Gambling Addiction

For most people, gambling is simply a way to make sporting events more interesting, or a part of an annual trip to Las Vegas. However, for some, gambling can be a dangerous addiction that ruins marriages, ends careers, and can result in bankruptcy and even suicide. Gambling addictions have become so prevalent that the American Psychiatric Association now identifies “gambling addiction” as a psychiatric disorder afflicting one to three percent of American adults. With the growing popularity of online gambling sites, these estimates may continue to rise.So what is the allure of online gambling? Well, the most obvious answer is convenience. Gamblers no longer need to travel to Vegas or Atlantic City, as the Internet provides access to gambling 24 hours a day, seven days a week with complete anonymity. Further, online gambling occurs without the actual or immediate exchange of money. It’s easy for participants to loose site of the fact that they are actually playing for real cash! Other attractions include the ease with which people can set up accounts and the escape associated with spending hours playing games online.So when does an interest in gambling reach the point of addiction? There are generally three criteria used to diagnose an addiction of any kind. First and foremost is that the word “addiction” implies a loss of behavioral control. Those who are addicted simply cannot control their gambling. What may have started as a quick game of poker may turn into an all day – all night gambling bender. Second, addicted gamblers often develop a “tolerance” to gambling in the same way an alcoholic becomes increasingly tolerant to alcohol. Addicted gamblers will require higher and higher stakes in order to get the high that they desire. Finally, the extent to which a behavior interferes with one’s functioning is often used as criteria for diagnosing addiction. In the case of an addicted gambler, he or she may empty bank accounts, sell valued heirlooms, or build up massive amounts of dept. In extreme cases, an addicted gambler may steal from friends and family members to finance their addiction or even become clinically depressed following a devastating loss.So how do you know if you have a gambling problem? Gambling anonymous suggests asking yourself questions such as these:1. Have you repeatedly missed work or school because of gambling?2. Have you ever felt guilty as result of your gambling?3. Have you ever gambled in order to acquire money for bills or debts?4. Have you ever gambled until you were completely out of money?5. Have you ever gambled for longer periods than you had planned?6. Have you ever gambled with more money than you had originally planned?7. Have you ever considered suicide because of gambling?This list is not exhaustive, but if you answer “yes” to any of the above questions, you may wish to speak with a professional counselor about your gambling.Thankfully, a variety of resources exist to help those suffering from a gambling addiction. Twelve step programs such as those used in alcoholics anonymous and narcotics anonymous exist for those whose gambling has gotten out of control. Further, support groups such as Gam-Anon are easily accessible and are designed to assist those with a family member suffering from a gambling addiction.

Horse Fun and Games – The Making of a Card Game

For those of us who love everything equine, horses and games make a great entertainment combination. Creating a horse-themed card game is hard work and requires a lot of careful consideration. This article talks about the early days of discovery for the developers at Funleague Games as they embarked upon the journey of designing their very first card game called “Perfect Stride: Cross-Country!” Naturally, as with many things, the game started out as an idea. We wanted to create a fun horse game that was fanciful and stylized, yet still stayed somewhat true to the experience of riding a horse. Representing the idea of racing at high speed across country on horseback through a card game presented its share of challenges. We experimented with a lot of ideas and several times we experienced moments of “aha! This is it!” and away we’d go full-steam…only to discover a problem. The gameplay logistics were the main sticking points. We were cutting some new ground with this card game; it wasn’t closely based on any other specific game so we didn’t have a tried-and-true template to work from. Rather, we referenced bits and pieces of gameplay elements from other games we’d played and from our own vision of how we thought things should work considering the experience we were trying to emulate. Two other resources that have definitely been invaluable are Board Game Geek and Board Game Designer’s Forum. Thanks to everyone there who has posted such excellent info! Here are some examples of things we had a tough time figuring out: Our card game is essentially a race across country on horseback. You jump obstacles along the way…how do you represent that? Do you use tiles? Do you lay the cards out all at once, or one at a time? Face-up? Face-down? That kind of thing. Another element we struggled with was how the rider order was represented during the course of the race.If you were in first, but then dropped back to third, how would you know? We tried a bunch of things such as using charts, placing a token amongst the jump cards, etc. After a lot of trial and error, we eventually figured out a system that wasn’t confusing (unlike our earlier versions). We also struggled with trying to inject some strategy into the gameplay. We definitely didn’t want this game to be all about “luck of the draw”. We wanted the players to have to evaluate each situation and choose a best course of action. Strategy does add depth to a game, but on the flip side of this, a bit of chance can really spice things up and keep you wondering as you draw that next card. As this was a racing game, we didn’t want the players to get too bogged down pondering their options. That would detract from the idea that you were all moving at high speed over terrain in a dash for the finish line. Those were just some of the many things we needed to figure out as we developed our initial idea into something fun, functional and richly thematic. After emerging from the idea phase, we entered a stage of development where we needed to examine more practical business considerations: How big should the deck be?That has proven to depend upon a few things such as number of players, how many variables we were prepared to deal with, printing costs and art costs. We wanted the deck to have substance, yet still maintain some kind of control on the budget.
What should we price the game at?Now that one is ongoing. Naturally we need to make some sort of profit as a reward for our hard efforts and the main way to estimate what kind of pricing is involved is by breaking down the “per-unit costs”. For example, we make an initial assumption that the first print run might be about 5000 copies. Therefore, we would get a printing quote for 5000 copies of the game. And then add to that the cost for artwork creation. And legal fees. And advertising. That sort of thing. Add all those costs together, and divide by 5000. That will be our per-unit cost.How should we package and present the game?We need to look at a couple of key things here. One is; what kind of presentation will be most appealing to people? We want the theme to be immediately recognizable and we want to convey the message that this is a quality game. A game where it’s a high-calibre entertainment experience made of durable materials that will be a pleasure to handle. The other consideration is how much will the packaging and materials cost? Printing/manufacturing costs are arguably THE most expensive part of creating a board or card game. And the quotes will vary widely with each print shop we approach.Legal stuff?A board or card game is a creative product. It’s art and entertainment, meets commerce. There’s intellectual property, copyright, trademarks and other basic business considerations. We recognize that it’s a good idea to protect our hard work and ensure that all communication is organized and in writing. Legal stuff is not only about protecting what’s ours; it’s also about being clear about obligations when engaging in business with another party. When it comes to hiring artists to create artwork for a game, copyright ownership is one of the biggest key factors. It’s important to ensure clarity about who owns the art. Paying an artist to create artwork doesn’t necessarily mean we actually own it. It’s essential to have an “Artist Agreement” in place. This is a legal document that details the rights and obligations between Funleague Games and the artist. Artists work hard to do what they do best (we know this firsthand…Jeff and I are both professional artists) and naturally will want to be clear about all the details involving the work they do.What kind of art style am I looking for?This is an important thing to figure out, but it can be a tough one. The style of art is heavily influenced by the style of the hired artist(s) working on your project. It’s important to choose carefully who will be creating the visuals for the game. Arguably good art will sell more copies of a bad game than bad art on a good game. People like things to look “cool” or “beautiful”. Make sure you deliver in spades in this area by having a strong vision for what your game should look like and by only hiring artists who have an art style compatible with that vision. Art style should also take into consideration the target market your game is aimed at. In the case of Perfect Stride: Cross-Country!, I’m going for a style that is distinct from other games on the market. I also want the style to be inclusive and appealing to the full range of my target audience. For example, I need to avoid an art style that is too “young” as my target audience are people ages 7 and up. I want to feature artwork that has a fun innocence to it, but at the same time possesses enough refinement to appeal to a more mature audience.Who’s our audience?This is important right out of the gate (now there’s a theme-appropriate expression :) . Even at the earliest design phase it’s important to know our demographic. For example, if we designed a game to include a lot of deep and subtle complexities or tons of arithmetic, chances are that kids under 7 years of age could find the game too difficult. As for Perfect Stride: Cross-Country!, I feel that this will be a game that can be enjoyed by almost everybody, but the primary audience will likely be people who love horses. And as there is an element of strategy to the game, the very young may struggle with some of the gameplay concepts.Marketing?This is SOOOOoooo important. If Jeff and I never bother to get the word out about our really cool game, how are we going to sell it? Entire books (and even university degrees) are devoted to the topic of marketing, but suffice it to say it’s important that we learn a little bit about how to promote our product. Not only will we not sell any (or very few) copies, but so many people will never get the chance to enjoy a super-fun horse-themed experience! As our game is very strongly based on a specific theme (or niche) one of the first things we’ll do is seek to get the word out at places where the horse-loving public like to visit such as horse-themed websites, tack shops, equestrian magazines, etc.As you can see, we have our work cut out for us, but the creation of this card game has been a wonderful journey so far. We look forward to the time when the game is complete and ready to be enjoyed by many!

What Is a Washers Board Game?

A washers board game is something that is very popular in some parts of the country, but something that many others have not seen or heard about. In fact, you may not have ever seen anyone playing this game in the movies or on television, but it is still popular around the world.What Is a Washers Board Game?This is a game that is very similar to other games such as corn hole toss. It is basically a toss game that you can take with you wherever you go. It is set up with two pieces of wood, usually 10 to 20 feet apart. The length will likely depend on the age of the people playing, with little children playing on a course that is much smaller.Each of these two pieces of wood has three holes in it and each player has a handful of washers, the number of which depends on the exact style of play that you are utilizing. This is actually one of those kinds of games where every family or area of the country has their own way of playing and their own way of keeping score.What Do You Do?Much like with a corn hole toss game, you simply throw the washers, which are large metal rings, and hope that they land in one of the holes in the wood. It is much harder than it looks, but one of the joys of the game is that it is as difficult for athletic people as it is for those with not one athletic bone in their body. So the playing field is equal across the genders and all age groups.Where Is This Played?You can play this game on sand or grass, but you probably shouldn’t play it on concrete if you are using the metal washers that are usually used with the game. The washers board game is one of those games that is often played at large picnics, family reunions, and Fourth of July parties because everyone can get involved.You can also try a washers board game that is played indoors, so you will have a game to play on cold winter nights. The only significant different with this type of game is that the washers are lightweight and will not damage flooring or surrounding furniture.Where Can You Get It?Although you might think that this would be a pretty easy game to put together on your own, not a lot of people have the equipment on hand to make a washers board game. Therefore, buying one online is usually the best idea. You can find a variety of different styles, some of which are designed for indoor use and some of which are better for younger children. This will enable you to make sure that everyone has a way to play.Whether you are looking for a new challenge for your children or a game to play at an upcoming party, a washers board game is an ideal choice.


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