Cats in Tanks…That Would Be THE Game For Us

The point of reading rules is to one day play the game, right? I certainly hope so because over the past week I have been reading a lot of rules. Since cleaning the library/office/gameroom and sorting the games into Go, Keep, and We’ve Never Played This Piles someone has to read the rules for Never Played This Pile. That someone is me.

Plus, I have other games that we do play that have rules that need to get read. One of my roles around here is teacher of games. Teacher of games comes with the lofty sub-roles of researcher of games, purchaser of games, piler of gamers, and eventually teacher of games. I take these roles semi-seriously.

Researcher of Games is the most fun. Taking into account the likes and dislikes of each family member, such as our girl loves games with tanks, but hates games where she has to build the pieces, I know I can be relatively certain if the game has tanks that I or our boy won’t mind building she will enjoy the game. Another factor, current interests around the house, for whatever reason around here diseases that wipe out humanity or humanity is attempting to wipe out is a current trend, perhaps having a pharmacist in the house pimping flu shots has something do with that. Cats or cute animals are also always possible. Thus, the day I find a game with cats driving easy to assemble tanks our girl and everyone else will be very happy indeed.

Other factors during researching games, replayability. How many times will we play a game before the game ends up on the shelf, is an important consideration. Unfortunately, other than legacy games which have a built in number of games, determining replayability is a crap shoot, aided by free rules online (if available), reviews, and years of experience. Suffice to say even with everything inline there are games that looked great for us and were total crap.

Purchaser of Games is the most serious role. Games are expensive.  I try to avoid paying full price if possible. You should to. Maybe one day games will come down in price to make them not only affordable but desirable to purchase. As it is, shopping around is a must.

What do I do with games when they arrive home? Toss them into a pile. Not the best method, explaining how we have a large pile of games that we have Never Played. Something we are working on.

Teacher of Games, I read the rules, I break out the pieces, and I teach the games to the family. Most of the time I enjoy the role. After reading the rules I generally want to teach the game to others. Lately though I am attempting to get the children to learn the rules and teach them to us. This is important to being a good gamer. Good gamers can teach games to other people, spreading the joy of playing games to others.

All of which leads me to where I started, I have read the rules to six games, mostly disease related and mostly with similar rules, and I am hoping that we play them before I catch the flu…guess that pharmacist has more influence on games than I thought. 🙂



Sometimes Parenting Sucks

My son has a shitty attitude towards work.

I know he is a pre-teen, boy, whateverhisgenerationiscalled, and I am his parent, old, male, and whatevermygenerationiscalled.

Those labels do not change the fact that his attitude towards work of any kind is shitty, horrible, abysmal, and any other adjectives that describe a less than ideal state.

Among the many things I have tried to instill in both of our children, having a work ethic is one of them; near the top but not at the top of the list. I want them to understand and embraces that when there is work to do you do the work to the best of your abilities and then you play.

“I hate work.”

“I don’t see the point in doing (insert job) because it will just (insert words for return to current state).”

This attitude among many other fun sentences uttered by our boy covers anything. I mean anything…

  • he enjoys painting but when he thinks of painting as work, “Screw this.”
  • he says he enjoys playing the trombone, something he has not done all summer, “It’s work.”
  • he says he enjoys creating games, but when asked to write down the rules for all us, “Ugh, I hate writing.”
  • put away his clothes, “Why they’ll just end up in the laundry again.” He said this where Barb heard, suffice to say he won’t ever say that out loud again.
  • fold towels, dry the dishes (he doesn’t wash that is our girl’s job), clean up anything, and so on.

I know, this is a phase. He will grow out of it.

What if he doesn’t?

Seriously ponder that.

What if he does not grow out of this shitty work ethic?

That more than anything else is what causes me concern. I know people my age who have shitty similar to our boy’s work ethic and you know what they do? Nothing important, nothing interesting, nothing that provides them with a living, and sure as hell nothing that makes them happy.

I’d like for him to avoid the fate of working in a party store for the rest of his life. He won’t work in fast food because if you have ever worked fast food there is work involved and lots people yelling at you because you are not doing your work. It’s crappy food people you can wait a minute…no you cannot, thus if this attitude keeps up he will not be in fast food. He will be that person behind the register at every party store who could care less about what you want as long as you go away and don’t make him push buttons or bag your shit.

There is time. There are plenty of positive examples around him. I keep the people with equally shitty work ethic away from the children. Crossing my fingers that many years from now I am writing a blog about how both of our children are doing great things or at least things that make them happy and not about how I brought fried chicken to the one child in jail made by the other child at the party store.

Parenting sucks sometimes.

You Don’t Know What Its Like To Not Want To Work

I have a work ethic.

I was raised with the understanding that work came first, then play. If there is work to do you do the work to the best of your ability. Then you play.

Over the years I have relaxed a bit on that, sometimes work can wait.

However, when there is work I do the work to the best of my abilities and I expect those around me to do the same. I do not tolerate sloppy work, fast work, lazy work, or no work.

I will teach, I will demonstrate, I will show, and I will answer questions about the work I ask people to do.

So where is this going?

As a stay at home parent, I no longer see the necessity for distinction between stay at home mom or dad you are a parent, I have a lot of work to do. I do not get paid for the work I do, nor do I complain about the work that I do. I do the work. When there is group work around here I ask for volunteers and then I expect them do to the work without me having to constantly monitor their progress.

Recently, I tried to get the children to not only clean up their room but to donate to Good Will the toys and such that they no longer play with, no longer want, or feel they are too old for. I wanted them to get a sense of giving. I also wanted a clean room and further, they are getting to ages where the toys they have take up more space and need more care, thus time to turn into the next stage towards adultswhohavehobbies.

I asked the children to fill up totes with toys and such for donation. To put trash in a trash bag and for each filled tote they would get $20. I know, how is that giving if I am paying them. They are a bit too young to totally get the giving without getting something and the money they made went into savings. Win Win in my book.

What happened has turned into an epic meantwelldisaster. The first three totes were a combination of toys and garbage. We spent six hours sorting through all three totes to get down to one tote of donation and five bags of garbage. Suffice to say there were words said, tears shed, and the parents (us) who thought they were doing a good thing in the long term, got to see how the children really took care of their stuff and thought about their stuff. It was not a pretty picture.

Frustrated, I turned clean and donate into a larger clean and donate project with daily goals and lots of sorting. Now I walk them through what is donatable, talk to the about the state of the toys I find, and am trying to re-teach them how to take care of their stuff and why they should. To show them that I am not making them do something I would not, I too have been taking stuff of mine to Good Will and other places that will find new homes for toys.

After two days of non-stop work, our eldest comes out in a huff and yells the title of this blog at me. I replied without hesitation, “No I do not know what it is like to not want to work, because I have for longer than you have been around had to work for one reason or another and since you and your sister were born had to work harder than I thought possible, even now talking to you I am working because you need to learn what it means to have a work ethic, to take pride in ALL of your work, and to stop thinking that the world or anyone else owes you time off. You have a very good life, we have worked hard to ensure that you have a better life than ours, and that you and your sister have treated your stuff with such disrespect and now are telling me that I do not understand your position only tells me that I have more work to do.”

He left in a huff, but came back with three full totes, without trash mixed into them. Work never ends, at least for me it doesn’t.

We’re Not Lost, Just Misplaced

I made a right instead of a left. I figured out my mistake well past the turn around and fix it stage. More around the “This doesn’t look familiar” and odd I don’t remember that many Amish buggies on the road anywhere near us.

Getting misplaced used to be a big deal for me. Now not so much and not because I have access to a map, but because

A.) I have misplaced myself entire states

B.) I have been misplaced enough that I enjoy the new scenery

C.) The kids were in the car and I thought this would be a good time to teach them some skills I never learned as a child

And that is what this post is about, skills to start teaching your children now before you get misplaced.

  1. Teach your children how to operate your phone. Sure you may think they know and they may say they know, teach them and make sure. Having a child who can operate the phone is a plus when misplaced.
  2. Teach your children how to work the map ap. Teach them how to input information. Teach them how to read the map. Teach them how to relay information, such as miles to next turn, name of next road, and other information that is infinitely useful and a pain in the ass to try to read while driving.
  3. Teach your children that getting lost is not a big deal. However, also teach your children how to be prepared just in case you get lost.
  4. Teach your children landmarks that they can easily recognize and remember. Nothing makes a misplaced person feel better then seeing something familiar on a route home.
  5. Teach your children to keep a look out for useful information, such as hospitals or churches or police departments. These places can give directions and if they cannot they have access to phones.

Those are the five things I learned this misplaced adventure. Once they realized that we were not truly lost nor stranded they started to enjoy the new scenery around us and even found us passing through Altona a second time funny. Seems that if I had kept going through Altona we would have gotten where we needed. I didn’t know that at the time because there was, no IS, no internet out in the boonies of Michigan.

Now I have two children who can assist me or another adult the next time we or they become misplaced.

Armageddon Sick Warhammer Pre-Work

Today is Saturday, I did not have to check my phone. Thus I am getting better. In fact I would like to say I refuse to acknowledge that I am indeed sick, but the body racking coughs and sinus pressure remind me by the minute that I am indeed sick. However, I refuse to lie in bed any more. Two days was more than enough for me.

The upside to this attitude, I am doing things. The downside, plenty of naps. Sick sucks.

Normally, I would be writing about the games we played, as you may have guessed sick means no games. Sorry. We are bummed too. That being said I have read the rules to Shadow War Armageddon, the successor to Necromunda.

Warhammer 40k has a problem, to much pre-work to do to play. Yes, I am aware that you can play right out of the box; just spend a few hours assembling figures, reading the rules, and play on a flat tabletop. If you have ever played Warhammer 40k then you know how boring this is and how disinterested people get; not everyone wants to play space marines or orks or chaos or whatever other race is facing off against space marines.

To get people interested and keep their interest they need to see what a game can be, that means pre-work. In our case and I will guess most gaming groups case, one person learns the rules to teach the others, assembles and paints miniatures for two sides to fight, and assembles and paints some terrain to fight over. Hopefully, and in our case it worked, everyone gets interested.

Great now everyone in interested…except…that’s right they don’t have their own pieces. If you are lucky, and we got lucky twice, people want to use the starter armies, I happen to like space marines and our boy likes orks. While everyone else is looking for their armies there is teaching them how to assemble with a minimal amount of injury and paint their armies. This is work. The job is to make it not feel like work, too many people abandon Warhammeresque games due to the work. Thankfully, I seem to hit the right mark as everyone is still working on their armies.

However, while they are assembling and painting they are not playing. What to do? Find games that allow them to use smaller groups of figures to play while they work on their armies. Kill Team was supposed to be the first attempt, but most people were still figuring out what they wanted to play.

Thankfully, at the right moment, Shadow War Armageddon came along. Using three to ten figures (on average) everyone can play a game that uses figures from their army, thus maintaining interest in 40k. Now this is where getting sick comes in, the plan was to start playing this weekend…I’m sick no games (I do not infect friends and family if I can avoid it).

So while I recuperate, they build their Shadow War Kill Teams, which they can use in their Warhammer 40k armies. Lots of pre-work, but when the work is done the fun looks and plays great.

Games We Play: Tokaido & Teaching Warhammer 40k

Day two of weekend of gaming was fun! Only two games, but they were as I said previously, fun. Both games are new to the majority of people playing, making yesterday a teaching gaming day. Those are always fun and fraught with the tension of teaching a game to catch interest and not overwhelming new players so they give up. This is more important with games like Warhammer 40k that has volumes and years of rules. I think I did well, today people are painting their armies. 🙂


Should be a relaxing game. Should be. Unfortunately, Tokaido can and for us did, become rather cutthroat. I mention this upfront because a lot of people, including us, like Tokaido, but they fail to mention that games can turn cutthroat competitive in a heartbeat.

The premise is simple, you are a traveler walking from one end of Japan to the other. Along the way you have to stop at inns for rest and food. Other than that the only other things you have to do is stop at various points between inns, no die rolling, the choice is yours. Stop at a village to shop, a farm for money, visit with some people on the road, hit the hot springs, pay your respects at the temple, or stop to paint. Task completion is easy, draw a card and collect the reward or pay money to purchase one or more cards drawn.

The kicker, movement is always forward, there are only so many spots at each stop, and the player last on the road is the first to move. Here is the cutthroat aspect, if you and another player are attempting the same thing, such as finish a multi-panel painting first, blocking them requires a bit of planning. With less than four players this should not be much of an issue, with five, at one point or another, especially at the end of the game blocking became as much of a strategy as picking spots beneficial to the player.

Even with the potential for cutthroat play, Tokaido is a game I highly recommend for families. Our kids liked playing a lot, the adults enjoyed playing with the kids, and after the first inn stop everyone should know the rules. Really that simple.

Warhammer 40k

Warhammer 40k is a complex game, not a game I recommend for anyone without them playing a game or two with someone else’s pieces, and the understanding that Warhammer 40k is a very upfront heavy investment of money and time. Catch that?

For our family, 40k is a great game the children are learning:

  • patience
  • painting, a whole set of skills
  • math
  • planning, short and long term
  • risk versus reward
  • and so much more…

The problem for us, other than the lack of gaming for two weeks, only one of us (me) really knows the rules. Unlike many games where one person can know the rules, 40k is best when everyone understands the basic rules, some of the advanced rules, and ALL of the rules of their army. Yes, three sets of rules (see why I don’t recommend this for everyone?).

The goal, to teach everyone including me the basic rules. When stripped down, 40k rules are easy to learn, the big problem for me is the stats, every miniature and every weapon a miniature holds has a stat line, think 4 to 8 numbers and associated use, such as WS for weapon skill how well the miniature is at hitting other miniatures with their fist or weapon in fist or I for initiative used during melee combat or AP for armor piercing, how well a weapon penetrates (negates) armor.

Suffice to say, for me the entire stat thing should be boiled down into something more intuitive and easier, however until I come up with that system or they do we use what we have. The solution to teaching everyone how to play, everyone gets the same people with the same stats. That way they can focus on learning how to move and how to attack.

Here is what I learned, painted miniatures are much cooler to everyone, same with terrain. We had a lot of gray on the field of play. Choosing the same miniatures for everyone while “boring” allowed them to focus on learning and asking questions. Also allowed me to insert knowledge for later use, such as different types of troops and weapon choices. Everyone needs to wear comfy shoes, there is a lot standing around the table, and/or more breaks. I know games will speed up as everyone learns the game, but for a while comfy shoes. Based one everyone working on their army this morning, I think the first learning game went well.





500 And 1 Words At A Time: How Painting & Writing Are NOT Similar

Not so long ago, in historical not blogging terms, I wrote about how, for me, painting miniatures and writing are similar. Then I spent a lot of time demonstrating that using Puddles and Whiskers, recently finishing the Wash and Dry Brush phase of writing.

This weekend, as my paint covered fingers can attest to was spent painting miniatures and playing games. And as this weekend moved along, even though I was avoiding actively writing (not that it stopped me from writing), I kept seeing where writing and painting are similar and dissimilar.

Similar was obvious to me, the unpainted miniature the idea, the base coat the initial draft, the first layers the rough drafts, washes and dry brushes the edits and revisions, and finally the detail work or finishing the story. Sure there are missing details from that list, such as the trimming and assembly which come at various stages of working a miniature, which is at time analogous to editing and assembling the story.

So how are they dissimilar? Injury comes to mind first and foremost.

However, as exciting as injury sounds, teaching was the biggest area. Our boy and girl both like playing miniature games. I however, am tired of assembling and painting their miniatures. To me part of playing a game like Warhammer 40k is investing in the game. There are not too many games where you invest more than money; they invest time, reading, math, creativity, organization, and more. I want them to get invested. Thus, I am trying to teach them how to assemble, paint, and take care of their miniatures.

I have found teaching writing is easier than teaching painting. Why? Mainly because I do not have to teach how to write from scratch. Schools teach basic writing, language, spelling, and the rest. When people come to me to learn, what they want is guidance and assurance. Later comes wanting editing. 🙂 Same thing with our kids, the school is doing the majority of the work, I encourage, read their works, encourage some more, and guide them until they move on to another story.

School is not teaching the basics of painting. I have to teach them how to hold a miniature to minimize skin oil contact or to avoid rubbing paint off or reach a difficult angle with a brush. I have to teach them how to use a brush, dip the tip, not dunk the whole brush. Brush strokes to create thin layers of paint to keep not obscure details. Recognizing details on a miniature. Choosing colors. Applying washes. Dry brushing. And the concept that like writing, a miniature is only finished when you say so, but at anytime you can go back.

As part of teaching, comes injury and mess. Mess is easy to deal with, spilled paint cleans up, even when the accident is half a pot of brown wash on a yellow shirt or painting a miniature on the table and over brushing leaving a clean spot on the table when the miniature is moved. Injury is less easy to deal with.

Thankfully, super glue only bonds skin for a short bit, speaking of which teaching them how to safely use super glue and xacto knives is a must. The first time it happens is disconcerting for them, but they realize that super glued skin does not hurt and fixing the issue does not hurt, just takes time. Cutting one-self with an xacto is a whole other lesson.

I told them both that cutting themselves with an xacto would happen and it would not hurt as long as the blade was sharp and I keep sharp blades. They did not believe me or Barb, they listened to my injury stories and ignore them. Yesterday, our boy sliced a finger open good. Instead of freaking out, he calmly announced he cut his finger, took it to the bathroom where we bandaged the cut up, and he commented that like I said, it happened and did not hurt.