My gaming ethos:
and also this:
and finally THIS:(Image Credit: HiveGod)
Hello. I'm Scriv. I teach Rhetoric, World Literature and Creative Writing at the high school level. As such, I am interested in not only educational issues related to gaming, but in general how elements of play, competition, cooperation, and discovery affect learning. About half of my collection has been used at school during gaming club meetings, and when I teach Art of War
and Machiavelli's The Prince
I extend that experience in my English classes by introducing and using the game Diplomacy
and have had a rather fantastic experience. You can read more about it here:Diplomacy In The Classroom.Diplomacy In The Classroom, Part 2: Kids In Their Own Words
I also use role playing games such as Fiasco
and A Penny for My Thoughts
in my Creative Writing class and have extensive experience using and implementing games and play as part of my instructional approach. If you'd like to chat about that, want to pick my brain or steal instructional materials from me, please don't hesitate to send me a geekmail!
Here's a video that epitomizes what it's like to play D&D with kids:
If you're interested in a trade, send me a geekmail first. I will always respond unless I am traveling/camping and thus have limited access to the net (something I do a lot of in June or July.) I say this because I have nothing but contempt for the numerous users here who can't seem to take the time to click Reply and type "No Thanks." It's symptomatic of a much larger problem in our society, and it's one I will not participate in or encourage.
In terms of the games I like...
Why hide it? I am an Ameritrasher to the core. The few Euros I do like are the ones that allow me to play the other players instead of the game, or where, as is the case in the great Ameritrash titles, something feels like it is actually at stake.
Some quotes about this:
After discovering euros I was dazzled and acquired all the hits, played 100's of games of PR and St. Pete on bsw and eventually Caylus. After many matches of Caylus I realized that the wonderful mechanics that euro's inspire are only wonderful when compared with the crap that we grew up with. Once studied enough, they always break. There is always a solution to a game that pits you against artifical problems. When I realized this, it was like finding out santa and jesus weren't real. Luckily, there was plenty of depth to discover under my nose the entire time. I discovered all the ameritrash games of yore. With all their brash unbalances, gangups, kingmaking, lack of clever limitations and I realized that the ultimate mechanic is another human mind.
There is no solution for the mind, as the solver is a mind itself.
The joy of gaming for me is in ferocious, tangible, palpable competition where everything hangs in the balance all the time. If everything is good and nothing is essential, how do I compete? Why do I care?
and lastly something to consider about the kind of OPPONENT I want to be facing across the table:
I won't play these gentle and fragile players...
Here's the thing: the rise of accountant games and MPS is fuelled by people who are not emotionally very secure or stable... So when you find yourself in one of the more vicious games with them, these two things will happen:
- Groupthink paranoia will reign high. Okay maybe you're loud enough and have enough street creed[sic] or whatever needed to exploit this, but rarely will an insecure player behave like individual. This is a mob situation.
- They will take everything personally, won't listen to any reason and attack everybody with emotional violence. This might be fun for some, but I know where local thugs hang around if I feel like doing that.
Gamers who like "vicious" games mostly take them light heartedly and that's why these games are, well, games.
So yeah. I like games that allow me to play my opponents, not merely race my opponents by playing the mechanics. I am not really interested in who could do the math to calculate the most efficient move to build the most efficient resource engine to gain the most VP, because that's a solvable problem, and with some time to do the solving, most intelligent and competent opponents really will make optimal movies (at which point victory is determined by some other factor.) But if you can beat me by tricking me, trapping me, bluffing me, lying to me, kingmaking some third opponent, or some other means, than you really are an ideal opponent. There is no more pleasurable loss than being outwitted.
If you grok all of that, than I want to be sitting across the table from you. And if you don't, I suppose I will play a game with you anyhow, but I can't promise you'll have much fun: I refuse to pull my punches so some pasty-faced engineer with low-level Aspergers, who still tucks his shirt into his pants when he's not at work, can avoid an emotional breakdown.
Finally, I want to add this. In general, I want my games LONG. I want the afternoon to stretch into the evening into the night while I am arguing over some point of table politics or only finally beginning my endgame. Short games are so emotionally and intellectually unsatisfying. They are the fast-food meals of gaming. I like slow food - Texan barbeque that sits in a smoker for 12 hours, French haute cuisine or Italian home cooking that takes half a day to prepare. And I want my games to be similarly long, similarly deep, similarly consuming of my time.
Here's another quote about that:
“Troy,” I said, “the reason I want so much to play this game is because nobody wants me to play this game. There is virtually no person you could present this to without getting a stunned, pitying look in return, and that ticks me off. It ticks me off because what so freaks people out is the time involved in this endeavor, time. Everything in adult life is designed to steal it away from us, and my God, look how we go along with the scheme so willingly.
"‘I have no time for such things anymore,’ we say, and then we spend our afternoons making our lawns pretty and shopping for junky Ikea furniture and ferrying kids to soccer games and gawking at cable TV, and above all, working at jobs we never really wanted. ‘Sure,’ we say, ‘when I was young and didn’t have all these responsibilities, I could spend hours doing this kind of thing. But that was then, and this is now.’
“Well, Troy,” I went on, “I want to be the guy who suddenly, at age 42, does spend hours doing this kind of thing, if only to feel what it’s like to take back a little piece of the soul I’ve sold to the company I slave for, to the obligatory evenings with people I’m not sure I even like, to daily errands, the lines at the DMV, to tax forms, to tedious family visits. This game is a slap in the face to all thinking creatures who live in such dire fear of the sands sifting through the hourglass. Playing a monster war game on this scale is ridiculous, a waste of energy, a waste of time, and so I want to do it. Let spite rule the day, Troy."
Something else that occurs to me here about this whole Ameritrash thing: as an English teacher, a writer, and a voracious reader, I am also interested in those places where boardgames construct a meaningful narrative, either by creating compelling strategic situations or metagame drama via high degrees of player interaction/conflict, either in the course of play, or by intentionally embedding mechanics into the game play whose purpose is storytelling. This isn't an emotional reaction to a need to escape from reality on my part, it's in fact another layer of game play. I strongly believe that storytelling is a kind of game played between storyteller and audience. The most interesting part of these sorts of games is the unspoken or unwritten rules, the metagame if you will, and the degrees to which the best stories challenge us to consider these rules of play as part of the narrative itself. Where a Euro game tends to be a set of mechanics and the competition is based on which player masters or manipulates mechanics, many Ameritrash games seem interested in giving players an opportunity for play to evolve specifically via narrative and not merely forcing them to pay attention to mechanics.
Furthermore: I deal with spreadsheets and data analysis as part of my daily job. I teach, I assess the learning, and then get out the spreadsheet and the gradebook and etc to look closely at the data and further drive my instruction. What are they all doing well? What are they all struggling with still that needs to be retaught? Where are the areas of growth? What needs more time and attention. Honestly, this is the least interesting, least enjoyable, least meaningful part of my job (but for all that, highly necessary--I cannot achieve student growth without getting out the spreadsheets and measuring the learning and etc.) The thought of doing this for recreation annoys and vexes me. I think this is why I stay away from Euros. I can do data analysis, I can make decisions and plan accordingly. I am rather good at it in fact. But I don't find it... fun.
A contribution to BGG I am proud of is this: Agricola: Blood In the Fields.
And... even though this was for a contest, this is a good picture of what it's like to play Call of Cthulu with me...My Recent Plays: