Category Archives: Game Geekery

The Year Without End Ends

Well, 2008 has been quite a year. I got my daughter back from Russia. I made the decision to put my mother in a nursing home when my wife and I could no longer give her the level of care she required, and then said “see you later” when God took her home.

Well, my daughter is a student now, and my son is in a faraway city, and with mom in the hands of the Lord, my wife and I are real empty nesters now. So what am I going to do about it in 2009? Here are some things I’m considering.

  • Get back on the Wii Fit trail.
  • Finish the “clean house and get rid of unnecessary stuff” project – which may take all year.
  • Learn the 10 songs I’ve finished writing and haven’t yet learned – and learn them.
  • Find the 21 songs I singled out into a “haven’t finished writing but should finish because they’ll probably be good when they’re done” list – and finish writing them. Then I should probably learn them, too.
  • Speaking of my songs, I really should play out more. I’ve averaged one gig a year (except for 2006, which I missed completely).
  • I really should rewrite and edit my novel “,,,and that’s the end of the news”. Then I could use it to find a new agent. Or a publisher. Or both. Don’t know if I’ll get to this one, though.
  • I probably ought to fix that broken Christmas play, too. Again, don’t know if I’ll get there.
  • I need to get the two VBS plays into some kind of shape so they can be sold over the Interweb.
  • I’m also scheduled to write my third VBS show this year, and my first Christmas Pageant. I know I’ll get to those.
  • In October/November of this year I designed a game involving Zombies. Playtested it over Thanksgiving with my son, daughter, and assorted relatives. Now I need to tweak the rules and try another playtest. But when?
  • Finally, I need to get back on the reading wagon. Maybe I’ll buy a Kindle and forget about a lot of that unnecessary writing stuff.

It should be an interesting year.



Barack Obama is promising to bring change if elected. Now you can experience Obama’s brand of change first-hand, before you vote, to see if you like his policies. All you need is a Monopoly game. It might not be easy or fun – but it will give you a real taste of things to come!


There is no banker in Obamapoly. Instead, the player who distributes the money to players is called The Government. The player who is the government does not play like the other players, but is still able to accumulate property and conduct business, as specified below.


Play proceeds mostly as normal, with the following exceptions.

1) Players should keep their money in three piles. The Old Money, which is what they have accumulated on previous turns; New Money, which are funds taken in since last passing Go; and Tax Money, which is 10% of the value of the player’s property, houses and hotels.

2) When players reach Go again, they may not pass it. Instead, they must stop on it and wait for other players to catch up.


Once all players are stopped on Go, the following things happen.

1) Players give their Tax Money to The Government. If they do not have tax money set aside, the government may collect 20% of any monies on hand or seize property to cover the debt.

2) Players must also give The Government 10% of their Old Money.

3) The Government then looks at the New Money collected by all the players. The player with the most New Money becomes “The Top 5%.”

Let’s say on April 15th, the situation looks like this:

Player 1: $150
Player 2: $200
Player 3: $70
Player 4: $50

Player 2 then becomes “The Top 5%.”

The Government then collects half of the New Money from all players. The amount due in our example would look like this:

Player 1: $75
Player 2: $100
Player 3: $35
Player 4: $25

Thus, the players are left with these amounts and The Government collects $235. The Government now “spreads the wealth around” and gives the remaining 95% of Americans a “Tax Cut.” The amount given to each player should leave them with the same amount of New Money that “The Top 5%” has left. Looking at our example:

Player 1: $75 + $25 = $100
Player 2: $100 + $0 = $100
Player 3: $35 + $65 = $100
Player 4: $25 + $75 = $100

The “Top 5%” of course, receives nothing.

If not all of the monies are redistributed, The Government keeps what is left over. In our example, having redistributed $165 of the $235 collected, The Government may now pocket the remaining $70.

Having completed the Go Phase, players may now collect $200 and continue play until reaching Go again. Begin with the player who was the poorest before April 15th.


3) If a player does not have enough money to pay another player Rent, he or she may petition The Government to intervene. The Government may do this by a), dictating a fair price for rent that the player can afford, or b) subsidizing the player’s rent by paying it out of Government funds (formerly “The Bank”).

4) A player never leaves the game because of Bankruptcy. A player who has lost everything may petition The Government for a Bailout, after which The Government pays their rent for the remainder of the game.


Obamapoly ends when:

1) The Government runs out of money, or,

2) The Government owns all of the property on the board, or,

3) All Non-Government players quit in disgust.


Everyone wins. It is more fair that way.


Do not use any house rules when playing Obamapoly. They are not fair.

So Who Am I, Anyway?

It’s a strange thing to find out that something unexpected makes up who you are. I mean, there are some things that I take for granted that make up the bag of protoplasm that happens to be me – my relationship with God and my family, my job, my writing, my addiction to music, my peculiar sense of humor.

Lately I’ve been finding out that other things seem to make up part of who I am. Like dogs. I love dogs, and have great admiration for working dogs. If there’s ever an Animal Planet or Military Channel special about dogs being trained to do jobs, my eyes are glued to the screen. After a double tragedy three years ago, our family never got another dog, and even resisted it for a while. As the friend of one of my work colleagues put it, “A dog is a heartbreak waiting to happen.” I’d put it into similar words, only not as eloquently – that we let dogs into our lives, give them food and shelter and affection, and they pay us back by breaking our hearts.

So when we recently, finally, broke down and got a dog – and this time I had a perfectly legitimate reason for getting one, which will be elaborated on shortly – and I told one of my oldest friends what I had done, his reaction was, “Good. You aren’t you without a dog.”

Why am I always the last to know these things?

Now the reason for the dog is to protect the new chickens I purchased at a swap meet last week. If you’re a reader of The Accidental Farmer, my blog about the rural side of me, you know that about this time last year, coyotes made a series of raids on our farm, and over a couple of days managed to carry off most of the chicken population (one survivor made it to spring and was eaten by a raccoon that was later trapped and measured three feet long). Between this and the three possums that I trapped in the barn over the years, I made the decision that I wasn’t going to go into chickens again unless I could protect them better – and that’s where the dog came in (and you can read more about this process over at the Farmer – I’m not going to reiterate it here).

A writer friend accompanied my daughter and I on the trip, and she ended up writing a funny account that will be posted in “the other place.” In that account, she noted that “the man needs chickens.” She also said, politely, that my personality deteriorated to the point where people were saying they wished I would get more chickens for their sake.

Hmmm. Knew I’d been out of sorts and not myself for a while (I even told my wife that I didn’t feel like there was much of the original me left), but I didn’t realize that it was so noticeable… that I’d become… curmudgeonly. I mean, I knew I liked having chickens. When they were gone, I missed the eggs and the meat. And I enjoyed watching the chickens around the barnyard and feeding them scraps of bread from our porch. In part due to the exercise of looking after them, they got me off of blood pressure medication. I guess I didn’t realize that they were such a calming influence of my life. But others clearly knew that.

Again, why am I always the last to know these things?

Well, anyway, it’s looking now like most of the pieces of the original me have come back in some form or another. iTunes brought music back to me, and the guitar opened up another door in that area. Wargaming has dwindled, but I still have Memoir ’44. And now I have a dog and chickens.

Now that I know all of this, I can see that the apathy I’ve developed toward my writing has started to evaporate, too. For one, I’ve started to develop another (no doubt doomed-to-failure) plan involving completion of the Pirate project this weekend and the Christmas play by fall, with perhaps a revision of And/News slated for the beginning of next year.

The question remains is whether I can shake off this dearth of time and start putting words to paper again.

Good question. All I know is that, were I a believer in signs, I’d know for sure that I had just gotten one. As I finish this post, the song that comes into my ears through my entirely random iPod Shuffle is the one that I plan to use in the Christmas play, when and if I get to direct it.

Now is that a sign or is that a sign?

I don’t know. Ask the dog. Or the chickens.

Nobody gonna take my car
I’m gonna race it to the ground
Nobody gonna beat my car
It’s gonna break the speed of sound
Oooh it’s a killing machine

(via iPod Shuffle)