January 20th – 26th

Welcome to the Nerd Watch! In case you missed it, this a new format! We’re no longer doing the Patreon, and we’re no longer exhaustively cataloging all events we can find! Just the ones that are most fun to write about.

Also we’re donating to the Amendment 4 Fines and Fees Fund to help people get through a despicable poll tax and we recommend you do as well.


First up, a new meetup! Indie Founders and Side Projects [Monday, January 20th, 7:00PM – 9:00PM (The Dirty Truth, 29 Main St, Northampton)]! If you’re running an online business or looking to get started, this is a casual place to meet other people who’ve done something similar and have a chat! Drinks and snacks are covered by UserKit, the sponsor of the meetup. So if you’re just looking for dinner, you’ve got a little less than 24 hours to think of a good online business idea.

On to the events! First up Forbes Library has a couple fun events coming up. First, a podcasting workshop for teens [Thursday, January 23rd at 3:15PM – 4:15PM at Forbes Library (20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060)]! Become the next McElroy family, teens! Or more likely, record 5 episodes of a podcast and then drift to other stuff. Still, fun either way.

Learn how to record and edit audio! Start a podcast, record a family oral history, or make sound art. Recording equipment is provided, but feel free to bring a smartphone or tablet if you have one. All skill levels are welcome! Sign up required. Visit us at the Young Adult and Children’s Desk, call (413) 587-1010 or email csieh@forbeslibrary.org.

And then for all folks, teen and non-teen, there’s the Forbes Library Zine Club [Wednesday, January 22nd at 6:30PM – 8:30PM at Forbes Library (20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060)]! Zines are amazing, like comics that are always special limited edition holofoils. You get to read things that almost no one else gets to see! And this zine club is the best place in the Valley to get started!

A club to talk and create all-things-zine! Meeting at Forbes Library on the second floor in the Arts and Music Department. Scissors, glue, paper, and magazines available for use.

For history buffs, you can head to Historic Deerfield and check out “Before 1704: Wampum Traditions and Landscapes of Memory” [Sunday, January 26th at 2:00PM – 3:00PM (80 Old Main St, Deerfield, MA 01342)] Apparently “This year marks the 316th anniversary of the raid on the English settlement of Deerfield by French soldiers, Canadiens, and their Native allies on February 29, 1704.”

The 2020 Winter Lecture series shares new scholarship and insights on an event that continues to captivate more than three centuries later. Join us for three afternoon lectures where presenters will share insights into the role of wampum in regional inter-tribal alliances and inter-cultural encounters in the decades preceding the 1704 attack, the captive experience, and the continuing relevance of the Deerfield raid.

We recommend that attendees plan to arrive early to the lecture. This is an event that is open to the public, with general admission seating.

And if you’re into board games, good word are you in luck this week!

Firstly we’ve got Table Wars [Saturday, January 25th 10:00AM – Sunday, January 26th at 12:00AM (Tolgy Wood: Chesterfield Camp, 22 Sugar Hill Rd., Williamsburg, MA)]! Which is a big weekend board game/tabletop RPG/fun times event put on by the folks at New England LARPers and Tabletoppers! You can even bring your own sled, and play D&D on the go! This particular one is only Saturday, though there’s lodging available if you don’t feel like heading back late night.

Admission to Table Wars is $5 for all of Saturday (morning until the late hours). A bed in a cabin with electricity and heat is just $5/night! It is $25 for a bed in a cabin with more amenities, including a bathroom en suite (available Saturday night only). Online registration is available here: http://tolgywood.com/TableWarsRegistration.html and we will also be accepting payment at the event itself, both cash and credit (credit and online orders include a small additional fee); however, if you wish for a spot in the cabin with a bathroom en suite, we highly recommend registering early).

Also, the snack bar will be open and it’s BYOB!

Earlier in the week Start Playing Games will have be hosting a game night [Thursday, January 23rd at 6:00PM – 10:00PM (Mill 180 Park, Easthampton, MA)] The featured game is Dread, developed by Valley Creator Epidiah Ravachol! Only this particular play will be Star Wars themed! Get murdered by Darth Vader, we bet! A fun night out.

And not only that, it’ll be another Tabletop Day at the Deuce [Sunday, January 26th, 1:30PM – 10:00PM (50 Conz St., Northampton, MA)]! Probably. They never put anything up until it’s like basically day-of. But it’s usually the last Sunday of the month. Play games! Buy beverages! Have fun at a great bar.

And finally, Off the Wall Games is having a big Warhammer 40k tournament! Includes a pizza lunch, which is nice. You need to email your 2000pt list to the store by the 24th if you’re going to join up!


Games we’re playing? Of course! Dragon Quest XI is a delight and a half, old-school JRPG both to a fault and for the best. Beautiful to look at, lots of fun animations, and doing such a good job of such a stock game format that you almost forget you’ve done it a thousand times.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice – intense, interesting, well-acted, probably not necessarily something that works super well as an action-adventure game? The fights are pretty easy, even on Hard, which made me want to just skip them, but they’re also a decent chunk of the total hours. It feels like a game you should walk through slowly, carefully observing the world around you. But you can’t, because it’s very much a game. You dance around puzzle-solving, sprinting (as much as you’re able) to get to the next bit, repeatedly doing a finishing move to kill the same enemy you’ve killed 50 times. The story surrounding it is impressive, but the contribution of the game-y elements is less so.

Which, keeping in the Viking theme, God of War’s opening moments have been surprisingly good contrast to. It’s still a very game-y game, trying to do some more high-minded storytelling than the series standard of “AYAAAARRRRGH YUAAAAAAAARH [blood, squishing noises]”. But the fighting is the point, it’s what the game’s about. It’s well-crafted and fun in the moment, and it still does a good job of supporting the story as much as repetitive fighting can. I don’t want to skip it, at the least.


Thanks for reading! You’re great, keep it up.

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