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You guys really call it Mancation? And you just live on beer and board games for days?

I didn't do any gaming for the first 11 days of September.


September 12th was the first day of Mancation 2018 (ManCon V). Childhood friends. A rented house. Good food. Good beer. Good games. Good times.


I picked up Josh at the Scranton airport at 2pm. We immediately attempted to get in on a Sacred Gong Immersion session, but we were there at the wrong time so settled for beer and pizza next door instead.

From gallery of trawlerman

(It's really not that funny.)

Parthe and Yams made it into town around 4p.

To our complete surprise (or maybe not), we found The Games Chateau across from the gong immersion site. At 5p, when the Chateau doors opened, we were there.

From gallery of trawlerman

Okay, so we planned this. A games cafe twenty minutes from the airport? Yeah, we're going to check it out.

We got some good coffee, looked around, then settled in. The table space was right and the coffee was good.

Gaming started with Ticket to Ride: New York. It's light, it's easy, it is what it is. What is it? Ticket to Ride in 15 minutes or less. Which is exactly what I want. I've never hated Ticket to Ride, but I've never enjoyed it all that much either. It always goes on for much longer than a game of its weight should. But 15 minutes? Exactly right for Ticket to Ride. I don't have any interest to play TtR ever again, but I'll never turn down a filler game of TtR:NY.

After TtR:NY, we got to the main event. Root. This was my third play and third time teaching. Teaching Root gets easier each time I do it. I'm at the point now (after four plays) that I'm looking forward to the next time I have to teach it!

Here's the simple script:
Basic Overview...
Cats as entitled industrialists.
Birds as proud aristocrats.
WA as guerrila freedom fighters.
Vagabond as Chaos Lord.
General common rules.
Run through each player board.
As the game is going, I feel confident that I can answer any questions that come up for anyone. Just play. Follow the player boards on your turn and it will all be good.

It's still a lot for new players, but at least I feel confident teaching the game now, which I didn't the first couple of times through.

From gallery of trawlerman

(Root at Game Chateau)

I was the Woodland Alliance. And yes, the WA won. The forest is once again safe for the common animal.

We took a break for a bit and then played Sheriff of Nottingham. I think this was at Parthe's request. It was one of the games off the shelf at the cafe. Since I was the only one who had played it before, I glanced at the rules and then taught the game.

It was fun, but I still just don't care all that much for the game. My complaint is that there's actually too much game to it. If I want to play a bluffing game, I'd rather just play Cockroach Poker or Liar's Dice. I don't want to mess around with types of goods and discard piles and snap pouches.

We picked up Nick at 10pm at the airport, then hit the hotel. Beer and sleep.

Thursday morning, we grabbed some groceries and drove down to the house we had rented. We explored the local area, grabbing the best jerk chicken tacos I've ever had in my life at Zach's Taco Shack. Then some beer flights and whiskey samples at the Barley Creek Brewing Company down the road.

From gallery of trawlerman

(The beer was just okay)

We headed back to the house and spent most of the afternoon playing Kuub in the backyard. Not a board game, but a good lawn game. I approve of any sport that allows you to hold a beer in one hand while you compete with the other.

From gallery of trawlerman

(I suck at Kuub)

At some point we made it back inside for the annual Pickleback traditional shots. We played a few rounds of Meow, which is a game either for children or for childhood friends who haven't grown up. Meow.

From gallery of trawlerman

(It's like it never happened.)

After supper, we played Cosmic Encounter twice. I don't remember how the games played out specifically, but I remember having a great time. I need to play more Cosmic Encounter.

We were going to go hiking on Friday, but the rain wouldn't stop. So we stayed in all day. Some light, stupid gaming in the morning consisting of Yogi and We Didn't Playtest This At All. And we played The Legendary Guys, an over-the-top storytelling game.

Then, a full day of roleplaying. I ran Sailors on the Starless Sea. We took a lot of breaks so I don't know how long we actually played for, but it was off and on all day. They did defeat the Big Bad, but at great cost.

Gameplay looked something like this:

From gallery of trawlerman
(how do you dungeon crawl?)

Saturday was beautiful and we got our hike in, a small portion of the Appalachian Trail near the Delaware Water Gap. The climb up was a great wake-up call reminding me of what terrible shape I am in, that I should stop playing so many games and drinking so many beers and move my body some more instead. So, after that wake-up call, we returned to the cabin and drank lots of beer and sat around playing board games.

From gallery of trawlerman
(we made it to the top)

We returned to the house for some gaming, which meant Kemet and Attack on Titan: Deck-Building Game.

From gallery of trawlerman
From gallery of trawlerman

I did too well at Kemet, which meant that I got ganged up on and was punished for my success. Oh well, it's fun to be the leader target. I lost. And we all lost Attack on Titan. It's one of the few co-ops I enjoy, partly because it captures the theme so well. It's pretty brutal, conveying a sense of despair and desperation. I haven't beaten the game yet. I almost don't want to.

Sunday morning was the end of vacation. Clean-up and getting everyone home. But we had time for one last early morning game. The rental house had a copy of High School Musical Mystery Date. All I'll say about the game is that I won. It wasn't even a competition. The date was mine and the other girls were left sulking. Alright, I'll also say that Yams ordered a copy of the game before the day was over. It's definitely a new annual tradition.

From gallery of trawlerman
From gallery of trawlerman
(Somehow instead of going on my mystery date, I ended up doing the dishes while these two celebrated behind me)

That's it.

Josh left with Yams and Parthe so that he could see his mother and siblings before flying back the next day. I drove Nick up to Scranton. Nick and I met up with my brother-in-law and got in another game of Root at a Mexican restaurant (it turned out to be an awesome place to sit and play a game) while waiting for his late afternoon flight. And then I drove back home myself.

And that was the end of another Mancation. We'll do it again next year.
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