4 Things I Learned Moving with 3&UP

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Greetings, my people, it’s been a while.

It’s also been quite a year for upheaval.

I’m sure I don’t need to spend much time explaining myself. The past few years have showcased our human ability to uproot any sort of stability and let Disney control both Marvel and Star Wars. Despite the fact that so far they’ve made films of passable quality, how long can we continue to let that mouse-eared giant produce our popular culture?

But hey, I’m not here to make grand sweeping statements about the way of things.  I’m just here to write about board games…or pretty much anything I want, but that particular Venn Diagram is pretty narrow.

So for those of you who don’t know, we’ve actually moved locations.

Now, don’t worry too much. A healthy amount of worry is what ultimately led to the development of civilization. But back to me writing about whatever I want. In this case, it’s a list of scattered thoughts organized into an easily-digestible listicle. Ugh, I take that back. That’s an awful word. Let’s just call it a list.

1. Introducing Our New Spot

I guess I can’t write a listicle (gross) about our move without including some basic information.

The new address is 774 Starkweather. We’re located in beautiful Old Town Plymouth, about equidistant between Station 885 and Hermann’s Olde Towne Grille. With that many gratuitous extra letters we couldn’t spell out the 3 on our new signs.

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Say hello to 774 Starkweather, the NEW best place for board games.

2. Driving a Giant Yellow Dinosaur

“Which of you wants to drive the Penske?” Let me tell you, I didn’t cause a single scratch. Now, I was raised in Ohio and Michigan possessed a reputation for drivers of a certain persuasion.

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Just another day on 23 North.

Now that I’m closing out my fourth year in the state I feel pretty confident in saying that reputation holds up.

For those of you who haven’t experienced the fun of driving a 16 foot Penske truck, imagine you’re behind the wheel of your car, except it’s three times the size and takes turns like a toddler who hasn’t had a nap yet.

Plymouth is a beautiful, historic town and I’m always very surprised at the amount of people enjoying the outdoors…but the issue which arises from that is the roads were probably originally built for horse-and-buggy. I’m not a history nut, but I’m pretty confident the original city planners hadn’t taken moving trucks into consideration.

3. Moving a Business is Far Easier Than Moving a House.

Take this one with a grain of salt, because I’m sure there are plenty of you who read that and scoffed.

But let me explain myself. At the risk of this becoming my own personal blog, this summer has especially been one full of large moves. In the past month I’ve helped three separate groups of people move; two of those groups were simple cross-town moves, and the other was a peril-fraught trek through Ohio and Kentucky marked by a broken tire and near-detonation of the moving van.

Long story. Anyway, the point is that when you’re primarily moving lots of smaller, individual boxes it really cuts back on the stress of trying to fit a whole dining room table in the back of a trailer.

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Tetris skills on point.

4. It’s Not the Place, It’s the People

And now it’s time for the saccharine ending where I outline how it’s not the establishment or the store-front that makes 3 & Up what it is, but you, the people.

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Ah, you think diceness your ally!

Because we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you, dear readers. Those of you who live nearby, who come out from Ypsilanti or Ann Arbor or Canton, or California (you know who you are, you beautiful madfolk). It’s been a few weeks since the end of the physical move, and despite our grand re-opening proceeding with full steam ahead, we’ve already had a consistent stream of people, both old and new express how happy they are that we’re open.

Because for real, refer to #4 up there. In the end we’re here for you, and we’re glad you’re here for us.

candidnonsense
Because none of us know what we’re doing.

Dylan Terry is a professional starving artist and part-time board game geek, and consistently surprised at just how much everyone else puts up with him.

5 Best Board Game Movies

Hello my people, it’s your friendly neighborhood board game geek with your semi-regular post rambling on about all things board-games. With the summer blockbuster season coming up just around the corner and recent political happenings driving the need for constant escapism, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about something we all hold near and dear to our hearts: big screen adaptations of things you’d never expect.

In that vein, I decided to watch five film adaptations of popular board games and give my first impressions, honest opinions, and some general thoughts regarding their quality.

Battleship (2012)

Battleship

Directed by: Peter Burg

Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgard, Rihanna

I remember when the first trailer for Battleship dropped and the internet burst into flames. 2012 was still early in the prime of reboots, remakes, and weird adaptations, so there was plenty of ill-will directed towards Universal, considering we were still in the midst of Michael Bay’s Transformers cataclysm.

The basic plot of Battleship is pretty…basic. In essence, an alien spaceship crash-lands near a beacon in Hawaii and it’s up to a series of battleships to take them on and prevent them from signaling the mothership. Overall the movie is fairly unexceptional, managing to capture the blind-fire of the game it is based on while having top-notch visual effects and alien designs.

One thing to note is that the parts of the White Pegs were played by actual US Navy sailors, though they tend to make better shots than I do whenever I play the actual game.

Life (2017)

Life

Directed by: Daniel Espinosa

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, and Ryan Reynolds.

One thing most film watchers will admit is that most adaptations require some twisting in order to make it appropriate for the screen. It’s not uncommon for most adaptations to mutate the premise somewhat to better fit a dramatic structure…of course, it’s also not uncommon for it to be taken too far.

For those of you who haven’t played the classic Milton-Bradley board game Life, it primarily concerns a cluster of yuppies who wander around their town buying things they can’t afford, having children they can’t support, and otherwise experience all the wonder of post-graduate life in the modern era. It seems like the perfect setup for a Pleasantville-style send-up of modern suburbia, so I’m not sure why we got a space-station horror film.

Now, depending on the version of Life you’re playing I think it’s probably reasonable to expect a player or two to have a career related to space or exobiology, but it’s obvious this film went through some changes between conception and release. The most obvious change is from an Earth suburb to a space station, which is understandable; changing the setting to a more exotic location makes sense to draw in audiences, and if it sells copies of the outer-space version of Life, all the power to them.

Without getting too far into spoilers, I will just say that I had to work to identify aspects of the board game within the movie. The alien lifeform, Calvin, obviously represents the ever-present Life spinner, determining the fate and moves made by the crew as they collect what they need to live the titular…Life. As Calvin moves through the station and eliminates players (removing them from the game in the process) we see the original message of the board game play out on the big screen: Life is unfair, and none of us get out alive.

Twister (1996)

Twister

Directed by: Jan de Bont

Starring: Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, Jami Gertz

Twister is a game that consistently sees play, and it’s no wonder why: people like the tension of facing a growing catastrophe and planning ahead for when the world crashes down around their ears. The spinner, which informs players of the position they must twist themselves into, presents an ever-increasing source of tension for all involved, until the mass of humanity collapses in upon itself.

The movie adaptation of this board game classic decides to embody the circular motion of the board’s spinner as a massive tornado, which Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton chase around in a car, risking life and limb to collect info and perhaps, just perhaps, anticipate the game’s next move.

Second only to Jenga in terms of mounting tension, Twister was perfect for a film adaptation, and what a surprise to have had this movie in the American film canon for more than 20 years.

The supporting cast of characters is quite colorful, a subtle reference to the collection of various colors on the Twister game mat. Cary Elwes is quite worth the experience as Dr. Jonas Miller, a storm-chaser who is only in it for the money; indeed a biting retort against the type of player who only opens a game to win.

The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice (1952)

Othello

Directed by: Orson Welles

Starring: Osron Welles, Michael MacLiammoir

It is a little-known fact that William Shakespeare and Orson Welles both shared a love of board games. Separated by more than four centuries, these two titans of their craft were linked across time and space by a single game: Othello.

It is another little-known fact that Shakespeare’s contemplative exploration of race and romance was an adaptation of a simple game focusing on flipping little circular markers on a green board.

I will try my best not to spoil this story, but one only has to watch the Orson Welles adaptation from the 50s to see the trademark themes present in the game: of course the chaos presented between Iago and Othello represent the eternal, silent struggle of white and black pieces on the board, but the green hills of Venice serve as a backdrop for the enduring inspection of love, betrayal, and revenge. Shakespeare (and Welles) highlighted the subterfuge and skullduggery inherent in the game by ending the film with a scenario with which most gamers are familiar: one party strangling the other to death in their bed.

MouseHunt (1997)

MouseHunt

Directed by: Gore Verbinski (wait, what?)

Starring: Nathan Lane, Lee Evans, Christopher Walken

I’m not entirely convinced this movie exists outside my immediate family. I know there’s information about it online, so obviously other people have seen it, but I’ve never actually met anybody in person who’s even heard of this movie.

Which isn’t that unusual, for an adaptation of the hit game Mouse Trap.

Hasbro’s Mouse Trap is one of those games everybody thinks they’ve played, but haven’t really. The rules are one of the least-read pamphlets ever published, because all we ever did was set it up and watch it fall down.

This is pretty much all that happens in the movie. The core story of Mouse Hunt remains nearly untouched: a pair of men inherit a mansion and plan to renovate and flip it to collectors who seek out antique homes. Their efforts are stymied, however, by a single persistent mouse who evades their traps, brutalizes a pet cat, and eventually is indirectly responsible for demolishing the entire home around the pair’s ears.

The original themes of the game are embodied throughout, from the idea of a simple plan unraveled by chaos, the persistence of life in the face of adversity, and destruction of the old as the new is ushered in. Unfortunately, the socialist and anti-capitalist ideals in which the original Mouse Trap was steeped have been toned down to a single auction scene near the end, where the fat cats and industrialists are swept from the home by the rising tide of a populist uprising (represented in standard Verbinski fashion by a wave of sewage overflowing the walls).

 

And there we have it: five examples of Hollywood’s ability to adapt even something as abstract as a board game into a functional film while keeping the core messages and themes in-tact. I think this should put to rest any concerns people may have about the upcoming Catan, Tetris¸ or Emoji films, which should all be released within the next year or two.

 

What a world!

 

Dylan Terry is a board game and movie enthusiast with too much time and not enough productive ideas to fill his days. He is also an April Fools apologist.

Your favorite board games with the names they actually deserve

Enough said.

If board games were honest Credit: Smoosh.com
Credit: Smoosh.com
If board games were honest Credit: Smoosh.com
Credit: Smoosh.com
If board games were honest Credit: Smoosh.com
Credit: Smoosh.com
If board games were honest Credit: Smoosh.com
Credit: Smoosh.com
If board games were honest Credit: Smoosh.com
Credit: Smoosh.com
If board games were honest Credit: Smoosh.com
Credit: Smoosh.com
If board games were honest Credit: Smoosh.com
Credit: Smoosh.com
If board games were honest Credit: Smoosh.com
Credit: Smoosh.com
If board games were honest Credit: Smoosh.com
Credit: Smoosh.com
If board games were honest Credit: Smoosh.com
Credit: Smoosh.com
If board games were honest Credit: Smoosh.com
Credit: Smoosh.com
If board games were honest Credit: Smoosh.com
Credit: Smoosh.com
If board games were honest Credit: Smoosh.com
Credit: Smoosh.com
If board games were honest Credit: Smoosh.com
Credit: Smoosh.com
We love the Mouse Trap one. It’s what we try to explain to every child that comes into the lounge and immediately goes for that one (which is basically every single one of them).
Which one is your favorite?