Weekend Reading – (Un)Lucky 13


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.

 

Jenny

To tie back to one of our earlier weekend reading posts, here is another chicken church! This one seems to be much less intentional, but much cuter.

Built in the 1940s on a wing and a prayer (so to speak), the Church by the Sea has served the spiritual needs of Madeira Beach residents for more than 70 years. But it’s the church’s unusual architectural feature as much as its history that brings out flocks of curious visitors.

I like Mad Max. I like Fallout: New Vegas. I like Borderlands. And I like board games. Wasteland Express Delivery Services (WEDS) seems to wed them all at once. (Ba-dum-tssshhhhh.)

The world of Wasteland Express Delivery Services (WEDS) jumps out at you before you even open the box. The cover explodes with the promise of a lived-in world full of the kind of characters that made Fury Road so compelling, and the game mostly delivers on that promise. Once you do get inside you’ll find an array of custom trays and enough cardboard to choke a warboy. There are 16 different terrain octagons and 21 Outposts that cleverly fit in to the spaces between those octagons. It’s a lot, but one of the great things about WEDS is that the gameplay is streamlined and easy to slip into.

Finally, everyone and their mom has been messing around with Inspirobot, the AI that randomly generates inspirational posters that sometimes are… creepy, to say the least. Here are some of my favourites that it generated for me. (1)(2)(3)(4) I think one or two of them could be interesting hooks for games.

I’m InspiroBot.

I am an artificial intelligence dedicated to generating unlimited amounts of unique inspirational quotes for endless enrichment of pointless human existence.

 

Peter

We’re still planning to do an episode on inclusion problems some day, but until then, this article is well worth a read. Let me go on the record about something (though with this audience, I’m probably preaching to the choir): a lot of the folks that tend to get driven away by “gate keepers” are the exact people who will bring fresh, cool new stuff to the hobby. I love gaming with people who are different from me. Different backgrounds make for different perspectives, which make for fresh breaths of creative air.

When you’re a geek, your hobby is your happy place. Whether it’s the flying of digital lead in the latest first-person shooter, the shuffle of Magic cards, the wood pulp aroma of comic books, or the rattle of dice as they clatter across your character sheet, this is the place where you belong. You’re doing something you enjoy, and a lot of the time you’re doing it with your friends.

Then someone comes along and points out a problem. It might be a problem you never really noticed before or something you’ve just kind of ignored because it never really affected your experience. However, rather than fixing the problem, or even admitting it exists, too often we start shouting at the person who pointed it out. We accuse them of making things up, of wanting special treatment, or of trying to “ruin” our hobby.

It’s always worth noting when the church’s history of dividing through schism and disagreement takes a u-turn, however brief. So it’s refreshing to see multiple denominations signing declarations of basic tenets of faith like happened in Germany this week.

“Together with great joy, today’s formal act bring new challenges and responsibilities in our pursuit of fidelity to the Gospel and unity in truth,” the Pope said in message read out for him.

“May it mark a new stage of fellowship and cooperation in the service of justice and peace in our human family,” said Francis.

Finally, there’s a great post over on Gnome Stew on magic as technology – specifically, magic becoming IT and telecom infrastructure.

But wait, there’s more! Let’s looks at economics: manufacture of magic items is often expensive but costs can usually be reduced with the right combination of rare items. With these devices being so in demand, it makes perfect sense that industries would spring up around farming these materials to drive down the cost of manufacture. This might reduce the price to the point that even lower level adventurers, smaller businesses, and minor government officials might have one.

 

Grant

First up, a twenty-year old article by Lynda Edwards that I couldn’t stop reading and which completely broke my heart: “Myths Over Miami“. Everyone needs to read this article carefully. It’s fascinating and troubling and utterly strange; and it’s excellent gaming material and a call to action for Christians, all at once:

Folktales are usually an inheritance from family or homeland. But what if you are a child enduring a continual, grueling, dangerous journey? No adult can steel such a child against the outcast’s fate: the endless slurs and snubs, the threats, the fear. What these determined children do is snatch dark and bright fragments of Halloween fables, TV news, and candy-colored Bible-story leaflets from street-corner preachers, and like birds building a nest from scraps, weave their own myths. The “secret stories” are carefully guarded knowledge, never shared with older siblings or parents for fear of being ridiculed — or spanked for blasphemy. But their accounts of an exiled God who cannot or will not respond to human pleas as his angels wage war with Hell is, to shelter children, a plausible explanation for having no safe home, and one that engages them in an epic clash.

Next, a timely reminder from Richard Beck: “That’s Not God You Are Feeling, It’s Vacation“. I promise I didn’t only choose this one because it refers to Hilton Head, one of my state’s loveliest beaches.

Once a friend shared this sentiment with me. She said, “I really feel close to God by the ocean.” And I joked, “That’s not God you are feeling. It’s called vacation.”

But I was only half-joking. Because I do think there is something problematic about seeking out a beautiful place to feel close to God.

Finally, a podcast Krissi and I are enjoying immensely (however NSFW it may be.) Jef and Jon of System Mastery have a new podcast, Expounded Universe. It’s much like their Movie Mastery podcast, except for Star Wars Expanded Universe novels—a step-by-step plot review filled with asides and absurdity. Again, it’s often NSFW, but it’s incredibly funny—whether or not you’ve read any of these books. Definitely recommended.

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