Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Allentown Train Show and Free-Range Gamers

This weekend was one of my favorite occasions.  The Allentown Spring Thaw Train Show has been a special Maja-Daddy day out for the last three years.

Sunday, we survived a snowstorm that failed to warm up and turn into rain to have our annual breakfast together at the counter of the local diner.  We were about an hour and half behind by the time we survived the massive snow south of us that flooded the turnpike and pulled into a snowy, but plowed Ag Hall in Allentown around 10:45am.

Trains were always my first love as a child, trying to emulate my Grandfather, and even those all of his Marklins I inherited are boxed up, I'm always looking for a few acquisitions.    There is a wall of the basement that's screaming for a 4' x 8" board, and I just need to acquire wiring and the translate a whole lot of German to learn how to.   Maja had four priorities:
  1. See the layouts
  2. Get a pretzel
  3. Get a lemonade
  4. Participate in the train race
The layouts were variations of the same ones we saw in prior years, but to a five year old, everything is new, shiney, and awesome.   We also ran from one end of the hall to the other on Maja's whim, rather than my systematic "boring" aisle-by-aisle sweep.

But finally it was noon and the next round of train races started.  For those of you confused by this, see Maja's lone winning run here.   She did lose her heat 1-2-2 (best out of three, with two simultaneous wipeouts), but she got a certificate and had a train load of fun.

The Swag:
I did pick up some actual trains: a tiny Marklin engine that needs a new contact, and a 80's era tanker car (the box had "A product of Western Germany" on it.)   The one advantage of being a young girl at the train show?  Maja keeps getting free stuff.   She got a bag of street lights and signs and a bag of "Homies" for being smart, polite, and a girl, plus when we picked up some 1950's era backwoods race cars she wanted, that fella through in an extra one. 

Although I failed to spot any Zap-A-Gap at any tables, I did pick up six more O-Scale suburban houses for a buck apiece.   I'm planning on using the polystyrene and converting the two I already have in British Consulate at Samoa, but now I have barely enough to set up a suburban wargames, with gnomes, zombies, or Znombies!

I also picked up a cutting/measuring board, because everyone else with a blog seems to have one, and it was pretty cheap.

 Time was running short, and I needed to drive from Allentown to my Mom's place in Easton to drop off Maja, only to run back to Allentown for my Call of Cthulhu game.

When we last left our "heroes," they had infiltrated some English nobleman's country estate by force and were hiding in the woods trying to observe the reactions of the residents.  I've spent the last month trying to figure out the reactions of the *spoilers*  cultists and their leaders, but I failed to account for one contingency.   Even before everything hit the fan, the seven person group decided to split up in five different directions.  No one, including this Keeper, knows how the scenario ended without a death, but we had three hospitalizations, one case of amnesia, and one investigator who suffered injuries I can not describe in the same post as a lovely morning with my daughter.  Everyone was in high spirits and we're trying to schedule the next session. 

Which, which the party's new found fear of the water and need to go to Cairo, could logically be Horror on the Orient Express.  Bob brought his behemoth of a copy to the game and it is everything the Kickstarter promised and more.  He even used one of the matchbook toothpicks provided to clean his teeth during a break.  We'll need new characters, but it might be nice to retire the shield for awhile and be a player.  First I need to spend this week and figure out what happened on the estate and the implications thereof. 

I picked Maja up from my Mom's, grabbed Wawa hoagie for my wife, and got back home at only a semi-late time.  I feel a lot more relaxed than I did last week and motivated to get something accomplished.

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