Monday, August 17, 2015

A Wooly and Wild Weekend

Another weekend, another crazy schedule without gaming.

My buddy Wooly and his wife finally drove from Johnstown with their two pugs to see our house.

Of course, they also brought the first significant heat wave of the Summer, and with my girls generating tons of heat with their enthusiasm, the AC was none too happy being forced to work for once. 

After acclimating our respective dogs, and dropping the kids off at Grandma's off we went for dinner.   Arena Bar & Grill in Wilkes-Barre has had some horrendous service in the past, but I've never had a bad meal there, and their beer selection strives to be top-notch. 

This time, we were blessed by a friendly, knowledgeable, and punctual waitress named Ivy, who helped navigate our out of town friends through the beer menu, ran samples back and forth for them, and got us our food lickety-split.  I can safely say their burgers are above and beyond most restaurants, chain and local, and their actual dinners were enough to feed two.

On the beer front, I finally succumbed to peer pressure and ordered a Not Your Dad's Root Beer.  It is indeed as good as advertised, although the sheer sweetness of it would limit me to two tops.   My wife ordered her own, and we prayed for snow to break the heat wave, since she liked it as well, and we NEVER agree on anything alcoholic.    I also snagged an Ayinger Celebrator, which was a nice German Bock.

Fun fact: Wooly hasn't gamed since he moved out to Johnstown twelve years ago.    He had finally decided to break down an attend a local sci-fi convention in nearby Altoona, to search for gamers.   Most of dinner was him trying to explain the convention by every square inch, which sounded like any local geek fest.  Comics, toys, miscellany, KITT from Knight Rider, the Mystery Machine, and Virgil from the WWF with a swap meet mentality from everyone else, sounds like an acceptable place to dress up in costume.   Gaming on the other hand...

After dinner, we went for ice cream, and it was my turn to explain to Wooly the entire concept which is Kickstarter, including how our mutual friend Steve is in over his head with pledges. 

With time to kill before we needed to pick up the kids, we ventured over to Emerald Vales Games (website is getting upgraded this week, if past 8/24/2015, they're just lazy).   The place was jumping with two role-playing games going on, Infinity, Heroclix, some Magic, and the Bloodbowl League All-Star game going on all at the same time, with only a minor roar of the crowd, and no smell whatsover.  Bravo!  If my nostalgia about prices and figures are skewed, Wooly is a Rip Van Winkle of gaming, walking into the Games Workshop section with some interest and walking out completely aghast. 

Me:  "They want $45.00 for these ten figures."
Wooly:  "But at least they're metal minis..."
Me:  "Nope, all plastic."
Wooly:  *sheer look of terror*

We struck up a conversation with a nice guy who hadn't been born when Wooly and I played our last game of 40k together and departed with no product, and only some regret.  The womenfolk were only slightly scared.

With our wives shnookered up by alcohol and ice cream, we ventured over the bridge to the local adult book store, which I believe was the first group visit to such a place since the infamous Origins '96 drive back from Ohio.     Even with the warning above, I won't go into detail, but, as a gamer, I will say that they had a LOT of different dice, just not the ones I would see at the FLGS.   Also, please be advised that the "Role-Playing" section doesn't include the Complete Paladin's Handbook.

Kids were soon picked up, more alcohol imbibed at home (Troegs Double Bock is a mediocre Bock at best, but the alcohol content floored me).  No games were attempted, alas.

On Sunday, we added our friend Don to the mix, and we hit a local pub for lunch... and more beer.  It was an IPA-palooza blowout and most were good.  Except Magic Hat IPA Grapefruit.  Never add grapefruit to any sort of beer.

By mid-afternoon Wooly was ready to head back out to western PA, and confided in me only one thing, "Next time, we'll have to roll some dice."

Challenge accepted.

Throw in the kids cover in poison ivy and a leaky shower faucet that I can't fix (the recessed nut in the tile wall will not budge with the appropriate shower wrench), it was an exhausting week.   I'm not even getting the discussion of the 10-12 day cruise the wives were organizing for 2017 with five or six cabins worth of people.

I'd rather get us all together again for Cold Wars.

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