Archive for July, 2008

Man’s Best Fried

Friday, July 18th, 2008

At the monthly local creatively-aligned potluck I attend, there are always interesting people. There are various artists of all types, including our frequent host, the inimitable Howard Cruse. There was once even a witch. But there are also two people who really, really care about the welfare of dogs, and vehemently oppose anything that might make canines suffer in the slightest bit. They should not read today’s column. The rest of you, though, should go right ahead.

Acquired some new board games yesterday, among them Power Grid and Caylus, both longish brain-busting sorts of games produced by the fine people at Rio Grande, and both currently on BoardGameGeek’s top ten list. We’ve already played three games, and are looking forward to more. While playing this game, it occured to me that some games are less suited for certain modifications than others. For example, in spite of how many people seem to enjoy it with poker, I imagine that Strip Caylus or Strip Power Grid (a.k.a. “Power Strip”) just wouldn’t be the same.

And no, I don’t plan to test this empirically, so if you want to find out, you’ll have to test it yourself. But if you do, let me know how it goes.

It’s not the destination, it’s the journey…

Saturday, July 12th, 2008

As promised, here’s my column to chronicle my trip to Maine last weekend. But since you read this, you get an additional story. I save the best story for you because I care. Read the column first.

Back? Okay. So, when the car died and we got it towed back to the farm, we convinced our host to take his truck out and run a chain from the back of the truck to the front of the car. Tom sat in the driver’s seat of the car, our host sat in the driver’s seat of his truck, and I stood off to the side of the road to get a full view so I could warn people if disaster was imminent.

Tom was convinced disaster was imminent because his car was being towed forward but he had no brakes, so as soon as the truck stopped, he might rear-end the truck. Our host was not concerned about this, but given that our host was one of the most easy-going people I’ve ever met, that didn’t comfort Tom overmuch. In retrospect, my ability to avert disaster by shouting “Look out! Imminent disaster!” was probably fairly limited.

What happened, though, was that they started towing, and Tom started shouting out “I have no brakes!”, and our host yelled “Alright,” and just kept driving, and I was walking along to keep up with them, and then running along to keep up with them, and soon I was alone on a dark Maine road (read: no streetlights) in the middle of the night.

Thankfully, I knew the farm was only a two minute drive up the road, so I was able to walk back with no difficulty.

Back and Fourth

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Well, I’m back from my weekend in Maine attending a wedding. The first of four for the year, albeit the only one likely to be held on a family farm while various people gleefully drive a rented golf cart all over the property. These kids were clearly abusing a vehicle meant for transporting deck chairs across the fields and doing other serious work. Personally, I would never condone frivolous use of such a vehicle, especially since I almost fell off while joyriding on the back as we went over some hills at top speed. I may have to write my upcoming column about my trip.

Meanwhilst, last Friday’s column was about the Fourth of July in general, although I couldn’t post it because I was on the road. Fireworks are apparently illegal in the entire state of Maine, so I won’t confirm or deny rumors that there were fireworks at said wedding. It does seem odd, though, that celebrating patriotism is illegal. Then again, rebelling against unjust governance is patriotic too.

Chairman of the Board

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

I’ve developed an addiction to board games.

Perhaps that’s not quite right. More accurate would be to say, I’ve nurtured an addiction to board games. Because I’ve always loved board games, as far back as I can remember. And not those endless games like Monopoly, or lame games of chance like War or Life, but board games that tend to fall in the “euro” style. Games that involve lots of strategy without involving six hour wargaming sessions. (If I wanted to spend six hours repeatedly adding things up in the hopes of figuring out the best way not to be killed by my opponent, I’d do my taxes.)

Anyway, the point is, I like my board games. And so I’ve bought a fair number of them (or, some might say, an unfair number) in the past few months. I’ve gotten in a few shipments of multiple games, and another is on the way. Unfortunately, it’s somewhat rare that I have more than one person around to play with. So I’ve now stocked my shelves with games which, for the most part, sit unplayed.

And it was still a much better use of money than the dollar I spent on the Ace Ventura video in the bargain bin.