zwischenzug (ZVI-shen-tsoog) — noun

A chess tactic in which a player, instead of playing the expected move, first interpolates another move, changing the situation to the player's advantage (such as gaining material or avoiding what would otherwise be a strong continuation for the opponent).

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The List

My son had some friends over for a couple of hours the other week.  There were three of them, and they struggled for something to do.  They ended up playing video games, but I got the sense from the conversation that it really didn’t work very well.  I asked him why they hadn’t tried board games, and he expressed reservations about his ability to teach the games he loves.  He does tend to like games that are fairly complicated, and hard to teach.

I took a few minutes over the weekend and looked at my collection database.  I keep my inventory on BoardGameGeek, and the data can be downloaded into an Excel file.  Someone had published an Excel tool for sorting and filtering a collection, which I have personalized.  Dumping my collection download into this tool lets me find games for the right setting.  In this case, I used the filtering to flag my collection for games that are good with at least two players (He normally has only one friend over at a time), play in an hour or less and are of low complexity.  I sprinkled in a few of his favorite games, flagging those I know he could teach, even if they don’t quite fit the criteria.  I then filtered on the flag I had set, and viola!  We have a set of game that might work.  I gave him the list, and suggested he go to the “game room” (the portion of the basement where my hobby lives) and look them over.  He could then mark the games he wants to learn.

[Okay, I realize that some of you can’t concentrate on reading this now due to that incredibly loud Nerd Alert that is going off in your head.  Yes, I have an Excel filtering tool for my collection.  Those of you that know me are either saying, “That’s awesome!” (Laundress Sue) or “Oh no – now I’ll have to explain why I let this guy near my kids!” Those of you who don’t know me are trying to see if I have another blog games and OCD. (What did you think this is?)  Breathe deeply.  Ready?]

My son was actually glad to have it.  Or he was buttering me up.  Not really sure, but I digress.  Another version of the list can be found here.  My question to you is, “How many of these games have you played?  Heard of?”  There is another world out there waiting to entertain you, and it doesn’t exist in Vegas or on riverboats.  It can be in your house, at your calling, ready to build friends, families and memories.

It’s Your Turn

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