Thursday, December 31, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
And then he goes on to apply that to ministry and proceeds to shine a bright light into the often dark & musty corners where our motivations hide. Like I said earlier, a MUST read.
“How much life insurance do you have?”
According to a recent blog by Seth Godin, Zig Ziglar liked to say that with that one question, you could tell if someone was a successful life insurance agent. “If they’re not willing to buy it with their own money, how can they honestly persuade someone else to do so?”
Godin went on to note that if you are in the music business, but you never buy tickets or downloads, can you really empathize with the people you’re selling to?
His favorite: If you work for a non-profit and you don’t give money to charity, what exactly are you doing in this job? “And the shame of it,” Godin adds, “is that this inaction on their part keeps them from experiencing the very emotion that they try so hard to sell.”
Monday, December 28, 2009
3. That parents with screaming kids will take them to Sunday School. Hot topic, hot topic, but pastors of the world, I got your back. Imagine if you were at work, in a cubicle and someone came over and said, “Hey, I’m going to sit my screaming 2 year old right here on your filing cabinet. He’s going to scream and throw whatever objects are within his grasp for the next 30 minutes while you work.”Posted using ShareThis
Friday, December 25, 2009
While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God's angel stood among them and God's glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger."
At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God's praises:
Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.
As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. "Let's get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us." They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.
Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they'd been told!
from Luke 2 (The Message)
Monday, December 21, 2009
- Ark (Rio Grande) - not really a kid's game (despite the charming art)... this is a card placement game where you are one of Noah's helpers trying to load the ark so that the wrong animals don't get put in the same cabin. I'm a big fan of this game & think it got sadly overlooked a few years back when it was released. $14.03 is a nice price... and the Ark Extra Mix expansion is only $3.99 with Prime shipping as well! (I haven't reviewed this game... but I'd be honored to teach it to anyone who asks. You could also read Susan L's excellent review.)
- Can You See What I See? (Gamewright) - a game for the preschoolers in your house... this is a sturdy & enjoyable bingo-ish game that has inspired deep love in my 4 year old. $15.00 is a good price. (Read my review!)
- Dancing Dice (Mayfair) - as long as you have family members/friends who don't cheat (there's a lot of hidden actions taken in this game), this is a very fun dice game about marathon dancing that's actually more enjoyable with more players! You'll need a big stocking to fit it in, but it's a big deal at only $10! (I haven't reviewed this game - but I really like it, as does my lovely wife, Shari - the non-gamer in the family. You can read Eric V's review, though.)
- Duck Duck Bruce (Gamewright) - originally published in Germany as "Kleine Fische", (Little Fish), this is a great push-your-luck game that works with kids as young as four & has whimsical duck/dog art to make it even more enjoyable. Well worth $9.55... and you can find this even cheaper sometimes in Target or other stores that carry Gamewright card games. (Read my review!)
- Ka-Ching! (Gamewright) - originally released in Germany as "Combit", I like this less abstract version better. It's a two-player game of investment chicken... not so much for the kids but great for ages 10+ who like quick-moving but think-y games. The price is right, too - $8.97. (I haven't reviewed this... but I'd be happy to get a copy for Christmas! Meanwhile, read Tom Vasel's review.)
- Keep It Steady (Haba) - better known by the German name (Zitternix), this is a very clever game of vertical Pick-Up-Stix. A favorite with adults & kids... $17.00. (I haven't reviewed Zitternix, but I'm very glad I own a copy - thanks to Dave Vander Ark for showing it to me originally!)
- Pig Pile (R&R Games) - it's lighter than air & extremely silly (you keep score with plastic piggies!) but it's become a family favorite in the "better than Uno" light card game genre. A bit pricey at $20.54 but it can be there by Christmas! (I haven't reviewed this game - I've just been playing it consistently since it was released. Neil Thomson has a nice review of it on the Geek.)
- Pirate's Blast (Haba) - another game possibly better known by the German title (Das Schwarze Pirat: Das Duell). Translated, that's "The Black Pirate: The Duel" and it's a two-player version of the award-winning "The Black Pirate" game. This is a dexterity game of sorts - where two players use air pumps to blow their ships about the table... and fire on them with tiny wooden cannons! This is a STEAL at $12.97! (Read my review!)
- Pocket Battles: Celts vs. Romans (Z-Man Games) - the first in a planned series of small tile-based 30 minute wargames, this is the only stocking stuffer on the list that I haven't played. I want to - a lot - but it just came out. It would be a treat for any gamer on your list - for example, me! $15.00 is a little higher than you see it in the standard online gaming locations - but Amazon Prime = free 2 day shipping, so it pretty much evens out. (Of course, I haven't reviewed it... but Mike Siggins has.)
- The Suitcase Detectives (Haba) - a clever & creatively designed smuggling game... can you find the stolen items?! A great deal at $14.54! (Read my review!)
Friday, December 18, 2009
- I really, really am tempted to buy Small World in order to buy the expansions... I have a serious expansion fever problem.
- I'm curious - for those of us who are not fans of Ticket to Ride: Europe (but love the original game), is the 1912 expansion worth the money?
- Didn't know that Trendy had been reprinted as Horse Fair... you should go buy this game immediately.
- I'll 2nd & 3rd Eric's suggestion of Wits & Wagers (and Say Anything!) as great party games.
- Eric mentioned Ring-O Flamingo... I'll be doing a review of the game later this weekend. Short preview: my review is positive.
- Finally, where we disagree: Monopoly is NOT tedious unless the players make it that way.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
- taking pictures of Braeden & Shari riding Dumbo from the elephant in front of them - which is almost a perfect echo of a picture my dad took of my mom & me 40 years ago
- riding Heimlich's Chew Chew Train enough times that we memorized all the dialogue... (btw, one of the downsides of low crowds - if your kid likes a ride, you're going to get to see a lot of it)
- Braeden getting his picture taken with Mickey... and as he left, turning around & running back to hug him and tell him, "I love you, Mickey."
- designer: Brigitte Pokornik
- publisher: Haba
- date: 2009
- BoardGameGeek rank/rating: not ranked/4.33
- age: 6+
- # of players: 1-4
- print status: in print
- cost: $21.59 (maukilo.com)
My feelings about this game have been a veritable roller coaster of highs & lows:
- LOW (looking at the cover when Haba shipped it to me) - who in the world OK'd the English name? Maybe it's me, but it just sounds wrong. (Though not as wrong as Pocket Rockets - which actually sounds like a decent kids game but won't be entering my house because I don't want to have to keep my boys from loudly talking about their "pocket rockets" and not realize what kind of problems they're causing me & their mother.)
- HIGH (opening the box for the first time) - the cow is very, very cute & well-made. The tiles are thick & chunky... and there's a wooden fork in here! As usual, excellent components from Haba.
- LOW (after our first play) - did we do something wrong? Why wasn't this any fun? The idea seemed promising... but our first play left us cold.
- HIGH (after playing with our problem "fixed") - Aha! The primary audience for this game is kids... this is a dexterity game that little guys (for example, my 4 year old) can play.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
- designer: Wolfgang Dirscherl
- publisher: Haba
- date: 2008
- BoardGameGeek rank/rating: not ranked/5.36
- age: 7+
- # of players: 2-4
- print status: in print
- cost: $28.79 (maukilo.com)
BTW, these are not your average kids game poker chips - or even the nicer Hasbro/Avalon Hill chips that you find in Vegas Showdown and Axis & Allies: D-Day. These are the real deal - they've got weight/heft (or whatever poker players like to say about good chips) and are custom printed for this game. (How do I know they're custom printed? I'm guessing not too many standard poker chip sets include a dog poop chip.)
The game itself is a race game (be the first to zoom across the board) powered by a push-your-luck mechanic. The first player (which rotates each turn) rolls two dice that tell the dogs (aka "players") what the prizes will be for this round. It's either a number of spaces or a golden bone... and there are golden bones scattered along the track.
Then the players reach into their bag & grab (sight unseen) one of their chips. They are revealed... and then the game begins in earnest! The players must now decide if they will:
- reach into their bag & fake drawing out a chip (in other words, choosing to stand with the number on their chip) OR
- reach into their bag & draw out another chip
Those next chips (or empty hands) are revealed... and the process is repeated until all of the players have stopped drawing chips... or found their dog poop tile. (Finding doo-doo puts you in deep doo-doo, at least for that round - you're knocked out of the running.)
The two players with the highest totals will get prizes, with the highest total choosing first. If there's a tie, the player closest clockwise to the "first player" goes first.
There is one other wrinkle (which can be ignored when playing with younger children) - there is a 2x chip which multiplies the value of all your other chips. I like that simply removing this chip makes the game easily playable with kids who can do basic addition.
Press-your-luck games are always interesting with kids... just like adults, some are unable to quit drawing chips until things go wrong, while others are completely unwilling to take risks. This would be a wonderful game to train kids in judging probabilities & rate of return (though if you use those particular words in trying to teach the underlying concepts to a 6 year old, you need your examined).
My 8 year old son loves this game - and only partly because he gets to use the word "poop" when we play. He isn't perfect at judging the odds, but he's old enough to figure out his chances for himself. My 4 year old son is less enthused by it... but he's willing to play. I myself think it's good light fun - but it IS a press-your-luck game, so if you're turned off by those kind of things, run away now.And while the rules say it will work with 2 players, it's not nearly as fun as playing with 3 or 4.
Monday, December 14, 2009
- Braeden & I pulled out Sub Search again, which is great fun. Our game last night was a nail-biter: both of us were down to one sub & one surface ship each... and I managed to sink his sub before he could torpedo my PT boat.
- I also taught him to play Phantoms of the Ice... it's basically the card game "War" on steroids, but the pun-tacular names (Stu Late and Behind Hugh, for example) are right up his alley. I'm guessing we'll end up playing it again this afternoon with his best friend, Canaan.
- And in serious "blast from the distant past" mode, Canaan & I taught him how to play Chinese Checkers. Man, I haven't played that since I was in middle school.
And, since my life isn't busy enough, the Five & Dime Report is waiting just around the corner.
Saturday, December 05, 2009
- Race for the Galaxy 302 (264 using The Gathering Storm expansion) - This is a 30 minute card game that scales well from 2-6 players AND has a very addictive official solitaire version. I figure about half of those plays are multiplayer games. (Braeden is also learning how to play this - we just added the first expansion last week.)
- StreetSoccer 136 - A lot of these game were/are online (I've got 2 going right now) at mastermoves.eu... I dearly love this backgammon-ish soccer game.
- Lost Cities 116 - At one time, Shari's favorite card game - though now she likes Lost Cities: The Board Game better (less tension).
- The Settlers of Catan 102 - I know for certain that I've played this at least 50 more times (pre-'98) than are recorded here... and would have played it a lot more if my local group (the Fresno Gamers) wasn't pretty much burned out on it. It's still in my top ten games after all these years.
- Carcassonne 100 - I play some of this online - but I think this tile-layer is actually more fun in person. Braeden enjoyed himself tonight & is ready for more.
- Can't Stop 90 - great push your luck dice game... I think it is Sid Sackson's greatest work. I don't get to play it much anymore, though.
- Memoir '44 90 - Another one of my top ten games... the Campaign Book has kicked my number of plays up big-time, for which I am very grateful. I should cross the 100 threshold sometime in early 2010.
- The Whole Enchilada - this is the list of all 100 games
- The Kid Games 100 Geeklist - if you like using the Boardgamegeek website, this is how you find the list of the top 100 games arranged in BGG ranking order.
- Kid Games 100: Designers & Kid Games 100: Publishers
- How It All Started (actually from 2005)
- Most Played Games
- Fresh Faces
- Lo, How the Mighty Have Fallen
- Joining the "In" Crowd
- Decay Rates
- Eleven Year Pix
- Ten Year Pix
- Nine Year Pix
- Eight Year Pix
- Seven Year Pix
- Six Year Pix
- Five Year Pix
- Four Year Pix
"We must fight to keep Christ in Christmas!"I just have to ask, who in the heck are "we" supposed to be fighting? Santa? His elves? Jack Skellington? The evil forces of commercialism? And, please, AFA, claiming credit for getting the Gap to use the word "Christmas" in one of their TV ads? Re-donk-u-lous. Irate conservative Christians, despite the panic talk you hear from some liberals, are not a power group. A noisy group, yes, but not a powerful one. I have an important suggestion. If you believe that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, then celebrate it that way. Keeping Christ in Christmas starts with you, not with some trumped-up media campaign. I'm afraid that all people outside the Bible Bubble are hearing is "Your version of Christmas stinks & we have plans to snatch it out of your hands." Is there no way for us to be marked by what we believe in instead of what we're against?! Sigh. photo on Flickr by mtsofan
Thursday, December 03, 2009
- Dec. 3 Elmhurst, IL
- Dec. 4 Lincoln, NE
- Dec. 5 Topeka, KS
- Dec. 9 Louisville, KY
- Dec. 11 Cleburne, TX
- Dec. 12 Jackson, TN
- Dec. 13 Huntsville, AL
- Dec. 14 Birmingham, AL
- Dec. 16 Charlotte, NC
- Dec. 17 Nashville, TN - Ryman
- Dec. 18 Kokomo, IN
- Dec. 19 Montague, MI
- Dec. 20 Milford, OH