Sunday, October 7, 2007

Chore Wars

(Originally posted on Sunday, October 7, 2007 by Tim)

I?m an avid gamer and I hate doing house work. With that knowledge at hand, you may find it surprising that I haven?t played a video game since the end of July and I?ve been doing large amount of house work (for me at least). The explanation for my aberrant behavior is simple and I?ve been using regularly over the last year.

I blame the baby.

I've decided that I don't want Dalton playing video games. I'm not sure how I'm going to pull this off considering how ubiquitous they are these days. My plan is to play it by ear, however, it has not escaped my notice that it will be very hard to make an anti-video game argument if I'm playing them myself. Hence the cold turkey behavior over the last two months.

The increase in housework is baby related as well. We have an old house and we want to keep it cleaner with Dalty running around.

If you?ve been reading this blog for some time, you know that I can be obsessive at times. This is particularly the case when there is a goal involved. Recently, I managed to put this behavior to good use when Cathy and I agreed to a 30 minutes a day rule for housework. Not only did this new system set a goal for daily housework, but it rolls over from one day to the next. This set off my compulsion to collect and hoard. I quickly piled up minutes and I?m currently several days ahead. It just doesn?t get any better than this.

Ahhh, but it does. This weekend, I discovered that there is a web site out there (Chore Wars) that allows you to set up a Dungeons and Dragons type game where you advance by completing chores. I had seen a webcomic on Penny-Arcade (rated PG13 for language) making fun of the web site months ago, but I hadn?t realized that there was actually a game associated with it. I anxiously explored the site to see if my house cleaning experience could be improved, but I was disappointed to find there wasn?t much to the ?game? of Chore Wars. It is pretty much just a chore tracking system.

Fortunately, I had a lot of time in the car this weekend. What I needed was some sort of game where doing more chores yields an advantage. I was brainstorming with Cathy on this and we came up with a set of modified rules for Scrabble. The game is played as normal with the following exceptions.

1. You get a letter for 5 minutes of housework.
2. You can play consecutive words as long as you aren?t just adding to the end (no singular word immediately followed by the plural).
3. You can have more than 7 tiles.
4. No bonus points for 7 letter words.

The result has been a 50% increase in housework for me. Not only do I get to hoard my extra days of work done, but I get to compensate for the fact that Cathy is significantly better at Scrabble than me.

Ok, ok, I know that you really want to hear about Dalton, but I need to get to bed. He?s a great kid and he?s doing well. He?s got a bunch of words and he?s walking and climbing on everything. The picture above is from last week.

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