Julie and I have arrived at our rental home in Garrison, NY to prepare for graduation this weekend for Matthew at West Point. There will be 16 family members in all here to celebrate with us.
It feels like just a year ago that we dropped Matthew off at R day. The first photo above is the day before R day (pre haircut). The second photo is of Matthew marching with his Beast Barracks company at A day. He is in the column closest to camera, just left of center.
We’ve almost made it to our destination (Keuka Lake NY) and I thought I’d share some of the tasty food we’ve had along the way. First up was at Chauhan Ale & Masala House in Nashville. Pictured above are their gol guppa shots, a creative and very tasty appetizer. You pour the mint cilantro water into the bowl and eat in one bite. So good. Apparently tequila is also an option.
We also enjoyed some fine dining at Husk in Nashville. I had catfish and some shrimp & grits but Julie was the big winner with her vegan plate. Shitake mushrooms that tasted like bacon.
Not quite fine dining but check out the pancake club sandwich. This is from Mary’s Diner in Geneva OH. Half saved for tomorrow’s breakfast.
Allen and I both had the same idea coming away from GMT West – seeing Labyrinth played made us both long to get it back on the table. This game opened the door for the COIN series of games, providing a truly asymmetric two player gaming experience focused on the American war on terror beginning 2001. I had played two or three times before (with Jacob and Matthew I think) but never focused enough on the game to 1/ get a solid grasp on rules and 2/ understand even basic strategies for the two sides.
Allen and I played face to face last week, I took Jihadists and he the Americans. I pulled off the win, with both of us learning that an early regime change for the USA can result in a serious quagmire.
Then we each played a solo game, using the enhanced boys that came with the Awakening expansion. Seeing the boys play is a great human training approach, with limitations of course.
We played again face to face the day before I left Oregon, switching sides. I was the benefactor of some good die rolls and an American focus on good relations in the central middle east paid off for the win.
I skipped the Sunday festivities at GMT weekend so that Julie and I could hightail it up to Redding to see some old friends that have lived there for about 10 years. They went above and beyond, planning an all afternoon kayaking adventure on the Sacramento river.
Our friend Mike works at the Shasta dam do knows just a bit about the river flow. It wasn’t quite raging but did have a healthy flow, with a few challenging hydraulics to navigate – especially in our flat topped sea kayaks.
They prepared gourmet sack lunches for us all, plus had a well stocked cooler.
Saw a lot of cool birds: kingfisher, osprey, some ducks I didn’t recognize, and a big male bald eagle.
We like Redding. Their neighborhood was pretty torched up in the fires last year, with their house being one of the few to survive on their street.
Julie and I worked out our return from our long hiking and backpacking trip to pass through central California so that I could (again) attend the GMT Games weekend at the warehouse event. Despite the very high heat it was a fun weekend with several new-to-me games played. And I bought a couple of games during the attendee special sale on Saturday.
My first game was Breakout Normandy with Steve. I played the Germans while my experienced opponent took the Allies, which I think would have been rougher for me to try on a first play. I got schooled in a fun way, losing Carentan was the final straw. Steve is working on a modern war version of the same system set in Iraq and I’m hopping to play test soon.
On Friday Steve played Across the Narva, a chit-pull game at in the late east front of WWII.
Allen and others played a four played a cooperative game of Fields of Fire. I’m so conflicted by this game, having played twice but always reluctant to bring it out as it seems more like work than fun.
After an early morning game of Combat Commander: Europe (Resistance) I spent the rest of Friday playing Unhappy King Charles with Tim. This was an eight hour game resulting in another loss for me, but Tim was very patient in teaching and I held my own until the final year.
A surprise hit for me was The Battle of Kursk, a game in Mark Walker’s Platoon Commander series.
Very nice components in this game and just a few minor rules issues. I have a magazine game in this series (Poland Strikes!) that I’m bringing with me to Keuka Lake this summer.
Gene have his “state of GMT” talk on Saturday morning and company affairs seem to still be on a solid foundation.