When I think back to my childhood, I can’t really remember what I did to keep myself occupied. I think most of it involved riding bikes, breaking limbs (my own, not those of others), and beating up (or being beaten up by) my brothers.
Oh sure, there was the occasional Hungy Hungry Hippos grudge-match or a Jenga throw-down. These would invariably apex with me or one of my brothers becoming extremely annoyed, throwing a game piece at someone and accidentally hitting them in the eye. The grand finale involved the thrower running away, saying, “Sorrysorrysorrysorrysorry.”
Oh, and we sometimes played Sorry! as well.
Having aged significantly, if not graciously, since then I’ve learned to temper my emotions and have swung somewhat in the other direction. Whenever I play Monopoly, for example, I now try and make deals to keep everyone in the game for as long as possible (socialist douchebag, I know) until I have to start knocking people out of it. Except I’ve never won a game of Monopoly. Perhaps it’s time to revise my pinko strategies.
There wasn’t a revision of strategies earlier last week per se. But it afforded me the opportunity to get together and spend some Unknown Studio downtime with my co-host Mr. Scott C. Bourgeois, his lovely finacée Anita, my lovely girlfriend Rachel, and the lovely Brittney Le Blanc.
We started the evening with a quick dinner, and proceeded directly to Scott’s gaming lair — a true Nerd Cave. Check out all the games he had (and I think this constitutes but a third, not even, of his collection):
Since we were waiting for Rachel to join us following a meeting, we decided to play a few short board games. The first was called “Giftrap.” In the game you get to give the other players presents, advancing your tokens over the board if other players like your gifts, and you like the ones you receive from them. I know, weird concept, right? It was hilarious though! Probably the worst present was a cryonic chamber. The best was a trip to Greece. Damn shame it wasn’t real…
I think Anita won… It really didn’t matter, though. For such a simple concept we had a hilarious time. And that, friends, was the greatest gift of all.
Next, we played a game whose name escapes me, but whose board and game tokens were exquisitely designed. You were given three cards each, all with a series of random lines on them. The object was to lay the cards out on a board, taking turns, to create a path for your little player. You lost by being run off the board or colliding with another player. You won by being the last man standing. I did not win.
We moved on to the next game, knowing now that Rachel was on her way from her meeting. A quick card game was in order! This one was called Fluxx. We each had a hand of cards to start with and some basic rules. We then played cards — some had new rules on them, others had information on what it would take to win, others had objects you kept and displayed in order to win… It was strange and hilarious. I’m going to buy Fluxx for sure and force my roommates to play it with me.
Rachel joined us, and the real game began. The last time I was over at Scott and Anita’s we’d started playing Tales of the Arabian Nights, but I didn’t have a chance to play through to the end as I had to leave early. This night, though, I would have my chance.
In order to properly prepare for the NerdFest about to take place, Anita was kind enough to bring Scott and I some Alley Kat Mead while the board was prepped.
The game began shortly thereafter. It’s a simple game to play, but there are a lot of steps involved in a players turn, including moving, dice rolls, having “encounters” (some extremely awesome, some mundane), gain story and destiny points, use earned skills, etc. It’s kind of like an RPG in super-simplified board game form. The excitement was palpable. I felt the need to stand up for every turn. Sometimes, on my chair.
In the end Brittney won the game, but completing her adventures, getting the necessary story and destiny points, going back to Baghdad (the starting point of the game) and having an Encounter — if it sounds very sexy, that’s because it was. In this picture, Brittney and Rachel mock all their opponents:
It was a great night, and I hope the start of many more such events. Board games are so much more than Scrabble and Monopoly. I’m glad I had a chance to discover this is such good company. And all without throwing a single game piece at anyone’s eye.