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HiveGod's Yell Matrix

Every game tells a story...

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BLAH BLAH BLAH MONOPOLY KA-BLAAAM!!!

Chris Tannhauser
United States
San Diego
California
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Fig. 1 — That infinitesimal moment between the utterance and oblivion.

So we're doing a remodel that will ostensibly contain something like a game room (the architect included a foosball set & pool table in the 3D model, which was a nice surprise as I had no idea I was getting those, too) and we were talking with the cabinet guy about having built-in storage for games, you know, with doors to keep them from getting dusty.

"Yeah," he said, standing in front of a bookshelf of games that were not Monopoly, "and you probably don't want to see 'Monopoly' or whatever while you have guests over."

As a discerning gamer who values meaningful decisions above all else—by God, believe me when I tell you I know exactly how the Pope feels with his beringéd hand resting gently upon the tiller of the Catholic Church entire—the utterance of the M-word made me vibrate up into the petahertz range and rage-detonate into a rapidly expanding cloud of contradictory bone shrapnel and ionized gas that simultaneously peppered him with a leopard-hide of entry and exit wounds while sublimating him into a foamy person-shape, if only for a millisecond, before blowing his constituent atoms through every window in the house, as if it had suddenly been remodeled into a weird "tesseract whale" that breathes hot gas and shards of glass. In other words, every portal a barking blowhole that made the neighbors poop themselves and set off car alarms.

This, this after being told I can't have a urinal "just hanging out on the wall."
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Sat Nov 15, 2014 5:15 pm
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Turtle Head Titles: When Game Names Hang Half-In Half-Out of a Colon

Chris Tannhauser
United States
San Diego
California
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I understand the increasing necessity of such things—as the raw tonnage of crap games gets extruded it becomes harder and harder to find simple titles that have not already been squatted upon by games long gone and forgotten yet ever-present to Web searches.

Still, I find it enormously grating when the effort to craft a pithy title is circumvented by the long, lazy jumble of words poking ponderously out of a colon, drooping toward the bowl, making me turn away lest it break off and splash me in the eye.

Is there really no simpler way to express A Thundering Justice: The Sundering of Amethyst Station Sigma Prime? It leaves me with the same crampy sensation I got waaay back in 1983 when Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn debuted to much 3D head-scratching. ("It's like it's coming right at you!")

I fear things will only get worse as we tumble toward the Singularity—that horribly ineluctable point where the dictionary suddenly becomes a list of trademarked products—with titles metastasizing into outsized sentences complete with semicolons, em-dashes and parentheses; then tumorous paragraphs; and finally bloating into entire tales too ponderous to retell briefly. ("Let's play Loamgasm 832 AD: The Sun Shone Lightly on the Wheat While the Bleating Sheep Preened and—look, it's that game where we're farmers again, okay?")
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Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:00 pm
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A GIANT WAD OF tiny RULES

Chris Tannhauser
United States
San Diego
California
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Arkham Horror, twenty-two plays later:

Fig. 1 — The bus route to Lost Carcosa is... complicated.

After an almost three-year hiatus, we rolled back into Arkham to save the world. This was a five-player game (first red flag), but luckily all of us were haggard veterans of the Unending Struggle, and so knew exactly what we were getting ourselves into.

We folded in The King in Yellow, and found that setup from empty table to first Mythos card was almost an hour (second red flag). With great dismay I remembered that I had totally forgotten this aspect of the game.

As per usual the first 90 minutes were an absolute blast*—and then we hit that massive sag in the middle where the Twinkies and Coke wear off and people keep asking, "Can I do this-and-such?" which forces me to dive into the multiple PDFs on the iFad, pecking forlornly at that awful glass, having long ago given up on the un-cross-referenced paper rulebooks. And then there are the maddeningly faulty memories of each player, where everyone has a unique recollection of just what's allowed:

"Trading ends movement."

"No it doesn't. It costs a movement point."

and

"Can you use clues in combat?"

peck peck peck

"I... dunno."

Luckily we all play RPGs and so are adept at just winging it.

Finally, after four hours, the game narrowed down to a super-exciting choke point where we just might win—but most likely lose—on the flip of a card and a roll of the dice...

Victory was ours, a single doom token away from disaster. It was like being rescued from a mine after a cave-in—despair bloomed into elation and there was a vigorous cycle of high-fives and gamer-boogie.

As we spent the next interval of time packing it up—"Wait, you're still putting that same game away?" asked my wife on her third pass through the room—I was left wondering, was it really worth it?

The arduous setup, the utterly ridiculous number of rules and procedures for what should actually be a pretty simple process—are all these tiny gears really necessary to produce the experience and arrive at the end result?

I mean, seriously, in half the time I could have set up and GMed a rules-light Call of Cthulhu adventure to a similar conclusion—straight out of my ass with no prep.

So, is Arkham worth the effort?

Well... No. And yes.

The "no" part reflects the Rube Goldbergian agglomeration of paragraphs required to make it all go—how many pages of rules now, including the FAQ? A hundred?—putting us truly in the realm of 666 operations to flip a goddamned pancake, something that takes a normal human exactly two. I have never been, and am not now, convinced that the complexity is a requirement to achieve what the game does.

Then there's that middle part, I dunno, two-and-a-half-hours long, where the game holds your head in the toilet as you kick and thrash ineffectually. That bit takes real gamer stamina, let me tell you. I bottomed out in there, believing myself truly done with Arkham, having outgrown it, finding no joy in the dark, wet air gap that tastes of the fruits of human endeavor.

And yet...

What is joy if you know nothing else? Light without dark is meaningless and when we rebounded off the bottom of what the game was doing, got a foot hooked around an ankle and tripped it, stood dripping and kicked it in the head until you couldn't tell which side the face was on, well, that was real catharsis that wouldn't have been possible without that awful middle bit.

So, yeah, it's worth it—but you gotta hike up your britches, lace those boots tight, because it's gonna be a slog...

But the slog's the thing. And it turns out I'm a pig for it.


*The gravedigger starts with three monster trophies, and his random picks were a cultist, a warlock and the high priest. "You don' unnerstan'," he states emphatically, gesturing at the three blood-soaked sleeping bags with feet sticking out of them in the back of his truck, "That one's a warlock, and that one's a high priest!"

The rest of the party begins to back away slowly. There's a soft click as someone disengages a safety.

"And that... third guy?"

The gravedigger shrugs. "Sumbitch got in th' way."
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Sat Jul 5, 2014 7:12 pm
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NOW WE ARE NINE

Chris Tannhauser
United States
San Diego
California
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Fig. 1 — "A badtime story, eh? Well, let's see what we have here..."


My demi-nephew, just recently nine, wanted only two things for his birthday: the Dungeon Crawl Classics rulebook and to play the game alongside all the "bad uncles". You see, RPG game night happens at his house on account of his little sister (we always play at the house with the baby so everyone can attend) and so every week he watches us gather just before bedtime with our books and dice, snacks and cruel humor. A common refrain from his lips: "Why are you laughing? Why is that funny?" And someone gets to think, Jesus, I just said that in front of a child.

With a small bit of relief it turned out I was scheduled to be out of town on the appointed day; they could all play the relatively "clean" version of the game and I would have no 'splainin' to do—not to him, his mother, or society at large. This did not dovetail with his vision for the big day, however, and so it was postponed so I could attend...

Now, there's a story from Chinese mythology (which I dare not recount in front of the boy) of a warrior-monk who maintained his vital life essence by never having sex or even masturbating—ever—and so was able to slaughter with a kind of zen-like grace, seeing between the swinging blades and stinging arrows as the tiger prowls the grass... Until the day he got beheaded and a 30-foot geyser of jizz shot out of his neck-hole.

This, I fear, will be me by the end of the day, only with a gagging surfeit of profanity and the obvious observations that cannot be allowed past the "baby in the bag"* and the seven-second delay. All day long, as our gaggle of peasants are burned and stabbed, whipped by the feet against the rocks like wet laundry, consumed by black magic and the more prosaic maws of hungry things, the very first thing that occurs to me must be shunted aside and actually considered—an assembly line of Schrödinger's cat-boxes torn open and peeped, the raw energy of which must be absorbed by the redlining capacitors of the seven-second delay as the baby in the bag screams and screams...

And so, gorked out of my mind on donuts, coffee, murder and dick jokes I will run out into the street and explode into something that looks for all the world like a 4D rainbow hologram of the boat ride scene from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971).

Tomorrow, tomorrow—wish me luck.



Fig. 2 — LET THE SURREALIST BUKKAKE BEGIN


*Imagine that you have a baby in a bag, somewhere between your mind and your mouth; now, every time you think of something to say, whisper it to the baby first—if the baby cries, the whole process ends there.**


**I cannot claim this concept—I was enlightened by a far wiser, kinder man.
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Sat Mar 29, 2014 7:54 pm
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Carcassonne: Now With 50% Less Hate! (A Tale of Two Box Tops)

Chris Tannhauser
United States
San Diego
California
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Fig. 1 — Though his sword arm itched at the sight of a
foreigner, he could not ignore the rumbly in this tumbly.

A knight, late for lunch, approaches the city gates.

Aw crap, he thinks to himself, who the hell is this swarthy, suspicious-looking guy? I've had my fill of murder this day, with more swordplay than boiled potatoes—I just don't have time to stab him in the tummy. Then again, how many people will die if I let him pass? I... I could always just trample him with my horse—that would handle the issue and get me to my luncheon posthaste!

And so he sets the spurs to his mount.

Years later...

You are waylaid on the road by a thief with a kinked and withered arm. Though he menaces you adroitly with a scimitar held in his left hand, you sense he is amenable to conversation.

"Ah, my arm," he says in reply to your query, "It wasn't always like this. You see, once I was a budding entrepreneur seeking my fortune in trade between the spray of cities that dot our landscape. I only wished to fill my purse with gold like yours—yes, drop it in the dirt just there, I'll pick it up when you've gone. Anyway, all that changed after a chance encounter with a racist knight. He trampled me with his horse and broke my arm. As a simple peasant there were no proper leeches or a split-rat for me, no sir. Just a poultice of pig dung and a boot in the ass on the way out. Of course it healed funny—well, not funny funny, but you know what I mean—and soon no one would do business with me, believing it bad luck on account of my deformity. With no means of support I ended up haunting the woods, hungry, alone, living like an animal, my soul slowly filling with hate. I was on the edge of madness watching your like jingle by on the road every day when I had an epiphany—it was still possible to have that gold, barrels of beer and salt pork, and perhaps the occasional nearsighted barmaid with low morals. And so it is no real mystery that we should find ourselves here, now."

The transaction complete, he bids you to turn your back, where it takes far too many whacks to do you in.


mb



Fig. 2 — There's a joke here somewhere about biological clocks
getting wound by specific clock keys, but I can't find it.

An actual lady, having just come from the Count's quarters, exits the city gates.

Aw crap, she thinks to herself, who the hell is this swarthy, suspicious-looking guy? He's ogling "the girls" and probably wants to ask me out. Of course I'll say "no" in order to play hard to get, which will inflame his passions and make him want me all the more, his frustration boiling over into bad poetry and squire abuse. He'll pursue me through my girlfriends, seeking a chink in the armor—my middle name, my favorite color, hints as to my virtue... or lack thereof. And they will giggle and bat their eyes demurely behind delicately scented hands, as pale and fine as flowers. The turning aside of his sword will lead to grand gestures to get my attention—a flock of baby animals, the roads around my home carpeted in rose petals, being awakened in the night by a troupe of minstrels and bards singing the songs of his heart. And still I will pretend not to notice... until the day he splashes the city walls in high letters that proclaim his ever-burning devotion—and as a result is bound, stripped and whipped by the Count for his un-knightly defacement. Then, and only then, will I come to him, with a bowl of fresh milk, and lift his battered head and bid him drink, drink deeply, completely, and put a brace of babies in my hungry womb. That is the moment where all other women will become nothing more than buzzing gray blobs to him, shrivelling his manhood while making only his gorge rise. And then he will be mine for happily ever after.

And so it came to pass—all of it—the coy embrace of a gaze, the pursuit and dancing away, the heavy wooing, the whipping and the milk—though in the end the knight turned out to be little more than a two-pump chump.
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Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:00 am
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This Totally Shoulda Been a Blog Post

Chris Tannhauser
United States
San Diego
California
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The future is stupid.

Something intersects your consciousness from that other-within, a 4D thorn out of nowhere into the lion's paw of the mind and your first thought is I've got to warn the others! But down which channel to sound the alarm? Twatter? Physiognomybook? My personal blag? It's not that I need eyeballs to eat, but rather to know that the seed has been planted, roughly, into boot-printed telencephalons. Sure, we carry recording devices connected to a global computer network—accessible by everyone—into the bathroom with us to do our business in limelight and raised curtain, but this, this is important!

What is the height of modern frustration? To stand at the shore of Jung's collective unconscious, a hot coal in the fist, beholding the dead, leaden sky and lusterless ripples lapping at the sand while knowing somewhere, somewhere out there The Deep is teeming with community—and having no idea how to get the burning thing from your hand and into the heart of it all...

The scene: Some dread necromancer's crypt, penetrated by a Witch or Wizard of Ages, spells held captive in the mind like curdled spacetime, boiling in a cauldron of raw willpower, ready to be unleashed with nothing more than an alien ur-syllable, a leftover echo of the initial seizure of Creation. Darkness rises on all sides, razors of absence fit to flay; a magic cloak swirls, trinkets of unimaginable power dangle, dragonskin comefuckme boots planted for psychic combat. The demigodly body tenses, a paragon of genetic fitness, the very statuary of predation ready to fall and crush and rend...

And atop it all, center stage, the face that launched a thousand lattes.

"On Earth, I'm nobody, but here, I'm Den."
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Sun Oct 27, 2013 5:48 pm
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BECAUSE I HAD THE COURAGE TO BECOME A TRIPLE-STRENGTH ROCKSTAR...

Chris Tannhauser
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California
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...I was able to send an innocent clone to the gas chamber AND build a motherfucking space elevator. TWICE. And crush a game of 40k and and and essentially win every game I played. So much so that now I'm afraid not to crank my CNS up until I feel like an exploded view of myself. This is other-coherence, this is taking a multi-hour volume of time, space and mind and pressing it flat into a 2-D schematic that even a toddler could grok. It's the 4-space spiderweb of God's Plan defaced with a single squiggly through-line in Sharpie from start to finish. It makes the unknowable laughingly obvious. I'm probably peeling years off the end of my life—a tree chipper coming for me from my future—but I don't care. Right now I'm winning, and winning hard.

The demands of work, general life-stress and old age have conspired to dull my gaming blade, especially when those games happen past nine o'clock, or, in fogey-parlance, bedtime. Green tea wasn't cutting it, and neither were massive infusions of coffee, The Blood of the Black God, to whom I owe my soul and coherence. And still, even the Black God had failed me. It was time to leave the ancient religion behind and start worshipping me some Science.

Fig. 1 — Smells like paint and looks like piss, but baby, after
you pickle your brain in it you can fold space with your mind.

Energy drinks. The phrase itself is powerful enough to give pre-teens a heart attack and the "beverages" are, by the legal admission of their manufacturers, not actually meant for human consumption. But which one? There were teeny-tiny bottles like a Victorian paedophile might implore you to quaff, as well as giant cans that were no doubt designed to feel like a porno-penis in your fist. In the end I was drawn to the one that was not only oversized, but had a cap like you might find on paint thinner or pipe-welding dope.

This was an industrial brain-boost, the kind a cyberpunk antihero would feel angst about drinking, constantly, as he-she slid inexorably downward into the gnashing maw of The System. No baby steps for me—I was desperate enough to go straight for The End.

I uncorked it in the car on my way to game night and had to pull over to double-check that I hadn't accidentally picked up drain cleaner and was about to unleash scrubbing bubbles on my liver. No, the label said you were supposed to "drink" it, just not frequently, nor all of it in one sitting and never if you were actually alive and blah blah blah all over the can like the asylum scrawl of a schizophrenic lawyer. I took a sip and instantly regretted it. The stuff was vile, like a junior-high chemistry class dare, and we all know how that ended up. Still, I thought, did Alice waver beyond the looking glass? Or all those brave rabbits I'll talk about later? They did not. They gutted it out and gulped to slake not thirst but ignorance; ignorance that would flop messily into dread realization, the kind that used to come only from snake-crazed women but is now available in a space-age can. I gulped it down like Adam must have, downloading all the other sex positions out of that apple and into his genetic code—ATM, DVDA, TGOC, etc., etc.

So I drank and the world exploded.

Fast forward, High Frontier.

High Frontier can be visualized as a game where we're all going for a majorette's baton, hurled high and spinning like that bone in 2001: A Space Odyssey. We scrap and claw and climb on each others' backs in a kinetic scrum to lay hands on it, catch it before it hits the ground and come up swinging to beat the others back. What you don't know—until it's too late—is that one end of the baton has been dipped in shit. Sometimes you grab it in glory only to find your fist slick with feces, power-squeezed from between your fingers, all your efforts congealed into a moment of awfulness that slips away as someone else seizes the clean end and sets to swinging. Usually, though, I just catch the shit-end in the face.

But this time I have left my body and inhabit the board, the pieces, the very moves of the other players. Their turns are the ticking of an analog clock, obvious when laid bare, each move dovetailing as it must with the next in sequence. Like the teeth of a cog I can see what's next, and what will follow after that, and so on until I'm bored like God must be. To alleviate my omniscient ennui, I build the space elevator. Everyone but me gasps, as it's never been done before.

I'm jacked and speaking in blurs. "Doyouwanttorideonthespaceelevator?"

"Wha-a-at?" somebody says way too slowly.

"Do. You. Want to ride on the space elevator?" I drawl.

One of my opponents makes a face. "No."

"But it's really cool."

"I'm sure it is, but I don't need it."

"I won't charge you anything—it's free—that's how cool it is."

"No, really, I'm good."

Then the sun goes nuts and a coronal mass ejection blows out two missions, one a robotic hulk drifting near Saturn, the other a terrified UN crew over Jupiter. For once, I'm not on the red-button-mashing end of the emergency. The UN begrudgingly uses the space elevator to launch a rescue mission—something I'm not ever going to let anyone forget.

"I built it, you used it, god I think I'm going to go piss liquified liver," I gush, exultant.

Fast forward, Android.

In Android you're like Han Solo in Blade Runner, except that you're too lazy, crazy, angry, drunk or stupid to care enough to handle a proper investigation, instead spending most of your time poking your major malfunction while making up shit to keep your boss and the legal system off your back. In the future, it's the results that matter, not how you got there. Android: The world didn't change, and so did crime.

Someone got themselves murdered, and though Occam would say it was autoerotic asphyxiation gone wrong, we were, as a group of feckless sleuths, expected to deliver a patsy into the loving arms of endless death row appeals.

Who should it be? I personally like convicting sexbots or clones, since they aren't really people after all, and once the jury hands down the verdict you can just shoot the sexbot in the head with a big magnet or do clone-removal with a head-sized plastic bag and some duct tape. Justice is done before we're all finished giving each other high-fives and chest-bumps.

Speaking of clones, if there were a mushroom that dreamt it was a man you'd send it to work inside a nuclear reactor and then smother it with a pillow when it came out all peely with radiation burns and gripes about "human rights" and other dreaming-mushroom nonsense. And that's exactly what I did.

I doodled a conspiracy on the back of the cocktail napkin I kept seeing at the bar I apparently lived in, then leaked it to the press so it became the dominant narrative. And though the game lacks mechanisms for it, I imagine I also blew up a car and kidnapped at least one baby, since those are the kinds of things that would make me lie on the holo-stand. In the end I had an embarrassingly large score, big enough that I had time to partially disrobe and dance pantsless while adding it all up.

Fast forward, pretty much every game I've played as a Triple-Strength Rockstar.

I would like to boast that it was by my own indomitable will that I tore the scarlet L from my frock and cast it at the feet of my foes; but instead I must admit I owe it all to Swiss chemists who treasure cash over myocardial infarctions, and however many rabbits it took to work out the LD50 of this faith-hating, brain-blasting cocktail.

And now, like a rubber band on the wrist of a bombardier or a dented coin in a gunfighter's vest pocket I fear I cannot game without it; and though I can see through time in short bursts I also fear for an ultimate, enshrouded future where the price of such things must be paid, suddenly and in full. An end I fly toward even now, having convinced myself that falling is but a kind of flying, the trajectory of which I shall occupy while thoroughly cranked, unbeatable in games and filthy with weird molecules.
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Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:19 am
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The world of Dominion is a horrible place.

Chris Tannhauser
United States
San Diego
California
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Please excuse my ignorance, but I am new here and foreign to your ways...

Having just started playing Dominion (I know, I know—so late to the party the beautiful people have all waltzed off to spray their gorgeous DNA at each other, leaving me alone with a ravaged buffet table and the chronically unfuckable) I found my initial ardor flagging at the lack of a narrative layer in the game. I mean, it's a pretty mechanical exercise. Grind a bunch of actions to get a new cog for the machine, shuffle and repeat until someone other than you wins.

My three favorites so far, out of a boxer's fog of beatdowns:

Me with 59, all excited as it's the most I've ever seen in a game—as Anna mumbles something about 70-some-odd...

Me treating myself to Provinces like they're my ancestral homelands freed from the grasp of filthy squatters—as Maya Girl beats me by a single point—in her second game...

And glory of glories, where my score of FOUR takes the win. Don't ask.

But from a storytelling point of view, this game blows.

So we're playing and Maya Girl Militias and I pitch two Estates (yawn) when, like a seizure, I see it:
 


Waking as my servants scurry and throw wide the heavy curtains of my bedchambers, the morning sun cutting through dreams of empire and fawning masses hurling rose petals at my train of 13 white chargers, stamping and snorting as they haul my solid-gold thronemobile through the mud-holey streets of some random burgh. Sleepily, I grope for my peasant-swatting stick and find instead my bed warmer—whom I order out—and rising, I slip into a not-sumptuous-enough robe held aloft by too few valets. I slap at their hands as they attempt to tie the sash, preferring instead to wander toward the French doors with my robe hanging open—having prima nocta'd everyone in the room it's not like they haven't seen it before.

I step out onto my insufficient veranda, into the cool morning air and skin-warm sun and behold the glory of—


—some asshole taking a sword to my dancing hippo topiary.

"The Lady Maya Girl sends 'er regards," he shouts matter-of-factly and then gets back to hacking at it.

Apoplectic, choking on impotent fury, I watch, dumb and gurgling, as his microcephalic accomplice, pants-less, takes a gassy dump in the koi pond. Seriously,
who does that?

With painful clarity I see now why everyone was blathering on at the last masquerade about how it's all moats this year, moats are the in thing, anyone without a moat might as well hold elections to stay in power.

The Royal Architect will be waking to a whipping this fine morning, a whipping that he'll send down the line to the bechiggered primates that dwell in the smoke-hazed hamlet just beyond the trees. And they will dig for their lives. They will divert their water supply into the broad, muddy ditch around my every estate so that the next time those two inbred pigstickers dare to wander into my private gardens the bald one will be floating face down as the helmeted one bawls miserably at the edge.

This. I. Swear.
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Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:43 pm
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The Dreaded Cold Streak

Chris Tannhauser
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After coming off a hot streak of back-to-back wins in High Frontier in which I dropped much pain from Highly Eccentric Orbits and then a Race for the Galaxy drubbing that was embarrassing to witness—nearly doubling everyone else's score—I wake in the gutter, one eye swollen shut, a halo of dark blood and brighter teeth ringing my head. I take a breath and gasp at the pain of broken ribs, entering a coughing fit that whites out the vision in my good eye. Damn this hobby. Damn it to hell.

How did I get here? My "friends" began to grok High Frontier, or at least one "friend" in particular. Now he's on the back-to-back win streak and all I got was dead crew orbiting Comet Encke and a gaggle of mutely emaciated Cosmonauts outposted in not so much a Mars "Base" as a broken-down Winnebago whose naugahyde seats are coated in grime and assorted biofilms. I can only imagine they committed suicide after watching the second relief mission light up the night sky with a fireworks display of incandescent food, porn and cigarettes. Perhaps Alexiy popped his helmet seals right then and there, unable to stomach the idea of another two years of eating hydrolyzed feces. What will History say about the arrangement of mummies in the front yard, with its careful pathways of rock and plastic flamingo? Did Vladi run? And what was Sasha doing with a gun in space? Shooting Vladi through the mission patch by the looks of it. Will future historians mention the stench in the hab? Probably not, so we're left to think on it here. As you can see, this stuff bothers me a great deal.

Then last night it was two games of Pandemic, a co-op, sure, but I can't help but think I let us all down. I just couldn't torch that entire village. Couldn't do it. I cried on the evac helo all the way to Greenland. Twice.

And Tichu. Normally a larf, smack-talkin', card-tossin' good times. Only this time the wives were sandbagging, claiming they had nothing even remotely resembling a Tichu, feigning confusion and hopelessness to rope us in until one of them does, indeed, go out first, exclaiming with mock surprise, "Well, look at that!" Final score 985 to -280.* It was a tap on the shoulder, a beer bottle across the brainpan, legs kicked out from underneath and the kiss of Mother Earth as the Tooth Fairy licks her lips. Then it's boots, and dragging, and more boots until a panicked darkness claims you.

This morning I thought I'd treat the wife to some Ticket to Ride—that's always nice, and, really, what could go wrong? The coffee's hot and so is she in her flannel jammies. Which is nice. I nearly lapped her on the board, and as we were rounding into the final stretch I thought about how best to couch the apology for the wicked beating even as Ash and Admiral Ackbar were screaming at me silently from behind the interface with the Phantom Zone, mouthing the words we all know—

She laid out her tickets and spun the table to get her bit to go around enough times to encompass her enormous score.

And so here I lie, as repellent to polite society as I am attractive to stray dogs, resolved to bring Candy Land to Easter dinner and give the nieces hell.


*We play to a delta of 1000 instead of 1000 proper to keep epic beats as short as possible. Not that it made a difference here.
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Sun Apr 24, 2011 9:19 pm
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