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Subject: Geek of the Week: Yehuda Berlinger (Shade_Jon) rss

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Yehuda Berlinger
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Thank you for the honor, Ryan.

generalpf wrote:
1. The first job for Geek of the Week is "Two Truths and a Lie." Tell us three things about yourself, two of which are true and one lie. We have to guess which is false. Try to make your truths the most unexpected things about yourself to trick us. The lie can be very close to the truth. Don't tell us which one is the lie until the end of the week.


Hmmm...

1. In 1978, I was attacked by an older kid while I was walking to school. He pulled out a pocketknife, called me a dirty Jew and said he was going to kill me. While he raised the knife, I kicked him in the stomach. He dropped the knife. We heard a shout from across the street. He cursed me again and ran away. I kicked the knife into a sewer drain and ran the rest of the way to school. The police ended up getting involved.

2. In 1993, I was driving back to my house at night when I came to a T-junction where I had to turn left to my house (torwards the Jewish area). But there was a car waiting at the junction with its lights on pointing at me. I got confused and went straight, towards the Arab area. I quickly turned around, went back to the intersection and went the correct way. The next night a member of my community was shot and killed at that intersection. The murderer, who was caught, admitted that he was planning to kill someone the previous evening, but the car went straight instead of turning left, so he thought that it might be an Arab, and he decided to wait until the next night.

3. When I was eating at a downtown Hillel cafe in Jerusalem in 2000, a bomb went off on the next street. Through all of the smoke, noise, and confusion, I wasn't able to get any closer to help anyone. In fact, the police basically pushed me and other bystanders away. I ended up walking away feeling miserable, unable to help. I had trouble sleeping for a week. This was not the first, nor last, time that I've personally heard bombings from my location.

generalpf wrote:
2. Where does your username come from? What made you choose your distinctive avatar? What is behind that curtain?


I still cling to some habits from my first marriage.

Shade comes from "Shade and Sweet Water", the sign off by Richard and Wendi Pini from their original ElfQuest series. I adapted Shade for myself, and Sweet Water for my now ex-wife.

Shade turned out to be too popular a handle on various sites, so I needed something more unique that others probably wouldn't duplicate.

Jon is my English name, so I chose Shade_Jon. Since it doesn't scan well (the "d" and the "j" sounds conflict), I figured that no one else would choose it by accident.

My avatar comes from a love of Alice and Wonderland and all other things literature. The picture is Alice about to go through the door into the unknown.

My first website in 1995 had two pictures on its entry page: This picture and one of Calvin and Hobbes crossing a river over a log. Clicking on one of them led to the rest of my site, and the other led to the first random web site selected by Yahoo (I think it was Yahoo). I programmed it so that each time you loaded the page, which picture did which was randomly chosen.

generalpf wrote:
3. Your Puerto Rico variant buildings are quite popular. When and why did you start developing them? What's your suggestion for experienced Puerto Rico players interested in trying them out?


Quite popular? With whom? :-) I hear about them being used once in a while, but not very often. If you use them, raise your hand.

My suggestion for use: Make the buildings - I use paper, but if you're less lazy than me, make them nicely. Select randomly for each slot. As you play with them, you may find some are too powerful, or some are too weak. Fix them or discard them, as you like.

We often play with some specific favorites, and a few random ones thrown in for good measure.

Just know this: you create a game every time you play it, not the designer. The rules have no force until you accept them. The designer is in dialogue with you; push back. Explore. Make the game your own.

generalpf wrote:
4. You don't maintain a Hot 10 in your profile. What 10 games are you playing the most these days?


I would have to say: Puerto Rico, AD&D, Havoc, Lord of the Rings: the Confrontation, Caylus, Power Grid, Modern Art, and San Juan. Not that they are necessarily my favorites. The lighter ones are simply the easiest to play quickly.

generalpf wrote:
5. Your Top 10 is full of heavy games like Euphrat & Tigris, Taj Mahal and Age of Steam. Are you attracted to them, or are they attracted to you?


I am attracted to them. I can enjoy lighter games, but they don't cause me to think, which is what I like most in a game. Once I've mastered a game, or if I'm obvisouly better then other players, the game is boring. I need more than a game, I need to be able to think about it after the game ends, and before it starts, if at all possible.

generalpf wrote:
6. What's the gaming scene like in Israel? You seem to have a lot of game going on; do you seek others out, or are you the cool guy in the neighbourhood? Are Euros popular enough to be available on store shelves or do you mostly mail order?


Well, you probably know Gilad (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/user/ycyclop), who is also trying to do more for the Israel scene. One of our members is now also doing so in Beit El, and we have a new active BGGer who comes to my group, Nate (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/user/freezing+chicken). I also learned some of my games, and in fact have swapped games with another irregular group from Tel Aviv.

I game every week because I built up a game group and because it is important to me to do so. I also play between game sessions with family and friends, when the opportunity permits.

The game group isn't self-sustaining without me, yet. However, some people would probably still occasionally play games occasionally with their own families. And others could eventually pick up the torch.

Euros are still just breaking in. There is an online store, and some games stacked in a bookstore location in Tel Aviv. For the most part, I still order them from the U.S., and occasionally Germany. Unfortunately, I don't buy too many games.

generalpf wrote:
7. You rated Magic: the Gathering a 10. I also think it's a 10, but I had to give it up after Mercadian Masques. Do you still keep up with the latest expansions? What block (to you) was the Golden Age of Magic? (For me, it was the Tempest Block.)


I bought some cards back in Ice Age and 4th edition time. Not once was I even tempted to play the game at a convention. Oh, I followed online discussions of deck design, and then applied the principles of deck tweaking to the cards I had. I never bought a specific card. I never tried to build a deck by buying it. Not interested.

It is the game design that I loved. Different cards, tweaking decks, thinking on your feet, the tension between waiting for what you need and attacking before your opponent can get what he needs, and leaving yourself open to a counterattack. Excellent. Scarce resources, and the game always plays differently)

We played a bit of constructed, and thereafter we mixed cards and pulled randomly. Since then, we play mock booster draft, by pulling cards from a pool.

This whole attitude that people have that Magic is going to suck you in, or that you will be forced to buy cards to play in tournaments ... it's just so foreign to me. I never wanted to. I just wanted to play with the cards that I had.

Once in a while I get some new cards, now. A stack of commons that someone leaves lying around, or a booster I got from trading a game. Or something like that. That's it.

I have no particular favorite age of Magic, because I never followed ages or blocks.

generalpf wrote:
8. You list hacking as a hobby. Are you a computer professional by trade? If not (or if so), what do you do for a living?


Hacking is a hobby, but my skills or attention span were never disciplined enough to make me a real hacker. I've done some good programming work, however, and I am quite sympathetic to the hacker culture and mindset.

I have done 7 years of Unix sysadmin, 7 years of CGI/web programming, and now 2 years of technical writing.

generalpf wrote:
9. You're a fledgling game designer. How is the Menorah Game coming along? It seems very well-reviewed.


Eh. um. TMG is not being considered right now. I am working on more game designs. If I ever get any that are good, I will re-theme the Menorah Game into something more palatable and resubmit it somewhere.

generalpf wrote:
10. You're apparently a big Cosmic Encounter fan. In fact, of the few games you've rated a 10, only one (Puerto Rico) is a modern Eurogame. Do you think the games are getting better or are they getting worse?


In my opinion, games are not really good unless they take time to master. The truly good games are the ones that develop "single-game game players", such as people who only play chess or Scrabble all their lives. Even if I don't like the game, that is what I consider a good game. Of all the Eurogames that I know, only Puerto Rico is capable of that. Tigris and Euphrates is close.

The addiction that people have to buying new games all the time is like the addiction people had to buying Magic cards. They have to keep up with "Type 2" boardgames, which is ridiculous.

It is because these games aren't really good enough to satisfy repeated play. They are fun until you figure them out. Or until you master the mechanics and then go "what's next?" That's not good enough. You should be able to play a game your entire life.

That's why I buy so few games. Aside from the fact that I am very poor.

Yehuda
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Great to meet you! I've been reading your postings for some time and have also enjoyed your Puerto Rico building ideas. I now can put a 'face' to the name. Congrats on being Geek of the Week!
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Matthew M
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Yehuda,

Congrats on being named GotW!

Regardless of which of your three statements is a lie, reading about your experiences is unsettling. Perhaps this is an unusual direction to take, especially so early in your tenure as GotW, but as a researcher interested in how people deal with thoughts of mortality I'm wondering what your relationship is with death. Do you think about it often? When you do, is it more often by choice or no? In what ways do you think your relationship with thoughts of your own mortality might differ from how most others relate to it?

On a lighter note, though I don't often care for variants myself your PR variant buildings are often quite interesting and well-thought out. I said as much to you in person at BGG.Con last year, but it's worth repeating I'm wondering if PR is your favorite game to tinker with new ideas for? If so, what about PR draws you to play with the system? If not, what other games have you made significant variant material for?

Congrats again.

-MMM
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Wow, those truths and lie are much more serious than many. They match with other friends' (and friends of friends) experiences so I suspect they are all true for someone close to you. I just can't figure if it is #2 or #3 that didn't happen to you. I lean towards #3.

On a lighter note:

Was their a particular reason you had a website so early on? I'm amused that your site was designed to redirect 50% of the traffic that arrive immediatley away again.

Do you frequently find that there are games where you become a lot better at the particular game than other players? You mention this as a reason to stop playing. Does the converse happen, where a game of interest to another player becomes uninteresting when you don't do well?

You indicate a general admiration for games that will support a "single game" player. Also, you seem to have less respect for games that are only experienced a few times before becoming worn out. Do you see games as an art form, as entertainment, as an excuse to socialize, or something else? Is there anything "lesser" about the gaming equivalent of a summer action movie, or is your lower interest of them merely a personal preference?
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Octavian wrote:
Regardless of which of your three statements is a lie, reading about your experiences is unsettling. Perhaps this is an unusual direction to take, especially so early in your tenure as GotW, but as a researcher interested in how people deal with thoughts of mortality I'm wondering what your relationship is with death. Do you think about it often? When you do, is it more often by choice or no? In what ways do you think your relationship with thoughts of your own mortality might differ from how most others relate to it?


I don't think about my own death so much, and when I do it doesn't really bother me. Around the time of my divorce I became depressed. I've never completely recovered from this depression. Depression is a magnet that takes any setbacks, embarrassments, or failures and tries to draw me under water. It is a fight to stay on this side, but I do, generally, by recognizing it for what it is.

I am far more concerned about the deaths of my loved ones, particularly my children. I became so upset watching the movie Jude, which features a brutal scene about the death of children, that I went home and began writing poetry for eight months.

Octavian wrote:
On a lighter note, though I don't often care for variants myself your PR variant buildings are often quite interesting and well-thought out. I said as much to you in person at BGG.Con last year, but it's worth repeating I'm wondering if PR is your favorite game to tinker with new ideas for? If so, what about PR draws you to play with the system? If not, what other games have you made significant variant material for?


The original games I tinkered with were D&D and Cosmic, not including house rules for all of our other board games. I also did some tinkering with Magic rules, inventing a better Mulligan rule until the standard one came out. PR is a great game for tinkering with, as is any game with tokens that give arbitrary game-breaking powers.

I have made a complete set of cards for San Juan, variant buildings for Prince of Florence, powers for 6 Nimmt, and lord all knows what else.

Yehuda
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PghArch wrote:
Was their a particular reason you had a website so early on?


I was a system administrator at an ISP. I got into the web early on, just like I did for gopher. I had FTP sites, and I used to IM people using "ytalk" back in the late '80s. I was programming games on a PDP-11 and Commodore 64.

My website contained my poetry and prose, as well as my resume.

I have always been facinated with both the technology and social implications of the Internet.

PghArch wrote:
Do you frequently find that there are games where you become a lot better at the particular game than other players? You mention this as a reason to stop playing. Does the converse happen, where a game of interest to another player becomes uninteresting when you don't do well?


Yes. I am very good at area control games. I am good at any game that has a single workable strategy.

I don't necessarily stop playing these games, but I play them to enjoy other people's company and fun, rather than for any sort of challenge.

I am really bad at wargames, and I think I don't play them because of this. Or, because I have no real interest in becoming better at them. I also have no interest at becoming better at Sports trivia games.

Other than that, I am bad at many other games, like Go and Bridge, but I could lose a thousand times and it wouldn't bother me if I feel that I can still learn something playing them.

PghArch wrote:
You indicate a general admiration for games that will support a "single game" player. Also, you seem to have less respect for games that are only experienced a few times before becoming worn out. Do you see games as an art form, as entertainment, as an excuse to socialize, or something else? Is there anything "lesser" about the gaming equivalent of a summer action movie, or is your lower interest of them merely a personal preference?


Games can be all of the above.

Game pieces are art if they are crafted well and thoughtfully. Games are art if they express something about the world artfully, like a meaningful truth. Very few games try to do this, so very few games are art.

All games are meant to be a form of entertainment. Most games are meant to be an excuse to socialize. Most games also teach values on a variety of subjects, and a whole lot of games are meant to be a source of income for the publisher.

Yes, there is something lesser about a game that is the equivalent of a summer action movie, if only that you can't enjoy it for the rest of your life.

However, even summer action movies can be enjoyable, for a variety of reasons. You can simply enjoy them for what they are, or you can study them for the acting, the direction, the effects, and so on. You can look at them in their sociological framework, together with the time they are created and the audience they attract.

And even summer movies will have artistic values, albeit blunt ones. If you take a whole bunch of summer movies together, they add up to the sum of their parts, just like a whole lot of games will. On the other hand, one really good movie will give you all of that and be far cheaper.

Yehuda
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Just to correct a possible misunderstanding from people who don't know Jon personally: Jon has his "depression" so well under control that he actually comes across as a very happy person to his friends.
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Hi Jon,

I have to say that I hope all of your "2 truths and a lie" bits were in fact lies, but sadly I suspect not. Sometimes it shames me to be human :-(

Anyway onto lighter things, I got into gaming via a (probably) typical route

Waddington type of games (m*nopoly, Project KGB, totopoly etc)
RPG (D&D, Runequest, Traveller etc)
CCG & Boardgames

What was the route that got you into this hobby?

Cheers
Mike

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mikehibbert wrote:
What was the route that got you into this hobby?


I learned cards when I was 3 and started playing bridge at 4 with my family. I played with my brothers, cousins, parents, grandmothers, etc.

We played all the usual board and card games, even though we had to come up with rules to make some of them better. We always played Stratego with a random setup, for instance.

I started playing both Cosmic Encounter and D&D when my brother went to Cornell late 1979. I designed, read, created, collated and so on D&D for many years.

I played a little Civilization during that time, but I didn't like the negotation aspect (at that time).

I started playing bridge and other games online around 1993, and then found out about Magic. I ordered a few packs for myself, brothers and friends, at about the same speed as I currently order games, i.e. once every six months or so. Or people picked up a few boosters when they came back from America, after asking what they could bring back for us :-) .

During/after this I revived D&D 3rd edition, but eventually stopped playing after being disgusted with the system.

I eventually heard about Settlers of Catan on some Magic strategy group, and I ordered that and we played for a year or so. Then Cities and Knights I played for a year or so, and then I started slowly buying other games.

Realizing that I would have no one to play with unless I organized it myself, I organized a game group.

Yehuda
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Shade_Jon wrote:

Realizing that I would have no one to play with unless I organized it myself, I organized a game group.


The story continued @ http://pdxgaming.blogspot.com/2006/01/game-group-jerusalem-s....

Folks have already talked about your 10's, so I looked up your 9's and have some questions about your comments:

Maharaja: "Will have to see if it holds up." -> Has it held up?

Taj: "It lacks a game ending "oomph"". -> Isn't the final scoring for cards in-hand enough oomph? In a tight match, it's pretty tense.

YINSH: "Othello on drugs" -> Which drugs? I thought Othello was trippy enough myself, as what looks like a solid board position can be undone pretty quickly.

- d


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Dave wrote:
Shade_Jon wrote:

Realizing that I would have no one to play with unless I organized it myself, I organized a game group.


The story continued @ http://pdxgaming.blogspot.com/2006/01/game-group-jerusalem-s....


And started here: http://www.spotlightongames.com/interview/berlinger.html

Dave wrote:
Folks have already talked about your 10's, so I looked up your 9's and have some questions about your comments:

Maharaja: "Will have to see if it holds up." -> Has it held up?


Yes and no. Maharaja suffers from a terrible, terrible all or nothing victory condition. The game is over around three rounds before the game ends. Up until that point it is a really good game. So basically it needs fixing, which I fully intend to do. Something on the order of VPs assigned based on houses and connections, palaces, and so on.

Dave wrote:
Taj: "It lacks a game ending "oomph"". -> Isn't the final scoring for cards in-hand enough oomph? In a tight match, it's pretty tense.


The game ending cards are never significant enough to matter in our games, although in theory I can see it happening every once in a while. In practice it hasn't yet, in nearly thirty games. I also find this mechanic to be rather contrived. However, it is not nearly as bad as Maharaja.

Dave wrote:
YINSH: "Othello on drugs" -> Which drugs? I thought Othello was trippy enough myself, as what looks like a solid board position can be undone pretty quickly.


That's true. Except that Othello has many more constraints to your placement, and so forms more easily identifiable patterns on the board. Yinsh doesn't have those, at least not as far as I've seen, yet.

Yehuda
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Shade_Jon wrote:
mikehibbert wrote:
What was the route that got you into this hobby?



During/after this I revived D&D 3rd edition, but eventually stopped playing after being disgusted with the system.


Yehuda


I wonder what made this so bad to disgust you? We always found it to be an improvement over 2nd edition, but not as good as 1st edition, so why was it so poor in your eyes?

Mike
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mikehibbert wrote:
I wonder what made this so bad to disgust you? We always found it to be an improvement over 2nd edition, but not as good as 1st edition, so why was it so poor in your eyes?


When I was a wee lad, the game of D&D was highly imaginative. If your DM was good, almost anything could happen. The rules were just guidelines. Sure, I enjoyed rolling the dice and overcoming the monsters, but the dice were just a guideline, too. You never knew what they would really do.

In short, there is "role-playing", "roll-playing", and "rule-playing".

ROLE players are there for the story. They range from the melodramatic players who talk in accents, play characters with faults, talk in character, and so forth, to those who just want to get into the history of the story, solve the puzzles and fulfill the missions.

ROLL players are the guys who min-max their characters. They want to roll dice and kill creatures, and they want to know that they have +15 to hit and +45 damage, preferably swinging 7 attacks every 2 rounds. These guys will rattle off numbers to you. They will measure exact distances, sculpt spells to include only their enemies and exclude their comrades during combat, and so on.

RULE players are the ones who have memorized all the rules to the books and question everything you say or point out how it is not fitting in to the description of the book. If you run something different from what is in the book, they will simply not get it. "An Orc! It's evil." "Why do you think it's evil." "Orcs are evil. That's what it says in the book." "Maybe this is not an evil Orc." "No, Orcs are evil." And so on. Or they will quote an obscure rule reference about encumberance on page 23 in footnote C.

3e D&D is the quiniscential roll-playing game. Everything gets reduced to a bunch of numbers. Out of 300 pages in the Player's Handbook, barely 4 pages talk about role-playing. It's pathetic.

And of course, the more you try to tighten you grip on numbers, the more absurd the situations become.

In 3e, while being attacked by a sword-wielding barbarian, I can step back five feet, take a cup and saucer out of my pack and hand it to my neighbor A. Neighbor A casts a heat cantrip onto it and hands it to neighbor B, who pours the tea and hands it to neighbor C, who drinks it and hands it to neighbor D, who packs it away and casts a fireball killing the barbarian. All within the rules.

In 3e, I can't "keep an eye on things" without giving up all of my actions. I can't talk during someone else's turn. And the whole thing is geared to be a min-maxers wet dream.

I never realized how pathetic it was to try to win something by continuously rolling dice until 3e.

A system doesn't necessarily prevent you from playing the game you want to play, but it can sure do a good job of hindering you.

Yehuda
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Shade_Jon wrote:
mikehibbert wrote:
I wonder what made this so bad to disgust you? We always found it to be an improvement over 2nd edition, but not as good as 1st edition, so why was it so poor in your eyes?


In 3e, while being attacked by a sword-wielding barbarian, I can step back five feet, take a cup and saucer out of my pack and hand it to my neighbor A. Neighbor A casts a heat cantrip onto it and hands it to neighbor B, who pours the tea and hands it to neighbor C, who drinks it and hands it to neighbor D, who packs it away and casts a fireball killing the barbarian. All within the rules.

Yehuda


I had never thought of that, but I guess you have a point!

We were lucky yo have a good DM, but I see what you mean about the numbers thing, he was a great DM, but when rolling up a character all this numbers were maxed out!

thanks for all your responses!

Mike
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Shade_Jon wrote:
3e D&D is the quiniscential roll-playing game. Everything gets reduced to a bunch of numbers. Out of 300 pages in the Player's Handbook, barely 4 pages talk about role-playing. It's pathetic.


I absolutely love 3e. It has streamlined and systematized the mechanics of D&D to the point where we can enjoy the role-playing again. No more silly THAC0 and looking up everything on a chart. When you do something related to combat, a skill, a feat, etc., the numbers are all known and can be rolled quickly. Our 12-hour sessions are much more enjoyable.
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ekted wrote:
I absolutely love 3e. ... the numbers are all known.


Therein lies our difference. I don't want the numbers to be all known. I don't want some player to tell me that he knows that he hit because 12 + 27 = 29 which is more than the AC of the creature. I don't want some player to tell me that he cast a fireball at space Y, so that space X will be included, but space X+1 won't be.

I don't want a player telling me that by juggling around this feat and that skill, and by multiclassing first as a ranger and then as a bard and then as a wizard that he can achieve +NNN skill level at third level.

I would like all of those numbers to be gone, or at least totally mysterious.

If you have the numbers, you have no surprises. If you have some numbers you have arguments. If you have no numbers, you have no arguments and many surprises.

But if you find that this works for you, enjoy.

Yehuda
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Shade_Jon wrote:
Therein lies our difference.


I don't find 3e any more rigid than the original rules. The numbers are just a consolidation of the things you, as players, know about yourselves. If you are willing to let the DM be creative, and understand that he knows things that you don't, then you can still enjoy the game. Remember, just because I know my Attack Bonus with my Light Crossbow is +5 doesn't mean I know that a roll of 10 is a hit. The DM still tells me the results. If I hit the same kind of creature before with a 10, I may be surprised to miss with another 10, but I won't question it.

Sorry. Didn't mean to turn your GotW thread into a D&D debate.



Have you ever been to the US? If so, what surprising differences can you describe?
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Shade_Jon wrote:
I learned cards when I was 3 and started playing bridge at 4 with my family. I played with my brothers, cousins, parents, grandmothers, etc...


I know Backgammon has a decent following in the middle east. Is it popular in Israel?
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ekted wrote:
Have you ever been to the US? If so, what surprising differences can you describe?


I was born in New York and moved to Israel in 1991. I have been back to visit about five times, the last time to go to BGG.con last November.

Surprising differences? Hmmm...

America is vastly beautiful and grand. Israel is much smaller and its beauty has to be uncovered. It is barer, but beautiful for its depth.

Israel has a bit of a water shortage and it doesn't rain from May to October. It rarely snows.

Israel security is tight and omnipresent. America's security is few and far between, and where it exists it is rude and rigid. An Israeli security guard thinks for him or herself. An American security guard follows rules and regulations.

You see Israelis with guns everywhere, even in banks and post offices, including the women. If you didn't see people with guns you would be worried. Everyone supports our army, just not our politicians.

Everyone goes into the army, and people take it seriously.

Some foods are much better in Israel, such as fruit, fresh pastries and bread. In America, you have a better variety of processed stuff and it's better (it's very hard to find root beer here, for instance).

You have lots of news in America about the world; news in Israel is mostly about Israel. Other than cable or Internet.

Everyone is in debt to the bank; bank accounts go negative. Prices are high and salaries are low, and people seem to manage. People go to travel in Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, India, Thailand, or Holland.

People are more physical and they will touch you if they feel like it, and give you lots of advice. They wear less modest clothing, except in the religious areas. There are less personal lawsuits.

They love everything American. They eat a lot of burgers, falafel, mixed grill meats, and Thai food, as well as lots of salad.

Yehuda
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nnf1 wrote:
I know Backgammon has a decent following in the middle east. Is it popular in Israel?


Yes, very popular. People play it while sitting outside at cafes or on upside down cardboard boxes. Until the great number of Russian immigrants arrived in the nineties, it was probably the most popular game. Chess is comparible now.

Others include Checkers, Rummikub, and Taki.

Yehuda
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Nadine W
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Mazal Tov!

I just started following Geek of the Week last week, and so far I know half of them! Which won't last since I know like 3 people on here.

Nadine
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Good to have you Yehuda! Here's a thorny question for you...
Where do you stand on having conflict (combat) in games? Is the appeal of wargaming per-se and conflict in games (Risk, Nexus Ops, etc.) a cultural thing and does living in a state affected by conflict affect what you want from a game?

(The fluffy questions about which is your favourite colour will come at the end once we've done the deep and metaphysical stuff...)
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Bluenose wrote:
Where do you stand on having conflict (combat) in games?


I have no problem with war and conflict in games, per se. I have a personal problem with playing a game where someone plays the side of real life evil, or one that depicts brutality against civilians as positive. That would include Nazi Germany, school yard bullies, pimps, or Mafiosos gaining points by killing civilians.

This is the subject of the next Ethics in Gaming article I am writing, and I am having a hard time eliminating my subjectivity from the article.

In short, I believe that it is not government's place to intervene in people's free expression, but this does not eliminate an individual's responsibility to distance himself from blurring society's boundaries against condoning evil.

As an example, where once we would not utter racist remarks, we now say them in a funny voice and expect everyone to laugh along with us. Anyone who doesn't laugh along is told that they have no sense of humor and are too sensitive.

We all seem to act as if just because something is not illegal, that our personal morality should not stand in our way of our doing it or making money from it. But law and morality are separate beasts.

Bluenose wrote:
Is the appeal of wargaming per-se and conflict in games (Risk, Nexus Ops, etc.) a cultural thing and does living in a state affected by conflict affect what you want from a game?


Living in Israel has no effect on my attitudes towards wargaming. I think you will find avid wargamers among soldiers and civilians alike, all over the world.

If anything, it is my Jewish sensibilities, but, again, you will find avid wargamers among Jews, including religious ones. I don't mind wargaming, although it doesn't strictly appeal to me, and I'm not very good at it.

Yehuda
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Thanks Yehuda.....so what's your favourite colour then?
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Bluenose wrote:
Thanks Yehuda.....so what's your favourite colour then?


That would be dark purple, followed by black and forest green.

Yehuda
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