Sunday, July 16, 2006


As an aside to the post about the WebCT conference, I went to a presentation by Capella University, the online university that operates out of Minneapolis. They told me that they're "monitoring a user's average amount of tool activity per week". I didn't know they offered those sorts of courses.

Yesterday, after breakfast at Maria's, the Scooter family went to the Mall of America for a little post-Chicago time together at Camp Mall of America. Eryn was a particularly good little girl and helped a 2.5 year old on the airplanes who was a little scared of her first ride without mom. Went over big time with the little girl and her mother. Eryn also had a great time riding the little shaver roller coster, her arms high in the air. While this isn't a picture of a ride at the Mall, it does show that the amusement park rides continued well beyond the Mall. That Sit and Spin is getting a workout.

While at the Mall, we found Eryn a 2'x3' dinosaur floor puzzle (it's how they became extinct, everyone kept stepping on them), and I beame intrigued with a game called Zombies!!! that seemed like it might be fun. Once we got home, I read the rest of the rules and Eryn and I played a test game. Primarily, she was concerned about the zombies. Why were they green and gray? Why was there blood on their shirts? Why did they want to eat brains? Why did they come back after death? Yes, yes...they were hungry, but how - what were the logistics? Was that a zombie on the card she had? What about the guy who was having his head bitten by the zombie, was he a zombie too? He would be? Why?

Now you may question the sort of father who not only allows, but encourages, his three year old to play a game featuring canibalistic undead, but I do spend a lot of time sitting with her walking through everything and explaining why they're really not that scary, not real, how they're portrayed in popular culture, how she might run into them in a movie or television show later, etc. I feel this is a better approach than just letting her run into the Friday night midnight movie on her own. So far it seems to be working swimingly. was Zombies!!!? We played part of a test game, and then later Dan'l, Kyle and I played a full game, and even later Pooteewheet made me show her how to play. It was almost like having a gaming day, which I don't get to have too often lately as no one is in the same geographical location at the same time. The game is fun. Just two pages of rules and they basically come down to 1.) draw a map card (potentially with a building full of health and bullets) and put it somewhere with zombies on it, 2.) draw some cards with actions and them and play what you can/like (shotguns/etc), 3.) move, 4.) fight zombies (1-3 loses, 4-6 wins, each bullet can add one to the roll, a health bit allows a full reroll - you have limited health and bullets), 5.) move zombies (preferably in someone else's direction or on someone), 6.) repeat (unless you die, in which case you lose half your zombies and get your health and bullets back and start over in the middle).

The goal is to (re)kill 25 zombies or get to the helipad when the last map card is played. The cards are where the action really lies, and we spent a significant amount of time shafting each other: stopping movement, moving players onto zombies, zombies onto players, stealing bullets, destroying weapons, placing zombies in irritating locations (on the board!), etc. If Dan'l hadn't unnaturally rolled 4 or better around 80% of the time, we'd have made it all the way to the helipad instead of seeing a 25 zombie win. It's also a quick game, which is nice - I seldom get my friends in a gaming area for several hours straight where children aren't interrupting.

Here's a picture of some Zombies!!! action. I am sorry to point out that I just have the basic set and did not purchase the extra 100 glow in the dark zombies. While that might be fun, I'm not quite sure how you see your cards and pieces with the lights off...maybe candle light? There are some expansion sets, and I think at least one of them includes zombie dogs - that'll be nice, Sandy can play.

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