Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Basketball/Train Meet/Game Day is Complete!

I sit here at my computer, sipping on some late night Mountain Dew to offset the exhaustion enough to finish this up at get some sleep.  This has been one of the longest Train Show days ever. 

Usually, the goal of Train Show day is to wake the kids early Sunday morning, grab some breakfast at some diner that hasn't changed its look since the Ford Administration, and venture down to the ATMA Spring Thaw Train Meet in Allentown, PA, followed by me dropping the kids off at my Mom's while I do some gaming in my hometown of Easton. 

Due to scheduling, I agreed to change it to the Saturday this year, but Maja's basketball team made the championship game this year, to be played at 8:30am that morning. 

I was up before the break of dawn to get things ready and pick up a Dunkin' order (I heartily recommend the online ordering!) and sit with 150 people to watch 8 and 9-year old girl duke it out on the high school's hardwood. 

Maja's Hurricanes and her hated archrivals split all their games 2-2.  Unfortunately, their second loss was a 25-21 nailbiter this morning. 

Maja didn't have the phenomenal game she had last week, but while other teammates were wailing and gnashing teeth after the loss, Maja walked over to us with a half-hearted smile, "Oh well, we did the best we could today.  You can't win them all."

Losing doesn't build character, it just showcases the character you already have.  She's already planning mock drafts of eight year olds coming back, and wondering how she can learn about the seven year olds moving up next year. 

With a little more time to spend with relatives and teammates, we got a late start for drive down to Allentown, and thank God for that.  Besides the pea soup fog over the mountains, I forgot that we were going on Saturday, not only the far busier day of the two for the meet, but also competing with parking spots with the Allentown Farmer's Market. 

Once in, the girl's put their names down for the train races, we grabbed our hot dogs, and perused the layouts and a few vendors. 

I no longer need to pick them up to see everything. Bittersweet but my back is appreciative
 They rearranged some of the vendors/displays, including throwing the races to the opposite side of the building.  I couldn't find scenery vendor I had picked up the watermelon patch from years before, and that threw off my shopping list. The kids did well in the races (Millie won her first heat), and our late start, we departed for my Mom's....

..but not without a ViscountEric approved side trek to Steel City Comics in Bethlehem, in the same location that Dreamscape Comics last operated in.  The antique beer cooler is gone (a rusty health hazard), but the store is a beautifully uncluttered lump of clay, that once they get their regular comic orders, should be sculpted into something the comic and gaming community can enjoy. 
Versus the old Dreamscape, I'm appreciative of the clean slate approach.
 With a final stop for cheese fries to stop of meltdown (by my children, not me), the kids got dropped off at my Mom's and I bolted to Nichol's house for some much-needed meditation, dice-chucking, and simple venting about life. 

Nichols and Steve were the only ones who could make it, so we kept it low key, breaking out the tutorial scenarios from Beyond the Gates of Antares, or, as Nichols put it, Bolt Action in Space. 

Steve and I have learned to take every ounce of joy we can find from the precious face-to-face gaming time we had, so while Nichols tried to teach the rules, we may have made a few premature rulings and command decisions to keep the dice rolling and game moving.    Since Rick Priestley (formerly of GW fame) is behind this Warlord Games production, I hate to say that it feels a lot like previous iterations of 40k (chuck a lot of dice, your opponent chucks a bunch in return, remove one figure), plus the figures are so-so faux realistic.  I enjoyed the pinning rules, although my NCO overcame a lot adversary,  just to get shot it the head. 
I called an audible after wards and got Nichols to pull out his old Traveller and we made a session zero by simply creating characters.  Neither had created characters in Traveller before, so the threat of death with each term, plus the party of scum and villainy they created made the session a hoot.  I'll put this on the back burner of other games we can play (Roll20 anyone?)

At that point it was late, I grabbed the kids, some Taco Bell, and forged my way home in the fog.  Mission accomplished.  I'm somewhat relaxed, I don't need to visit my mother for a month, and my kids are asleep. 

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