Everybody comes to Rick’s

Last night I got to see Casablanca on the big screen. In honor of its 70th anniversary, Turner Classic Movies through Fathom Events showed Casablanca for one night one showing in theaters across the country. It was a fabulously wonderful event.

Watching it on the big screen was just breath taking. I’ve seen the movie on large 6 foot televisions, but that pales in comparison to seeing it on the big screen. The big screen brought out nuances of facial expressions I’d never seen before. Especially Claude Rains, no wonder he was nominated for best supporting actor for his performance in this film.

I watch this movie whenever it shows on television. I own a DVD copy of the movie & watch it whenever I feel blue. Needless to say, like most of the other people in the theater last night, I can quote nearly every line. But what makes this movie so special for so many of us? Ingrid Bergman said she never understood why people liked it so & she considered other movies so much better.

In my opinion, it boils down to the stories of the characters. Not only the main characters, but the supporting characters as well. This is where the depth of casting really shows in this film. Each face has a story. And this is where I get to tie this movie to the hobby of miniature gaming. It is all about story.

I hear lines quoted from Casablanca nearly everyday. There are several critics who say it is the perfect movie. But while it was being filmed, it was far from perfect. No one, including the director & producer, knew how it was going to end. They received script changes everyday. Yet, somehow out of all of that chaos emerges a great story. A good miniatures game should be like that as well. After all of chaos of dice rolling, measuring, consulting charts, & placing figures, the players have created stories. There is the story told by the game itself. There are stories shared by the players while playing the game. And finally, the experience itself is a story.

The best stories are not contrived or forced. They flow from the imagination. Games which are controlled exercises in statistics, probabilities, & intimidation are not fun for me. I tend to like immersion type games & role playing type games. Simply because in the chaos of playing the game, a story emerges.

Enough rambling, Major Strasser has been shot! Round up the usual suspects.

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