On a road to nowhere

This morning was my Ethics class, and we continued the topic of stealing, with three example stories about various common forms of theft that many people do: pirating software, not reporting being undercharged by a shop, and public transport fare evasion. We discussed whether these things are actually morally wrong and, if they are, why so many people do them. The kids were reasonably well behaved today – I think my behaviour management efforts from last week have had some effect.

After the class, I’d decided to go for a bit of a drive and check out a game shop out in the suburbs which has a good reputation but which I’d never visited before. They had a bunch of sale items on their web site and I thought I’d browse around and maybe pick up a cheap board game or two. The website said they opened at 10:30. I arrived a few minutes early, so went for a a bit of a walk around the premises, which was an industrial estate – it seems most of their business is mail order shipping, rather than walk-in customers.

I got back a few minutes after 10:30, but the door was still locked. I looked on it and saw a faded sign saying they opened at 11:00! So I had half an hour to wait. There wasn’t anything else interesting in the area, so I checked Google Maps and found a bakery about 10 minutes walk away, where I could go to get a snack and a drink. I did so, then waked back again, arriving a bit after 11:00… only to find the door still locked. I examined the sign again, and saw that they opened at 11:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They were closed all day Wednesday!

So I’d driven 40 minutes to this place for no reason, spent over half an hour waiting around fruitlessly, and could do nothing but drive home again. That pretty much wasted half the day, and it was hard to get motivated again after returning home, so I ended up wasting a lot of the afternoon too. I did achieve going to the hardware store to buy some stuff, and taking Scully to the pet store to let her browse around – she loves visiting the pet store and sniffing everything. But didn’t get any sort of work-type stuff done.

Sometimes you just have one of those days.

New content today:

Games day

Updating Saturday morning because I was busy Friday night. It was a day dedicated to games!

Andrew C. is an experienced golfer, and a few months ago invited me and another friend to try playing a par 3 “pitch and putt” course. We had no experience hitting a golf ball, and it took us a while to start to get the hang of it, but I managed to hit a few half-decent shots (as well as losing two balls). Yesterday Andrew and I went to try the course again. The 18 holes have par 54. Andrew scored 61, while I managed 92 (better than my first effort). I tied one hole with Andrew, and won two holes. My technique is still terrible, but improving! Here’s a photo of one of my best shots of the day. These are our balls after our tee shots on this hole: mine is nearest the hole, Andrew’s is in the foreground. Unfortunately I didn’t sink the putt for a birdie.

Tee shots

After that we grabbed some lunch at a Japanese place and had a bit of a drive along the beachy coast to head home. All up, a good morning/lunch time. Although it’s still the depths of winter here the day was sunny and warm.

And Friday evening was our fortnightly board games night. We had 5 people, which is a little on the low side, but enough for plenty of games. We started early and had a writing session for Darths & Droids, writing four strips before moving on to the games.

We played a quick game of Ingenious to warm up, then when our host’s daughters arrived home from dance lessons one of them joined us for a game of Junk Art, which was a lot of fun. We liked that one because Steven – who is the most serious game player and strategist and hence who often wins games of strategic skill – needed to use dexterity skills instead, and so most of us beat him!

After the girls went to bed, we started a game of Power Grid, with the Italian map board. I got off to a reasonable start, but by the time we’d estimated the game would finish we were still clearly only about halfway through. It was getting late and I’d promised my wife I’d be home by a certain time, so I had to leave mid-game. The others continued, playing me as a robo-player by making reasonable decisions for me in my absence. And I ended up coming second! So that’s pretty good.

New Friday content:

Secret project

Wednesday is Ethics day! My class this morning was about half the normal size, 9 or 10 kids, down from 18, because of what they explained to me was a rehearsal for some sort of dance performance thing, which apparently lots of the students are involved in. It was the final lesson of the moral responsibility topic, so I had to do the sum up discussion with just half the class. The thing about this topic is that the kids were pretty much all agreed that people should help those most in need, rather than their own friends or family if their needs are less. So there weren’t a lot of opposing opinions to go through like there are on some other topics. Next week we start on stealing, which should be interesting.

After teaching my class, I travelled into the city to visit some book shops and a game shop. I bought a copy of Stephen Fry’s Heroes, part two of his retelling of the Greek myths, following Mythos, which was stories about the gods. I do love the Greek myths, and have a few different versions of them on my bookshelves.

When I got home I worked all afternoon on a secret project. Not secret from you, dear reader, but secret from my friends, some of whom might read this blog, so I dare not share any details here until the time is ripe. I can say that it’s related to a Magic: the Gathering card game evening that I am planning to hold – but no more than that. Oh, I can show you the invitation I just sent to my friends:

invitation

I am so looking forward to this!

New comics content today:

D&D prep

Wednesday is Ethics day, and I took my regular Year 6 class again this morning. We discussed various scenarios where people had to choose between friends or relatives and other people who were more deserving by some measure. It was interesting that in each case there were kids willing to argue in favour of either decision. Also there were some circumstances where they clearly favoured the family/friend while in another scenario with different circumstances they favoured the non-family/non-friend.

One scenario was a girl whose parents buy her a new soccer ball because hers is old and worn out. Her friend’s ball is also old and worn out, but the friend’s parents don’t have as much money, so can’t afford to get her a new ball. The question was, should the wealthier child’s parents buy her friend a ball as well? Most of the class said no, the parents had no obligation to their child’s friend.

Another scenario was a boy out sailing in a custom built two-person boat. Near shore, two people call out to him to take them for a sail: one younger boy who is a sailing club member who helped build the boat, but is not allowed to sail it alone, and the sailor’s friend, who is older but not a club member and didn’t help build the boat. In this case, most of the class said the sailor should take the younger boy, because he helped build the boat. (I get these scenarios in the teacher curriculum – I don’t make them up.)

The other thing I did today was visit Andrew Shellshear, who is hosting Friday night’s D&D extravaganza. I’m doing some stuff with projections for ambience, and we tested out his projector and figured out where to point it. He’s constantly designing board games these days, and showed me his work in progress on a new version of a game he’s been working on for a few months. Our group has been playtesting it and it’s pretty good! Hopefully I’ll be able to point you all at a Kickstarter or something in the future.

This afternoon my wife and I took Scully for a walk at a nearby park. I did some more prep for D&D on Friday, and that was the day. Tomorrow morning I hit the photography set for new comics!

New movies!

Bit of a hodge-podge day today. Made a dentist appointment, dropped off some dry cleaning, did some grocery shopping…

Oh, I worked some more on the D&D adventure I mentioned yesterday. It’s not complete, but it’s now in a state where I can share it with interested people to get some comments, and see if they want to try playtesting it with their own D&D groups. I’ve uploaded it to my Secret Patron Page, which Patreon patrons have access to. (If you’d like to see work in progress like this, please consider sponsoring me on Patreon!)

And I did a bit more coding work on the mezzacotta random generators, exposing the board game description generator (work in progress), and the version 2.0 incarnation of mezzacotta Cinématique (that link is version 1), the random movie generator. And it has a shiny new high-res logo (click on the image or here to go to the new version 2.0):

Cinématique v 2.0 logo

And finally I did a thing I’ve been meaning to do for some time. I contacted the after school child care centre near the school where I teach Ethics classes, and volunteered to supervise kids one afternoon a week. Specifically on Wednesdays, during the weekly chess/games club. I’m offering to supervise a group of 4-6 children and Dungeon Master a game of Dungeons & Dragons for them! I don’t know if they will take up my offer, but at least I’ve made the move. One thing I have going for me is that I have a few years of experience working with primary school students, as well as being accredited by the State Government to work in a child supervision role. So hopefully it’ll work out! I’ll keep you updated.

Adventure creation

Today was a designated writing day, specifically for a Dungeons & Dragons adventure that I’m planning to run with my friends on Friday week. We’re starting a new campaign and this is going to be the introductory adventure to a game set in the world of Ravnica.

Ravnica is a world first developed for Magic: the Gathering, being the setting for a trio of card sets released back in 2005. At the time we were heavily into playing Magic, and we played a lot of draft tournaments with this block. I really enjoyed the setting and the world building that went into it. At the time, I said I really wanted to run a D&D campaign set in Ravnica.

Wind forward 14 years, and the time has finally come. Wizards of the Coast have even released an official D&D sourcebook based on Ravnica, so I don’t have to do as much work as I would have years ago. Anyway, the date has been set for 8 days hence, and I am most of the way through writing the adventure. I spent time today adding details and scenes and game mechanics notes. It’s not quite finished but I’m confident I have plenty of material for the first session.

Once this adventure is complete, I plan to publish it, probably on DM’s Guild. I’ve always enjoyed writing RPG material, and have several publications for the GURPS roleplaying game. My plan for the near future is to write more material, mostly for D&D but possibly also some generic stuff, and publish either on DM’s Guild or RPGNow. Stay tuned for when my adventures and other source material becomes available!