Gen Con: chair view (part 3)

 

If you follow my blog but not T.R.’s, you likely missed part three of this Gen Con accessibility mini-portrait. As you may have read yesterday, I left Indianapolis at that time to head home and attend a writers conference at Taylor University. But Gen Con continues, going strong as four very full days create those “Best Four Days in Gaming“.

After my views from the chair, here you can find T.R.’s “Views from behind the chair.”

If others have experiences in this area, positive or negative, I’d love to hear about them!

Gen Con – views from the chair (part one)

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Games: a frequent theme of life in the Knight house. My husband T.R. adores games, and our family enjoys them together in many ways. He not only taught a “Game Studies” course last semester at Taylor University last semester, but he helped organize a “Family Game Night” at our church in July. One reason he and I have enjoyed more games together is simple: board and card games create great activities we can experience in full despite disability.

Over the past four or five years, he has also become more a part of the professional side of gaming. Gradually, he started volunteering for a European game company that was to have a booth in Indianapolis. Then he got to know those in the industry better, and he started freelancing, primarily as a proofreader. Fast forward a few years there, and you will find all four of the Knight Family members at Gen Con.

Gen Con, “The Best Four Days in Gaming,” will find scads of people filling the Indianapolis Convention Center, even spilling into Lucas Oil Stadium this year. Estimates predict 60-70,000 attendees this year, making this event the largest Indy tourist attraction of the year, a larger financial boost for the city than the Indy 500 or NCAA finals.

IMG_0657.JPGIMG_0652How does this affect me? We arrived early, as T.R. and our daughters spent time yesterday and today helping set up a booth, where they’ll be working for a few hours each afternoon. With this large of an event, participants also pick up tickets early. And this is the second way the Convention Center really impressed me! After dinner, we decided to see if we could pick up and exchange a few tickets, changes we had made since sign-up a few months ago. A long line, twenty to thirty minutes long, we were told, snaked through a hallway then around a group of turnstiles. We weren’t certain a wheelchair could make those turns, and T.R. saw a sign near the line’s end that read “Special Services.”

The kind, patient folks helped all four of us with our ticket switches! Being in a wheelchair may not hold a lot of bonuses, but this certainly ranked up there. If this was the second, what was the first? It came in January, when Gen Con attendees are first able to reserve hotel rooms. Because we needed to reserve a handicap accessible room, we were allowed to hold a room before the official time window opened. Proof to me that sometimes, one needs to plan ahead. And ask. Also a demonstration of the professional hospitality one can find in our great state.

I already feel more encouraged about tomorrow’s Gen Con time – you’ll be hearing from me then, as I describe my “view from this chair.”

Day 25 – Thirty Days of Thanks – random summer stuff

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Summer break is a time for fun mini-adventures, often within the walls of our house. “Fun” for us may not be what would excite others, but isn’t that part of what makes summer break especially lovely? The chance to pause and enjoy unique blessings – I’ll share a few of those below.

Today’s 5 Thankful Things:

  1. IMG_0613New recipes to try – When I saw “French toast waffles” in a recipe email, I decided to give it a try. And family members made it work – this was fun!
  1. IMG_0619Twinkletoes – or at least painted toenails. Though she has lovely blue-painted nails herself, my kind daughter painted my toenails a beautiful burgundy.
  1. Blog adventures with our girls – On her own blog, twin number one examined the inner struggle she faces IMG_0629while finishing an assignment due at the start of school. She has this final paper almost completed, and the last part of it finds her dragging her heels. (It IS vacation, and I wonder how many AP students will have this assignment finished. This girl will, I know. But that doesn’t mean she has to like it.)
  1. Blog adventure number two – The second sister has been continuing to post on her art blog daily. You may recall that she started the blog in early July – how fun to see the growth that has been taking place!
  1. More game adventures – My husband and his friends have been playing a “legacy” game over the past few months, a game where things change and cards are even torn up as they go. It is so fun to hear these four friends laughing and groaning and cheering and lamenting… proof that games aren’t just for kids. Or that “kids” are defined by more than age.

Day 21 – Thirty Days of Thanks – playing together

Today’s 5 Thankful things:

  1.  Game night! – Our church had its first “Game Night” yesterday evening – more than fifty people came together to enjoy card and board games! Lots of fun for ages 13-82, and everything in between.
  1. Showing that adults can have fun, too – How Image-1fun to teach new games and play them with friends last night. It is so fun to teach “Fluxx” to people who hadn’t seen it before.
  1. School supply time – it’s rather crazy to think that school begins in just a few weeks, but it does … and that means school supplies are on sale!
  1. New sharpies – “Sharpie” markers are the BEST, and back-to-school sale time is the best time to snatch them up. Sales are wonderful!
  1. Family movie time – We enjoy watching movies together as a family, and we had a delightful time watching the extras from “Zootopia.” We enjoyed this movie when we first saw it in March, and now that we purchased it on DVD, we are appreciating it even more.

Day 14 – Thirty Days of Thanks – making special memories

Today’s 5 Thankful things – blueberries, shopping, and unplanned tech adventure:

  1. Fresh blueberries – Fresh blueberries are one of my very favorite fruits! I think I was first turned on to this delicious, juicy, plump and tender berry when I was three-and-a-half. How am I so specific? When Matt was born, toddler me was staying at Aunt Chrisann’s house. And she took us to a local blueberry farm one day, where we picked these wonderful berries. Buckets in my mind, but when they came home we brought them back to the house and ate the fruits, I thought they were the best ever. Surprisingly, I never picked blueberries at a farm again. Not able to do the picking myself, I so appreciate when we can visit a blueberry farm and purchase boxes of these delicacies, pre-picked by folks that day. Mmmmmm… will talk more about these in days go come.
  1. Unplanned tech adventure – The day we arrived at the lake is the day I first heard in the news about a little game called pokemon go… you may have heard about it. But my brother and husband have spent several days finding and collecting digital characters as they took walks on the streets in this area. And we’re talking about two tech professionals here… it’s been fun to watch.
  1. Wireless internet access – I appreciate having the ability to make a connection to the online world at a new place, making it so I can upload this blog without needing to plug in somewhere.
  1. Outlet bargains – Our first day in town, we went straight to Pepperidge Farm outlet store, where we purchased 8 or so loaves of bread and a bag of bagels for only $12.23, or something like that. A week of sandwich bread and such… awesome! (This even included a loaf of blueberry swirl bread!)
  1. Family shopping traditions – The outlet mall offers a neat place for kids in the family to find back-to-school shoes and such each year. Great tradition, even if it means that school is less than a month away. …yes, it is.

Day 13 – Thirty Days of Thanks – Family Blessings

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Today’s 5 Thankful things – ice cream, family, and memories: 

  1. oinks sign.JPGFun ice cream shop IMG_0521.JPGOink’s Dairy Delight offers a fun trip for our family each summer – wonderful dips of hard ice cream in more flavors than Ivanhoe’s has in its case. And fun decorations, even in the parking spots!
  1. Thoughtful little meal choices – When somebody like me has annoying allergies (like jalapeño peppers and black pepper), it is so appreciated when those preparing meals find ways to kindly, not ostentatiously, make necessary alterations. Thank you, Phoenix and Laura!
  1. Cousin love cousins16It is such a beautiful thing when cousins who haven’t seen one another for months (about a year, really) get to see one another, even if only for a few hours. Love you, Carolyn and Pam! It is especially enjoyable to trip through past memories, and to give our own children a chance to touch base with their second cousins.
  1. The quietest “party game” ever – “Codenames” is great fun, and our family, ages 9-73, really enjoyed playing this game several times. The game has won several awards, and I see why!
  1. The family puzzle – We brought a “3-D Castle” puzzle with us to the lake castle puzzlethis year, and at least six different family members worked together to complete this. With my uncooperative vision, puzzles tend to be an exercise in frustration for me, but I really enjoy viewing completed masterpieces!

Accessibility in the Game of Life

Knight-119My loving husband plays many roles. He is my best friend, father of our two wonderful daughters, my partner in life, and, in the midst of all of this, a caregiver to yours truly. T.R. is also a very creative and intelligent fellow who has always enjoyed games of many types. For Christmas, he gave me a group of special gifts: ones that would help make my own enjoyment of games more accessible, you could say.

On his own blog, T.R. painted a pretty accurate picture of challenges some face when it comes to accessibility and gaming. The need for quickness, small text, color issues, trouble manipulating tiny pieces… these can all cause frustration that zaps the enjoyment from play.

He received a variety of responses, and as I was thinking of how I could best write about this topic here, a question  was posed by one of his readers: what games does his wife enjoy playing? There was my topic! So below is the post that appeared on his blog, Freelance Knight, this morning.


T.R.’s wife here. After last week’s great post about accessibility in gaming, some have wondered about my own thoughts. What games do I like? And my own addition to this question: how has this changed over the past few years?

During our first years of marriage, T.R. and I enjoyed playing games when we could, but there weren’t a lot of 2-person options. This was more than 20 years ago, you know. (And I was a middle school teacher, so there wasn’t a lot of game time except during holiday breaks.) When T.R. was visiting a game shop in Indianapolis in early 1997, though, he asked a worker there for suggestions for a game his wife would enjoy… and this is when “Fluxx” entered our home. We both loved it, and I never imagined that it would still be a favorite almost twenty years later. Or that we would have eight or so different versions of this game in our cabinet.

Why do I mention this? First, because some things don’t change. This game is still a favorite due to its wackiness, its intelligent simplicity, and its measured randomness. Secondly, play of this game (and other card games we enjoy) could be simplified for me with the simple, nifty card-holding device T.R. gave me as a Christmas gift. I look forward to using this!

Angie wins Lexigo

Angie wins Lexigo

What other games do I enjoy? To be honest, I really enjoy word games. Our newest one is Lexigo, and I also enjoy the word-building card game Quiddler. Then there’s always Scrabble! (This game generally annoys my dear husband, but he has found the “Book Lover’s” edition more palatable, I think.)

When it comes to other board games, T.R. had a good point in that I appreciate games that do not require extreme speed or manual dexterity. This is something that has changed since the advent and progression of multiple sclerosis in my life. For somebody who used to play piano and enjoyed creating jewelry and such with polymer clay or beads, games that involve moving small objects quickly or in a targeted manner are discouraging. I do not play games to become frustrated with my own inabilities, but to enjoy interaction with others in a targeted, creative, and fun way.

As such, other games I enjoy include Quilt ShowTakenokoSplendorTsuroCodenames, and Diamonds. Cooperative games I’ve really enjoyed also include Hanabi and Kings of Israel. In addition to these newer games, I still enjoy the trick-taking card game Euchre, along with traditional dice-rolling Yahtzee or Farkle. (Interestingly, all three of these are also playable electronically, often with others who live far away.)

What makes these games stand out for me? The games above are ones I can enjoy of my own volition, without needing to be completely dependent on a partner. Life’s limitations have grown over the recent years, and games present a chance for me to experience fun without facing quite so many frustrations. I also feel like having to be too dependent on a partner takes away from the enjoyment that he or she is experiencing.

That having been said, I know that other family members enjoy diversions that I don’t appreciate quite so much. Games that involve speed or battles or cards with a lot of small text to quickly interpret… well, these are fun to watch and listen to. But me playing them will likely frustrate others as much as yours truly. [little explanation: I generally enjoy reading, but scars on the optic nerves have led to “internuclear ophthamoplegia,” where my eyes don’t always like to work together. Smaller or hard-to-distinguish print makes reading particularly tough.]

I mentioned initially that Fluxx is a game I really enjoy. But what about the cards with a lot of text? You see, after 19 years, this is familiar and predictable text. And the print isn’t too small. Also, it’s fun to have a game we can play the same way we did before I even knew what MS was. In years to come, one thing I’m certain of is that life will be uncertain. Like this game, the rules will change in a split second, and what do we do? We play along. We laugh, we become frustrated, somebody wins, we reshuffle, and we get ready to begin again. I suppose you could say that my own game of Life is in Flux. Thankfully, my own version of this game is cooperative, and I have a great team.


 

Angie fluxxOn my own blog here I do wish to thank Andy Looney for his part in the story of a life in flux. (or in Fluxx.) Thanks, Looney Labs!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thirty Days of Thanks – Day 28 – many thanks today!

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the back of the card you see in #4

As you could likely surmise yesterday, I’m not feeling wonderful. But I am able to still experience many wonderful parts of life, and there is so much to be thankful for!  What, you ask? Well…

  1. Cough medicine – When two bugs hit one at the same time, antibiotics may have tamed the infection/fever, but a good, strong cough medicine helped me finally sleep soundly last night. Thank you, NyQuil! (I very rarely use this, but last night was a night it was needed.)
  1. Online school registration – When our daughters were in Kindergarten, I remember going in the week before school to complete and sign innumerable numbers of forms, and I had to wait in at least three different lines (I think four, including the line for bus routes). This would take a few hours. I recall asking. “Do we really need to do this in person?” Thankfully, they did start digital registration a few years ago, and this year’s new software at the school made it go more smoothly than any other year. As of yesterday, our registrations are successfully completed. Awesome!
  1. garden bruchettaGarden Bruchetta – Though actual bruchetta at a restaurant is generally made with diced tomato and such, for our own version, we have found that toast, covered with garlic scape pesto, then stacked with a large, fresh tomato slice and Parmesan cheese is a wonderful lunch snack!
  1. Angie fluxx

    my own Fluxx card that is only valid when signed by the game creator. 

    Family game smiles – One of my favorite family games for the last few years has been “Fluxx.” T.R. and I first played this game in 1997, and at Gen Con this year, we received special cards signed by the creator, Andrew Looney (a former rocket scientist who now runs a game company, Looney Labs, with his wife). The pen and ink illustration is a fun representation of the game maker. If you’ve not played Fluxx before, give it a try. Or at least come and read the cards… they’re fun in a quirky sort of way.

  1. Mostly free movies – When we search online, we use Bing! and collect points we can turn in for rewards… a month of regular searching is more than enough for $5 toward a Fandango movie ticket. I know this sounds silly, but using these certificates has helped us view some great movies at the area theater. At the start of the week, we enjoyed “Mr. Holmes.” It was indeed lovely! A fun imagining of Sherlock Holmes a few decades after his retirement, and Ian Mckellen portrayed the elder Sherlock splendidly.

As some less enjoyable parts of life keep inserting themselves, I am certainly enjoying the task of purposefully, pointedly finding where I should be giving thanks. I am incredibly blessed, and if you’re reading this, I’m guessing you are also. Nice to remember, isn’t it?