Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The World You Want (aka "Welcome to 2017")

I'm kickin' up the pieces
I'm trying out adhesives
I'm trying to fix a place that feels broken
All my words they fail me
My voices don't avail me
I'm trying to say the hope that's unspoken

Is this the world you want?
Is this the world you want?
You're making it
Every day you're alive
Is this the world you want?
Is this the world you want?
You're making it

The world feels so malicious
With all our hits and misses
Feels like we're in the business of rust
It's when I stop to listen
All the moments I've been missing
I finally hear a voice I can trust

You change the world
You change the world
You change the world
Every day you're alive
You change the world
Honey, you change the world
You change my world

You start to look like what you believe
You float through time like a stream
If the waters of time are made up by you and I
If you change the world for you, you change it for me

What you say is your religion
How you say it's your religion
Who you love is your religion
How you love is your religion
All your science, your religion
All your hatred, your religion
All your wars are your religion
Every breath is your religion yea

Written by Jon Foreman • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, The Bicycle Music Company

Note: I received this album for Christmas... and was listening to it New Years Day as I drove to be part of the set-up/tear-down team at church. This song floored me.

Yes, I know that Switchfoot is no longer the cool, young, hip band. Their big hit album (The Beautiful Letdown) was released 14 years ago... and I've been listening to them since their first album (The Legend of Chin) back in 1997. That's right, 20 years ago. 

I'm not cool or hip - now or two decades back. (I was younger.)

But regardless of my personal status as a oh-so-trendy setter of trends, the song is what I needed to hear as I face the personal circumstances of my life and the larger issues that face me as both a citizen of the U.S. and a citizen of heaven.

Give it a listen.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Brothers & Fools

We must learn to live together as brothers
or perish together as fools.
Commencement Address for Oberlin College
By Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
June 1965, Oberlin Ohio 

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

It's Still Personal - My Five & Dime List for 2016

Hey, campers... I may have stopped collecting the Five& Dime stats for everyone else - but I haven't stopped collecting my own!

Here's my own personal Five & Dime list (the games I played 5+ and 10+ times in 2016).
Games with an asterisk [*] were on my Five & Dime list last year, games with two asterisks [**] have been on my list for the past two years, games with three asterisks [***] have been there for three years, games with four asterisks [****] have been there for 4 years, games with a plus [+] have been there 5 years... and games with a plus & an asterisk [+*] have been there (wait for it) for the past 6 years!

  • Star Realms 29 **

  • DC Comics Deck-Building Game: Rivals - Batman vs The Joker 19
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse 19 ****
  • 7 Wonders Duel 16
  • Summoner Wars 14 +
  • DC Comics Deck-Building Game:  (includes Teen Titans) 13 **
  • Descent: Journeys in the Dark (2nd edition) 13
  • The City 11 ****

  • Colony 9
  • Fabled Fruit 9
  • Favor of the Pharaoh 9
  • Among the Stars 8
  • 7 Wonders 8 *
  • Epic PVP: Fantasy 8
  • Race for the Galaxy 8 +*
  • Bear Valley 7
  • Can't Stop 7 **
  • Codenames 7
  • The Dragon & Flagon 7
  • GUBS: A Game of Wit & Luck 7 *
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Deckbuilding Game 7
  • Pandemic Legacy (Season One) 7 *
  • The Pursuit of Happiness 7
  • Skip-Bo 7
  • Twilight Struggle 7
  • Dastardly Dirigibles 6
  • Qwixx 6
  • Snow Tails 6
  • Stellar Conflict 6
  • Blöder Sack 5 *
  • Catan 5 *
  • Cry Havoc
  • Fast Food Franchise 5 ****
  • Machi Koro 5 **
  • Quarriors 5
  • Roll for the Galaxy 5

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Intersection

Here we stand on this busy street corner
At the intersection of memories and tradition

The traffic circle where what we believe
and what we hope for
and we hope in


And yet the temptation is to rubberneck

To look at the pretty lights
Tear open the carefully wrapped presents
Admire the Nativity sets for their beauty
rather than their meaning

And while there's nothing wrong with
enjoying the scenery
Perhaps it would help to remind ourselves
that the ultimate destination
of this Baby's journey
is the Cross
and the Tomb

And we are here at the intersection

of God's grace
and our sin

The traffic circle where His love for us
and our hopelessness without Him


poem by Mark Jackson

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Gamer Gilligan's Island

One of my good friends (and a friend of this blog as well) is Joe Huber: game designer, man about town, devoted husband, classy friend... and the guy who will introduced me to Entenrallye and Novo Dice. He asked the following (self-described) "weird question."
You're on a deserted island - and failed to pack your top 10 games (or any games, for that matter). Given the materials available on the island (think Gilligan's Island, material-wise), what games do you cobble together to pass the time? Or do you instead focus on designing your own games, to best take advantage of the materials?
Now, here's the deal... I want to be cool and maker-friendly and all that and say something like, "I think the natural elements could inspire me to create a game that is both organic to the island and profoundly playable." In reality, I'm gonna be trying to figure out how to make dice out of dried coconut and playing cards out of palm leaves.
Follow-up: you're on a desserted island. Which do you try first? And which desserts do you think would make the best materials for cobbling together games?
Cookies, please.

I think you could do some interesting things game-wise with fondant and hard candies... but it would likely be a Legacy game where the pieces got destroyed.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

As the Years Go By (Mark's 100 - 2014)

It's finally done. I've managed to post all of my 2014 Top #100 games. Of course, we're nearly done with 2016, so it's not exactly timely any more. 

My plan is to do a one-time countdown of Top Board Game Expansions next... but I'm guessing that won't start for a couple of weeks (or more). 

In the meantime, here's a chart of when my top 100 games were published. I was intrigued by the low point of 1998 which was in the thick of my German game buying spree. (Man, I miss Adam Spielt.) There are a lot of good games that year - Elfenland, Samurai, El Caballero... but they are all games that I eventually sold or traded. I've still got Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper (but it's not my favorite MR game), Zirkus Flohcati, Basari & Medieval Merchant... but they all don't quite make my top 100.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

#1: Memoir '44 (Mark's 100)

Memoir '44

Mark's Ranking
  • 2014: 1st
  • 2012: 1st
  • 2010: 2nd
  • 2005: 3rd
  • chosen on all four lists
  • rank: 106
  • rating: 7.5
Print Status
  • in print
Why It's On The List
  • The best (and best supported!) of the Command & Colors games... it combines a wonderous toy factor (plastic army men & tanks!) along with remarkably evocative recreations of WW2 battles. This is the perfect collision of all the eras of my gaming life: it's got enough warfare &; tactics for the chit-pusher in me, the gorgeous plastic bits remind me of the day we cracked open Axis & Allies for the first time, and the speedy gameplay fits my current lifestyle. The plethora (si, Jeffe) of scenarios is a definite point in favor of Memoir '44, as well as one of the cleverest 'fog of war' mechanisms ever - the command deck.
Tips & Tricks:
  • Memoir '44 is splendid right out of the box... though the first couple of scenarios are probably the weakest and don't show off the game as well as they could. (They do a good job of getting players used to how the game works.) Don't give up on it until you've played some of the later scenarios.
  • There are a LOT of expansions... and I personally own at least one or two of each of them. (Point of fact: my Memoir '44 collection weighs over 30 pounds now.) There are no duds in the set... though probably the least valuable to a casual player is the Terrain Pack.
  • There's a desktop program for playing Memoir '44 online that is very good... I just don't get to play it as much as I'd like.
  • My favorite way to play is 2 player Breakthrough (using the Breakthrough deck included in the Winter Wars expansion). Close behind that is playing in Overlord (multi-player team) mode or playing a campaign (using one of the Campaign Books).