There was some concern that I might not be able to attend on some days due to an immense project at work nearing completion after nearly three years, but my employer generously accommodated me. This was fortunate, as one of our out of towners arrived early giving, a handful of us a chance to squeeze in a game or two prior to the official opening.
Not only that, but Rob got to experience being picked up in style, as Pete donned his chauffeur outfit and drove him from the airport to the venue in the 1953 Bentley that his father has ceded to him now that he no longer drives. Rob expressed amazement that the engineers of the mid-20th century not only saw fit to leave space in the front for an iPhone, but also provided a laptop workspace in the back. (It's actually a spring-cushioned record player, but can certainly be re-purposed with the lid closed.)
Before I could join them, however, I needed to sort out some chores at home: paying the bills, getting the oil changed, and then loading up a ridiculous amount of stuff for what is, at its heart, a four night sleepover for grown-ass men.
For the record: no, not everything that got muled over got played with. On the other hand though, I wasn't the only person bringing games, either.
Jeff generously permitted us to play the inaugural game on his Risk: Legacy board, which was quite a privilege. A fortunate meshing of oppositional types in the Southern Hemisphere coupled with massive attrition enabled me to take North America early in the game, whose five bonus armies helped me to hold on to for the win, and which I promptly re-named Fitzylvania as the victor.
Prior to my running out to the airport to pick up Island Mike (the last of our number) from the airport, we also had time to play a round of Timeline. It's a clever game where you have to guess where in a timeline to place certain events, in this instance, music and films. It starts out easy, like "I know Back To The Future came out after Blade Runner and before Nirvana's Nevermind," but eventually comes down to "I'm guessing that Night of the Hunter came out between Godzilla and Singin' In The Rain..."
Earl is a tough opponent in this edition, as he can typically place 95%+ of the movies in the deck within a year of their actual date, but gives up a bit of his edge with music. I also think it is cute that the youngest player gets to lead off play, giving them a slight theoretical advantage, but not discernible against this particular set of competitors. I foresee more sets of Timeline appearing in the future.
After the gang was all assembled and pizza ordered, Jeff unveiled this year's swag: custom hockey jerseys!
He had told us he was working on something cool, then had us provide our favourite quote, cocktail and number, in order to maintain secrecy. Those who know us are unlikely to be surprised that although some of us ended up wearing traditional numbers (including a three-digit iteration)...
...fully half of the attendees chose something less conventional, such as the symbol for pi.
|Apparently this is appropriate for an electrical engineer.|
|For Earl, it's "everything or nothing".|
We still had time before dinner to complete an 8-man game of Tsuro, a clever geodesic tile-placing game that usually only takes 15-20 minutes to play, and ended with a tie, which is rare.
After dinner, we got in a couple of rounds of the dice version of Bang!, a spaghetti western game where you have to guess who the outlaws are who want to kill the sheriff, and who are the deputies who want to protect him. Obviously, a fast-paced game that engenders such confusion and animosity is well suited to this group, and the fact that rolling a beer symbol allows you to heal someone while rolling three sticks of dynamite blows you up is just the icing on the cake at that point.
Afterwards, we proceeded downstairs for the first Car Bomb of the weekend, and ended the evening by playing a bunch of games from the Jackbox Party pack on Mike's Playstation 4. Quiplash was the hands-down favourite, allowing each player to read their question and supply a funny answer through their smartphone or tablet. The game then pairs them up and presents them on the bigscreen for players to vote on them.
I'm sure some of the winning answers were in good taste and publishable, but none of the ones I can recall, so I'm afraid you will just have to take my word for it.