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Tycho / on Fri, Feb 21 2014 at 11:30 am

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Kwisatz Haderach

Because he had to spend the week in Spokane, a haunted demiplane universally understood to be a cultural strip-mine, he thought he would “try” Magic to pass the time.  “Try” it.


With two starters he had enough for he and his son, but only just enough, so posts like the one he did yesterday were inevitable because he had sufficient supply to tantalize but not enough to satisfy, or smother.  Which is a dangerous, dangerous place.

He would call me every now and then to ask for adjudication tips on some specific thing, which I can mostly help with, because I had to learn a lot in the last couple weeks myself.  Gabriel the Younger had spent a ton of time with the card variant of Pokeymans, which has some conceptual crossover, but it’s by no means absolute.  For example, Pokemon tend to be much hardier than creatures in Magic, because “trainers” aren’t in the fight - defeating creatures is how you win.  Many abilities in Pokemon are gated by coin flips, and “energy” - that game’s mana equivalent - is attached directly to creatures.  They’re both very sophisticated; there might be value in considering them along the lines of Hordes versus Warmachine.  But the distinctions must have provided him with some intoxicating options, particularly the concept of free-standing energy, and it sounds like he more or less freaked the fuck out.

Once all the foundational stuff had been integrated, shuffled his deck and then started doing a bunch of increasingly complicated math.  I mean, playing Magic.  Except the distinction between those two things is completely illusory.

Some people like math - they think it is great on its own.  My wife Brenna is like this, and I’m glad, because I can’t really wave that flag at home.  She was talking about how all the multiples of nine add up to nine, like it was The DaVinci code or some shit, and I scrunched up my face.  Ronia has the same deal; she’s precocious re: numbers the way her brother is weirdly proficient with words.  I like my family.  I forget what we were talking about.

Oh!  It’s that some people have a hard time “taking” math without condiments.  There are books upon books upon books to incentivize reading, when a person doesn’t like reading (WHAT) we direct them toward something that might be intriguing to them.  But if they don’t like Math, which makes total sense because it fucking sucks, we defer to some kind of misplaced Puritan ethic about the intrinsic virtue of toil.  The way they teach Math at my son’s school is a criminal enterprise, and if it were designed by Satan specifically to make children hate math, it would look no different.

I don’t think that games are the secret to a perfect society, but I do think they can make lives incrementally less shitty, and this is an especially powerful example.  I read it two years ago, and I never forgot it - the stuff Gabe Newell said about educational games, or games as education, because that’s what they are, always, in every case.  It’s simply a matter of what they teach.

(CW)TB out.

under the humor rubric

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