If you're not following Tremontaine, you can change that by going here, which will make the following somewhat more comprehensible. And, no, Seanan McGuire's not currently writing for it, but you can find out what she has written over here
This week, the question is:
Lisa: So, Seanan McGuire's got an interdimensional portal working tomorrow, when we've scheduled a game night -- shouldn't be a problem as long as we stay away from the cemeteries.
Josh: You do know we're in Queens, right?
Lisa: Er, yes... but, since we moved --
Josh: Eight blocks.
Lisa: We're no longer at the corner of cemetery, cemetery, and cemetery.
Josh: Oh, good. We're just three blocks from a Cemetary now--That means it'll take the zombies ten minutes to get to us...
Lisa: At least half an hour. And anyway, they're not going to be going that way. Seanan's doing some kind of research for her next novel -- well, one of her next novels, I mean.
Josh: I was going to say.
Lisa: But, the point is, Micah's coming over. You know, from Tremontaine -- how far have you gotten in season one?
Josh: I know who Micah is. There's a ball; it seems awfully complicated.
Lisa: Oh good! So you know we'll have to have tomato pie --
Josh: It's called pizza.
Lisa: Well, yes, but she calls it tomato pie. Maybe the one with eggplant? Do you think she'd like that?
Josh: It will have to do. Donato's doesn't do one with turnips.
Lisa: Right. And we need to make sure there are games she'll like. Card games -- maybe period card games?
Josh: What period? She's from a made-up country that's been stuck in the Regency-Rennaiscance for at least 50 years, and is in dialogue with a technologically superior Aztec empire in place of Moorish conquest.
Lisa: Sure, but you know the games, you know how to teach them, and she'll pick them up quick, right? So, what games would work for someone super good at math? They don't have to be period. Or card games. But there has to be math. Would 24 work?
Josh: For about five minutes. Then Micah would be unbeatable, and it wouldn't be fun any more. For anyone. Set would work for a while, but it's got a huge skill gulf and no depth, and whether Micah got bored or not, I would, eventually. She probably wouldn't, whether she picked up on the pattern matching quickly or not; it's a four dimensional math puzzle, after all, but it's not that interesting a game. I mean, going back to period games, we could do Speculation; Micah would like it a lot, I think, but Rafe would hate it with a burning passion.
Lisa: We don't have to invite Rafe!
Josh: But we could! He's Micah's best friend, almost, and he does like games. She should have someone around she knows.
Lisa: But he'll raid our liquor cabinet. Unless we get him beer. He likes beer, right?
Josh: Yes, but what kind...wait, Ixkaab complains about how weak and washed out their beer is. So IPAs, I guess?
Lisa: Are we inviting Ixkaab?
Josh: We could. But hide the swords.
Lisa: Um...right. You do know, if we invite her, we have to invite Racheline, right? Does Racheline like games?
Josh: Some. I seem to remember her mostly playing Whist at period gaming afternoons. Whist could work, I guess, though Bridge is superior.
Lisa: Wait, don't you use secret codes to communicate in Bridge? Micah would really hate that.
Josh: No, absolutely not. Not in modern Bridge, anyway; that's the whole point; you have to tell your opponents what codes you're using. I mean, you can lie to your partner as well as your opponents, but that's considered bad form and bad play if you do it too often.
Lisa: Wait, so there's no hidden information? Micah would love that; you're right!
Josh: Of course there's hidden information; it's your cards. Microwave and olive-oil-popped popcorn, I think -- and sweet good cocoa, and ghost pepper liquor for Kaab.
Lisa: Definately ghost pepper liquor. But wait, sweet cocoa? Doesn't she like spicy cocoa?
Josh: Yes, but remember the outfits for the ball. You want to do a combination of the familiar and the strange; she's never had sweet cocoa, just cocoa with milk which she hated, and with peppers and corn which she likes. Also, ice cream. Including chocolate and coffee.
Lisa: If we introduce coffee to them, it could change everything.
Josh: Not my problem. We're already talking about introducing them to modern card games; this is decidedly not in continuity.
Lisa: So we're talking coffee, cocoa, ice cream, popcorn...we could make egg creams! I bet Micah would like egg creams.
Josh: Almost everyone likes egg creams, when they're made well. Maybe not Ixkaab, but she is capable of acquiring tastes eventually.
Lisa: We can add spices to hers. Heck, you can add spices to mine.
Josh: In moderation, at least. Everything in moderation, including moderation. Speaking of which, I think that's enough snacks.
Lisa: Ok, so we should figure out who else to invite--maybe some bridge players.
Josh: Um. Maybe. But that brings up the part of bridge Micah won't like -- where you get yelled at by your partner for making the wrong play.
Lisa: Yeah, she'll hate that. Hmm. Dominion?
Josh: Hmm. Sure! That'll work pretty well, actually. But the games I think Micah would like best are probably worker placement games and auction games -- ones where there's not a lot of randomness, but it's still all about figuring out how other people will value things rather than straight optimization.
Lisa: That doesn't require her to have people skills, right? Just game skills?
Josh: Well, no more than poker.
Lisa: Ok, so we're talking about things like Puerto Rico and Race for the Galaxy?
Josh: Not exactly, though Puerto Rico would work well enough, aside from Ixkaab having no illusions about what the brown "workers" represent. I was thinking things more like Keyflower, where your workers can take actions but also act as currency (not as bad as it sounds) and a collection mechanic, or Russian Railroads, where there are reasons to want to either take an action first and get a better version, or later and have potentially a better choice available for more.
Lisa: I've never played either of those.
Josh: This is fixable, you know. For auction games, we can start simple -- Modern Art, maybe, which is as close to a pure auction game as you can get, short of For Sale, and go to Merchants of Amsterdam for a game that's very period in theme, with that great spring-loaded auction clock counting down.
Lisa: I wonder if Rafe would like those or hate them.
Josh: Well, they're not much like actual commerce; no trading like Traders of Genoa or Settlers of Catan. Which I would -not- bring out with Micah; I'd worry she'd overthink it.
Lisa: Oh, that's all right then. But we need to remember to hide the swords. And the Scotch.