We’ve almost reached the end of what seems to have been a very, very hot summer for everyone. At times, it seemed the heat was keeping us inside in the same way a week of downpour would. In our home, the basement is the only place that seems to stay cool, so the holidays turned into a bigger opportunity to play board games, role playing games and video games than expected. Of course, there were plenty of trips to the beach and parks, playing catch, badminton, frisbee, and typical lawn games including one of my favourites:
Some of you might wonder what that could be. You could think that it’s a game about tossing washers and you’d be absolutely right! I discovered the game of washer toss during my first summer in Nova Scotia in 2001. I have played it almost every summer since and now that we live there, we got our very own. I later found out that the game - or variants of it - is found across other parts of North America where it is more commonly referred to as washer pitching. No doubt there are many regional differences and naming conventions.
The way the Nova Scotia flavour of the game is played is as follows: Each of the two players has three washers and, taking turns, tosses them into a wooden box. To make things more practical, there are two boxes, placed 18 feet (about five and a half metres) apart centre to centre. That way when all washers have been pitched, you simply walk over to the box, count the points scored by both players, pick up your washers, turn around and start the next round tossing over to the other box. The boxes are 35 cm (about 13 and a half inches) square with a 10 cm (4 inches) wide PVC pipe placed in the centre. The bottom is usually lined with carpet and you score 1 point if your washer lands in the box, outside of the pipe and you score 3 points if it lands inside the tube. The first player to reach 21 wins.
It’s your typical lawn summer game. In the same vein as bocce ball (cousin of the more technical but equally thrilling french pétanque), ladder ball, lawn darts (be it the modern, injury free, version or the old fashion flavour) or horseshoes, it’s the perfect way to wind down with a cool drink while the bbq warms up. Like all games I enjoy most, it’s convivial and light hearted but slightly competitive as well. It offers an opportunity to chat, catch up on each other's news or just have a good time with friends and family.
Games of washer toss and horseshoe are a common sight at campgrounds in the Maritimes, as well as other outdoor and summer favourites. Obviously water plays a big role in our lifestyle here, be it for the beaches, canoeing or raining. As much as a rainy day can be a real bummer during a holiday, there’s nothing quite like indulging in some great tabletop games during an estival downpour! Some will play cards or crib in the camper and others will indulge in more complex and lengthy games. Somehow, roleplaying games seem like a very good alternative, especially if your group enjoys more a theatre of the mind approach than a combat centric game with miniatures type of play.
In previous posts I talked about how I would introduce my kids to tabletop roleplaying during the summer. The shortage of rainy days did not affect my determination or the kids enthusiasm. As I mentioned earlier, the humidity and heat kept us inside on more occasions than expected! It has been a real success for all of us which means we are now playing on a regular basis. It’s a new experience for them and rediscovering DM’ing has been a real treat for me.
All ages roleplaying hobbies
The other day I came across a tweet that rang so true for me and made my day:
It’s Saturday in the summer holidays, I’ve loaded dice and snacks into my pack and I’m cycling over to my mates to play D&D all day.— Baz Stevens (@BazStevens) July 28, 2018
I am 50 years old. #dnd
It reminded me of my early days of pen and paper adventuring, biking over to my friends' to play. We would play in the evenings on sunny days, or much longer sessions on rainy days. 30 years later, as I rediscover the hobby, I still feel drawn in the same way, looking forward to the worlds we will discover and the stories we will share and create together! Even though video games were already around when I grew up, digital devices that have had a deep impact on our lifestyles and the way we interact with each other were not. So it is very refreshing to see how a hobby like pen and paper role playing is as cool and exciting as ever; for me as much as for new generations of players of all ages.
Long summer evenings still offer the best opportunities to play a good session of D&D or whatever your game of choice is right now. Even though I am working through most of the summer, the kids being able to stay up late allows us to play when the opportunity is best, rather than plan towards a set day. It’s more spontaneous and requires me to improvise often, which eventually improves the experience for everyone!
Twilight of the Bronze Dragon
Centuries ago, a coat of arms was a simple way of representing one’s family. Since most folk could not read, these symbols were designed to be easily remembered. The crests of old can be compared to today’s company logos, some of them standing the tests of time in equal measure.
At The Voyager’s Workshop, I also make logos for gaming groups. Hence, what better group to create one for than my own. It consists of a bronze dragon holding a glowing polyhedral gem (a d20). The full colour version has been used to create t-shirts for the players and I created a streamlined icon of the dragon that was embroidered on a polo shirt for the DM. The next step will be to carve a very special type of box built around the design to create a functional, one of a kind, artifact in the trademark style of my other woodcarvings.
If you are interested in having such a logo made, as well as derivative apparel and artifacts for yourself or your gaming group, please browse the Custom Art Adventures section of The Voyager’s Workshop and get in touch with me. Together, we’ll find the best way to help you celebrate the stories you live, tell and are a part of.
As I write this, the holidays are slowly coming to an end. Whichever way you spend yours, I hope it was good and filled with great gaming moments, spent with family and/or friends, outdoors and indoors!
Until next time, be well and remember: why you play is more important than what you play!