we screened and discussed the acclaimed Japanese movie Princess Mononoke (PG-13), exploring the role of people, the environment, and learning something about Japanese mythology. The film is set in a fantasy world loosely based on the late Muromachi period, Japan. The story follows a young Emishi warrior’s involvement in a struggle between forest gods and the humans who consume its resources. It is a story of ecological devastation brought on by human advancement. Dubbed and adapted to English by Miramax, this animated movie was directed by Hayao Miyazaki and won Best Picture in the Japan Academy Prize. Critics have described the film as having the soul of a romantic epic with lush tones and full-blooded characterization.
The theme of this session is designer board games, which are light years away from the board games of yesterday.
we kick the session off with a real-time, fast-paced board game: Escape, The Curse of the Temple, which is about to collapse on the adventurers' heads in exactly...10 minutes.
It is a collaborative game: either all get out alive or no one does. The trio hurriedly opens up more and more rooms, depositing the green gems. And then the gong, and they scramble toward the central chamber before the door is shut. For a moment, it seems like one of them is about to get stranded behind. But no! They make it on time!
And then we get to the main board game of this session: Caverna. It is an award-winning, complex strategy game that is all about system thinking.
The object of Caverna is to build up your farms and caves, while ensuring that you can always feed your workers. Decide whether to develop your farmland, breed animals, grow food, or build out your caves--as you acquire furnishings, which help to further determine your strategy as they tend to give you advantages for certain types of actions. What a game!
Two hours later, Jonah has quite the farm operation going, Ellie has an enviable ruby mine and good number of sheep, while Forest's dwarfs have recovered nicely from the brink of starvation and start to breed sheep in sustainable numbers. And then it is time to wrap the session up, five rounds short of the finale.
We start off with the viewing of two acclaimed, imaginative Pixar shorts: La Luna and Day and Night. And then get down to business: a tabletop role-playing game the staff has just produced for Threshold, one that is expressly optimized for children, notably, resourceful children.
Daniel throws on the table a clinking bag full of Crown Merchant coins. As the kids are getting ready for a daring rescue mission, they gear up--buying with the money spells and powerful artifacts.
Traditional RPGs for teens and adults are relatively simplistic in their weapon choices. One can blast, shoot, and bludgeon one's way through most of anything. We wanted something less violent and at the same time things with more...possibilities.
And so it happens. The children rock it, as they cast one ingenious spell after another.
On the factory floor, the kids are led by employees, who are under the Worship spell, to the secretive area of the food factory. With Compulsion, a troll is made to smash a gate and gain them entryway. A door is transmuted to ice the kids subsequently melt with hot booger-broth. A bridge made of compressed air is brought to bear. And hot air balloon with midgets steering it with wooden oars comes crashing down with the successful launch of super-lead pellets.
The kidnapped child is Teleported out of his cage and Claire grabs him, leaving the building. She finally puts an end to the fighting as she launches a Foul Smelling Bomb forcing everyone to flee and bring the mission to a resounding, gassy success.