Friday, February 17, 2006

First SpielbyWeb game...I actually won!

Anyone who has played with me will realize the importance of this statement. I'm one of those people who rarely win games, but have a heckuva fun time losing. So when I win, it's total gravy.

I'm intimidated by BSW, so finding a Web-based gaming environment in English was great. The only game I knew how to play was Amun-Re, so when Alfred mentioned in his great blog that he was starting up a game, I jumped on it.

Not sure what exactly I did to win, but I'm very happy. He and I are playing a second game, but I think I'm going to crash and burn on that one. That I'm used to. And Alfred, if you ever want to start another game, lemme know.


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Tom Waits for no man

I was feeling really cruddy today. So to make me feel better about my scratchy throat, I decided to listen to someone who always seems to have one...Tom Waits. I've only got one of his CDs--Real Gone--but I listen to it constantly. If Don't Go Into That Barn isn't the creepiest song out there, I don't know what is.

It got me thinking about how much I like people who seem to have an exceptionally complex relationship with God. Tom Waits, Johnny Cash, Bruce Cockburn, Nick Cave, Bono, Bob Dylan--these people are fascinating to me. You'll never find their CDs in a Christian music store, yet the things they sing about and the sentiments they express are so much closer to my experience as a Christian than the syrupy stuff you hear on the radio. They wrestle, and doubt, and stumble, and fall (sometimes very, very far), and the answers aren't easy...and the Bible is full of just that sort of complexity. Look at David and the Pslams if you doubt that. Thank God there's room for those feelings on this journey. Thank God. white whale

There is no game that frustrates, eludes, confounds, and fascinates me like Santiago. Every time I play this game I lose...and I don't just lose by a little. I'm way, way, way behind everyone else. Not one decision I make ever seems to be the right one: I drop out at the wrong time; I pay too much; I pay too little; I choose the wrong crop; I put it in the wrong place; I misjudge where everyone is going. Yet I still love the game. It may kill me, but I'll get this game...or die trying.

I played the Moon/Weissblum game Oasis for the first time. It seemed an awful lot like New England--a game I hate. Some interesting mechanics, but it just didn't grab me. I have yet to play a game from this pair that I enjoy...with the notable exception of San Marco, which I really, really like 3-player.

And finally, I was able to play Oltre Mare. This was the much-lauded game that was released by a very small publisher in a very small edition. So when Rio Grande Games--God bless you Jay!--announced they would pick it up, I was anxious to play it. It was...just okay. This is the epitome of the hand-management game. But in the end it felt kind of clunky to me; like the pieces didn't quite fit together. I'd probably play again, but I'm glad I played before I bought it.

I find myself being less impulsive with game purchases now that I've come down off the yearlong high of finding Eurogames. I think this started when I was this close to buying Revolution: The Dutch Revolt sight unseen. I mean, it was going to be my next purchase, bar none. Then I was fortuitously able to play it on a Saturday all-day gaming session. Holy smokes did I dodge a bullet. It's not that it's a bad game--I believe that it's a well-done and well-balanced game (and that's saying something when there are 5 distinct powers at work). It's just not my type of game, and I didn't know that until I played it. All that to say that I feel blessed to have James and Sheila Davis in my gaming group. Knowing that I can play literally anything--even the impossible-to-find stuff--is an incredible boon.