Gloom, brownies, Backgammon, and geocaching

What a week it’s been!

Last Wednesday Evelyn and I went to game night at the Compleat Strategist. Emily decided that if she bought a game, we would play it. So she decided to buy and teach us Gloom. The theme of the game is straight out of the Addams family, with victorian art in the style of Edward Gorey. The object of the game was to have all of your misfit family members suffer as cruel a life as possible, and then have them die tragic deaths; the winner has the lowest score at the end of the game. In terms of game mechanics, the transluscent cards worked well, but the print quality (doubts about which prevented me from buying it myself) was mixed. Some cards appeared clear and crisp, while others looked worn or smudged. Further, the text is small, and is difficult to read even from across the table. The four of us had fun with the game, and the humor was amusing enough to keep our interest. I hope that repeat playings will help the more subtle elements shine through.

On Thursday night, we made another loaf of herb oat bread, and tried some two-player variations of Fishing for Terrorists. My idea of just drawing a card at random from the opponent’s hand worked okay, but Evelyn suggested simply revealing a random card, where the active player could use that card for his or her turn as if it were in his or her hand. Unlike the previous loaf, this loaf of bread didn’t even make it through the night.

Friday found as playing Blam!, which I enjoyed but left Evelyn scratching her head. We filled our bellies with fresh brownies made from a recipe my Mom sent; they were rich and chocolatey. Unlike most brownie recipes, this one called for actual chocolate rather than cocoa powder. Interestingly enough it didn’t need baking powder either, just baking soda.

On Saturday we went to see the Asian Games exhibit at the Smithsonian. The games of antiquity were surprisingly recognizable, namely Go, Chess, Pachisi, and Backgammon. There was an interesting section on playing cards. A set of Chinese cards were very narrow, and had a stark and modern Art Deco appearance, as if they were made in the 1920s. The cards from India were round and had up to sixteen suits, making for tall decks to shuffle! It got me to thinking…what board games if any *did* come out of Europe instead of Asia? Was the Church that strong of an influence to stifle friendly competition, or was war and illiteracy to blame?

I was delighted to see that game tables were set up for visitors to play with. Although my second attempt to teach Go to Evelyn failed (probably for the same reasons as Blam!), she loved Backgammon. We played six games of it in the next 24 hours. She remains undefeated within the Smithsonian!

On our way out of the Smithsonian we got drenched with rain, and we made a mad dash to the Metro station. We got back and made matzah ball chicken soup, which tasted wonderful after a long day at the museum, and peacefully ushered in Passover 5765 (that’s 2005 A.D. for the rest of us).

On Sunday, Evelyn and I decided to go geocaching together on her way out of town. We drove seperately, with my car leading the way to the Ossio Bucco cache. This one proved to be simple and straightforward, the only challenge coming from the chilling breeze. After helping Evelyn to the beltway, I tackled the Koz Klimber cache myself. That one took adrenaline!

I have lots of things I need to do for next week. I’m due for another haircut, as I’m brushing it away from my ears and forehead. The ring should be ready from the jeweler today, which I will check up on later. I need to look into ordering a roof rack for my car so I can fit my kayak on top, and I need a place to store it too. I also need to upload more caches onto my GPS, and Evelyn’s sending me another Passover recipe to try. I’m fresh out of beans today, so I’ll make another pot tonight.

Whew, what a week it’s been! Stay tuned!

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