Friday Playdates

So apparently this is weird.  🙂  We’ve been getting together on Friday nights to game for a long while.  Since after weekday nights stopped being workable.  Since after gaming at university wasn’t practical.  Since after gaming at D&M stopped being possible.  Since after gaming daily during lunch in grade school stopped.

See Robin got his first red box of D&D when we were 10.  Dave, Rob and I made characters one weekend and tried our first combat during lunch at school the next Monday.  It went poorly. 🙂  But we knew there had to be a problem, reviewed the rules and were hooked.

Most notable in our first adventures were the constant death at the tentacles of the opening monster in Keep on the Borderlands.  A carrion Crawler that could be bypassed just by not going and poking its hole in the ground.  And Rob had the only dice sets – the ugly pale blue set that came in the box and a clear set that often disappeared into the shag carpet of his basement.

Gaming at school brought several changes – new people: Troy, Kev, Treek, Stef.  New systems: Gurps, TMNT, Palladium, Champions, 2nd Edition.  We went through the D&D is evil scares in the 80s.  We adapted by switching to playing Ninjas and Superspies.

Then D&M Hobbies and games opened.  I became a semi-permanent fixture there.  Tim became a more permanent one. 🙂  The gaming group grew and changed – we played at D&M with Dave and Mike and Steve and Gary.  We played less at school.  We swapped it for card games in the Atrium.  Big games included Star Wars and Shadowrun.

First year university didn’t see much playing.  Dave, Rob, Treek and I left most of the gang back in PR, but there were weekends at Treek’s or the Fac during that year.  We also  had our greatest victory.  We brought down ringers (Troy and Stef) to participate in the Gaming Convention at the U of A.  We were not members of the club and were thus unknowns.  But we took the first place award at Con*fusion!

Dave left next year (he gamed on the island and got big into Magic).  But Troy and Stef came to the college.  And the Westlock pair of Paul and Bart brought the group up to a full quorum.  We had an ongoing Star Wars campaign that I think most of the participants still remember.  Other games with the wacky college crew included BattleTech and Call of Cthulu.

There were ins and outs throughout as people left university and college and tried different things.  Rob went back to PR and so did I for a year.

When I returned Dan had come out of nowhere (or maybe Australia), Tim was in University now and thus added the last regular participants to the group.  It has stayed remarkably stable since those last years of university: Pauly (except for the HP years), Dano, Tim, Dave (once he came back from the island), Rob, Stef and Troy.  There have been frequent and ongoing guests during the years: Rob M, Mark, Buck, etc.

We stopped playing a million systems and settled mostly on D&D in its current edition.  Family and kids didn’t interfere with gaming, but shifted priorities so that as children were born Dads would become infrequent visitors.

The amount of beer consumed varied drastically.  For most it is down to one or two bottles a Friday.  The last big blowout was about two years ago and alcohol was sworn off entirely by one participant (and my good scotch took a late in the night hit. 🙂 ).

Donair runs became part of the ritual when Rob’ was our regular locale.  Now my place is and we’ve seen the local Donair place through two changes of ownership (the first owner was the best – the current donairs are only above average.)  We pre-order and 6 donairs all with different sizes, toppings and sauces is in itself one of the most difficult projects I’ve ever organized – but I manage every week.  About once a month there are mistakes.  Most recently I forgot to count myself in the total and they returned with the order 1 donair short.  Tim gave me his and did a quick run for 1 of his on.

Once attendance became sporadic, we started a new ritual.  The gaming weekend once a summer. 72 hours of gaming with an expanded crew of 9 -12 people.  We’ve toured the province from PR, To Fort Mac, to Canmore (inaugural).  Lately we’ve been welcomed up to Skeleton Lake.  The last weekend in July before the August long weekend.

This year there will finally be a deep-fried turkey as the piece de resistance!  After the first turkey debacle, we should have learned not to ignore Dave’s advice on thawing.  I’m not sure we have.  But everything should be prepared – I understand that those preparations are mostly already done.

I didn’t tell any particular gaming stories.  Does anyone have any ones to share?  I could start talking about my characters – I’ve had some of the most memorable, effective characters throughout.

Gaming isn’t the reason we’ve maintained such a strong corps of friends since elementary and added new friends throughout.  The people are the primary reason.  But it isn’t entirely without credit either.

Lately, when some of the Dad’s disappear on Friday nights to meet up with the crew the Mom’s explain to the kids, “Dad just has his Friday playdate tonight.”  Not nearly as manly as I’d describe it, but not out of the question either.

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17 thoughts on “Friday Playdates

  1. Suellen says:

    The games night is the best way to keep in touch with the friends you love. Don’t get me wrong – the games are a lot of fun! The peopel though – irreplacable!

  2. Suellen says:

    BTW – You and Craig are never going to team up for Trival Pursuit. Ever.

  3. Andi Silvestri says:

    Friday night widows…that is how the women refer to it.

  4. Geez – the Smiley’s leap out at you in the normal view. It didn’t look like there were so many in the edit more.

    Bah – Craig and I would get our asses kicked. It would serve our comeuppance right!

    irreplacable? unable to be placated again? Typos that look like words should be submitted to dictionaries automatically.

  5. Dano says:

    Everything important in life I learned at the gaming table.

  6. Dano says:

    There are so many great memories. The funny ones are the best. I’ll start with just one:

    Troy wanted his knightly character to be strong, noble, and fearsome. He wanted him to command respect. He wanted him to have a presence of majesty and power. So he named him after a storm cloud, a black thunderhead; he named him . . . Cumulus.

    We let him go for months before someone told him that those were the fluffy white ones.

    • An older one – at D&M we had a party with a gnome illusionist who was a goof (I wasn’t playing him, BTW). When under attack in a mountain pass the gnome goes, “i cast an illusion of an avalanche to wipe out the attackers.”

      The attackers who were up slope from us on the mountain.

      Half the bad guys made their save vs. illusion. None of the party except the gnome. The first TPK I was ever in.

  7. Suellen says:

    @Dano – That’s so funny, I’m wiping tears from my eyes.
    @Tadpole King – I was in a hurry. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

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