Gettin’ My Game On

The upside of following the ALA conference tweets is that I’ve picked up my puzzle books again. (Specifically, KenKen and NYT Crosswords.) I like the former way more than the latter since it has the logic components with Sudoku but without the giant stoic grid. I’ve got myself back to where I left off (6×6 grids) in the first Easy to Hard book but I have yet to pick up my Killer KenKen book. I don’t like to skip puzzles and there was a puzzle at the end of the 5×5 section that really stumped the hell out of me. I’ll tackle it later once I get through the current KenKen book.

Crosswords are an interesting prospect for me since I tend to be a literal person when it comes to clues. I knew I was doomed when I heard an interview with Will Shortz in which he talked about how playful, mysterious, and humorous crossword clues can be written. (I wish I could find that interview to link, but sadly I cannot.) I still like the easy ones, though.

It really has been making me yearn again to make more time for gaming. I’ve really cut back on my World of Warcraft playing time as my interest for other things (including blogging) picks up. I really don’t have the interest for a D&D game (unless it was short 3-4 hour sessions) but I want to get back into board and card games. I’ve heard there are multiplayer game applications on Facebook, but I have yet to try it out. (For anyone who wants to walk me through it, I’d be grateful.)

I wasn’t going to connect this to the library, but since I had to cancel a Teen Wii program today, I might as well make amends. Some of this recent resurgence in gaming has been from following Liz Danforth’s tweets (and subsequent post) regarding gaming at the library. Maybe I can live the dream and get paid to play all in the name of library science.


because i kenken can

In the last month, I have been rediscovering my love of games. I’ve constructed a wish list on Amazon to keep track of the games I would like to collect over time. Over the last couple of years, the major extent of my gaming has been on World of Warcraft. (I admit, I love me an MMO.) But there has been a hole in my recreation and that whole has been gaming.

There are a lot of good memories connected to games, mainly card ones. My mother’s side of the family is extremely big on card games. There wasn’t many a family gathering that went by in which some sort of game (board, card, or otherwise) was not played. Some of my best memories with my maternal grandparents were around the kitchen table with an after meal game of cards. It is one of those things that I miss more than anything about my time with them.

The wife and I had some friends over tonight and we ended up playing Phase 10. It’s a better card game for a rainy day at the beach house or lazy Sunday afternoon, but not on a work weekday night. We ended up stopping after 11 just to make certain people could get home for the work day tomorrow. Since my grandmother moved out of the house and into nursing care almost a year ago, I think this was the first time we’ve had friends over for such a purpose. It felt great, really, and certainly overdue. I need to arrange for more gaming nights, perhaps with different games or themes in mind.

At any rate, while I cannot indulge in these types of games all the time, I can always have a logic problem book on hand. A month or so ago, I purchased a couple of New York Times crossword books for the nightstand. It’s a nice way to relax and get into the sleeping comfort zone, especially since I’m doing the real easy ones (nothing past Monday, so far as I can tell). After reading about KenKen in Time, I had to give it a try. The sample puzzle I tried on the website was enough to have me jonzing for more. After work, I met the wife for grocery shopping and then made a b-line for Barnes & Noble. While I was there, I got a KenKen book, another crossword book, a Hidato book, and a Sudoku book (I have one for my work bag, but not for my nightstand).

Let me tell you, I think that KenKen will consume my brain. It really is that addictive. I’ve already gotten halfway through this book which means I will have to find a few more in the next week or so. It’s a dance of numbers and logic  that, while I make mistakes, I learn from them on the next puzzle. I’m hacking my way through the 5×5 puzzles at the moment, but they are things of beauty, I tell you.

There was an article on Will Shortz I read recently about why people are attracted to crossword puzzles. He talks about how it comes down to you versus the puzzle maker in a battle of wits where all the potential answers are known, but there is the element of deception, guile, humor, and subterfuge in constructing clues to mask the true answers. This may not exactly be the case with KenKen or Sudoku, but the battle remains.

I need to go now, the books are calling me again.