February 10th – 16th

We’ll start with science! Head over to OEB Science Cafe this week [Thursday the 13th from 6PM – 7PM at the Nacul Center, 592 Main St., Amherst MA] to find out about Fire! Fire, our dearest friend, or most cunning foe. Fire, warm which is nice but also VERY warm which is bad! This is mostly about specifically how it relates to wider ecosystems and what it can do for good or ill. Also this is just a great line “Join Dr Emily Fusco and George LoCascio as we discuss the past, present, and future of fire.” It sounds like a class at a wizard academy. Also free food is there!

Oh, and we missed it last week but local author James L. Cambias has a new book out! The Initiate. Logline: “A SECRET ORDER OF SORCERERS RULES THE WORLD. ONE MAN HAS VOWED TO DESTROY THEM.” NICE.

And now, boardgames! There’s a big deal event this week with Start Playing Games [Wednesday the 12th from 7PM – 11:30PM at the Brass Cat, 65 Cottage St., Easthampton]! You can get a chance to play a game so new that it’s not even really out yet! It just finished the Kickstarter! It won’t even be out for a year, in fact. So this is your only chance to play it for a long while. But don’t listen to us, listen to Start Playing’s own Justin:

You all probably knew it was coming, and here it is! I couldn’t be more excited to invite you to test out what is sure to be one of the biggest games of 2021!

Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile is the most recent Kickstarter success from the same team that brought you Root! (designer Cole Wehrle, artist Kyle Ferrin and Leder Games). This game is hugely ambitious, with a dash of Root’s asymmetry and a unique system that changes the experience every time you play. I wouldn’t quite call it a Legacy game, but this definitely stands on the shoulders of those systems. The team at Leder games is looking to us to help with play tests and the wonderful Joshua Yearsley will be there to help you put it through it’s paces.

So come on out and help this game be more awesome that it already looks to be! See you on Wednesday!

There’s also a 200-point X-Wing Tournament at Off the Wall Games [Sunday the 16th from 11AM – 4PM, 41 Russell St., Hadley] that’s got a $10 entry fee and some Friday Night Magic as well! Four rounds, $5 entry, great prizes![Friday the 14th from 7PM – 10:30PM, 41 Russell St., Hadley]. Or if you’re interested you could head to the Pioneer Valley Planeswalkers event to play instead! [Friday the 14th from 7PM, College Church, 48 Pomeroy Terrace].

Maybe you’re more interested in history? For a mere $12 ($8 if you’re a member) you can join naturalist Laurie Sanders on a Mystery Amble of a Mystery Area that has a “direct and important tie-in to Northampton’s history”, could it be the fabled location where the great Northern Ham itself founded the town? Possibly! “Be prepared for uneven terrain, slippery conditions, off-trail exploring and (of course!) cold weather.” [Tuesday the 11th, 4PM – 5:30PM, Mystery Location to be revealed once you RSVP!] You can also get a behind the scenes look at the “Making it on Main Street” exhibit [Thursday the 13th, from 5PM – 6PM, Historic Northampton, 46 Bridge Street Northampton]

Another way to better understand local history this week [Saturday the 15th, 2PM – 4PM

Celebrate Basil Dorsey Day! Author Bob Drinkwater will give a slide show presentation on his new book, In Memory of Susan Freedom: Searching for Gravestones of African Americans in Western Massachusetts. Basil Dorsey’s family and Florence’s Park Street Cemetery feature large in the discussion.

The Jones Library’s Film & Discussion series will be watching a documentary about crusading journalist Ida B. Wells [Tuesday the 11th from 7PM – 9PM, 43 Amity St., Amherst].

This documentary explores the life and times of this African American journalist, activist, suffragist and anti-lynching crusader of the post-Reconstruction period. Though virtually forgotten today, Ida B. Wells-Barnett was a household name in Black America during much of her lifetime (1863-1931) and was considered the equal of her well-known African American contemporaries, such as Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois. A brief discussion follows the screening. Free & open to the public.

Speaking of films, you can see The Burning Child at the Yiddish Book Center [Sunday the 16th from 2PM – 3:30PM, 1021 West St., Amherst] and learn about the history of Vienna from around 1900 to the present day. “Through interviews, testimony, and archival footage, the film presents the Viennese interior against the backdrop of Austria’s troubled past.” It’s $6 for students, $8 for members and seniors, and $10 for all others.

Teen events? Sure! We’ve got ’em! Book Boot Camp at Sunderland Public Library [Monday the 10th from 6:30PM – 7:30PM, 20 School St., Sunderland] will give folks 11-18 a chance to read a fantasy any fantasy novel they choose and then talk about it with other people while drinking cocoa! Not into fantasy? Maybe try anime at the Anime and Manga Club for Teens at Holyoke Library on Tuesday [3:30PM – 4:30PM, 250 Chestnut St., Holyoke] or Anime Club at the Palmer Public Library [Thursday the 13th, 6PM – 68PM, 1455 North Main St., Palmer]! Or maybe you’re into the arts? Make a zine! You can do it at the Forbes Library Zine Club on Wednesday [6:30PM – 8:30PM, 20 West St., Northampton] or at Teen Arts: Zine Making on Friday [3PM – 4PM, 20 West St., Northampton]! Both of them will provide materials, so all you need to do is show up.

Kids: Read comic books at the Comics Club at Forbes Library [Thursday the 13th at 3:30PM – 4:15PM, 20 West St., Northampton]! Or maybe head over to the Holyoke Library to spend some time listening to a story with the Mr. Pickle and Friends Story Hour! Juice and Snacks provided, Mr. Pickle and other drag performers will read books to children, sing, dance, and have other family friendly fun! Speaking of family friendly: there’s an All Ages day at Prodigy Minigolf & Gameroom this week [Sunday the 16th from 10AM – 1PM, 116 Pleasant St, Suite 018, Easthampton] and it’s only $12!

RPG Fans: Check out the RPG Club at Palmer Public Library [Thursday the 13th, 4PM – 6PM, 1455 North Main St., Palmer] or perhaps D&D at the Westfield Athenaeum [Saturday the 15th, 12PM – 4PM, 6 Elm St, Westfield]

And finally: some miscellaneous events! Hawks and Reed has Drag Queen Bingo ($1 – $10) [Thursday the 13th at 8pm – 10pm, 289 Main St., Greenfield] and Trivia ($5 entry) [Wednesday the 12th at 5:30PM – 8PM, 289 Main St., Greenfield] this week! There’s Free Second Friday at the Smith College Museum of Art [Friday the 14th, Elm St. At Bedford Ter, Northampton]! And the Spring Opening Reception at the Mead Art Museum [Tuesday the 11th from 5PM – 7PM, 41 Quadrangle Dr, Amherst]! And then authors Meg Little Reilly [Tuesday the 11th, from 7PM – 8:30PM, 9 College St., South Hadley] and Helen Fremont [Wednesday the 12th, from 7PM – 8:30PM, 9 College St., South Hadley] are at Odyssey Bookshop!

Also this week we got our copy of the new Root expansions finally! They’re so cool, the Corvids and the Underground Duchy are great new twists on the gameplay, and the updated rules come with some really useful updates about how to arrange a fun game. Plus we got a couple of the little upgrade packs, so we have some new Vagabond characters and a whole new set of cards to swap in with the Exiles and Partisans pack. Ooh and updated automatic factions too, which is awesome because it’s rough getting 4 people together for a long game. Also it allows for a co-op mode against the bots!

Also we just started playing a bit of The Long Dark this week and it’s great that the game starts off with “Wolves don’t generally act like this, and also you can’t really rely on this game for survival tips it’s a videogame”. We took note, and will not attempt to survive several weeks in the frigid wilderness by eating a single cattail stalk every 2 hours.

Dang that’s a good game, we gotta play it more often. There are now like 40 possible 4-player combinations that work well too so we’ve got a ways to go before we exhaust ourselves.

Have a great week, folks!

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