Friday, June 24, 2011

Heading To Sunriver

Once again it's "summer" in Oregon and my family is gathering for our annual "summer" vacation in Sunriver in Central Oregon. Last year saw my mother's fall the second day of the vacation that turned everything into a nightmare - somehow "monitoring a senior with a brain injury who absolutely shouldn't be walking on her own but will if you look away for 20 seconds" and "vacation" don't really mix all that well. So I guess there's some trepidation about whether we can shake off last year's disaster even though my mother will not be there (and I am sure that the high altitude, nearly 4000 ft, had much to do with the seriousness of her problems last year).

We go this time of year because of some sporting events that are going on, but this year in Oregon we are still waiting for summer to begin in earnest. Over the next week we are looking at an occasional bump over 70 for both Portland and Sunriver, and my wife has started to take on that "I know it's not your fault but I'm blaming you anyway because I married you" tone when she checks the forecast every half hour. Me, I could stand for it to rain for the whole week, because that means my nephew Alex and I can just game the entire time.

Now that I've completely converted Alex over to the dark side of wargaming, I'm delighted that he's *requesting* that I bring a good set of games. Here's a list of what I'm hoping we'll get a chance to play while we're there:

  • A Victory Lost - Alex played this against Chuck at WBC West, so he's probably a little more attuned to the game than I am. Still, this is perhaps my favorite "old-school" wargame (although it's a recent design with some nice twists) and it will be the feature of the week since we'll probably be playing it an hour a day for the entire long week. 
  • Lord of the Rings LCG - I'm looking forward to getting in some minor deck-building for this game, as that's a skill I've never really developed. I think that because you generally focus on one or two spheres, I should be able to give this a go as the choices will be relatively limited. Slightly disappointed that there is no Hunt For Gollum expansion pack out yet, at least not one that I own, but since I've only played the game sporadically, there is enough there to keep my attention for our purposes. I've purchased an additional core set so we'll have plenty of cards to work with.
  • Dominion - From Seaside on, I have barely played this game - perhaps six or seven games total. That's a lot of game that I haven't fiddled with and since my entire set fits in one box now (I have not bought Cornucopia, I'm considering it an expansion too far) this seems like a good game to take. If others are interested, it's easy to get them involved and the game will take them easily, and it also works admirably for two. Easy call. Only concern - game is unsleeved, and with something like 3000 cards there's no way I'm sleeving it with the premium sleeves I prefer. 
  • 7 Wonders - Looking forward to trying the two player variant. Mostly taking because it will fit in the LotR box easily and because it will play many people if necessary.
  • ASLSK - Ken will be out at his place in Sunriver as well, at least for the first weekend, so we're going to try to squeeze in a scenario if we can. Hopefully it won't involve guns or tanks, I'm just not quite ready for that level yet, still need to internalize the infantry rules.
  • Card games - I'm also taking Gosu, Frank's Zoo, Circus Flocahti, Sticheln, and Red November (which is sort of a card game). These will also fit in the LotR box.
  • Party games - Dixit, which my family hasn't played, also Time's Up! Deluxe and Backseat Drawing, which is essentially Pictionary in reverse. Trivia games tend to not work as well with my family so these are all good choices. 
  • Nightfighter - I am dying to give this game, the latest from Lee Brimmicombe-Wood, a shot. He usually does games that are almost more sim than game and tend to be very involved (very cool, but not something you pick up quickly). This one is a lot more streamlined, and the games tend to be playable in an hour. Also, the return of Programmed Instruction, where you learn a rule or two and then play a scenario. There are a ton of scenarios in the box, which are grouped by both the development of nightfighting tech and doctrine which coincides with the rules, and also a campaign that I'm hopeful we can get to assuming the game is entertaining enough. I tried out one of the Scenario 3 scenarios (each scenario has variants which are really completely different scenarios that use the same rule set - unfortunately, they are hard to scan easily because of formatting in the scenario book, but at least there's a ton of variety in the box), and while it was interesting as a solo exercise, it's pretty clear that the game system evolves as the tech does and I'm sure that later scenarios will have a little more meat. I expect to be the umpire (who has a few choices but generally just runs the game) and let Alex play the nightfighter as there are considerably less rules for him to understand so we can just jump in and play. My alternate choice was PQ-17, which I decided against because it was going to be more difficult for me to teach and the game times are much longer. NF fits better with the "play in the cracks" model that I'm expecting will be how the week works. I hope it was a good choice. 
And that's that. We'll see how this all ends up, both in terms of gaming and in terms of fitting in with the other demands that will be made on me.

1 comment:

Bernie said...

if it's not too late - try Reverse Charades. you can download the app if you can't find the game.