April 11th – April 17th

The Valley Nerd Watch!

So we had a great time this weekend, as we’re sure you’ll be excited to hear. We got to play a board game which was one of the very rare ones that is best for three people, called “Maria”. It’s about the succession wars in Europe surrounding the death of the Austrian emperor in 1741 which I apparently first heard about via a damned board game. It also has the best name for a faction ever: the Pragmatic Army.

Without going into the real nitty-gritty of it all, a few things stood out as compelling. First, it’s a 3-player game. These are rare as all get out, as most “2-4” games are really “2 OR 4”, you know? To reflect the tangled alliances of the time, one player is allied with both the Austian and the French players, meaning they play both against the other. It sounds really complicated, but having played as the Prussian/Saxon/Pragmatic Army player it was surprisingly simple to keep track of what I wanted for each of my alliances. There’s a siloing of opportunities and goals that keeps you from getting too tied up.

It was also a game that required about an hour of talking and explanation to actually get started, but was really simple once it got underway. The fights that take place are all about getting into proper position and then play out as a sort of modified “war”, just placing higher-ranked cards down until you win. Of course, you have to consider whether it’s worth using your best cards in this fight and then being left weakened later and such. It’s a good system that becomes second nature fast.

It’s been a bit since we’ve played a straight-up wargame, and we were delighted to find it was compelling without dragging on too long. If you have any desire to play “Risk” again, or if a friend would like to play “Risk” tell them hey whoa wait a minute there’s a game that’s a lot like Risk except it’s way more interesting and one of the players gets to play the Pragmatic Army.

We also got to speak to the editor and one of the artists of the anthology “APB“, or “Artists against Police Brutality” at Easthampton Arts Night Out in Comics N’ More. The collection is powerful and wide-ranging, and hearing directly from the editor about the process behind putting it together and realities of producing something that comes from someplace deeply personal while managing to also not lose all your money. You should absolutely check out the collection and the rest of the work published by Rosarium.

Go check out the Valley Creators page! As always, be sure to check out the Weekly Events page! There are a lot of fun things happening this and every week! And don’t forget to check out the updated Book Clubs List!



Friday, April 15th
Mead Art Musuem [41 Quadrangle Dr, Amherst, MA 01002] at 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Arts a la Carte
Amherst College arts faculty and guest artists will present a night of musical and dance performances in the Mead galleries! A lovely night in a beautiful place.

Board Games:

Saturday, April 16th
Palmer Public Library [1455 N Main St, Palmer, MA 01069] at 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Palmer Scholastic Chess Tournament
Chess! The game of assistant middle-managers, the sport of people who got in line early! Come to Palmer for a 4-round Swiss System tournament, free entry! Bring a bagged lunch, chess set, and chess clock if you’ve got them. There are trophies for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in each section! There are 4 sections: K-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12.
Sunday, April 17th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Sunday Heroclix!
Heroclix is the game for you if you find the recent spate of superhero-conflict movies too stodgy and cliche. Iron Man vs. Captain America? Psh. What about Mr. Fantastic vs. Shade, the Changing Man? What about Galactus vs. Ego, The Living Planet? Create the epic match-ups you really want to see!


Tuesday, April 12th
Odyssey Bookshop [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Iyko Day, Alien Capital: Asian Racialization and the Logic of Settler Colonial Capitalism
The Odyssey brings Mount Holyoke professor Iyko Day to discuss her new book about the history and logic behind settler colonialism. She explores the ties colonialism has with capitalism and the racialization of Asian immigrants, reworking the traditional Native/settler binary to form instead a triangle of Native/settler/alien populations.
Wednesday, April 13th
Odyssey Bookshop [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Katherine Towler, The Penny Poet of Portsmouth: A Memoir of Place, Solitude, and Friendship
Katherine Towler will speak about her new memoir about her friendship with a brilliant poet, Robert Dunn. He lived the majority of his life off the the grid in downtown Portsmouth. Katherine Towler is the author of novels Snow Island, Evening Ferry, and Island Light. She’s also co-editor with Ilya Kaminsky of A God in the House: Poets Talk About Faith.
Thursday, April 14th
Odyssey Bookshop [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Tommy Shea, Dingers: The 101 Most Memorable Home Runs in Baseball History
Local author Tommy Shea will head to the Odyssey to talk about the biggest hits in basebal! Whether it’s the time that Hank Aaron hit a ball so hard that it knocked a satellite out of orbit or the time that Joe Carter hit a baseball that traveled all the way around the world and wound up scoring him a triple during the next inning.
Friday, April 15th
Odyssey Bookshop [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
John Bemelmans Marciano, Witches of Benevento
Benevento is an ancient town in Italy with a Roman theater at the center, a fortress overlooking it, and beautiful farmland. And also witches everywhere! The series follows five cousins as they outwit the sinister witches of Benevento. It’s intended for kids 4-8, but all family members are welcome to the event! Watch out for the Odyssey Witch!
Saturday, April 16th
Odyssey Bookshop [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
April YA Panel: Sarah Rees Brennan & Holly Black
The YA panel convenes two friendly writers who are friends to talk about their latest YA novels, Tell the Wind and the Fire and The Darkest Part of the Forest. Both books involve magic and mysticism and the fantastic and friendship. Holly Black is the author of the best-selling Spiderwick series and Sarah Rees Brennan is the best-selling author of The Demon’s Lexicon! Please RSVP to kids@odysseybks.com!
Sunderland Public Library [20 School St., Sunderland, MA 01375] at 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Local Author Talk with Marietta Pritchard, The Way To Go
Marietta Pritchard will discuss her book about her experiences as a volunteer at the Hospice at the Fisher Home in Amherst. This includes exerpts from her journal, the life stories of several residents, and stories of professionals who work to provide medical attention and everyday comforts to residents.


Thursday, April 14th
Jones Library [43 Amity St., Amherst, MA 01002] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Film & Discussion Series: American Indian Comedy Slam: Goin’ Native, No Reservations Needed
Join local folks at Jones for a funny film featuring a whole lot of great stand-up as well as a panel discussion with local Native people. Free and open to the public!
Palmer Public Library [1455 N Main St, Palmer, MA 01069] at 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Anime Club
Anime! We’re not really certain what Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure is about, but gifs have led us to believe it’s about great hats and posing. Maybe give that a shot? Seems like a solid basis for a few hundred episodes of quality entertainment.
Saturday, April 16th
Jones Library [43 Amity St., Amherst, MA 01002] at 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Murder In A Minute
We have literally nothing to go on here beyond the name. Muder in a minute… but it takes two hours… maybe a movie? Maybe a tutorial? Like you try to figure out the best ways to get your murder times under par? Maybe YOU get murdered in a minute and the rest of the time is blocked out for cleanup? Check it out and report back!
Historic Northampton [46 Bridge Street, Northampton, MA 01060-2406] at 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Very Early Youth Baseball: Games and Sports at the Round Hill School, 1823 to 1834
Before little leagues were the order of the day, the big thing people cared about was keeping those danged ruffian children from busting windows with their stick-balling. The earliest use of the term ‘Baseball’ is actually a Pittsfield bylaw saying hey stop playing near buildings you little monsters. Learn about the history of Baseball at the Northampton Round Hill school in the 1820’s and 30’s with Smith writing instructor Brian Turner!


Wednesdsay, April 13th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Film Screening: Hacking Democracy
Hacking Deomcracy is about the privately-owned voting machines that were possibly hacked to alter voting records during certain elections in the US. Free and handicap accessible, hosted by the Northampton Committee to Stop Wars, with a discussion to follow the screening!
Friday, April 15th
Amherst Cinema [28 Amity St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 9:30 PM to 12:00 PM
Youth of the Beast
Part of the Big in Japan series at Amherst Cinema, see a mysterious stranger muscle into two rival Yakuza gangs and cause an explosion of violence in the Tokyo underworld. Japanese noir at its finest!


Thursday, April 14th
Palmer Public Library [1455 N Main St, Palmer, MA 01069] at 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
RPG Club
Play an RPG with folks at Palmer! We know that it’s a lot of fun to be in a long-running group for a standard dungeon-crawl, but consider getting the group to try one of the many shorter RPGs designed by locals such as Dread or Questlandia! That way you can all have fun without needing to be 100% punctual every other week.


Monday, April 11th
The World War 2 Club [50 Conz St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Nerd Nite NoHo
Nerd Nite! The best Nite of the whole month. This month your charming host will guide you through a lovely evening with presenters Max Price and Muira McCammon. Max will present his research into the history of pigs as livestock in the Middle East, and Muria will talk about her research into the Gitmo Prisoner Library!
Tuesday, April 12th
Adele Simmons Hall Auditorium, Hampshire College [893 West St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Neuroscience in the Age of Big Data
New technologies are making great strides for neuroscience, but they’re also making for new challenges for analysis. Dr. Robert E. Kass will talk about taking a Bayesian approach to analysis, visual perception and what happens when we pay attention, and some comments on scientific reproducibility. Sounds like a far-ranging talk about a lot of intriguing neuroscience!
Wednesday, April 13th
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Wednesday Wizards Science Fun
Learning, fun, and general delight! Learn about an interesting science concept, talk about a book that’ll give you a better idea of the underlying principle, and do a fun activity! Open to all and free.
FPH West Lecture Hall, Hampshire College [893 West St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
What We Mean When We Talk About Land: Climate Change, Colonialism, and Indigenous Resistance. A lecture with Erica Violet Lee, Idle No More.
Wow, that’s a heck of a title. Anyway, in the face of a climate catastrophe brought on in large part via colonialsm, indigenous women are at the forefront of resistance. Hear about the indigenous philosophies that can provide a framework for the rights of nature and a reminder of our responsibility to fight for climate justice.

Video Games:

Monday, April 11th
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Minecraft Group
Hey! You like Minecraft? Computer games? You a kid, I’m guessing? Just based on context? Library Minecraft groups seem to tend toward like 8-12. Anyway, here’s a library Minecraft group! Hang out and have a good time!

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