Grand Con

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

GrandCon 2016

Greetings Warriors and Scholars!

This weekend was amazing. GrandCon is always a lot of fun and I think this year was stellar. I ran 9 events. 1 of which had no attendees but all the others went well. In our chapel service we had 10 of us gathered for worship. After we sang a couple songs, Darrin Ball did a great job leading us in communion and presented some great thoughts inspired by the Lord of the Rings. We then considered Jesus as the Super Lamb of God; specifically how he chose the Lamb card when others would have chosen the Lion card and how we sometimes need to lose to win.

I ran a few rounds of Commissioned, a cooperative board game where players take the roles of the apostles building up the early church. Unfortunately we kept losing. It was very well received and is worth your time. I hosted 2 games of Pandemic which always goes over well. Both times we lost. I think the most fun I had in terms of games I hosted was Monsterpocalypse. I got to teach someone who had demoed it years ago and a college buddy of mine came and was playing in another game. This is one of those games that is just plain fun. I also led a round of Mow Money. This was also a fun time.

One of my highlights was getting to play Star Wars Epic Duels with author Timothy Zahn. Most events at GrandCon are no extra charge after your badge cost but this was one of a few charity events to help raise money for Helen Devos Children's Hospital. I love this game and getting to play it with a talented author of some of the best Star Wars novels was excellent. Our group as a whole was a great group and it was an amazing time.

I did play a few games I had not played before:

Zephyr:Winds of Change: This game I had demoed at another con last year but this time I got to play a full game. Well, I did have to leave early to run a game of Commissioned, but I really enjoyed it. I actually had won a FB contest to get a copy of the game and play it with a designer of it. This is a cooperative game where each player has his own skyship and you get sent on missions. They successfully kickstarted last Spring and it is currently in the production phase. I am quite excited to get my copy when it comes.

Onitama: This is a 2 player in the vein of chess but very different. Each team has a martial arts Master and students. Your goal is to get your master in the opposing temple or to take out the opposing master. The game features move cards with each player having 2 but a fifth one is also pulled out so that when you use a move you exchange it for a different move. Very thoughtful game but also short and sweet. Normal games take 10 to 15 minutes. Great game.

Abyss: This game has you collecting color cards by spending pearls and then using the cards to get certain lords on your side. You can also collect keys, some of which come with lords, to get certain buildings. This game takes 45 minutes and the gameplay was fairly interesting but I don't know if I would buy it.

Castles of Mad King Ludwig: I need to play this game again. It was very interesting. You are building a castle and the mad King Ludwig has given specific parameters. It seemed very replayable and I think this is a winner. I think games take around an hour but I don't remember how long we played it for.

Temporum: This game was designed by the creator of Dominion. You are trying to control the timeline for your own ends and are gaining opportunities to move your crowns from one end of the time-stream to the other. Quick to learn and fun. It lasted around 40 minutes.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

From Nothing to Everything

Greetings Warriors and Scholars.

I feel like it has been a while since I posted. It probably has. This weekend is GrandCon! I am excited to play games, hang out, and have the chapel service there Sunday morning. I hope you can join us!
Well, today I watched an episode of Justice League Unlimited, specifically episode 2 of season 1 "The Man who Has Everything." You see, Superman gets stuck with a plant that feeds him a simulation of his hearts desire and leaves him standing there caught up in it. Batman and Wonder Woman come by for his birthday and find him in this state and have to free him from it while fighting off Mongo.

In this simulation running through his head he is fully convinced, for a time, that he is back on Krypton with a wife and son. He owns a farm and has a dog. He isn't fighting anyone and has a simple life. But it isn't real. None of it is.

Lust is similar. It offers us fake ideas of life with sex or stuff or attention from others, but it isn't real and it isn't helpful either. It takes you away from the real life and from what God has for you simply by distracting you. I have struggled with this a lot and it simply does not fulfill me or anyone.

Consider the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew chapters 5-7. Jesus told us that lust is the same as committing adultery. He also said that hate is the same as killing. Basically, our attitude toward others is important even if we think it won't affect them. God wants the attention we give others to be honorable, even if it is just attention in our heads.

"You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32
"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26:41
I find that prayer helps me. It takes my attention from something that is not mine to my Creator and Savior. Batman didn't save Superman with weapons. He had to call to Superman and start pulling the plant off of him in order to get him out of it. Superman had to realize how fake his situation was by himself, but Batman helped him. It was communication that brought Superman to reality and it is always communication with Christ that brings us to freedom.