An especially badly-transcribed message via Google Voice

This is a message I left in Marty’s voice mail box tonight when she
was at Ikea.

I really, really like how Google is integrating voice chat, phone, and
Gmail, but this transcription is just, well, failage.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: M. Hale-Evans
Date: Fri, Aug 27, 2010 at 12:28 AM
Subject: Fwd: New voicemail from (206) 201-1768 at 8:12 PM
To: Ron Hale-Evans

I just really thought you should see what message you left for me,
according to Google….

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Google Voice
Date: Thu, Aug 26, 2010 at 8:14 PM
Subject: New voicemail from (206) 201-1768 at 8:12 PM

Voicemail from: (206) 201-1768 at 8:12 PM
Hey, I remember something that we need for the household, which is
doctorates which I’m sure they don’t have ikea. But if you can get
some that are smaller than this huge hard ones that the dogs can
barely choose among So I was the tree. I’d appreciate it. If you look
at the Patent term there again. We might be something. Thank, bye.

Play message
You have 2 Google Voice invites left. Invite a friend ยป

Hey, Hive Mind! "Brains of Steel" title won’t fly. Help us find another? Here are some we already thought of:

Mind Agility Hacks
Mind Performance Games
The Well-Tempered Cranium
Bootstrap Your Brain
Custom-Built Brain
Fast-Lane Brain
Broadband Brain
The Whole Brain Workout
Mental Arts Workout
Own (or Pwn) Your Brain
Get Smarter
The Agile Mind
Your Agile Mind
Mind Agility (no “Hacks”)
Let’s Get Mental! (just joking)
Brain Tsunami (also joking)
Frontal Lobes of Fury: The Deadliest Mental Arts (also joking)
Brainanza! (still joking)
Think Yourself Smart (semi-joking)
Maximum Mind
Max Your Mind
Reboot Your Brain
Your Brain: The Expansion Pack

Any thoughts?

Ron and Marty

A few topics planned for my column "Ludic Asylum" in

Recent Game Systems: Since some readers may be familiar with me from my Game Systems series for The Games Journal, I thought I might bridge the gap by kicking the column off with a look at cool new game systems that readers might not be aware of: the Decktet, the Rainbow Deck, the Alpha comprehensive word game system, and so on.

3D and 4D boardgames: From 3D Go to 4D Chess, there’s a whole genre of boardgames that have left Flatland behind, in many cases facilitated by computer. This article will also give a brief
introduction to higher spatial dimensions (4D and beyond) for people unfamiliar with the concept.

Game system dimensionality: Building on ideas about dimensionality established in the previous article, this article would explore why a standard deck of cards is conceptually two-dimensional (suit x number), while the card game Set is four-dimensional (shape x number x color x shading). We’ll look at the idea of compactified dimensions, taken from string theory and applied to game systems — what dimensions lie dormant in the standard deck?

Decigames: Games that take less than one tenth the time of their regular counterparts, such as the Hasbro Express series (example: Risk Express), as well as Nannon (a commercial deci-Backgammon), One-Check Chess, One-Capture Go, and so on.

Fabbing and POD in boardgaming: How print-on-demand technology is leading to a revolution in rapid prototyping and open-source games, why sites like The Game Crafter are more than a vanity press, and how emerging technologies such as 3D printing can help you quickly make a Chess set or an Icehouse set, or something new that only you have thought of.

Games and free culture: Why, as a game designer, you might want to place your work under Creative Commons or a similar open license, and how a POD/fabbing free culture (such as creating homemade boards for abandoned games) thrives semi-legally on BoardGameGeek and elsewhere.

The Laws of Game Systems: This column would lay out a set of semi-facetious laws in the style of Murphy’s, such as “Every collection of objects eventually becomes a game system.”.

Unboxed games: Complex and interesting new games you can play with game components you already have, such as a Checkers set and dominoes, and why you might want to play them.

Weird games: Survey of some of the more unusual and fun boardgames of the 20th and 21st centuries, such as Bugs & Looops, Nemoroth, and Crumble.

Glass bead games: Survey of the various ways game designers have tried to make “real” playable versions of Hermann Hesse’s fictional Glass Bead Game.

GameFrame: Overview of a free, open-source metagame system for creating game variants, which you can extend yourself. This is my game, but I hope it will interest readers, and it will contain links to several complete, playable games. I will of course explain the basic idea of metagames as well.

“Abductive logic” games, a third category of logic games besides deductive (e.g., Sleuth) and inductive (e.g., Zendo). Examples: Raymond Smullyan’s chess problems, and Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective.

Thoughts on Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation

John Braley and I played Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation (first
edition) last night, and we took an inordinately long time for what is
usually billed as a light, two-player game. Now, part of this was
because it was us playing, and we take a long time at everything, but
I don’t think that’s all of it. I think there were at least two other

1. Each of the characters and many of the cards had special powers,
but the rules on the characters and the cards weren’t definitive, as
in a CCG. Instead, you had to keep flipping through the rulebook to
find out what they *really* did in detail (and there was only one
rulebook for two players). In fact, there was also a non-definitive
reference sheet, but that only seemed to confuse matters — you had to
/ could look up each character or card power in three different
places. I think part of this is the fault of trying to make the game
look “light”. If they had made the components bigger, they could have
put the definitive rule text on the components, cut the rule book in
half, and just duplicated the power text on the reference sheet.

2. Much of the rules text was ambiguous or plain hard to understand at
first reading. Partly, this was because it had to cover so many power
interactions and exceptions, as with a game like Cosmic Encounter
(this game might be thought of as Cosmic Stratego), but part of it was
just bad writing, in our opinion.

John also remarked that there was a hell of a lot of chaos in the game
because of power interactions among hidden characters, and that
subtracted from the strategy. He said in some ways, on first playing,
he preferred Stratego, but that repeated play might help create a set
of “book openings” as in Chess.

I’m going to go back and read the BoardGameGeek entries for the first
and second editions, but meanwhile, I welcome feedback from my friends
on whether any of this is fixed in the second edition, or whether they
experienced any of these problems with the first one.…