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Choices Life presents us with an endless array of choices. Each and every day we are barraged with a myriad of decisions to make, from the small to the substantial.

Website updates, yet again

Hello everyone!  After a long dry spell here at the blog I am once again jumping onto the horse and giving this hobby another go.  So I gave the blog,

Fact Friday – Animals!!

Fact Friday Welcome to a new segment on the blog that I call Fact Friday. In this segment each Friday I will be sharing some interesting facts with you. Either

New Year, New Look

Hello everyone, The holidays have kept me quite busy and I have been neglecting my blog in a most serious way.  So to get me jazzed up to get back

Even More Floor Plans

One of my most popular posts on my blog has been my short list of floor plans.  Having a map of an area is one of the easiest ways to



Life presents us with an endless array of choices. Each and every day we are barraged with a myriad of decisions to make, from the small to the substantial. And even between each other what is considered a small or large decision varies greatly. I put very little thought into my attire choices for the day, beyond making sure it is “appropriate” for the occasion. While my daughter can often deliberate over this decision for much longer. It simply matters more to her (well at least some days).

How we go about making the larger choices in life I think says a lot about the sort of person that we are. I, for one, am a researcher. There is no decision in life of any significant size that I make without deep and considered research. While this has meant that my decisions are hought out with all known aspects weighed and considered, it also means that I am very unlikely to jump feet first into anything. I have found, of late, that my style of decision making is both a blessing and a curse.

I know what I want out of life, at least on a rough level, but seem unable to overcome my well considered fear of failure to be able to just grasp life and make it happen. A bit too much like Hermoine in the library and not enough Harry & Ron just jumping in and seeing what happens. This is something I am trying to find moderation in. How do you follow your dreams while still being a responsible adult that can pay the bills?

While I have always stayed between the lines and followed the “shoulds” in life, that doesn’t mean that I have wanted to do so. Fitting in with the cultural norms has never really been for me. I don’t do much with my hair, and it is only super long because I can’t be bothered to keep going in for haircuts to keep it short. I don’t wear make-up unless I am in costume for an event. I don’t buy the latest purse/shoes/clothes/etc. because not only do I not know what they are I wouldn’t spend that sort of money even if I did. Instead I revel in learning new things, most recently I have been on a mission to learn computer programming.

So perhaps as I start to see 40 on the horizon it is time to embrace myself more. To truly step into my own skin and live life the way I want to, not the way I believe I am supposed to. These days technology is making so many rapid changes in our lives that it is hard for me to fathom the changes since I was a kid let alone those that will come in the remainder of my lifetime. Honestly I can’t image how it must feel to my grandma who is well into her 80s. So with these changes we need to look at the world in a new way. And this adds to my quandary on the future. Not knowing what skills, attributes and abilities are needed, means that it is an increased challenge to provide my kids with the right
personal character sheet to send them into adulthood with.

It is somewhat like making a character for a game with no information beyond the genre of “near future” and then meeting up with a GM you have never played under before. For all you know not a one of your skills will be useful or you will have chosen the wrong dump stat to begin with. The only advantage you have is that in real life you can simply get up and move to another table. You have the ability to move from one environment to another until you find the one that matches your interest, abilities and experience. This is, in essence, what we do when we go about finding a new job or even changing life mates. So as I continue down the path towards the future with my family, I endeavor to make the right choices to provide us all with the roads that best match us and our personal purposes.

It certainly isn’t easy knowing if the decisions you are making are the “right ones”. And since you will never get to compare against the results of a different choice (unless you manage to meet yourself from an alternate reality someday) you just have to run with it. Right now our family is up against some big choices. We are talking about the idea of home-schooling (for a variety of reasons but that is for another post), a volunteer organization my daughter and I are part of has decided to discontinue the portion of the program we participate in, and I am considering a change on the career front (not sure what that looks like yet). So many decisions. And while it seems like you could stagger them out (and we will some) life often prefers to just throw everything it can up in the air at the same time and then see what side of the toast lands up. It is one of those times for us right now. I guess the only thing to do is to decide, move forward with the decision, and change course if/when necessary.

What is your style for tackling the larger decisions in life?

Website updates, yet again

Hello everyone!  After a long dry spell here at the blog I am once again jumping onto the horse and giving this hobby another go.  So I gave the blog, yet another fresh look, this time to make sure my full menu of blog post topics are available as my last new looked wiped many of them off the list and I didn’t really notice that they were missing until yesterday.

I also added an Amazon Store link to the blog so you can easily find the games I have played and enjoyed as well as gadgets that I think are pretty nifty.  You will find the page shown in the upper right corner, “Shop Games & Gadgets“.  An easy way to add neat things to your collection in case your local gaming store is out or you just prefer the convenience of online shopping and/or shipping.  Hope you find it useful, and if you wish something were on there that isn’t just let me know and I will add it in.

Now to go work on my blog post about the great time I had at GameStore 16.  But first I have to convince my phone to release the pictures of gamers gaming and Giant Jenga blocks falling.

Fact Friday – Animals!!

Fact Friday

Welcome to a new segment on the blog that I call Fact Friday. In this segment each Friday I will be sharing some interesting facts with you. Either going in-depth into a particular topic, or just sharing some random yet interesting facts with you for the day. Hopefully we will both learn something from these fun posts or at the very least you will have something to bring up during the lull in conversation during your weekend gaming sessions.

Here we go with our first Fact Friday….

A list of interesting animal related facts and links to the source material.

  • Giraffes have a tongue that is 21 inches long, and just like cows they regurgitate food and chew their cud. Source Link
  • The giant pacific octopus mostly lives off of smaller prey like lobsters and fish, but they are also known to have attacked sharks using their sharp beaks. Source Link
  • There is a variety of squirrels that gets quite large, the Indian giant squirrel grows to about 3 feet long. Source Link
  • A full grown moose can run as fast as 35 mph for a short while, and maintain 20 mph speeds for about an hour. Their young grow fast and within 5 days can outrun a person. Source Link
  • Sun bears are the smallest of the bears and are actually nocturnal. Source Link

New Year, New Look

Hello everyone,

The holidays have kept me quite busy and I have been neglecting my blog in a most serious way.  So to get me jazzed up to get back to writing about my geeky family life I decided to give the blog a face lift.  I am going for a look that is cleaner, simpler and easier on the eyes.  I hope you like what you see.  If you have any suggestions for improvements I would love to hear them, just add a comment and let me know!

I am also working on getting a schedule down for regular blog posts; especially regarding the new games we have been playing, as well as old favorites that we have pulled out and dusted off.  Also we are only two months away from Gamestorm 16!!  If you get your membership now you can still save some money, but come March 3rd you will be paying full price.  There really isn’t anything else you can go to for 4 days of solid fun for such a low price so get in while the getting is good.  GM sign-ups start soon and I am trying to decide what I should run this year.

Oh and a new game from a local company that I helped to Kickstart will be shipping soon.  More on that when the game arrives and I can share pictures of my new prize.

I plan to start a small section called Fact Friday, the odd stuff you didn’t know you wanted to know.  Off to research and be back with the first Fact Friday tomorrow!!

Embrace your geek,

The Halfling

Even More Floor Plans

One of my most popular posts on my blog has been my short list of floor plans.  Having a map of an area is one of the easiest ways to not only plan your rpg adventure, but also to make sure that all of your players are visualizing the same thing.  Anything that keeps everyone on the same page helps to reduce confusion and arguments, both of which take away from the joy of the rpg.

So without further delay here is another list of floor plan links you may find useful in your games.  Most of these are aimed at the near past, modern, or near future time periods.  Hope you enjoy them.

Multnomah Country, OR Downtown Library Floor plan A map of a historic and large library.

Academic Building Floor plan – University of Wisconsin La Crosse Nice detail including the number of seats per room.

Floor Plans for the Smithsonian Museums and National Zoo (a page with links to a number of floor plans)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art A wonderfully details floor plan

Johnson County Community College A page with links to the campus map and building maps.

Commercial Building Floor plans This page has a number of different plans and shows both the front facade and floor layout.

A vast collection of Theme Park Maps Covers multiple parks and for many of them has several years worth of maps.

Cerro Gordo County, Iowa Jail Nice detail in a modern jail floor plan and it is a pdf!


Is there a certain type of map you are wanting and just can’t find?  If so, let me know and I will see if I can locate it and add it to my next floor plan blogpost.



Falling: Goblin Edition

A month ago or so we tried out a new card game, Falling: Goblin Edition and while crazy it was a lot of fun. The premise of the card game is that you are a group of Goblins who, for whatever reason, are falling and are sure to die when you hit the ground. So you take on the goal of trying to be the last one to hit the ground.

The game is very fast paced and lacks a true turn based system as you just fling cards as fast as they are dealt out. While it took us a couple of games before both the dealer and the players had figured out what we were doing, once we did it worked nicely. With such a fast paced game it did an excellent job of simulating the story line. While you were busy pushing other goblins (players) or grabbing onto thing to try to slow your decent the ground appeared with an unexpected “Thud!” often without you seeing it coming.

I wouldn’t recommend the game for kids younger than perhaps late Middle School, the pace would be a real challenge and the lack of true turns was a challenge for even the table of seasoned gamers I was playing with. It did make for an entertaining passing of time though while we waited for the last member of our gaming group to arrive for the evening’s table top session.

Anti-Matter Matters Boardgame – A Kickstarter Project

Anti-Matter Matters

Support your local Game Designer

Just like shopping locally helps the economy where you live, the same can be said for supporting your local Game Designer. By finding out the game designers in your community you are helping to drive innovation and creativity in your region. Many, if not most, major metropolitan centers have at least a few game designers. Just last night I found out that we have a new set of game designers in Portland; at least they are new to me. They are called Elbowfish Gaming and are located right here in Portland. Thanks to GameStorm for letting me know about them and their Kickstarter Project for a new game called Anti-Matter Matters. Right now they have a Kickstarter Project that is nearing the end of it’s funding time. It is so close to being funded and I really want to see their game in person and for sale. I went and helped with their kickstarter campaign and urge you to as well, but hurry as it closes this Saturday July 13th!!

So what is the game?

Good question. It is a board game about particle physics. Honestly I don’t know a lot about particle physics myself, but this group does and they have created a board game that promises to be fun while demystifying the rather complex subject of quantum physics. They have been test playing at Guardian Games, a local gaming shop, and they say while being fun it also stays true to the science. The game is rated as age 13+ and plays with 2-6 players. They are hoping to eventually do the extra testing and stuff that will allow them to mark the game 11+. But that means I can play this with my son now and my daughter too in the not too distant future.

I urge you to give what you can and help make science fun, and bring this game to life

Here is a quote from Elbowfish Gaming’s website that I just love:
“Play is a universal, social activity. Games can be more than diversions. They are a medium of expression that, like film, books, television and theater, can provide thought-provoking, emotional, transformative and entertaining experiences.”

The start of a reading bug

So my daughter has struggled with her interest in reading for some time now, even though she reads at level, she is in 3rd grade. After a plea for help among my personal Facebook friends I was given a long list of potential books. I will try to update the site later with the full list of books as many of them were great suggestions. The problem was that many of these books were above her level and I was at the point of losing her for reading all together so couldn’t risk anything too over her head. Thankfully I had a friend who turned out to have the perfect solution. She brought over The Spiderwick Chronicles. Turns out they were perfect, about 100 pages and just enough pictures to break up the text but not enough to get the story from them alone. She is now on Book 4 and is delighted with herself as she finishes each one!

Prior to this it was impossible to get her to finish any chapter book, and left to her own choices she would choose Disney stories that I had collected before my kids were born. And while I feel that any reading is good reading, I knew she could do more she just didn’t know it herself. My friend also gave her the incentive that when she finished the 6 book series she would lend my daughter the movie to watch. My girl announced to her step-dad last night that she was “going to read them all, watch the movie, and then keep reading lots of books”. I am so delighted that we have finally made a reader out of her!! So while I haven’t read the books myself, I can certainly recommend them to anyone trying to bring out the reader in their kid.

Daikaijuu Sentai Uchuujin Shinkou (Alien Invasion Attack of the Giant Monsters)

Monster battle carnage

Here is the second installment of our on going It Came From the Late, Late, Late Show our GM provided us with a longer game, I believe it took us 3 sessions to finish the storyline and that included staying up a bit later on the last night.

This adventure was a two part story line, in the beginning section we were humans discovering the monsters and bringing them back to our research lab to study them.  The trip back was one of the two most memorable sections as we got attacked by modern day “pirates”.  It was an attack by hippies on a Greenpeace ship who simply would not believe that we were not whalers.  Of course the fact that we had to use an old whaling ship to bring the creatures back to the lab and that we tried to keep them from going below deck certainly wasn’t helping our cause any.  Eventually we drove them off but not without a struggle.

Then we switch to the awakening of the monsters and us taking them over as our new roles for our actors.  This is where our GM really got the chance to break out his homemade hex map, terrain and miniatures.  He is really into Lego’s and so that is what we use for mini-figs when he runs.  Of course we collect them too which makes them super easy to locate and use.

So as the ubur monsters (think Godzilla style) we were bent on destroying the town, as well as our arch enemy.  Turns out that, at least for us and our dice, the hard part would be the electric lines they had laid down in our path.  We came far too close to dying out over them before we even got into the real battle.

These images are from the end of game and give you an idea of the carnage as well as our GM’s homemade battle map.

Battlemap carnage










Here is the write up of the movie poster, the characters and rule summary, as well as the entire adventure.  Hope you enjoy.  If you end up playing or running it I would love to hear how your adventure went.


Quotes about Humanity, the Past and the Future

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” – Albert Einstein

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein

“I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.” – Albert Einstein

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” – Henry David Thoreau