Sunday, March 22, 2009


A sad day.

Last night a car hit our family cat. His name was Timothy and he meant the world to my daughter Kira.

Timothy’s story begins with two rabbits last July. At the time, Holly was working in an office and one of her co-workers had accepted a one-year contract working in Kuwait. The only problem was, she didn’t have anyone to take care of her rabbits. Holly volunteered because she saw a friend in need. None of us knew anything about caring for rabbits, but we figured it was better for us to try than to have them put to sleep.

We soon discovered that rabbits need hay as part of their diet. Holly called around and found a local feed and grain store. They told us Timothy Hay is the best kind, so we bought a bundle. The store also had a cage with several cats and a ‘free to good home’ sign.

Kira had wanted a cat for months, but it was just never the right time. On that day, she convinced the store clerk to let her take a tiny black kitten out to the car to show me. The cat was only several weeks old and the size of my hand. As soon as I held him his whole body rumbled with purrs. We had a new cat. It seemed obvious to name him Timothy.

We kept him inside for months until he grew. Even after we let him go outside, we watched to make sure he knew how to find his way home. As time passed, we gave him several nick-names “Tim”, “Timmers”, and “T-Cat”.

Eventually, he became a full-grown cat and came and went as cats do. He never lost his playfulness. Given half a chance, he’d always attack a passing ankle. He also loved playing with rubber bands. Most of all, he loved printers. Every time we printed a page on the laser printer or inkjet printer, he’d leap on the table, stare intently as the printer made noises, and then try to shred the paper as it emerged. Many pages had to be printed more than once. We would joke that Hewlett-Packard needed to develop a cat guard for its printers.

RIP T-Cat.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I’d like to share some wonderfully good news about our small company. First, we used to be a tiny company, but our upgrade just came in. :-)

More importantly, we have finalized an agreement with Decision Games to regain the rights to two of my favorite games series: Air Leader and Down In Flames Jets.

The Air Leader series are solitaire board games that place the player in command of a squadron of fighter planes in a strategic campaign. The player gets to make both tactical and strategic decisions. The series started way back in 1991 with the release of Hornet Leader. Since then, we have released several Vassal/PDF games in the series, but now we can offer the newest game, Phantom Leader, for pre-order and have it printed!

Down In Flames Jets is the modern day version of our Down In Flames WWII card game series. The jets game was designed, but never released. The DIF games put the player in the cockpit to make extremely tactical decisions. DIF-Jets is going to make an excellent addition to the series. It has all the fun of the WWII games, plus missiles! If you ever wanted to play an air combat game but were put off by the complex rules, DIF is the game for you. You can be up and flying in 15 minutes and most dogfights take only 15 minutes to resolve.

Side Note…

Hmm... a weird thing. The first time I tried to post a comment, it asked me to verify some letters - but didn't display any letters. So I typed in some random letters.It gave a failure message.I tried submitting the comment a second time, and it displayed the verification letters. I typed them in, and it worked fine.

...End Note

I’m off to put together some airplane cards and continue the Napoleon research…

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Turing Test

I just watched the most recent Sarah Conner episode (where Riley dies). Spoiler Alert. I started thinking about Cameron and her relationship with John. Here’s the thought process…

Cameron is a machine.
Machines can’t have emotions.
Love is an emotion.
Therefore, Cameron can’t love John.

Simple enough. Cameron can’t love John.

But wait.

There’s a concept called the “Turing Test”.

Basically, it says, if you talk with a machine for a prolonged period of time, and cannot tell whether you are talking to a human or a machine, the machine is considered intelligent. Now, that takes the hugely complex world of artificial intelligence (AI) and reduces it to one sentence, so a lot is lost along the way. But you get the idea.

Cameron has been programmed with vast amounts of information on humans, human emotions, human interaction, human psychology and physiology. True, she doesn’t “feel” any of these things, but from an outward observer she can mimic being a human very well.

Cameron says all the things a person in love says, does all the things, and reacts in the right ways, including internal conflicts leading to a twitchy hand. In short, there is no way to tell she is not in love. Is she considered to be in love?

Thursday, March 5, 2009


As weeks go, it’s been a good one. We haven’t got much done the last few days on game designs, but sales through the web site and through distribution have been brisk. Considering the state of the economy, we feel very fortunate. Thank you to everyone who has purchased our games!


For those who don’t know, I’m a huge Terminator fan. Yeah, I know T2 had a mega budget and amazing stunts, but I prefer the original. Watch it again sometime. The script is amazing. Virtually every line of dialog is crafted to convey some vital bit of information about the world or characters. When I design a game, I strive for this same level of excellence. Nothing is wasted. I’m also a big fan of the TV show. Josh Friedman has done a great job of making an episodic story out of one-off movie storylines. Of course, having Summer Glau looking beautiful as she walks around blasting stuff doesn’t hurt either.

Nothing is wasted.

I had a chance to meet up with John Wick at a recent Los Angeles game convention. John and I worked together at AEG on the 7th Sea CCG about 10 years ago. John is a gifted storyteller. Had he been born a few hundred years ago, he’d have been the king’s bard, telling tales of heroic battles, tragic romances, and vengeance carried out most cunning.

Telling tales.

So you might be wondering if there’s a point to all this. I’ve wanted to be a game designer for decades, and now it looks like it’s coming together as a way of making a living. I view games as a means of telling a story where the players get to control the tale.

Fortunate. Nothing is wasted. Telling Tales.