May 5th, 2003


All Game Weekend Recap - Pt. I

Friday was a particularly trying day at work. Not only is Friday my busiest work day of the week, but it was a gorgeous day and the eve, if you will, of the All Game Weekend. The good thing was that Friday is Greasy Breakfast day, so that certainly helped things shuffle along a bit. I had been planning on getting a nap in before the trip up to PA, but I knew I was too damned wired to shut my eyes. At 8pm, after an hour or so of Bounce Out and an episode of Batman, we got the call from Gamer saying it was time to leave. Mickey were out and on the BW Parkway within minutes. The plan was to rondevous at a Target in a shopping center just north of Baltimore in order to get our walkie-talkie from Gamer, Jenn (his wife), and Turkey (her brother), to facilitate caravaning to the Niners' house. Mickey and I got to the exit about 15 minutes before Gamer and his car, but due to the state of Maryland's lack of faith in signage, paired with the locals' complete inability to give directions, they managed to beat us to the store. Snacks were purchased, and then we were going to hit a McDonalds before we got back on the road. The walkie-talkies are quite effective for cheap walkie-talkies, as evidenced by both of us standing in front of a McDonalds, talking to each other, and trying to find out why we couldn't see each other from the front door.

Not long after we got back onto 95, we were out of walkie-talkie range. Gamer has an EZ Pass, so Mickey and I assumed that the toll booth would even us back out. It didn't. I called Gamer on his cell phone to find out that they spent a bit of time on 95 south before righting themselves and were a good 10 miles behind us. Mickey and I pulled onto the first exit we saw in the hopes of finding somewhere to wait for them. While that exit did not have any evident gas stations or fast food joints, it was the home to something we didn't expect to find: Delaware Park Racetrack and Slots. Many of you have heard about how Mick and I have the uncanny ability to find places to gamble even when we are not on trips with the intent of gambling, nor are we aware that gambling is available where we are. As we searched the parking lot in the hopes of being able to pull a few slots while we waited for Gamer and co. to catch up, we got the call that they were an exit behind us and had to get back on the road. And no, they didn't feel like visiting the Slot House on the way.

The rest of the ride up was mostly uneventful. We arrived at the Niner's house at around 12:30, shot the shit, drank some beer, and got ourselves in the spirit of the weekend with a game of Settlers of Catan. By 4am, we were in bed.

I stumbled downstairs at around 10:00 and watched a little bit of Baby Beethoven with Niner and Jennlynn's progeny, Owen. You may know him as the O-Winner. Word had it that Keg, Liza, and Breen, on their way from New York, were bringing a few dozen real bagels with them, and were to be arriving around 11. The Robinsons, who were supposed to be showing up at noon, called at around 10:30 saying they just woke up. Local Philadelphia-area participants who were also expected by the 12 noon start time were late, but the rest of us refused to be delayed. The keg was tapped at 12:15, score sheets were handed out, and the festivities began.

We held off on the board game tournaments until more players arrived, but the video game tournaments were in full swing. Scores were divided by 1000 or 100, depending on the game, each game could be played twice, and the combined max point totals for each game were around 125 points. Players received 100 participation points, and the total of their two game's points (to a max of 125) for each video game. I sat down to Hogan's Alley for my first game and scored an impressive 65.5 points, only needing 59.5 in my second game to max out. Gamer recommended that I play it soon while I was in the zone and before I had had too much to drink. I exceeded my necessary points with a 73-point second round, sealed off Hogan's Alley, and was feeling good about my chances for the weekend.

There was a change in the Beer Points scoring. It was determined that 50/100 points was too much for social beers, seeing as video game particpation points were only 100 apeice, so theoretically, someone could even out non-participation in a video game with two beers. Beer points were reduced to 25 for men and 33 for women, so as to discourage players from depending too much on social beers. After finishing Hogan's Alley, I had accrued 231 beer points.

By 3:00, the 14 people necessary to hold the board game tournaments had arrived. There were five player slots available for Trivial Persuit, five for Monopoly, and four for Lord of the Rings Risk. Names were drawn out of a hat to determine the order in which each player got to choose the game they wanted to play. I hoped for a nice middle slot, as I was torn between playing TP or Risk, and wanted to see who was playing where before I chose my game. Of course, I had to pick second. There was *one* person who was making me doubt wanting to play Risk: Chris Robinson. Not because he's so good at the game, per se, but because Chris Robinson's gameplaying style has expanded the local vernacular to include a new verb: to robinson

rob•in•son v. 1. to spend an excessively long time during one's turn during gameplay. 2. to delay a game by proposing preposterous moves or otherwise redundant situations "Nobody has any wheat to trade at all? How about if I offer two bricks? Okay, three? Anyone willing to trade for three?"

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