Here's an amusing health message for all rpg players!
Fantasy Flight Games is going to be ending their production of role playing games soon. They will release the products that have already been announced and then that will be it. In my opinion, FFG produced RPGs that were well made, in terms of systems, but then were poorly implemented in terms of what RPG players in the market expect. A big problem with the FFG games was the lack of pre-made adventures. Each game seemed to only get a few of those. Paizo and WOTC, on the other hand, pump out adventures in both book and one-shot organized play form at an astonishing rate. Most GMs, myself included, don't have time to handcraft home brew games. Thus, it is helpful to take pre-made adventures and use them as a skeleton for your games. In my case, I'm GM several different on-going campagins. It seems to be the same with the other GMs I know. When you are in that situation, prep time is at a premium. The other thing FFG dropped the ball on with their games was the organized play areana. Organized Play is essential to keeping RPGs attracting new players. The ability for newcomers to the genre to simply show up at a store and sit down in a game and start playing is essential. Stores provide a safe environment for people to make new friends and learn new games. That is what stores offer that online retailers do not. My children and I love the main friendly local game store we hang out at, and we are known at all the other local games stores as well, which we visit for special events. If you have a good local game store, it functions as that place "where everybody knows your name" for geeks in the area. RPGs tap into that community through organized play. FFG does a good job at organized play for it's board games and miniatures games. So it never made sense why they didn't do the same with their RPGs. But that will soon be part of gaming history. Personally, I recommend picking up FFG's line of Star Wars RPGs while they are avaiable. It is an incredible system that is a lot of fun to play.
Here's a wonderful short video that the BBC just put out explaining introversion. The fact is that our current American society is unknowingly hostile toward introverts quite often. This is also the case in our schools where somehow we've gotten it into our collective heads that we should be forcing students to constantly talk to each other. To be sure the extroverted students in school love this. And since they make up the majority of the general population (and are by their very nature the most outspoken when compared to introverts) it's easy to see why the situation has devolved into its current state. Constantly being forced to talk is a huge stressor to introverts, however. My own children tell me they can't stand the "Turn and talk to your shoulder partner" activity constantly being done in classrooms now. I hate it when it's done to me in staff development trainings as well. And as usual in education, there is absolutely no actual research backing this latest fad up. This wonderful little video lets introverts know that not only is there absolutely nothing wrong with them, but that introversion is a needed trait within society.
And then to follow it up, here is a TED talk by Susan Cain, the author of the phenomenal book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. Her book should be required reading for all educators. We must respect all sides of the spectrum of interpersonal communication in education if we are going to meet the needs of all students.
"There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind."
"Love is at the root of everything, love or the lack of it."
The movie "Won't you be my neighbor?" was a stunning documentary released last year. This year saw the dramatized version of Mr. Rodgers's life with Tom Hanks, "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," which was another exceptional movie. Last year the biography “The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers" came out, which I am just starting to read. Many people are enthralled with Mr. Rodgers right now it appears. And perhaps it is easy to see why. In America right now, the reality of our schisms are constantly being thrust in our faces. We are learning the hard way that people just aren't very talented, on the whole, at dealing with the religious and philosophical differences between them. And so, many people are pining for a Mr. Rodgers in their lives right now. Someone who holds at bay their own inner turmoil, in order to kindly and compassionately deal with theirs, is what so many crave. A physical, non-mystical, loving parent or caretaker for those who never had one, or a strong friend (neighbor) with an unerringly kind heart for the rest... Too often when we research the lives of past people who have been held up as heroes we find that they had more than just feet made out of clay. This is one of the most fun aspects of history for many middle and high school students. They love to learn that Washington, Edison, or Newton had serious issues and weren't all that nice. This attitude is pervasive within society as a whole right now. We are so quick to pounce and tear at the first signs of a crack in the image of anyone believed to be good. But that's why Mr. Rodgers has become such a topic of conversation now. For once there appears to be someone who just can't be dragged down. The rumors about him turn out to be false. He really did simply put others, not just children, before himself, day after day after day. And by sacrificing himself in that way he gave so many something they are desparate for right now: an actual hero. A soft-spoken, truly kind hero.
"That's where the crows will sit. But we'll have to put an elevator to put them up there because they can't fly, but they don't know that, so they still try."
This amusing quote reminds me of the educational practice known as scaffolding. It's the act of building an intellectual structure around a student to allow them to succeed at a task which would otherwise be beyond their base abilities.
I spent part of yesterday cleaning and ran across a photo album containing a couple pictures from high school and then many from college. I decided I should probably scan them all and upload them to my Amazon Prime account to make sure nothing happens to them. It ended up being an emotional task for me. I ran across photos I had forgotten were taken. Joy, sadness, love, and heartache… These are the things that remain frozen in our neuronal patterns decades after events transpire. The specifics of the events become cloudy, ill-defined. And yet the emotion often lives on crystal clear, albeit diminished.
Within that liminal period of my life spent in college, I became friends with a group of young men and women who grabbed on to me tighter than any friends ever had before. We had in common that we were enthralled with poetry and music. The Dead Poets Society and Swing Kids were our movie anthems. In other words, we were typical, intellectual college students in the early 90s. Or maybe not. It was a foregone conclusion that we would soon start our own version of a dead poets society. Usually we would hold our meetings late at night, past curfew (our college had one), out in the woods in a little clearing we found. We dragged over some logs, found a tiny plastic table to put candles on (which caught on fire eventually), and added an incense burning tray. And then we would read our poetry. Sometimes it was poetry written by “real poets” that we found personally meaningful. Other times we read our own. We wrote poems about our lives and thoughts to share, and then sometimes poems to and in honor of each other to show that we cared. Luckily, one of our members happened to have possession of a duplicate of the master key to the college. That key came in handy after curfew, particularly when it rained. We found an attic entrance in a classroom building that we could get up into. Inside were all sorts of detritus left from decades gone by. It was a wonderfully musty, dark, and mysterious area that certainly didn’t warrant the name of “room”. And so, the poetry could continue through the storms.
Apparently, the board game market is growing at an annual rate of over 10% at this point. This is due to the fact that people are getting tired of digital entertainment to a larger and larger extent. Board games just feel more real and they are certainly more social than video games. According to the article, tabletop games will be growing at a faster pace than video games for the next five years at least.
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