In the darkness the trees are full of starlight (henwy) wrote,
In the darkness the trees are full of starlight

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Damn queens ruin everything

So 'today' was the poker and game day at the Stronghold. I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but around 4 times a year Stephen (The Evil One) holds a poker tournament and gameday at his place in somerset. He's got a huge basement setup and there's usually around 50 or so people who show up. I hitched a ride with Matt and Joyce this time around and Randy met us over there.

My history with the poker tournament has been interesting overall. I'm nowhere near a very good player, but I tend to do pretty well in the opening rounds. The very first time I played I made it over the hump and the second I made it to the final table. I would like to be able to say that I improved upon things this time around but I ended up washing out. Ironicly, I'm pretty sure it was the same hand that frakked me in the first tourney that got me this time, a pair of queens. It stuck in my head because I remember Randy was roaming around as I was dealt them, thinking it might thus be lucky, and being disapointed that it wasn't. Well, this time around the same thing happened. Someone caught an Ace on the river and the collasal flushing sound was my chip stack. Add a bad beat on the very next hand and that was pretty much all she wrote.

It's interesting, but the place I always go wrong is with big stack poker. I often have a chip lead or close to it and I never seem to be able to use it effectively. I also seem to lack any ability to bet effectively in general, sort of making it up as I go along. Sometimes I think it might be worthwhile to actually pick up a book and educate myself on the whole process, but upon further reflection it never seems all that worthwhile for 3-4 events a year. Besides, I only lose $20 each time and there's hardly any guarentee that simply betting smarter would make me all that more likely to win.

After washing out, I played a few board and card games, mostly with Matt, Joyce, Eileen and June to start with, and later Pat and Karen (sunfirejade) when they arrived. We ran through a game of Betrayal at House on the Hill where I carried my team to victory (MVP! MVP!). I took my pulsating spear and went around thrusting it at everything in sight. I'm certain everyone was in awe at my prowess. After that it was a game of that red/green sheep word game whose name I can't recall (I just remembered it. Attribute) but Lori isn't allowed to ever play with us again. If you're curious why, take a look at the recap for the last day of this year's dexcon. I ended up pulling out a surprise victory there too.

One of the highlights was a game we tried next called Pow Wow. It reminded me a lot of that card game where you stick a card to your forehead at least in how it looks. Basically, every player wears a headband on which you put a feather with a number on it. The goal is to look at everyone else's card and try to bid on what you think the total number of all the feathers is. There are negative numbers as well as a few special feathers like doublers or ones that make the highest value feather zero. Since you can't see your own feather, you have limited information. You have to either bid a higher number than the person who went previously or challenge the bid if you think the actual total of all the feathers is lower. If you're wrong, either in your bid or in your challenge, you get a buzzard token that you have to stick to the velcro strip of your headband. 4 buzzards and you're out. It seems perfectly made to be a drinking game of some sort and I'm sure we looked pretty ridiculous with the headbands and feathers. I know Eileen snapped a few photos of us during the game.

We also had a chance to runthrough Cutthroat Caverns, one of the games I picked up at Gencon by the Smirk and Dagger guys. I pretty much knew I was going to like this one and I wasn't wrong. It has a good level of interaction and player screwage that I require out of my games. I ended up getting corpsed on the second to last encounter and most of my intrepid adventurers joined me by the end. I'm looking forward to giving it anothergo sometime soon. With the sheer variety of encounter cards, it seems like repetition won't be a problem.

Up to that point, everything at the poker/game day had been perfect pretty much. It had been a lot of fun and other than being a bit tired, everything was going spiffy. That sort of took a u-turn when we ended up playing one last game in which Alex joined us. I dunno. There's just something about the guy and rubs me the wrong way. Everytime I'm around him for more than a few minutes, I have this urge to punch him in the face. Or, as I was telling Joyce in the car ride back home, I sort of get this obsession about sticking a knife in him and seeing if candy falls out. I mean, you never know, right? And dude, free candy.

By the end of the game I was starting to get a bit cranky so it was just as well that Matt and Joyce wanted to get going. The car ride home ended up taking a bit longer than expected due to unplanned exploration of side roads and sometime along the way my tiredness multiplied into dizziness and nausea. That's the way it usually works out for me. If I don't get enough sleep, I get nauseous after a while. Add that to the amount of codeine I was popping to keep the pain under control and it becomes an additive sort of thing. I was able to make it home alright but ended up stagger-puking as I wandered to the front door. Not exactly a spiffy ending to the night, but a nap and shower seems to have put me aright. I'm going to head back to bed right now so that I don't get a repeat of this tommorrow.
Tags: board/card gaming, poker, stronghold

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