What’s the best advice about life that you’ve ever received?

Last year while at the largest board game convention in America, I got invited to a press only event where one of the largest publishers showed us a sneek peek of their upcoming games. I got to meet some of the most well known designers in the world, including Bruno Faidutti from France.

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This week and interview with him was published and this was the last question he was asked. What’s the best advice about life that you’ve ever received?

Here was his answer.

Life is not a game. You don’t know the rules and the goal, and you better not try, since it’s more fun this way. That’s why I despise religion, and why I’m terrified by it – religious people act in life as if it were a game with a game designer, a set of rules, a goal and a victory point systems. Life is not a game, it’s a mess – and it might be better that way.

I must say that since I was about 16 up until just over 7 years ago, I felt the same way Bruno does. What changed? For the first time I learned what having a personal relationship with God was like. I realized that rules are just rules, and they constrict you like a straight jacket. But in contrast the Holy Spirit will guide us through conviction in freedom through Christ. Without adhering to a laundry list of do’s and don’ts for the wrong reasons, we are filled with energy and passion in which we make a difference in the world for the right reasons. Love. It’s that simple. The love of Jesus Christ for all of us sets us free from religion, and from being religious.

This is why I no longer see life as if it were a game with the game designer with a set of rules and a goal as Bruno mentioned. But instead I see it as an open canvas, with no “rules”.  Removing the rules removes any judgmental tendencies and I now see life as an all encompassing life of love and passion guided by the Holy Spirit.

Formula of the Week

Jesus > Rules & Religion

Question of the Week

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? Drop a comment and let us know.

Diamond in the Rough

Posted: February 6, 2015 in Wicked Pissah

Before every board game convention that I go to I always pray for God to show me the “real” reason for going. I know it’s not about the games, but it’s really about the people and the relationships with those that play them. Last November I went to Dallas wondering what will happen this time. Previous to this convention I had gotten a game to review called the Game of 49. I hadn’t gotten a chance to play it before the convention, but I reached out to the publisher and hoped to meet them and play it with them there.

This was a small independent publisher and it was their first game designed and published (the designer was the self publisher). Think of it like someone self publishing a book and selling it next to the huge publishers that are sold Barnes & Noble, but all in one hall.

My friend had gone out to dinner since my game was running long. So I was standing in the lobby of the hotel by myself and I saw the publisher of the Game of 49 walking my way. I knew what he looked like from some videos of him showing off the game so I introduced myself to him and his wife and asked if I could join them for dinner. Even in the 10 minutes before our food came, I could tell these were genuinely two of the nicest people I’ve met. When the food came, I did something I rarely do (pray for strangers at a meal). I prayed that our relationship were to grow, and that they would be blessed  in one way shape or form at this convention.

The next day I finally got a chance to play the Game of 49. I was a little nervous because I wanted to like it, but quite honestly just by the looks of it, it’s something that I would normally pass by.

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It’s such a simple game where you try and get 4 chips in a row through bidding in auctions. But there are cards that allow you not only put your chip in 1 of many spots (like a wild) you also get $7 for each  chip you have on the board. So it’s like a little economic building game. I liked the game so much that I announced it my “surprise hit” of the convention on the live podcast that was recorded there in front of a couple hundred attendees. Later that night they had sold a ton of them. The “celebrity” of the convention (Rich Sommers form TV’s Mad Men) told me later that he bought a copy on my recommendation and loved it!

The buzz that I started flowed through the convention and they sold out all the copies they brought. I later got this message from the publisher:

” I sold out my copies at BGG Con. Pretty good odds that the shout-out you arranged on the Dice Tower podcast contributed to that. Anytime we’re attending the same con, I’ll have to make it a point to have dinner with you the first night, as a good luck charm. Ruth and I had a outstanding weekend, and it was genuine pleasure meeting you. “

It also became my family game, surprise hit, and made my top 10 games of the year.

This was truly a diamond in the rough that may have been passed over by gamers. When I prayed for them to be blessed during the convention I didn’t realize that I was personally going to be used to assist them in their blessing. Blessings come in many ways and most often don’t come in monetary form, but in this case I believe it was. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer couple.

From this I learned that even when you pray for someone else, don’t be surprised if YOU are part of that story. I think sometimes we pray for someone and hope that it will get handled without us. But sometimes we are actually the most qualified to help that prayer be answered whether we know it or not.

Is it a coincidence that the game has the number of the bible squared (7 x 7) in the title of it? I think not! :)

Space Sheep to the Rescue

Posted: January 23, 2015 in Wicked Pissah

Since I review many board games, sometimes mix ups in logistics can happen. In this case I accidentally got a 2nd copy to review of a game called Space Sheep. I told the publisher about the error, and they were very gracious and said I could give it to someone that would like it.

 

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It’s a co-operative game where you all work together and thereby win or lose together as a team. It’s a very puzzly game and really is a brain burner. If you are curious as to how this game is played, you can watch my review here.

Since no one in my game group was deeply into the logic of this game, I had the game up for trade and I was contacted by someone who was interested in it. His email said this:

“I don’t actually have very many games. I like games, but mostly I just evaluate them as learning and therapy resources. I once taught special education and a stroke has prevented me from returning to that occupation. However, I have since developed an interest in using games to help people recover from traumatic brain injuries. When I fist began working with the disabled it never occurred to me that I would ever be one. My inner geek was in love when I first saw Space Sheep, but the $50 after tax and delivery for bits of card board was too much.”

I was so inspired to hear not only of someone doing great things through a bad situation, but also having it be through board games. So I sent him the game without him knowing.

Here was his response:

“I was away for a few days, but I received a box from you today. It’s still in the shrink wrap. I really wish you had sent a used copy but it will be put to good use. Thank you. Many years ago someone told me that when you get a gift all you have to say is, “thank you.” I always thought that was an odd social convention, but I’ve never really come up with anything better on my own.”

So in the end I did end up trading the game. But instead of getting another game in return like usual, I received inspiration from someone else and a heart warming feeling knowing that disabled people are learning through the game. That’s better than any game I could have received. Yes, even better than Five Tribes (a reference to the first blog in this series about board games being used by God).

This is God’s M.O… Using a bad situation or event to bring greatness through it. Sometimes we don’t understand why we are going through what we are, but if we continue to keep our eyes focused on God, He has better things in store. He doesn’t just want to restore us to what we used to be, he wants to redeem us to something better than we ever were!

 

 

 

 

Down for the Count

Posted: January 16, 2015 in Wicked Pissah

Last week I gave the background of the the largest board gaming convention in America called Gencon. The day after the Five Tribes event that I described in that blog post, this event happened. I was talking with my PR contact at one of the largest board game companies when a woman about my age collapsed right in front of us. We got her up on a chair and she told us that she has been having severe problems with her ribs lately and they were Ace bandaged up. The PR contact apparently was also a personal trainer and she started massaging her. I acted as security (which is a stretch) and tried to block all the people walking by from seeing what was going on. I then went and got some Gatorade and snacks for her to try and consume. I felt so helpless for this poor girl. She was in so much pain she was in tears.

I offered to go get her car and bring it around for her, but she wanted to try and continue walking the convention floor. Her and her husband did ask where a specific booth was and I was able to at least walk them down towards that way helping her along the way. I gave them my card and told them if there was anything else I could do for them to call me.

I didn’t feel like I helped much and I wish I could have done more.

However next day I got this voice mail from her (click here if you don’t see an embedded audio player below)

 

I also got this email from her:

“Please know you guys did more for me on Saturday than I could have ever asked for. It is so very kind and appreciated. Thank you so much again for everything you did. Literally, I could get dressed on my own this morning and get out of bed on my own as well. This is a MASSIVE improvement. I literally rolled over in bed and just knew. I went, “Oh my God” and scared my fiancé to death! Lol I was so happy I could just even breathe, so again… Thank you, thank you, thank you. :)

Casey Martin”

Sometimes just the effort of asking what you can do for someone is more than they expected. The fact that you care about them is more than enough. From this I learned that nothing you do for anyone in love is too small, even if it might seem so.

Don’t ever underestimate the power of God’s Love.

Five Tribes – One Spirit

Posted: January 9, 2015 in Wicked Pissah

Indianapolis gets its city taken over each August by a horde of geeks. by Horde I mean 60,000 of us! All for the largest board gaming convention in the USA called Gencon. The lines to get in are crazy and the smells of that many geeks in one place are even crazier :) I am blessed to get a press badge so I get in early and through the side door.

One of the hottest games was being released there this past year and there was a production delay so instead of having no copies to sell they air lifted 200 copies in. 60,000 people and 200 copies. You don’t have to be an engineer to do that math. Chances are you weren’t getting a copy of the $59 game called Five Tribes.

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One of the reasons that I really wanted this game was it is designed by by favorite game designer Bruno Cathala from France.

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On the first day they sold the 50 copies in 10 minutes (rationed by day) . The next day using my press badge I got in 30 minutes before the doors opened and I was 5th in line. People were lining up hours before the doors opened to try and sprint to the booth get one of the 50 copies to be sold that day.

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After I purchased my copy I noticed one of the guys that I demo’d  Five Tribes with the day before was in line. He said he had been in line well before the doors opened and it was going to be close to see if he would get a copy. I proceeded to walk the convention hall with another game reviewer and within about a minute I was overwhelmed by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I remember hearing (not audible) “Go give him your game”. I tried to ignore it, but I kept hearing it over the next few minutes. My heart then broke for him. I told my reviewer friend that my heart is telling me to go give him my game. He said “Are you nuts? Ok then, I’ll meet up with you later”.

I went back to the line and he was about the 10th person back. I told him what I was feeling and wanted to give him my game. He told me to wait to see if he would get one. The guy behind him overheard and bullied into the conversation and offered me $100 for it. I told him it’s not about the money and my heart felt for this guy since I had a connection with him from playing the game with him yesterday. I gave him my card and told him if he didn’t get a copy to call me and I’ll come give him mine.

With the loud convention noise I didn’t hear my phone ring, but 10 minutes later I received this voice mail (Click Here if you don’t see an embedded audio player below)

Due to the poor audio quality from the loud convention here is what he is saying.

“Dan, It’s Tim Hunt here – the guy you played Five Tribes with yesterday. I got my copy, I thank you so much for your generosity. I know that you will be blessed for that dude. Thank you so much I really appreciate it and I had a really good time playing with you guys and keep on doing what you do because you are bringing people into this awesome hobby. Thanks.”

 

So in the end I didn’t end up giving him my copy, but I was real happy he got one. It actually was my “Game of the Year pick for 2014″. See for yourself in my top 10 video. I was even more pleased that the one thing I would be hard pressed to give up at the convention was called on by the Holy Spirit, and that I was able to look past the material object for the opportunity love on someone that I barely knew.

God can use anything to show His love through you, even if it’s something as silly as a board game. We should never underestimate what God can do with anything if we are willing to listen and adapt.

 

 

Games Games Games

Posted: January 2, 2015 in Wicked Pissah

In a previous post  I talked about how the uniqueness of our desires and passions (board games in this case) can be used in amazing ways to spread God’s light (love). Even when it seems that people who don’t know you, or even ourselves for that matter, think that your passions aren’t good enough or powerful enough to be used in a meaningful manner, God shows us differently.

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing stories around my passion of board games, and how God’s love shined through. The purpose for this is not to brag or boast, but to inspire you to embrace your passions even if they seem un-purposeful at the surface level.

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Little Things Are Big Things

Posted: December 19, 2014 in Wicked Pissah

Have you ever found a treasure at a garage sale? They say one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Denise loves to take our tandem bike to garage sales on the weekend and try to find something cool. Before you ask….yes she does pedal, but only because they are locked into my pedals :)

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A couple year’s back many people from our life group and community helped change the life for our “adopt-a-family” for Christmas. You can watch this secret HGTV makeover here:

This year we took that same family to Zoolights since we were at their house furnishing it last time (see video above).

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I had been to Zoolights before and even though it’s a fun thing to do around Christmas, it’s not something that had blown me away in the past. However to see the kids eyes light up the whole night gave me a different perspective. They were so  excited to see everything!

Sometimes seeing something from another’s perspective can help change your own.

 

Question of the Week

What or who are you struggling with these days that you need a different perspective of? Drop a comment and let us know.

Someone’s Watching You

Posted: December 12, 2014 in Wicked Pissah

Have you ever done something embarrassingly silly and said “Oh man, I hope no one saw that!” Like tripping over your own feet, or backing into your own garage with your car? I think we all have, and were either relieved that no one did see, or terribly embarrassed if someone did. The point is whether you know it or not, people do watch you.

 

Back in 2012 Denise & I went on a cruise and the highlight was meeting a group of special need individuals. I wrote about that experience in this blog post. Here was the best picture from the trip.

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Recently Denise had a group of 30 special need individuals on her plane. Being a flight attendant she was there to keep them safe (priority # 1 of any flight attendant) but also to serve them. She gave them  extra peanuts, made them laugh and loved on them. It just so happens that there was a stealth supervisor (unannounced) on the plane that day evaluating the flight attendants. Denise was told she had never seen anyone bring that much light onto a plane before. A regular passenger also gave this note to Denise as she walked off the plane.

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We never know who is watching, and how they will be affected by what they see. If we are guided by the Holy Spirit on a daily basis, hopefully God’s light and love will emit through us and onto others.

 

Formula of the Week

Living by the Spirit > Living by the Flesh

Question of the Week

What silly thing have you done that you hoped no one saw? Drop us a comment and let us know.

When it Rains – It Pours

Posted: October 9, 2014 in Wicked Pissah

In March of this year my greyhound Prince Harry at the age of 13 crossed the rainbow bridge as we were on a flight home from a vacation in Hawaii. I thought I was prepared, but I wasn’t. He had been having back issues which was causing lots of pain. Some days were great. Others, were very painful.

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Just over 1 month prior, Denise wrote this in our prayer book:

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The way Harry went was an answered prayer, which gave me peace. But just because you have peace, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t grieve. I didn’t grieve. I avoided looking at pictures of him. I erased thoughts as they came up. I wasn’t ready to look at my loss of Harry eye to eye. I stuffed thouse thoughts and emotions down deep thinking I was ok, because I got peace…right? Wrong!

Shortly after he passed, I started having dizzy spells. That transitioned into bladder issues, pain in my abdomen, and lack of appetite. 6 long months, a loss of 10 lbs, MRI’s of the brain, and CT scans of my abdomen, and a colonoscopy  later, everything checked out medically healthy. The culprit (diagnosis) was stress built up by not grieving.

Recently you might remember seeing Phoenix being on the news for having record rain storms which caused lots of flooding. One of those mornings I was on the phone with Denise and asked her “Should I be crying and letting it out, or will it just make me sad?” An hour later I went for my lunch time jog. I got half way and it started to sprinkle. I thought ” God is weeping with me” and I was moved by emotion.

As I got to the end of my run, my favorite most moving song blew through my headphones. Right at that time the torrential downpour that caused the flooding you saw on the news began.

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I ran back to the office soaked even though I was only 2 min from the end of my run when this happened. I stood out there and watched the storm. This wasn’t normal rain. It wasn’t even a wild Arizona monsoon type of rain. This was the hardest rain I had ever seen in my life. It was by this storm God told me “This is what you should be doing. Let it all out! Cry Dan, cry. It’s ok. You need to bawl your eyes out. Grieve for Harry! I’m here with you. All the time”. The weeks after that I allowed myself to look at his pictures, reflect on his life, and let it all out. I cried like a baby. In the following weeks my health improved dramatically. My good friend Andre had a great suggestion to have a celebration of Life for Harry which is happening this weekend and will help work through all this as well.

So what does all this mean?

God can speak to us in a multitude of ways, and never under-estimate how he will.

If God can make the sun stand still for a full day, why can’t he make it pour to get a message across to me?

Formula of the Week

Pre-conceived notions – walls we put around God = un-believable interactions with Him

Question of the Week

When have you felt God speak to you in a way you hadn’t expected?

Drop a comment and let us know how.

Mr. Rodger’s Neighborhood

Posted: October 2, 2014 in Wicked Pissah

Do you remember that kid’s show Mr Roger’s neighborhood? Yeah, you know….. the one with that creepy guy that takes off his shoes while singing “Won’t you be my neighbor”.

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I heard a sermon a few weeks back on the art of neighboring.  Studies showed some interesting things. For the 8 houses closest to you, could you:

1) List the names of everyone in the houses

2) Write something relevant about each person that you wouldn’t know by just standing in the drive way

3) Write in-depth information about each person (dreams, hopes, fears, etc)

 

The data showed the following:

1) Only 10% of people could list the names of everyone in the houses

2) Only 3% could write something relevant about each person

3) Less than 1% could write in-depth information about each person

 

Last weekend with autumn in the air I walked into Trader Joe’s and found pumpkin…everything! So I brought some pumpkin bread mix home and made some. It was so yummy, that yesterday I decided to go by a few more boxes and make some. I got to thinking about how this life really is all about relationships. The neighborhood is the easiest place to start cultivating these. Thanks to Denise’s “sky goddess” personality  we already have great relationships with most of our neighbors on the same street as us. But there are neighbors a few streets down that we see while exercising and have talked with from time to time and know their names, but not a whole lot more.

Last night I made two batches of the pumpkin bread, and brought it to 5 of the houses of people that know my face, I know their name(s),  but I don’t know that well…yet. I got invited into one home and found they were trying to hook a TV up outside to enjoy the great weather. To some, they might as well be trying to build a rocket to the moon. For me, I can hook up the TV in my sleep. After taking a look, there were some obstacles that we couldn’t get around, but I found a solution online. I will be going back to get it all hooked up for them soon.

When I texted Denise what I was doing all night she said “who are you and what have you done with my husband”?  :) You see, I’m an introvert by nature. I get energy by being alone and reading or playing music. I get drained when I need to interact with people and talk.

It’s amazing what God can do when you step out of your comfort zone.

He can show you:

How your skills can be used to serve others. 

How to do things you never thought were possible

How to be comfortable in something that is fearful or uncomfortable for you

I look forward to growing the relationships deeper with these neighbors, as when it’s all said and done, life is really about meaningful relationships. So why do we avoid them in lieu of Facebook which pretend to be meaningful, but really aren’t?

 

Formula of the Week

Neighbors + Meaningful Relationships = True Community

Question of the Week

How many of the 3 questions above can you answer, and what can you do about it?

Drop a comment and let us know!