Editor's Note

By the Book

By the Book

By Eric P. Harding

AH, BOARD GAME NIGHT—a time for laughter, camaraderie, and the occasional rulebook-induced existential crisis. Gather ’round, fellow adventurers, as we embark on the perilous journey of decoding the arcane scriptures known as board game instructions.

Picture this: a cozy living room, the scent of freshly popped popcorn lingering in the air, and a table adorned with an array of colorful boxes promising hours of entertainment. But wait! Before we can dive headfirst into the cardboard wonderland, we must first confront the dreaded nemesis of every board game enthusiast—the instruction manual.

Now, one might assume that deciphering these manuals would be a straightforward task, akin to solving a child’s puzzle. Alas, dear reader, nothing could be further from the truth. These manuals are often written in a language that seems to have been concocted by a clandestine society of linguists and mad scientists.

You start by gingerly unfolding the manual, only to be greeted by a sea of text smaller than the fine print on a legal document. Your eyes scan the pages, searching for a glimmer of comprehension amidst the dense thicket of rules and regulations. “Setup,” “Gameplay,” “Victory Conditions”—it’s as if you’ve stumbled upon the secret tome of an ancient civilization.

But fear not, intrepid adventurer! Armed with determination and a healthy dose of caffeine, you press on. You read and reread each paragraph, desperately trying to make sense of the cryptic symbols and esoteric terminology. “Roll two six-sided dice and move your token clockwise around the board,” the manual declares. Simple enough, you think to yourself, until you realize that the board resembles a labyrinth designed by M.C. Escher himself.

And just when you start to feel a glimmer of confidence, you encounter the dreaded “Exceptions” section—a labyrinth within a labyrinth, if you will. “If player one rolls a three on the third turn of the second round whilst wearing a hat, skip directly to square 17 and perform a jig.” Well, that clears things up nicely.

But lo and behold, after what feels like an eternity of deciphering hieroglyphics, a spark of understanding ignites within your weary mind. You grasp the mechanics of the game like a seasoned strategist planning their next move on the battlefield. With newfound confidence, you declare, “I have conquered the manual! Let the games begin!”

And so, armed with wit, cunning, and perhaps a touch of delirium, you embark on your board game adventure, ready to face whatever challenges may come your way.

This issue’s features all concern themselves with various aspects of preparing for the path ahead—come what may.

In “Driving Costs Higher,” author Jim Lynch dives deep into the high-tech world of next-gen automobiles. These computers-on-wheels are safer than ever, but auto insurance—preparing for calamity—is more expensive than ever. Lynch breaks down the interconnected reasons for this dynamic.

Long-term care insurance is perhaps the epitome of preparing for the path ahead. Yet the uptake of this product remains stagnant. Author Paul E. Forte opines in “Writing Long-Term Care in a Short-Term World” that the sluggish marketplace has more to do with consumers’ overall outlook than with a lack of desire for coverage. Read on for more.

Finally, Jay Vadiveloo is back with a new metric measuring the sustainability of small businesses. “How Long Will Your Startup Survive?” offers a state-by-state, industry-level breakdown of new ventures. Is that ice cream shop in Fairbanks a good idea? Hmmmm…

Thank you, as always, for reading. If you need me, I’ll be sorting my game chits into aftermarket storage containers.

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