Christmas came a little early this year, as I decided to splurge while I was at the Dragon's Table on Thursday. I was there ostensibly to purchase another copy of Bohnanza, for one of my sister's friends. (The guy who drove me nuts the previous weekend, as it turns out.) But I had to snatch up the last copies of Mekton Zeta and Mekton Zeta Plus. Pat can't find my old copies and I fear I must have sold them off at some point. If they turn up I'll take it as a sign that the Big Combiner* in the Sky intended me to run a Mekton campaign. I also nabbed a new expansion for Carcassone called the Count of Carcassonne. It's a little bit weird, but fun. And it was only 5 bucks. I might not use it for every game of Carcassonne I play, but I still kinda like it.
The next day, Christmas Eve, was the get-together with my side of the family. I got my mom a Ms. Pacman gamestick from Jakks, my dad a copy of Sequence (a great family game: if you know how tic-tac-toe works and can read a deck of playing cards you already know 90% of the rules) and my sister her own copy of Carcassonne. Jenn got me, among other things, a copy of Poul Anderson's A Midsummer Tempest. The Anderson novel is not strictly gamer material, but is an alt-universe thingy in which William Shakespeare was an accurate reporter of actual events. It merits a mention in Ken Hite's kickass conspiracy-and-gaming opus Suppressed Transmission, so it merits a mention here. Also, Shakespeare and gaming has always been a bit of a thing for me. I've long desired to take some of the plays, file off the serial numbers, add some orcs, and run the plots in a D&D campaign. Seems I'm not the only one with crazy thoughts like that. LPJ Design, one of the RPGnow powerhouse gaming mills, has recently released d20 Henry V and d20 Macbeth. My folks also got me the one game I really, really wanted for Christmas this year: the Castles & Crusades boxed set! Yay! In addition to giving and receiving games, we also got a chance to play some Bohnanza and Golfmania. Golfmania is one of the games that my wife can be induced into playing, placing it among such honored games as Illuminati and Fluxx.
Christmas Day was at the in-laws. I tell you what, it's nice to have married into a family of gamers. My brother-in-law Jim is an active wargamer and German gamers. He's the one that got me into the Monday night boardgaming group. His sons Ian and Alex are hardcore gamers in the making, as they've grown up in a household in which a fanatical devotion to the game was the norm. Heck, when I arrived Saturday they had a copy of d20 Modern sitting on the coffee table. They had enjoyed my one-shot enough that they dropped a gift card on their own copy! Looks like my '05 gaming will include a d20M campaign for the boys! My sister-in-law Anne is a SCA'er, as is her hubby Rod. Rod also does the whole boardgamer and roleplayer thing. He's been in three or four campaigns of mine. They got me this cool mug wooden tankard they had purchased at the Pennsic War. Jim and his family got me the Osprey Essential Histories guide to the Franco-Prussian War, the Ultimate Jack the Ripper Companion, and the director's cut DVD of Bladerunner. I also got RISK: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy edition. Way cool. After presents were opened all five of the guys went down in the basement and played a rousing game of History of the World. Great rise-and-decline-of-empires style game, much like two other favorites of ours: Britannia and Vinci. (I understand that Barbarian, Kingdom & Empire is another good one much in the same vein.) On Sunday the whole in-law gaming crowd came over to my place and we played a stirring round of the aforementioned Vinci. I managed to pull into the lead for several turns but some effective stomping of my empires put Rod into the position to win it all. Good people, good game.
Tonight is boardgame night. We'll be playing Al Conrad's Complete History of the World variant, which he regularly runs at the Winter War. Saturday's game was a warm-up so that we would have a better idea what we are doing tonight. Wednesday night is the Pancake Hut Gang and Dave has definitely decided upon running Feng Shui. Unless the specific campaign constrains PC choice in some matter, I'm leaning toward playing a Maverick Cop foil to Pat's inevitable cold-blooded Killer. People will be called Mickey Mouse and Dumbo. Bad guys will be gunned down. Stuff will explode. As an alternate, I will cast Al Leong as the Old Master and go forth unto the world to kick much ass in the name of Kung Fu Righteousness!
*Jehovah forms the head, Jesus forms the arms and torso, while the Holy Spirit forms the legs and wings.