Since we can’t afford to go away this week while I’m off work, Sylvain and I are trying to think of fun but frugal ways to enjoy a staycation. We’ve been discussing various day trips we can take to area attractions, places to picnic or hike or go birding. Our usual pattern is: 1) Sylvain–who LOVES to be in the great outdoors–thinks of an excursion to a park or scenic place. 2) I whine about mosquitos and heat and being out of shape and not having the energy for such a trip. 3) Sylvain promises to pack good snacks, keep me hydrated, etc. 4) I give in and we go. 5) I have a fabulous time and thank him for talking me into it.
Last night for some reason I found myself pondering what I would do with a staycation if I were the only one involved. That’s easy! I would spend a couple of hours in one of those grungy hip coffee places downtown that has stacks of games in a bookcase in the corner, free wi-fi and more vegetarian than meat options on the menu. So that’s what I proposed to Sylvain.
Hey, he went for it!
Though the place was doing good business on a Sunday afternoon, there was a nice little table by a sunny window where we could sip our drinks and set up the Quarto board. The music was good (old rock, New Age rock and alternative rock) and not turned up too high.
Inside the lid of the Quarto game we keep a running score. Sylvain tends to win more often than I do, but I intend to change that trend very soon. I just have to work on my strategy a little!
This is the end of a game where I have declared “check mate,” or whatever check mate is in Quarto. The little dark piece sitting on the edge of the board is the piece I have just handed to Sylvain, the one he must play next. No matter where he puts it, I win. For those of you who are geeky enough to want to know, here’s how the game is played and why I’ve won:
After paper, scissors, rock to see who goes first, player A picks up a piece and gives it to the other player to place anywhere she wants on the board. Then player B picks up any piece he wants and gives it to player A to place anywhere she wants. The object of the game is to get four in a row (diagonally, horizontally or vertically) that are either all solid, all hollow, all blond, all dark, all tall, all short, all square or all round.
Let’s number the places, starting in the left top corner (you have to cock your head to the left) with numbers one through sixteen. Space one is occupied by a short, square, solid blond piece. Got it?
If he places the next piece at #2 or #3, I can get four in a row whether the next piece he hands me is solid or hollow. You can see three hollows in a row and three solids in a row just waiting for the fourth piece, right?
If he puts it at #7, then there are three solids on the diagonal and the same three hollows at the bottom of the board.
He could place it at #8 so long as he then did not hand me a tall one, a light one or a hollow one. But… there are no pieces left that are short, dark and solid! Mu ha ha ha.
If he parks at nine, I win with either square or round.
Ditto space #11.
At #13, I win with either tall or short.
I was pretty proud of myself, but he turned right back around and shut me out with his next two wins. Rats.
I liked them all, but especially one where you put your feet in these two red shoe prints and talk to strangers who pass by. They had prompts in case you couldn’t think of ways to start up conversations, like taking off your watch and asking for the time. Other instructions included, “Make eye contact,” and “smile.”