Thanksgiving, KoL, wedding

KoL goes interestingly. The challenge path that ended the middle of last month was Heavy Rains, which I found to be a very interesting challenge path. I hit my first non-BIG 3 day runs, got my first sub-700 turn hardcore run, and generally was doing well with the path. Then, when I discovered I was actually on the leaderboard for path dedication, it became somewhat of an obsession. I chained 3-day runs repeatedly, so I was ascending every 2 days. I kept it up even while I was in Chicago for Ben’s wedding. It got to the point where I was no longer ascending because I enjoyed it, but because I felt like I had a responsibility to keep doing so.
I guess I get a little overly obsessive at times.
On the plus side, the 34 Heavy Rains runs I ended up finishing netted me a ton of Beautiful Rainbows, many millions of meat, and a ton of karma such that I have now permed every Accordion Thief, Disco Bandit, and Sauceror skill, with plenty left over.
I’ve already completed two of the new challenge path, Picky. I didn’t find it as annoying as I was expecting, even though I definitely felt the lack of skills at times. I think the skills I should always take are
Advanced Saucecrafting, Pastamastery, Transcendent Olfaction, Cannelloni Cocoon, Smooth Movements, Saucemaven, Phat Loot Lyric, and Sonata of Sneakiness. The other stuff depends on the class you’re running; you can buy a lot of useful skills in-run.
Max has also started playing, so it’s really nice to have someone I can talk with about the game. Hopefully he will stick with it.

I’ve been watching House ever since Amazon had a sale on the complete series ($60!). I’m currently on season 6, and while the show has gotten a bit formulaic, I can see why it won so many awards. It’s one of the most well-written shows I’ve ever watched with awesome characterization. It does a good job of blending the mystery-of-the-week in with the storylines of the main characters and holding viewers’ interest while doing so. Highly recommended, if you haven’t seen the series and are considering doing so.

I had a Thanksgiving. It was nice, both because of the lack of work and the abundance of people, food, and board games.

Thanksgiving was followed by Black Friday, which we avoided. But it meant lots of nice online sales, so we were able to buy board games and custom cards for our wedding for cheap. We ventured out on Saturday when the stores had calmed down a bit and also got some more supplies for our wedding invitations. Also picked up some TV shows on DVD I’d been eyeing for a while. Spent a good $300 or so, but it was all stuff I had been wanting or needing anyway, so that’s good.

Wedding planning is going. We got all of the save the dates sent out, and have received some responses already from people (despite not having sent out formal invites or having an RSVP system set up yet). It looks like it will be fun times. We’ll start work on the actual formal invitations soon, so that will be lots of fun.

ITG, 7 Blunders, BBQ, and Keith Manor

Life has been full of stuff recently. In roughly reverse order:

The ITG machine at the storage facility in the South Side exists, and it is awesomely full of charts I love. In the year-ish absence from ITG, it seems my reading has not suffered at all but my stamina is gone. I can’t even make it to the jacks in Perfect Cherry Storm anymore, and probably generally can no longer pass an 11 (although I didn’t try). The fact that the place is a small, enclosed space with no cooling other than fans probably doesn’t help either.
It’s good to have ITG machine access again, even if it means a bit more work than previously to access.

7 Wonders is one of my favorite board games, and it gets played around once a week. I already have the Leaders and Cities expansions, as well as the promo leaders, wonders expansion, and extra fan-made boards from board game geek (for a total of 23 wonder boards). We decided to try a variant of it last games night that Max affectionately titled “7 Blunders”. The goal is to get the lowest score possible, but you’re subject to the 2-player-style rules where you can’t sell a card unless you are forced to, cannot buy resources if you could make them yourself in some way, and must build for free if you can. It makes for a very interesting game, especially depending on whether your wonder gives you lots of points or not… do you save the wonder stages for burying large-point-value age 3 cards, or do you take care of them early so building is harder for you due to lack of resources?
We’ll certainly play it again and see how that goes.

Chris and Rob hosted a last-minute Memorial Day BBQ, and it was tasty.

In other other things, Keith’s kitchen is sad. His ceiling had been cracking (I guess one of the screws holding the ceiling up came out or something…?), so we spent a Saturday helping him remove his kitchen appliances and stripping the wallpaper from the room (which ended up being quite the experience due to the painted double layers of wallpaper, going as far as 4 layers deep at the top where there was trim). Apparently his ceiling came crashing down on Monday (which was the alternate day for wallpaper removal), so it was a good thing we did it when we did.

Also here’s us being crazy after midnight at IHOP, attempting to recreate various bad stock photo scenes.

Emily, Card games, Kickstarter games

Emily has complained that I don’t post photos of her anymore, so here are Emilies. Lots of Emilies. Alllll the Emilies! Bouncing Emilies (assuming your browser supports the good old <marquee> tag)!

Click them… if you can. They get bigger.

Life goes. Not much else has been happening. Photos from my San Francisco trip have been posted to photos. It was really good to see Patrick again (in a context that wasn’t the formality of his wedding).

Before I left for SF, I’d ordered some card games for myself (kind of as a belated birthday present), so it may be time to update this list of card games I own. Key is the same as before.

  • Game of Thrones TCG
  • Lord of the Rings TCG
  • MegaMan TCG (Yes) (C)
  • Sonic X TCG (Yes+)
  • Star Wars: Young Jedi CCG
  • World of Warcraft TCG (Yes)

I’m finding it harder and harder to find rulebooks online for many of the games I have, including .hack, the X-Files TCG, and the Fullmetal Alchemist TCG. I’m wondering if it makes sense to enhance my TCG site to compile information on some older games I play as well… things like rulebook scans, starter deck card listings, and general game info. Meh. I can’t really be the only person who still plays some of these CCGs, can I?

Stonemaier games came out with with an expansion to Viticulture called Tuscany. It’s on Kickstarter now, and if you’re into board gaming, I recommend it.
Unfortunately, this means I’ve been dragged back into Kickstarter. In addition to the recently ended character meeple campaign (adorable Dargon the Dragon meeples!), I also found an awesome card game named POOP (yeah, perfect game for me :P) and an interesting dinosaur-based deckbuilding game called Apex Theropod. Still not quite sure what to do about the last one, as it’s reasonably-priced at $38, but my gaming group (and Greg in particular) tends to shy away from deck-building games. But it’s so, so pretty.

I haven’t really made any progress on People Wars lately, since I’ve been doing things 3-4 evenings a week during the week, and Saturday has been declared computer-free day in an effort to do something other than stare at a screen. (I spent most of last Saturday reading books, which was dubbed “cheating” by Greg, so I suppose future Saturdays will involve more things outside the apartment.)
In any case, I’ve reworked the newest set, Hijinks, to be themed around Rock Climbing instead. And similar to how lots of interesting conversations happen and people from different fields mix and mingle, the “Climbing” faction in the game will be themed around “Route” cards (similar to Kiltie characters and Cheer cards) that boot task scoring. We shall see how that works out.

Yay life.

Life, games, TV shows

Life goes. Rather busily, in fact. It hadn’t occurred to me how busily until Chloe asked about dinner plans last Sunday and I had to stop before automatically responding that I was free “any evening”. My schedule now consists of climbing two evenings a week, board games one evening a week, and Tartan on Monday afternoons and all day Sunday, in addition to other random things that come up (like dinner plans, impromptu board gaming, or parties).

The benefit of all of this, at least, is that I now am guaranteed to leave the house at least once every 48 hour period. It’s a big change from a few months ago where I would often not even change out of pajamas most days, but really nice. (Yeah, yeah… working from home makes you lazy. :P)

For Christmas, we acquired the new board games Ticket to Ride, Yspahan, Hey That’s My Fish, Bananagrams, and Word-A-Round. Euphoria also arrived recently. Each of these (except for the new Euphoria) have been played many, many times. Yay for new board games.
(There was a mishap with The Agents where I both entered the wrong shipping address, and the package also didn’t arrive at the wrong address… so I need to figure out whether it’s worth my time and money to hunt down a new copy of the game. Le sigh.)

I received the first three seasons of The Walking Dead for Christmas and have watched through the first season and half of the second. It’s a really, really well done show, and I can see why it gets all of the acclaim it does. It provides a really character-centric focus on the zombie apocalypse (much like World War Z [the book] provides a global view of the disaster). I’ve also finished through season 4 of Supernatural and should start season 5 at some point. At least all of these DVDs are getting some use. :)

The hunt for houses has begun. It’s looking like houses with our constraints in the neighborhoods we want are going to run between $350,000 and $450,000… a bit more than I had expected. It’s not like we can’t afford that, but it just feels weird to be spending so much on a house. We went to two open houses last weekend on the opposite ends of the spectrum (a modern 4-bedroom house by CMU at ~$470k and a townhouse in Squirrel Hill at ~$280k), so we’re getting a better idea of what we can get for the money, at least. At some point we should figure out financing and find an actual agent to work with. Argh I wish buying a house was easier.

Work… has been work. In general, I tend to come back from breaks feeling like I want to quit my job and just travel, rather than feeling refreshed. This was particularly true coming back from this Christmas break, and it feels like I still haven’t gotten back into the swing of things three weeks in. I’m stressing out about really minor things, irrationally irritated at bugs, and generally feel like I’m getting less done than I should be doing. Sigh.

Climbing, board games, TV shows, card games

Life has been pretty uneventful lately.

I recently celebrated 80 months of companionship and love and awesome. I guess in some ways it’s silly that we still track months together, but it’s also nice. So yay relationships.

There was a Thanksgiving. There was lots of tasty food and lots of fun games.

I’ve started climbing again after Groupon had a $70-for-a-three-month-membership deal. I actually haven’t gotten too much worse (finished a couple V2s yesterday), which is nice. A gallery of December climbing photos will be posted in about a week (since I batch together all related photos from a month).

There has also been copious board gaming, which is always fun and awesome. Eight Minute Empire Legends recently arrived, and it was played, and it’s a really nice filler game. For some reason, all of the recent Kickstarters I backed seem to have all finished production early November, so they’re all shipping around Christmas time. I’m expecting the Machine of Death card game and The Agents card game soon (or, I guess, when I get back from Christmas break), and Euphoria is arriving in January (but only because I used the “delay shipment” option, since it would otherwise arrive Christmas week).
(More board gaming photos will likewise be posted in about a week.)

I’ve become re-addicted to the show Supernatural, after Amazon had it on sale for Black Friday and I bought the seasons I was missing (7 and 8). Watched through season 2 in a few days and started on season 3… and I don’t know why I ever stopped watching. Yay awesome TV shows.
Also bought the last two seasons of Smallville that I was missing (9 and 10), as well as the first three seasons of The Walking Dead. Have a lot of TV to watch now. Maybe at some point I’ll get re-motivated to work on the Investigations card game. I’m thinking of making a tweak to the game where every deck card has a “conspicuousness” value, and every character provides conspicuousness, and exceeding a random conspicuousness value makes you automatically fail the investigation. (Would provide another value to tinker with on cards, and some more strategy in deck building to get good abilities with low conspicuousness cards or worse cards but be able to throw more characters at things.)

Work continues on People Wars: Gatherings. The theme of the set is “dual characters”, so I’m adding a bunch of dual characters along with abilities and skills that key off of them. Also, in an effort to make hybrid decks more feasable, I’m adding cards that reward working characters with kill counters as well as tasks that can provide items and attacks/skills. There’s also new abilities to help score tasks late game, and to help deal more damage early game. (Also notice the new “Climbing” and “Game Group” attributes, which I’ll flesh out in later expansions.)

Work has been super stressful lately. Not much to really say about that. I need to get better at separating work and life, and stopping work when it’s not work time. Hopefully that will come.

So yay for life, at least.