a Christian podcast about tabletop RPGs and collaborative storytelling

Weekend Reading 10

Our Weekend Reading series (brought to you by our Patreon backers) continues with a curated selection of fascinating articles—and a few other things—from around the Internet.



I may or may not have found a bunch of new games to look for. And by “may or may not” I mean “definitely.” TTG’s Top 10: Cheap Games for Under £10 gave me a bunch of cool looking titles for me to look out for next time I’m at my FLGS, epecially Red7.

Keeping up with the latest and greatest titles often means making tough decisions about what to spend your board game budget on each month – do you drop nearly £100 on a brand new blockbuster release, or try and split your available funds between a greater number of smaller or older gems that you might’ve missed?

Sometimes life gets in the way, too – an unexpected car bill or birthday can mean waiting a little longer to play the hot game that everybody’s talking about.

But a limited budget doesn’t necessarily mean limiting your gaming experience; there are hundreds of fantastic titles you can pick up for yourself or give as a gift for the same price as a coffee or trip to the cinema. We’ve picked out ten of our favourites that will leave you with change from a tenner.

What if Adam had beaten up the serpent? Questions Children Ask by Christy Thomas really made me realize a few things about the story of Adam and Eve that I was never taught in Sunday school, but absolutely should have been.

“Mom, what would have happened if Adam had picked up a tree limb and beaten the **** out of the serpent?”

Yep, he was just a kid, maybe eight years old, when that one came popping out of his mouth. He has no memory of asking it; I’ll never forget. I was trying to make a left-hand turn onto a busy street when this sweet voice from the backseat tosses that one at me.

In retrospect, I acknowledge it as one of the most profound theological questions ever.

And finally, as I continue with my DIY/building/crafting streak, I stumbled upon some truly innovative, sturdy home designs made out of quonsets. I can honestly picture myself living in one of these eventually, especially since they’re built to withstand lots and lots of snow. Some of the houses in the photo gallery look fantastic.

One thing about this building style is that it is easy to set up, and another point is that it is inexpensive. We priced out the residential models, and didn’t even pick the smallest possible size. We picked a 20X40, 10 foot high unit (they go lower and higher is size and cost), and the estimate was $8,000. So they start at less than that, even for residential ones. We also priced out a smaller one for garage purposing, and the estimate was $1,200. Of course, you do have to think about other building costs, such as transportation, laying foundation, and other expenses.



I’ve really fallen in love with Luke Harrington’s D-List Saints series over at Christ & Pop Culture. The most recent is about George Went Hensley, entitled “A Brief History of Snake Handling, in Case the Common Communion Cup Isn’t Enough of a Health Hazard for You”, and while it’s witty and informative, it’s also a sobering remonstrance for Christians of all stripes.

It’s a tale as old as time: some guy discovers a verse in the Bible, he’s convinced no one has ever noticed it before him, he doesn’t bother to look into what thousands of years’ worth of scholars have had to say about it, and he starts his own movement based on a single sentence. Sometimes it’s the sort of thing that turns into a weird historical footnote; sometimes it results in strange phenomena like horned Moseses or Calvinism; and sometimes it results in dozens of people dying from snake bites.

C. J. Ciaramella—a criminal justice reporter over at Reason Magazinefiled a FOIA request last year for the FBI’s file on TSR, Inc. and Gary Gygax. It’s a bizzaro-world look at a harmless game company and a decent, if humanly imperfect, man, filtered through unknown sources amidst their hunt for the Unabomber.

In the early 1980s, GYGAX had been generating about $1 million per year in income. REDACTED advised that GYGAX spent his money frivolously. GYGAX was involved in an unpleasant divorce and REDACTED further advised that GYGAX was a drug abuser. GYGAX is approximately 55 years of age and is currently REDACTED. He lives on Madison Street in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and may be contacted at (414) 248-7380. GYGAX maintains a mailing address as follows: P. O. Box 388, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. REDACTED considers GYGAX to be eccentric and frightening. He is known to carry a weapon and was proud of his record of personally answering any letter coming from a prison. GYGAX set up a holding company in Liberia to avoid paying taxes. He is known to be a memer of the Libertarian Party.

Finally this week, an article in Lapham’s Quarterly“Greatest of All Time”—about the richest athletes in history. No, not Tiger Woods or Lebron James—ancient Roman charioteers, whose winnings vastly outpaced even these modern superstars:

The very best paid of these—in fact, the best paid athlete of all time—was a Lusitanian Spaniard named Gaius Appuleius Diocles, who had short stints with the Whites and Greens, before settling in for a long career with the Reds. Twenty-four years of winnings brought Diocles—likely an illiterate man whose signature move was the strong final dash—the staggering sum of 35,863,120 sesterces in prize money. […] His total take home amounted to five times the earnings of the highest paid provincial governors over a similar period—enough to provide grain for the entire city of Rome for one year, or to pay all the ordinary soldiers of the Roman Army at the height of its imperial reach for a fifth of a year.



This is a little bit of a cheat, but I really want to draw attention to the show notes from our last episode. Sarah gave us an enormous list of fascinating resources after we recorded, and even if you don’t normally dig into them, this week, you really should make an exception.

It’s a bit less organized than many of our episodes, simply because we let Sarah take charge of much of the conversation, but we definitely think it turned out better for that! (And check below for a long list of links Sarah provided for us.)

For our listeners that play Magic: the Gathering, there are some big, and awesome-sounding changes coming. Check out the Metamorphosis 2.0 article over at wizards.com for the details.

Making Magic is an iterative process. We create something, we playtest it, we get feedback on it, and then we use that feedback to either make more new things or to adapt the things we already made. This iterative loop is not only applied to individual sets but also to the game as a whole.

There’s a very thought-provoking article on faith and doubt over on Patheos that’s worth a read.

I longed so much for proof. I felt sure that if only I could know for certain that God existed, I would find assurance and peace of mind.

I have to tell you, figuring out that there are no absolute answers available to me didn’t do much for my peace of mind. But having confidence that to be a person of faith is just as intellectually valid as being an atheist was a good starting point.

And finally, in honor of our focus on mental health for the summer, I give you this fascinating article on “personal monsters.”

In Personal Monsters, Shinn has created a compendium of not-so-cheery creatures to blame for our more delicate emotions, or for our more delicate enemies. Creatures like the Professional Mourner, for instance, that sees every little problem as the very end of the world. And the Inner Critic, that makes you look back and regret every decision you’ve ever made.


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