Well this is the list for you! Since the New Year, I have been learning and having fun with all sorts of little games- most of which come in really small boxes and most (if not all) are under $20 online. Here are a few that I think you should give a whirl.
Let's face it. Sometimes you don't want to haul around some big ole square box of cardboard and plastic. Sometimes you just want to enjoy a game that isn't going to take all afternoon. Sometimes you don't want the rules explanation to take longer than 5 minutes. Sometimes you need a fun little gift for someone (or yourself) and you don't want to pay $60 for it.
Well this is the list for you! Since the New Year, I have been learning and having fun with all sorts of little games- most of which come in really small boxes and most (if not all) are under $20 online. Here are a few that I think you should give a whirl.
No Thanks! is a fun little card game that is roughly about set collection and getting piles of numbers in order. The goal is to have the lowest score possible. If you don't want the face up card, put one of your chips on it. If it comes back around to you after everyone has put a chip on it themselves, either put on another one or take them all for yourself- because each chip will subtract 1 point from your total score when the game is over. Don't have any more chips? Well then, you're stuck and you have to take the card.
Citadels is a "drafted roll selection" game where each turn you choose a roll that allows you to have an specific type of action. Then you either draw city cards or draw money. Then you build part of your city. The first person with 8 parts of their city built, triggers the end of the game. Each part of your city is worth as many points as the gold it took to build it. You've got the most points? You're the winner. Look for the edition with a little purple icon in the bottom left corner of the slim edition box. That edition comes prepackaged with an expansion inside.
Bang! The Dice Game is built around the Yahtzee mechanism where you roll dice 3 times keeping what you want and rerolling what you don't. Each side has something different to offer, so choose wisely. Take a character at the beginning of the game and then you are given a secret roll- Sheriff (who isn't so secret), Deputy, Outlaw, or Renegade. Try to kill off the appropriate people while the indians attack to be the victor in this spin on a spaghetti western (there's even Italian printed on the cards)! With really nicely engraved and painted dice, this game passes up it's card game predecessor- Bang!
Lifeboat is a game in which you are one of six people on a lifeboat. Not only are you trying to survive, but you also secretly love someone you hope and will help, to survive. At the same time, there is someone you secretly hate, who you are helping to their watery grave. You might chose to do nothing, you might chose to pick a fight by trying to swap places, you might mug someone, or you might chose to decide who gets thrown overboard. All the while, find things of value in your lifeboat such as money, jewels, art work, etc. and try to be the character at the end who has survived and has the most points.
Guillotine has been a family favorite for years. At the beginning of a round, set up 12 nobles to have their heads cut off. Rearrange the order of the line using one of the action cards in your hand. Then collect the noble at the front of the line at the end of your turn. The person with the most points after 3 rounds wins.
There you have it. 5 games that all cost less than $20 and can be played in about 30-45 mins. All the rules are pretty straight forward so the learning curve isn't very steep. And all of these can be shoved in a backpack, purse, suitcase, glove compartment, etc. so that they are readily available for those spontaneous times when a group of people have congregated and some fun needs to ensue.
Over the years, there have been several things that have stuck in my mind from the pages of God's word. One of them is the word fervent. It is used several places in the NASB translation, and I am always blessed when I see it used in the lives of people.
It's a concept I think we can always use a little more of in our lives. The intended idea of fervent in the Greek is one of stretching out to a maximum limit and an intention that is without ceasing. The ultimate example of this can be found in Luke 22:44, "And being in agony He (Jesus) was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground." Let me ask you... when was the last time any of us prayed so fervently that we even perspired, let alone sweat so profusely that it dripped to the ground like blood running off our heads?!?
Fervent comes up only a few other places in the New Testament and one of them is in my favorite passage in the Bible: Romans 12:9-21. Verse 11 says, "not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;" The thought here is to be continually seeking to serve God from a place of perpetual/constant growth in the spirit. And let us not forget that the context for this verse is serving others in love.
Which brings me to my last reference today. 1 Peter 1:22, " Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of a seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. (verse 23 added for emphasis)" Love is one of our greatest assets and we should desire to use it maximally in every facet of our day.
May we be a people who seek to live out our fervent spiritual life - seeking ways to live it out maximally, rather than figuring out what the minimum is that we could get away with and still be considered righteous. May we be a people who stretch out and fervently love others as Jesus did on the cross.
Grace, Opportunity, Dignity
Between having caught a cold, which has developed into a sinus infection, and also having a kid who has sustained a slight concussion thanks to a skateboarding accident, I have spent far too much time on the internet and on the couch over the past few weeks. Which after watching silly cat videos, reading Facebook posts, and reading up on certain topics of spiritual interest, my attentions turned to my hobby of board gaming and checking out the upcoming line of games that are due to release this year.
I've got to say, there really isn't anything on my radar as of yet. That isn't to say that I haven't gotten into some new games (which I have), but there isn't anything that I know of that I am super excited about. But what I am looking forward to are some EXPANSIONS that are coming out soon.
This brings me to a topic that, if you are new to the hobby, you probably know about, but may be unclear on. Expansions are things that you add to an existing game that you already have. Ticket to RIde for example has several different map packs that you can get to use with the "base" game that you already have. You use pieces and cards from the base game and the board and tickets from the expansion to play with using a different continent. Expansions can breathe fresh life into a game you are already familiar with.
Sometimes an expansion will simply give you "more of the same" stuff, simply giving you a greater variety of the mechanisms from the base game, but don't be surprised if things change up a bit. Usually, an expansion will add new rules, mechanisms, or even variants to the game play. This can have both positive and negative effects.
On the plus side, the expansion could add a level of depth that was needed in a game. Also, they say that variety is the spice of life and the same usually holds true in the board game world. Things may begin to get stale after a few dozen plays of a game and an expansion allows for reinvigorated excitement in regards to the game itself as a whole. Often times, it will round out the theme of a game as well, adding more characters, and specialization that gives each player a more unique way of approaching the challenges the game offers. Sometimes it simply adds the ability to have a 5th or 6th player into the mix, though that may not be a good thing.
On the down side, sometimes an expansion can just add too much to a game. It may take too long to finish now, or the rules become too fiddly to be an enjoyable experience. Thankfully though, many times you can pick and choose which parts of an expansion that you would like to use.
So, how do you decide on what to get? Different people do things differently. Many in the hobby are known as "completionists" those who are compelled to get every single last expansion and thing for every game they own. They buy these things without even a moment's consideration. Others, wait to play someone else's copy with the expansion to see how it effects gameplay before they buy it for themselves. And still others look to reviews online. Many reviewers get advanced copies and though you might not agree with their opinion, you can usually get a good sense of what it may or may not do for the base game before you get it. One such review site that I always suggest is Dicetower.com. Lot's of content and a great youtube channel to boot.
And what am I looking forward to? (in order of release date)
It’s that time of year again. Those days where you reflect on New Year’s resolutions that you’ve already long forgotten. Maybe you simply shrug your shoulders at some. Maybe you actually feel a little disappointed in yourself. Some probably even warrant laughing at yourself, “How could you possibly be so silly as to think you could…” On the other hand, some aren’t (or shouldn’t) be cast off so easily.
Many Christians resolve to read their Bibles more. Many only follow through for a short time, and then “life” gets in the way, or at least that’s the excuse we use. But I would contend that this spiritual discipline is one that should be hard pressed for. Be sacrifical with your time. Make the effort to actually move forward and read God’s Word.
Allow me to issue you a challenge. At the date of this post (February 3rd) there are 76 days until Easter and there are 27 books in the New Testament. Try reading the entire New Testament before Easter Sunday. This might be a change for many of you who may only read 3 or 4 chapters during the occasional sitting. Coincidentally, there are 260 chapters in the New Testament making for a daily regimen of 3.5 chapters a day for the next 76 days, but that’s not what I’m suggesting in this post. Read on faithful reader…
My challenge to you is to read whole books of the New Testament in a single sitting. I understand this flies in the face of many Bible study advocates and I can already hear their laments, “How much will you be missing if you read that much at one sitting?” And my rebuttal is two fold. While certainly, this isn’t how you would always want to study the Word, 1) I would argue that most people, who aren’t especially apt to read more than 3 or 4 chapters a day, when they actually sit down long enough for some quiet time, can hardly remember what happened in chapter 2 of a book like Acts, and how it may or may not impact the events they read in chapter 28 a week and a half later. This leads me to my second fold… 2) Reading whole books in one sitting can illuminate familiar material in new ways. Books, that we’ve studied in the past with small groups or through some sermon series that took months, take on a whole new light and perspective when we can read them beginning to end (as they were intended to be read). Themes and important points come to the surface that may have eluded us, even through prior meticulous study.
I hope to encourage you to actually follow through with this, but I do have some closing tips/suggestions/whatevers to make your time not only easier to manage, but also help it be more than just checking off a box.
A) Read in a version that is easy to read, but that isn’t your "normal" version. This way it forces you to actually read what is there and the language itself will be new. I would suggest the NIV or ESV. If you already use both of those, try the NASB.
B) I know I am talking about reading whole books in one sitting, but longer books are long. Don’t feel bad about splitting up the reading some, but don’t take longer than 3 sittings with any one particular book.
C) As good as a study of reading one gospel after another can be, this probably isn’t the time for that challenge. My suggestion would be to read a gospel and then read 3 or 4 other books before going on to another gospel, just so you don’t feel like you’ve read the same thing over and over.
D) Take the extra time to think of the answers to these following questions on a grand scale (Maybe meditate on them throughout your day)
Try reading Colossians followed by Philemon today. How are they related? Hint: it has to do with the people. How does a better understanding of Colossians inform how you read Philemon?
My family and I are unashamed Phineas and Ferb fans. And I am always partial to the Heinz Doofenshmirtz storyline. Maybe it is his whimsical style of trying to take over the world or maybe there is some evil scientist element within me that is always trying to think of ways to take over something. I've even already have plans for a costume complete with a working "-inator" for this year whenever the need arises. Anyway, below is a series of Facebook posts that started off simply enough, but escalated quickly. Why post these here? Just because it was too silly and sometimes I crack myself up (even if I am the only one in the room).
Feeling very Heinz Doofenshmirtz-y this morning. ***sits down to draw up plans for a Squidgeemcdiggit-inator
Ahh Perry the Platypus... What a remarkable entrance. And by that I mean totally MARKABLE! See, I thought you would land here as you crashed through the sliding glass door. Look, I even drew in your fancy 3 point stance. And now I have you in my traaAAaap.
BEHOLD!!! My Squidgeemcdiggit-inator! You see Perry the Platypus, just the other day I was talking with this grocery bagger guy at the check out line. You know the type... plays tetris with your groceries to get them in the bags, but this guy isn't very good at it and only puts like 3 things in each bag and tries to make up for it by being overtly friendly and talkative in hopes that you won't notice. Well, he was using these 5 dollar words, when a 10 cent word would do. You know, words that sound like real words but no one knows what they are... Like they got that Word-a-day calendar for Christmas and have been memorizing it since then so they would sound more intelligent than they really are. I hate those guys! So I created THIS... The Squidgeemcdiggit-Inator! It causes people to make up words and use them over and over in conversation! Soon everyone will be using words that no one will understand, and in the ensuing communication break down and chaos I will take over the Northern Virginia, DC, Maryland AREA! It's sort of like the tri-state area, but only larger.
And now my semi-aquatic egg laying mammal of action friend, I only need to point the Squidgeemcdiggit-inator out of sliding glass door, you so conveniently broke on your way in. Seriously, next time just knock or something. And then I pull this lever and I will shoot green bolts of linguistic confoundity all over the place AND the internet. Social media will be agasp with all the confusing words from people during the day!
***points the Squidgeemcdiggit-inator out the sliding glass door.
AND NOW, I will just put this on an automatic random firing pattern...
PEW PEW PEW...
and now Perry the Platypus, I am off to the dentist. Good oral hygiene is an essential quality of a tyrannical ruler. And I need a haircut. You can never go too far with personal grooming. Have fun trying to escape from that elaborate necktie trap I have you ensconced within.
***leaves the room
Oh, hello Perry the Platypus. I forgot you were even here. I see you are still stuck in those neckties. That one is particularly obnoxious. It's the Eldritch Knot. I don't know what connection it has with H.P. Lovecraft, but it makes you look like Cthuhlu with your fingers all stuck around your chin like that.
***PEW PEW PEW out the broke glass door.
AHh, I see that my Squidgeemcdiggit-inator is still functioning properly.
***An android steps into the room
What is it Virgil? ...
No, you may not invite your squidgeemcdiggit robot cousin Norm over.
No, I don't care if he needs your technique of making Cheeseballs.
What do you mean he is on the phone? Just tell him then!
NO NO He can't come over.
Tell him to tell Heinz I say, "Hello, and that I love that Youtube thing he's been doing.
Perry, do you need to tell Heinz anything?
Is that noise even a word? OH WAIT A SECOND... has my -inator worked on you too??? MUAHAHAHAHAHA
***PEW PEW PEW
Hey Perry the Platypus, it's really cold outside. How about I make us some nice warm macaroni and cheese? Perry the Platypus? Hey... Where did you g-
***WHACK, PUNCH, KICK
Hey cut that out... OW! Stop that!
***Doobie Doobie Doo Ba Doobie Doobie Doo
Seriously! OW. Your foot is in my face!
***A thrown fedora sails through the air
NONONO Not the self destruct button!
Curse you Perry the Platypus!
There you have it... if you've read this far and are wondering who is this guy, read some of the other posts to get a better picture. A more serious post is on it's way; I just wanted to share this one while the giggles were still in the air.
I knew it had been a while, but man, those months went by quick.
Anyway, being in a new year and all, I was simultaneously cleaning up some files, making lists, envisioning the upcoming year, and I stumbled upon a blog post I never finished that sort of coincided with my planning for the new year.
"My wife and I are reading A.W. Tozer's Pursuit of God and it's got me thinking about how we approach Bible study. He really tries to get the reader to think beyond simply having a correct understanding of God and move to a place of deeper driving desire to be closer in relationship with Him. This prompts me to adjust how I tend to teach in Bible study. 4 questions to 5..."
Poorly written, I know (that's why it stayed in the draft folder so long) but it still resonates with me. See, I am encouraging the church I pastor and my family and friends to read the New Testament by Easter. Not really a tremendous feat of academia by any stretch of the imagination, but you would be surprised how many evangelical, Bible toting Christians out there have never read the New Testament to completion (let alone the whole Bible). Along with directing them towards this goal, I am sure to mention to let The Holy Spirit enlighten the reading, and I also usually give 4 questions to help facilitate the study of The Word to help those who merely read it and move on with their day.
1) What did I learn about God from the passage, 2) What did I learn about man or myself, 3) Is there a sin to avoid, and 4) Is there a commandment to follow. These questions help guide the reading into a thoughtful inquiring time that is sure to help enrich time spent with The Lord; though in retrospect they are quite antiseptic, clinical, admittedly... a little dry. I still stand by them though and encourage you to ask these same questions during your time in God's Word. But I think, thanks to Tozer, I will start adding a 5th question.
5) How does God expect your relationship with Him to flourish because of these verses?
This, I think, should be a natural expectation even before we open the pages and set our eyes on the first words. That we are excited at the possibility of an ever deepening trust, understanding, love, reverence, etc. due to the time we are spending with Him. I know that this last bit is worded awkwardly, but how can you put your finger on what an all powerful God can do? It will be a different kind of excitement for different people at different times. The point is, that a byproduct of our time spent with God should be a desire for deeper commitment toward Him in whatever way The Spirit directs us.
May 2014 bring you exponentially closer to Him who created and redeemed you. Read your Bible. Try getting the whole story of Christ in before Easter. His Birth, His Early Church, and His Return.
Luke 10:41-42 But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
Lately, I've been playing and acquiring lots of board games and giving suggestions to friends and family about what to play. With the holidays just around the corner, you may be thinking of getting a game for someone and maybe you vaguely remember me mentioning something on some post. Well, I thought I would give you my top 10 games right here for you to find easily. If you click on the picture, it will take you to the Amazon page for that game. Let's just jump right in to it.
And Now... for the Top 5!
Really quick, I should say that as I was compiling my list, I noticed something in common with my top 5 games which is a personal preference of mine. They all have a dynamic where the board game is out to beat the players. This typically shines through in cooperative games, which 4 of them are. But even that 5th one has this mechanic in it as well.
Well, here is the final product seconds before the clear coat finish. There 3 things I want to quickly write about to wrap this little tutorial up. First is "washing," and it's not what you think. Using a very watery black paint, apply over all places that have little cracks and crevasses, sort of like the spaceship and Dexter in this case. Now, I am the first to admit that I am not good at this step. I tend to not put enough pigment on, but this is an important step. If nothing else, but to give a little bit of realism to the pieces. Find a video on this technique on Youtube to see what I am talking about.
Secondly, finishing your figures with a clear coat spray will protect the paint for years to come (as long as they are handled normally, and not given to your cat as a plaything). Like the ongoing rule of thumb, several light coats and don't let it puddle. Now there is some debate as to gloss or semi-gloss. I am a gloss fan, but have used both with good results, so my recommendation, pick one and give it a whirl. Maybe even try it out on that test figure that someone commented about back in the first post.
Lastly, wait for the clear coat to dry before you dismount them from the poster tack and nail. Once you do, scrape off the bottom of any excess paint and primer with a utility knife. I do this to help ensure that no paint gets on my game boards (where it is almost impossible to get off).
That's it! I hope you've enjoyed this little walk through! Again, let me encourage you... for around $10, you too can give a whirl at painting a figure or three! It's a lot easier than you might expect and has a very calming effect... ***twitch, twitch, twitch
Have a look at my set up. The toothpicks are to get paint out of their little pots and on to the old Christmas Cookie lid which I use as a pallet (the container itself is great for paint storage). Notice the abundant amount of brushes on hand, a small thing of water and a paper towel. Alvin and Dexter stand ready for their first coats of paint. Now remember, a little paint goes a long way. I usually take out no more than a dime sized amount from the pot and put it on my pallet. This helps with a few things. The paint doesn't dry out inside the pot while I'm working with it. I don't accidentally put the wrong color into another pot. It allows for good color mixing, and if I mess up the color mix, I haven't messed up a whole bunch of paint.
The next general rule of thumb is to work from the innermost parts to the outer most. So taken in this order: skin then clothes then armor then vehicles they are in, etc. In this case we need to start with the buildings, since both the alien and the monster have the buildings IN their clutches.
Here you can see why it is important to work from the inside out. Getting to the clock tower portion of the building means working through Dexter's nether regions! If I were to have painted him first (like I wanted to) I would probably have gotten paint on or scraped paint off of that inner thigh of his in an attempt to paint the building. This is why it is also important to get comfortable tilting and spinning the figure to get the best angles for your brush. This will also show certain areas that you may have missed or forgotten about. Ideally, you want as much light as possible to help with that. Sometimes I even resort to using my phone's flashlight app to illuminate things in tough to see places.
As you can see here, using black primer does have some disadvantages. It does add shadow and depth, but it also means needing to paint lighter colors a few times to get the color right. And the same rule with primer applies here. Several thin coats are always better than one thick one- this will keep the detail intact. Let me also take this moment to talk about something I didn't photograph. Inevitably you will have some stray paint get somewhere you've already painted (say like red paint of your roof onto the yellow paint of the walls). The best way I have found to fix this is to not panic, but quickly grab one of those spare brushes, preferably a short tight brush, load it with water and then gently scrub the offending paint off. Don't scrub too hard, or you are liable to take off the paint under it that you want to keep. If you do it right, it will almost seem like the wayward paint is attracted to that new brush like a magnet.
Alvin is well on his way. I have used some middle and highlight tones for that cloud underneath his ship, that you will see better tomorrow. Don't be afraid to mix paints and come up with unique colors. They still teach it in to little kids. You can do it too. Here you can see that I have moved to a better lit place in my home to see if that I have in fact gotten the results on that cloud that I wanted. You can also see that "inner most to outer most" rule again. The alien was painted before the ship because he was inside it. And the gun was done before that because it was IN his clutches.
As you paint, details may pop up out of nowhere (no matter how much you look for them). I discovered the tops of the gun handles as I painted over them with green to paint his hands. So, no big deal... just go back and get the color of the gun and put a quick dab to cover up that green. Presto! Great detail shines through with a steady hand.
Tomorrow, we will go over doing a wash and the last few steps before these pieces are ready to be used in game! Part 3 Here
I'm about half way finished painting the 205 pieces for War of the Ring and I thought it would be good for me to quickly paint something else over the weekend. I also wanted to take the opportunity to encourage you out there, Mr. or Mrs. Neverpaintedanythingbeforeandkindofscaredtotry, that for very little investment ($10 or so), you can probably pull off something pretty good. Pictured above are Alvin and Dexter, an expansion well worth getting for the game Ticket to Ride. Here you see them how they come... interesting, but blah. This is where the list of STUFF you will need, comes in. For the beginner I suggest, a shoe box (used for storage and as a workbench), several nails with flat heads on them, some poster tack stuff that you used as a kid (sort of like thick silly puddy found in the tape and glue isle), a can of primer (though I'm partial to Krylon Camouflage Black, as long as it is flat black it should work fine), a cheap craft acryilic paint set, some small beginner brushes (the smaller the better), and a can of clear gloss lacquer.
Now follow along- board game piece is smashed carefully into a small wad of poster tack (preferably completely under the base of the piece) which is mashed on top of nail head with the nail pushed through the shoe box top. Once you have all your pieces mounted like this (as pictured above), check the humidity outside! Anything over 65% is too humid. Once the weather is nice and dry, take the box top with the mounted figures and head outside with your primer. The box top acts not only as a holder for the pieces, but also as a shield for your hand as you pitch and move the whole thing to get at hard to spray places.
Once you are nowhere near a vehicle, the house, the dog, or cement, CHECK FOR THE BREEZE! You don't want to be covered with this stuff either. Toss a few blades of grass into the air and stand upwind. Now the golden rule to priming: spraying several thin coats is always better than just pouring it on. If it begins to look wet, just get your finger off the trigger for a few seconds. Too much too fast, and you will lose details. Here you see Alvin and Dexter with their first coat. And you can still see the details of the buildings and such. Make sure to get into sneaky areas like mouths, spaceship seats, tunnels, in between legs, etc. Keep doing this while twisting and turning the nails from under the box top to get better angles, until the pieces are completely coated.
Here we are back inside after 3, maybe 4, thin coats. You can see the rivets on the spaceship still, and though my photo doesn't show it very well, the scaly skin is still crisp and full of detail. You probably could start painting in about 15-30 minutes, but a tip I have for you is to wait overnight. This will give it a chance to completely dry and give you a chance to figure out things like color schemes and finding tricky spots to remember to paint (like deep inside the mouth of Dexter).
Next time, Painting! Part 2 Here!