July 13th – July 19th

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The Valley Nerd Watch!


It’s not strictly in the purview of the Nerd Watch, but we’d like to express a deep, deep envy of the people who were at Green River Festival this weekend. We were unable to attend and danged if that is not a fun time for all and sundry. Also wait it might be in our purview, we remember seeing the extremely nerdy Cosmic Wimpout there last time we were in attendance!

While we’re stuck at a mysterious location far from the Green River festival, we figured we might as well tell you about yet another awesome local hero creative type! Have you perhaps heard of Joshua AC Newman?

He’s done a heck of a lot! The first we heard of him was the runaway success that was the extremely neat Kickstarted tabletop miniatures wargame Mobile Frame Zero: Rapid Attack. He worked on the project with yet another local gaming luminary: Vincent Baker of Lumpley Games. Together they managed to raise over $80,000 from eager backers to make the game a real thing!

The neatest part of Mobile Frame Zero is that it has the world’s cheapest cool-looking miniatures! Instead of purchasing little plastic and metal bits to paint, players are provided with instructions for assembling really cool little mini-robots out of leftover LEGO parts! Obviously you COULD use expensive models, but the LEGO ones just look real neat. Also the rules are extremely streamlined and approachable while being deep enough to encourage thoughtful play. A real awesome sort of a thing!

We’re pretty sure his current standing magnum opus is the sci-fi RPG Shock: Social Science Fiction, though. It’s a big, cool looking book full of interesting concepts like having players create a world together, and play both protagonists and antagonists! It’s also, not for nothing, basically the reason local creator Hannah Shaffer started making really interesting RPGs! The slightly pared-down Shock: Human Contact, is more directly focused on the idea of making contact with new worlds, and you play as Black Ops Anthropologists working for a future Federation-style utopia.

Joshua is also currently drawing weird aliens and talking about their various interesting cultural facets on the website Xenoglyph! If you’d like to help him keep coming up with fantastical concepts and making them a reality, support his Patreon!

Or buy his stuff at those previous links. Click those links, we can tell when you don’t and we get disappointed in you. Not angry! We just expected better is all.

As always, be sure to check out the Weekly Events page! There are a lot of fun things happening this and every week!  And check out our new Book Clubs section! useful for those of you who read books and want to talk about them!

THIS WEEK


Art:

Friday, July 17th
The Platinum Pony [30 Cottage St, Easthampton, MA 01027] at 6:00pm
Dr. Sketchy’s: Teddy Roosevelt, Zombie Slayer. Feat. HP Loveshaft.
Are you an artist? Why not practice your figure drawing in the most awesome possible manner? You’ll be able to pick up supplies from Dr. Sketchy’s, although you should also bring your own! Model HP Loveshaft will be dressed as famed Zombie Slayer, Teddy Roosevelt. This might be digging slightly too deep into the nerd zeitgeist, everyone. Don’t stare too long into the abyss! You can also win prizes from Topatoco, Oh My!, and FOE Gallery. It costs $7 if you’re 21+, $10 if you’re 18+, and you can’t come if you’re not at least 18.
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 2:30pm – 3:30pm
Decorate Your Own Library Bag
Do you get so many books from the library that you have difficulty carrying them? You sound great, we should hang out and talk about books. BUT ALSO you should head down to Forbes and decorate a little library bag! You get one just for showing up, and when you inscribe your own eldritch runes upon it, there will be no power on Earth with the will to stand against you!

Board Games:

Friday, July 17th
Off the Wall Games [41 Russell Street, Hadley, MA 01035]  at 6:00pm
Pioneer Valley Geeks and Gamers Meetup Tabletop Game Night
Join the PVG&G as they play board games! Mostly they do Euro-style strategy games, which mostly are distinguished by having tiny abstract pieces of wood representing absolutely everything. Bring your own game if you’d like, beginners and veterans welcome!
Off the Wall Games [41 Russell Street, Hadley, MA 01035]  at 6:00pm
Heroclix Academy
At this 400 point constructed event, you’ll be restricted to fielding only Rookie heroes! The Heroclix Academy teaches some harsh lessons, folks. Laser blasts DO have recoil, super strength doesn’t mean you can pick up a plane so much as it does that you can punch through it, glasses are not a sufficient secret identity, and so forth. Put you rookies through the wringer for an entry fee of $5!
Sunday, July 19th
X9 Games [Hampshire Mall, 367 Russell St, Hadley, MA 01035] at 1:00pm
Dice Masters Rainbow Drafts
Dice Masters! It is a game we’d never previously encountered, but seems pretty neat. Basically it’s a deck-building game where your deck is composed of collectible dice! So you try to build up a powerful team of people with unique dice, and then combat your opponent via dice rolls. The tournament will have a $12 entry fee, and you’ll get 12 packs to draft with!
Greenfield Games [228 Main St Greenfield, MA 01301] at 1:00pm
D&D Attack Wing: Tyranny of Dragons Month Five Tournament
Two armies meet on a windswept field. Humans, elves, dragons, vulcans, normans, the personal assistants to the tyrranid horde, sea cucumbers orcs. Everyone’s there to fight a big old pitched battle and you can win prizes if you lead your team to victory! It’s $20 to enter.

Books:

Tuesday, July 14th
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 6:30pm – 8:00pm
To Kill a Mockingbird: The Long Silence of Harper Lee
So hey you know how Harper Lee pretty much wrote one enormously important novel and then dropped the mic? That’s been a mystery for a while! Why’d she do that, and why is the new novel Go Set a Watchman being published after such a long silence? We’re kind of concerned it’s a weird publisher cash-grab. Come see Barry Deitz explain this book mystery if you too are intrigued!

Card Games:

Saturday, July 18th
Lost Harbor Games and Hobbies [61 Southwick Road Westfield, MA 01085] at 1:00pm
Magic: The Gathering Origins Release Draft
Magic The Gathering, the game of wolves. Head over to Lost Harbor for an opportunity to draft with the newest cards! A draft tournament in the standard Swiss format, so everyone plays 3 rounds. Three wins means you get 6 booster packs, two wins and a tie means you get 4, two wins and a loss means you get 2! It costs $12 to enter.
Off the Wall Games [41 Russell Street, Hadley, MA 01035] at All Day
Magic: The Gathering Origins Release Weekend
Ahhh, Magic: The Gathering. The game of jet-setting retirees. This event costs $25 to enter! We’re not certain the format or literally any other details. We assume it means you’ll get some brand new cards and a chance to play against other great people!
Sunday, July 19th
Lost Harbor Games and Hobbies [61 Southwick Road Westfield, MA 01085] at 1:00pm
Magic: The Gathering Origins Release Standard
We’ve always said Magic: The Gathering is the game of sommeliers. You can head to Lost Harbor this weekend to play with the newest cards! It costs $5 to enter, and all participants get a free release day promo card! First place gets 9 Origins booster packs! Standard deck format, which means only the newest cards!
Off the Wall Games [41 Russell Street, Hadley, MA 01035] at All Day
Magic: The Gathering Origins Release Weekend
No one knows better than us that Magic: The Gathering is the game of presidents. Again, $25 to enter this mystery tournament. It’s entirely possible that Off the Wall Games holds their tournaments in Outworld, and that they decide the fate of our realm. So play your best!

Comics:

Thursday, July 16th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Queers in Comics and Games Discussion
Are you interested in comic books and/or games? Then this discussion group will probably make you pretty happy! It is full of extremely nice people, and moderated by the great as heck staff of Modern Myths. It’s a great place to go for media recommendations and just for hanging out with people who are awesome!
Palmer Public Library [1455 North Main Street, Palmer, MA 01069] at 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Make Your Own Superhero/Supervillain Mask
Pretty bold allowing child SuperVILLAINS into your library, Palmer! We suppose the presence of heroes might keep them from causing too much of a ruckus, but it still seems very unsafe. We suggest for your own safety that if you attend this event you ask each of the children there what powers they have, to get a lay of the land.
Sunday, July 18th
Jones Library [43 Amity St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 10:30am – 12:00pm
Drawing Super Heroes
Illustrator Lahri Bond leads a workshop about drawing superheroes! Get those frantic imaginings out of your brainscape and onto the page! Registration is required, so contact Sondra Radosh at radoshs@joneslibrary.org!

Computers:

Thursday, July 16th
Amherst Media [246 College St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 6:00pm
Western MA Drupal Meetup
Join fellow Drupal developers and talk about things related to Drupal! Mostly we assume many of those discussions revolve around the fact that Drupal is a very silly name. Also, if every interaction with everyone in the CS field we’ve ever met is any indication, probably a great deal of talking about how other methodologies are just the worst.
Friday, July 17th
Packard’s Bar – Library Room [14 Masonic St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 8:00pm
Northampton Webdive – After Dark
Do you code, create, develop? You’ll probably have a fun time drinking and talking with this group of lovely people who meet regularly! Plus we’re pretty sure the After Dark Webdive is the one where they show you how to righteously hack the Gibson.

Entertainment:

Tuesday, July 14th
Palmer Public Library [1455 North Main Street, Palmer, MA 01069] at 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Ed the Wizard’s Magic Workshop
Allow Ed the Wizard to introduce your children, grades 3-5, to the wonder of the Subtle Arts! Manipulate the fabric of reality to conform to your fickle whims, children! You must pre-register, but think of the power at your command once you do! Contact Rich Clark at rclark@palmer.lib.ma.us.

Movies:

Monday, July 13th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Northampton Committee to Stop War presents film “Harvest of Grief”
Forbes will present a film that is a labor love and compassion by Ms. Rasil Basu. The filmmaker herself will attend to speak to the audience! Harvest of Grief focuses on Indian agricultural politics and the wave of worker suicides sparked by the impossible burdens placed upon them by the globalized agricultural trade.
Wednesday, July 15th
Cinemark at Hampshire Mall [367 Russell St, Hadley, MA 01035] at 6:30pm
The Western Mass Sci-Fi Meetup Group Spaceballs Viewing
Join the fine folks of the WMSF meetup group as they view the comedic classic that combines dad jokes and Star Wars! You can RSVP on their page, and meet up before heading into the theater. Get tickets ahead of time! Discussion and drinks will occur after the film.

RPGs:

Monday, July 13th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 3:00pm – 7:00pm
Public RPG: Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons & Dragons, the Old Reliable, the Bog Standard, the Was Innovative, the Easily Made Fun Of But Still Very Comfortable. For real, the nice part about D&D is how comfy it is. Everyone kind of gets it, because it plays the way people expect RPGs to play. And that’s kind of great a lot of the time! Join this game with pre-rolled characters whenever you like! They’ll slot you in and out of the adventure on your schedule.
Thursday, July 16th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Public RPG: Edge of the Empire
Are you a fan of Star Wars? Then we imagine you mourn the loss of the Extended Universe canon. Start rebuilding that vast world with your own stories! You can use pre-rolled characters to hop in and start having your adventures in Space Past!
Saturday, July 18th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Questlandia Demo
Questlandia! A local game by local creator and all-around wonderful person Hannah Shaffer. Players construct together the story of a decaying fantasy empire in this innovative GM-less RPG! It’s a great time and EVEN BETTER this demo is going to be hosted by Questlandia expert Hannah Shaffer! So you know it’ll be a fun time!
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 4:00pm – 7:00pm
Night’s Black Agents RPG
Spies! Secrets! Guns! Intrigue! Vampires! Basically you play as awesome secret agents who find out they’ve accidentally been doing dirty work for dirty bloodsuckers. Then… comes the Action Revenge! Thrilling supernatural spycraft, with what sounds like a quite fun system underpinning the whole thing. Sneak into Modern Myths this weekend to see for yourself!
Sunday, July 19th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Pathfinder Society Organized Play
Pathfinder Society seems immensely, impossibly gigantic. So many hours! But then, if you get to have awesome adventures every week, it’s probably less a burden that a super cool time. Are you interested in playing a member of a treasure-hunting team? Join up with the crowd at Modern Myths!

Science:

Monday, July 13th
Union Station [125 Pleasant St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Nerd Nite
The first topic: Climate Change presented by Julie Brigham-Grette, professor of geosciences at UMass Amherst, chair of the US Polar Research Board. Probably sad and scary, but also accurate! Next topic: Unexpected heroes of your rivers. How Nixon’s clean water act helped clean up water. Presented by Andrew Fisk, Ph.D., Executive director of the Connecticut River Watershed Council. Learn about environmentalism! Become smarter than you were!
Wednesday, July 15th
Palmer Public Library [1455 North Main Street, Palmer, MA 01069] at 6:30pm
Backyard Wildlife with Jennifer Ohop
Join Jennifer Ohop from the Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary as she talks about tips on attracting and identifying species that use backyard habitats! Expose yourself to the natural wonders nearby, and marvel at the fact that there are actually more creatures out there than Deer, That One Bear, and Birds.

Trivia:

Tuesday, July 14th *NEW WEEKLY EVENT*
The Platinum Pony [30 Cottage St, Easthampton, MA 01027] at 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Trivia Tuesday
Trivia is back at the Platinum Pony! Teams of 1-5 can compete for cash prizes! There’s an open kitchen, too. So you can have snacks and such. Get together your most widely traveled friends and get some money by answering questions! If you’re under 18 you need to be accompanied by adult, and it’s $5 per person.

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