Sunday, January 28, 2007

Gaming On Bainbridge

So Martin Stever, late of Cap City and WizKids, has relocated across the Sound to Bainbridge Island, where he and his lovely wife and child have a nice house not too far from the ferry himself. And he has regularly, since moving out there a few years back, invited me out to one of his frequent gaming afternoons.

And most times I have not been available, whether from deadlines or other life-requirements (the most recent being when Steve Miller broke his ankle and I spent some time at the ER with him). But today I didn't have any commitments, so I headed across the water. Parked the Hybrid under the Viaduct (parking free on Sunday) and walked on the ferry. And the trip across was smooth as silk, a great way of getting across the Sound if you're just going to Bainbridge. It actually had a WoW vibe to it with the zeppelins - get on, get off, you're there.

The afternoon itself was pretty amusing - played two new games for a total of five times Vegas Showdown was an amusing game of casino building, where you're fitting slots, gaming rooms, eateries and even theaters on into your casino. It had a nice, breezy style to it, with a lot of things that reminded me of Vegas (twisty, turning passages, for example, or continual labor problems). It has a lot of nice little grace notes, and plays pretty well. Recommend it.

The other game was Blue Moon City, a Reiner Knizia game from Fantasy Flight. It is one of those cooperative/competitive games where you are trying to rebuilt a fantasy city, and want to make sure that the dragons see you do it so they will reward you, with the goal of turning in gems so you get the top billing on the obelisk in the center of the city. One of the group had played it a number of times before, but we promptly took it in some strange directions. In the first game, we were so competitive that we tied (the game was decided by a secondary victory condition), and in the second game we all sat on our resources that we outstripped the game's components (we had to keep track secondarily, and I would have won if I had but one more victory component. I would not say we broke the game, but we did sprain it.

But then the trip back (after a highspeed race to get to the docks before the ferry pulled out). It was near sunset, and the sun was behind us, cutting through a light red shroud of clouds. Seattle itself was illuminated like a gem against the hills and not-so-distant mountains, Rainier was out in full view, and you could even see the shadowy form of Adams to the north. The city was a jewelbox, and even the much-bemoaned viaduct along the edge gave it a toylike, train-set quality. It was a reminder why I live out here. That and when I got off, I walked two blocks to Elliot Bay bookstore, which was still open at 5:30 on a Sunday afternoon, and picked up The Omnivore's Dilemma.

Yeah, after all the snow and bad weather, I needed to be reminded why I'm out here.

More later,