Breathing Death- An Initiate's Journey Through Ghost Stories and the Tao Te Ching

Not knowing what will transpire, each post will chronicle my attempts to use a first time reading of the Tao Te Ching to inform my decisions during solo plays of Antoine Bauza's Ghost Stories. I shall read a little of the book each week and juxtapose its passages with a sort of session report. I will not read or heed any other advice on how to play the game well. I shall attempt to play on Thursday nights and post the following Friday.
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From Darkness Within Darkness

Wanda Davies
United States
Olympia
Washington (WA)
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Ghost Stories - Initiate Level
This was supposed to be Thursday, but Thursday there was a social engagement. I was supposed to wait. Tonight I was to play Android alone. My wife wanted me in the room with her and Android doesn't fit on the table in that room. Ghost Stories fits on the table in the room with my wife. So tonight I played Ghost Stories.

She promised me she wouldn't talk to me. She said she just wanted me in the room. When I do something, I like to focus on it. I don't like to talk about other things when I'm doing one thing unless the thing I'm doing doesn't interest me. My wife is a kind woman. She likes to talk all the time but is respectful of our differences. She has read the Tao Te Ching.

I keep my copy in the box along with a picture of my son and a CD of music that is the right level of obtrusiveness. It is music that is silent sometimes and that is part of the music. It is also dissonant sometimes and that is part of the music. I mention that because it is not like the music I hear when I am not playing Ghost Stories.

The music playing, I read the first passage of the Tao Te Ching. It is packed away now in my box of Ghost Stories so I cannot directly quote it, but it began with something that I interpreted to be about the ineffectiveness of words. The directions included with my copy of Ghost Stories are in several languages. They are terrible.

I continued to consult the Tao Te Ching at moments of indecision. The clear stanzas became moments of silence in the analysis noise of the game. In the room where I type, I have to blink my eyes frequently because the lamp beside me is too bright. If I type for too long, I must close my eyes.

The first half of the game went absurdly well. The dice continually came up white and the ghosts were not scary. The Tormentor di did nothing. I began to believe that the way was really something. But then, from what I had been reading, it seems like the game should not concern the Tao. Things got much worse.

I depended on the Green Taoist's extra di to come up with a color I was missing. I did not get the color. I had built up plans based on luck or what I thought was a probable probability and I had no contingency plan. My Taoists were in the wrong place. My chips were in the hands of two of them, but their feet were tangled and those who were in the right place had nothing.

I became afraid.

Things were falling apart and the Tao Te Ching said that if I did nothing things would fall into place. I began to love the Temple of the Wind.

When Wu Feng came the monks were hurting. They'd been losing a game of juggling haunters- trying to keep the tiles aright and all the Yin/Yang tokens were gone. I'd plenty of black tokens, but the Army of Death needed five. I gathered my monks. Threw them all at Wu Feng and Red died as a result. Red had one of the black tokens.

I wanted Green to go and punch the Army of Death. I wanted Yellow to be there with the black tokens he'd amassed and I wanted Green to go and punch that whole army. But Red was dead and Blue was dying and I didn't know what to do.

When Wu Feng fell I was pleased. I tried not to be too pleased. I did not announce to my wife that I won. If good things happen, bad things can too. If things happen, then things happen.

I wonder if Taoists monks would really stand up to Wu Feng. I wonder if, when I finish the Tao Te Ching, I'll still be playing games. I wonder if I'll be able to answer that question on a Thursday or if the game will happen because it does.
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