Life is funny sometimes. You think you have everything figured out, and then something happens to throw everything off balance. I experienced one of those moments last year on vacation. We boarded a full plane in Charlotte, and all was well until a man a few rows up went into cardiac arrest. People began panicking, jumping seats, and yelling for help. Thankfully, there was an Army medic on the flight who laid the man on the plane’s floor and administered CPR. The medic and one other person performed chest compressions (bystander CPR) for nearly 15 minutes until EMTs arrived with a defibrillator to revive the man. The man was breathing when they carried him off the plane, but we don’t know if he recovered.
This experience was one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever witnessed. Most passengers couldn’t help, so we just stayed out of the way. We were helpless and worthless. However, it’s often situations like these that change us and make us take action.
This week, I participated in a hands-only CPR class to avoid that from happening again. And I learned that chest compressions are extremely labor intensive, so the more people who know how to do them, the better off we are in an emergency. Once I learned how physically challenging CPR is, I had even more respect for the medic who performed them for nearly 10 minutes without a break. In our class, we only performed chest compressions for 30 seconds, but it felt like much longer. I also realized I need to work out more and practice on a pillow because I’m not sure I’d last two minutes, much less 10!
As much as I hate to think of my life in someone else’s hands, we need to know what to do in this situation. This class was less than an hour and well worth the time. Now, if I’m in an emergency situation, I can help instead of sitting there doing nothing.
I won’t preach often, but this week reminded me that life is short, and we could go at any minute. Things change, we try to control everything, but there’s no controlling nature. I urge our RevPub readers to take a quick class and watch the video below. There’s no germ swapping. If you break a bone, it will heal. The important thing to remember is you may save their life – and one day you may need the same.
Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below!
I am by no means an Arkham Horror expert. With less than ten full games, none of them played to the letter of the rules, it’d be ridiculous for me to claim it. However, as a relative novice I feel I can offer some helpful advice to other novices and other newbies to the world of Arkham Horror. These simple concepts certainly helped my friends and I get over the steepest parts of the learning curve, though mastering the intricacies of the rules can only come from multiple play throughs.
1.) Watch Tutorial Videos: Buying, storing, and playing Arkham Horror is a monetary, space, and time investment. Before investing it would be wise to watch many of the YouTube videos available to see what the game is about. It is best to start with short intro videos; many good-quality videos explain the premise and gameplay in 5-10 minutes. Then work your way up to rules and set-up descriptions before finally moving on to multi-hour play-through videos. It should be pointed out that I’ve never seen a video where they didn’t get at least one rule wrong. It goes to show even those most comfortable with the game can still mess up.
Mike found this short review. It’s very brief but gets the basics across.
2.) Organize the Game Components: For many of my games I use small ziplock bags to store the pieces. Arkham Horror has a stupendously long set up time and this can be drastically reduced by getting some kind of containers to hold the all the clues, money, elder signs, and other tokens needed for the game. I recommend stackable beading containers like these. They come in a big set of multiple sizes for about $5 and you can stack a pillar of them and only need one lid so you just unstuck them and all the pieces are set up. I’ve seen some use card holders, but I find these difficult to store so I still do take the time to shuffle and deploy the cards.
3.) Keep the Rules Handy When Playing: This might sound basic but you’ll be surprised how often it comes up… Fantasy Flight makes incredible games that can be very thick in rules with instruction books that can feel vague and difficult to navigate. You’ll only learn the rules while playing but you’ll have to consult them a lot, especially during your earliest games or when something uncommon occurs. Keep them close by. Mark the pages, because the citation for Blessings and Curses is on one page in the index but how they behave during upkeep isn’t in the same citation. Eventually you’ll get them memorized but it never hurts to have them close by if needed. As an aside the Miskatonic Horror expansion isn’t a true expansion as it’s more an add-on to the base game and all the other expansions. It DOES come with great little reference cards that explain how many monsters, gates, etc are allowed based on the number of players. They’re awesome.
4.) Be Patient…: Maybe the hardest of all of these rules is to be patient. A game the size and scope of Arkham Horror has tons of rules for a reason. It’s incredibly in-depth and absorbing. It can really draw you in for hours and hours. But it also means it takes a lot of time to gain even a basic understanding of it all. In our first game Mike and I essentially quit in frustration. We didn’t understand it so we gave up for the day and came back to game another day. Every time we do a bit better, and every time gain a greater respect for it. Also even as you get better the game is punishingly difficult. It WILL beat you almost every time. If you are pathological about losing don’t even try it, but for me it makes the eventual victory mean that much more…you KNOW you earned that one…
5.) The Most Important Rule! Every rulebook for Warhammer 40k I’ve ever read comes with this rule and it’s very valuable in EVERY game. I’ll quote them directly, “The most important rule then is that the rules aren’t all that important! So long as…players agree, you can treat them as sacrosanct or mere guidelines, the choice is entirely yours.” Of course 40k is a lot more open than Arkham Horror, but the spirit of this remains the same. The purpose of ANY game is to have fun. Especially while learning don’t let the rules get in the way of the fun!
Arkham Horror is definitely my favorite board game and it’s one I’d like to play more of with more players. It’s not for the timid and inexperienced gamers might be intimidated by its scale and scope, but if you stick with it you’ll have the most absorbing, difficult, and satisfying board game experience you’re likely to have. And in the famous words of Wil Wheaton: Play More Games!
Table top gaming is a near every day thing for some of us. So to continue the excitement brought about by International TableTop Day this month, the story of the month for April is actually several micro stories of how my friend Mike and I have navigated the learning curve of the infamous and glorious board game masterpiece: Arkham Horror.
Arkham Horror is one of those games that popped up frequently enough in my various “you might also like” lists and got such stellar reviews I had to try it. It comes with two main warnings: It is very rules heavy and punishingly difficult.
Those warnings are to be heeded.
Below is a basic timeline of the Arkham Horror learning curve my friend Mike and I experienced while learning the game. It’s steep, and full of lots of stupid; but just when you think you’ve figured the game out, it throws you a curve:
Play Through #1: We totally messed this up. We read the rules wrong and counted every player turn as a game turn. Meaning we performed BAD actions after every individual turn instead of at the end of all player turns like we were supposed to. The game is hard enough and we somehow made it harder…actually we made it impossible. We gave up in frustration.
Play Through #2: We decided to play again when killing a day. We battled Nyarlathotep this time. Among the stuff we messed up: we kept forgetting the lingering effects of the ancient one “stirring in his slumber,” did all the player turns out of order (fought monsters whenever, went through gates and had encounters whenever, didn’t really know what it meant to be delayed…), and TOTALLY screwed up the boss battle once the big bad awoke. We took a doom token off for ever successful roll…instead of taking one off for every six successes.
Play Through #3: We always randomize the options so we ended up fighting Nyarlathotep again a few months later. We got a lot of the rules right this time, we watched a few videos, learned a few new things. Did MUCH better on player turn order, fought monsters better, understood the “outskirts” and “surge” rules better, and even got owned by the big bad when he awoke this time… BUT…we still messed up combat rules. And a couple important monster rules we continued to mess up for the next few play throughs…
Play Through #4: The same night we fought Nyarlathotep the second time we played Elder Signs against Hastur and got burninated, owninated, and decimated(ed). When we played Arkham Horror the fourth time we drew random again and Hastur was our ancient one. We got almost everything right here. Player turns, actions, play order, surges, and sealed that mo-fo with six elder signs. BUT…there was still one VERY important rule we messed up…we didn’t even realize it…
Play Through #5: This was an afternoon game day. We battled Cthulhu whose “stirring in his slumber” effect is brutal. It was our best game yet though. We didn’t seal the bastard but by closing all open gates we still won and defeated Cthulhu sending him back to R’lyeh forever…BUUUUT! It was after this game Mike discovered we were playing monsters ALL wrong. For the last three games we forgot to spawn monsters EVERY time gates opened. A major and foolish oversight and one that plagued our next play through too. Furthermore, we always played six characters…which means anytime you draw a monster you draw TWO monsters…which we weren’t doing. We only drew one. Making the game that much easier. We desperately needed to see how this critical error would affect us when corrected. Which we did on…
Play Through #6: We included Mike’s fiancée Bekah in the game. We all played two characters each and had the rules down, save for that important monster+gate one, and battled Shub Niggurath. We fought maybe one or two monsters out of sequence and had five elder signs on the board sealing gates. THEN…monster surge, with two gates open. Brought TWELVE monsters out. Filling the outskirts several times and raising the terror track. That happened at least four times, again, with only two gates open there was a monster mash party around the two gates (which were in adjacent areas). The terror track reached ten, Shubby-kuns awoke, immediately devoured both of Mike’s characters and one of mine (no monster trophies…) and my remaining and Beckah’s two characters did battle. We took her down to half damage before I couldn’t sneak anymore and was devoured. Without me there to cure her sanity Beckah was offed in short order and we lost. We did so much right this game EXCEPT… We still hadn’t remembered to spawn two monsters every gate opening and, Mike, during the final battle (he was managing the Ancient One since his characters were, ya know, dead) said, “Oh…I’ll..uh tell you later..” “Later” was the next day when he texted me and told me Shubby-wubby was Physically Immune. Meaning only my one holy water usage and Beckah’s spell (which I was healing sanity so she could use) and her magic knife would’ve caused damage. So we just lost WORSE than we actually did.
What’s the lesson here? Arkham Horror might be my favorite board game. It’s huge, involving, in-depth, and once the rules are understood fit perfectly. The point is, if there is one, that despite all the screw ups, Mike and I kept playing. Looked for others to play with. Kept playing. And we never cheated on purpose. Anyone playing a big game like this WILL mess up the rules. But keep playing. Mess up the rules more. Make house rules if you have to. Gaming is about having fun. Being inclusive. Bringing new gamers in and helping them learn (and maybe learning something you missed!) Gaming is about fun. Win or lose, co-op or competitive. Have fun out there. It’s why we play!
They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. I disagree.
Last month I house/dog sat for a good friend. I was there Wednesday, Thursday, and a half day on Friday. Everything was going well until Thursday morning.
That morning, the dogs and I returned from an early walk, and as I set up my laptop to begin working, I heard the first ring. Go ahead, play the video. You know you want to…
Then I heard the second ring, and the third, fourth, fifth… hundredth. I’m not exaggerating. A phone beneath the apartment floor was ringing nonstop. It rang all day and night Thursday, and was still ringing Friday afternoon when I left for work.
I tried to drown it out as best I could with the TV or music. I’d even leave to get fresh air, but the ringing followed me. When I took the dogs out, I tried to find the apartment the sound was coming from, but once I got into the hall, it sounded as if it was all around me. I couldn’t figure out which way to begin my search.
It was my tell-tale heart. The ringing echoed in my head, and I wondered if it was all in my imagination. I thought I was really going nuts – it’s about time after all.
So, is insanity doing the same thing repeatedly expecting different results? No. Insanity is listening to the same sound for 36 hours straight, never finding the source or able to control it! It took me two days to get that ringing out of my head, and every time I think about it, I want to hold myself and rock back and forth.
In the spirit of the Thanksgiving season, we at RevPub decided to do a special post about something we are very thankful for: the brain.
The brain doesn’t get nearly enough love. We tend to just expect it to work well all the time, and when it doesn’t, we think what the hell? Sometimes, the brain needs a reboot — just like our phones and computers. It’s these moments that make us appreciate the power of our brain. It’s these moments that make for some really awesome (and funny) stories.
10 Epically Stupid Things We’ve Done When Our Brain Breaks:
(10-6 are by Raven and 5-1 are by James)
10.) I have put my hoodie on backwards several times. And I mean hood full-over-my-face, and I ask myself every time, “Why is it so dark?!” and am really confused. I’ve even tried walking a couple times — probably looking like a mummy.
9.) One night when I got home from work, I got out of the car and walked up to my backdoor. It was locked, so I grabbed my car keypad and pushed the unlock button. And again and again, but the door wouldn’t unlock! Turns out, you need a KEY to unlock a deadbolt, not the car keypad…
8.) And one morning at work, I walked up to the elevator and swiped my key card in front of the buttons. After a few swipes and mentally stomping my foot, I realized what I was doing and pushed the button. (I’ll only admit to doing that once, the others I deny).
7.) For the girls out there: The last time I dyed my hair, I mixed the conditioner in the solution instead of the color. I even put it all over my hair until I realized I’d mixed the wrong thing. I couldn’t believe how thick the color solution was and it smelled great! I basically deep conditioned with chemicals for 15 minutes.
6.) Just last week at about 6 p.m., I was talking with a friend and getting ready to leave work. So, naturally I grabbed my keys and sunglasses. I put my sunglasses on top of my head, talked with her for 20 minutes, and headed outside. The moment I stepped outside I pulled my sunglasses down, and it got really dark fast! Because it was night.
5.) Not just once, but SEVERAL times I have washed my face with my glasses on. It’s something I will do again in the future too, I know it.
4.) Not only have I washed my face with my glasses on, but I have also gotten in the shower with my glasses on. Ever had rain get on your lenses? Try shampoo…
3.) I don’t know why this has suddenly been a trend, but three times in two weeks I found myself driving around with my emergency brake on. Including once on the interstate. As Mitch Hedburg said, “It doesn’t say much for me, but it really doesn’t say much for the emergency brake. More like the emergency make-the-car-smell-funny lever.”
2.) Recently while cleaning a bottle of super glue, I glued my eyelid shut. It was a brief moment of horror when I thought “I’ve gone blind!” which turned into “Oh good…I’ve glued my eye shut…” It took serious scrubbing with hot water to get it out. And I looked like Rocky at the end of his first fight with Apollo for a couple days. My only saving grace: I didn’t glue my eye shut with super glue IN my eye as well… So not as stupid as it could be, although still pretty stupid.
1.) Once I had the brilliant idea of using Thai Chili oil in my olive oil do-it-yourself aerosol sprayer. I put the oil in it, pumped it up, and sprayed it on a pan thinking, “Why don’t they make chili oil spray like they do canola and olive oil spray? I’m a super-genius-man!” As my nose hairs burned out and my eyes watered, I realized why — because it’s pepper spray, you idiot. That’s why…
“A child experiences things from his true self (creatively) and not from his theoretical self (dutifully), i.e.: the self he thinks he ought to be.” – Brenda Ueland
A child’s imagination is a powerful thing. It’s raw, undisciplined, and fierce. There’s an innocence within a child’s mind that doesn’t hold back or worry about how they should be thinking. My son, who has created countless video games, board and card games, and short stories all before he was 10 years old, simply amazes me. Now that he’s a teenager, he uses software to bring them to life. And because of his drive and creativity, I believe he will become a great game designer.
In this chapter, Ueland urges us to write like a child. She recommends we write about a childhood memory and remember how it felt to be there. Ueland explains that an older person writes from not only their imagination but from their ego and conscious as well. Adults are afraid to write honest details because we’re afraid someone will judge us, or we don’t want to look bad. The exercise is to write about a childhood memory, and although I don’t have full stories with lots of details, one thing tops the list.
When my parents separated, my brother and I spent most weekends at our grandparent’s house. On Saturdays, grandma would clean the house and play or make crafts with us. My grandpa usually remodeled something or worked in the yard.
As great as Saturdays were, Sundays were the best. They had the same routine, but Sundays started in a very special way. My grandparents let me sleep in, sometimes until 10 o’clock, and when I awoke I knew I had a delicious treat awaiting me.
Almost every Sunday my grandparents would make me a waffle for breakfast. There was nothing special about the smell, but it tasted amazing. They would butter the round waffle, which took up the entire plate, and each little square was filled with syrup. They added a sliced peach for each quarter and sprinkled confectioner’s sugar all over it. It was so sweet and so comforting. And I was so hungry.
I still eat my waffles exactly that way. I have never tried any other fruit and get upset if we’re out of confectioner’s sugar. I will not touch a pancake. I realized this year, I had never made my son pancakes. I found myself almost banning pancakes because of my ties to waffles. Strange as it may be, I’ll probably never eat a pancake, but I do cook them now. Our memories can shape us into someone unexpected and cause us to do crazy things.
Another lesson Ueland addresses is that we shape our children. If you want them to be great, you must be great. If you want them to be a musician, you must practice music. If you want them to believe in themselves, we must believe in ourselves. We set the example.
Now, it’s your turn. Think back and try to write about a childhood memory from a child’s perspective, not an adult’s. Try to remember what you were going through or feeling – it may be therapeutic to your soul.
For fun, here’s a recipe for waffles. Maybe you can add your own fruit or make them special for your family!