January 27th – February 2nd

Welcome! This week is packed with delight, dear readers. Let’s get into it!


First up, board games! There are two Start Playing Games events this coming week, one at the good old Brass Cat in Easthampton [January 29th, 7PM – 11:30PM 65 Cottage St, Easthampton] where you’ll get to play Klask! Which okay we weren’t 100% sure about based on the header image but to be honest this post has us convinced it isn’t to be missed:

Holy cow folks. Are you in for a ridiculous treat. This week I’m bringing you the lightning-in-a-bottle that is Klask!

Klask is simply described as Air Hockey without the air, BUT IT IS SO MUCH MORE! There are OBSTACLES (Danger!), MAGNETS (Intrigue!) and PHYSICS (Action!). Seriously, the last person I played it with lost 3 games, and declared ‘I never want to stop!’

I usually put a helpful review or instructional video for people who want to know more about the game… but then I found this video and like that VHS in The Ring it must be shared: https://youtu.be/K5fGSMG9hGs

Yes, it’s barely a board game but WHO CARES. I’ll of course have a whole bunch of other things for folks to poke at from the easy to the complex and will always be happy to teach! So come on out have a beverage of your choice and play a round of KLASK!

Once you’ve blown your dang mind with Klask why not cool down with Start Playing Games at Artifact [January 30th, Artifact Cider Project, 34 Maple St, Northampton MA]? Lanterns will be the featured game, but there are a ton of others!

Or maybe you want to use that table to play an RPG instead? What luck! You can head to the RPG Club at Palmer Public Library! [January 30th, 4PM – 6PM Palmer Public Libary 1455 North Main St., Palmer] They don’t specify what they’re playing, so maybe bring your favorite? Even if you don’t get to start a session that night, you can introduce something fun to new friends!

If you happen to be a teen and you’re into D&D, you can hit up Dungeons & Dragons for Teens! [January 28th 3:30PM – 4:30PM Holyoke Public Library, 250 Chestnut St., Holyoke] We can’t explain it any better than they have:

Dungeons & Dragons is a tabletop role playing game where players create characters and go on adventures to explore dangerous dungeons, fight monsters, uncover mysteries and make all kinds of new friends (and enemies) along the way. This session is open to teens regardless of their experience with roleplaying games, and will explain the very basics while participants create their own characters and plan our first adventure.

No supplies or experience necessary, but feel free to bring your own dice if you so wish! Further meetings will be determined very soon!

Speaking of teens, why not attend Radio Plasma & House of Colors, teens? [January 29th, 3:30PM – 4:30PM Holyoke Public Library, 250 Chestnut St., Holyoke] It sounds like a hoot!

Radio Plasma is a podcast by and for the teens of the Holyoke Library. This weekly Wednesday workshop will teach teens how to record and edit audio, and give them the tools to conduct interviews and produce their own podcast. There’s something new every week, and teens decide what they want to do. Music lovers, musicians, and audiophiles encouraged to attend!

House of Colors, Holyoke’s LGBTQ+ youth resource center, also attends these events. Come say hi!

Maybe you aren’t yet a teen? Well! There’s something for everyone in this extremely helpful newsletter. Head to Jones Library for Graphic Novel Book Club [January 28th and 30th, 4PM – 5PM 43 Amity St., Amherst]. It’s for ages 9 – 12!

On January 28th we’ll meet at Jones Library to discuss Lowriders in Space by Cathy Camper and illustrated by Raúl the Third and Pashmina by Nina Chanani. After our discussion we’ll create our own mini comic books.

Then, on January 30th, we’ll meet for a tour of the special exhibition Now & Then: Contemporary Illustrators and their Childhood Art at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. 

Not into graphic novels? What about film? Teens can check out Teen Film Fridays [January 31st, 2:30PM – 4:30PM Westfield Athenaeum, 6 Elm St., Westfield], weird film buffs can watch The Turin Horse using their Forbes Library account with Kanopy and then talk about it at Far Out Film Discussion! [January 27th, 7:00PM – 9:00PM Forbes Library, 20 West St., Northampton]. And Romantics can watch “Make Me a Match” at the Yiddish Book Center, a movie about matchmaking in the modern era! [February 2nd, 2PM – 3:30PM Yiddish Book Center, 1021 West St, Amherst]

And finally, learn a bit! A bit of science, a bit of art, make yourself a more well-rounded individual. You can check out the SciTech Cafe [January 27th, 6PM – 8PM, Union Station, Northampton] Where you’ll find the answers to fascinating questions like:

  • Why would anyone study animal genitalia? Isn’t that weird?
  • Why do scientists study topics that do not always have a direct application?
  • What is the difference between basic and applied science?
  • How much money do we spend in science?
  • Why should we care about science budgets?

Or if you want the answers right now: It’s not weird, it’s interesting to learn things, applied science means science that has submitted a job application through the official portal, not enough, and because spending money on science directly improves the lives of all human beings.

Then you can see Black Refractions [January 30th, 7PM – 8PM, Smith College Museum of Art, Elm Street At Bedford Ter, Northampton] where guest speaker Whitley Hadley, the Smith director of multicultural affairs, will share a personal response to a single work of art: Black Refractions: Highlights from The Studio Museum in Harlem. Refreshments in the museum atrium immediately following.


Games? That we’re playing? We’re so glad you asked!

We basically finished up with Northgard, which is a fun RTS that’s focused on a slower style of play, sort of half-way a city-builder. It’s a lot of fun, but the games do tend to take a little bit too long. There’s basically no way to “rush” an opponent and win in a few minutes. And while we always bristle when we lose to a rush, dang is it really nice to sometimes play like a 5-minute match. We averaged like an hour in Northgard.

Also we got an achievement that only 0.20% of the players got, which is the rarest one we’ve ever gotten! Slightly cheating since it’s from an expansion pack, but neat.

Dragon Quest XI continues to be very good and ridiculously long.

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