Adventures in Gaming

A few years back, all my game group would play are what are called “Euros.” These are games where you basically do a lot of math and strategize for 3 hours and hope you mathed better than everyone else. There was always a theme, though light, and what mattered was calculating the perfect strategy.

RPGs are a great way to combine both strategy and storytelling in gaming.

A year or two of playing games like that burnt me out. Around the same time I started playing my first role playing game (RPG). It was Star Wars and super fun! Then after that campaign, we decided on trying out the new Dungeons and Dragons rule set (5th edition). What a whirlwind that’s been! I think playing RPGs both digital and physical has completely changed the way I approach gaming.

I love getting into the adventure and story. I love rolling a fist full of dice, hoping I defeat the monster. While I still love math and strategy games, I love the lighter and more fluid games more these days.

Why the change? I’ve actually always been a very imaginative person. I used to sit in my apple tree and come up with all sorts of stories and worlds in my head. I had an imaginary friend named Yoshi and had created an entire story and world around him. In middle school, I would write Star Wars Fan Fiction and random comics with friends. So it’s actually no surprise that I would love storytelling in gaming.

A Call to Adventure is an awesome game that you tell a story of your character at the end but there’s still strategy involved.

I also have a math degree, so there is a measure of strategy and mathematics that I love in gaming. Most RPGs actually have quite a bit of math in them and adding up dice rolls and stats on the fly is a great lesson in mental math.

Does this mean I won’t play an abstract game with little theme? By no means! I’m loving games like Azul, and word games like Codenames are quite fun too.

I just find that as I grow older, the type of gaming I am into has changed. Not only that, but our gaming group has changed drastically. While we still have the core 3 of us, we have added a couple other gamers to the group. These gamers are more into shorter games, especially ones that are cooperative. And when learning new games, they enjoy games that can be learned in 20 minutes or less.

I’m okay with this change though. While my Monday night group isn’t totally into storytelling games, they are into a good mix of gaming and adventure. One big example is Mansions of Madness! It has strategy, theme, storytelling, and math. Another game we have been enjoying lately is Mystic Vale and Call to Adventure. There’s a good combo of strategy and theme in the game.

I think gaming is a great outlet for my imagination. As a kid I wrote stories and playacted, now I get to do that in gaming form. I think as adults we sometimes lose that imagination and forget what it’s like to role play and be in different world. As my son grows older and his imagination develops, I’m excited to enjoy adventure gaming with him and create amazing stories!

Does it spark joy?

Marie Kondo’s show on Netflix, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, as well as her acclaimed book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up as inspired many to take a look at their possessions and ask “Does it spark joy?”

Our kitchen stuff we got rid of, amazing to see how much we had that we didnb’t even know what it was!

My husband and I knew we wanted to do some spring cleaning, but after he starting watching the show on Netflix, he began first by going through his entire wardrobe. I was quite inspired, so over the course of the next few weeks, we went through our entire house and “Marie Kondo’d” it.

After over 8 trunk loads to Goodwill and other donations, we officially finished Tidying Up our house! It was amazing, and we feel so much more organized and at peace with how clean our house is. Not only did we get rid of a lot of stuff that we didn’t need or want, but we also reorganized how we did each drawer, closet, and space.

My side table is so much more organized now!

We used our old Apple device boxes as drawer organizers, as well as some organizers from the store. We also tried to optimize each space based on how much we use the item. For example, in our kitchen, we made sure to put the bowls and pans in an easy to grab cabinet especially since I am short and can’t reach all the cabinets in the house.

We also went through all my son’s toys and books, and made sure he had easy access to them. My son is very visual, so having a box of toys hidden way in a drawer meant he never opened that drawer. So we made sure each of his toys were in an open container he could see and know what was in the box. So now his play-doh and cars are in an open container that he can easily pull out and play with.

My son’s toys and games are on the bottom two shelves of this bookcase, easy access and space to play with his toys directly in front of the shelf.

Our biggest takeaway from Tidying Up is being able to clean our house so much easier. We have a spot for everything now, and instead of trying to stuff it in a drawer or cabinet, there is a distinct spot for it. Also, going shopping at a store, I’m amazed how much less I buy now. I really do ask “Does it spark joy?” every time I go to the store now and pick something out.

Does it mean we don’t keep anything that doesn’t “spark joy?” Sure, the toilet plunger doesn’t spark joy but it is useful and important. Asking the question is more for stuff that we don’t need, but want. For example, if I’m going to a board game shop or comic book shop, I will ask “will this spark joy?” I still bought comics and board games this week, but I really considered before buying.

Keeping the house clean is a much easier task with much less stuff to pick up.

The goal of Tidying Up is that it is supposed to be so extreme that you only do it once or twice in your life. And once you go through everything, it should change your lifestyle and perspective. You will be able to keep things organized and tidied up, hopefully for the rest of your life.

Ways to Celebrate Pi Day

Pi Day is the one day where mathematicians and non-mathematicians can join together in an awesome holiday to eat pie, appreciate Pi, and throw a party or two.  Here are some ways to make the most out of your Pi Day.

From my 1st pi day party with friends and family, 3 years ago.
From my 1st pi day party with friends and family, 3 years ago.

1.  Throw a Pi Day party!

This is the most obvious choice, as most people enjoy pie, whether it be pizza pie or dessert pie or even a meat pie.  If you’re a math geek, this is the best way to lure in your non-math friends & family for some fun and math puns.  Play some games, eat pie, and enjoy people’s company.

2. Have a math movie/tv marathon

-I.Q. is a lighthearted, fun math movie in which a mechanic fakes being a math genius to order to win the heart of Einstein’s niece.

-Proof is about a daughter of a math genius who is trying to finish her father’s work as he’s become mentally ill.

-Story of One is a fantastic math documentary narrated by ex-Monty Python member Terry Jones.

-Beautiful Mind is dramatic biography about a man named John Nash who created Game Theory.

Other suggestions: Stand & Deliver, Good Will Hunting, Pi, Donald in Mathmagic Land, Numb3rs, Cyberchase

3. Play math games

-Sumoko: Bananagrams but with math operations

-Math Dash: Scrabble with math operations

-Stone Age: not a math game per se, but every turn requires math calculations

Other suggestions: Blokus, Rubik’s cubes, Geek Battle Trivia

Even if you aren’t a math person, Pi Day can still be a way to learn some facts about math, play games, watch a movie, or have fun with friends.