Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mega-Player Heroica

The other day, we had a six-player epic Heroica match, combining three different play-sets. It was a very interesting experience, especially considering that 50% of the players were children (aged 12, 9, and 7). One of the rules in Heroica state that if you land on a square already occupied by another player, you just jump one vacant spot ahead. This made traveling much quicker than usual, because many of us were moving in the same direction and this turned some 4-step paces into 5 or 6. I played Hudge, my barbarian, and I actually won the game. (I think my husband was mildly relieved - the boys in the group would have bragged and boasted for hours if they were triumphant.) The photo below is of my Hudge with all his trophies - he killed a lot of monsters! Hudge wore a "hat' to distinguish him from the other barbarian in the game.

It was fascinating to see the different ways we all approached the game. My husband read out the rules to everyone and he was continually interrupted by our youngest two players who either tried to explain or contradict the procedures before hearing them. Since the boys were either a) precisely right or b) completely wrong and misguided with their predictions, it was a good thing we reviewed and agreed on a single set of guidelines. You can read my husband's recollection of this game here on his blog.

The Monster in the Hall - 1980s Invented Games

I'd like to thank my daughter for posting yesterday. I'll try and encourage her to write on this blog more often, as I like how she crafts a good story. We had a little discussion about what counts as appropriate content for our "Family Gaming" blog and I think I convinced her that it can be more than just video games or board games. Unlike Mary, I have a very poor memory and I don't recall the incident with the vampire/pirate game that she described. However, I do remember a game my own mother used to play with my siblings and me when we were kids.

I don't know if it ever had a specific title (and I didn't know if I've written about this prior to today - if I have, bear with me), but for today's descriptive purpose, I'll call it "The Monster in the Hall". My mom would close all the doors to the bedrooms and bathrooms (which were accessible by a single hall) and hide in one of the rooms. My sister, brother, and I would have to walk down the hall quietly without disturbing the monster hiding within. If she heard us, she'd burst out of the room and chase us to the living room. The couch was "home free". The added thrill/fright with this game was that my mom had dentures at a relatively early age and she'd remove her false teeth when she played the monster and would pretend to bite us if she caught us before we made it to the security of the chesterfield. I remember being scared out of my wits and simultaneously delighted with the game. My mother turns 75 years old this December and is still full of vim and vigor. I'll have to ask her if she remembers this game.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

"I Am A Pirate"

(Hi, this is Mary. This is my first post, or the first post I've directly written myself.)

 Earlier today, I was reminded of something from years ago, that I hadn't thought about in ages.
 Daddy and I were having a conversation about movies, which then for some reason, lead to talking about the Movie "The Mouse And The Motorcycle." I used to love that movie as a young child.
 Since I have such a sharp memory, I had a very vivid flashback to the scene I was talking about. It was late at night. We were at Grandma M's house. I was upstairs with Mommy and Peter, getting ready for bed. I was probably seven at the time, since that was the last time I visited Baltimore. I was looking at some old books Grandma had lying around, including the original "The Mouse and The Motorcycle" books.
 Meanwhile, Mom and Peter were playing a game called "I am a Vampire" that they made up on the spot. One person played the Vampire, respectively the "It", who would try to catch all the non-vampires, while yelling "I am a Vampire and I'm going to suck your blood." Whoever the vampire caught had to become the new vampire.
 One thing that made me laugh was Peter. Whenever Peter was "It", he would follow all the rules of the game. But when he had to say the vampire's main line, his mangled baby speech made "I Am A Vampire" become "I Am A Pirate".
 I could understand how "vampire" for him could become "pirate". They're both antagonistic characters with the "pire" sound in their name.
 This rememberance made Daddy laugh and my brother embarassed.
 This is what happens in conversations at the Maliszewski house.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Don't Open That Envelope!

Tonight, five of us played Risk Legacy. Another work friend (the one that introduced us to Telestrations) joined our crew. She hadn't played Risk as an adult, so explaining the rules, especially to a complex and ever-changing version like Risk Legacy, left her head spinning. Despite being the neophyte, she won.

Two big events happened in this game. The first was that four nuclear missiles were used in one single battle, which meant that we could open a new envelope. This envelope contained a brand new faction - the mutants! In honour of this epic moment in our Risk Legacy history, my daughter drew a comic depicting the action. My hubby threw the first missile, then our family friend, then my daughter, then our friend again.

The second big event occurred after my work friend won the game. Our family friend (boy, I'm going to need to develop nicknames for these people to keep them all sorted out!) mentioned the "forbidden envelope" that says "do not ever open this envelope". 3 of the 5 current players voted to open the envelope anyway. I won't spoil the surprise, but the contents have significant ramifications for the game play. Risk Legacy for our crew has changed again. It's a brilliant game.

(Oh, and we did play a bit of Telestrations beforehand which had me in stitches - how could I not laugh when the drawing clues go from Diana to Papa Bear to Killer Pig for the same topic?)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Conquering Chaos

A few days ago, my husband and I dropped everything we were doing to watch our children tackle the final boss, Chaos, in their Skylanders game. My son usually barrels through and finishes games in record time (like "Kirby and the Amazing Mirror", which he received April 12 and finished April 13) but he held off attempting this end task for this game for many months. My husband suggested that it was because he was a bit nervous about attempting the goal and he wanted to ensure that all of his Skylander characters were at least at level 8.

Hubby and I enjoyed watching the action. Our kids played pretty aggressively against their foes and we couldn't help but call out certain strategy recommendations and tips. (Maybe my reading of James Paul Gee and his chapter about unlearning techniques when they aren't as successful later on influenced me.) I think it helped. They conquered the big bad guy and won the day. It was nice to have the adults cheering on the kids - it was a family event.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Minecraft Journal Entry #64, 65 & 66

April 6, 2012
Terragrim's Report
Today was mostly spent with our big nosed neighbours, the villagers. It started with updating the 1.2.5 patch. We found out from the helpful Minecraft title screen that the villages were updated. I decided to go and take a look. There I saw that some villagers were in different clothes than usual. We found out this was because villagers had classes now. Priests wore purple, Librarians wore white and Blacksmiths wore aprons.
We even found out that the parents classes affected the baby. Much to Phisa's delight, there were plenty of baby priests running through the streets.

Specialized villagers

Since we spent so much time there, Phisa and i decided that our village should be classed up a bit. No pun intended. As a slight ode to GameChap, we decided our village needs a mayor. So, we were able to fence in a villager with a cobblestone desk and a chest full of gold and jewels. So that people knew who he was, we put up a sign reading "Mayor Testificate's Office"
Testificates was another nod to older minecrafters, who remember when villagers first came out, with the nametag "Testificate" floating above their heads.
The rest of the village was also adorned with signs and other such things. We made signs for the 4 communal corn crops, the church and the blacksmith's. We also made a treasury in the mayor's house.
Finally, we decided to name the town. Due to the large amounts of pigs surronding it, we dubbed the town Pork York.
But that's all for today.

April 7, 2012

Phisagrim's Report (dictated by Phisa, typed by Lira)

We didn't really do much today but we did have a wonderful time. I basically was finishing my chicken race. When I came in, I was shocked that, by surprise, a bunch of random stuff that I didn't expect to be there was there - a chest and a crafting table - I didn't expect there to be one. I also remembered that there were five Ender pearls in there. I remember I gave Praxis some so I'm not entirely sure. The ladder was shaped weirdly. It was shaped like a P. Well, I didn't do this myself, obviously, 'cause we didn't have so much time today. So, I fixed it up a little, put some obstacles, and some of the animals were escaping because SOMEONE put some stairs (not like the ones like you craft, just normal blocks crafted into stairs). I was wondering who would put ladders on steps like that.

Terragrim was in the jungle, looking for Techna's house. She heard she has a treehouse in the jungle.
Liragrim also got a tuxedo cat. Meow! I only got one.  That's it.

Lira's cat Puss - one is just enough

April 8, 2012
Well, we intended on playing for just an hour but played for 2.5 hours instead. This wasn't a big problem because it was a holiday weekend. At first, the Grims were just working on the chicken race arena. Phisagrim coerced us into making a spectator area for the zone. Terragrim had a great idea to use lapis lazuli blocks for the pillars so it would look unique. While we were working, our newest server member, Technascribe, came online. We were excited to meet her. Phisa popped over to tour her elaborate jungle village. It was gorgeous.

Group shot

I have to say it's really nice to have "new blood" on the server. It makes us appreciate all the neat things in the world we created with fresh eyes. Eventually, Praxis came on. We took group photos and wandered around. We were going to defeat a dungeon but Technascribe beat us to the punch. Instead, we decided to monkey around with the PvP Battle zones. There are still some snags because we can't have two simultaneously existing battle zones but once we found everything, it worked relatively well. Once we finish the chicken race, I think our next goal is to build a Rainbow Road between a pair of mountains.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Minecraft Journal Entry #62 & 63

April 1, 2012
Praxis updated the GamingEdus server so we were able to play on version 1.2.4. Terra was recovering from her sleepover (since she didn't go to bed until 5:30 am!) so it was just Phisa and me again. Phisa ensured that all his dogs and cats were happy at his house on the mountain top; he even built chests outside so his cats had places to sit and relax. Phisa wanted to fight more "baddies" to up his level and I wanted to start on my Mount Rushmore project. We decided that finding cocoa beans was too hard and so instead of brown wool, I chose to use black wool. I made a pathway so I could walk along the sheer wall where I was to build. I finished Phisa's face and my face (avatars, of course) and I must say they look pretty good! I drew my matrix plans to calculate the number and colour types I'd need to finish Praxis, Terra, and MissC. It'll look awesome when it's done!

Mount Grim More so far

April 4, 2012

We had a great day on the TDSB server and a great, though trying, night on the Gaming Edus server!

Terra says her time consisted of getting lost in the jungle (boo!) but through her wandering found two more unexplored jungles (yeah!)

Phisa's menagerie of cats and dogs invaded the Rainbow Dye Factory and the feline guests were shredding the beds. We added more beds but by the time I returned, all but one of his cats had vanished from the room.

Bob Barker had a reason for reminding us to spay or neuter!

MissColby, Phisa and I texted lots of references to "the cat came back". Turns out his cats were having a swim in the lake near the factory. Phisa's dogs perished as he crossed the bridge to the jungle (boo!) but his payment for making me all that coloured wool was for me to find him more wolves (yeah!). Two of his sheep escaped but we herded them back inside the Lavender Sheep Farm.

I made several calculation errors on my Mount Gamer project and I had to redo a lot of stuff.
1) I placed the bridge I walk on while working too high up (the faces are 6 blocks high and the bridge hit block level 4) so I had to destroy and reconstruct the bridge.
2) I misread my MissColby face instructions and forgot to order 18 pink blocks for the flesh, so I couldn't finish.
3) I forgot to place one of the other red blocks for Praxis' eyes so I have to destroy a row to add it in.

Getting closer to completion

Oh well, trial and error is the name of the game.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Minecraft Journal Entry #60 & 61

March 30, 2012

Terra will write more later on, because I didn't get to play with them, due to Terra's updated-too-soon laptop.
To be brief: Phisa was very sad because he fell down a large pit and his cats perished with him. He created a memorial for his deceased pets near the site of their demise.

Tree-sized mushrooms Terra made to cheer up Phisa

The memorial

ETA - We never got around to editing this post. 

March 31, 2012

Phisagrim's Report (dictated by Phisa)

In the morning, we were in a cave full of diamonds, gold and iron. We were also trying to find slimes. And there was a success. The slime was captured but of course, eventually, it will despawn. 

The slime, prior to being caught.

Later on, while we were building the path to the jungle, Lira found a bunch of cats in the middle of the path. I realized it was my cats. They hadn't died after I fell over a huge crater. I felt happy. I couldn't have wished anything better than that to happen. So, we continued on. I had all three kind of ocelot forms - my first one was a tabby, the easiest. The second one I got was the rarest - a Siamese. Last was the tuxedo, the one I wanted. It was in between. We thought lava from the ceiling in the big crater was blood but it was just lava.

Evidence of what we thought was blood.

In the afternoon, I found a pink sheep. I did not dye it - it can be found natural but very hard to find. I only found two near the jungle. If you want to find one, look around the jungle. We finished the Cat Centre, a place where you can let your cats stay, safe and sound. 

The Cat Centre with an attentive client.

The reason you would want a cat is to protect you from creepers. We had to catch many of my sheep in my castle to the castle again. Also, I made a wolf puppy. What you do is tame two wolves, then give them two meat, such as chicken, beef, pork chop, and so on, and they go to mate and they make a baby. Even the baby will fight for you. There was a spider jockey on the track to the jungle. It's basically a spider being rode by a skeleton. 

Spider jockey on the bridge to the jungle!

They're difficult to kill but they are still easy. Extremely hard to find, very rare. You can actually upgrade armor with an enchanted bookcase. If you want to find one, look in Liragrim's house, Phisagrim's house, aka me, and somewhere in the safe house. I made it Projectile Protection. All I know is that it decreased how much arrow damage. We also had a snowball / egg fight. We were throwing snowballs and eggs rapidly. We didn't even take cover. I was surprised. Take it away Lira about our idea.

Phisagrim and I were on our own in the late afternoon / evening (because Terragrim was at a birthday party) and we walked to the Trouble House to update our signs and then we traveled to the Dye Factory to start our next project. I want to make a Mount Rushmore monument to the founding members of the Gaming Edus server. Phisa helped me a lot because I don't know how to dye wool. I looked at our skins and drew a map of the colours I needed in the particular ratio. He gave me what I needed from the dye factory, although we do not have any brown wool and he needs more ink sacks to make grey wool. We are looking forward to more adventures. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Betrayal at the House on the Hill

I was super-excited to have a new friend join our weekend board game group. We play Minecraft together online (she's the amazing, incomparable MissColby in Minecraft and @Niecsa on Twitter). She brought a tasty red velvet cake for dessert (yum!) and a new game for us to try: Betrayal at the House on the Hill. Five of us played (my daughter, my husband, our friend D, MissC, and I) and it was a scary fun adventure.

Everyone is a character that is exploring parts of a haunted house. Weird things happen, you roll to see if they damage your physical or mental well-being (there are two stats for physical and two for mental), and at some point all the omens and other cards add up with an unfortunate dice roll to start a haunting. One of the players becomes a villain and two separate books (one for the betrayer and one for the rest of the players) describes what must be done to win. D, our family friend, was murdered by a madman - he then had to play the role of the madman and his legion of zombies. D, as we've insinuated before, is a highly competitive player who shows no mercy; despite this, we nearly won. Our girl was the last one standing. We didn't realize the impact the game would have on her - she actually had a nightmare that evening, poor thing!

Here are some photos taken during the game of the board and pieces.

My character's statistics tracker.

A close up of my character.

My character and her dog. I named him Cujo.

The instructions for how we were to handle the haunting.

Part of the game board, with characters fleeing the zombies.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

More Risk Legacy

Our weekend board game group continues to gather together to play. I was trying out a "new" camera and the macro features are pretty nice. This game was a bit different from the previous rounds. My husband won his first game. Our family friend D describes Risk: Legacy as a "rage machine" because emotions can run high when people play. D himself is very competitive. Our daughter gets into it in a different way and gets upset if she believes that people are "being mean". Thankfully, neither my husband nor I are as fixated. If I were, I'd be devastated at the latest turn of events. My iron grip on Australia was overcome when another player established a major city in Australia/Womania, stopping me from beginning there in the future. (He called it Manhammer - ha, ha.)

Odd item #1 - my daughter didn't start in "her" city!

Odd item #2: my girl used a "take Asia" tactic!

Odd item #3: my husband's army took D's HQ!

Odd item #4: Womania's capital city is now Manhammer!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Minecraft Journal Entry #58 & 59

March 27, 2012

3rd journal? Who would have thought it possible? (ETA: This is the third page on the wiki for my journal.)
It was just Liragrim, Phisagrim and MissColby on tonight because Terragrim was watching our new DVD of Batman: The Brave and the Bold. MissC had visited our house in person and the younger Grims had shown her all the neat things that had been happening on the Gaming Edus server. MissC has been a busy beaver so she had not been on lately, but tonight she tried to rectify that. Her goal was to build a house in the Nether. Phisa and I decided to guard her as she worked and help out when we could. There were a lot of ghast attacks but we defended the fort well. MissC likes to kill the zombie pig men, even though they swarm her when she makes the first strike. We logged off shortly after she did - after all, it was a school night!

MissC fights the zombie pig men in the Nether!

A home-away-from-home in the Nether must have a pool!

Here's my first Fraps video - of Phisagrim's Nether Restaurant!

March 28 2012

Terragrim's Minecraft Report:
Today there was not much to take note of. It was only Phisa and me online. I accidentally clicked "update" and now the Minecraft on my laptop has gone all weird. Lira generously let me use her computer for the night. First, we played around in the Nether, fighting off two large magma cubes and a Ghast. 

Magma cubes get a little feisty!

Then Phisa and I revisited the jungle, in an attempt to find more ocelots. I saw two, but was unable to catch either of them. Phisa did find some jungle saplings and was able to plant them in his tree farm. Though it may not have seemed like much, this adventure really got the wheels turning in my mind. Next time, I plan to build a pathway, like the one to our nature preserve, to the jungle. But that's all for now.

ETA: Here's my second Fraps-made video of Phisa's pet cats. Sorry they weren't able to teleport (although Terra's did).

ETA: I know I already posted these videos on the blog already but I'm re-posting since they happened on this day.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Minecraft Journal Entry #56 & 57

March 17, 2012
Today we continued to work on a lot of our current Minecraft projects. Praxis popped on for a bit to visit and was impressed with what he saw.
I did some research on PvP / Battlenight command codes and actually made the Nether PvP functional. It still has some bugs - I have to figure out if we can have two PvP areas because right now, the only one is the Nether version.It still needs a spectator area.
Phisa convinced Terra to work on the Magma Restaurant. It's a posh dining establishment now, with tables and chairs, a captured Magma in a glass cage for your viewing pleasure, and music piped in to enhance the experience.
We also visited the Lavender Castle and sheep farm. Some wooly guests escaped somehow so we added another room to the massive mansion of dirt.

Sheep mob!

March 21, 2012
Terragrim's Minecraft Report:

Today was possibly one of the most historic days in the history of the Gaming Edus server. It started off with my newest obsession. Since I was content with my NPC village, I decided to go off in search of the jungle biome.
 I simply decided to walk in one direction until I found something. Praxis told us that if you walk to somewhere you've never been, you'll possibly find something patched. So, I went off to Spooky Village to start my search. Or, the ruins of Spooky Village, after a creeper attack. A few houses were harmed in the blow.
 I walked straight behind the Village, towards the nature preserve, and just kept on going. Soon I came across a massive body of water, dotted with the occasional swampy island. I was unable to chat, my hand glued to my "jump" key, to keep me afloat.
 I was nearly sure that there was nothing there but water, until I saw a green, leafy, viney patch of ground. We had finally found our jungle!
 I explored for a while, Lira teleporting to Phisa and me to help our search. We went about 15 minutes without so much as a trace of an ocelot, until Phisa found a speck of yellow in the leaves. Fish in hand, he instantly tamed the creature. When tamed, the cat's fur pattern changed to a cartoony orange stripe. Within the next few minutes, 2 other Garfield like cats joined his party.

Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, eat your heart out!

 I was a bit jealous of Phisa's success at finding these illusive beasts. Phisa seemed to be able to tell this, so he decided to help me. The first few attempts were failures, where I ended up scaring the cat away. They were much too fast for me to run after, so I didn't chase them.
 Finally, Phisa found an ocelot, standing in a lower branch of a tree, unaware of our presence. I took this opportunity to catch it. Phisa had no objection, considering he "gave" it to me.
 When the cat was tamed, its fur changed to black, with green eyes and a white belly. This was the second rarest house-cat fur colour. Now it was Phisa's turn to be a bit jealous!
 While we fumbled with the "time set day" code, my cat protected me from creepers in the night. (Did you know that creepers are scared of cats?) The zombies, not so much.
 The next morning, I decided to be risky. As much as I enjoyed the jungle, I wanted to get home. Even though it may have meant losing my hard-to-find cat, I tried teleporting anyway. The cat successfully followed me.
 Since the cat had lived long enough, I decided to name him. His new name is Ebony, due to his black fur.
 Phisa, unfortunately, was not as lucky. When he teleported back home, all three of his tabbies vanished. He was a bit sad for a while, but perked up when I told him I'd bring him back to the jungle to catch more. But that's an adventure for another day.