Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Let's be Creative Part 2

So a little over a month ago I posted some creative things that I want to do this year. Of course, at the time I could not say why I want to accomplish them this year is because come the end of December my free time to do these sort of things will drop off a good deal. Anyway, one of the things that I want to do is make my own board/card game. I posted six ideas at that time, and I have decided which one that I want to run with. After my last couple of posts, there should be no surprise I am going with the Zombie idea. I tried to write out a description of how I envision this game working, but I am not sure if I did a very good job at doing that. Please take a look, and IF I actually made sense then please let me know what you think:

This game would be a non collectible customizable card game for two to four players. The game will have a Zombie theme, and the goal of the game is to complete the objective or be the last surviving player.

Set Up
The way this game will work is that a common deck will be constructed from smaller decks. The game will have several locations, and each location will have its own deck of cards. Players will choose or pick by random a few of the locations. The players will also pick one objective, and the objective will also have its own deck of cards that are added to the common deck. Finally each player will pick a character that has cards that will be added to the deck. There will be more locations, goals, and characters than is needed for one game so that each game can be very different.

Each player will have attributes that were function a bit like resources. These attributes are life, ammunition, cunning, and luck. The players will move from location to location to play cards which will increase these attributes. For example, a first aid kit could only be played if the player is in the hospital and it would increase the player's life. Fighting Zombies, which might happen when a player moves from location to location or when another player plays a zombie horde card, is done by expending the attribute like resources. For example, a zombie horde card might require three ammunition, four cunning, or five life to defeat/escape. The player would have to expend the attribute/resource of their choice that they have enough of. If they are one or two short of meeting a requirement, then they can use luck as a "wild", but luck is the hardest attribute to replenish. If a player's does not have enough ammunition or cunning to fight off the horde, then they must use life, and once life is used up then they are dead. In addition to item cards that strengthen attributes and Zombie horde cards to attack other players there will also be special cards that can be played at specific times to either help the person who played the card or hurt another player. Occasionally, a ten sided die will be used to determine chance. For example when a player moves into a location or stays at a location they will roll the 10 sided die and each location will have a number they will have to roll over to keep from fighting zombies.
The way a player turn works is they first draw cards. They may either draw a card from the discard pile or two cards from the top of the deck. If they draw two cards from the top of the deck they keep one and put the other in the discard pile (cards that are played go to the used pile and not the discard pile) The player then decides if they are going to move or stay put. Each location will have a "board" card that is placed on the table to represent the location, configuration does not matter as each player (who will have a pawn of some sorts) can move from any location to any other location. A player then rolls to see if they have to fight Zombies. The player then gets the opportunity to "search" and play all applicable item cards (most item cards are location specific). Then other players may play Zombie horde cards to attack the active player, and then it becomes the next players turn. Play rotates like this until there is a sole survivor or a player accomplishes the objective.
An example objective would be "Signal for help". To complete the objective a player has to fire a flare from the top of a building. To do this, a player must first play the "flare gun" card and then move to another building and spend three turns to ascend to the roof. Each turn the odds of fighting the locations zombies will increase. If the player makes it to the top of the building and survives their turn they win. The objective deck that is added to the common deck, will contain flare guns but it will also have special cards that opponents can use to cause the gun to malfunction, be dropped, or even stolen.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Top Ten Epworth Memories

This coming Sunday, June 21st, is going to be my last Sunday at Epworth. My time at Epworth has been just shy of four years, and in my opinion it has been an extremely good run. A top ten list seems like a good way to encapsulate the best parts of these four years. I plan on posting this on facebook as well, so those reading on the blog will not know the names, but the people tagged in the facebook note will. Since this is a top ten list, it will be in dramatic descending order.

10. Halo Bible Study
This was an experiment that I did last year. I know there is a debate if something that is inherently violent like the video game Halo 3 can be redemptive and this experience showed me that it can. I think there is a decent chance that the teenagers who participated in it still know what the Infection game type has to do with sin.

9. First Rafting Trip

I took part in two of the annual rafting trips, both trips were excellent, but of the two I liked this one more for a couple of reasons. It was the first time that I ever went White Water Rafting, the first time that I took part in worship on a mountain side, and this is when I learned just how long Mark's "short walks" can actually be.

8. 2007 Jr. High Mission Trip
In 2007 we took the Jr. High to Southern Indiana to help a church move a playground to a new location. It was a good trip, but what made the trip so memorable was playing Capture the Flag in Unity Chapel (the church we stayed at) during the night.

7, First Planned Famine Lock-in
I have done several lock-ins at Epworth. I am not sure how many, though I know Ashley could tell me because she oddly remembers the details of all of the lock-ins. I do know that this one might be my favorites. This is the lock-in where Andy and Mark found an incredible hiding spot in sardines (though Ben Handy out did that spot at the last one). This lock-in is where Danny invented his game, I think he called it Speedball, and it ended with Trevor, Kevin, and I playing Rock Band.

6, 2009 Kentucky Mission Trip

We just got back from this trip a few weeks ago. Originally, we were going to go Mexico, but Swine Flu made that impossible. Fortunately, it was possible to organize a replacement trip to Kentucky. One of things that was so cool about this trip is that I know several of the youth did not want to go to Kentucky, but by the end of the week ALL of the participants were really glad they went. On top of that, I really enjoyed the white water rafting even if I did fall out.

5, 2006 Cayman Islands Mission Trip

This was the biggest trip we took while I was at Epworth, and it was crazy. We took 32 people, and there some logistical issues that arose onsight. Despite everything that was against it, the trip was a success. I learned a lot about God's faithfulness and provision on this trip. This trip also created some great memories like snorkeling and holding a baby turtle.

4, "Lifehouse Everything Skit

I was very fortunate in that I got to preach several times at Epworth. However, the best "sermon" I ever took part in at Epworth was this skit. This video is the skit that we did our own version of, and I think we nailed it.

3, 2006 Fall Retreat

This was my favorite of the retreats we did. The topic was Spiritual Warfare, and I think it went well. On top of that, this was the time that we had hornet fights, which several people still talk about. This retreat also hosted the epic finger fencing battle between Cole and myself, and we had a really fun time playing paintball.

2, Confirmation Class

Of all the things that I did as part of my time at Epworth my favorite thing was Confirmation. I really enjoyed teachings the fundamentals of the faith. Watching youth questions and "get" these core beliefs is a reminder why I do what I do.

1,2007 Mission Trip to Biloxi
This trip is my single best memory of my time at Epworth. The service with the families was really good, but why I remember this is because of the conversations that took place. While spending a week painting a house I had several really good, really deep conversations with several of the participants. On the most frustrating days of Seminary, or the days when I felt most down about youth ministry, the memories of these conversations were a perfect reminder of why I want to d youth ministry and helped reaffirm the call I feel to serve in ministry.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Why Zombies?

As stated, here are five reasons why someone should like Zombies.

#1 They are scary

When it comes to horror movies, Zombies are the only thing that I find to truly be scary. Psycho killers are still just people, monsters are fake, and vampires are blah. However, Zombies are scary because anyone could be a Zombie. There is something unnerving about the idea of the people you care most about becoming soulless husk that craves for your brains.

#2 They are apocalyptic
Zombie stories are really not about the Zombies, they are about the survivors. One of the things I like about zombies, is they provide a suspenseful setting to explore what happens when human society breaks down. A common theme in Zombie stories is that some of the living people are more monstrous than undead monsters.

#3 They allow for shotguns to the face
Violence is generally bad, but I won't lie I can find it entertaining. Violence against Zombies is the best though, because even the biggest pacifist could not feel bad about it, because you are actually doing the person a favor.

#4 They are like watching a train wreck
In general a lot of us have a morbid fascination with bloody messes. This is why torture movies like Saw are so popular. Personally I don't like those movies because it is unpleasant to watch innocent people tortured in horrible ways. Zombie movies are usually exceedingly gory because of this same morbid fascination, but for me that is ok because Zombies are already dead.

#5 What if . . .

Of all of the horror conventions, Zombies are one of the more plausible. Well not really, but it is easier to imagine that sort of "what if" scenario as opposed to a Godzilla like monster attack or other similar story. Plus there are five scientific reasons why a Zombie Apocalypse could actually happen

So there you have it, that is why I like Zombies and you should too. One final thing on this subject. Abigail went to garage sales this past week to get some really cheap infant clothes. I found some baby clothes as well, but I was told no:

Friday, June 12, 2009

All Things Zombie

So Abigail insist that I am fully obsessed with Zombies. As someone who knows what obsession is, I know that is not true. However, she is accurate in observing that my interest in all things Zombies has increased a bit over the past several months. I have always been a casual Zombie fan, but playing Left 4 Dead moved that up a notch. Here is all the ways I have used Zombies to entertain myself since November of 2008.

Video Games
Left 4 Dead: This is really what kicked off wanting more Zombies. Left 4 Dead is an incredible game, where four people try to survive through five acts of zombies. The game captures the Zombie feeling really well, and the versus mode may be the most fun I have ever had playing any video game ever. How much time i have played this game is one of the reasons why Abigail now thinks that I am "obsessed with Zombies. My Xbox 360's blog shows that I have played this game on 44 days, and I imagine each day probably averages at least an hour of play.

Call of Duty: World at War: Call of Duty is a World War II game, but it has an excellent little mini game called Nazi Zombies. The idea is up to four players see how long they can survive against waves of Nazi Zombies. In short bursts, this is a lot of fun. This game has seen two map packs now, and each map pack has added a new Nazi Zombie level, and each level has become more complex. I also downloaded a "Nazi Zombies" theme to decorate my Xbox dashboard with.

Shellshock 2: Trail of Blood: I rented this game a few weeks ago. It is a vietnam war game with Zombies. As far as games go it was not the greatest, but it allowed me to shoot Zombies and that was fun. However, I reached a part where it really seems like I did not have enough bullets to make it through. Message boards informed me that i had reached the first of three super frustrating parts, so I kind of gave it up there.


Dead Meat Using Netflix I have watched several Zombie movies. This one is a low budget movie from Ireland that I enjoyed a lot. It is a decent "B movie" with a few parts that are so bad they are good. Plus one of the actors has a heavy accent and every time he said a certain four letter word it was funny.

Night of the Living Dead: Previously I have watched several Zombie movies, but I never watched the classic. Despite laughable effects, the story of this movie is top notch. The suspense and civil break down really capture what a Zombie movie should be.

Quick and the Undead: This movie is Sci-fi original movie quality. It was billed as a western Zombie movie, but it turned out to be just bad.

Zombie: This is a 1970's Itallian, B Horror Movie. Overall it was entertaining, and the investment to watch it is worth the shark vs. Zombie fight.

Quarantine : I watched this on recommendation from my brother, and I really liked it. The zombies in this movie are the Left 4 Dead infected type, instead of the walking corpse type. The movie has a very blair witch project feel to it, only much better produced with tighter story telling.

Shaun of the Dead: I had seen this movie before, and I really, really liked it. I found it for cheap and bought it a few days ago.

I should mention that there are also several Zombie movies in the netflix queue including: Fido, The Dead Next Door, Undead, Dance of the Dead, Tokyo Zombie, Day of the Dead, Diary of the Dead, and Dead Alive.


Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Along with the Left 4 Dead, this s another thing that has led Abigail to think there is a zombie obsession. Since I first heard about this book in January I have been very excited about it. I read it and I liked it. I will never read an actual Jane Austin book, because I think without zombies they would be dreadful. However, this work is brilliant. I really like how a classic work of english literature was transformed into the tale of a remorseless, bad-ass, Zombie killer.

Patient Zero My brother gave me this book to read, and it was a lot of fun. Patient Zero is essentially the literary equivalent of a popcorn movie. The best way to think of this book is what would happen if a season of 24 featured a terrorist plot to unleash Zombies on the earth.

Comic Books

The Walking Dead In January/February I took the van to Sears to get its tires replaced. While I was waiting a couple of hours I went to Borders and eventually found myself reading collected works of the Waking Dead comic. I instantly fell for this series, and I have found myself, for the first time since High school, regularly reading a comic book. The Walking Dead follows the trials of a small group of survivors trying to survive the Zombie Apocalypse.

Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness A while ago I read Marvel Zombies, which is a mini-series that takes the Marvel Super heroes and makes them all intelligent Zombies. This one shot introduces Ash from the Army of Darkness into the mix. It is really goofy, but it is fun.

Board Games

Last Night on Earth: Along with Left 4 Dead and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, this is the third piece that has led Abigail to her assumption. I know I have talked a LOT about this game, because I think it sounds so cool. I finally traded for it, and I have been able to play it once. I hyped this game up for myself a lot, and I was not disappointed.

Zombie Fluxx This is another game I got in a trade, and I have played it several times. Zombie Fluxx is a very, very random card game that if not taken seriously is a lot of fun.

Humans!!! Since college I have had a game called Zombies!!! where people play humans trying to escape from a Zombie infested town. in Humans!!! people play Zombies trying to eat humans. Personally, I like Humans!! better, but a few weeks ago we managed to get seven people together to play Humans!!! vs. Zombies!!!, and I personally enjoyed it a lot.

So that makes up like seven months of Zombie consumption. Hopefully, in the next few days I will take the time to make another post about why like Zombies in the first place.