Genghis Con – Inside a Lion

It’s Dark In Here

I am writing these poems

From inside a lion,

And it’s rather dark in here.

So please excuse the handwriting

Which may not be too clear.

But this afternoon by the lion’s cage

I’m afraid I got too near.

And I’m writing these lines

From inside a lion,

And it’s rather dark in here.

By Shel Silverstein.

Genghis Con was held in Denver this last weekend, and we have been excited about it for months. We were online, pre-registering our games the moment pre-registration opened. Thursday, the day we were to attend, I came down with the flu.

No big deal, I thought. I can miss the first day and I know I will be well enough to go tomorrow.

I was wrong. I missed the entire conference, and have to wait until Tacti Con this summer before I can attend another. So, I am writing this post from inside a lion, and it’s very dark in here.

Cartoon-Lion

Luckily, Corey was able to attend without me. He met a group of gaming friends and everybody proudly sported their Goblin Awareness T-shirts while they went to different games. Our campaign to raise sympathy for the poor caves of goblins may just be working! In case you missed our campaign, here is the video to educate you!

Corey wrote up an article for me to post on our blog and fill everybody in on what a great time it was. Ladies and gentlemen, here is a word from my husband!

Here is a recap of my fantastic time at the Genghis Con in Aurora:

Friday– Anticipation of the event woke me up well before dawn, and no amount of willpower could put me back to sleep. Making the best use of my time not sleeping, I took a final look at the rules for Goblin Pit Fight and Runes and Bones, the two games I previewed at con.  By 6:45 in the morning I was on the road to the con with my friend Ron.

That morning I played in a game with three high school students from Roosevelt High School who were part of a game club.  The club sponsor and Science teacher brought them to Genghis Con on a field trip.  I remember having to skip school to make the first day of Gen Con, and these kids get to call it a field trip. Props to Mr. Wells for seeing the educational value of games and giving up his weekend to sponsor this event for his students.

Next, I played a wonderful game that is out of print called Master Thieves. The game involved an intricate puzzle box where players tried to place and find gems within it without setting off alarms or spilling gems out of the bottom.  If you get a chance to play this game with 5-6 people, you won’t be disappointed.

I spent the afternoon playing our two promotional games and meeting people. My head didn’t hit the pillow until well after midnight.

Saturday – Saturday was equally exciting.  I met the folks from World of Dice, who loved our Goblin Awareness T-shirts.  We will be talking to them about collaborating on future projects with some possible stretch goals or something.

Saturday night I played in the best Paranoia game I have ever played.

Sunday  – Sunday was mostly a promo game day, though I did sit in on a promo game from Rio Grande games, Spin Monkeys. It was the most accurate model of bumper cars you could expect from a board game. I felt like the kid whose mom makes him stay at the edge because I kept getting caught in the corner and bumped against the wall. The game is based on rotating your car based on cards with degrees of rotation on them.  I think it would be a great game to teach the degrees of rotation because you play cards from 45 to 360 degrees to choose where you’re out of control Monkey drives his bumper car.

I came home close to 7 Sunday night and, thankfully, yesterday was President’s Day because I needed the recovery time.

Overall, this was a fantastic event and I am counting down the days to Tacti Con!

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Liar Liar Pants on Fire

I was struggling to come up with an idea today for a game post, all I can think about it the Con we are going to tomorrow! Corey told me, “Go to Games For Change, you can find an idea there.” Always full of ideas, isn’t he?

Well, this time I listened to him and found a very cool game I am dying to play – Fibber! Fibber is a strip guessing game where you try to determine whether a politician is telling the truth or lying, and keep your shirt on in the process!

This game is a HOOT! Though the goal of the game is to remain clothed… There are other, more personally revealing, reasons for playing the game. (See what I did there?) Here are the key points the designer is driving home:

1. Promoting Self-Reflection

2. Crowd-sourcing Deceptive Statements

3. Recognize your bias towards a party you want to believe.

Fibber is a Game About Political Deception a political “strip guessing” game where players try to determine whether the candidates for the American presidential election of 2012 are telling facts or fiction. The goal of the game is to raise self-awareness and personal fact checking in a world inundated with misleading political ads, social media, and personal bias.

Fibber was created by Seek Change, an organization dedicated to using technology to advance self-empowerment and personal well-being.

 

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Even though the elections are over and there is no reason to get all fired up about who is saying what, I still want to play this game. Let’s just hope I can win! 

 

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Mystic Realm – New Kickstarter Project

I was cruising through Kickstarter’s “Recently Launched” section when I ran across an interesting game.

The game is called Mystic Realm, and it is a combination of magic cards and a strategy game.  Here is the description in the creator’s words:

Wielding Destruction, Protection, Storm and Neptune Spells, while countering with Death, Life, Love, and Healing Potions. Enter a World where the Dream Catcher lives. Follow advice from The Lady of Fortune. Travel the Sands of Time to Collect Crystals and Orbs, all needed to complete your Final Quest.” 

The game looks cool, and we are going to buy a copy. I love the artwork and the idea behind it, I think it sounds like a great time! But what I found the most intriguing was his bio:

“Hi, My name is Dan Leighly, “aka” MontanaDan, I am retired, living in the State of Montana, with my beautiful wife Deb. I build Ventriloquist Figures part time, and run a Ventriloquist Blog. I love playing games, and over the years have I have come up with a lot of ideas, so I decided it was time to put some of them out there for others to share. I have created several other games available at The Game Crafter. I am also an Author of several books, an Artist, a Musician, a Metaphysician. I am the father of 3, a grandfather of 3, and I love to cook, because well, I love to eat. Check out montanadan.com sometime, to find out more about me. Dan”

He reminds me so much of, well, us! We aren’t retired, but we also live in a beautiful area and my husband has been building games his entire life.

As I was reading his bio, he linked to his site here. I found something I thought I would never see in my life – a VENTRILOQUIST BLOG! He doesn’t update it anymore, and I wonder if that was his decision, or the dummy’s? We will have to stay tuned to find out!

So, if you are looking for a cool game by an awesome guy, please check out his Kickstarter page and pledge your support.

If you don’t, make sure you check out the blog. Dolls, clowns and dummies have always terrified me, so I may be sleeping tonight with one eye open. Let’s hope they pass me by because I am supporting their cause!

CLICK HERE FOR KICKSTARTER PAGE

Nighty Night!

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Entrepreneurs are the Ultimate Gamers

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As game designers, mechanic lingo is part of our everyday communication with each other. Action points, movement, risk and reward, and loss avoidance. When my husband first mentioned the goal of a game was loss avoidance, I rolled my eyes and laughed.

“Isn’t playing to win the reason for all games?”

“Duh, no?? Don’t you remember Arkham Horror?”, he told me. “Loss avoidance victory conditions are one of many mechanics.”

Loss avoidance game strategy is a last man standing type of game. Chess, Checkers. War, Tag are all games where the winner is the last man is standing. It also uses some behavior economics in game play with a few universal human behaviors:

1. Hoarding syndrome -Losses have a greater impact on preference than gains. Players feel much more dissatisfaction losing points (or pieces, etc)  than satisfaction when they gain points.

2. Endowment effect – This is a behavior phenomenon that states people assign more value to something they own than to something identical they don’t own. For example, my dice set is much better than yours, even though they were bought at the same place on the same day.

3. Sunk Cost Fallacy – The idea that what you have already invested in something has future value and worth, when the truth is your decisions are based on the emotion investments you’ve made. The short story – the more you invest the less willing you are to abandon ship.

In the game world, there is no better example than Farmville to prove these theories correct. The status quo bias comes into play when you are unwilling to give up your current plot of land to start over, even though the joy is in the building. You want to minimally maintain the income your current farm brings in. The endowment effect can be seen by hanging onto your own special sheep rather than selling it at the market even though one of your “friends” will surely send you a new sheep as a gift. The sunk cost fallacy is why people log in, over and over, to make sure their current crops don’t die from neglect. People will check their farms multiple times per day rather than start over with fresh crops. If that is impossible, people will even invest real money to make their crops last longer so they can check in less often. Marketing brilliance capitalizing on human behaviors are shown in every aspect of Farmville.

Loss avoidance is studied in entrepreneurial behavior. Entrepreneurs are typically optimists, risk takers, and visionaries. New entrepreneurs are not driven from a fear of failure. In behavioral economics terms, the status quo they need to maintain is low, their endowment effect is nearly zero, and the sunk cost fallacy may actually be a positive bias rather than a negative one. In other terms, new entrepreneurs often have little to lose and much to gain.

In contrast, when examining the behavior of successful, well established companies, overcoming loss avoidance in the game is much more difficult. Though they have all they worked towards, such as market share, revenue, and recognition – they also have more to lose. They have to maintain a status quo, they have their endowments. Suddenly, the strategy of taking risks and the sunk cost fallacy can be paralyzing when decisions are made. Nobody want to risk their empire they have been building for ten years to risk it all for new ideas and approaches. Growth slows, and market share is lost to new ideas and more passionate entrepreneurs with nothing to risk.

Being in the new entrepreneur category ourselves,  we are fueled by passion and driven by dreams. The goals we have are the same as most entrepreneurs – get our product to the public, focus on our message, create a business and life around our own ideals. Right now we are playing the game for the goals mechanics, not the loss avoidance. In a sense, we are living Arkham Horror everyday.

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References:

1. On the Psychology of Loss Aversion: Possession, Valence, and Reversals of the Endowment Effect LYLE BRENNER YUVAL ROTTENSTREICH

2. Entrepreneurship and Loss-Aversion in a Winner-Take-All Society John Morgan University of California, Berkeley Dana Sisaky Erasmus University Rotterdam 

SANJAY SOOD

BALER BILGIN*

Valentine’s Day Delight

Valentine’s Day is a day for lovers, old and new, to celebrate all they have found in each other. Valentine’s Day is for chocolates, flowers, romance.. even for geeky gamers.

Our Valentine’s Day is going to be a date to remember, we are going to Genghis Con, a game convention in Denver. This will be our second year at the game convention in Denver, and I admit I am giddy with excitement. It will be held at the Red Lion hotel from February 14th to the 17th, we have booked our room and reserved our game slots!

Preregistration ends tomorrow, so please sign up and come play with us. It’s a wickedly fun time!

Here are a few pictures of last year that I borrowed from their site:

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Now, if that doesn’t look like fun, I don’t know what does! I am thinking about putting my hair up Princess Leia style and bringing my cloak (that Corey made for me personally) for special effects. What do you think?

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(Gun picture added for my lovely friend, Kells)

Project Update:

We played our game, Goblin Pit Fight, at the game store with some new friends and had a great time with it. The game stores are the perfect place to meet like minded geeks and have a great time! We are working on the logistics and hammering out details of our next game – this game makes me giggle with every new development. I think game developing and creation is the most fun job in the world. Where else is your mission to create fun and have fun doing it?

We now have a newsletter that we will be sending out once a month. If you want to follow our work without the hassle of reading our blog several times a week, feel free to sign up here. We will only send you out monthly updates, and your email address will not be offered to any eyes other than our own.

In the meantime, I am getting all geared up for the convention. Who knows, maybe I will even post pics of our Valentine’s Day night in all of our nerdy glory!

A Brief History of Card Games

I grew up playing games. Playing chess, checkers, cribbage are some of my earliest memories, with our parent’s game night inlcuding 6 to 20 people hanging out, drinking beer and playing pinochle, cribbage, and trying to beat one of “the kids” in a game of chess.

Games have brought people together throughout the ages. The earliest record of card games can be found in 9th century China. It was then called the “Leaf Game” and played by royalty. By the 11th century, card games are found throughout Asia. Characters from popular novels were the faces and the cards each had four suits, very similar to today. The cards were printed onto domino tiles when they were widely used and looked very similar to Mahjong.

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Playing cards were introduced to Europe in the 14th century, with the first documentation being a ban on them in 1377. Believed to be brought through Egypt, they resembled both styles of cards found in India. They were round, intricately hand painted, and had four suits.

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In the middle ages, a new era of commerce and industry was changing society. Towns and markets were the center of activity and new ideas, and playing cards became a luxury for the wealthy with time on their hands.

“By the sixteenth century, popular sayings had entered into everyday language, as well as literature, poetry and popular ballads relating to card playing, including metaphors based on cards and card games (“devil’s picture book”), the moral character of gamblers (“cheats, swindlers, card-sharps”) and the divinatory, amorous, social, religious or political meaning of cards. At the same time they were a bond which united people together.” – History of Cards

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Cards remained part of society and culture ever since, and there has always been a stigma associated with being a card player. Outlaws, rebels, and bad boys were the real card players, and that stereotype still hangs around today, regardless of all the bridge clubs we have.

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Project Update:

This is a slow time for our project, Goblin Pit Fight. We haven’t lost hope for this game, despite it’s slow movement on Kickstarter and are working with other game manufacturers for alternative ways to produce our game. We are also working out the logistics for other games we have in the works, and will fill you in when we have a more concrete plan.

If you would like more comprehensive information about the history of card games, please check out THIS site, where we found one of our pictures and much of our information. See you next week, tonight is Poker Night!

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