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austin_dern

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Dec. 27th, 2012

We had a happy Christmas, and I hope you did too. We spent the day partly at our house and the evening at [livejournal.com profile] bunny_hugger's parents, with them and with her brother. That makes for a full and wonderful time although I'd like to talk about a little slice of it right here.

[livejournal.com profile] bunny_hugger got last year (from her brother) a present she's barely been able to use. It's a Betrayal at the House on the Hill, one of those card-and-token board games that fill up the gaming room at conventions and which seem so baffling to outsiders. She'd been entranced by it, in which your party of explorers wander around a card-generated haunted house until the omens pile up and a haunting begins --- and suddenly the game shifts, as one of the players becomes the villain and the rest the heroes, and the objective becomes one of defeating the supernatural horrors unleashed within the house. Unfortunately the game needs at least three players, so [livejournal.com profile] bunny_hugger and I can't do it ourselves, and it preferably needs more. She and I and her parents would be an adequate set, except her father refuses to play it after his first attempt last Christmas --- he thinks it's too complicated for him to learn; while it is complicated, and we kept learning how we'd misunderstood rules, it isn't --- and her mother isn't really up on this sort of game.

But we were able to get two games in, in-between stumbling over just what the heck the rules do mean and how they're supposed to apply in this case. In the first game [livejournal.com profile] bunny_hugger's character managed to die before the betrayal part even got started (which isn't how the rules were supposed to work, we learned later on), so she took up a advisory role for her mother. That time around we managed to defeat the horrors, thanks to a number of lucky dice rolls on my part as well as some confused putterings around the rules. (``So, the card says I can move any explorer one room ... does the corpse of this explorer count as one?'') It wasn't a clean win --- in the movie, and the scenarios are all set up to vaguely remind one of horror movies, this would be one where the last hero staggers out, bloody and grimy, into the dawn, and gasps relieved breaths as the final scene --- but it was a win for the non-evil side.

The second game managed to be more confusing as it had a secret traitor, the kind where only the player (me) knows he's the evil force. This produced all sorts of subsidiary rules-confusion issues, although once again the forces of good won out. That was also just barely, but I tipped my hand when I avoided going into one particular room that, were I not playing the traitor, I should want to go in, because I misunderstood a rule about a horror in place there. I'd tried to explain a non-traitorous rationale for that, but the character it happened made so much logical sense to be the traitor that the fact the traitor was a randomly assigned trait didn't matter any. This would be the case where as soon as the audience knew what the real menace was, they'd know who the only logical villain was. Well, the forces of good won out again, at least, but it was another close-run thing, and we got to a happy ending.

. . . ?

Trivia: The bride from Manhattan to Queens over Blackwell's Island (now Roosevelt Island) was proposed in 1838, and authorized in 1867; it was seriously organized and then reorganized in 1872 and the late 1870s, contracted for in 1895, and finally built and opened to traffic in June 1909. Source: Engineers Of Dreams: Great Bridge Builders And The Spanning Of America, Henry Petroski.

Currently Reading: Level Playing Fields: How The Groundskeeping Murphy Brothers Shaped Baseball, Peter Morris.

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