Siege Diaries 4/18/2020

2018-12-16 11.29.31
Pandemic: Fall of Rome

We’ve arrived at another weekend.  What this means these days is two days where I have no work obligations, and I look to fill the days with a variety of activities–while at the same time realizing that on any given day, I might not be in the right headspace for particular activities.

Take board games.  My husband owns literally hundreds of them, and over the past couple of years I have been gradually learning to enjoy them.  Many of them are not suitable for just two players to start with.  Others would require learning complicated rules, which my current  easily-distracted brain just refuses to do.  Some can be played by a group of people remotely, and indeed, last weekend we set up a recurring session of an RPG called Legacy of Dragonholt that was a lot of fun.  Others can be played on an iPad in solitary mode–something that does not appeal to me, but which my husband enjoys.

We’ve been particularly delving into cooperative games, where you and your fellow players try to beat the game.  We’ve enjoyed Marvel Champions (where my Captain Marvel and Dave’s Spider-man managed to defeat the baddie) and Heroes of Tenefyr (where we lost on the last turn to the big boss, but still had fun.)  But there’s one game I just cannot play right now–and it’s the granddaddy of cooperative games:  Pandemic.

Now, some people are actually enjoying this game and the insights it provides in how diseases spread and are thwarted.  But for me, in this moment, it’s too real.  When everything I hear on the radio now is about the pandemic, and the very real damage it’s doing to people and societies, I just can’t enjoy a game based around what we’re living every day.   It’s not fun for me.  I do not need activities that just make me worry more.  Perhaps once the immediate crisis passes I might be able to give it a try, but not now.

However, the Pandemic system is also used in another game called Fall of Rome, where the goal is to stop the barbarian invasions before they overwhelm the Roman Empire.  I’ve really enjoyed this one in the past, partially because the routes the various barbarians take are actually historically-based, and partially since one way to defeat the barbarians is to ally with them (which, of course, actually happened in real life).  I’m currently pondering whether my inner history geek might be able to overrule the association  of the game’s mechanics with Pandemic.   I think it might, and battling the Ostrogoths and Vandals might be in my future.