Tuesday, March 01, 2005

I'm driving myself nuts!

All day today I've had something on the tip of my brain, lingering just out of cognitive reach. When I got to work today there was something I wanted to research on Google, but I can't for the life of me remember what subject interested me. I had it at one point today, but a simultaneous phonecall from a customer and dumb question from the new guy in the office managed to push back into unconsciousness. I hate that.

Last night was boardgame night. We got in three games: Traders of Genoa, Ticket to Ride, and Bohnanza (the bean game). I had a pretty good night, getting second place in Traders and Bohnanza and winning Ticket to Ride. Although my confidence was shaky when I first started playing with this group, I seem to be doing a lot better. In all three games I was able to identify some good plays. I was particularly satisfied by my strategy in Ticket to Ride. For one thing, I had a strategy. For another thing, it was an unorthodox hybrid of two strategies I've seen others in my playgroup employ. And in Bohnanza I made at least one weird but decent-scoring play that I wouldn't have even considered a month or two ago.

I've developed a new method for indulging my game-buying habit while simultaneously improving my health. See, I normally visit the vending machine in the breakroom at work at least once, usually twice a day. I almost always get nutrition-free, high-calorie junkfood. So hear's the deal I've made with myself: on any week I can get from Monday to Friday without spending money at the vending machine, I get to buy some goodies from RPGnow or DriveThruRPG. This week, if I can exercise sufficient self-control, I'll be getting something for my d20 modern campaign. Maybe I'll get the Big Bang Sampler, just to see if I like the Big Bang line of gun books. Several of the full-blown Big Bang products look interesting. I've also been eyeing the Modern Dispatch line. Issue #25, about the Japanese bullet-train, is on sale for 75 cents. I'm finding it frustrating that many of the d20M adventures available are not tagged for what level PCs can tackle them. To meet the min order size to save myself the 35 cent fee for tiny orders, I may go ahead and finally buy Bruce Baugh's A Fistful of Plot Devices. I'm hoping that'll help me set up at least one exciting adventure for my Home Team campaign.

I'm getting a bit of the wargaming bug again, World War One flying aces in particular. Maybe this Sunday we could finally play Dawn Patrol. Who 'we' is at this point, I don't know. Probably Pat, maybe Loren and/or Dave and/or Joe. I dunno. Maybe Jim and the boys. I've also been looking once again into getting Blue Max or Richthofen's War. Jim mentioned Monday night that he used to enjoy playing the Richthofen game back in the day and that Avalon Hill went on to publish another game covering the same material, Knights of the Air. I think WWI plane games interest me for much the same reasons that BattleTech and Starmada trip my trigger: each piece represents a single object and more than two people can get in on playing. That one-to-one scaling is the place where wargames, skirmish mini games, and rpgs can meet. That's why I don't scoff at the notion that Dawn Patrol or Car Wars or BattleTech are really a form of role-playing game. You can play 'your guy' over a series of sessions, following his ups and downs. These characters can take on a narrative life of thier own. How is that not role-playing?