing if you're just playing a more or less generic adventure game (like Runebound). That Tolkien's world was so rich to begin with is an extra bonus.

The games that really capture the feeling of the book... I can think of three. The first and foremost is Middle-Earth CCG, which is an exceptional instance of its collectible ilk... not only does the game cover Tolkien's histories very thoroughly, but the concept of characters traveling through Middle-Earth is very believable in this game. And since in Tolkien's work it was the world that was important, and traveling through that world, this was an excellent seed for the game to build itself around. As a result, the game play turns into stories.... and they ring almost as true as Tolkien's did.

Um. Up until, oh, the second or third expansion. Well, more like up until the one-and-a-half expansion. Then it got a bit weird. I stick to the Wizards base set, mostly, along with Dragons and the non-agent cards of Minions. I'm not very interested in the agents, playing Ringwraiths, or playing Fallen Wizards, although I do understand that they are interesting options. But that variety is not necessary to me and complicates things in an already complicated game. Plus, though I am a gal and all that, and truly believe in the equality of the genders, I really don't think any of the Ringwraiths were female.

Second in line is very much War of the Ring. Though I never played past one game, and eventually traded the game away, I do regret that because it was a stunningly deep reprisal of the Ring epic. It is a sheer work of beauty. Where MeCCG focused on the characters and their small stories, War of the Ring focused more on the sheer volume of the epic: the big story. The fellowship comes into play, but what really is happening in the game is the war itself. Tolkien focused half on the war and half on the hobbits, with more towards the hobbit side; WotR really brought the war side into sharp focus.

Third in line is Knizia's Lord of the Rings. A lot of people think the game is thinly themed, or that the theme is pasted on. I don't think so, which is perhaps weird for some people since you'd think I'd be the one that would demand the most from a theme. Well, actually, I do demand the most from a theme, and Lord of the Rings supplies it. One thing that Knizia brought into the game was the interrelationship of game play and game mechanics to the more abstract concepts of the story. So as opposed to taking the traditional adventure game way out---simulating the actions taken in the adventure---Knizia's game makes it so that how you play the game simulates the heart behind the actions taken in the adventure.

And what better way to get at the heart than through the hobbits? We all may remember the stubborn strength of Sam, or the persistence of Frodo; but Merry and Pippin were brave in battle as well, and the Scouring of the Shire chapter showed that even the softer hobbits have a harder core.

One thing that many people forget about Lord of the Rings is that it ultimately begins and ends with the humble hobbits, and the strongest parts of the story are carried by the hobbits. I know of a lot of people who speed-read or even skip entirely most of The Two Towers and head right into "What's going on with Frodo and Sam?" in Return of the King. And Knizia's game emphasizes the qualities of these particular hobbits that Tolkien refers to again and again in his work---that of cooperation, of hanging together, of making hard choices, of sacrifice. And he does it through the game play---not through the game paraphenlia, although the events and special cards help out a lot---but through how the game plays.

This can be a tenuous connection, if you are playing with people who would prefer to be the Sackville-Bagginses rather than Tooks or Brandybucks, but there it is.

Quote:
You seem to have a soft spot for quality fantasy themed games. What is missing from the market in fantasy games?


I have a terribly soft spot for good fantasy-themed games, especially if they are adventure games.

There's a lot on the market right now, for all sorts of flavors. They do a lot to help fill the hole left by Talisman's exit, and in truth have a lot more variety and are a lot less broken than Talisman was. I don't think there's much missing.

Edit: I think what's missing is a good replacement for Talisman, actually. Perhaps Prophecy will be this, but we'll see.

Quote:
How is the gaming scene on your little island? Do you have to go to the mainland for games gatherings? Do you laugh when you read geeklists about the games you would take with you if you were stuck on an island?


The gaming scene is very quiet on the island (which is... well... okay... I guess it's kind of little). It's a rather rustic place, I suppose, with a quaint little main street that's about three blocks long, and that's stretching the definition. Most of the island is forest. It's a nice place to raise kids. But there's a distinct lack of former RPG-players to turn into boardgamers here. Mostly I get to play what I think of as the "Family German Games"---i.e., games like Elfenland rather than Tigris and Euphrates. I have to hit the mainland for either heavy strategy or true adventuring games.

I'm a fan of the quiet life, and wouldn't trade the island for a penthouse apartment in Seattle, nor a palace in the much nicer outer suburbs. The outer suburbs can be quiet, too, but they aren't rustic---I'm more used to rustic, since I grew up in the more rural parts of the Midwest. The traffic scares me, and at least with the boat I really don't have to think while I commute home, invariably tired.

Quote:
What is your favourite facet of BGG? How do you collect so much GeekGold?


My favorite facet of BGG these days has to be the people here... which is why it hurts me so much when there are jerks running around. There, they can be pleased that they hurt somebody.

As for the Geekgold, that would be from the one time I made a donation that managed to be semi-public, back in the Hurricane Katrina donation days at BGG. I don't do very much with it; mostly I use it to tip what I view as extraordinary efforts, like translations of rulebooks that are 30 pages thick. I remember when *I* translated a rulebook that was 30 pages thick and didn't get one tip out of it.

Quote:
A recent suggestion for Geeks of the Week is to share with us all the user names of other BGGers who you regularly game with and have them write a short post about themselves and maybe some inside info on you (or leading questions based on the inside info). Who is in your gaming gang?


Few of my current gang are active on the 'Geek. Actually, it would probably be better to say: very few of them have even heard of the 'Geek, and while they do visit it once in a while these days, it's mostly for the game information. I game with casual players, with families, with RPG players who are not actually all that interested in other kinds of board games, so I know for a fact that the gaming world is still bigger than the 'Geek. We just happen to be... intense... about it. I haven't played a heavy strategy game in quite a long time now, because to do that would require going beyond Seattle, which is too tiring for me these days.

Edit: actually, at work we are trying to get together some people for diplomatic games, which would fall headlong into the heavy category. But not into the Caylus category. And if Go is heavy, actually, then i guess I do get to play heavy strategy games... just not the new cool ones too often!

Actually, even when I was playing with the Seattle Cosmic guys, and a bigger bevy of gamers you could not find, very few of them were actually active on the 'Geek. Or visited it much.

Quote:
A game I know is called two truths and a lie.
You tell us three things about yourself. Two are true one is a lie. We have to guess which is false. (hints: Try to make your truths the most unexpected things about yourself to trick us. The lie can be very close to the truth.)
Don't tell us which one is the lie til the end of the week.


Hmmm. Let me think about two truths and a lie a bit more. I'm not good at this kind of game. (I never, ever win party games. Ever. But I have a lot of fun usually when I play them.)
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Critical Mass wrote:
Any thoughts or comments about Tolkien's contemporary and friend C.S.Lewis? Have you read the Narnia series (or any of his other books) seen the Narnia film or the BBC TV version of the books?


I read all of the Narnia series shortly after The Hobbit, and watched the BBC TV version when I was younger than that.

I like how Narnia started out, but like much less where it started going after three books. C.S. Lewis and Tolkien were both very religious men, but they had two different approaches for bringing the word to the book. Tolkien hated analogy, and so instead of embedding Christian analogy in the history, myth, or plot of Lord of the Rings, he brought the spirit of his faith to the story. This is why fait accompli (destiny and God's hand, basically) and sacrifice (duh) is a large part of Lord of the Rings but without direct reference to Christian morality or views. You don't get preached to.

Lewis, on the other hand, more directly embedded Christian values into his works. If you read all the way to the Last Battle... well, some of that really is banging on the drum. Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe is closer to something that Tolkien wouldn't object to. The Last Battle is far out of that range.

On this aspect of writing the two men would never agree.

Personally, I'm not really for or against either style; you write how you need to write, and that's pretty much all there is to it. If you are faithful, the question of how to best serve that faith in the sacred art of writing is a big and important question, and I pretty much leave anybody to do it however they like it.

Still, I much prefer Tolkien to Lewis.

In any case, Lewis' Narnia is also a work of art. But I don't think he ever got Tolkien to like his Narnia, even though Lewis loved Middle Earth.
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GROGnads wrote:
A while ago then ole "Scrib" had made mention about 'defining' an "avatart", for which I then 'replied' that IT could be as 'you' in a slinky, "lingerie" outfit, or some such. Gots any 'pics' of THAT?!?


Hmmmm.

People who have never met me in person would probably be horrified by that image.

I tend to keep pictures of myself off the 'net. I don't like disturbing people.
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Congrats, Ava!

Any breakthroughs in the Blue Moon deck constructing?

What boardgames have the richest, most immersive original themes (ie not taken from other sources)?

What is your favorite letter of the alphabet?

What is your favorite letter of the postal variety?

What are you doing on the computer on New Year's Eve!?

What am *I* doing on the computer on New Year's Eve!?!?!

Happy New Year! goldencamel

-MMM
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DWTripp wrote:

What I meant was, thank you. Thank you for not having married me when I was younger. If you had I probably wouldn't have experienced the thrill of multiple divorces, the agony of bankruptcy court and the humiliation of being a man asking the police for a protection order against an ex-wife who kept breaking into my house and re-arranging my kitchen cabinets.


Aww, DW, you flatterer.

Quote:
Now that I'm focused, I want to congratulate you for foolishly accepting GOTW status. You'll be busy all week.


Yes... I imagine so. Still, my place has computers perched on as many flat surfaces as possible and wireless, and I almost always have a laptop with me when traveling in the Northwest (outside of it, I get nervous about losing my laptop at airports). In fact, GotW is an excellent thing to be doing during downtime for Dungeoneer.

Quote:
Your blog as well as your steady, intelligent and enlightening BGG commentary all delve into the mechanics and often what I perceive as the "goal" of game design. That's great stuff. But Ava, what games make you laugh? Which ones are fun in the sense of bringing out the personalities at the table and make you smile when you finish the evening.


I laugh easily. But there is something refreshing about playing with people who are around for the experience. Adventure games can, and do, fall into this category, as do party games (I rather like Apples to Apples and want to try out The Big Idea at some point). At BGG.CON I played Kuhhandel, and that was some of the best fun I've ever had during a game. I was not just smiling at the end of that day, I was cracking up.

And then there's games like darts or, more recently, Crokinole, which by the by are the only games I can ever get one of my best buddies to be interested in. This makes me smile every time.

Mostly I smile when people enjoy themselves. We don't get to do that enough, and doing it through board games is sheer poetry. Ahem. blush

Quote:

Marry me? Sheesh. DW, you're an idiot. Just take your time and stalk her. That's how other guys get all the good ones.


I also can probably dislocate someone's shoulder on demand...
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By the by---happy New Year, guys! I have just thought of my two truths and one lie, before I have to go set up World of Warcraft (my goodness).

1. I used to be an English major.
2. I was taught that computers were possessed by the devil.
3. I am technically Christian.

I notice that other people have posted while I was pontificating over my last post---I promise I'll get to you guys tomorrow.

Happy New Year!

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I'll go with the Christian statement as your lie.

My question is: So how is it you get to work. You mention "the boat" and being tired? Do you row to work or something?!?!
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First, congrats Ava on being selected Geek of the Week!

I know you really like Wizard Kings. What's your favorite army (or armies) to play, and do you have one constant strategy you like to use?

I notice you mentioned role-playing games. When did your interest begin with them? What's your favorite system? And your favorite race and character classes? Incidently, I read Lord of the Rings at the age of 12 in 1979, after playing several games of Dungeons & Dragons. The DM suggested I do so, in order to get a better idea of how sword and sorcery worlds work. I never thanked him for that advice.

Last, I have gotten several used books from Barbarossa Books located on Bainbridge Island. Great service, and the copies were in great condition. Have you ever checked out this place? Also, describe the island in a little more detail, if you please? My sister and brother-in-law live in Seattle and described it as "great" which doesn't tell me much.

Happy New Year!
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gamesgrandpa wrote:
Ava -- Congratulations! Another great choice for GotW.

But, how you will find time to answer all the questions? I'm sure you will manage it.


Y'all stopped buying so much on the Amazon website. Basically.

Quote:

Who's your favorite Tolkien character?


Heh. Well, shortly after the first viewing of Fellowship of the Ring, my favorite character was Legolas. I believe I scared many people because of all the Legolas posters I put up in my dorm room (every wall and every door, and hot-laminated to protect them forever and ever and ever).

Anyways... eventually I settled down and moved and got a job and realized that, while it's nice to be able to shoot a bow with superhuman accuracy AND grab an arrow you shot from an orc's eye AND kill more orcs with it AND do an elegant spin and stab some more with your two rather cool knives (incidentally, you're only supposed to have one, according to Tolkien, but two gives so much more poetry) AND could probably follow up with several impressive roundhouse kicks if Middle-Earth had ever heard of the martial arts AND then recite hundreds-of-years-old poetry with poise and demeanor befitting a Tolkien character... it's not really a philosophy, per se. It's certainly not my philosophy (although I still think it's rather cool).

After about the fifth viewing of Fellowship of the Ring (my very favorite of the three movies), I realized that my philosophy---or what I wish my philosophy was---was a lot closer to that of hobbits in general. And that perhaps the coolest hobbit was the first one I ever read about---Bilbo Baggins. Frodo is alright, really, but he's so torn up with anguish. Sam is very admirable, but he's a bit over-devoted and while sometimes wise is usually not. Merry and Pippin are luggage for most of Fellowship and the first half of Two Towers and still don't really have distinguishing personalities (at least Jackson made them more mischievous, with Pippin being more so and Merry looking after him). Rosie would match my gender but had about as much screen time as... someone who doesn't get much screen time (book and movie).

But Bilbo is a homebody. Bilbo feels faint-hearted at the mention of adventure, at least in the beginning of The Hobbit. Bilbo eventually goes on an adventure and, in his own humble and casually diplomatic (and uncertain) way, which is definitely not the way of the warrior, turns out well. Bilbo gets some money and starts living the way he wants to. Bilbo is not very sociable. Bilbo is bothered by the Sackville-Bagginses (though not overly much). Bilbo has a very nice house in a very quiet and slow-moving and rustic place. Bilbo has secret depths that are not apparent, and everyone else thinks he's a little strange but a good chap all the same. Bilbo is a bachelor, though he takes on a nephew. Bilbo is at peace (really, even if the ring was giving him some thin days towards the end). Bilbo manages to grow older (very) and wiser (some).

Bilbo is real, and on top of that he's a nice guy. Legolas is a beautiful dream, more like a beautiful myth, which is impressive but little else.

My Legolas posters are still up in my apartment (some habits die very hard), but I am rather sad that there is not one movie poster of my favorite character and hobbit to frame for real and put up in my study. I will probably end up buying a print from Ted Nasmith or Alan Lee at some point.

Quote:

What games did you play during the Christmas and New Year holidays?


GIPF (thank you again! ) after a courser of YINSH, ZERTZ, DVONN, and PUNCT (which I still need to understand more... connection abstracts I have very rarely played). The finisher was actually Girl Genius... it is a decent card game and rather unique. And it's based on Girl Genius, a comic book series that I rather like. And it doesn't require much brain power at midnight. We use a cribbage board to keep track of points.

New Year's was completely different... Dungeoneer (which, while I like, I admit still has a lot of downtime, enough to pull out the laptop, hook into my friend's wireless, and hit the 'Geek) followed up by World of Warcraft. We finished WoW around 4am and then slept helter-skelter. (We started at 11pm, PST). We wanted to get to Descent but... well... it just ain't happening.

They were two very good holidays. And I look forwards to the fact that tomorrow is a day off for me, even if I am doing laundry today (nothing's open anyways). May visit a friend's house and play some very light games.

I try to get in gaming where I can. My friends are fortunately tolerant of this. They also know that my Christas presents are usually games. So my friend who doesn't like anything other than Crokinole and darts apparently expressed an interest in learning Go (I could actually see that... he's a VERY impressive problem solver who could do some impressive and scary lookahead and pattern recognition). He also turned... ah... the big 4-0. So I got him a nice hiba 9x9 and 13x13 double-sided table Go board, and 8mm glass stones in some... I'm not sure what kind of wood, but it was nicely grainy... bowls. And Janice Kim's first book in her Learn to Play Go series, which is most excellent (that series is most excellent actually).

We hope that his midlife crisis becomes Go study.

For his wife and kids, it was Ticket to Ride with the Ticket to Ride: Europe larger cards, Carcasonne: Hunters and Gatherers along with a tile bag, and Technowitches, which is just full of fun.
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nextinline wrote:
Yay, Ava! I'm happy that you're GOTW.


Thanks. Everyone is so nice.

Quote:

1. Have you ever wanted to be a mermaid?


Not in the slightest. I don't swim all that well (more float), much less underwater.

Quote:

2. Have you come a long way, baby?


Extremely long. Those who know me very well... they know how long of a way it's been.

Quote:

3. Would you grade your life an A+ for effort?


Oh hell yes.

Quote:

4. Are you noticing a change in the water level around your island?


Every day; it's called the tides. I'm still too new to the island to really know, and don't actually go out to the beaches that much (they are rocky rather than sandy). But I really hope the tide doesn't ever go so low that the boat I'm going home on gets stuck for a couple hours in the dock. Edit: yes, that has actually historically happened a few times.

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5. Did you make new friends at BGGCON?


Many! I'm so glad I got to meet people whom I used to only know as dancing bananas, stick men with capes, abstract designs, or no avatar.

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6. What is the most embarassing thing you've ever said?


Hmmm.... I think that question has a lot of competition. But I think I'll have to go with when I was a kid and said "And European history (blah blah blah)... ". I pronounced European "You rope 'e in". To this day I still mispronounce words or mix them up (fruitation, which is definitely different from fruition, for instance). I learned my vocabularly from a dictionary when I was little (read it cover to cover, and it wasn't a little kid one either; it required thumb guides in the side). I never bothered to learn what all the funny little pronunciation symbols meant.

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7. Are you a naturally good speller?


Yes. Although sometimes I miss the i before e except after c and when ending in 'ay' like (something) or 'weigh'.

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8. Would you consider marrying DW?


It's a nice thought, but I was more cut out to be a bachelor.
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Ava Jarvis
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Octavian wrote:
Congrats, Ava!

Any breakthroughs in the Blue Moon deck constructing?


Thank you. And I've gone back to playing with the pre-constructed decks, because I think I need to understand them more. And really that's how my friends in person will play it (and the only way they will play it). We will probably play with the Emmisaries at some point midyear. If I had a Windows box, or if I knew for sure that WINE worked with CardTable, I would get more exposure to deck construction. BGG.CON was really the first time I'd played against or even had my own constructed deck.

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What boardgames have the richest, most immersive original themes (ie not taken from other sources)?


Hmmmmmmmmmm. A couple I can think of:

- Legend of the Five Rings. An excellent and deep CCG with no good preconstructed decks. But for a CCG, the cards are all extremely theme-evocative (more so than Magic: the Gathering), and the thing has story tournaments---where how you play and which factions win affect how the official epic will go. It's very interesting and much more meaningful than all the MTG novels and background stories out there. People have their favorite factions (and it's hard to specialize in more than one), get mugs with the clan logo and everything. It's an amazing phenomenom.

- Magic Realm. If this is not the pinnacle of theme immserion, I'm not sure what is.

Otherwise I can't really think of much else that doesn't draw on a theme from some other medium that can develop its own richness more easily (boardgames, as a whole, don't really have time to develop this, although CCGs can more easily approach it since their rate of development is much faster and there's more of it).

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What is your favorite letter of the alphabet?


Haven't really got one....

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What is your favorite letter of the postal variety?


I haven't gotten a nice personal letter. I have gotten newsletters from a couple I know in Denmark. These days, with the 'net so prominent, letters seem to have fallen by the wayside.

I grew up as an orphan; this would probably explain the severe lack of letterage, especially since my friends were all made during the 'net explosion. But at least I don't have many Christmas cards to write.

I remember my first email, still. It was from a friend who wrote "I bet you thought you would never get an email ". She is gone now, but I miss her.

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What are you doing on the computer on New Year's Eve!?


Downtime during Dungeoneer. Serious downtime. I-didn't-draw-any-Dungeonlord-cards-much-less-Dungeonlord-instants kind of downtime.

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What am *I* doing on the computer on New Year's Eve!?!?!


I don't know, what were you doing?

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Happy New Year! goldencamel


And to you, too.
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Ava Jarvis
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Randy Cox wrote:
I'll go with the Christian statement as your lie.


Mmmmm. I knew putting that as the last statement would be tricksy.

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My question is: So how is it you get to work. You mention "the boat" and being tired? Do you row to work or something?!?!


I am tired from my work at Amazon. It's a very demanding place. We're always doing new stuff (the site is updated a LOT so needs new features in all places, including those the customers don't see but which definitely affect them). And during the holidays, from about November through to December 23rd, everything is frantic.

During the beginning of the year, things are much easier and work hours are normal.

As for the boat... the boat is the ferry from Bainbridge Island to Seattle and back again. It can load tons of cars and tons of people. There are many soft chairs (though in a mass-produced kind of way) and hard laminated tables. These days there's a little food court (even if it is expensive, it's just the thing to eat when you are a weary traveler and have just gotten off a flight that served turkey sticks as a main course). There are coat hooks for your coat. There are big windows and many booths. One day I hope the coffee shop opens up again (it also used to double as a snacks and popcorn counter). There is wireless (not very reliable, but then that's wireless for you, especially on something that moves between wireless providers during its journey). There is a deck you can go up on during nice weather and watch the sound. Occaisonally there are whales outside (I saw a right whale or something, I think, I forget what our on-board biologist said at the time, and friends of mine have seen killer whales, lucky guys, I only ever saw seals).

The ferry is very regular and goes right up until 1am (2am on Saturdays). It starts again three hours later at 4am. This is incredibly nice.

And when you get off on the Bainbridge side, there are little commuter busses that will take you all over the island, past the island onto the peninsula, and then some. On the Seattle side, things are not nearly so convenient. But you can vanpool (supported by the state, who provides the van) if you need it.

There are a few crazy people who have their own boats and motor it to work. Ultimately they are the ones with the most flexible schedules, but since this is a dangerous thing to do during the wintertime and at night (logs can be found floating in the water which will smash open fiberglass boats if you can't avoid them or don't see them coming, and the water is always cold, even in summer) not many people do it. I would never do it.

"The boat" is so much better.

It is costly, but it's nice when work pays for it.
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Ava Jarvis
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puck4604 wrote:

I know you really like Wizard Kings. What's your favorite army (or armies) to play, and do you have one constant strategy you like to use?


I like Wizard Kings, but it's gone off for me ever since the rule changes that sprung up by surprise. I don't play it much anymore (house rules are death to this game). I like the Amazons for no good reason, the elves because they are quite good, and the undead because they are quite strange to play. The constant strategy changes... mostly for me it's to put out the scouts early, move the heavy hitters with accompanying grunts to take any neutral cities out there, and produce gold gold gold to make units units units. Somewhere in the middle of that I try to pull off a large monster, but usually it saps more money than I should have spent at that point in the game.

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I notice you mentioned role-playing games. When did your interest begin with them? What's your favorite system? And your favorite race and character classes?


They were okay, but never a high interest for me. Mostly for me they were a good way to spend time with friends, and probably I annoyed people for doing things "for the heck of it" and not playing in a very optimized manner with respect to my characters. My interest in them did indeed start directly after reading Lord of the Rings.

My favorite system, after the ones I've gone through, I'd have to say is definitely NOT the d20 system nor GURPS. I like FUDGE. I have never played a world I liked very much, but if I could do it again, and if I had time, I would probably do the Babylon 5 one, even if it is d20.

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Incidently, I read Lord of the Rings at the age of 12 in 1979, after playing several games of Dungeons & Dragons. The DM suggested I do so, in order to get a better idea of how sword and sorcery worlds work. I never thanked him for that advice.


I'm not sure that Lord of the Rings is exactly how sword and sorcery worlds work. At least not how they do these days. Magic in Lord of the Rings was always understated, not so much a matter of offensive fireworks and extreme special effects. But perhaps that was what your DM was going for.

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Last, I have gotten several used books from Barbarossa Books located on Bainbridge Island. Great service, and the copies were in great condition. Have you ever checked out this place?


Nope... I didn't know it was there. I'll have to go look for it. Mostly I've visited the Eagle Harbor bookstore on our one main street.

Quote:

Also, describe the island in a little more detail, if you please? My sister and brother-in-law live in Seattle and described it as "great" which doesn't tell me much.


Let's start with... the glass recycling bins are always full of wine bottles.

Bainbridge Island is in some ways a lot like Hobbiton. The pace of life is much slower here than it would be even in the most suburban of suburbs. (Teenagers are often unhappy because there is little to do here, and they will drink... and that's about the worst of it, although when the worst of it are the two yearly awful car accidents it's still pretty bad).

There is an emphasis on gardening and good food. People who live here live here because they want peace and quiet. This is not a good place for the night life, unless you like watching stars; if you live in one of the more central areas of the island, away from the Seattle light pollution (or at least more away), when you look up the sky is full of stars. It's nothing like the desert sky, where you can see the Milky Way in all its glories, but when you are looking up through the huge and tall pine trees up into a sky so full of stars that you can't really tell which ones make up Orion easily... it's a beautiful experience.

Even at my place, which is more at the center of the island's commerce area, if you can call it that, I can still see a lot of stars. I love the early morning nights because you can still see the stars (if it's clear and not raining, which I admit is not usually coincidental during the Pacific Northwest long dark winter days).

Our main street has very nice stores, including a wonderful grocery store with an impressive wine cellar and the ability to buy very odd things in bulk, including spices, which is the best thing to buy from bulk. Our local clinic is full of very nice doctors. If you throw a rock, you will a doctor/dentist/opthamologist. You also might hit a lawyer, so you shouldn't really throw rocks.

The police are very bored here. Don't speed near the station. They are VERY bored. But they are very nice; I have been able to get a guy to escort me home when I was scared once. The crime report in the Bainbridge weekly newspaper is very quaint; it's full of things like "someone heard a knock on their door, but when they opened it, no one was there". Police on the island don't really have an opportunity to get crusty and cynical.

Traffic contraflow here mostly happen when a lot of cars are getting off the ferry. But at least that comes at reasonably regular hours and it's over in about ten minutes.

The small library is very good looking inside, quite excellent really, and has a Japanese garden (not that big, but still, very pretty).

We use to have our own vineyard, but it's moved up off the island, though not that far off the island. (There's a bridge to the peninsula, in case you really need to visit a Target.)

There is no Walmart, but unfortunately we do have a Safeway, a Rite-Aid, and a McDonald's. They are more towards the back of the commerce area, and nowhere near the area that you see when you walk off the ferry.

If there is an expanse of green you can't see through, it's usually not someone's real estate, it's a nature walk. There is a lot of nature here.

There are a couple of movie stars who live here in secret, incognito I'm sure.

The one driving desire of many people on the island is to find a way to scratch a subsistence living somehow (very hard these days with the skyrocketing house and property prices) and never, ever leave the island ever again. And yes, I want to do that too.

Now, Vashon Island is where you want to live if you don't believe in roads and want to be able to always leave your house unlocked (some people there don't even have keys for their houses) and want ultimate peace. Bainbridge Island is a little more noisy, but not that much.
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Valerie Putman
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Roomie!!! Grats on being named GotW! Just one question...any chance you'll be going to Conquest NW in Seatle February 17th - 20th?
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Steffan O'Sullivan
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"To be honorable and just is our only defense against men without honor or justice." -Diogenes of Sinope
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"Laser-focused, with a half thought-out plan, this is what a hero looks like." -Narrator in the 2018 Peter Rabbit movie.
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BilboAtBagEnd wrote:
I like FUDGE.


Bless your sweet soul! And, for the record, my all time favorite Tolkien character is Bilbo, and I've been a big Tolkien fan since 1965.

So, being also the author of a Bunnies & Burrows book, I have to ask: do you like Watership Down? (Don't worry, it won't lessen my opinion of you if the answer is negative, even a strong negative.)

As for the two truths/one lie, that's a toughie. The last two are easy to see as linked, but the first is very easy to believe. I'll guess the first one's not true, but have grave doubts I'm correct.
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Jonathan Franklin
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Curses! Ava, you have cost me more than anyone else on BGG. Your recommendations have regularly brought joy into our household. Did I mention that Return of the Heroes is the #1 with a bullet in our household. We have YINSH thanks to you as well. Gotta meet some day.

Anyway, the questions:

What are your five Desert Island games (assuming any # of players) & five Desert Island Discs (music, not Civ IV)?

House rule that you think most improves the game it applies to?

Any food weakness(es) where you cannot resist another portion?

Congrats on GOTW status.





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Fraser
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Back in the days when there were less maps we played every map back to back
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Ooh a little higher, now a bit to the left, a little more, a little more, just a bit more. Oooh yes, that's the spot!
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Hi Ava,

I try to remember to ask each Geek of the Week these gaming related questions so here's the GeekSpeak BoardGameSpeak Hook questions for you:
Favourite game for d10-2 players
Favourite game for d10-3 players
Favourite game for d10-4 players
Favourite game for d10-5 players
Favourite game for d10-6 or more players (and you may choose a Party Game here although I wouldn't meeple - my other confession is that I would be hard pressed to list just one game for most of the above)

Also Word Association Football , I will list a word and you list a game or games that you associate with it. If you like you can expand and tell us if you like it/them or hate it/them and possibly why. Mostly the same list as before.

Space ships
Witches
Trains
Transport (may include trains)
Workers (paid or otherwise)
Trading
Building
Pink
Theme
Ships
Money
Purple
Government
Vampires
Infrastructure
Dice
Dinosaurs
Gemstones
Dragons
Beer
Wands

And last but not least, what are the last five games that you have played?
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Gerald McDaniel
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And that perhaps the coolest hobbit was the first one I ever read about---Bilbo Baggins.


I agree completely. I feel fortunate to have read The Hobbit before I read the trilogy, and I have always felt that Bilbo was the most interesting and fully-developed character.

Thanks for such informative and descriptive responses to my meager questions. You are a fascinating person.

[Oh, yes -- I do tend to order quite a bit from Amazon -- didn't know that's where you work. Keep that site going well for us, so we can continue to feed the economy! ]
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David Turner
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Ava,

Probably without knowing it, you were one of several people that helped encourage my current Icehouse obsession.

1. Does this make you feel guilty?
2. What first attracted you to Icehouse games?
3. When playing games that require you to use a single stash of any color; what color do you pick?


4. If the next BGG Con is in Dallas, are you coming?
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Alexander Zhang
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Congrats Ava!

The ferry commute gives passengers a good chunk of time in the mornings and evenings, especially in the winter months when there isn't a lot to look at out the window. How do you typically spend that time? (I'd either be the one with a good book or trying to coax other passengers into a game.)

Do you have a favorite game source in the Seattle / Bainbridge area? and/or do you typically stick with Amazon & online orders as your supplier?

arrrh Pirates or ninja Ninjas?
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