Sunday, May 22, 2005

Houston Gamers wrap-up

I am a board game enthusiast, not a collector. If I pick up an out-of-print game, it's in the hopes of playing it, not in betting that the value will rise, or saving the pristine copy until the sun explodes. Those other personality types are fine, and without them, the used-game market would be smaller.

Tonight I tore the shrinkwrap off my copy of Wizards of the Coast's out-of-print filler Guillotine, and taught Jacob and Julie how to play (they were in Houston to visit her parents). They both picked it up with no problems, and we jammed through two games, easy as pie. A big line of French nobles need to be executed... for points! A hoot, overall. The cards could be a little clearer, as evinced by the large errata list at the 'geek. We only ran into two questions, and just made ad-hoc rulings and went on. Life's too short.

After that, it was off to Midnight Comics for the Houston Gamers, where I played Ticket To Ride: Europe, which is the vicious cut-throat "gamers' game" successor to the original 2004 Game of the Year winner Ticket To Ride. It was a 5 player game, and I came in 4th, although not by much.

Okay, Midnight Comics "has a policy about that homeless guy, where he can stay as long as he's not bothering anybody. He's not, you know right in the head, but he's harmless. Tell us if he bothers you somehow." That guy, by the way, didn't smell like sweat any more than the rest of us (the breaker on the AC went out before I got there, so it was about 80 degrees on the first floor, and 95 upstairs). He smelled like a chainsmoker who had been fed other chainsmokers. Generally being misfits, the gamer community tolerates quite a bit, and he wandered out of the store a few hours later with a cheery, "See you tomorrow!"

The Houston Gamers have advanced degrees and high-paying jobs, and are also older than the freckle-faced urchins that live at Midnight Comics week in and week out. Also, the Midnight crowd is more Magic and D&D-oriented, logical since both pursuits are best carried out in large, uninterrupted blocks of time.

I like the Houston Gamers better. The vast majority have cell phones and real jobs, are interesting conversationalists, and good sports. They wear clothes that are not black. Also, the Midnight crowd is almost entirely male. Yes, the Houston Gamers aren't 50-50 but there are several married/attached couples that show up. Midnight's crowd has one or two women, and that's it. No me gusta.


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