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  1. Let's get one thing out there. I fucking hate Monopoly. And yet, sitting down with my friends to play a well made board game is the most fun I can conceive of. I'm taking a break from the epic quest of my last several challenge to have a little fun with my goals and get myself back in the game. As I posted at the end of my last challenge, my physical fitness has taken a back seat to my mental health. I feel sad about letting my fitness slide, but at the end of the day, I don't have any regrets about getting my head back on the right way around. This challenge is going to be themed around the ideas that I find that make modern board games fun. Have a plan and follow it <insert Scot joke here> No, I will not post pictures of me in my kilt. That's for the Highland Games. Come to Fergus. See the geek. The good board games require you to think at least a little bit. Even the really fast and simple ones give you a goal that you need to be aware of. Be the Sheep Baron. Buy all the Villages. Shoot the Sheriff. These simple, grokkable goals give the board game player something to focus and and engage them. And really, who doesn't have wood for sheep? My plan is to rebuild my push-up habit. I'm being groomed for 2nd dan "soon", which could mean anything from two months to a year from now. What that means is that I don't often participate in the general workouts during class, but instead work with the higher ranked black belts to refine techniques and practice my own stuff. Then the general class is teaching. I don't mind this as these techniques are not a walk in the park, physically speaking. But my callisthenics have suffered. I will do push-ups every day. Numbers have historically thrown me off, so my goal is just to do more today than I did yesterday. Not in a single set (that would be crazy), but if I do X push-ups today, then I must do X+1 tomorrow. Simple. Learn by doing This is not related to my goal in any way. It is just funny. There's a very interesting difference between Euro-games and North American designed games. So much so that board game enthusiasts attend design panels where game developers and retailers will have incredibly detailed conversations about those differences and what that means for consumers. The very, very short version is that North American games are designed to be explained in a newspaper or television ad and that Euro-games are designed to be explained in about 5 minutes, or while playing the first few turns. The implications of this are that North American games have a tendency towards shallow game play (Kerplunk, I'm looking at you) and Euro-games have depth that a player becomes more aware of the more that they play. And the fact is that I need to play more and learn that depth. That's my black belt techniques. I can be honest enough to say that I'm going to miss classes over the next six weeks. It's summer and that means my weekends are not my own (EXCEPT FOR NERDS, BITCHES!). I... I don't know where that came from. It must be finger-Tourette's. In order to keep up with my training, my Monday nights must be sacrosanct. Monday nights are the black belt classes. That is where I learn the most about the fine details that differentiate a black belt from the lower ranks. Don't miss a Monday night. That is all. Cooperation is victory Manatees are funny. Also, Dominion is awesome. There is an emerging trend of more games which force the players to work together against the mechanics of the game itself. Victory is rarely easy and relies on a combination of good communication, effective use of game mechanics and a little bit of luck. But when victory occurs, it is sweet indeed. And it took each and every person around the table with you. That moment is awesome. I have the privilege of teaching a lot in hapkido. It is the art I love and I love to share it with people. However, one of the things I need to work on is to embrace the opportunities I am given. There are some belts I just don't like teaching. Whether it's because the techniques are a little flat or they have things that I still find struggles with, I just don't have the enthusiasm for those small portions of the art. But my role as a teacher is to share the joy I have in my art and to encourage students to find the things that make them want to keep coming back. This is difficult to measure as it's as much a feeling as an actual concrete event. My goal is to embrace the teaching opportunities that come my way. We currently have a LOT of people orange belt and under. I am regularly teaching within that group. There are always things that students find frustrating in this period because, frankly, they don't have a complete understanding of what they're doing. After every class, I want to feel like I paid attention to that student right there in front of me and taught for their needs. More nerds is more awesome Get a good group of friends together for a board game night and tell me I'm wrong. Especially if you've got a stable of fun games that leave you telling stories for months afterwards. Nerds are awesome. There's this thing happening in Toronto where a bunch of nerds are coming to Toronto and I get to finally put faces to internet aliases. Maybe even learn some real names in the process. As a socially anxious nerd, like many of you, the prospect of all these new people scares the ever-loving crap out of me. Seriously. I'm putting this up on my challenge as a life goal despite the meet up happening halfway through the challenge. My anxiety and depression keep me from doing a lot of things. I will not allow it take this one away from me. I will post pictures of myself with Littlewings and Catspaw and any other nerds that I meet and show my brain who's boss. Me! That's who! And that's my productive morning, digging up links and writing out silly things. Rock on, my monk-y nerds. Rock on.
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