Mark Gritter (markgritter) wrote,
Mark Gritter

In Wisconsin, playing games at Christmas

My parents rented a lake house about an hour from Milwaukee for the post-Christmas week, so I get to see a couple of siblings and the small nieces. So instead of our usual Eau Claire - Tomah - Dells - Madison route we broke eastward, cross-country, at Portage. I'd forgotten how odd rural Wisconsin can be--- we passed through one settlement that seemed to consist solely of a hotel and a funeral home. We passed through the Horicon Marsh and Waupun.

I have memories of Waupun I hadn't thought about in quite a while. There is a heavy Christian Reformed presence, so there is a big Christian school. When I was attending a CRC middle school, we would occasionally visit for a "statewide" music festival (I played in the honor band, but can't remember any of the choral performance) and for the basketball tournament. The latter was a two-day event so we stayed with host families overnight, and I recall staying with a farm family.

My brother-in-law says that he has family there, which I hadn't previously known--- so he has attended a fair number of events in the high school gymnasium. Wedding receptions and anniversary parties. And he has a couple uncles who worked in corrections at one of the nearby jails (Waupun has three, plus Fox Lake Correctional Institution is within a short drive.)

The house is nice and the niecelets are (mostly) happy and noisy. Post-Christmas, I appear to be the only member of the family without a tablet device of some sort--- which is fine with me.

I played "Acuity" with Amber and Sarah; it's a reflex and visualization game. Each tile in the set has some combination of 4 symbols. A 6x6 grid of tiles is laid out. Then, one at a time, the remaining tiles are turned over. You need to be the first to locate a matching region of the grid, or a region that can be made to match with one 90 degree tile rotation. It seemed to me that I was only looking for matches where four corners met, sometimes missing matches that were along an edge.

On Sunday, with the other side of the family, we taught Grandma and Rob to play liar's dice. Grandma is pretty savvy, but Rob, alas, is a perpetual doubter. He doesn't yet seem to make the leap to thinking about what other players may have--- and, as a result, if he doesn't see a three under his cup, nobody else can have all that many threes, either. But he lost with good grace.

I also have a new game called Tetris Link. It is a vertical plastic board into tetrominos can be dropped, similar to a Tetris game. Each player has a separate color of piece (5 of each type of tetramino) and rolls a die to determine which piece to drop. Points are scored by creating groups of three or more tetrominoes of your color which are all touching edges. We played several games with 2, 3, and 4 players, and most of them were pretty close. In the multiplayer game, coalitions really dominate play. That and "Tantrix" were both Christmas presents.

My in-laws bought me Skyrim for Christmas, so I will probably be playing quite a bit of that over the next few days. I have also be playing "Jamestown", an indie retro shooter--- but I neglected to bring along some extra mice or keyboards so that we could try to multiplayer modes. (Lily appeared fascinated with all the action on the screen when she plopped herself next to me on the couch.) I have been indulging in the Steam year-end sale so my inventory is rather full of unplayed computer games at the moment--- and I might decide to go for the PopCap complete pack by the 2nd, increasing the backlog.
Tags: games, travel
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