Thankful for Games

I just discovered a new game, and I adore it. The game is called Iota, and it’s box is smaller than my hand ūüôā So yeah. Easy storage. But tons of fun. We played it with the young adults in our world over Thanksgiving, and it became even more fun.

Mollie, Hudi, Chris (and me) playing Iota.
Mollie, Hudi, Chris (and me) playing Iota. 

Iota is kind of a cross between Scrabble and Dominoes. When played with adult rules, it’s surprisingly tricky. But it can be played with little kids, too. With rule variations.

Last time Chris and I played alone, it took almost an hour. You have to think of colors, numbers and shapes. Can’t have more than four in a line, and each card has to either be all the same in those arenas or all different.

We actually had a bit of a hard time with the rules at first, but Mollie is an expert Googler, and found help. I am pretty sure this is the site she found with great instructions. We also used a spreadsheet on the computer for keeping score. 

Iota card game in action.
Make sure each set of four is all the same or all different. Surprisingly tricky.

Playing games is really fun. But it’s difficult to find one everybody appreciates, and one that can be played in a short period of time or a long one. So far, Iota seems to be a winner.

Complete and Utter Chaos


I think the¬†game Chaos is sadistic. But some of my family members love it so I play. It’s probably good for me, helping me work on my memory.

Have you ever heard of it? Chaos is a board game from 1970.

It’s basically checkers. With up to four people. With identical pieces, and you have to figure out (in theory–keep track of) which pieces are yours.

Players are assigned a color, but the color is hidden on the underside of a piece. You can’t flip the piece until it’s in the home zone across the board from where you started. If you move someone else’s piece, they can call you on it, and you lose a turn. Oh, and you can’t move your pieces past the halfway point of the board until all the pieces are out of your home zone.

While I somewhat dread playing the game since I’m incredibly bad at it, I do have to admit then on the rare occasion when I do win (or even come in as a close second) I feel incredibly smart for a few minutes.¬†It’s quite gratifying.

Last night I was doing all right. I came in last place on our first game, but was respectably close to everyone else. On the second game I lost first place by one move, so I was feeling pretty awesome. As an evening topper, I knew where all my pieces were on our third and final¬†game. Or so I thought. I hit the home zone and discovered that it was someone else’s piece and mine was aaaaaaalllllllll the way across the board.

Extreme sadness.

But that’s the thing. Everyone gets a chance to shine. Systems win and fail. Jumps soar you across the board in one shot, or you can get gridlocked.

No matter what, it’s always utter Chaos.

While I would still prefer playing a word game, I have to admit that the evening was enjoyable.¬†I found a video on how it’s played:

Sun, Sons and Snowboarding


After Friday night’s snow¬†who would guess that we would be sipping coffee on the deck Saturday morning? Even better, we were sunbathing by the afternoon. It was over 50 degrees. We slept in, yakked, read, took naps and basically took the day off as a quasi spa day. Pure luxury.

In the evening we headed over to Zeb’s to check out his new home.

Zeb is in a pretty fun living situation now. He’s with CJ’s pre-marriage¬†housemates who also happen to be delightful young men from the area¬†where our boys grew up. Aaron and Thomas and Zeb made some delicious coffee (can you tell we are big on coffee?) and yakked with us until Robert and Anthony came home. Then we chatted a bit more and started playing a game called QuipLash. Anyone with Internet could join our game if they had to code, and the guys decided to call Hudi (back in NY) to join the fun. That made me really happy — knowing my boys wanted to hang out together, even long distance.

After a really enjoyable evening we headed home to get a good night’s sleep. The next day was busy.¬†We went to Lauren and CJ’s church (a church with a view!) then grabbed some pizza and headed off to Solitude for some slope time. It was interesting since we were on borrowed/new-to-us equipment, but we adapted pretty well and had a fantastic time. The road getting there was winding and kinda crazy. There were definitely rocks in the road on the way down that weren’t there on the way up. And it was wild how we had snow, but half an hour away, there wasn’t any.

As the day wound down, we settled in with some nice drinks and tv time.

Monday was our last day there ūüôĀ And we were far from ready to go. But the good news is that we plan to travel back next summer. Sadly, CJ’s car had been backed in to over the weekend so Chris and CJ spent most of Monday finding repair shops to get quotes.¬†Lauren and I worked on websites, read and yakked.

She made me one final drink (a mint hot chocolate thing this time with white mocha or something. Yum!) then we headed to a burger place they enjoy as we headed back to the airport. Our flight left at 11:59pm, and Chris’ birthday was the next day – beginning one minute into our flight ūüôā The screenshot of the plane is when were were pretty close to flying over their home on our way back to NY.

That trip was fortunately uneventful, and we were home in plenty of time to unpack, plow out the driveway, clean the house and have a birthday celebration thanks to Mom Pollock.

I took the next few days as AFK so we had time to rest up and get our life back in order. And here we are. Back in the flow of our reality, and loving it. With a ton of new fantastic events stashed into our happy memory arsenal for times when we miss our kids and want to look back on times together.


Virtually Yours

My son is getting married on Sunday, and this week is filled with exciting events :). So how does a game-maker propose to the love of his life? Watch and find out how he did it last spring.
Lauren is a great alpha-tester so she’s used to checking out CJ’s latest updates. Since he’s working on motion in his VR games, it stands to reason that her reactions would be video recorded. She just didn’t realize this update had a little something extra special…
(short version)

(long version)

And this is what she saw:
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* Spoiler – She said “yes.”

What’s in a Game?

Monopoly Cards

I’m not a gamer. That’s kind of embarrassing to admit, especially when all my kids are gamers, and my eldest son is a¬†video game¬†designer.¬†I’m cool with Rock Band, Words With Friends, and Word Crack. But this holiday season I found myself branching out a bit more, and it was really fun.

Monopoly Cards
Chris showing Lise the card she drew.

It began on Christmas day with a game of Pokemon Monopoly that was the cherished Christmas gift my upper-teenaged sons had asked for, and Charlotte, a great family friend, got for them. We set up the board in our NY home and pinged my cousin Lise, who lives in Denmark. She is recovering from surgery and was stuck in bed for the holiday. Poor thing.

At first we didn’t connect well. It seems like lots of people were online for the holiday, and normal venues of communication were not working well. Skype, Facetime and Google Hangouts all froze throughout the day, but we finally got a clear connection with Zoom.¬†And we played for two days :). It was very fun, and Lise and Chris were particularly good at throwing taunts and bargains at each other across the Atlantic. Here’s a short clip of their bargaining.

Lise got these great screenshots of my husband’s money grubbing “gimme” hands.


And yes. Chris won. Rich Uncle Pennybags. Not only did he get all our property and cash, he also managed to get every $500 in the bank!!


We all agreed that we will have to do it more often.

It was an odd Christmas for us. The first in which all three of our boys were in different states. We noticed Hudi staying up later and later and realized he was connecting with his brothers online, playing games into the wee hours of the morning. As a mom, I happen to love the fact that they can be so far apart, yet still enjoy hanging out together online.

Zeb came home, and his girlfriend came to visit. We all took a trip to hang out with my mother-in-law. While Chris and I worked, the kids played¬†games with her, and when our¬†work was done, we joined them in playing Chaos (another game from Charlotte), Scrabble, and Pinochle. A family favorite we haven’t played since Dad died three years ago. It brought back a lot of happy memories. Here’s a pic of the kids taking a break and enjoying the silly straws they purchased at a local dollar store:


It was so fun, we decided to dedicate a room in our house to gaming once we got home. Maybe they’ll make a gamer out of me yet.