Something my sister Suzie taught me before she died was the restorative power of love. Most (maybe all?) people are marked with emotional wounds and scars that were inflicted upon them at earlier points in their lives. Sometimes the wounds are still open and very painful and cause torment, like a painful sliver in your palm. The self-help industry is booming with books, audiobooks, and live seminars on how to heal these wounds and move into a position of strength. And thousands and thousands of people flock to therapists annually to take a more formal, doctor-patient approach to healing. When Suzie lived with me during the summers late in the last decade, we would sometimes find ourselves having face to face conversations that lasted hours. In these interactions my sister and I were able to give each other a measure of unconditional love and support that healed emotional wounds and upended twisted, irrational, "broken" thinking in ways that traditional talk therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy might have taken years to accomplish. There is incredible power in love - to edify; to restore hope and a sense of security; to move us further along the path of growth. I have been fortunate to connect with others in this way as well - to give and receive love in genuine earnest - and it's nothing short of transformative. I believe that love has this power because the author of love, God, is all powerful, and I believe that if you want to make a difference and transform the world around you, love is the answer. Give yourself to others genuinely in love and watch the magic that unfolds. You can make a difference; you can change lives for the better.
Whenever Martin Wallace designs a new game, I am all over it. This is because I absolutely love Brass Birmingham (another MW designed game); in fact Brass Birmingham is my #1 board game of all time. Over the years, his other games I've tried have been pretty good, but not necessarily amazing must-buys. Still, I keep trying each new release of his, searching for that next star performer. That's why I'm excited to report that Anno 1800 is, in fact, a star performer, and an amazing must-buy board game. Anno 1800 was adapted by the publisher (Kosmos) from a Ubisoft video game of the same name. In the board game, players take on the role of industrialists, charged with developing their island economies and exploring other islands. Each player begins the game with a personal industry board with trade & exploration ships, a shipyard, and industrial goods tiles printed on the board. A starting collection of workers (wooden cubes) of various types to produce the goods is a