Monday, July 24, 2023

This Is Not Biblical Faith

At a Fox New town hall last week, the following question was posed by an audience member to the former president: "“How has your faith grown since you decided to run for president? And who has mentored you in your faith journey?”

His answer:
"You know, I've seen so much heartache and turmoil.  I was a developer and I did other things and, you know, I had a wonderful life before all this stuff. I didn't know what a grand jury was. I didn't know what a subpoena—what is a subpoena? I had a wonderful life.

"I couldn't be more glad. I am so happy I did it because I've made America great, we can do it again. Right now, we are not a great country. We are not a great country. But I've gotten to know, because of this, evangelicals. I mean, I know so many people and they feel so good about themselves and their family and they base it on religion. I had never had that kind of an experience where I got to know so many. And Franklin Graham and Paula White.

"I mean, I know so many people that are so incredible, religious people. And not just Christians, not just evangelicals... you know, when I look at the Catholic faith, you take a look at what the FBI... no, but look at what the FBI is doing to Catholics. They made them like the enemy. They made them - it's horrible. How could a Catholic ever vote for a Democrat or a guy like Biden again after the experience that they're going through?

"But I've met some of the finest people that I wouldn't have had the privilege of meeting if I weren't president. And they're religious leaders, and they really are incredible people."
To see the video of the former president not really answering the question he was asked, use the following link:

In other words:
  • My life is hard.
  • It used to be easy before I was president.
  • I had no idea how the legal system worked (which is demonstrably false)
  • When I was president, America was great. 
  • When I'm not president, American stinks.
  • Evangelicals feel good about themselves and their lives because of their religion.
  • I can name two religious figures who say nice things about me.
  • I'm not sure if Catholics are Christians or evangelicals.
  • The FBI is bad.
  • Democrats are bad.
  • President Biden is bad
  • I got to meet a lot of religious leaders who say nice things about me because I was president.
That is not an answer to the question. 

That is not a statement of faith... except possibly faith in himself and the power of the presidential office.

I leave you with 1 Peter 3:15:
Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.
Holman Christian Standard
Be ready at any time to give a quiet and reverent answer to any man who wants a reason for the hope that you have within you. 
Always be ready to give a [logical] defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope and confident assurance [elicited by faith] that is within you, yet [do it] with gentleness and respect.

Friday, July 14, 2023

Through the Years: A Gaming History (Revisited)

What follows is a list of my most played games by their year of release. (The original version of this post was inspired by an email conversation about "favorite games by year" back in 2010.) There's some really good stuff in here.

Out of curiosity, I put the names of games I haven't played in the last three years (2021-23) in red... it's a surprisingly small number.

The links are to reviews/previews I've written - or, in some cases, written by my friends at the Opinionated Gamers site. The numbers in parentheses are the number of times I've played that particular game... with a + if my plays pre-date 1998 (when I began tracking my gameplay in detail).

Really Recent
  • 2023: Thunder Road: Vendetta (12) - a souped-up reboot of a classic (see below... way below!) racing/fighting game with stellar production and redesign by the good folks at Restoration Games
  • 2022: Return to Dark Tower (23) - another re-imagining of an older game by Restoration Games (sensing a theme here?!) that blends technology and splendid gameplay
  • 2021: Imperium: Classics/Legends (24) - a card-based civilization-building game with an excellent solo engine and intriguingly designed civ decks
  • 2020: Minigolf Designer (30) - an unknown designer by an unknown company managed to harness tile-laying & drafting to create a delightful minigolf-course-building game
The Not-So-Distant Past
  • 2019: Unmatched: Battle of Legends (111) - yes, a third re-imagined game from Restoration Games... this time, they fixed Epic Duels and turned it into a massive fighting franchise
  • 2018: NEOM / Impact: Battle of Elements (41) - a tie! ...between a city-building drafting game and a dice-chunking luckfest
  • 2017: Jump Drive (115) - the appearance (finally!) of the Terminal Velocity expansion has given the opportunity to play this clever little tableau-building game even more
  • 2016: Clank! A Deck-Building Adventure (71) - this doesn't even count the wonderful Clank! Legacy, Clank! Catacombs, or Clank! In! Space!... all of which are worth your time.
  • 2015: 7 Wonders Duel (73) - the older son loves the Pantheon expansion whilst the younger son loves Agora... I'll play it with pretty much any combination - it's a brilliant 2-player implementation of a game you'll see farther down the list
  • 2014: Star Realms (146) - the utility fielder of deck-building card games... with lots of extra plays because of the pass-n-play mode of the iPhone app
  • 2013: Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends (35) - not the Vlaada game I would have expected on this list - but still one that I really enjoy (play High Form rather than Deathmatch for a more thoughtful game experience)
  • 2012: DC Comics Deck-Building Game (138) - the go-to closer for a number of game nights... a solid deck-builder with nifty DC comics art
  • 2011: Sentinels of the Multiverse (112) - yes, the new "definitive" edition is better... but the original is pretty darn awesome
  • 2010: 7 Wonders (110) - the grandpa of so many drafting games... and it still works like a charm
Just Seems Like Yesterday 
  • 2009: Summoner Wars (208) - much like Sentinels, the newer version of the game is improved... but the original (which I have a lot of!) is still very solid
  • 2008: Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age (86) - a civilization-building dice game w/a cribbage-like scoreboard that is fun to play with 2-4 players... or as a solitaire game.
  • 2007: Race for the Galaxy (499) - colonize planets, develop technology & race the other players to victory in this intriguing card game that vies for my #1 game on a consistent basis
  • 2006: To Court the King (33) - the re-thinking of this great little dice game (Favor of the Pharaoh) is splendid as well
  • 2005: Heckmeck am Bratwurmeck (73) - was published in English as Pickomino (and my wife calls it Worminoes)... it's a math-y dice game about chickens eating at a worm diner that manages to be a lot more fun than the description sounds
  • 2004: Memoir '44 (284) - IMHO, the best version of Richard Borg's light wargame Command & Colors system - of course, the theme (WWII) helps, as do the incredible Campaign Book expansions and the excellent support by the publisher, Days of Wonder
  • 2003: Smarty Party (71) - there are probably better party games (in gamer terms) but none that I've enjoyed as much as this one... and I have the rare honor of having played the original prototype - this is a classic example of development taking an interesting idea & turning it into a great game
  • 2002: StreetSoccer (182) - the game doesn't so much simulate soccer (like Pursue the Pennant attempts to simulate baseball)... instead, it uses a backgammon-ish mechanic to simulate the feel of a soccer game - and does so brilliantly
  • 2001: Transamerica (82) -  great game for4-6 players of connecting railroads... I think I'm played out on it for a while, though
  • 2000: Carcassonne (106) -with too many spin-off games & expansions, it's easy to overlook how enjoyable this tile-laying game can be... I finally sold off most of Carc collection and hung onto Carcassonne: Wheel of Fortune
Before Y2K 
  • 1999: Lost Cities (134) - the game itself is a stunningly simple 2 player card game... the tension comes from how difficult it is to keep from helping your opponent
  • 1998: Zirkus Flohcati (67) - this is still a go-to game when playing with mixed age groups... the press-your-luck element is really quite lovely (just avoid the edition with unbelievably creepy real flea art)
  • 1997: Jungle Speed (58) - I've owned both Arriba (the original version of the game) and Jungle Speed... and while I'm no longer able to win quick-reaction games (slowing down with age), it's a great game
  • 1996: Dish It Up! (44) - a delightful non-HABA memory game for kids and adults who love kids
  • 1995: Catan (152+) - I never get to play this enough. It's one of the best games out there, still. If you haven't tried it, stop reading this blog & go find someone to play with... preferably me
  • 1994: 6 Nimmt! (49+) - probably better known in the U.S. as Category 5 or Slide 5, this is a very abstract card game that scales well up to 10 players, which probably explains why I've played it so much
  • 1993: Attacke (54) - thankfully, this great little filler game was finally been re-released as Gem Dealer... instead of the horribly over-chromed monstrosity that was Ivanhoe
  • 1992: Fast Food Franchise (125) - Tom Lehmann's first design (an imaginative re-thinking of Monopoly) is a family favorite... and sadly is unlikely to ever get a reprint due to the amount of math in the game 
  • 1991: My First UNO (43) - as weak as you imagine it is... but my boys loved it when they were young
  • 1990: Igel Ärgern (23) - Doris' charming art compliments a racing game with a plethora of variations - we tend to play with Fizzy Lifting.
The Decade in Which I Received a Masters, Bachelors, and High School Degree*
  • 1989: Café International (98) - while I worry that the art in this game has some pointed stereotypes, the fact that every culture is poked fun at (even the Germans) leads me to believe that the humor is good-natured - the game itself is one that seems chaotic & luck-driven at first, but reveals some surprising depth over time
  • 1988: Yahtzee Jr. (22) - surprisingly enjoyable mass market game for the younger set... we had a Toy Story-themed version that was catnip for my sons
  • 1987: Shark (13) - I prefer the newer editions (with the Shark area in the center of the board)... and I prefer any version of this to the granddaddy of all stock/expansion games, Acquire
  • 1986: Thunder Road (28) - yes, this is the game re-imagined and published this year (2023)
  • 1985: Dungeonquest (93+) - I have owned, sold, and then reacquired this game & the expansions... it is, IMHO, the best high-speed dungeon crawl game on the market. 
  • 1984: Bounce It-In Game (57) - Tupperware's only game... and it's a great dexterity game with 4 different ways to play.
  • 1983: Talisman (35+) - I've come to prefer Prophecy or Key to the Kingdom to this aging fantasy roll'n'move... but for a while back in the 80s & 90s, this game got a LOT of play
  • 1982: Sequence (38) - another Uno-ish card game (this time with a board) that Shari enjoys.
  • 1981: Fill or Bust (94+) - the classic dice game "500" with an added set of action cards... yet another Shari favorite.
  • 1980: Can't Stop (183) - Sid Sackson's masterpiece... probably the best pure push-your-luck game ever published
The Wonder Years - Sort Of
  • 1979: The Creature That Ate Sheboygan (?) - I experimented for a long time to see if I could update this game for the new millenia
  • 1978: This Game is Bonkers! (13+) - there's actually a bit more game here than you remember... but it's still got a fair bit of chaos in it
  • 1977: Dungeon Dice / Rail Baron (53/?) - yes, another tie (though not really)... haven't played Rail Baron in years but when we did play it, we played it A LOT; Dungeon Dice, OTOH, comes out on a semi-regular basis still
  • 1976: Mr. Mouth (8+) - thankfully, the batteries died
  • 1975: The Magnificent Race (13+) - another ongoing Don Quixote-ish quest is to "fix" this game - the marble spinner is a very cool component/mechanism set in the middle of a pretty mediocre game - the theme is great, too - it's just that the roll'n'move board game is yawn-worthy
  • 1974: Rise & Decline of the Third Reich (?) - back in my wargaming AH/SPI days, this one saw a lot of table time
  • 1973: Tally Ho! (58) - thanks to Kosmos/Rio Grande reprinting this 2 player gem, I've played a lot of it
I received review copies of some Memoir '44 expansions, some Clank! expansions, and some Unmatched sets.

* For the record, I have a Master of Arts in Religious Education (general specialization) from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Baylor University, and a high school diploma from El Dorado High School (Placentia, CA). Three pieces of paper encompassing nearly 12 years of my life.