Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My Summer Vacation, by Seth Jaffee

I began to tell you about my trip to Seattle last week, so now I'll endeavor to summarize the rest of it. The short, short version is that I had a lot of fun spending time with Alex, Sean, Mohan, Runjith, Renee and Matt, playing games, playing frisbee, and I had a great time at the Potlatch frisbee tournament thing. For more details, read on...

My previous post was on Monday afternoon, right before joining Christopher Rao for some gaming at a building on Microsoft campus. It was cool, because at Microsoft there's free soda for the taking, something I'm sure you'd get sick of if you worked there, but for a one-time game night it was great to be able to grab a Mountain Dew whenever I wanted. We played Wabash Cannonball (which I don't like at all), Stone Age (which I'm now a big fan of), Container (which I enjoy), and my game Terra Prime. There were only about 8 of us there, which I understand was small compared to the usual numbers they get on their Tuesday and Thursday game nights. It was nice to meet Chris and I had a good time playing games, and winning Stone Age when I thought I was doing poorly - maintaining my undefeated record.

Tuesday I hung out with my sister - We went disc golfing, I went to a library and did internet stuff while she had her Weight Watchers meeting to run at Expedia offices, and we went to a market and she got some fresh veggies and stuff. Later I went to the Loose Cannon offices to meet with Mohan and his bosses Matt and Dev to talk about the prospect of their publishing Terra Prime. They had a milestone deadline thing that was supposed to be on Monday, but got pushed back to Wednesday, so they were all very busy - I was able to check out the office though, and it was really cool! I met with Matt and Dev for about an hour to talk about basic philosophy of publishing my game as a side project, and it turned out we were all on the same page. I hung out at their office for a while, playing games on an old arcade-style box with an emulator - it had about 4500 games in it! I also chatted with Mohan and some of his coworkers, and caught a glimpse of the game they're making. It wasn't until about 9:00pm that Mohan, Matt and I were finally able to play a game of Terra Prime.

Wednesday I went back to Microsoft to play more frisbee, and after the games I was talking to one of the players. He plays with a team called Shazam, who beat the Tucson team (Barrio) at Nationals last fall. Somehow I mentioned that I know a guy that works at Microsoft, and though I thought it was highly unlikely that he would know this one guy out of the 1400 or so people work there, I mentioned his name - Peter Drayton. I met Peter at a game convention, and I stayed at his place for a few days on my last trip to Seattle. It turns out that Peter was this guy's Development Head, and they work in practically adjacent offices! I had called and emailed Peter about my trip, hoping to meet up with him, but he never replied. I figured he and his wife Julie were immersed in World of Warcraft... so Tim brought me to his office and I was able to chat with Peter for about an hour.

After that I went back to Renee's to take a shower and then headed out to Loose Cannon again to play more Terra Prime. The Milestone thing had been that morning, so everything was less hectic. My brother-in-law Matt joined us, as well as the guy who's house I went to on Saturday. We ended up playing 2 games of Terra Prime, then Mohan and I talked in the parking lot for over an hour about the game as well as other stuff in general.

Thursday I met Chris Rao for lunch at his office (he's a lawyer), and we went to an Italian deli. We talked a little more about his thoughts on my game, as well as the possibility of starting a game design blog sort of thing with a couple of dedicated contributers. You see that kind of thing about games, like BoardGameNews.com for example, but nothing about the design process - something that's interesting to me and to Chris. I told him I'd be interested in participating in that type of thing. Then I had to return my rental car. Originally I was going to return it to the airport and find a ride to the fields with some arriving frisbee player, but I found out that I could change that and return the car in Bellevue instead. According to the phone call I'd made to the Budget people, not only would it save me a trip to the airport, but would also save me $10! And for added convenience, Matt had an eye appointment down the street from the rental place, and his work is right by the frisbee fields. So he picked me up and dropped me at the fields at about 4:00, after which time I shifted into Frisbee Tournament Vacation mode... it's like a whole different vacation after the week long one I'd just taken!

Thursday afternoon I had some time before anyone I knew showed up, so I ended up helping people from Five Ultimate put together little pendant things for all the players in the tournament - they needed to make 2000 of them. I did about 200 before my teammates started to show up. It was cool meeting them, and they gave me some wristbands and a belt for my efforts. In retrospect I should have asked for a hat, but oh well. Tony (team captain) had bought pizza for the team, so I ate pizza and met my teammates as they trickled in. I also saw a number of other people I knew from one place or another.

One of the great things about frisbee tournaments is that you end up knowing so many people from all over the place. I love the feeling of walking around the fields with 2000 people around and seeing friends at every turn.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday we played frisbee all day - the weather was gorgeous and I had a lot of fun. I played pretty well and fit right in with my teammates, half of whom were from Sacramento and half of whom were from Victoria, Canada. This was probably the best team I've played on at this tournament ever, and I invited several of my teammates to come to Tucson in December and play on my team at Hoasis... I don't know if it'll be worth the schlep for them, but you never know. After all, we're in shorts and t-shirts at that time of year, and they're in Canada...

Sunday afternoon Renee and Matt picked me up, and after a shower we went to their friend's bar-b-que for a brief while and then it was time to drop me off at the airport. The security line didn't take long, and I had about a half hour before I had to board the plane, and luckily Chad, a teammate from Colorado, was boarding a plane in a nearby gate, so we grabbed a bite to eat and reminisced on the weekend a little bit.

The flight back wasn't terrible, but I think I'll start paying a little more to fly direct. I got home at 1:30 or so in the morning, and Ben was nice enough to pick me up. I slept until 1pm on Monday! I had a really wonderful time, and I can't wait for next year's summer vacation!

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