Saturday, December 20, 2014

TWIC: Make your own boardgames, sexy interior decorators, cool knife makers

I work with some of my higher level ESL children's classes to make boardgames to use with lower level students.  My main contribution is to bring a lot of small Postit notes of a  variety of colours.  These can be used to make a here-to-there game (like Snake and Ladders) or collection game (like Monopoly) with squares in different colours depending on the actions required on them.
Rick Marizzani offers suggestions and equipment to make a broad variety of such games.
Blank notecards. There are even greater possibilities from a deck of blank cards.  You can make your own custom Top Trumps deck (Top Trumps is known in the US as “What is that card game school boys play in England again?”). Or create an entire new game using a framework like Dvorak.Overflowing handfuls of dice is a powerful feeling. Like being an ancient deity that can roll the fate of an entire civilization! That is why there are so many dice here. They put a firm stamp on the tool box as made for games. But dice are useful beyond randomizers.  All these different colored dice can be used as game markers, and the pips as indicators to the strength or health of the die unit.  Like DiceWars in the real world.Play money and coins. Nothing abstract about this faux moolah. It feels great to have a stack of cash in hand as a meter of game success. And, more than chips or play money, plastic gold coins are the gold standard of game currency.  Gold coins can spin a theme towards pirates or fantasy. They have a presence and heft beyond their plastic patina.Poker chips. These need not be proxies for money in a game.  They make great counters, turn markers, or modifiers for other board pieces.
...BONUS INGREDIENT: D20 Something that was not at the Dollar Store that I would add to the ideal game design box is a set of polyhedral D&D dice. There is something magical about the shapes and colors.  When first encountered they are understood, yet completely from another world. Consider putting a full set of D20 type polyhedra in your gift kit. 
Via Boingboing
Added only a few hours later:
 Boingboing also describes one bloggers challenge to find new tools, toys and equipment at dollar stores for Dungeons and Dragons.  The Boingboing link is from today but it links to a post from 2013.  Here are about ten posts on the original site (about ten because three are in one post - probably three trips to a dollar store).
Boingboing also links to a site that teaches how to make video games.
The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness
The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness is a documentary which presents a year in the life of Studio Ghibli and its famed director, Hayao Miyazaki. The year in question was a particularly interesting one during which Miyazaki announced his retirement. 
The trailer for this documentary is available at the link above
Sci Am looks at how sexy various creative endeavors are:  Interior decoration, from the title, is not considered hot.  First: this is a topic for science?
According to evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller,creative displays in humans are analogous to the peacock’s tail: they serve the function of attracting mates by serving as indicators of mental fitness (cognitive functioning and personality).
Extending this argument, personality psychologist Gregory Feist made a key distinction between applied/technologicaldisplays of creativity (seen in modern domains of technology, science, and engineering), andornamental/aesthetic displays of creativity (seen in modern domains of art, music, and other aesthetic domains). According to Feist, ornamental/aesthetic forms of creativity– which play on our evolved perceptual functions and evoke strong emotions in the perceiver– were shaped primarily by sexual selection pressures and are therefore more likely to receive a sexual response than applied/technological forms of creativity.
At Kottke, a video of a knife maker and a link to watch axes and chisels being made.

The University of Guelph has a class on Japanese knife making, if anyone wants to learn.  Ah, that link is a little old - I thought the classes were a regular thing. YMMV.
The real patron saint of Journalism.  Writings by George Orwell.
Sometimes, too, he shows himself adept at the why-oh-why column now a Daily Mail staple. Why is handwriting so awful these days? Why are so many foreign words supplanting perfectly good English terms?
He had a gift for the arresting opening line. To wit: “Rudyard Kipling was the only popular English writer of this century who was not at the same time a thoroughly bad writer.” Or this: “There is one way of avoiding thoughts, and that is to think too deeply.” 

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