Monthly Archives: March 2010

Board Games with Scott 024 – Die Macher

We shall be playing this monster this weekend. please watch but watch bit by bit. don’t sit and watch at one go or your brains may rebel. haha.

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Kubrick in Malaysia

Usually, around this time of the year, I am either a very happy person or a very sad one. The reason for being happy is to be able to go to Hong Kong as this is the Hong Kong Filmart and the Hong Kong International Film Festival time and the reason for being sad is simply not being able to be there. Well, life is a series of decisions and choices and for that fact, if I would want to go for the film festival, I can just go and get the ticket and leave all the work behind. But I chose not to because I just can’t at this moment. Too many pressing issues…..

But I am delighted when I received a message from an ex-colleague and dear friend who is currently there and her message put a smile on my face when she said, “Very happy B-). Lots of books! Can sit here for whole day. Bought tickets for The Hurt Locker too – ah ~~ :-D”. Gosh, I can feel her happiness and excitement! And yes, I wanted to be there too!!

Of course, my geeky friend who is now working in Hong Kong excites me a lot too when she sent to me the films that she is going to watch, a long list of movies that I would have wanted to watch too!

Too much excitement and not much action will do my heart no good. Haha. But I am thrilled and happy just thinking that such a place exist on Earth and that I have friends who enjoy what I enjoy too, and they are such dear friends.

Come to think of it, in Kuala Lumpur, I don’t seem to be able to find that feeling I get whenever I go to Kubrick, i.e. the very happy feeling, as if on drugs, of going through their DVDs for sale and picking them up like buying vegetables in the market only to realize that I can only afford 20 or so DVDs and had to decide whether to take that Tarkovsky or that Ghatak. Hard choice I tell you. And then to browse their collection of books, then sit down for a cup of coffee while awaiting for that Japanese movie to start screening. What a wonderful feeling that is.

Of course, in KL you can basically do the same thing, go to Speedy Video then go to MPH then go to Mc Donald’s and then go to GSC for a movie. But damn, compared to the Kubrick experience, it’s worlds apart. And what is the difference? Well, for sure the atmosphere but definitely, the selection and quality of the goods in trade, the variety and choice, the depth.

The nearest I get to that feeling was to go to that little shop in Jaya 33 and browse their superb collection of DVDs, then go to Subway for a good sandwich.

I would really hope to find a place like Kubrick in KL and if not, hopefully to be able to build a place like that. But to do that will cost a lot of money but the returns, if any, is going to be slim. I doubt there are enough people interested in a place like this to make it profitable, so anyone who wants to do it must do it only out of passion and of course a deep pocket. But I would really love to run a place like that. Let’s hope I strike the lottery and get the money to do it. That will be awesome!

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Confucius the Movie

Well, Chow Yun Fat plays Confucius? Hmmm… I am confused. He will play Leon most excellently but Confucius? I was skeptical at first but after watching the movie, well, he is not too bad although I still feel that he doesn’t look like it. But it’s not a bad performance.

Confucius the movie is supposedly about the life and teachings of Confucius and all the trials and tribulations that he had to face in a society so brutal and hostile as the Spring and Autumn period in China (the time of Sun Tzu) which immediately precede the Warring States era, one of the most hostile era in Chinese history, until Shih Huang Ti unified all the states and formed the Qin dynasty, the first Unified Chinese dynasty as they more or less appear today, albeit expanded later (and where the name China supposedly came – or is it supposed to be Qina? hmmm).

To now realize that a person as Confucius to be able to preach and practice the idea of a “Gentleman”, the “Superior Man”, based on the ethical theories of rites and rituals, empathy and reciprocity (do not do unto others what you do not want others to do unto you), righteousness, etc. in an era of barbaric conquest is indeed something great. To put order back to a society so barren in order, to preach for the respect for people and trust and righteousness in an era where everybody is doing the opposite, these are great teachings indeed.

Of course, Confucius is no idiot as we can see in the movie. He is really good in archery and military deployments, and as we can also hear from the dialogue, he is well versed with Sun Tzu’s Art of War too (although I am not sure if he is really so – but I think a person of his learning, he would have known) – e.g. quotes from the Nine Terrains chapter is obvious.

So did the movie live up to its expectations? To many people, the movie seems slow and it dragged on and on. At a certain time in the movie, I find myself looking at my watch, which is not a good sign and I do feel the same, the movie is a bit draggy, and unnecessarily so. One could easily think of the movie A BATTLE OF WITS (which I talked about here). In that movie, we see yet another philosophy, Mo Tzu’s Mohism, in action. Mo Tzu’s time is after Confucius, and the peace-loving nature of that philosophy is similar to Confucius although the similarity ends there. Mo Tzu disagreed with Confucius’ hierarchical society and over attachment to rites and rituals and instead preached a philosophy of universal love where everyone is equal.

The production quality of the movie is very good and given the big budget movies nowadays (there is so much money in China for production!), high production quality is a given nowadays. Anyways, I would think that this is a good movie to go to if you would like to know a bit about Confucius and his life but if you already know about him, there is nothing much that this movie can offer. Maybe you would just want to watch it because it is a movie about Conficius and that it is quite a good production. But beware of the yawns.

There is something missing from the movie, and I think that is a smooth narrative flow and purpose. After the movie, what I felt was the movie is like a pictorial slideshow just to showcase Confucius’ teachings, and for that, the movie felt artificial. So if you want to go and watch it, go only for four reasons, 1. You want to know something about Confucius and knows next to nothing about him, 2. You like historical movies and likes well produced movies, 3. You are a huge Chow Yun Fat fan, 4. You’ve got nothing better to do and got lots of cash.

Other than that, don’t.

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Le Havre

This is the next game to play :)

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1856 Tips and Such

Guys, please read the rules, do some research as I hope we can play this game this weekend :) I think this game will be rewarding and fun to play.

Some general strategy:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/printerfriendly/90092

Board Game Geek page:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/423/1856

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Why I Love Board Games

The tag line of a famous board game reviewer reads “Real men play board games”. While I think that it is an overstatement, or that reviewer is just simply going out there to make an impression, I do think that it is a real serious misconception that board games are only for kids. Real men play golf (which I went crazy about a few years back, and the Taylor Made and the expensive custom-made clubs are still lying in my house begging to be used), real men play poker, real men are into properties, cars, and women. Well, there are some truths in that but there are many other truths in the world, unfortunately.

In short, the general feeling is real men do macho stuffs and playing board games? Oh no, real men don’t do sissy stuffs like playing board games, playing or enjoying music, reading books, cooking, etc. Only losers do such stuffs because they are not up to the macho competition in the tough world. Haha.

After all, we are still cavemen although the world around us have changed. We still hunt for food, we are still very much area control animals, men still wants to ride in the fastest horse, men still have the primordial instinct to spread their seeds to as far as possible and to as many females as possible to ensure the survival and widespread of his genes etc. All these are still true and if you strip all excesses in the current world, that is what one sees.

But all those aside, this is why I love board games:

1. It is competitive.

All games are by nature competitive, whether one competes against others or compete against himself. For example, in the game of Go, my favourite “board game” and in my humble opinion, the best board game in the entire human history, is extremely competitive in nature. Go simulates the human instincts for area control but in a very human manner, i.e. to win a game of Go, one has to be more strategic than the other player but the tactical, hand-to-hand fighting is also very important. However, normally, the player that is more strategic wins, and the way he wins does not necessarily involve a lot of hand-to-hand fight. In Go, one can employ a multitude of strategy, and a lot of these strategies have close similarity to military strategies. As such, Go is a good representation of the human endeavor to acquire and control territories, and as we all know, this involve warfare, life and death.

Other board games too offers competition in a variety of intensity. Some games require lesser competitive intensity while others require higher level of competitive intensity. I normally enjoy games that are of the higher competitive intensity type but I also enjoy, once in a while, low intensity board games.

2. It Offers More Genuine Friendships

Well, I know that by writing this, I may get flamed big time. However, I am thinking of other games or sports such as golf where a lot of people play golf because they want something more than a game out of it. For many golfers I know, they play golf because it is a “required” skill for their career. Companies pay instructors to teach their staff golf for this reason. And although there are many genuine friendships being established in the game of golf, one is always suspicious. Same as in other “high-flyer” interests.

However, because board game are generally seen as more inferior as per my earlier paragraph, many high-flyer wannabes, many of those who wants to climb higher in the social strata will avoid it and would want to spend their valuable time on activities that will enhance their social status or help them to achieve greater heights, such as learning how to play golf or memorizing and researching their Formula One cars or drivers, or trying out various “spa” locations for “good stuffs” so that they can bring their customers to, etc.

As such, the very nature of this will filter out board gamers as the more genuine friendship kind. They play board games because they love the games, not because the game will bring them wealth or status.

3. Board Games Brings Friends and Family Together, and it’s lots of Fun!

I think this is self explanatory. I find that board games really can bring people closer to each other by spending time together. And it is a lot of fun playing board games together, even if one loses.

4. Board Games are Ingenious

Although some board games really sucks, many board games are a brilliant piece of creative work. I am always amazed by how people can create a good board game and all the creativity it requires. And because board games invariably involve rules, it combines both left brain and right brain to be able to design a good board game. Creating and designing a board game is a lot of fun because you have all the freedom to determine how the game plays. You can set the rules, the mechanics and you are solely responsible for the playability of the game. When one does that, it gives one an immense sense of satisfaction.

5. Board Games Trains the Mind, and Trains Character

Although as mentioned in 1 above whereby it was mentioned that board games are competitive, it is worthwhile to mention here again that board games trains the mind. Many board games are simulations of real life situations or events because life itself is a game if we look at it on the macro level. For example, there are games that simulates the efficiency in running a company, or running a factory. There are many principles in life that can be applied to the game to be successful in the game and vice-versa. There are games that simulates warfare and strategic thinking. There are games that simulates negotiations and diplomacy etc. In short, board games are actually simulations and as such, the lessons learned in playing a board game can be applied to real life situations when one arises.

Also, board games are a test to one’s character. It also trains and develop one’s character. In fact, I can see most of my friend’s and family’s characters just by the way they play board games. And via this method, I learn to see myself from a distance, and how I react during the game and I see myself. And I try to improve on areas that I feel I have flaws (for example, I must be more kind and not make others suffer… hahahahahaha).

Well, I think the above are a few of the things on why I love board games. Of course board games have their flaws too. The most glaring is that it is not physical at all and prolonged playing will definitely ensure the decline of one’s physical fitness. So have a balanced lifestyle is important.

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Board Games with Scott 046 – 18XX

Guys, we will be playing the 1856 version….. hopefully this weekend. haha. hope it is fun. if u like running businesses, investing and making yourself rich, maybe u will like this. haha.

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