Pre-Nuptial Gaming Crazy Dance

This is a crazy week for those in the Stoffel realm. All sorts of goings-on, all centered around the imminent marriage of one current Stoffel to a soon-to-be newly minted Stoffel.

So, in simpler terms, my brother shall be wed on the morrow.

Weddings do have a tendency to take over the day or so leading up to the event, but due to a need to be careful with gas money and time, it feels like my whole week has pivoted on the point of this Thursday evening.

As you can see, my metaphors have suffered right along with everything else.

On the dim side, my abnormal week has made meeting my writing goals difficult at best. Being away from my normal place of residence means that I cannot keep up the habits I am trying to build. (Only when taken away from the habits can I see that they are working to make me more productive. Is that like not knowing what you’ve got until it’s gone?)

On the bright side, the wedding means I get to see family members who I only get to see once in a great while.

My sister is here, and I recently talked her into playing Hearthstone, the Warcraft flavored collectible card game.

I rather like Hearthstone, largely because it plays a lot like Magic: The Gathering. I would play Magic, but it seems a rather expensive hobby to take up, as I have been led to understand that cards go out of legal use regularly enough to keep any player on the edge of his wallet.

Hearthstone may be a simplified version of Magic, but it’s also free. Sure, like just about any free game of this sort, the game is more than happy to take real money to give you some more 1s and 0s to push around. Even so, the in-app purchase stigma is muted by the fact that I never feel like I must make such a purchase. With some patience, special cards can be earned at a decent pace. Also, the standard cards work just fine. A standard ore-made deck,with a little luck and a bit more skill, can take down a fancy schmancy decked-out deck.

Let me return to my point. The card game is especially fun to play against really people, because the AI makes mistakes and tends to act in a rather predictable fashion. You can never quite anticipate what a human player will do, especially since the deck could contain just about any card in the game.

Things get even better when you play against someone you know, and the fun factor reaches maximum fun saturation when that person is in the same room as you.

Poor dear Kristen deigned to duel me during the wedding rehearsal (don’t tell the wedding planner!) and as things stand, she is zero wins, two losses. Those wins would have been inherently satisfying on their own, but getting to watch the realization dawn on her face that I had slipped something past her defenses… It’s hard to match that in online games from across the country.

I am sure that this will eventually turn around and bite me in the ass, but that is even more of the fun of this sort of competitive multiplayer. I play Carcassonne with various arrangements of family members in asynchronous multiplayer, and that is all good and well, but head to head play, even on separate devices, adds to the satisfaction. Even if you lose.

If you are feeling a bit of distance from someone in your life, try finding a good multiplayer game and facing off in a duel. There are plenty of free options available, too many to list. Just about every platform, though, has a multiplayer game for everyone.

Heidi and I recently found quite a lot of fun playing the iOS app version of Lords of Waterdeep against each other. Like I said before, Carcassonne is a common game in my family. I connect with my in-laws by losing to them at Words With Friends. (Seriously. I have no idea how Heidi’s parents got to be so good at Scrabble type games, but I hardly stand a chance. But it’s not about winning! (It’s about pretending like you let them win.))

So, yes. While in those inevitable waiting periods around the time of a wedding, when you don’t know what to do, break out a head-on game and find someone to play. It may lead to some (jokingly)-bitter rivalries, but, hey,that’s a good thing! (Just take my word for it.)

(I actually recently invested in a Kickstarter that has a two-player European style board game that fits in an envelope. Looking forward to trying that out.)

Game on, dear readers. And a hearty congratulations to my brother Stephen and his bride Carmen!

(This post brought to you by sleep-deprivation. Sleep-deprivation: the natural hallucinogen.)

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