Friday I packed up a wheeled case full of games and headed to the next town over for the start of KublaCon. I started by grabbing a table and studying the rules for some of the games I had brought, since I hadn't played all of them yet. I didn't do a lot the first day, but I did join in a game of Pandemic: The Cure, and someone was willing to try out Yokohama with me. I also browsed the dealer's room, where they were running demos of Colony, a new game coming out based on the Japanese game Age of Craft (which I own and have been playing as often as possible). Colony re-themes the original game and makes a few rules tweaks to improve the experience. I got the demo guy to give me a rundown of all the differences between Colony and the original.
(I asked if it would be possible to play the game without the attack cards--spoiler alert: it is!--but he was like, "They're pretty much the only way to slow down someone who's in the lead." I told him, "In my groups, if someone is in the lead, we tend to say, 'Yay, good job!'" He seemed befuddled by this notion.)
On Saturday, I went early to stake out a table near where the math trade meetup location would be. However, since it was in the hotel atrium (away from all the "looking for players" flags), I didn't have much luck getting anyone to join me for games. Instead, I played a couple things solitaire, including Clacks: A Discworld Board Game. That was an interesting puzzle game that can be either competitive or cooperative/solo.
At the math trade, I met up with someone who was interested in trying Yokohama, so I made an appointment to meet up with him later in the afternoon and teach it to him. Then I ran into someone I had introduced to Machi Koro back when it first came out (2 years ago), and he told me that his group still loves the game. He invited me to come play at his table. I ended up joining him for a game of 51st State: Master Set. I had never played it before, but it is essentially a re-theme of Imperial Settlers (one of my Top 5 games)...or, rather Imperial Settlers is a popular re-theme of the original 51st State, and the new Master Set is an updated version with tweaks inspired by Imperial Settlers. In any case, even though I had never played before (and the others had), my experience with Imperial Settlers helped a lot, and I wiped the floor with them. I later went on to keep my Yokohama appointment, after which it was getting late and I had to go home.
I got home to find that my neighbors had returned from the hospital with their new baby. They invited me over for a few minutes and let me hold him. (They kept trying to take pictures of the dog and baby together, but the dog didn't want to hold still long enough for them to grab the camera for a good shot.)
Sunday, I went back to the convention early, and I was fortunate to run into a group that I had played with last year. I essentially stayed at the table with them all day long, and we switched back and forth between playing their games and my games. They were excited to get the chance to play some of my Japanese games, particularly Hedgehog's Dilemma. We also tried out Neko Yashiki, which is a game about trying to coax as many cats as possible out of a vacant lot and into your yard, although it took me longer to figure out the rules than it did to play the game.
I thought about going back for some final gaming on Monday, but I had so many tasks piling up at home that I decided I couldn't. Instead, I used the day to get work done around the house, such as sweeping and mopping the floors and giving baths to the dogs. In the afternoon, I put a tent of insect netting up around my cherry tree, in the hope of protecting it against the fruit flies that damaged a lot of the fruit last year...not to mention birds and dogs.
And that's another thing...it turns out that the dogs have been eating all the fruit they can reach in the back yard. I caught Benny stripping unripe apples off of my apple trees, rummaging for berries in my raspberry patch, and reclining under the cherry tree gulping down everything on the lower branches. I caught Rei stealing a strawberry and even nibbling on the corn leaves. Those two are stinkers. I found four ripe currants on one of my plants (new this year)...I don't know whether that was all the plant produced, or if there had been more but the dogs already ate them.
I also found that my sakura tree is trying to survive by sprouting a couple tiny new branches. I'll keep watering it to see whether it will make it through the rest of the year.
The rest of the garden is doing great. The beans are starting to climb up their poles, the squash and tomatoes are starting to produce flowers, and the figs in the front yard are swelling. I've already begun picking rhubarb, and the blackberries are just around the corner. I even have some huge kale plants that I should harvest pretty soon, before they start to bolt in the warm weather.