Ridere, ludere, hoc est vivere.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Changing history and other fun things with card games

I had a string of boardgame losses last week.  My last post recounted my thumping at the hands of Frank H. in Midway.  The next evening, my wife Kathy beat me in 7 Wonders with the Pyramids of Giza over my Statue of Zeus in Olympia.  And then the following afternoon, she beat me in one of our very favorite games, Citadels in which we used the alternate Tax Collector and Abbott.

But lately my fortunes have turned.  Yesterday I won in another one of our favorite two-player games, Jaipur.  And today she surprised me by having Chrononauts (designer Andrew Looney, artist Alison Frane, publisher Looney Labs) all set up in the backyard alongside the beer and cashews.

Over the course of the game in our roles as tinkering time travelers, we saved the life of President Lincoln, only to see him impeached in 1868.  We saved the Lusitania, which subsequently allowed President Wilson to keep the United States out of the Great War.  We found a bomb on the Hindenberg and thwarted its sabotage.  Not so fortunate was the fate of the Sputnik launch, which exploded on the pad and eventually led to a nuclear exchange and World War III in 1962.  But my time traveller couldn't abide the uber-paradox that resulted, so I had to go back and restore history to allow a successful Sputnik launch and prevent Armageddon.  We also saved President Kennedy, who was only wounded in the motorcade, and later went on to negotiate a peaceful settlement of the Viet Nam War in 1968.  Dr. Martin Luther King also escaped assassination and later went on to be elected Vice President alongside President Nixon, whose subsequent resignation allowed King to be sworn in as the first African-American President in 1974, thirty-five years before President Barack Obama.  But President Reagan would not be so lucky; John Hinckley's bullet would find its mark, and Reagan's ahistorical demise would allow Communism to redefine and reinvigorate itself in 1991.

I won Chrononauts when I achieved my alternate historical goal - America's neutrality in World War I, the historical crash of the stock market in 1929, and President King's swearing-in.  Kathy had meanwhile obtained two of her objective artifacts but was still looking for Shakespeare's lost play (Mona and the Dragon) when the game ended.