Star Trek

October 12th – October 18th

XMen49CoverThe Valley Nerd Watch!


First of all, some sad local news. In case you were not aware, the Platinum Pony experienced a very intense fire last Monday night. No one was injured, as it took place after the close of business. Because of the damage, the Platinum Pony will be closed until former notice. If they need community support to rebuild, they’ll ask and we’ll let you know! For now, they’ll update about performer relocations and the like. Here’s hoping they get back on their feet quickly and put on more fun events!

So hey on a totally different note: it’s Halloweentober! The creepy month of scary things. You know what you should do during the month of Creeptober? Read a bunch of comics that are about monsters and all that jazz!

Local artist Lex Cornell is a good place to start! She draws a bunch of comics, one of which is the charming “Welcome to Enigma“, which we bought at TopatoCon. It’s a comic about a town full of monsters who are all really nice and a young man who believes monsters are fairy tales finding out that oh wait no they’re totally real and totally rad! Well… it ends before he comes out and says “whoa all these people are rad” but it’s obvious to the READER that monsters are rad. It’s light, it’s a quick read, and we were charmed.

Not a local, but we have definitely got to recommend reading Emily Carroll’s amazing work as well! She does just… really intense, really impressive stuff. Her monsters are not rad! They’re scary and distressing. Probably our favorite stories of hers are “Out of Skin“, on of the most distressingly illustrated works we’ve read, and “His Face All Red“, an understated but very creepy tale. You can pick up some of her work from local retailer TopatoCo!

Finally, kind of splitting the difference between terrifying and funny, there’s Abby Howard! “The Last Halloween” is a rollicking horror-adventure-comedy. Abby’s art style works incredibly well for this cross-genre storytelling. It’s as light and fluffy and cartoonish as it needs to be to sell a dumb joke, and then it turns around and presents real freaky horror monsters just when you get comfortable! Super nifty across the board.

So yes, read all those comics. Also probably re-watch The Thing? That’s a heck of a horror flick.

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!

THIS WEEK


Board Games:

Saturday, October 17th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Board Game Playtest
Are you a fan of board games? Want to help local designers refine their work? Come to Modern Myths! Local board and card game designers will have beta test games available for playtesting! Try something new, and help people out with feedback! If you’re a local designer and want to demo, send a message to Modern Myths!
Sunday, October 18th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Sunday Heroclix
Heroclix! Fun little collectible super-person fight miniatures. It’s a little bit streamlined and you don’t have to paint them! Or get to paint them, if you’re the sort of person who likes painting minis. Although you COULD paint them, we suppose…
Saturday, October 17th
Off the Wall Games [41 Russell Street, Hadley, MA 01035] at Mystery Time
Star Trek Attack Wing
We’ve never played the attack wing games, but they seem really well-made and entertaining. Though really shouldn’t the Star Trek variant be composed primarily of rolling “make passionate speech” die and maneuvering into position to reach out a hand of friendship across all worlds.
Sunday, October 17th – 18th
Off the Wall Games [41 Russell Street, Hadley, MA 01035] at Mystery Time at All Day
Kings of War Demo
Kings of War! A miniatures game. We really don’t super understand how to differentiate between these sorts of rule systems, but it seems fun? Wow could there be fewer orc/elf/dwarf fantasy wars though. You can bring your own models, but there will be miniatures in the store to learn with for free!
Saturday, October 17th
Palmer Public Library [1455 North Main Street, Palmer, MA 01069] at 10:00am – 2:00pm
Palmer Scholastic Chess Tournament
For any student attending the Palmer Public Schools! The games begin at 10:00am, and it’s a 4-round Swiss system. Entry is free, and you get a trophy for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in each age bracket! Fun times. Bring a lunch!

Books:

Saturday, October 17th
Jones Library [43 Amity St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 10:00am – 12:00pm
Traditional or Independent Publishing?
Join Steve Strimer of Levellers Press, Zane Kotker, a nationally acclaimed fiction writer, and Dusty J. Miller, a non-fiction and mystery writer for a panel about publishing! How to get your work out there and what challenges await, from experienced people!
Tuesday, October 13th
Odyssey Bookshop [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00pm
May Alcott spends her days sewing blue shirts for Union soldiers, but she dreams of painting a masterpiece. she moves far from Massachusetts to make a life for herself with room for both watercolors and a wedding dress, can she succeed? And if she does, what price will she pay?
Wednesday, October 14th
Odyssey Bookshop [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00pm
A stunning collection whose remarkable characters intersect in life-affirming and heartbreaking manners. A 1930’s Soviet censor painstakingly correct offending photos, a chorus of women recite their stories, two brothers share a fierce and protective love. A captivating work from a great new talent!
Thursday, October 15th
Odyssey Bookshop [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00pm
You might say risk… is his middle name. Probably gets that literally every single moment of every day. A shooting in Central Park is the impetus for an investigation into a cast of complex characters. When a blackout hits, all of their lives will be change forever!
Friday, October 16th
South Hadley Public Library [2 Canal St., South Hadley] at 7:00pm
A master creator of heavy-hitting novels for young readers presents his newest book. This novel presents the shattering story of Joseph, a father at thirteen who has never seen his daughter, Jupiter.
Sunday, October 18th
Odyssey Bookshop [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00pm
Moderated by the Jones Library’s own Young Adult Services Coordinator, Garrett Pinder, these three authors will discuss their most recent novels. They’ll also give some insight into the strategies and techniques they use to craft compelling characters that resonate with readers long after the end of their books!

Card Games:

Saturday, October 18th
Worlds Apart Games [48 North Pleasant Street B2, Amherst, MA 01002] at 12:00pm – 7:00pm
Standard PPTQ & Modern GPT Pittsburgh
Ah, our old friend Pittsburgh the elf. Back again, Pittsburgh wants you to try your skills at Standard Proud Princess Training in Quarterstaffs, and Modern Grand Pleasant Times! There are a ton of prize packs, and buy-in is $30.

Comics:

Thursday, October 15th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Queers in Comics & Games
A monthly discussion group meeting the third Thursday of every month, discussion topics such as LGBTQIA+ representation in comics and games. It’s a nice group where you can talk and listen and get great recommendations! Admission is a $5 Day Pass which you an immediately redeem as store credit.

Computers:

Thursday, October 15th
Last Call Media [136 West St., Suite 01, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:00pm
Western MA Drupal Meetup
Are you a Drupal developer? A website person who makes those websites with Drupal, the website making development kit? Well, why not talk to other people with similar skills and interests? Trade tips, make connections, generally have a good time! Drinks generally to follow.
Friday, October 16th
Packard’s Bar – Library Room [14 Masonic St., Northampton, MA 01060] at 8:00pm
Northampton Webdive – After Dark
Do you code? Why not talk to other people who code? It’ll be a good time, you’ll meet some new pals with similar skills and interests. Also, this one is After Dark so it’s all sultry and dangerous. Maybe you’ll solve a murder AND get mixed up in some sort of star-crossed love affair?
Saturday, October 17th
Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center [Cabot Street, Holyoke, MA] at 10:00am
Workshop/Bootcamp: Design Thinking: The Fundamentals of Human-Centered Design
A half-day workshop about designing using rapid prototyping and innovative thinking, including a bootcamp where you can try out the process! You’ll learn how to inspire and steward a culture of creativity in your team and how to create sustainable and effective design solutions.

Entertainment:

Saturday, October 17th
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 2:00pm – 4:00pm
Quidditch Club
Quidditch is extra-appropriate during the most magical month of the year! They play the muggle version, because most of the kids around here can’t fly yet. You can also take classes with Professor McGonagall! For kids ages 6-13, rain or shine!
Thursday, October 15th
Palmer Public Library [1455 North Main Street, Palmer, MA 01069] at 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Anime Club
Anime! It’s cartoons, mostly from Japan and with a much higher awesome cyborg average than most Western cartoons. Come talk about anime, manga, and whatnot with some other folks. Open to teens and young adults, 14 and up.

Movies:

Friday, October 16th
Sunderland Public Library [20 School Street, Sunderland, MA 01375] at 6:00pm
Hocus Pocus Movie Night
Hocus Pocus is SUCH a strange film. It’s a Halloween classic, but wow. So many little slightly distressing and surprisingly child-inappropriate bits. Still, we always make sure to give it a watch during October!
Sunday, October 18th
Mystery Location Shown Only to Members
Hello, McFly! Back to the Future Movie Night!
Join the friendly folks at the Western Mass Sci-Fi club as they welcome Marty McFly to the future with a viewing of Back to the Future Part II. Why the 18th, instead of the 21st? The 21st is a Wednesday. It costs $5 to attend, and you need to sign up for the Meetup group!

RPGs:

Sunday, October 18th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 1:00pm – 5:00pm
13th Age RPG
Try a fun D20 RPG! It’s been praised by a lot of folks for having a really interesting and well-crafted set of non-combat systems. And really, as fun as it is to bash goblins, the most entertaining part of playing RPGs is figuring out those interpersonal moments.
Thursday, October 15th
Palmer Public Library [1455 North Main Street, Palmer, MA 01069] at 4:00pm
RPG Club
Come hang out and roll up a character! Go on adventures, take daring risks for incredible rewards, and have a fun time with some other people telling an exciting story.
Friday, October 16th
Chesterfield Scout Reservation [22 Sugar Hill Road, Chesterfield, MA]
Magestry LARP Autumn Game 3
Magestry! Adventure, mysticism, and bewonderment in our lovely Valley! This is the penultimate game of the season and they’re putting out a general call for the maximum number of NPCs! Be a villain or a monster and stand in the path of the brave heroes as they bop you repeatedly! Sounds kind of awesome honestly. NPCing is free, and they feed you! Even doing it a few hours would help out. Contact NPC@Magestry.com if you’re interested.

Science:

Thursday, October 15th
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 3:00pm – 5:00pm
STEAM Events for Kids
Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math! Learn and have fun at the library every Thursday with a guest presenter. Who’s presenting this week? It is a mystery. But they will be delightful, that’s guaranteed.

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August 10th – August 16th

XMen44CoverThe Valley Nerd Watch!


We have a big announcement this week! So you all love Nerd Nite Northampton because it’s a good time where you drink and socialize and get to hear about interesting things, right? Right, agreed. Well done, we’re starting off on solid footing.

Well, Mo is leaving. Mo, the person who does Nerd Nite! That’s terrible! Yes! It’s the worst, weeping and gnashing your teeth is the appropriate reaction to this news. Let it all out. But wait! There’s great news that will turn around your mood!

Ebru, the person who has brilliantly and selflessly assisted with Nerd Nite, and is responsible for all the really nice pictures of the event, is going to step up and take the reins of Nerd Nite! She’s great, and this is great. But there’s EVEN BETTER news!

Our lovely founder James is going to partner up with Ebru to make Nerd Nite even better! James is super into talking to a captive audience, so he’s going to MC the events from now on. He’s also going to be helping out Ebru with things like putting up flyers and finding speakers! It will be pretty wonderful!

So what we’re saying is that if you haven’t already gone to Nerd Nite a bunch, you should start! It’s only going to get better with two nerds at the helm!

Come see Nerd Nite at Eastworks tomorrow at 7:00pm! It’s going to be a chat about prison populations and the dangers of overuse of technology. It will be an excellent, interesting time!

This is the last day you’ve got left to get a discount on the very excellent RPG Questlandia! Developed by local notables Hannah Shaffer and Evan Rowland, you definitely will enjoy it! It’s a good time with friends, a cooperative GM-less RPG that’s simple to pick up and play.

Remember, the ~*Weekly Events*~ page exists and it was recently updated! It loves you and it misses you! Also look at the Book Club list!

THIS WEEK


Art:

Tuesday, August 11th
Edwards Public Library [30 East St, Southampton, MA 01073] at 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Fairy Houses
Build houses for the wee people of the forest! Trap them in a maze of the familiar in order to extract their mysterious power! Warp their wills to your own, constructing an army fit to bring the mundane world to heel! Bring a small box as a base.

Board Games:

Sunday, August 16th
Greenfield Games [228 Main St Greenfield, MA 01301] at 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Star Trek Attack Wing OP Event: “Peak Performance”
We love games in fictional settings because they’re inevitably just real silly seeming. Strategema, 3D chess, Quidditch, they’re all just poorly designed and boring. Because obviously the writers are writing adventures, not designing board games. Anyway! Go to Greenfield Games and try to prove your crew is operating at “peak performance” by defeating the Federation’s most powerful flagship with a salvaged Constellation class that doesn’t have a functional warp drive! Should be fun! Read the rules for this game here!

Card Games:

Saturday, August 15th
Off the Wall Games [41 Russell Street, Hadley, MA 01035] at Mystery Time
Magic The Gathering PPTQ
Hang out and play Magic the Gathering at Off the Wall Games! Should be a fun time. More details are coming according to the website, but we’re pretty certain that we can figure it out. Pretty Princess Training Quest? Pleasantly Plump Time Quakes? Private Prowling Triplet Queens? It’s gotta be one of them, right? There are probably prizes!

Movies:

Monday, August 10th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Land of the Free Movie Screening
The Northampton Committee to Stop War presents a free screening of Land of the Free followed by a discussion of the film with Lois Ahrens from the Real Cost of Prison project! Learn new, probably quite depressing things! Maybe work toward positive change after you learn sad things!
Sunday, August 16th
The Platinum Pony [30 Cottage St, Easthampton, MA 01027] at 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Movie Night: The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games universe is really kind of a surprise hit. If you’d asked us “Nerd Watch: what are teens all about?” a few years ago we’d have definitely said malls, kisses, and cell phones. We would not have said terrifying moral quandries, forced murder, and the horrific aftereffects of total war. Teens are darker than we realized!

RPGs:

Monday, August 10th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 3:00pm – 7:00pm
Public RPG: Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons and Dragons! Hosted by Neal Robinson. It’s the 5th Edition, which seems to be striking a bit of a sweet spot in terms of balancing role-play and decent combat mechanics. Though we really recommend focusing on the role-playing regardless. It’s easy to get sucked into 10 hours of D&D combat, but role-playing makes for much more entertaining stories!
Thursday, August 13th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Public RPG: Edge of the Empire
WAIT how did we not know the PREMISE here? This is an alternate-universe setting! Set just after A New Hope, in a universe where Vader just cracked Luke’s X-Wing cockpit with the Force, killing him and saving the Death Star. Delightful. Tim Shields hosts as players enter this dark universe as mercenaries working for a Hutt on the planet Gavos. Pre-made characters are available and new players are welcome!
Saturday, August 15th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Public RPG: D&D 5th Edition
Stop by Comics N’ More to play N’ More D&D on the weekend! This one sounds fun, it’s a one-session module hand-crafted by the hard working and extremely nerdy staff at Comics N’ More and hosted by Lex Mandrake. Justify their writing off creating a D&D module as “work” by attending! New players are welcome, pre-made characters are provided!
Sunday, August 16th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Sagas of the Icelanders
An exciting new game! This sounds really neat. It’s a game about the first Norse Settlers of Iceland, a country that still has about 17 people total, which should give you an idea of how difficult it was to colonize. Challenge social norms! Get into bloody feuds! Survive a winter that puts Game of Thrones to shame! Tell your saga! Powered by the Apocalypse, a system developed in our Happy Valley! Admission is a $5 day pass that immediately becomes store credit. Pre-made characters are provided!

Science:

Monday, August 10th
Sunderland Public Library [20 School Street, Sunderland, MA 01375] at 2:00pm – 3:00pm and 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Blizzards: Outwit the Elements
There’s only one defense we have against the elements: our wits! Without or sharp senses of humor and elegant comedic timing we’d be defenseless. Luckily, cold is a sucker for a well-constructed bon mot. Visit the Sunderland Public Library to check out a neat presentation about engineering a house to withstand harsh weather! It’s appropriate for ages 5 and up.
Sunderland Public Library [20 School Street, Sunderland, MA 01375] at 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Teens and Tweens Board Game Night
Are you the sort of Indoor Kid who likes board games? Meet fellow nerds at this event in the library! Make pals, play games, have a whale of a time with fellow tweens. Look, we don’t know what tweens get up to these days, but can we recommend Pandemic? It’s fun. This event is for grades 5th – 8th!
Eastworks [116 Pleasant St, Easthampton, MA 01027] at 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Nerd Nite Northampton
Nerd Nite! Our founder James is going to MC this one! It’ll be really neat! First, Locked Up, but Not Locked Out: Juvenile Offenders Building Better Lives by Gwynne Morriessey, who has a Ph.D. in Education Policy. Then, the Real Killer App: How Today’s Tech Diminishes Our Lives. How Gadgets are messing with your social life! By Mo Lotman of The Technoskeptic.
Wedneday, August 12th
Earth in General [Anywhere dark, really!] at Very Late Night/Early Morning if it is Clear
The Perseid Meteor Shower
Experience the mystery and wonder of visible evidence that we are on a rock and that rock is moving through space! It’s wonderful and beautiful and we really can’t recommend it enough. Stay up, be a bit woozy at work tomorrow. How often do you get to witness dozens of shooting stars?

Video Games:

Wednesday, August 12th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Minecraft Club
Play Minecraft with other kids! Learn how to do really neat things, like how to make complex electrical devices with Redstone. Good times all around. The fine people at Northampton Community Television will be visiting the Club this week to film a short promo video and talk to people about the club! Participation in the filming is optional.

August 3rd – August 9th!

XMen57CoverThe Valley Nerd Watch!


As always, be sure to check out the ~*Weekly Events*~ page! There are a lot of fun things happening this and every week!

Two things defined this weekend for us: playing the Game of Game of Thrones with friends and getting to check out the lovely cookout at the top of Mount Sugarloaf that the Pioneer Valley Game Developers put on to celebrate their successful first year!

The Game of Game of Thrones was an interesting time. We’d had a chance to play at one of the previous Board Game Day at the Deuce events, and found it an interesting hidden-orders game with a setting that got a charge out of people. Playing it with only three players this weekend definitely introduces some cracks to it. For instance entire areas of the game are cut off from play in an attempt to make things fair for the Starks if you’re only playing with three people.

Still, it’s a good time for you Game of Thrones fans. We also found out while playing that the Lannisters could not be considered “the good guys”, even if we were playing them!

The PVGD cookout was amazing! Sugarloaf is surprisingly beautiful and the food was plentiful and delicious. The people were also real excellent! We spoke at length with a lot of wonderful folks who we will definitely bug for interviews in the future! We can’t recommend the PVGD events enough if you’re the sort of person interested in designing any sort of game. They put you in touch with a great community.

Remember that the Nerd Nite for this month is NEXT Monday, the 10th! It’s going to focus on jailing and rehabilitation and the danger of insidious technological creep. Should be neat!

Remember, the ~*Weekly Events*~ page exists! It loves you and it misses you! Also look at the Book Club list!

THIS WEEK


Board Games:

Saturday, August 8th
Off the Wall Games [41 Russell Street, Hadley, MA 01035] at Mystery Time
Star Trek Attack Wing Event
??????? It is a Mystery ???????? but presumably you will in some way play Star Trek Attack Wing, a miniatures game where you boldy go destroy people with laser beams in order to further the Federation quest for peace in the galaxy.
Burger King Community Room [344 King St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 12:00pm
Tabletop Gaming Day
Join the lovely people in the Pioneer Valley Geeks and Gamers/Western Mass Sci-Fi Meetup Group for a day of tabletop games! Bring a game that you’re interested in playing if you’d like! We recommend Cosmic Encounter, it’s amazing. Also, we’ve had fun with Roll for the Galaxy. Space!
Sunday, August 9th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Sunday Heroclix!
Heroclix, the fun miniatures game about that moment in comics when all the dialogue is focused exclusively on explaining to other people in the fight what various characters can do and why. Play at Comics N’ More with host Jaimie!

Books:

Wednesday, August 5th
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 6:00pm
First Wednesday Speaker Series: Barry Dietz
Join the fine folks at the Greenfield Public Library and presenter Barry Dietz for an interesting discussion of Lewis Carroll and the writing of the classic weird-fiction horror story for children, Alice in Wonderland!

Card Games:

Friday, August 7th
Greenfield Games [228 Main St Greenfield, MA 01301] at 6:00pm
Magic The Gathering August Friday Night Magic
Every Friday at 6pm in August, there will be two tournaments with two formats! Standard and Modern, Swiss pairing, three or four rounds. There’s a $5 entry fee and a lot of prizes! Booster packs plus a promo card! Fun times with magical magic cards!
Saturday, August 8th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Magic Origins Game Day
Magic! The game with those cards that have pictures and sometimes quotes on them! It’s fun, say a lot of people. Come to Modern Myths to play Standard Constructed Deck, each participant gets a full-art promo card, and each player in the top 8 receives a premium full-art promo card. Winner gets a playmat! There’s a $10 entry fee!
Off the Wall Games [41 Russell Street, Hadley, MA 01035] at 12:00pm
Magic Origins Game Day
Magic! The game we probably bought about 14 decks worth of cards for without playing more than twice. Dang, what silly kids we were. Anyway! This is a free event, standard format!
Greenfield Games [228 Main St Greenfield, MA 01301] at 1:00pm
Magic Origins Game Day
Magic! A game that you probably either play obsessively or not at all! Standard format, Swiss pairings followed by top player elimination rounds. Conclave Naturalist extended art promo card just for participating! Languish extended art promo card for the top 8, and a special champion playmat for the ultimate winner!
Sunday, August 9th
Greenfield Games [228 Main St Greenfield, MA 01301] at 1:00pm
Magic Origins Game Day
See above! It’s basically the same. BUT this game day will take place in the future of that previous event! If you go to this event before the Saturday one, you’ve time-traveled and you need help.

Comics:

Thursday, August 6th
Palmer Public Library [1455 North Main Street, Palmer, MA 01069] at 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Anime Club
Watch, read, discuss, and enjoy anime and manga! Open to Teens and young adults ages 14 and up!
Sunday, August 3rd
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Comic Creator’s Jam
Monthly discussion with a group of both veteran and aspiring comic creators! Talk about the process of creation, talk about writing, talk about art, talk about lettering, talk about kerning, talk about fonts, talk about serifs! Woah no wait, probably focus less on typography we got off track there. Anyway, it is hosted by Kat Cahill and also it is a nice time!

Computers:

Tuesday, August 4th
The Foundry [24 Main St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:00pm
Northampton Webdive – After Work
Are you a cool sort who likes to make web related stuff? You should talk to more people in your line of work! We don’t really know precisely how freelance work works but we’re almost certain that the more people you know the better! Meet with nice fellow coders of NoHo WebDev and have a drink!

Entertainment:

Thursday, August 6th
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 4:00pm – 5:00pm
Talking Hands Theatre Company Puppet Show
Celebrate the end of Summer Reading with a special puppet superhero story presentation! Watch Ruby Raccoon and Benny Bunny go from being little superheroes in training to little superheroes in action! They will need to prove they’re super helpful, super fearless, and want to save the world! Spoiler it pretty much will likely go well? Though if this winds up being Little Watchmen we would kind of respect that.

RPGs:

Thursday, August 6th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 10:30pm
Indie RPG Night
Come play interesting RPGs at Modern Myths! Are you tired of the same-old? Are you not remotely familiar with RPGs? In either case, this is your time to try out interesting new games in a low pressure environment! It was at one of these events that the Nerd Watch fell in love with the Apocalypse system! Which is less sinister than it sounds. There’s a $5 fee for entry, immediately converted to store credit!
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Pathfinder Pirates
Pirates! Scourge of the Seven Seas! Or however many your GM chooses to put in we suppose. Consult with your GM about the number of seas! This is a 5th level game of Pathfinder, but feel free to join in at any session! Pre-made characters and dice are provided! You don’t have to make your own dice! Hosted by Time Shields!
Palmer Public Library [1455 North Main Street, Palmer, MA 01069] at 4:00pm – 6:00pm
RPG Club
Join lovely people at Palmer Public Library to play role-playing games! What type? Who knows! It could be a lot of things! Maybe they’re playing something you don’t like? Use rhetoric to change their opinions! You have the power! All ages are welcome, no experience necessary!
Saturday, August 8th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Public RPG: D&D Planescape
Planescape! Essentially the fanfic universe of the D&D cosmos. It’s a fun place to be. Christian Haining will host this game for 5th level characters. Feel welcome to drop in at any point, there are pre-made characters provided! You will need to chisel your own dice out of stone, unfortunately.

July 20th – July 26th

XMen100CoverThe Valley Nerd Watch!


A Late Nerd Watch but for a super great reason: we had stuff to do that was mysterious! Okay mostly it was the mystery of procrastination, same as every week.

But THEN we had to take some time to see Ant-Man! Important nerd stuff. The Official Nerd Watch Review of this Official Nerdy But Very Much Within The Framework of Current Popular Culture film was that it was quite nice. It’s smaller than most of the Marvel offerings, Paul Rudd is a charmer as always, the character was played as legitimately interesting which was nice, and there were some pretty funny jokes interspersed with engaging action.

It was a nice come-down from Age of Ultron, which felt kind of over-stuffed at a lot of points.

We’re going to have some pretty interesting things to talk about probably this week or next, so stay tuned, people who we’re going to presume already do pretty much read these once a week! We take our reader loyalty on faith. We totally wouldn’t mind frenzied exhortations of our usefulness though. Feel free to light up our Twitter with how great we are if you’re so inclined! Also please share this newsletter!

We know everyone asks you to share everything and it’s always a bit mercenary and weird but look here is some straight talk: we really just want to make sure we’re useful. We know not everyone finds something in the newsletter they want to go to every week. But we’re pretty sure at least something appeals to the people reading this or friends of theirs reasonably often.

We also know that there are people out there sitting at home feeling left out of a community that would welcome them if they only knew about it, and we want to reach them. We’re not in this to figure out a way to turn your views into money and spam you with nonsense. We’re in this to inform, and to see how long we can keep making new jokes based around roleplaying formats. We appreciate any help you’re willing to give!

Also we are going to be going to D&D Encounters this week with a friend! They’ve never played an RPG and were wondering what they’re even like! It’ll be neat and we’re going to have a great time and probably we’ll do a small feature about it on the page afterward where we discuss introducing D&D and roleplaying games in general to a totally new player.

As always, be sure to check out the Weekly Events page! There are a lot of fun things happening this and every week! And the Book Club List!

THIS WEEK


Art:

Friday, July 24th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 2:30pm – 3:30pm
Hero Wristband Craft
Children! Create a unique and customizable hero wristband! We can only assume that children are aware that wearing the wristband in public might lead to super-villain fights, so be prepared to step up when the time comes! Warn your friends!

Board Games:

Sunday, July 26th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 1:00pm – 4:00pm
PEN: Puzzle Enthusiasts of Northampton
Puzzles! We’d count our level of puzzle enthusiasm at the Nerd Watch somewhere between Professor Layton and Dr. Watson. No, not Holmes. Holmes was compelled to solve mysteries, but he didn’t really seem to find them enjoyable. Watson had fun though, he was the cool one. YES HE WAS. Anyway! Word games and puzzles in a pleasant setting, $5 Day Pass for admission, which is also immediate store credit! It’s like a drink minimum, but for taking up tables at Modern Myths.
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Sunday Heroclix!
Heroclix! A fun miniatures battle game, basically bashing action figures together for those of us who always felt the experience needed more rules and math before it could really take off. Settle the age-old argument of who would win in a fight: Ant-Man or Aunt-Man!
Greenfield Games [228 Main St Greenfield, MA 01301] at 1:00pm – 4:30pm
Star Trek Attack Wing Op: Q Continuum Month 2, “Deja Q”
Man, remember Q? Q’s fun. Annoying, just the worst, and absolutely should not work on a show like Star Trek, but generally a good time we think. A testament to good acting and surprisingly decent trickster-god writing! Anyway! Play an awesome Attack Wing operation with special rules based on “Deja Q”! Entry is $5, and the special rules are here!

Books:

Wednesday, July 22nd
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 11:00am – 12:00pm
Hero Story Time
Oliver and Ellen will talk to elementary school children about magical objects, and then they’re going to read some super stories, and then they’re going to think about what makes someone a hero! It sounds like a packed event that is also excellent for budding heroic youngsters!
Thursday, July 23rd
  Packards [14 Masonic St., Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:30pm
The Warrior’s Apprentice Book Discussion and Dinner
Join the friendly nerds of the Western Mass Sci-Fi Meetup Group to discuss a fun space opera! You can tell it’s cool because there are spaceships on the cover firing lasers. That’s never not fun. It’s about a manic space con-man, too! That’s great! Lots of fun. Even if you don’t have time to read it, go talk space books with space nerds! It’ll be fun.

Comics:

Thursday, July 23rd – Sunday, July 26th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060]  at All Day
Sidewalk Sale
Modern Myths is participating in the Northampton 2015 Sidewalk Sale! Come grab great old comics for a dollar! We at the Nerd Watch feel it’s important to tell you: just read the danged things. Read them and give them to other people to read and just don’t worry about preserving them. The boom is over, they’re printed on paper, and you got them for $1.

Movies:

Wednesday, July 22nd
Amherst Cinema [28 Amity St., Amherst, MA 01002] at 7:00pm
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Yeah yeah yeah you’ve either seen it and quoted it WAY too often, or you’re tired of hearing it quoted so danged often. But it’s funny and it’ll fun on the screen. Swear to GOODNESS GRACIOUS though if the Nerd Watch catches wind of you yelling quotes for weeks afterward we’ll be very upset.

RPGs:

Tuesday, July 24th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Public RPG: D&D Planescape
Planescape, of Torment fame! It’s this neat setting that basically is “what if we just mashed everything into one, but also had complicated metaphysical rules that made everything super weird and fun?” and it’s a great idea. Try playing in this cool setting with friendly GM Christian Haining and some pre-made 5th-level characters!
Thursday, July 23rd
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Public RPG: Mutants and Masterminds
Crispy/Nola, who we believe is some form of cereal golem(????) is hosting this great superhero/villain RPG! Play around with powers beyond the ken of mortals, invent your own colorful origin story… or more likely just sort of tweak one from a superhero you love it’s okay we all do it. Maybe be Wolverine but if he was a cool dog from space?
Saturday, July 25th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 3:00pm – 6:00pm
Star Wars RPG
Star Wars! That movie you saw once and appreciated but just never really felt like re-watching. Star Wars! People like it. Star Wars! It’s all well and good to bad-mouth the Prequel Trilogy, because it’s bad, but deep inside you know that when you see children love it makes you question everything about your fandom. Anyway! Play around in that universe we all like, creating fun stories. The GM will gladly help you get in on the action if you show up midway through a storyline!
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Public RPG: Pathfinder Pirates
Pathfinder! The also-ran, the runner-up, the actually-we-don’t-have-sales-figures-so-who-knows-maybe-it’s-the-one-in-the-lead anyway it’s like D&D but not exactly for reasons that either matter to you not at all or a LOT. Come grab a seat at the table to play as a dastardly probably magic pirate! We recommend that you play as a vampirate! Sailing eternally to avoid the harsh light of day.

June 29th – July 5th

XMen36CoverThe Valley Nerd Watch!


We really like computer games!

The bad part about computer games is that you generally get them via a giant online storefront. Purchasing things on a giant online storefront does nothing to make the Valley a better place. This fills us with guilt, and we regularly tear our shirts from our backs whilst yelling nooooo at the sky post-purchase.

But we’ve found a solution! There are local people who create computer games! We spoke with Evan Rowland about Goblin Diplomat of course, but his game isn’t quite complete.  No worries though, there is a Valley-area game that’s out right now for you to play! Psy High, a choosable-path-adventure published by Choice of Games, was created by a local developer! Even better, this Wednesday we’ll be featuring an interview with the creator: Rebecca Slitt, PhD! You’d probably better purchase and play through the game now so you’re ready for the interview.

Speaking of PhDs: grad school is incredibly difficult. And usually in ways that it really should not need to be. Doing the hard and usually very boring work of science is enough to stress anyone out, and there’s usually a lot of other stuff piled on top of that. It’s difficult to get through a graduate program without a lot of help from a lot of different places. It is one of the toughest nerdy things you can do.

That’s why this week we’re going to begin the process of adding graduate-student specific resources to the Nerd Watch. To start with, we’re going to be listing weekly support groups for graduate students. Like all new weekly events, they’ll be featured in an issue before transitioning to the Weekly Events page.

We’ll be adding more resources for students in the future! Let us know if there’s any fantastic concept that you think would help people, but you just don’t have the time or resources to implement. We’re here to help!

As always, be sure to check out the Weekly Events page! If you don’t look at it once a week at a minimum, The Process will begin again. And no one wants that. No. One.

THIS WEEK


Board Games:

Wednesday, July 1st
Off the Wall Games [41 Russell Street, Hadley, MA 01035]  at 3:00pm – 8:00pm
Learn to Play: Malifaux
Join Kevin Wall and learn how to play the miniatures game Malifaux! You can bring your own models or use the demo models provided by Kevin, all are welcome! We’re just going to admit it now, we cannot tell the difference between the various miniatures games. It seems like there’s nothing preventing you from using any model with any game! Why does no one just use Galactus to take care of a crowd of Orks? It seems so obvious to us…
Friday, July 3rd
Off the Wall Games [41 Russell Street, Hadley, MA 01035] at 6:30pm
Marvel HeroClix: Age of Ultron Storyline Organized Play Event Series – Event Two
Woooo longest even name we’re pretty sure we’ve ever seen! A no-prize is to be awarded to Off the Wall Games! This is a 300 point sealed event. You use two Age of Ultron Wave 1 Booster packs to play, and if your miniatures do a solid job of beating up other miniatures, you get The Hulk Avengers ID Cards, and you get a limited edition Graviton figure if you’re the first, second or … Fellowship player? That’s some sort of Tennis scoring system, right? There’s a $25 entry fee!
Sunday, July 5th
Greenfield Games [228 Main St Greenfield, MA 01301] at 12:00pm – 4:30pm
Star Trek Attack Wing OP: “A Matter of Honor”
A Star Trek miniatures fighting game, based on the famed series “Star Wars” we believe. This nifty little event is based on the pretty sweet TNG Episode it’s named after! The top three finishers bring home a new Bird of Prey – the Pagh! It’s a pretty cool one! The entry fee is $5, but they have listed “good times” as “free” so that’s actually not a bad deal, you usually cannot get these sort of metaphysical guarantees.
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 4:00pm – 6:00pm
Sunday Board Games
Stop by the store and play some board games! There will be a small selection to play at the store and people are welcome to bring their own games. Bring games that you want to teach! Bring games that you never have the right number of people to play! Bring games that you think might secretly turn out to be treasure maps when you play them properly!

Books:

Monday, June 29th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 8:30pm
ADHD Characters in Novels for Kids and Teens
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder! It’s generally an impediment to getting stuff done and that’s annoying. But what about the place of ADHD in in fiction? What makes some ADHD characters memorable and some easy to forget? Well, Joan Axelrod-Contrada, an author of over 15 books for young people, has spent a year figuring out what makes ADHD characters in fiction pop! Now, she can speedily transfer that learning to you via the magic of language and powerpoint.

Entertainment:

Wednesday, July 1st
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 6:00pm – 8:00pm
First Wednesday Speaker Series: Wendy Johnson
Join everyone in the LeVanway Room of the library to see really neat photos and hear the story of Wendy Johnson’s five-month journey on the Pacific Crest Trail. To clarify, we’re pretty sure this means she was in the wilderness for five months and has effectively conquered nature. This fascinates us as much as it terrifies us. Learn her lessons, but be wary of her. To cross her is to cross the very wilds themselves. A drawing will be held for a $10 Greenfield Dollars certificate.
DAY, MONTH DATE
Amherst Brewing Company [10 University Drive, Amherst, MA 01002] at 5:30pm
4th of July Meet & Greet/Fireworks
Meet up with the lovely folks of the Western Mass Sci-Fi Meetup group! They seem nice, if you’re into that sort of thing. We at the Nerd Watch will always first and foremost be into… well. That would be telling. Anyway! Say hi, grab some food and drink, play some pool, watch fireworks! This is a great low-commitment way to introduce yourself to people who will probably be friendly and like talking about the media you enjoy! Good times.

Grad Student Things:

Tuesday, June 30th *NEW WEEKLY EVENT*
Probably Near UMass [Amherst, the big school] at 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Dissertation/Thesis Support Group
Completing a major project that will have a significant impact on your future is terrifying, no two ways about it. Worse, it usually involves a bunch of things that you can’t really control even though you would really like to. This group will address the sorts of anxieties that come with projects of this sort and help you work through them. To join this group, contact Jason Samlin, Psy.M., at 413-545-2337.
Wednesday, July 1st *NEW WEEKLY EVENT*
Probably Near UMass [Amherst, the big school] at 3:00 – 4:30pm
Relationship Support Group
It’s hard to talk to romantic partners, friends, roommates, and family members about grad school. It’s hard to be in grad school and think about basically any relationship except the one between you and that future you who’ll totally demand that everyone call you Doctor. Talk about how you can work things out with people who are not you in this support group. To join this group, please contact Rachel Bloom, Psy.D., or Jason Samlin, Psy.M., at 413-545-2337.
Thursday, July 2nd *NEW WEEKLY EVENT*
Probably Near UMass [Amherst, the big school] at 3:30 – 5:00pm
Balancing Life and Graduate School
If they’ve got a good sense of humor, this one is actually just a door with a note on it that says “DROP OUT”. But for real, this is incredibly difficult. Career takes such a precedence in the grad experience that it is really helpful to talk about how you can manage to fit living into the cracks. To join this group, please contact Lauren Mays, M.A., or Paige Getchell, M.S., at 413-545-2337.

Movies:

Tuesday, June 30th *NEW WEEKLY EVENT*
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 5:30pm – 8:00pm
Teen Movie Night
Watch some Marvel movies with fellow library teens! For real though, we cannot imagine a more lovely place to meet like-minded young people than watching a popular but still quite sub-genre specific series of movies at the library. We’re pretty confident if you’re the sort of teen interested in this, you’ll find a friend! Or… nemesis? They do tend to be dark mirrors.

RPGs:

Monday, June 29th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 3:00pm – 7:00pm
Public RPG: Dungeons & Dragons
The old reliable! The standard-bearer! Once actually thought to actually teach children how to really perform ritual sacrifices in exchange for actual magic powers! Seriously, ask your nerd elders. It’s wild, there was a period in which D&D was considered significantly more dangerous than makes any danged sense whatsoever. Anyway! Go steal gold from dragons or something, it’s D&D! There are pre-rolled characters so you can hop right in!
Sunday, July 5th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Pathfinder Society Organized Play
Pathfinder! The game that you play if you’re too jaded to keep playing D&D but you definitely don’t want to stray into territory that appears even remotely different to anyone not deeply steeped in the culture of RPGs. We kid because we love! Pathfinder is neat, and Organized Play allows you to adventure with like-minded people across epic Season-long stories! There’s a $5 entry fee immediately converted to store credit! Also, Modern Myths is looking for Pathfinder GMs! Contact them for details!
Off the Wall Games [41 Russell Street, Hadley, MA 01035]  at 10:00am – 10:00pm
Pathfinder and Role Playing Extravaganza!
Pathfinder! Also known as the Game of Thrones, because there are lots of kings in it usually. There are going to be a bunch of excellent RPGs at this event! Join Keith Hart in playing and experimenting with a lot of different games, including Pathfinder obviously, played at levels varying from introductory to one where if you die in the game you die in real life.

March 16th – 22nd

VNWGameofThronesGameTTD

The Valley Nerd Watch!


In a town with 5 colleges and 500 grad students per square foot, it can get difficult keeping up with all the events in town that cater to the vaguely defined sub-cultural group we’ve decided to call nerds.

We’re here to help! We’ll let you know what trivia, gaming, science, comic, and just plain interesting events are happening in our fair Valley! Remember to tell them that the Nerd Watch sent you!

We’ve split it up like this:

Any one-off events around the Valley that are only happening this week, only happen a couple times a month, or any interesting updates to existing events will be in the Newsletter both here online and in your inbox.

Anything that happens on a fairly regular schedule every week will be moved to the “weekly events” portion of the website after it appears for the first time in the newsletter.

THIS WEEK


Board Games:

Sunday, March 22nd
Greenfield Games [228 Main St Greenfield, MA 01301]  at 1:00pm – 6:00pm
Star Trek Attack Wing: Resistance is Futile Month 3 Tournament
It’s finally time to bring the fight to the nefarious Borg! But first, you need to get to the danged Alpha Quadrant to attack them, and they’ve put a fleet in your way. Will you make it? Come play a miniatures combat game set in the Start Trek universe! The event costs $20 to attend, which gets you a booster pack plus prizes. It also gets you “fellowship and participation” which while lovely we feel it is our duty to report can be had for a lower price at many local drum circles.
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00pm
Heroclix!
Come play a fun little miniatures game that involves no painting or little metal bits or assembly or thousands of dollars. It’s also about making superheroes fight, which everyone knows is the ideal thought experiment for the distinguished person.

Books:

Monday, March 16th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton MA, 01060] at 7:00pm
Mystery Book Group
‘The Mystery Book Discussion Group meets monthly at the library for a casual discussion. New members are always welcome. Pick up a copy of this month’s discussion book at the library.’ We can’t tell if you’re too late or just on time to do this month’s discussion based on the description, but let’s assume you’re just on time. Wear a mask to the meeting, and reveal your true identity next month!

Card Games:

Holy moly, it’s a big weekend for Magic: The Gathering!
Friday, March 20th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 11:30pm – 4:00am
Dragons of Tarkir Pre-Release
Have a fun time playing casual games of Magic with the absolute brandy-brand-new cards from the Dragons of Tarkir, the third set in the Khans of Tarkir block! This late-night event will be an opportunity to test your mettle against the sort of people who decide to go to Magic events that last until four in the danged morning! It costs $26 in advance to attend, and $30 at the door. You get access to the new packs including nifty promo cards and foils!
Saturday, March 21st
Worlds Apart Games [48 North Pleasant Street B2, Amherst, MA 01002]  at 12:00am – 10:00pm
Dragons of Tarkir Pre-Release
If you somehow did not get enough Magic at the Modern Myths event, come straight to this one! You can buy-in for $25 – $140, and pre-register to guarantee a seat. We’re going to come out and say it: we aren’t completely certain what you’re purchasing when you buy into these pre-release events. We’re going to say “starter packs of the new cards in varying quantities”???
Greenfield Games [228 Main St Greenfield, MA 01301] at 12:00am, 11:00am, and 5:00pm
Dragons of Tarkir Pre-Release
Oh thank goodness Greenfield Games explains it: ‘Entry fee will be $27 which will get you 4 packs of Dragons of Tarkir, 1 pack of Fate Reforged, and one seeded pack based on the which clan you pick. Events will be 3 rounds with prizes of 1 booster pack of the new set for every match you win and extra prizes for the top few places. ‘ The midnight event includes pizza!

Sunday, March 22nd

Greenfield Games [228 Main St Greenfield, MA 01301] at 1:00pm
Dragons of Tarkir Pre-Release
Magic! A game involving complicated combinations of cards!

Worlds Apart Games [48 North Pleasant Street B2, Amherst, MA 01002]  at 12:00am – 10:00pm

Dragons of Tarkir Pre-Release
Magic! The game of kings.
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 1:00pm – 5:30pm
Dragons of Tarkir Pre-Release
Magic! Also the game of people who really enjoy fantasy art paired with short quotes and numbers.

Comics:

Thursday, March 19th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Queers in Comics & Games
Join hosts Melissa and Nick to discuss topics regarding representation of LGBTQA+ people in comics and gaming. March’s session will be about the GLAAD nominated comics Hawkeye, Lumberjanes, Memetic, Rat Queens, and Saga. Admission is $5 that you get back as store credit to use right away or save for later.

Computers:

Thursday, March 19th
Inresonance Inc [30 Industrial Dr East, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:00pm
Western MA Drupal Meetup
Do you use Drupal? Do you want to use Drupal? Come meet with people who can help mentor you, come discuss technique with fellow professionals, or come offer support to people who want to learn!
Friday, March 20th
Packard’s Bar, Library Room [14 Masonic St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 8:00pm
Northampton Webdive After Dark
Hang out, drink, and talk to fellow web developers!

RPGs:

Monday, March 16th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 3:00pm
Dungeons and Dragons, 5th Edition
Come join the dungeoneering fun! Pre-rolled characters are provided! Pre-rolled dice, too!

Saturday, March 21st

Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 3:00pm – 6:00pm
Star Wars RPG
Modern Myths hosts sessions of the Fantasy Flight Star Wars roleplaying game, using rules from all the published sourcebooks. The game started in January, but you can stop by and we’re sure they’d be excited to write you into the adventure!
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 3:00pm
Pathfinder Pirates
Pirates! Managing to be kid-friendly and murderous at the same time, a dichotomy worth investigating whilst playing this fun Pathfinder ruleset! Again, characters and dice are provided!