Friday, July 07, 2006


Spent another enjoyable 4th of July weekend (June 30-July 4) camping and playing games under the midnight sun. A few of us gamers held DenaliCon II near the entrance to Denali Park, Alaska (Mt. McKinley). Denali Park is located between Fairbanks and Anchorage in the mountains known as the Alaska Range.

Due to the fact that the fourth was on a Tuesday this year fewer people were able to attend, primarily because they couldn't get time off from work on Monday. On the bright side, those who did come stayed for longer, and there were a few new faces. At the high point on Sunday there were 10 adults. Eight of us, plus kids, stayed for most of the weekend.

The weather was "unsettled". It alternated between drizzly rain in the mornings and evenings, and mostly cloudy for the rest of the day. But don't get me wrong, the weather was not bad, nor was it a hindrance to enjoying the weekend. If anything the weather was just dreary enough to create bad-photo-weather (not enough light for most of my pictures), and people who would have liked to spend an afternoon hiking stayed at camp and played games instead.

This was as clear as the weather got.

The weather was mostly overcast with low clouds all weekend.

Fortunately we had a cabin rented to play games in the event of inclement weather, and between us we had enough blue tarps to erect our own awning. Blue tarps are a bit of an institution in Alaska. They are found in abundance and are frequently the butt of jokes. Blue tarps are used to shelter snowmobiles and abandoned cars, to cover boats in the winter, to shelter accumulated junk from the snow, as ground cover to set your accumulated junk on, as an awning to cover your perpetual yard sale, and no neighborhood would be complete without a few blue tarps on roofs to help stop the leaks.

When most people fly over the state, they look out the window and marvel at all the lakes and rivers. Sorry to disappoint folks, but most of those aren't bodies of water, those are blue tarps.

This is the only non-blurry picture of me that I could find.

Age of Mythology under the blue tarp, which, I should add, I won.

Also played Twilight Imperium, Command and Colors, Ricochet Robots, Dark Tower, Revolution: The Dutch Revolt, El Grande, King Me, Caylus, and numerous other games.

The unforgettable moment of the weekend occurred during a game of Powergrid. Larry was on the verge of winning before the "Phase 3" card was turned over, all he had to do was build 2 houses to force the end of the game. I had a ton of money left over from the previous round, so I fell on my sword. I spent a ton of money building to block Larry's expansion, unfortunately I had to stop at 14 houses or I would have forced the end of the game. Moe and Curly followed my lead, and Larry was forced into a losing position. If he built the 15th house to force the end of the game another player would supply as many cities with power and Larry would lose in the tie-breaker (most money).

Larry was still in the driver's seat going into the next round until Shemp bought all but one barrel of oil out from under him. Shemp had 3 oil powered plants and was able to store all of it legally. This move allowed Moe to pull a come-from-waaaaaaaay-behind victory. It was classic.

I must say that it was the most fun I have had since the last Fourth of July. I'm already planning for next year.

1 comment:

Gerald McD said...

Neat photos, regardless of the weather. I recall seeing lots of blue tarps on our trip to Alaska. Fortunately, we were at Denali NP on a rare, clear day and could see the mighty mountain well, without clouds. Our tour guide even had us take his photo with Denali in the background, because it was unusually clear.

Glad you had such a good time, and congrats on the win.