What’s in a name?

I need to pee. Which isn’t great as opening lines go. I was just about to launch into a self-involved tirade about how terrible my day was and then heap scorn on those who vexed me (Maersk) while simultaneously drenching myself in a good, solid dollop of self pity (my affluent life is so difficult). But now my bladder has laid waste to my machinations and I am forced to tack against the wind. Please standby.

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I used a sailing metaphor. And likely used it incorrectly. But this is my blog and if I want to use an obtuse nonsensical analogy that is my right, as granted to me by Matt Mullenweg and the power of Greyskull. Slash WordPress.

Maersk: ‘Hi Jo. here is your statement for S900, please settle immediately, since this account is overdue’.

Jo: ‘Um… can you send me a copy of the invoice, I’m not entirely sure what this is about’

Maersk: ‘Here you go’

Jo: ‘Um… this Invoice says, Port of lading, Jawaharlal Nehru, India. Port of discharge, Santos, Brazil’.

Maersk: ‘Yeah, so’.

Jo: ‘Well… The first problem is that I’m Johannesburg, South Africa. I think you’ve misallocated the invoice to the wrong customer.

Maersk (Copy and pasted) : ‘Hi Jo. Thanks for your reply, please advise to whom these charges need to be billed? We would need written confirmation from new payer in order to move charges’

Jo: (wondering if they’re messing with me) Um… I have no idea?

Maersk (four hours later) : ‘Hi Jo. Please find attached a copy of your invoice’.

Jo: (its the same invoice) Oh my fuck!

This upsets at least three quarters of my mongrel genealogy. The one quarter nominal Dane is embarrassed by his countrymen. The half German is feeling somewhat smug, but also keeping one eye on that suspicious looking Syrian and the quarter Pole doesn’t care because he’s more interested in holocaust denialism and smuggling cigarettes.

Is it satire or sarcasm that’s the lowest form of wit? I can’t remember. I’m guessing sarcasm, but don’t they broadly mean the same thing? I feel I should probably know this. (I have huges gaps in my tuition) My eighth grade English teacher, a diminutive (but violent) nun called Sister Mary-Joseph used to punch me because I couldn’t identify clauses or the conjunction that joined them. I remember taking a beating in front of the blackboard once because, identified as an English language malingerer, I would randomly point to non specific part of the sentence in the hope that I had guessed correctly and could sit back down. Unfortunately for me Sister Mary-Joseph recognized my duplicity and negatively reinforced me accordingly (with her fists).

Good times.

Still not as bad as Khewzi who was ratted out by Sister Mary-Joseph to Mr. Collier a fearsome, bull of man and deputy headmaster, for some or other undesirable behaviour during Religious Education. (I think he was playing with a condom) Mr. Collier burst into our classroom during mathematics and smacked Khewzi down something fierce in front of the stunned class. I’m talking full on football hooligan type violence. This was the tail end of apartheid and while I imagine that sort of behaviour today would have elicited (in the very least) some serious charges, a black kid back then had no recourse and zero hope for justice. To be fair Khewzi wasn’t a particularly nice kid (he cut my silkworms in half with a pair of scissors) and I don’t think he picked up a beating because he was black but that incident left me pretty rattled. Both parties involved were eventually quietly ushered out of the school and like the crusades, violence of action became a Catholic past tense (mostly).

Interestingly years later I played chess against Khewzi in an inter-school tournament and he trounced me. He seemed to have turned out alright. He certainly wasn’t brain damaged.

It dawns on me that I haven’t seen the the Basset hound in a while. I find him curled up on the recliner in the nursery using the feeding pillow as a cushion. I poke him with my big toe, ‘Oi’, he glares at me.

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I apologize and shuffle off. Basset hounds know psychology. The German Shepherd lives to please, but a Basset understands and works the slave-master mentality. ‘Scratch my neck vagina human’.

He’s getting on a bit. (turning 11 this year) In a morbid bout of fatalism we have started bandying about names for next basset. So far Montgomery Burns leads the short-list. Followed by Elvis Houndsly.

Anyways, I’m tired, so here endeth the blog. More exciting tales of dashing and daring (courageous and caring) will likely follow on the morrow. Or whenever.

TL;TR

I was playing PlayStation. Until my controller ran out of juice. Which depending on your school of thought may have been a fortuitous occurrence because now I’m forced to do something else (possibly something productive even). I’ve recently been feeling guilty (not guilty enough to actually do anything about it, maybe more of a mild malaise) about my more mindless hobbies, PlayStation in particular.

There always seems to be an opportunity cost to playing games. Whether it is reading, or working or even exercising. PlayStation is probably broadly considered the least efficient use of the time available to us. Has killing an end of level boss ever improved your life? Not really. Possibly a small hit of dopamine. But it’s fleeting. On my deathbed it seems unlikely I will look back fondly on all the hours I sunk into… Damn… I was going to say The Witcher… but that is an experience hovering just below my wedding day in terms of general awesomeness. I have no regrets!!!

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I received some positive reinforcement in the book store earlier. I was dilly dallying in Philosophy, wedged unceremoniously around a bend between Judica and Science where I was trying to find a book on Proust (which I couldn’t find, because the philosophy section is a sad, sad* place) but I did see this…

*literally and figuratively.

Which made me feel a bit better. It has a click bait look about it… but interestingly they went for a PS4 controller on the cover, which means they might actually know something about gaming. If they’d gone for a Xbox controller I could have written them off as academic noobs who clearly don’t know anything about anything. However…. (being a hardcore gamer) I’m not sure you can legitimately claim ten things that video gaming can improve. But that such a book exists is comforting.

Wait. Maybe I should start my day at the beginning. I was up at 4am after a bad night. The girl child decided she need to hone her sleep deprivation skillset on us. Some parents try push their children towards neuroscience or biochemistry. We’re coming to terms that our kid is going to be a CIA contractor. (we’ll start CQC training when she turns two) I tried to confess that I was the one that had thrown out her play-doh in the hope that she would relent in her onslaught. But she wasn’t having any of it. (serious work ethic there)

Bleary and not all together copious-mentos I had to take the basset hound to the veterinarian. He has a haematoma* in his eye. It’s not serious, likely from the sun the vet said, but if it’s not healed up in two weeks he’ll have to cauterize it.

*hematoma if you’re from the lilypad on the other side pond and have ‘newspeaked’ the English language (and also continue to resist the metric system, seriously wtf?)

After that I built shelves in the garage out of old roof trusses and shutter-board. We need space to store our ever burgeoning supply of crap*.  It’s not the finest work I’ve ever done, slightly crooked, but those trusses were old and almost fossilized in their hardness. After I’d realized my mistake I didn’t really feel like working the screws out again. (they’d stripped going in) I decided I could live with the whole thing being a little wonky.

*possibly because all the cupboard space in the house is taken up with lego and boardgames. #justsaying.

After that we went to the bookstore.

Essentially to go buy Room on a Broom. (I’ve developed a serious liking for Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler). I gravitated towards Psychology as I’ve been prone to do, which together with Business occupies four solid shelves. Psychology is a bit of a misnomer. You won’t find any Freud or Jung or Maslow there.

Why isn’t it just labeled advice? (or spurious bullshit and lump it together with the esoteria)

Advice. (noun)  guidance or recommendations offered with regard to prudent action.

I’ve (recently) decided it’s all the epitome of ego.

Advice is paired with expertise. There is the assumption that there that the advice giver has a decent grasp on the material that the advice is dispensed about. For example my doctor having studied about infection and disease can give me advice about my malady. I have less knowledge about the subject and so defer to his knowledge.

But things become a little murkier when it comes to life and the plethora of good advice that people feel they need to market to you. Who is qualified to give you life advice anyway? The short answer is no one and fuck you.

Diogenes lived in a barrel and told the most powerful man in the world at the time that he was blocking his sun. How many of us would take life advice these days from a smelly Greek who lived in a barrel? But if Alexander the Great had a twitter account we’d be following every 280* character burst of inanity that came from his hallowed brow. We’ve come to equate wealth and power with success.

*since I think twitter is basically step one to an Orwellian dystopia I had to google this.

As an aside, why is Alexander the Great still great? He was certainly NOT a paragon of humanity and should likely be dumped into the same category as that German fellow, that Russian fellow and that Chinese fellow. (weirdly there no genocidal females… yet) His body count is in the same sort of league (relative to the population of the world). Why we’ve tacked on great to the end of an otherwise blood thirsty psychopath is one of those great mysteries.

Further we then equate success in a certain field with the ability to generate advice on a whole range of topics. For me it’s troubling when someone feels they can dispense advice about something as subjective as happiness. It’s not even something you can address in broad strokes. Not really. For me, success and happiness means something completely different and yet I feel qualified to advise you? Ha ha. Have we really all becomes so unbelievably vain and narcissistic.

The answer is yes we have. Because we genuinely believe we are going to be helping people. If I can just reach out to that poor guy who is wasting his life and inspire him greatness. Hey poor guy wasting your life… I think you’re a loser, and you need my help to turn things around. Buy my book. I will teach you to take control of your wayward existence and make something of yourself.

Fuck that.

I’m so done with this genre. I’ve let people guilt me into this feeling of unfulfilled potential since the moment I was born. I think 39 is a good age to give it all up.

In the end I bought Room on a broom. And a book with pop-up dinosaurs in it. (it was easier just to buy the book than break my daughters fingers) She was pulling a Charlton Heston, ‘Out of my cold, dead hands’ move.

I bought this for myself.

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Which might seem like a weird choice. I think I’ve been going at this all wrong. My infatuation with self improvement books was born out of a desire to learn stuff and therefore be better. But I wasn’t actually improving. All I was doing was reading about what had improved other people and what had made them happy. I was taking a square peg and trying to ram it into a round hole, and then wondering why it wasn’t working.

Anyways. I still want to learn stuff and improve. But not waste my time on stuff as nebulously vague as happiness and self improvement, as listed in a manifesto by some ego maniacal wank who thinks he’s got it all figured out. Thanks, but no thanks.

Now I’m going to learn stuff about spiders. And when my controller is fully charged I’m going to get me a new suit of magical armor. And a shiny new axe. And then I’m going pretend smite some pretend evil.

Looking forward to it.

Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective (Board game)

We all like to imagine that we have some investigative prowess. This game allows you to harness your inner gumshoe… and then be flummoxed by your sheer ineptitude. Really good for the ego and the self assessment.

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I’m undecided about this game. I like the concept. In practice I’m straddling the fence of indecision. In part that’s my personality type running interference and not allowing me to be completely objective. In theory you can pick up this game and play around your coffee table during an evening with your noob friends. Although I can’t see this going well. And since the cases have almost no replay value I think your party needs to be a carefully considered choice played under optimal gaming conditions. (something we definitely didn’t do)

You need REALLY need to concentrate in this game. Even take notes potentially (with diagrams and probability tables) It says co-op but really the dominant personalities in your circle take control and everyone else becomes a passenger.

Sherlock solved our case in four ‘moves’. I think we did it… in about twenty. And then still get a full score because our motive for the crime was waaaay off. We also missed a key location that we struggled to find…. we also followed every single Red Herring casually tossed our way.

THE WIFE!!! It was definitely THE WIFE! (it wasn’t)

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It feels like a really solid well constructed game. Clearly a lot of work has gone into it. I’ve heard rumblings about game breaking errata though and now I’m wondering if we couldn’t find one of the vital locations because of a mistake in the source material instead of our investigative incompetence.

Likely it was still the latter.

I think this game amplifies the angst I experienced of never being able to tell who did it in Columbo or Midsomer Night murders. Clearly I am no Hercule Poirot. Joey is more blunt force trauma than a stiletto between the ribs. Find a suspect and then waterboard them until they confess. I don’t like games that expose my flaws and my inability to think laterally. I like clear goals and objectives.

Still, it was a fun experience. And I think as long as people don’t take themselves too seriously it should be a fun evening.

Bats. et al.

Celebratory post child sleeping coffee run. Double espresso. Which will hopefully shore up the bulwark against the tide of fatigue. I am not hopeful. Years of Redbull abuse has fried my adrenal system to the point where this is more like juice. But it’s more about the sentiment. At least according to the narrative I’ve constructed.

I have a bat swarm* outside my kitchen window. I take a nebulous, ill illuminated picture with my phone in an attempt to illustrate the magnitude of the swarm. It feels like a blurry Blackberry throwback and hardly does the throng justice.

*CR1, AC 16.

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For some reason it reminds me of the homemade pornography I made in my twenties. Dark, grainy and relatively amateurish. (only this time no one falls off the bed, or has to stop recording to go find burn gel)

The male termites are making their nuptial flight from their burrows after the rain. Although they might be harvester ants. My working knowledge of arthropods is largely limited to crushing them under boot. Suffice to say all the bats in my suburb are currently clustered in a densely packed transylvanian flavoured dyson sphere around my house.

The soundtrack to this event is ‘Hey diddle, diddle the cat and the fiddle…’ which is playing in the background on Netflix. It will make for an amusing backdrop if I have to make a dash for the crucifix* in my go-bag (and the garlic from in amongst the onions) and fight off a pale Romanian Boyar with a penchant for O+.

*what you don’t carry religious iconography incase SHTF? Talk about not covering all the bases. I’m just kidding, my go-bag is basically hollow points and chocolate bars. How does the old adage go? You can have never have enough ammunition. Unless…  you’re drowning…. or on fire. Or going through TSA.

To tell you the truth this is not how I imagined my transformative Batman experience going. Glaringly absent is Michael Caine in an English cut chasing me down with a dark green smoothie and dispensing paternal advice about how I’m pushing myself too hard (fighting crime or playing playstation or whatever)

If someone can just point me in the direction of the comment cards, I’d like to complain to the manager.

 

If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him, by Sheldon B. Kopp

One of the best books I have ever read is ‘If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him’, by Sheldon B. Kopp, although I’m very weary of recommending it to people. I think you need to be at a very specific intersection in your life journey to appreciate it. I’ve resisted reviewing it because I think the takeaway from reading it depends very much on your personal life experience (so far) and that my interpretation of this book will be very different to somebody elses.

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For me at least this book blew my mind. In fact after a couple of chapters I had to put it down for a couple of days while my brain masticated and digested this (perceived) Damascusian experience. I’m still not completely done thinking, which is definitely the sign of something happening under the hood. Either this book has had a profound effect on me… or its indicative that I’m not really used to this level of cognition and that the machinery is starting to seize.

I recently read Jordan B. Peterson’s, 12 rules for life. Our Lego didn’t really click, to use a William Gibson-ism, but I’ve noticed myself burning on simmer since reading it, which has led to some big, weird feelings of resentment. (which is strange, since I agree with him on almost everything) I decided I needed to unpack these feelings.

I’ve realized I’ve reached some sort of a tipping point with lifestyle advice, I’m pretty much done.

I’m done with books and podcasts that tell me (often quite sanctimoniously) how to hack my life, how to improve, what rules I need to follow to lead an efficient, happy, fuck-free minimalist life. I’m done with morning rituals, done with 4 hour work weeks, done being so good I can’t be ignored, done with not giving a fuck, done with discipline equaling freedom and done with twelve rules to live my life by, done with all of it.  Thank you very much and fuck you all.

My life is actually fine.

Contrary to what everyone has been telling me.

There is fortunately or unfortunately no Buddha and no Zen wisdom that comes with him. There is only me and I am the Buddha. (In your case, you). I think maybe I needed to wade through all this drivel first in order to come to this conclusion, an answer that is the sum of all my previous experiences, something where you can’t skip to the end or hack your way to the conclusion. I think that is true, so I don’t regret the time I’ve spent on this exercise.

I also think that I’ve gotten through to the other side. And if the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel turns out to be a train, I think I’m okay with that. I quite like trains.

Blueberry milkshake-less

All things considered my day so far has been relatively rubbish with a long dead end meeting sequenced into my morning so as to cause maximum disruption to my day. After that I had one of my warehouse staff bursting into tears in my office because he feels he can’t cope with the pressure of his job*. A forty minute exercise where I tried to be empathetic (not really my strong suite).

*just to be fair, his job today was to sit and scrape the rust off the generator and paint those sections with red-oxide.

In order to catch up I thought I’d treat myself to Uber-eats and work through lunch at my desk. Unfortunately when my Uber arrived my blueberry milkshake had tipped over and painted the inside of his carry compartment (including some other peoples food with blue foamy goodness). Damn. I was really looking forward to that milkshake.

If this had been my sales managers food she would have poked him in the eye and then tombstone pile driven his head into the curb. Like a scene from American History X. Alas I am soft (or exceptionally stoic). I said it was fine. And tipped him anyway.

Now post event I’m having the decision making angst. I can’t decide if I was just conflict adverse after a long morning of fighting with people. Or if it was a serious c’est la vie moment. I’m hoping for the latter, although maybe I’m just trying to convince myself.

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Hmm.

The Grizzled (Board game)

This game follows the lives of six French soldiers in the trenches of the Great War. Can the constant threat of ‘going over the top’, shelling by artillery, mustard gas and the miserable weather destroy their friendship?

The short answer is yes. Yes it can. Mostly because they all die! And that seems like a very permanent friendship ending sort of arrangement.

This is probably the hardest most impossible game I’ve ever played. Weirdly that doesn’t make it any less fun. I had a really great time.

For me this game meant a faux French accent and quoting Top Secret while laughing at the insane difficulty level (and at my own jokes)

To start everyone gets a Frenchman and two support tokens. (The coffee cups) The first player is decided by the hairiest player. (Go figure)

Gustaves sense of snow

The game is pretty simple. But deadly. You draw from a card from the mission deck and set it down in the middle of the table.

This card for example adds an extra whistle to the card row. This mission means two cards are dealt to each player for the round from the morale deck. (Plus whatever cards you still have left over from previous rounds)

Players in turn have to add cards to the row. If you ever get more than three cards of one ‘type’ the mission fails and a whole bunch of extra cards are added to the stack. The point of the game is to reduce the stack to zero. If you run out of cards to add, or any player gets four card effects (like a physiological or psychological condition) everyone dies and the game is over.

For example in this round there are two whistles, two gas masks, one shell, and two night time cards and two snow cards (one because Gustave picked up a trauma card which adds a snow). Putting down another gas mask, whistle, night time or another snow card will fail the mission.

It sounds like a super simple premise…. but it’s really hard since you can’t strategize amongst yourself what cards you have in your hand and it’s really easy to quickly rack up a TPK (total party kill)

Once a player decides he can’t add anymore cards to the row without risking everyone’s demise he withdraws his character from the battlefield. Once everyone withdraws that mission is over.

Once back in the trenches you can support another character (with hot coffee). That player can remove some card effects on his character card, like Gustaves snow phobia and potentially get a ‘rousing speech’ token which can remove some card effects during the game.

There are a couple of other nuances, but those are the basic mechanics.

It’s a really quick, fun, cooperative game. I give this game a friendship ending rating of

0/5*

*The cooperative Mage Knight rates 1/5 for losing friends, while Dead of winter will make you deeply suspicious of the people you’ve known and trusted for years and rates a whopping 4/5.

I highly recommend this game. Even if it does seem impossible to actually win.

Willowcreek

We went away for the weekend because my friend won a holiday. Albeit in the middle of nowhere (with somewhat challenging circuitous ‘roads’ and other navigational hazards involved in getting there).

Three hours from Johannesburg via towns I’ve never even heard of (let alone knew existed). It requires dodging potholes and donkeys but its a very pretty part of the world.

It has a log cabin (in the woods) esque type vibe with no cellphone service. There are three or four other cabins on this farm, but I only ever saw sign boards for the others, so relatively isolated from each other. Nor did we see any other people while we were there.

This one was our cabin.

I tend to oscillate between savage and nerdy pursuits so an appreciation of the fine art of fly fishing is generally lost on me. (It’s not punching people in the face nor is it playing pretend and rolling dice) Also probably a limiting factor is my inability to be absorbed in a menial task like repetitive casting for any length of time. I imagine some people find it meditative. I find it quite difficult to switch off. Maybe one day when I’m big.

Still, I did try it for a while and trundled down to the dam with a borrowed rod. It’s was okay. I mean mostly you just stand there… wasting time. It’s not very efficient. My friend swears that without drinking single malt from a hip flask I was never really going to ‘get it’ anyway.

To be fair I find value in other nonsensical things which other people might be equally judgmental about. The cabin provided some board games (scrabble and monopoly). Which I thought was quite cute.

We brought our own. Although with three kids (between the ages of 8 months and three years) finding time to sit and play anything substantial for any length of time was perhaps wishful thinking.

Played two games I’ve never played before, The Grizzled, a fun but super difficult cooperative card game and Sherlock Holmes consulting detective which is a very different kind of ‘board’ game. I’m not really sure how you’d classify it. Oh. Thematic co-operative murder mystery. Well there you go.

Daaaaaad, take the picture already

It was a good weekend, with friends I’ve had since the first grade. Now we’ve all gotten married and bred a new generation of role-players. It’s an odd feeling.

Found this in the cabin bookshelf (next to the monopoly). I didn’t read it, but the title made me wonder if maybe I’d be writing a book like this one day…

An eclectic mix of tags

My day has gone distinctly sideways on me. I can tell because I’m listening to Nine Inch Nails at volume on my Bose. The self destructive, depressed, banging Courtney Love, drugged up Trent Reznor. Not the much more together and totally less angry individual of today. Further down the spiral. Which is how I feel about life right now.

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Motherfucker looks good for 52. Wait what? When did that happen? If you’re as confused as I am there could be several reasons for this.

My excuse (currently) is that the coffee machine was empty, so I’m drinking instant. Which is only slightly better than drinking toilet water. Well, my dogs would probably prefer toilet water (now that I think about it).

I need to take break from the one hundred and sixty four unread emails and the dangerously piled stacks of paper on my desk that are beginning to lean precariously to one side. One ill considered move could spell disaster. Although I suppose it could also spell something else, depending on how they fall.

I’ve been awake since about 2am this morning, wrenched from REM sleep by a Basset Hound who wanted to go pee (in the rain). A quick resolution to the bladder crisis didn’t seem to be on the cards and by the time he did feel the need to lackadaisically wander back, he was of course soaked (much to his surprise I imagine). By this stage I’d irradiated my shadow into the bedroom wall with blue light* waiting for him to complete whatever predawn shenanigans basset hounds get up to snuffling around in the undergrowth. Of course then he wouldn’t settle until I’d dried him and re-furled him into his blanket.

*while I read the Wikipedia article on Steve Jackson. (he likes lego and model trains, I knew we are kindred spirits!!)

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Happy now? Actually… since you’re up… could you bring me a cookie?

After that sleep was largely a parody. I should have started working or gone for a run or something. Instead I idled away my time watching people play Starcraft on YouTube. I still count not being able to rescue Sarah Kerrigan from the Zerg as one of the biggest failures in my life. A burden I have carried around with me now for more than 20 years.

Is it just me or were the Superbowl commercials this year less good than in previous years? (the other thing I did) Only one really made me laugh, part 1 of the Bud Light commercial. Maybe I’m just getting harder to please in my old age.

‘They have arrows with fire… which… probably don’t hurt more than the regular ones’. 

Ha ha.

That is an eclectic mix of tags you have on your blog post there Joey.

In other news I’m going fishing this weekend. I say fishing… but really that means fishing will be happening around me, while I… drown out my inner monologue with Five Finger Death Punch and read comics.

To me, this is fishing…

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I don’t really understand the allure of fly fishing (although the gear-queer in me gets all exited by those vests with all the little pockets) and then letting what you catch, go? Huh? That seems counter-evolutionary. I think it might be meditative for some people, you know get out into nature and pull an aquatic creature out of its environment by its mouth. You guys are weird.

#justsaying

 

Firefly (Board game)

I harbor a deep, smoldering resentment for only two* things in my life. Mr. Oliver, my grade seven maths teacher and the Fox television network (because they cancelled Firefly).

*this number has been known to change whimsically

I take my Firefly board gaming very seriously. Potentially more seriously than other games. I also take my losses very hard (and very personally*) often constructing a post-game analysis in my mind (and plotting revenge) while I lie awake staring at the ceiling. My wife knows this is not a time to try and get frisky.

*which often piggy backs into other games. ‘Remember that time (could be several years ago) you stole my contraband/trade goods/Waterdeep nib…. yeah… I’m nuking your home planet now’. (which is a lot like US foreign policy I’ve realized)

Even if this game wasn’t Firefly themed, I’d still like it. It has most of the elements I appreciate in a board game.

  1. Scarcity of resources. (you need everything)
  2. Various ways to get points, and
  3. Money is points. So spending it to get better and earn more points, hurts you.

I drew Monty as my random captain and then took a standard Firefly. He’s a good, solid and relatively flexible captain. His greatest asset is that he’s also a mechanic (which is one half of the pilot/mechanic combo that you need to have a decent shot at survival)

I decided I’d wait and see what equipment and crew was available before I committed myself to any particular strategy. (which is unusually considered of me)

One thing I often do right near the beginning is get solid with Harken by doing some legal government type business. I know it’s basically prostitution but I find being Harkens buddy makes traversing the core a little less scary.

Especially when that customs inspection card comes calling. So what if I sell out to the man… It also gives me some time to think about what sort of space rogue I want to be when I grow up.

After two or three turns I still hadn’t decided so I trundled off to move some Cargo for Ammon Duul. He’s also quite a useful contact to be solid with.

I hate drafted Billy along the way. I didn’t really need another mechanic, but denying someone else a mechanic seemed like a reasonable tactic. (There are only a limited number of mechanics in the game) Then I drew Jesse, a pilot. With two crew giving me bonuses for salvage ops I decided on a course of action. I’d skirt the core just inside rim space and search for wrecks and abandoned space junk. When my hold was full I’d return to Ammon Duul and sell my swag. Repeat as necessary.

Yeah… I was Rim jobbing…

My set up about midway through the game.

This worked out well for me. I managed to churn a fair amount of money and I avoided long dangerous runs into Reaver space, which requires a lot of expensive crew and equipment. It also means I could ignore missions and the associated pain of ‘aim to misbehave’.

Firefly is a great game, with efficiency, probability and risk management elements. You need gear and crew to make you better at being able to earn money, but your money is also how you win the game. It’s a fine balancing act. Run light and you’ll loose. Run heavy and you’ll loose.

I give Firefly a friendship ending rating of :

2.5/5*

*as a term of reference, Sheriff of Nottingham rates 0/5, ie no chance of losing friends and Twilight Imperium rates 4/5 Which at some point guarantees bloodshed (and that your children will one day have to avenge you)

2.5 sounds quite high. It could be as low as one. But if you play with all the expansions, the ability to attack and derail your friends increases dramatically. In our gaming group you constantly need to watch the ‘Wanted’ deck in case you have any crew members that could entice your fellow captains into a hostile boarding action with explosives and cutting torches. Even without a hefty bounty… piracy out of malice is not unheard of (in fact I’m pretty sure I’ve done this)

Declaration of shame. This is actually one of the (few) games I have rage-quit in the past. Because of the randomness of flying through space it is possible that a brief sojourn into ‘the big black’ turns into a clusterfuck of ‘blown out buffer panels’, ‘fuel coupling failures’ and ‘Reaver cutters’. I was falling behind and in desperation I designed to transport an entire hold full of refugees across space (a very profitable exercise). I got hit with a Reaver cutter that killed half my crew and all my passengers. (didn’t have the requirements for a crazy Ivan) This reshuffles the deck, as I limped off I got hit by ANOTHER Reaver cutter. Which killed the rest of my crew. 

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Suffice to say I was very unhappy. Destitute, crew-less and floating miles away from anywhere, I called it an evening. And then cried myself to sleep.

This is a very satisfying game to win (because its relatively difficult). A feeling that you need to laud over your friends by pelvic thrusting and wearing a pretty floral bonnet. (This egocentric behavior may actually explain the dynamic in our gaming group)

Firefly is made better by the associated banter, the verbatim quoting of lines from the series and (fake in our case) swearing in mandarin as we pass our stegosaurus first player marker around

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No card board cut-out for us. We’re too cool for that.

Haul out your brown coat and kosherize your rules. Still one of the bestest games in the ‘verse.