We had some very good times this past weekend. Our friend Erik, whom we get to see far too little, flew into town and stayed with us, which meant a day of gaming was in order. Saturday was therefore spent playing board, card, and role-playing games all day - and I mean, like, pretty much literally all day. Like, for about 13 hours. Admittedly, we did take breaks to eat and to take a field trip to a local game store, but otherwise it was just gaming all the time. It was great! Previous game days I've ended up feeling disappointed and unfulfilled at the end because I've been too focused on wanting to play specific games, or to win a specific number of games, or in some other way control and schedule what's happening and how it's happening; this time I went in with no particular goals in mind and ended up having a blast. It's a lesson I'm going to try to apply to other parts of my life. Anyways, we (and by we, I mean one or more of the following: myself, poppy, Erik, Dave, and Peccable) played Settlers of Catan, Goa, St. Petersburg, Labyrinths and Lycanthropes, and Midgard. Settlers we'd all played before, but not for a long time, so it was fun to give it another go, even if it did go on maybe a bit too long. Goa is a fascinating and fairly complex German resource production/management game that's sort of like Puerto Rico. I enjoyed it quite a bit. St. Petersburg is again a German game, this time involving collecting money and points by buying various types of cards. This one seemed dull and silly on the first turn, but quickly got far more complex and interesting. I liked it. L&L is a (relatively) fast and simple dungeon crawl RPG played with two decks of regular playing cards - one used to create the dungeon, the other used to simulate battles and so forth. It's still in its playtesting stage, and so probably has some kinks that need working out, but it was pretty fun. Midgard is a heavily Norse-themed game where you're trying to take over as many territories on the board as you can by having more Viking figures in them than anybody else. You use cards to move the figures, and the cards are dealt out in an interesting way that allows everyone to sort of build their own hands. You only play for a handful of turns, so it's pretty quick, and surprisingly deep for a game that's so simple. I liked that one quite a bit, too. My favorite part is that every turn, certain territories are doomed, which is indicated by placing doom chips on them, and at the end, the Vikings in them all die and go to Valhalla. Which is actually a good thing, for some reason. It's a very Norse idea, and very awesome. It also led to the formation of a new personal proverb: any game that comes with doom chips is a good game in my book.
The game store we went to in the middle of the day is a place near my house called Natural 20. I discovered it when we were going out for drinks with a friend the other day and knew I'd have to go back and check it out some time. This seemed the most appropriate time. It's kind of a neat little store, in that they carry a lot of stuff you're probably not going to find in your average Toys R Us, but their selection isn't huge because the space is mostly taken up by tables. (They hold weekly tournaments of various collectible card games and miniature games.) I might go back if I get a hankering to purchase a particular game and can't find it discounted online, but really, I don't need another giant epic war game with lots of pieces that I'm never going to play, so maybe not.
The day after game day, we hung out with Erik and then... played some more games! Specifically, Erik and I got in a few rounds of Diceland. Diceland is probably my favorite game of all time, but sadly it's a game that only Erik and I seem to like, so we really only get to play it on the rare occasions that we're together. It was great to play it again, and I'm currently scheming as to how I can increase my playing frequency...
Monday we had a bunch of friends over for the traditional Labor Day barbecue, and I ended up grilling food for the first time in my life. It was surprisingly fun! Unfortunately, as seems to happen every time we have a bunch of people over, our plumbing acted up on us again, this time in the form of a clogged, and therefore unusable, kitchen sink. Which is bad when you have a bunch of dirty dishes piled up. My Dad was good enough to come over that night and try to help me unclog it, but to no avail. So that meant calling a plumber again. He came yesterday while my parents held down the fort (they rock) and fixed the problem. A larger problem remains involving our main sewer line, but as it's not causing any issues we can't live with, we're leaving it alone for now.