Month: March 2015

March 30th – April 5th

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The Valley Nerd Watch!


Now that Conbust has successfully been great, the big convention news item is that Topatocon is coming up in a few short months! For those who weren’t aware, webcomics retailer giant Topatoco is located in Easthampton and is great. They know a lot of wonderful people like local webcomic wunderkind Jeph Jacques of Questionable Content fame, and they are putting that to use. This September will be the first annual Topatocon, a convention of comics, webcomics, indie games, podcasts, indie music, just generally nice things that you’ll probably enjoy.

The best part is that it is happening in Northampton! Luxuriate in the knowledge that people from NYC and Boston will be griping about how they don’t want to drive up here.

As always, be sure to check out the Weekly Events page! There are a lot of fun things happening this and every week!

THIS WEEK


Books:

Wednesday, April 1st
Forbes Library, Watson Room [14 Masonic Street, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Group: Dragonsong
Have you read Anne McCaffrey’s classic sci-fantasy book about a weird world full of dragons? You should! It’s a super weird and influential book! Copies of the discussion book are available in the library to check out at the circulation desk!

Movies:

Wednesday, April 1st
Amherst Cinema [28 Amity St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 7:00pm
The Search for General Tso
General Tso! The perennial favorite of Americanized Chinese Food! But where does it come from? Is there a General Tso? Who was the first to create this star dish? You can find out this Wednesday!

RPGs:

Monday, March 30th
Comics n’ More  [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 3:00pm
Dungeons and Dragons
Stop by for another installment of the ongoing Comics n’ More Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition game! Pre-made characters are provided, so you can join in easily at any session. New players are welcome! It’s a great way to check out a major RPG without having to make a huge investment!
Thursday, April 2nd
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 10:30pm
Indie RPG Night
Come try interesting RPGs that are a bit off the beaten path! Some of these are even by Valley creators! It’s a perfect chance to branch out from the standard D&D or Pathfinder, or to try out RPGs in a setting where everyone else is as new to the systems as you are! There is a $5 entry fee, BUT all attendees also get $5 in store credit.

Saturday, April 4th

Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 3:00pm – 6:00pm
Star Wars RPG
Come to Modern Myths for a chance to experience the Fantasy Flight Star Wars RPG! The adventure has been ongoing for a little while at this point, but you’re welcome to join in with a pre-generated character

Science:

Wednesday, April 1st
Earth [Solar System, Orion Arm, Milky Way, Local Group, Virgo Supercluster, Universe] at Night/Moonset
We’ve forgotten whether this is a reprieve for werewolves, or if it means that they’re a double strength. Maybe it’s that Lycans don’t turn during the eclipse, but standard werewolves grow to double size? Dangit, this is why you’re supposed to pay attention during Defense Against the Dark Arts. We know for a FACT that you can cast Smokey Shadowblast for half the standard mana cost, though.


March 23rd – 29th

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The Valley Nerd Watch!


Big Convention News this week! First of all, our own local heroes the Smith ConBust! This convention is a huge deal on account of being an All Nerds Event and also being probably the only successful local convention for the past few years. UMass tries once in a while but never seems to completely get off the ground. Poor UMass. Anyway! Attend this neat event.

Second big convention news item is that Topatocon was announced! For those who weren’t aware, webcomics retailer giant Topatoco is located in Easthampton and is great. They know a lot of wonderful people like local webcomic wunderkind Jeph Jacques of Questionable Content fame, and they are putting that to use. This September will be the first annual Topatocon, a convention of comics, webcomics, indie games, podcasts, indie music, just generally nice things that you’ll probably enjoy.

The best part is that it is happening in Northampton! Luxuriate in the knowledge that people from NYC and Boston will be griping about how they don’t want to drive up here.

As always, be sure to check out the Weekly Events page! There are a lot of fun things happening this and every week!

THIS WEEK


EVERYTHING:

Friday, March 27th; Saturday, March 28th; Sunday, March 29th
Seelye Hall, Smith College [Northampton, MA 01063 (it’s hard to miss)]  at 5:30pm – 12:00am Friday, 9:30am – 11:00pm Saturday, 9:30am – 4:00pm Sunday.
ConBust
Come one, come all, come to Smith College and attend a fun fan convention for all ages and all fandoms! All will be welcome to see cool things, speak with cool people, meet artists, and listen to interesting presentations on topics like “Dragons Are Awesome”. You can register at the door, too! General admission is $30 for the full weekend, or $8 Friday, $12 Saturday, and $10 Sunday. It’s cheaper for Smithies and other 5-college students, too! This is the big event of the week, be sure to catch at least one day of this celebration of springtime nerdery!

Board Games:

Wednesday, March 25th *NEW WEEKLY EVENT*
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301]  at 5:30pm – 8:00pm
Chess Club
CHESS! The Sport of Barons! The most exciting game in the world 6000 years running! The game that you are presumed intelligent if you can play, even though Magic is also hard GUYS! CHESS! All ages and all skills welcome, come to play and to learn!
Sunday, March 29th
Greenfield Games [228 Main St Greenfield, MA 01301]  at 1:00pm – 6:00pm
Dungeons and Dragons Attack Wing: Tyranny of Dragons Month 1 Tournament
Humans, elves, hobgoblins, wizards, giants, dragons, aunts, boghoblins, dave, uncles, and the barony of skullfeast have assembled on a windswept field into two armies of roughly equal strength and are ready to commence whaling on each other. This is the start of a six-month Organized Play and you’ll have the opportunity to win prizes! Entry is $5! Attack Wing is perfect for people who like minatures battling but not painting or spending $11,000 on figures.

Books:

Thursday, March 26th
Packards Library Room [14 Masonic Street, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:30pm
Old Man’s War Book Discussion and Dinner
The Western Mass Sci-Fi Meetup Group will be meeting to discuss one of John Scalzi’s finest works! They’re going to meet in the Library Room of packards, which is a separate room in the far right corner, just ask the staff if you can’t find it! There’s no cover, but there is an expectation that you’ll order a meal! There are only 3 spots left for attendees, so sign up fast!

Card Games:

Friday, March 27th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 11:00pm
FNM: Dragons of Tarkir Release
A special Friday Night Magic! It’s a draft format (open boosters, construct a deck from those boosters) with two packs from the just-released Dragons of Tarkir, and one from Fates Reforged! Prize pool: 1.5 packs per player, with everyone getting at least one and top players getting a few more. Entry fee is $16!
Saturday, March 28th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Commander 101
A special session where you’ll learn how to play the popular format know as Commander! If you think Magic is a fun time, it’s probably good to know how to play this format!
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Commander Open Play
Bring your own Commander deck and compete for prizes including packs and promo cards! Admission is $5 that you get back in store credit.

Comics:

Thursday, March 26th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Graphic Novel Book Club
Join the Mythketeers (you can use that, no charge) as they discuss the best in 4-color literature! BIFF POW ZOK Comics aren’t just for kids anymore! Entry is $5, but that gets you a voucher good toward purchases in the store. This month is Ms. Marvel Volume One! The adventures of Kamala Khan and her transition from standard-issue teen to shape-shifting super-teen are truly excellent reading that we at Valley Nerd Watch 100% recommend you get on. Buy it at Modern Myths!

RPGs:

Saturday, March 28th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00pm
Mutants and Masterminds
Come join the superheroic fun! Play in a comic shop as comic-book superheroes in an RPG! Immerse yourself in a terrifying ouroboros of nerdery! Pre-rolled characters are provided! Pre-rolled dice, too!

ALERT: TOPATOCON!

Oh goodness! TOPATOCON!

From the site:

SEPTEMBER 25TH – 27TH, 2015  NORTHAMPTON, MA

Announcing the first TopatoCon. We’re putting together some of
the best people in comics, podcasting, indie gaming and music.

In addition to our 70 exhibitors that we’re collecting from all over the internet, we’re going to have three programming tracks: we’ll have live podcasts, TED-style
talks about comics and culture, and premium workshops where attendees
can learn a hands-on skill. Plus! Tabletop gaming, nightly events, and more!

Watch this space for more information. In the meantime, sign up for
email updates and follow us on Twitter.

This is very good news! An event in our lovely Valley that will let you get in touch with all the wonderful creative people around here and the people they are friends with! We are pretty certain it will only take another year or two before this is bigger than the San Diego Comic-Con.

March 16th – 22nd

VNWGameofThronesGameTTD

The Valley Nerd Watch!


In a town with 5 colleges and 500 grad students per square foot, it can get difficult keeping up with all the events in town that cater to the vaguely defined sub-cultural group we’ve decided to call nerds.

We’re here to help! We’ll let you know what trivia, gaming, science, comic, and just plain interesting events are happening in our fair Valley! Remember to tell them that the Nerd Watch sent you!

We’ve split it up like this:

Any one-off events around the Valley that are only happening this week, only happen a couple times a month, or any interesting updates to existing events will be in the Newsletter both here online and in your inbox.

Anything that happens on a fairly regular schedule every week will be moved to the “weekly events” portion of the website after it appears for the first time in the newsletter.

THIS WEEK


Board Games:

Sunday, March 22nd
Greenfield Games [228 Main St Greenfield, MA 01301]  at 1:00pm – 6:00pm
Star Trek Attack Wing: Resistance is Futile Month 3 Tournament
It’s finally time to bring the fight to the nefarious Borg! But first, you need to get to the danged Alpha Quadrant to attack them, and they’ve put a fleet in your way. Will you make it? Come play a miniatures combat game set in the Start Trek universe! The event costs $20 to attend, which gets you a booster pack plus prizes. It also gets you “fellowship and participation” which while lovely we feel it is our duty to report can be had for a lower price at many local drum circles.
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00pm
Heroclix!
Come play a fun little miniatures game that involves no painting or little metal bits or assembly or thousands of dollars. It’s also about making superheroes fight, which everyone knows is the ideal thought experiment for the distinguished person.

Books:

Monday, March 16th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton MA, 01060] at 7:00pm
Mystery Book Group
‘The Mystery Book Discussion Group meets monthly at the library for a casual discussion. New members are always welcome. Pick up a copy of this month’s discussion book at the library.’ We can’t tell if you’re too late or just on time to do this month’s discussion based on the description, but let’s assume you’re just on time. Wear a mask to the meeting, and reveal your true identity next month!

Card Games:

Holy moly, it’s a big weekend for Magic: The Gathering!
Friday, March 20th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 11:30pm – 4:00am
Dragons of Tarkir Pre-Release
Have a fun time playing casual games of Magic with the absolute brandy-brand-new cards from the Dragons of Tarkir, the third set in the Khans of Tarkir block! This late-night event will be an opportunity to test your mettle against the sort of people who decide to go to Magic events that last until four in the danged morning! It costs $26 in advance to attend, and $30 at the door. You get access to the new packs including nifty promo cards and foils!
Saturday, March 21st
Worlds Apart Games [48 North Pleasant Street B2, Amherst, MA 01002]  at 12:00am – 10:00pm
Dragons of Tarkir Pre-Release
If you somehow did not get enough Magic at the Modern Myths event, come straight to this one! You can buy-in for $25 – $140, and pre-register to guarantee a seat. We’re going to come out and say it: we aren’t completely certain what you’re purchasing when you buy into these pre-release events. We’re going to say “starter packs of the new cards in varying quantities”???
Greenfield Games [228 Main St Greenfield, MA 01301] at 12:00am, 11:00am, and 5:00pm
Dragons of Tarkir Pre-Release
Oh thank goodness Greenfield Games explains it: ‘Entry fee will be $27 which will get you 4 packs of Dragons of Tarkir, 1 pack of Fate Reforged, and one seeded pack based on the which clan you pick. Events will be 3 rounds with prizes of 1 booster pack of the new set for every match you win and extra prizes for the top few places. ‘ The midnight event includes pizza!

Sunday, March 22nd

Greenfield Games [228 Main St Greenfield, MA 01301] at 1:00pm
Dragons of Tarkir Pre-Release
Magic! A game involving complicated combinations of cards!

Worlds Apart Games [48 North Pleasant Street B2, Amherst, MA 01002]  at 12:00am – 10:00pm

Dragons of Tarkir Pre-Release
Magic! The game of kings.
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 1:00pm – 5:30pm
Dragons of Tarkir Pre-Release
Magic! Also the game of people who really enjoy fantasy art paired with short quotes and numbers.

Comics:

Thursday, March 19th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Queers in Comics & Games
Join hosts Melissa and Nick to discuss topics regarding representation of LGBTQA+ people in comics and gaming. March’s session will be about the GLAAD nominated comics Hawkeye, Lumberjanes, Memetic, Rat Queens, and Saga. Admission is $5 that you get back as store credit to use right away or save for later.

Computers:

Thursday, March 19th
Inresonance Inc [30 Industrial Dr East, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:00pm
Western MA Drupal Meetup
Do you use Drupal? Do you want to use Drupal? Come meet with people who can help mentor you, come discuss technique with fellow professionals, or come offer support to people who want to learn!
Friday, March 20th
Packard’s Bar, Library Room [14 Masonic St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 8:00pm
Northampton Webdive After Dark
Hang out, drink, and talk to fellow web developers!

RPGs:

Monday, March 16th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 3:00pm
Dungeons and Dragons, 5th Edition
Come join the dungeoneering fun! Pre-rolled characters are provided! Pre-rolled dice, too!

Saturday, March 21st

Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 3:00pm – 6:00pm
Star Wars RPG
Modern Myths hosts sessions of the Fantasy Flight Star Wars roleplaying game, using rules from all the published sourcebooks. The game started in January, but you can stop by and we’re sure they’d be excited to write you into the adventure!
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 3:00pm
Pathfinder Pirates
Pirates! Managing to be kid-friendly and murderous at the same time, a dichotomy worth investigating whilst playing this fun Pathfinder ruleset! Again, characters and dice are provided!

ALERT: Code-in at Owl and Raven!

Owl and Raven [2 Conz St Unit #42, Northampton, MA 01060] is having another Code-in! It will take place at 2:00pm – 5:00pm this Saturday!

The people at Owl and Raven are incredibly nice, and this is a great opportunity to meet and talk to people working on interesting projects. Last time there were also cookies, which really hammered home the fact that these were cool people.

March 9th – 15th

VNWGameofThronesGameTTD

The Valley Nerd Watch!


In a town with 5 colleges and 500 grad students per square foot, it can get difficult keeping up with all the events in town that cater to the vaguely defined sub-cultural group we’ve decided to call nerds.

We’re here to help! We’ll let you know what trivia, gaming, science, comic, and just plain interesting events are happening in our fair Valley! Remember to tell them that the Nerd Watch sent you!

We’ve split it up like this:

Any one-off events around the Valley that are only happening this week, only happen a couple times a month, or any interesting updates to existing events will be in the Newsletter both here online and in your inbox.

Anything that happens on a fairly regular schedule every week will be moved to the “weekly events” portion of the website after it appears for the first time in the newsletter.

THIS WEEK


Board Games:

Wednesday, March 11th *NEW WEEKLY EVENT*
Forbes Library, Mezzanine [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Drop-in Chess
Chess! The game of kings! Drop in for part or all of this casual chess meet. All experience levels welcome, and please bring your set if you’ve got one!

Friday, March 13th

Off the Wall Games [41 Russell St, Hadley, MA 01035] at 6:00pm
Tabletop Game Night with the Western MA Sci-Fi/Pioneer Valley Geeks and Gamers Meetup Groups
Tabletop games! Though kings are mostly into Chess, tabletop games are a superset the includes chess! So they all kind of count? Bring a game you’d like to share with these lovely people! They like Euro-style strategy games with wood ha’pennies and all that, but they’re open to anything you’d like to show off.

Card Games:

Tuesday, March 10th *NEW WEEKLY EVENT*
Comics n’ More [31 Union St, Easthampton, MA 01027] at 3:00pm
Weekly Magic The Gathering For Kids
Magic the Gathering, but for kids instead of adults. A good opportunity to let your kid learn how to play a fun card game!
Tuesday, March 10th *NEW WEEKLY EVENT*
Comics n’ More [31 Union St, Easthampton, MA 01027] at 6:00pm
Weekly Drafts
The children are unceremoniously booted out the door and the drafts play begins! What are drafts? The Nerd Watch doesn’t have a staff member who plays Magic right now so we’re assuming it’s something where you pick your favorite cards for the year?

Friday, March 13th *NEW WEEKLY EVENT*

Comics n’ More [31 Union St, Easthampton, MA 01027] at 6:00pm
Weekly Casual Play
Casual play! Hang out in a neat place with people who are into Magic and just play a fun game without worrying about whatever Drafts may be.

Computers:

Tuesday, March 10th
The Quarters [8 Railroad Street, Hadley, MA 01035] at 6:30pm – 8:30pm
NERD 2015 Kickoff Party (Kid Friendly!)
NERD, the New England Regional Developers, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit which seeks to organize, education, and advance the skills of web designers and developers in the community by creating a nurturing mentorship environment in the local IT industry. Join this lovely-sounding group to celebrate past success and kick off another wonderful year of helping people make websites that are functional and beautiful!
Wednesday, March 11th
The Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center [100 Bigelow St, Holyoke, MA 01040] at 6:00pm
Project Management Meetup
Are you a project manager? You don’t even need to have an Official Title, you can just be a person who works to manage work! You can come, learn, and share your ideas. Talk about your knowledge of process, communication, do’s and don’ts and other things with people who care about efficient and effective work. This is a NERD event!

Movies:

Saturday, March 14th
A mystery location available to you if you join the Western MA Sci-Fi Meetup group at 6:00pm
Dinner + Timecrimes With The Western MA Sci-Fi Group!
Timecrimes is one of the most well-regarded high-concept movies about time-travel ever! And dinner consistently places in the top three meals of the day. As it is being held at an actual human domicile you need to actually join the group to attend because that is sensible. You’ll need to pay $5 to defray the cost of the food as well!

Video Games:

Saturday, March 14th *NEW WEEKLY EVENT*
The Quarters [8 Railroad Street, Hadley, MA 01035] at 10:00am – 2:00pm
Super Cereal Saturday
Saturday morning cartoons! Pay $10, or $8 for kids, and get unlimited cereal, cartoons on the projector, and unlimited tokens to play games. For adults, they also serve alcohol! Don’t make too much of a habit of drinking at 10:00am, though.
Sunday, March 15th *NEW WEEKLY EVENT*
The Quarters [8 Railroad Street, Hadley, MA 01035] at 10:00am – 2:00pm
Throne of Games
Play old-school console games on the projector! It’s also a night for fighting game fans to get together and play head-to-head

March 2nd-8th

The Valley Nerd Watch!


In a town with 5 colleges and 500 grad students per square foot, it can get difficult keeping up with all the events in town that cater to the vaguely defined sub-cultural group we’ve decided to call nerds.

We’re here to help! We’ll let you know what trivia, gaming, science, comic, and just plain interesting events are happening in our fair Valley! Remember to tell them that the Nerd Watch sent you!

We’ve split it up like this:

Any one-off events around the Valley that are only happening this week, only happen a couple times a month, or any interesting updates to existing events will be in the Newsletter both here online and in your inbox.

Anything that happens on a fairly regular schedule every week will be moved to the “weekly events” portion of the website after it appears for the first time in the newsletter.

THIS WEEK


Board Games:

Sunday, March 8th
World War 2 Club [50 Conz St – Northampton MA, 01060] 1:30pm
TableTop Day at the WW2 Club
Tabletop day! The day to come hang out in a nice quiet bar, getting pleasantly buzzed while learning some interesting new board game. This is the ideal place to hang out with the sort of beautiful intelligent people who own a bunch of cool board games and are excited to have people to share them with! The Nerd Watch will definitely be in attendance, as we are exactly that sort of people.

Books:

Tuesday, March 3rd
Jones Library [43 Amity St – Amherst MA, 01002] 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Science Fiction/Fantasy Book Club
Everyone is welcome, whether or not you’ve read the book they’ve selected this month! The discussion moderator is Paul Budney, a retired math professor and long time fan of science fiction and fantasy.
Wednesday, March 4th
Forbes Library, Watson Room [20 West St – Northampton MA, 01060] 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Science Fiction/Fantasy Book Club
This month they’re discussing Hyperion, by Dan Simmons! Hyperion is a pretty neat modern take on the Canterbury tales. It features a series of interesting high-concept short stories all joined together by an epic framing story. Talk to people about your favorite bits!

Computers:

Tuesday, March 3rd
The Foundry [24 Main Street, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:00pm
Northampton Webdive – After Work
A regular rendezvous of web makers, designers, and creative coders! If that sounds like you, you should check out the Western Mass Web Developers/Designers meetup group and sign up so they know you’re coming!

RPGs:

Thursday, March 5th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 10:30pm
Indie RPG Night
Come try interesting weird off-the-beaten-path RPGs, some of them by local creators! It’s a great opportunity to branch out from D&D and Pathfinder, or to start your first RPG on the same footing as everyone else in the room! There’s a $5 entry fee, but you get it back in store credit!
Saturday, March 7th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 3:00pm – 6:00pm
Star Wars RPG
Modern Myths hosts sessions of the Fantasy Flight Star Wars roleplaying game, using rules from all the published sourcebooks. The game started in January, but you can stop by and I’m sure they’d be excited to write you into the adventure!
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00pm
Pathfinder Pirates Game
Come down to Comics n’ More for a nice casual game of Pathfinder! It’s an opportunity to see how long you can keep a straight face while doing a pirate accent, because they’re playing an adventure with the Skull and Shackles rules! If you don’t have a character, weren’t there last time, or don’t know how to play that’s no problem! It’s easy to drop in and the GM is happy to help you out with the basics so you can get straight to clanging cutlasses and poking out your eyeball!

Science:

Monday, March 2nd
Eastworks [116 Pleasant St, Easthampton, MA 010350] at 7:00pm
Nerd Nite Noho
Nerd Nite! Definitely guaranteed to absolutely not be cancelled this week, because we live in a just universe and snow is definitely not going to keep happening. Two interesting talks this month! ‘Information Age: Incomplete’ presented by Kelly Albrecht, CEO of Last Call Media Inc. and the Left-Click Corporation. He will discuss what it means that only a privileged few actually have access to information technology. Next you’ve got Tzivia Gover who will present ‘I Just Had The Strangest Dream: Why We Dream and What Dreams Mean’, exploring dreams from a scientific, psychological, and mystical perspective. Here’s hoping that means Dr. Strange will also be in attendance! There is a $5 charge to attend.
Tuesday, March 3rd
Amherst Brewing Company [10 University Drive, Amherst, MA 01002] at 6:00pm – 7:00pm
OEB Science Cafe
Come see Dr. Daniel Moen present about repeated forms in evolution! Evolution often produces forms that are remarkably similar but not directly related. For instance, sharks and dolphins look a lot alike but are separated by 400 million years of evolution. Find out why this happens!