milo and john in backyard tent
Originally uploaded by Liz Henry
Rook is getting ready to go to Burning Man where I hope he has fantastic adventures and doesn’t get sunburned anywhere too interesting. Oh, the disasters I can imagine and the number of times I think DOOOOM! What if your tent blows away? What if you need extra-large bandaids? What about food and a giant cooler? Are these regular dust masks enough, or do you need the extra filtery kind? Will you remember how to tie your flowered sarong? Will you have to eat the huskies when your sledge’s food runs out?
In preparation, and with the proper respect for a serious expedition, Rook carefully set up his tent tonight in our tiny backyard. He and Moomin are in the tent right now. Hanging the lantern from the loop in the roof of the tent pleased Moomin very much; he was gazing at it with a fond, smug smile and sighing with happiness. I left them in there reading Cartoon HIstory of the Universe volume 13.
Meanwhile I went and stole Jo’s older daughter for a bit. We plotted about this gaming con, got out her elven warrior character in its neat binder, and talked vaguely about plans to make a war strategy board game based on Tamora Pierce’s Tortall series. It occurs to me that the best way to think about designing games is not just trying to do it, but playing other games. So which board games to try first! Up Front? (Too ticky and annoying maybe.) Battlefield Europe? Heroscape, maybe, and we could make our own cards? During the game she is inventing, crucial events or a timeline will trigger a different role-playing mode where time flows differently and we will play individual characters. The game will be set during the war with the Immortals. It might have pieces for squads of knights, and fighters, and monster pieces, and cards to move events along, and dice, and counters or pieces to keep track of points, as well as individual character sheets.
I was very happy that Rook was around to explain the finer points of D & D. And also to be in the tent which I can barely tolerate for 5 minutes; so cramped, so claustrophobic, so hard and floor-ish and uncomfortable! But I remember sleeping in my own backyard with Minnie and our friends sometimes for months, and how much fun it was with our flashlights, stuffed animals, and books. Despite my extreme allergies I loved the smell of the grass… and despite being able to imagine all sorts of disasters or spooky alien or animal encounters (what if I *step on a possum* and it fastens its rabid fangs into my ankle?) I enjoyed the faintly streetlit surburban outdoor night. So I’m glad Rook has the patience to set up this sort of cool experience for Moomin.
Next year maybe they’ll both go to Burning Man while I stay home in the comfortable house eating cookies in bed and taking lots of hot baths.
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