6:47 pm, Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

Hey, I’m twenty-five now! It’s nothing special. I’m looking forward to the reduced auto insurance rates though.

So we didn’t get around to boating this weekend — it rained rather unexpectedly Sunday and Monday (and the temperature dropped to ~75°F). But we did a lot of boardgaming over at Adventures Underground. On Saturday Jones, Logan, Heather, Brett, and I got together at AU and played Carcassonne (I won via superior farm strategery). Then I bought some train boardgames (Ticket to Ride and Empire Builder; I couldn’t decide between the two, so I got both) and we tried out the former. Ticket to Ride is incredibly fun — almost as good as Settlers of Catan.

5-player Ticket to Ride game    5-player TTR board    Logan and Ryan

Carcassonne board at AU

(Top row, left to right: Jones, Logan, Brett, and Heather (partially visible) playing TTR; the end-of-game TTR board; Logan and part of Jones’s head. Bottom row: Our Carcassonne map halfway through end-game scoring.)

Ticket to Ride is really easy to learn — it’s probably on about the same level as Cowpoker or Alhambra in that sense. Basically, you collect train cards which can be used to claim routes of the same color and length (e.g. Helena–Omaha can be bought by turning in five red cards or four red cards and a wild card, etc.). Your route purchases are usually influenced by your destination cards, which require you to link two cities (though the path can be as circuitous you like). You get points for routes (the longer, the better), completed destinations, and having the longest continuous track; you lose points for incomplete destinations. The whole things plays very quickly once everyone’s familiarized themselves with the board.

Of course, we were mostly just killing time till the store closed and we could go see Superbad. But TTR was so fun we pushed things back so we could catch the last showing. The movie was surprisingly good. I honestly expected it to be a shoddy American Pie ripoff. “This’ll be the one where Judd Apatow and the next-gen-frat-packers really sell out,” I thought. I was completely wrong — it was fantastic. Not as good as Knocked Up, but better than The 40 Year-Old Virgin (and probably funnier than either). Aside from ten minutes of drunken dialogue/slapstick, it was hilarious throughout. (Are drunken/stoned people’s antics really funny to anyone? They only annoy me.) The previews really don’t do it justice. And I love that they didn’t shoehorn any messages or superfluous home life scenes into the film. Also, it turned me around on Jonah Hill (née Feldstein); he’s not always as obnoxious as I’d figured him to be.

On Sunday we were back at Adventures Underground sans Heather (I think she was working or something). This time Robert joined us for some more TTR and our first game of Empire Builder (which Logan was knowledgeable about, having played it extensively some years ago). None of us were particularly thrilled with our intial foray into this Mayfair Games product, but I think subsequent sessions could change some minds. When you first open the box it seems overly complicated. (Maybe it doesn’t need quite so many tradable resources…) But I love the way you build your routes by drawing them. Might be worth it to swap the board for some 17×24″ photocopies and markers though; the crayons don’t show up quite as well as I’d like. A larger re-creation with plywood, finishing nails, and colored yarn would be better still. Anyway, I think it has potential.

Empire Builder board    Robert et al. cleaning up

After the game, Logan, Jones, Heather, and I went to Logan’s place in West Richland to watch Return of the Living Dead (after dropping off Robert in Richland and running over to Pasco so I could take care of my parents’ animals and drop off Brett). This movie was also better than I expected. Not as good as Romero’s Dead series (and remakes) or Shaun, but very watchable. Definitely better than Fulci’s Zombie, Dead Alive, and Cemetery Man. Maybe not quite as good as Evil Dead, but very close IMO.

So yadda, yadda, got back to Pullman late Monday night. For my birthday, my sister got me a bunch of scifi DVDs I’d had my eye on (π, Primer, Stargate SG-1 season 10) and Brett got me a Top Chef apron and Alton Brown’s seminal manual, I’m Just Here for the Food: Version 2.0. Here I am modeling the latter two:

New apron and AB cookbook

(Image cropped to occlude my shaggy hair and state of unshaven-ness.)

Hey, BTW, didja know Suprnova’s back? The Pirate Bay owners are running it now.

5 Responses to “#894”

  1. Krunk:

    Ticket To Ride is awesome. They also have variants of the game where the setting isn’t in USA, but Europe and other places. I also think some of the rules are actually changed.

  2. Jones:

    Man take a look at that mag-frieekin-nificent stretch of black rails. Coast to coast baby, that’s how Mr. Jones does the train game. Needless to say I dominated bolth times we played ticket to ride, the second victory wase even the more sweet seeing as how I never set track past the mid-west. That other game was teh suck, empire builder my eye!!!!!

  3. Peter:

    Welcome to being 25 years old (I was there a month ago).

    Now we can go rent cars on our own! :P

  4. hjo3:

    Re: Krunk: Yeah, I saw the German one at Adventures Underground — the rules must be different cuz I saw it includes pieces the US one doesn’t have, like a little man-with-suitcases figure and numbered discs. Hey, we should play online sometime.

    Re: Jones: Psh, I’ve been practicing with the online game (you get a serial number with the board game that gives you access) — my TTR skillz will be l33t the next time our paths cross.

    Re: Peter: Haha, just a few days ago I’d suddenly started thinking you were like 40 because you mentioned your dad’s 70th birthday! It’s weird to have these assumptions shattered one right after the other. :)

  5. JediBear:

    For the record, I’m *still* one year older than you.

    And I always will be.