DAILY COMBO: Tag + Checkers

Intro: Thanks to Jon P for the suggestion of Tag + Checkers. Yes, you too can suggest a Game Combo! I think Jon was throwing this out as a ferinstance, but I took it as a challenge!

Today’s two randomly generated games: Tag + Checkers

Tag: The ancient game of I’m touching you because you’re slow and I can probably outrun you and hey, look I’ve unlocked the Being A Bully Achievement!
Checkers: The ancient game of draughts AKA “chess is too hard” plus all we have are these bottle caps.

Initial thoughts: Let’s do this. We could play tag using checkers as people, but on the checkers board. Or we could play checkers using people as checkers on a real-life board. Goodness me, this might be the rare game combo challenge where BOTH options are equally tempting.

Game Combo: There’s definitely something intriguing about combining the rules of checkers (forward-only diagonal movement unitil you get Kinged) with the side-swapping goals of Tag. No matter how I play it out in my head, it comes down to checkers movement and “being It” whether it’s on a board or running around. I’m going to describe the basic rules sort of generically so that you can either play it on a checkers board (with 8 or more players each moving one checker each), or with 8+ people in real life… on a checkerboard carpet, tiled floor or grass field. Start with a normal checker game setup: three rows of four players/pieces on each side. If you have fewer players than that, do two rows of four, or even one row of four for an 8-player game. Play then begins using normal checkers rules except that when it’s one team’s turn, whoever raises their hand first is the one who moves. It’s unlikely that everyone will want to move at once, so do it by a show of hands first and if there is more than one hand-raiser, wait til all but one of them puts their hand down. Alternate sides during play and use normal checkers moves. If you end your turn diagonally next to an opponent, you may “tag” them. If you choose NOT to tag them, the normal “jumping” can take place on a future turn if you or they are still next to each other diagonally. Jumping removes a piece (player) from the game. If you tag someone, they are “It”. Here are the basic rules of being “it”: Your side can no longer get “Kinged”. Your side’s existing Kings can no longer move like a king. You cannot win if someone on your side is “it”. You can still move forward using regular checkers rules. If you are a King, you can move forward like a normal piece. You can still “jump” opponents. Finally, you cannot “tag back”, meaning you are not allowed to tag the player/piece which tagged you. As soon as you tag a piece, two things happen: You get an extra move. The game enters the “Simultaneous Move” stage which lasts the REST of the game. During simultaneous moving, at the start of each turn, the “it” player counts down from 3 to 1. After the stroke of “1”, all players must point in the direction they wish to move (including the “it” player). If no one else is moving into the space you are pointing at, you get to move there. If someone else is pointing at the same square as you, neither of you can move there. If you point at a space which someone is moving out of and they end up NOT moving out of that square, you do not move either. You might see this as something similar to how the boardgame “Diplomacy” works, minus the ability to “support” moves. After everyone has moved (successfully or not), the “It” player can tag someone on the opposing team (not their own team) as long as they are diagonally next to them and it is not a “tag back”. If your side is not “It” anymore, you regain the normal powers to become a King and to move like a King, if you are one. Whether playing on a checkers board or in real life, the game progresses as normal until there is a winning side: in other words until one side has only one piece/player left.

Final thoughts: I’m quite eager to play this game in real life. I spent a few minutes playing out the rules on a checkerboard and several minutes more writing out the rules just now. Suffice to say this is, like all Game Combos I make, a spur of the moment, stream-of-consciousness endeavor. Nevertheless, I can’t wait to try it out. Let me know if you successfully attempt it!

What you will find at Gamurgy.com

Gamurgy.com is a place to explore that weird place where several of my lifelong interests converge:

  • Boardgames
  • Puzzles
  • LARPs
  • Immersive experiences
  • Video games
  • Traditional theatre
  • Comedy

Boardgames include card games, role playing, CCGs, miniatures, word games and kids games. We all grew up playing Monopoly and Connect Four, so why not infuse your creations with something we all know?

Puzzles can be crosswords, cryptics, riddles, sudoku, rebuses, brain twisters, metal tangle puzzles, and wooden mystery boxes. My sweet spot is hour-long puzzle on paper with meta-solutions that is the mainstay of the National Puzzler’s League.

LARPs are anything from parlor games to boffer wars, with my favorite being the kind you can play in one evening where everyone has a character and a goal. Imagine a store-bought murder mystery but for a 30 people and with costumes.

Immersive covers the gamut from Escape Rooms to VR to interactive installations with anything from Meow Wolf to Lazer Tag thrown in. Almost anything can be made immersive, and nearly any immersive experience can be gamurgized.

Video games, especially classic ones, but with a definite leaning toward Myst, Breath of the Wild and Rock Band and less of Madden Football and Fortnite.

Traditional theatre where there’s an audience and a stage and the material is written, including musicals, community theatre, black box one-acts and staged reading.

Comedy, whether it be stand up or sketch, and especially my favorite: improv.

In fact, LOTS of improv. You’ll likely see many of my designs involve improv whenever possible. Improvising a character while playing, improvising new rules when a game breaks down, improvising a solution to a puzzle or riddle, and — as always — me improvising my presentation of a game so that the players gradually understand what zany combination I am introducing them to.

Please enjoy Gamurgy.com, where styles, games, formats, and age-old media forms collide.

The Gamurgist

I recently unearthed this photo of me, taken at age 4, and it neatly sums up everything you need to know about me and this website. I recently unearthed this photo of me, taken at age 4, and it neatly sums up everything you need to know about me and this website.

I was raised on Legos, Tinkertoys and Big Wheels, and yet I still believe to this day that I have never played a game more than a few times as it was originally intended.I was raised on Legos, Tinkertoys and Big Wheels, and yet I still believe to this day that I have never played a game more than a few times as it was originally intended.

I’m sure I went around the block a few dozen times for a few weeks, but I distinctly remember tiny me thinking “everyone else does it the way the instructions day, but that’s not good enough.”

I vividly remember the day in this photo, even though it was lost to me until I saw the picture again after many decades. I remember seeing the handlebars and noting their symmetry and how flat they were. In my mind I was already thinking that this would be a stable toy even upside down. So upside down it went.

I remember pushing it to see if it would topple too easily, which it did. So I had to make sure the handlebars stayed perpendicular to the frame. And of course I sat on it. I can remember how it felt on my rear: Painful. But who cares.

I remember thinking, “what do I do with it now?” The wheel had to spin, so I grabbed the pedals and spun them. I remember the smell of the wheel as it shook off the dust in my face. I remember spinning it as fast as I could and then stopping it using my chest, and how that burned, and how my mom hated having to clean my clothes afterward.

And I distinctly remember the game I made out of it. On its own, spinning a wheel isn’t really a game, per se. Something in my mind triggered a memory of milling devices. Probably something I saw a picture of in the Worldbook Encyclopedia. So I grabbed some dirt clods and slid them into the space beneath the wheel where it touches the orange frame. I had to spin backwards so that the wheel would “mill” the dirt away from me.

I recall milling “wheat” clod after clod that afternoon into dirt flour. I’m sure I had a song to go with it.

Gamurgy is dedicated to the spirit of changing, adapting, messing around with, and generally finding the game — or a new game — in anything.Gamurgy is dedicated to the spirit of changing, adapting, messing around with, and generally finding the game — or a new game — in anything.

Over the years, I’ve collected over 2000 games, puzzles, toys and devices and I still venture to say I’ve never played any of them as intended more than a handful of times.Over the years, I’ve collected over 2000 games, puzzles, toys and devices and I still venture to say I’ve never played any of them as intended more than a handful of times.

In Which I Turn My First Blog Entry Into a Game

You are Spider-man!

The other day I was thinking about how I haven’t posted on my blog in a long time. Blog. It sounds funny to say it.

Blog.

It’s short for “web log”, a thing I forget and then remember every time Iook it up, kind of like how I have to remind myself that the Dakotas are east of Montana, not below Montana (just double-checked, yup that’s where they are alright!).

Side note:  Blog is not, apparently, short for “blogosphere” — at least not any more than ATM is short for “atmosphere.” 

And for those more than a year-and-a-half older than me or a year-and-a-half younger than me, blogging was all the rage… for about three years. Anyone blogging before that was updating their unread GoDaddy webpage. Anyone doing it after that was just stalling while they waited for one of their East Coast college friends to gift them an unused Facebook invite. Was I the only one whose friends kept sending them expired Facebook invites? Anyway…

For a brief, shining three years, give or take :D, from 2004 to 2006, blogs certainly sort of definitely maybe existed. I guess I have my doubts because accessing my old Live Journal account is like requesting a home loan while wearing an overcoat and being three babies on each others’ shoulders… there are a lot of security questions, proving who you are, and peering.

But after several attempts, I got in and was able to see my very first blog post. Here is it in all it’s unedited glory:

“Currently moving over to LiveJournal. Pardon the construction. In the meantime… your results: You are Spider-Man. You are intelligent, witty, a bit geeky and have great power and responsibility.” (click to take the test again!)

I guess I was moving over from maybe Blogspot? Blogger? I seem to recall that my previous content — prior to this beauty of a first post —  was mostly game related. Perhaps some of my best material, but lost to the sands of time. And before that my content was comprised of pretentious ramblings on AOL. Like you do.

And, perhaps we should be thankful that social media is limited to 40 or 140 characters… or to a six second video. Although a staged reading of my pre-2000 AOL Hometown pages would be must-see community theater if I do say so myself. And all of it does exist on a thumb drive somewhere.

Side note:  Does anyone know if you can just give those VHS & DVD converter services — the ones you see on fliers taped to telephone poles — an, I don’t know, ziplock bag full of USB drives and tell them to throw it all up on Google Drive? Asking for a friend.

Or better yet, can we make our first, embarrassing blog posts into a game?

Introducing the “Predictive First Blog Post Game”…

  1. Guess at what platform you first blogged on.
  2. Remember the name of your first girlfriend or first car you owned.
  3. Log into the oldest email service you can recall using.
  4. Fat-finger a few wrong passwords, then give up and reset it.
  5. Scroll way Way WAY back to your first blog post.
  6. Read it. Laugh. (Grammarly doesn’t sound so stupid now, does it!)
  7. Open a new text doc.
  8. Type the first few words of your nascent post and then let predictive text complete the post for you.

Yup. I didn’t invent the predictive text game, but I sure may have discovered what it was meant for. Here’s what mine turned into (original post’s first words in CAPS):

CURRENTLY MOVING OVER TO theater is a great place for kids and family and we can wine or dinner and the food was good but we had a great experience and the service is excellent game to play like this app facebook or facebook facebook or facebook facebook facebook or…

Cool. I like facebook and food. Checks out. But what happens if I try it with a slightly older device that has several years rather than just a couple months of predictive content to go off of.

CURRENTLY MOVING OVER TO a new home next week and I’ll probably go to the store to get some stuff for my moms house and then I’ll drop off the kids and I can do them a few times before… 

Okay, that went south pretty quick. Here. Let’s try it again but this time using my grandmother’s 10 years old old first generation iPad.

CURRENTLY MOVING OVER TO the best of the day and I love you so much after a long time ago when he said a thing better about myself and friends.

Aw. So sweet! We make a good team. But let’s throw a curveball at this predictive text by looking at Trump’s first post on twitter which was back in 2009:

“Be sure to tune in and watch Donald Trump on Late Night with David Letterman as he presents the Top Ten List tonight!”

Using my iPad’s predictive test that becomes:

BE SURE TO TUNE IN AND WATCH DONALD TRUMP card is a great idea and we had a good time and it’s the day you were thinking of going back into a game of a game and a couple days of fun.

Harmless. I like a good trump card game it would seem! Now, let’s see what my grandmother’s sweet words have to say:

BE SURE TO TUNE IN AND WATCH DONALD TRUMP is the best thing ever to have happened in my life and I love it so hard…

And it went south again. Some things are better left unknown. 

But I would definitely love to know what YOUR first blog post was and I would especially love to see what your post turns into when you predictive text it. Share them on your own blog or on FB or wherever (as of this moment I don’t have comments turned on for this site).

As a special reward for getting this far, I have included below my predictive text for first blog posts of Katy Perry, Billie Eilish, John Green, and Gary Gygax.

– – –

My version of Katy Perry’s first blog post:

NOT BATTERY OPERATED I was a great game a good app to play the games on the way home from my local theatre people and the other people who have a lot to choose.

The original:

NOT BATTERY OPERATED! I am a real person! HA!
Me and my little kittehnnnz first video blog about UR SO GAY! 😛 

– – –

Teen lit author John Green:

THE REINVIGORATED JOHN GREEN BOOKS has always been the perfect way to share your beautiful face and memories and your doorstep and your address and your name on the table.

Original:

THE REINVIGORATED JOHN GREEN BOOKS-dot-com contains all of the questions and answers you need for your book report, trivia night, or recreational dossier.

– – –

My version of Gary Gygax’s first column in TSR newsletter, 1975:

THE STRATEGIC REVIEW is the best way to get to the q&a app and the new one place to get the best of experience with a great game and it would totally make the best game of all time the games i have been the most interesting thing to do this is amazing and it’s fun. 

The original:

THE STRATEGIC REVIEW is the newsletter of Tactical Studies Rules which will quite naturally be used to carry advertisements for all of TSR’s product line.

– – –

Billie Eilish’s first tweet:

THIS IS THE ARTWORK FOR BILLIE’S debut album “WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?”. The new single is out tomorrow at 9am PT.

My version:

THIS IS THE ARTWORK FOR BILLIE’S we are both in love with the new fabric choices and we are making them look like they are all together for the best ones. 

– – –

So it appears I like games, theater, food, fabric, doorsteps and beautiful faces. Again, it checks out!