Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Felafel With Bernie DeKoven

Bernie DeKoven is a major industry player who's behind the MajorFun game awards, Junkyard sports, the blog DeepFun, and a whole lot of other things. He's also written some books: The Well-Played Game and Junkyard Sports. Until today, I didn't know that he also designed several games and was part of the New Games Foundation.

Bernie is Mr Fun. His mission is to reintroduce the path to fun to people, which includes less about the mechanics, winning, and rules of games and activities, and more about the connection and enjoyment.

I met him for lunch at a felafel stand. He's in Israel visiting his son and grandson, and will be doing a workshop on the Magic of Play in Tel Aviv at the EGCI on Jan 15 at 5:00 pm. Call Helena at 054-4717314 for details.

Bernie's blog started a while ago, but was never the main focus of his work. At the end of last year he put it on hiatus for an unspecified time while he regroups his blog's purpose.

I suggested to him that since he has many years of treasure-filled posts that new readers rarely see (people don't generally look at past years' posts), he should do a weekly roundup of past years' posts once a week to reintroduce new readers to some of his older material. He welcomed the suggestion, and hopefully we'll be seeing these posts soon.

We also talked about blogging, Israel, and fun. I invited him and his son to my game sessions, but they didn't give me any positive responses to that, so it seems unlikely, for the present.


Game News

An article in the South China Morning Post talks about games and mentions the game Bang, but I don't have access to read more.

Logan Booker, the editor of Kotaku, mentions that he's played Settlers and now played Arkham Horror, but nothing in between. I've already emailed to him that he's in for a word of happy gaming if he's willing to start branching out to other games at the top of BGG, but he hasn't yet answered my email.

There's a play Monopoly! by Mike Daisey running from January 18 to February 3 at the Capital Hill Arts Center in Seattle. Seattlest ran an interview with Mike, in which he talks about variants he used to play with classic games:
In Monopoly!, I talk about the game Risk, too, how we would play with homemade boards of giant sheets of butcher paper, and invent countries. We’d let the war grow and grow and if it ever got trapped in a particular corner, we’d just tack on new pieces of butcher paper and let it grow in different directions. We played Monopoly similarly, we played on four boards at once so that the game would get hideously complicated. You’d have to have asset transfers between different players, there was a Council of Four who were allowed to vote on the value of currency. The games sort of grew in on themselves and became deeply interesting. That becomes sort of a thread in the show Monopoly! about the nature of games, the nature of desire.
Despite all of its competition suffering from product recalls and booming year-end game sales, Hasbro is cutting 200 jobs and its shares are at a 52-week low. This after buying Cranium for $77 million.

One of the guys who sued the creators of Trivial Pursuit and lost has just been ordered to pay over a million dollars in legal costs.

In Australian Catholic University, a professor studied the effects of the drug ecstasy by having frequent users and regular people play a board game he developed.

There's an All-Ivy online Risk tournament going on with over 11,000 student, professors, and alumni participating.

The band Hawk Nelson's next CD release will include a board game in the packaging.

"African artist Meschac Gaba makes big interactive games. His take on a standard board game at the Museum of Contemporary Art, La Maison, is so big that real people are used as pawns. Players move around on a special rug and race to their homelands." (source)

Robbie Williams now loves Scrabble (in addition to Checkers).

Finally, a funny Geek story about encountering the stereotypical undesirables in game stores.

1 comment:

Bernie said...

I forgot to mention how much I enjoyed meeting you, Yehuda - how impressed I was with you, and your genuine appreciation for all things fun and Jewish.

And the felafel wasn't so bad, either.