With that, No-Effort November draws to a close. I have a schedule I use to plan out my blog posts, to make sure that I don’t double up, or miss a Game Pile or Story Pile article, and that’s been really useful. I do use it to look at the year at a time, and whenever I find I need a time to put an article that doesn’t necessarily have someplace to go – I throw it to a later slot. December is full of of Decemberween posts (more on that tomorrow), which means that in a year, almost every single non-themed post that gets bumped to a ‘later’ spot in the yeargets bumped to November.
What we get as a result is that by the time I get to November, it’s already full – but it’s probably full of stuff that’s not really tied to anything, or is maybe just a list or a ‘hey isn’t this weird?’ kind of post. Basically, November is the corner of the chip packet all of the year’s effort shakes into.
Plus, you know, November is crushed between two pretty cool events and it’s marking season for my teaching, which means the first two weeks of November are super busy for me. Therefore, it’s a perfect time for me to declare it time to do not much.
Time to talk about Game Pile. This month’s Game Pile articles were:
- First up I talked about Les Manley’s Search For The King, which is a dire little narrative adventure that mostly got me talking angrily about how commercial preservation issues are poisonous
- Next, we spent some time together on A Short Hike, which was very sweet and fun
- I got to finally play Before There Were Stars, a lovely creative board game that basically lives on being pretty.
- And I did a playthrough and reading of my friend Caelyn Sandel’s game Traveler.
I also gave myself a little theme for this month’s Story Pile posts. See, it’s hard to talk about books in a series while ignoring the series, but also it can be a bit much to cover an entire series in a single post. That’s how I broke up the seven Narnia books across five articles:
- The Pevensiad, the slushy average defining the series
- The Eustaciad, beginning Lewis’ crusade against hippies who like schools
- The Last Battle, the traumatising apocalypse
- The Magician’s Nephew, the surprising prequel
- The Horse and His Boy, the story I actually still kind of like that’s also super racist
Nothing quite like revisiting a childhood classic and going: Oh eugh.
Other articles this month that I think are great and deserve some extra attention are:
- There Are No Good Faith Creationists
- Worse Than The Fighter, an article about 3.5 D&D
- Structural Boundaries on Making Games
- Welsh Rarebit, an article I wrote months and months ago, but threw to November to make sure I had time to cancel it if I regretted it
- I Hate My Laugh
- A Big List Of Some Things To Think About When Recommending A Game
- A piece describing a game design described as 9-4-3-2
- And the two best articles of the month, Goblins Are Cats and Kobolds Are A Common Lisp Script
We also put out another season of the Disney Animated Canonball podcast.
This month’s shirt design is something I made to celebrate the arrival of Summer:
Okay, personal diary for November. What… has happend this month?
The first two weeks of November are tied to the last two weeks of October. I am basically, at that point, completely cooked; wake up, read a bunch of student work, take notes, put it back, all under a timer, trying to make sure you’re giving students fair and equitable results. It’s been really exhausting, and I’ve let my backlog of writing just quietly siphon away. What’s the point of having a backlog but letting it absorb these pressures?
Student marking brings stories, but I try to make sure that I give them distance. This year, the things I remember are what last year’s students were like – and I dont’ feel like laughing at their expense either.
Vaccinations mean getting to spend time with family members. That’s cool. The hotspots in my area are dying down, and no longer ‘this one store you know of has been a hotspot all week, what the fuck is going on.’ I’ve been doing my Christmas shopping and found that hey, doing that throughout the year has absolutely been worth it, because now I have very little shopping I need to do.
Wait, dang, I need to wrap things.