Their First Knight

I haven't touched the 'ole LJ in a LONG long time. I haven't had much to say that I thought needed more than 140 characters. I few months ago, I hinted on Twitter, that I had my mind on a new project, and there would be more to come. Well, here it is.

I am working on my own game.

Sigh, I know. Who isn't. Sure, sure...anyway.

What is it, and why am I doing it? I was sitting in my younger son's bedroom one night telling him a story. As part of our D&D game that we play together, he was to get a reward for killing The Golden Troll (who he added to the narrative himself.) As part of the game's story, I told him that during bedtime, on occasion, I would tell him The Golden troll's life story. It has been something I have since come up with on the spur of the moment, sometimes tied into the day's events, or some silly thing Ian has done. It's been very fun, and he really seems to enjoy it.

Flash to work. I don't think y'all can actually imagine how many geek parents come in looking for Fantasy themed games for their young kids. In truth, there are very few, and many of them are just plain bad. It's always really bums me out to turn people away who have a genuine interest in sharing one of their passions with their younger kids. So, what can we do about that?

So, flash back to The Golden Troll. I am sitting one night with Ian telling him a story about how much The Troll loves eating Stinky fish, and just how yummy they are. Each time he eats them, his breath gets very, very bad. He is laying next to me shaking with laughter as I describe the clouds of green breath the Troll burps out after his meals, and am just so happy we have that time to spend together.

Then it hit me. One of the few uninterrupted times parents can have with their kids is at night, during story time. How can we make that work? That's when I really clued into something I plan on calling "Their First Knight." I began talking to friends. People like Fred Hicks and my wife. They helped me form the very foundation of this concept that I am starting to work from. Something I hope will be a Story Telling Game for very young Kids, 4+, told during bed-time. I am hoping it will help expose them in a very basic way to Role-Playing.

In my next post I will lay out the very basics. I want this process to be super transparent, as I know a buncha people WAY smarter than I am. This is pretty much an open appeal for your comments, suggestions, and support. I REALLY want this to work.

More soon!

Holy Crap


Gavin Chambers
Mattel, Inc.
310-252-2999 tel
310-252-2899 fax

Games Workshop Acquired by Mattel
April 1, 2009 - El Segundo, Ca
Mattel, Inc. makers of such favorites as Barbie(tm), Hot Wheels(tm) and Fisher-Price(tm) have successfully completed negotiations for a cash purchase of Games Workshop, PLC (Nottingham, UK). Producers of hobby related games, Warhammer 40,000 and the wildly popular Warhammer Fantasy Battle, both companies felt this was a natural fit.
"I am just thrilled we were able to acquire a property of this magnitude" said Executive Vice President of Marketing, Bernard Hale. "Mattel has been eager to bring Barbie into the Realm of Gondor for years now, and the purchase of Games Workshop makes that possible. There will of course be some changes within the Games Workshop product line."
Mattel will dissolve both the Warhammer 40,000 and, Warhammer Fantasy Battle game lines effective 8/1/2009. The Black Library division of Games workshop (a subsidiary producing novels and trade paperbacks based upon Games Workshop former game lines) has been sold to Harper Collins.
"We wanted to make sure we were able to serve the core Games Workshop customers by giving them a few months to complete their collections before we destroyed the molds."
Mattel is committed to all of Games Workshop's former customers, and wish to extend a heartfelt welcome into the Barbie Family.

For further information, see Mattel, Inc. online at

Time for a little reflection

Where are we at with things? If I could sum it up, it would be: tired. 2008 was an incredibly busy year for me, and the ride has indeed left me tired. I am glad it's a new year, as it is the proverbial way to start afresh, as we are all apt to do when given the chance by the start of a new calendar year. It also gives me an excuse to add to the blog again without feeling guilty that I really haven't paid it any mind in quite a while. So, here we go.

Things are going well enough on that side of my life. EndGame was down for the first time since I have been working in the store. A bummer, but on the plus side, it was only 4%. A majority of this money was in local gaming conventions. We saw every single one of those down pretty seriously for us in 2008. Not enough to stop doing them, but enough to reset expectations for 2009. As the economy gets a little/a lot worse, I think we will see those shows do even worse. The "trappings" surrounding them, IE Room Rates, food eaten while attended etc, don't seem to be getting any cheaper, while many people at least feel broker. It should prove an interesting year for the regionals.

I am starting to realize that I need to put a lot more of my brain back in the store. While I may be here physically a lot, I am not always here mentally. A lot of hat has to do with the fact that it is SUPER easy to let things run on auto pilot. Events are pretty self managing, and the day to day stuff doesn't require a lotta brain. It has allowed me to really put that brain into stuff that I am much more focused on,primarily personal stuff. I am going to endeavor to give a little bitta brain back to the store, which may not be a bad idea as the economy gets a lot more people on edge. While I don't have a lotta fear about that effecting us to the point where we are in trouble, there is no harm in being proactive about things.

Where I failed pretty miserably this year was in my "side projects." I don't really know where to find the time to contribute more, which mentally makes me disengage. If I could get over anything, it would be my "all or nothing" mentality. Hopefully I will have more brain for IPR and One Bad Egg. I am mainly pissed at myself because these are all people I REALLY wanted to work with. I haven't felt good all year about my lack of involvement, and hopefully I can free more brain up there for those deserving entities.

I think this might be the area that got most of my brain this year. I had a total of five out-patient surgeries under full anesthetic from March to December. I won't go into details, but it hasn't been fun, and there have been some things associated that have constantly left me in some form of discomfort pretty much 100% of the time. I think that is where a lot of my brain has been lingering....trying to cope with that discomfort while juggling the rest of life. I am 100% committed to being done with this in 2009, for both my sanity, and for my overall health.

Health crap did take up a lotta my personal life, but that certainly wasn't all that happened in 2008. My kids are doing great. The older one is starting to get on course in school, even if it requires a lotta work on my wife and my part. The little one thrives off of school and his after-school program, so that is going even better than expected. We also did a fair amount of traveling this year. A Caribbean Cruise, a trip to Las Vegas for work, Gencon, several trips to Napa, and even a little more than that. It was all very satisfying for a number of different reasons, and I look forward to more of the same in 2009. We also managed to get our house in really good order this year. Projects that were started and never finished got checked off, with several others well on their way there. It's a much more comfortable place to be, and since we spend so much time there....that is a good thing.

For many people this would be a part of the "personal" category, but I always see it as having such an influential power over me, that I will send it some love at let it live out here on it's own. I am very torn here to go with this. I had some very good gaming in 2008, but I would say as a whole, it was a very love-hate relationship. I think this was the year I finally allowed business to ruin pleasure, which to an effect, really quashed my desire to both game and to evangelize for gaming. I suppose you could safely say, running a game store with oodles of play space, and hosting the types of events we do is probably being enough of an evangelist. Up until this year, that wasn't enough for me. I watched an aweful lotta bad decisions come out of the "industry" this year, from the same dipshits who have been making those bad decisions for years now...and better yet, people keep listening to those same dipshits. So, essentially, I retreated. I don't go to forums (aside from the stores own forums) anymore. I don't engage in discussion or theory in gaming retail anymore. I don't spend much of any time even reading as much news on the "industry" anymore...and I am not sure if I am scared or happy about the fact that I don't miss it. It has allowed me to try and find my way home, as they say, to the types of gaming I care about for me. Even though there were highs and lows, I am going to say it was mainly positive in getting my hobby back. I had a mech named after me this year in TRO 3075. Probably the single best thing that has happened in my gaming life. To follow it up, my friend Chris scratch built that mech for me to use during play...maybe the second single best thing to ever happen in my gaming career. I ran a BUNCH of D&D 4e this year, with even more coming up in 2009. I played in some GREAT RPGs with people like Carl Rigney. I played more board games in 2008 than any year previously. All pretty positive, if you ask me...I think the one area that I haven't been able to get back, and as I type this it still manages to stress me out, is my minis gaming. We packed up my painting table at one point to do a big remodel of the room. Once I put it back up several months later, I couldn't get back in the habit of sitting down and doing it. Some of this has to do with the medical crap you heard referenced above. A LOT of it had to do with time. Whatever the reasons, I haven't actively sat down and painted in months now. And it makes me sad, but manages to be reality none the less. I am not convinced 2009 will change this, as my schedule hasn't really freed up any at all, and there isn't much left to drop in it's place. I suppose, time will tell.

I feel like this deserves it's own category as well, though, I think it could have lived under any one of these other categories. I am thrilled at how many people listen to 2d6 Feet in a Random Direction. I was also thrilled to be part of a panel hosted by Daniel Perez this year at Gencon. Due to the lack of brain, Podcasting seriously suffered in my life in 2008. We have always tried to get a couple shows out in a month, and my schedule and lack of brain made that pretty impossible this past year. I wonder if for me, at least, some of this has to do with my lack of interest in gaming evangelism, but I am pretty sure it doesn't. It's something I realllly enjoy doing. It helps me stay connected with an awful lotta people I really like, and like to hear from. If I can manage to squeeze more time outta my brain, this is one area of things I can see getting better in 2009...but as James Bond once said, Never say Never. (Wait...)

Yeah, ok. So this was actually pretty helpful. I am sure almost any "let's reflect" post you see on the Tubes is all about getting your head back on straight once a year. I think doing this has had that effect on me, for at least today. So, thanks for putting up with it. I will catch you guys on the other side of this thing.

One proud Dad.

I have been pretty quiet of late, had a lot to do with getting ready for our big anniversary party, then jumping into some surgery. I am not dead, so let's get back on track.

The EndGame 7th Anniversary party was a pretty big success. As usual, the upstairs was jam packed, and there was a huge variety of games going on at any given time. I love our parties, as they are pretty much one of the only days that our very diverse community gets to see what they all do. The board gamers get to see the D&D players, and the D&D players get to see the Warhammer players, etc. I always think it's pretty important for the various gaming communities at large to know they aren't on their own. (Just tell a Magic gamer we don;t carry singles, and they think we are one example). We had a full house pretty much the whole day.

I always make sure my younger son gets to come to these parties. As he has grown up with the store, he has also achieved a level of "maturity" that allows him to engage a lot more in actual game play. He is starting to get the basics of strategy, and he understands making careful choices are somewhat meaningful when he is playing a game. While I expected him to get involved at the party, I didn't expect for him to get to sit and play D&D for 2 straight hours.

It was pretty goddamn awesome. The people at the table welcomed him in, and helped him through the process. I don't think I have seen him work so hard on anything before. He _wanted_ this. He wanted to be at the big guys table, playing games his Dad plays. His brother (you can see him in the picture I have attached) was there to root him on, and the player you also see in the picture (who also co-coordinates our RPGA at the store) made sure he knew what was happening throughout the two encounters he played. They didn't give him anything. He had to make his rolls, and do his part...but they made sure he had fun doing it.

Honestly, that is what the store is for me. A way to get new gamers into gaming. Plain and simple. You have a picture of why we could close tomorrow, and I could walk away feeling like we did a fine job.

One Week and Counting

We are only one week away from the 7th Anniversary party for EndGame. For a small business that is no small feat. For a game store, it might even be considered monumental. With the direness that is so often laid out there about the retail gaming segment of our "industry," I am proud to be someone showing off how that isn't necessarily true.

So, if you are event remotely close by, come down and play some games to celebrate 7 years of imminent doom.

I am mostly back

I am starting to notice that I am increasingly ignoring my LJ. I tend to do that when life starts to get more exciting than I want it to be. So I am going to use the "opportunity" I have today, of pulling a 14 hour day to catch up on what I have been doing.

I am not going to bore you all with a long and detailed trip recap. Let's suffice to say that the Caribbean is awesome. It's the third tine I have been since 2001, and the only thing I ever manage to really have be an issue is the humidity. We don't get virtually any of that in the Bay Area, so when I encounter it I pretty much struggle with it. That aside, the weather was nice, the Disney Island was (as always) FANTASTIC, and the kids had the times of their lives. If you have kids and have an interest in cruising, take a Disney Cruise. It is worth every penny.

My wife and I came back massively sick. Thankfully we caught the cold at the very last night of the cruise, so it really only effected the trip home. Travel now a days manages to massively suck, and traveling sick isn't any more pleasant. But after a full day, it was over, and we arrive home with like 10 suitcases to unpack feeling like the dogs breakfast.

I think maybe today, a full week plus later Toni and I are finally feeling about 80%...and now the little one is full into the middle of it. We are hoping he is fully recovered so he can enjoy Halloween (as Darth Vader), but with the week long trip, the week of being sick, and potentially a week of Ian being sick, October is turning long. It has me behind with some stuff I wanted to get done for EndGame, One Bad Egg, and for some of the issues IPR is currently facing. Stretched thin is kinda exaggerating the point. Oh, yeah, and we are trying to sell our car to get a new one. We'll see how that goes. Anyone need a Lexus Hybrid SUV?

A few points of interest as a recap, and then I sign out to see what I can tackle today:

- Tentatively, the next EndGame MiniCon is 1/17/09
- The EndGame 7th Anniversary party is still happening on 11/08/08. Get on down for the madness.
- The Ape Lord is doing GREAT, and more is on it's way soon.

All for now. More as I have it. HUZZAH!