Boston so far

Some assorted notes on my Boston trip so far:

I seem to have neglected to mention here that I'm in Boston. Hi, Boston!

Arrived late Saturday night. Sunday, spent the morning and early afternoon finishing up some day-job stuff that I should've done on Friday. Well, really I should've done it a couple weeks ago. I normally try not to work during vacation (ever since the time when SGI laid me off just short of my sabbatical, and refused to count the days that I had worked during a vacation), but in this case it was stuff that I was late on, and the lack of which would've caused problems for colleagues.

Sunday afternoon and evening, attended a lovely roundsing. About a dozen adults, half a dozen infants and toddlers, many fine rounds. Then a group dinner and chatting/hanging out. A very nice welcome to Boston. Thanks to Chaos for hosting!

Monday, spent much of the day hanging out with Otavia, then had dinner with David VS.

Tuesday, managed to fritter away the morning on this and that. Eventually took the T to meet Bhadrika, who gave me a ride to meet Diana. Hung out with various configurations of them and their families for the rest of the evening.

I brought Tsuro to Boston with me, because it is reasonably fun, doesn't take much brain, allows up to eight players, doesn't take long to play, and can be played even by very casual gamers with about two minutes of introduction. Also because when I take the pieces and board out of the box, it's very compact and fits easily in luggage. Also because it's fun to make silly sounds as you move the pieces around. The decision to bring it has paid off; we've already played several times since I've been here, and it seems to be a better choice for light/quick game to socialize over than some of the heavier-duty games that I might prefer in some other circumstances.

I've had a couple of opportunities so far for longish walks around the area. The air is crisp and cool (or sometimes rather warm); many of the leaves are still turning; the ponds and lakes are beautiful. The public transit system is largely useful. I don't love the Boston area, and I wouldn't want to live here, but it is very nice to visit now and then. Most especially because I do not see my friends here nearly often enough. My last visit was two years ago; that's too long. It's great to see people; I only wish it were easier to do so more often.

I'm attempting to take some social downtime for myself amid the mad social whirl. I'll probably spend most of today and tomorrow doing some combination of magazine database stuff, writing fiction, writing SWAPA, blogging, reading Digger and/or Seraphina, etc.

Later in the week: more socializing!

3 Responses to “Boston so far”

  1. danima

    Oh! You’ve played Tsuro! I need to ask you more about that. It looks beautiful, of course, and I’m thinking of it for a family game, but I worry that having to choose where to place your pawns before play starts is too opaque of a decision, especially for a kid.

    Would it work to just assign evenly-spaced starting spots, or to let players place their pawns instead of a tile as a regular game move?

    • Jed

      In my experience, as long as you don’t start too close to another player or to a corner, it doesn’t matter a whole lot where you start.

      Probably a Serious Game Player could do all sorts of minimaxing to determine exactly where to place their pawn based on where everyone else has placed theirs. But if you’re playing it as a fun casual game with friends rather than as a vicious cutthroat game of screwing people over, then following my strategy of “put your pawn somewhere around the middle of one side of the board” works quite well.

      I should note, though, that my experience has been that it’s not necessarily a fun game for kids. For example, I once made a 7-year-old cry (I should note that she didn’t have much gaming experience) by running her off the board, even though I had no other options. An 8-year-old who did have a lot of game experience decided to start out right next to another kid player, who immediately ran him off the board, causing all sorts of fuss and distress all around. Then again, on Tuesday an 8-and-a-half-year-old who hates games ended up playing it and loving it.

      Anyway, I kind of suspect that for most kids under age 7 or so, the game might need some modification to result in Maximum Fun Quotient. Emphasizing the sound effects while traveling along a path seems to help; maybe also emphasizing the neat twisty paths (which is really what I like about the game) over the win/lose aspects.

      Also, do not under any circumstances allow any adult player to spend more than about a minute choosing a move. (I recommend taking this approach even when there are no kids playing.) Adults often way overthink this game, being careful to map out each and every possibility before playing, and that too tends to reduce MFQ, at least for me. Imo this game is best thought of as a fun and brief diversion, rather than a Serious Competitive Game That Must Be Won At All Costs.

  2. Jed

    PS: When I get back home, I could come up for a visit and bring the game, and we could try it out and see how y’all like it. But I’m likely to forget—I don’t have much brain at the moment—so remind me.


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