Hexteria online

It’s been a few months since my first “beta” version of Hexteria was released. And by “released” I mean “printed so I have a copy of my own game”. Since then, I’ve played it many more times with various groups, and even printed larger versions of the hex tiles (which are way better, albeit way more expensive). Now that I’ve kind of exhausted my local group of gaming friends, I need a way to play remotely with others.

Enter Tabletop Simulator, an online gaming engine that basically allows you to upload board game “assets” and sit at a virtual table with other people to play a game. As long as you have the assets for a game– the board, pieces, counters, whatever– you can slide them around on the table as if you were really sitting with someone. I’ve never actually played anything on Tabletop Simulator, but it’s a popular platform and many people recommend it as a way to playtest new games. So I spent this afternoon creating and uploading all the pieces for Hexteria, until I finally had everything sitting on the “table”.

As far as I can tell, it should be possible to jump online with some friends, explain the rules, and move all the pieces around as if we’re playing. I’m excited to see how it goes!

Gramps!

Well, I’m officially a grandpa. Although I usually think of myself as “just over 25”, apparently I’m old enough to have a grandson. He arrived this afternoon.

Everything went well– as well as these kinds of things can go. Pregnancy and birth are always amazing to me because there are so many things that could go wrong, but most of the time it’s all fine. Here are the proud parents:

Alex called us in the evening and we chatted for a bit. He showed us a video of the little guy, who was doing what new babies do best: sleeping.

It’s pretty exciting to add another member to the family, and Pepper and I are excited to head down to visit in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, we’re imagining what Alex is going to look like as he holds a baby… because I don’t think he’s ever held a baby before this. But I know he’ll figure it out, and he and Kaitlyn will make great parents.

A gaming kinda day

Most Saturday mornings involve online board games with the Magnificent Seven. We had a marathon session today, crunching through a full game of Terraforming Mars (about 2.5 hours) and then three games of Sparts (another 2.5 hours). So I didn’t finish until early afternoon. Then I checked in with Kyra, and we played three games of Dominion for an hour.

It’s a lot of fun to combine video chats with board games, and hang out with my friends and my girl for hours and hours. Yay internet!

Nostalgia truck

It all started when I sent this to the Magnificent Seven with a note that said “I’d call this a truckload of nostalgia!”

The conversation went pretty much the way you’d expect a conversation of nerdy 30-years-ago high-school friends to go:

A little patch of snow

It seems like everywhere you go, except maybe Los Angeles and Florida, people joke about the weather by saying things like “If you don’t like the weather, just wait ten minutes. Ha ha!”

Well, today it felt more like “If you don’t like the weather, just drive ten miles!” At home it snowed for a couple hours in the morning. And it was coming down in buckets. Well, technically I guess you measure rainfall in buckets, and not snowfall, but the point is, it was really coming down. We gained five inches or so in about two hours. Impressive.

A little trepidatious about the weather, I got in the car and headed north, where I was planning to play some board games with friends. I needn’t have worried, because by the time I arrived in Bigfork (maybe 10 miles), it was sunny with blue skies and dry roads. I don’t think there had been any snow at all there. I eventually arrived at my friend’s house, another 15 miles or so north, and we played games while the sun shone merrily outside.

But then the snow hit, and it was coming down in buckets at his house. We wrapped up our games and I headed out, windshield wipers flying in the face of a torrent of flakes. The roads were snowy and slick. By the time I arrived at the highway, it wasn’t snowing and the roads were just wet. And by the time I approached our house at the end of my trip, it was sunny with dry roads.

Along the road, I snapped this cool photo that sort of illustrates what I’m talking about. The skies were blue, the sun was shining, but over that one spot in the distance– likely Wildhorse Island– the snow was dumping. Crazy.

Ashes and dust

“I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.”

Jack London

Still a lad

Zaque sent me a little birthday poem just now:

Happy birthday Dad!
You’re the best one I’ve ever had
You make masterpieces on your drawing pad
You’re good at math cuz you can add
You’re way older, but you’re still a lad
There’s only a few times you’ve ever been mad
(But that’s because I did something bad)
And you are pretty rad
And rarely wear plaid
I’ll still beat you in games, but don’t be sad
Because even if we’re 11-0…
I still love you dad.

Ten tons

The snow just keeps falling, and our driveway just keeps getting more buried. In an effort to help the plow crew get up the driveway so they can turn around and go back down to clear it, Pepper and I spent a couple hours this morning shoveling two tracks all the way down to the road. My phone camera didn’t do a very good job showing the tracks, because the light was flat (still snowing) and there just isn’t much contrast. But here’s what it looked like:

After we finished, I felt like doing a bit of math. My shovel has a blade that’s 30 inches across. The driveway is just shy of half a mile long, from garage to mailbox. And the snow was, on average, a little over a foot deep. Multiplying that out, I shoveled around 6,500 cubic feet of snow. Pepper’s shovel is a bit more narrow, giving her a little over 5,000.

How much did that weigh? Of course snow has varying densities, depending on how wet it is, so I used the numbers for “fresh snow” which is basically powder. The estimated weight of 6,500 cubic feet of powdery snow is around 20,000 pounds. That’s ten tons. On the low end. Pepper hauled at least eight tons.

Now, of course, I’m wondering if it was even worth the effort, because so much snow has fallen since this morning that the tracks are filling back in. Luckily we’re warm, safe, and have food, so we’ll just hunker down and enjoy being homebound for a few more days.

The snow is deep, the driveway’s steep

The snow fell all day yesterday and into today, and here we are with nearly two feet in places. It’s pretty, isn’t it?

Well, all that pretty is on our driveway too. And a little while ago we got a call from the snow plowing crew… they can’t get up the hill to plow it. They have 4×4 trucks with chains, and they’re having no luck. And if they can’t make it, you can sure bet we won’t be able to make it.

So here we are, literally trapped at our house. We might be able to make it down (driving really slowly) but we’re not crazy about parking the car at the bottom of the driveway in sub-zero temperatures for a few days, and then hoofing it a half-mile back up the hill to the house.

Ahh, Montana winters!