November 24th, 2001


(no subject)

I'm here in the office working on testing our new product; it's time to catch up on a few journal entries.

I've run four tests with great results; there remain only two tests, but they're long ones. I'm feeling optimistic that things might Just Work.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Sunday Dinner, Nov-11-2001

It's been too long since we had this dinner, and I've forgotten most of the details of what we served. Oops.

If I recall correctly, we wanted to make a dairy kosher meal, so we served Penne With Two Cheeses, which is basically an upscale macaroni and cheese with sundried tomatoes and havarti cheese. Havarti is a really nice cheese for melting in macaroni and cheese and omelets and so forth; I really like the creamy tang.

For dessert, we made Apple-Pear Crisp, which came out very nicely.

After dinner, we played Zombies!!!. I still have some mixed feelings about this game.
On the plus side, it has the right feel for a game about zombies--there are zombies everywhere, and lots of zombie-killing. And the rules are very simple.
On the minus side, though, the game has taken too long in the two games we've played. ("Too long" is a subjective judgment, but a unanimous one.) I wish I knew a way to make it play in 45 minutes.

Penne with Two Cheeses
Apple-Pear Crisp



A week ago, on November 17, I spent the day playing games at Dani and Monica's house. It happened that I came in second in each of the three different games.

First we played History of the World (the Avalon Hill version). I came one point short of winning. I keep thinking of little ways I could have played differently to win. Some notable events of the game:
- The Sumerians and the Babylonians survived until the modern day.
- I invited the normally-useless Mayas and Aztecs civilization to be played on me, because I had a card that could earn me another few points from them.
- Dani managed a great comeback in the final round, largely from going late in round six and early in round seven.

I enjoy History of the World, though playing it every eight months is probably the right frequency. I would consider acquiring it.

That game lasted through dinner. After that, we were all feeling more tired, and Johan brought out "Star Fleet Battle Force", which is the a card-game version of Star Fleet Battles. I think it has more or less the same relationship to Star Fleet Battles that Car Wars: the Card Game has to Car Wars.

It was a fairly fun game; it had the right feeling. I've hardly ever watched Trek, but the card game had the Trek terms I've heard, and those concepts seemed to behave in the right way. I would consider getting this game.

After that, I brought out Space Beans. This is vaguely similar to Bohnanza, but it doesn't have the same sort of player interaction. This meant that the game ended up going very quickly with not too much conversation--it was probably the right thing if other people felt as tired as I did.

It was extremely foggy driving home, so much so that I had to be within a few car-lengths to be able to see a red light. I crept home with utmost caution and was glad to make it safely.

Sunday Dinner, Nov-18-2001

Last Sunday, we went out to eat at Cap City Diner, and then went to see the Harry Potter movie.

I basically agree with Willie about the problems of a long table; I didn't get to talk much at all with Willie or Laura. Which is most unfortunate.

I'm sorry that I didn't hear the suggestion of hanging out with conversation somewhere; the only postprandial suggestion I heard was that of going to Barnes and Noble, and I had already decided twice that that B&N didn't have anything to tickle my fancy.

The movie itself was very nice--I really liked the vision of the book. But: I think I would have preferred the six-hour version of the film. They elided so many of the details that I suspected that viewers who didn't know the books might not understand all of the subtleties of what was going on.

(And even The Self-Made Critic agrees that the scoring of Quidditch is wonky.)


On Tuesday night, my D&D group met again. I was poorly prepared, since I'd been working so hard on work. So I let the game proceed at a slower pace, and let the players drive it with PC interaction instead of haring them off to the next adventure. Fortunately, there was non-adventure stuff to do, particularly in passing out treasure and letting the PCs spend it.

It was reasonably fun, IMHO. I don't regret the results, though I regret not being prepared for more.

I think I still need to work on being more rich and descriptive in these roleplay sessions. If I were better at coming up with dialog and showing how things work out instead of just telling how they work out, I think it would make the game much more atmospheric and enjoyable.

I'm really worried about one character in the party, though. Prolix has threatened to shoot other PCs because he felt they were being too cautious. He has (unintentionally) shot another PC (Turok) in the back, and not seemed particularly contrite. When Turok later confronted him about being shot, Prolix cast Charm Person on him.

This sort of thing has created a fair bit of acrimony among other players. And it's not really what I want--I said when I created the campaign that I wanted a campaign about players working together.

I don't know what, if anything, I should do about this. It is not what I want to be going on--but my gut feeling is that as GM, I have too much power to achieve any small changes. If that feeling is true, it probably means that I can't fix this; I can just make it differently broken.

If the PCs are able to work it out themselves, it makes great Story--but I am getting worried that it won't get worked out with serious violence.

Brood brood brood. I dunno what to do.

Testing continued

I can tell that the one big test has given different results; the size of the result file is 21780069 bytes, compared to 21781701 bytes for the file it's supposed to match. 1632 bytes, out of 21MB. Sigh.

It takes a long time for 'diff' to work on 21MB files.