Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Of Birthday Parties and Pirates

Well, I'm back. Here at work after spending four wonderful days with family and friends, celebrating my nephew's third birthday and teaching my niece origami. I was able to see the ocean and feel the salty breeze on my skin. And most importantly, I was able to recharge myself enough to survive a surprise interview at the VA for an addiction therapist position.

And then there were the pirate battles. : )

Yep. Once again Sharkbait (my brother, for those of you just tuning in) shot off his mouth, bragging that he had created a fleet that would send me straight to the locker. Mind you, I had long since given my game cards away to Whirling Dervish's children, as there is no one near me who would even THINK of playing a Pirate ship game. Terribly sad, I know.

I had spotted some game packs at the local Target - which was highly unusual as online rumors had spoken of the line being discontinued and packs being unavailable in most of the stores near me. So I suggested that we head down and pick up some cards for me, and I'd be more than happy to take on whatever ships he would dare to sail. The game was on!

The first game was played at night, hence the darker pictures. My strategy was simple, given the fact that my ships were generally of poorer quality and I lacked captains (they give the player the ability to move and shoot on the same turn). I made a bee-line for the nearest islands and grabbed as much gold as possible, avoiding confrontations wherever I could.

Meanwhile, Sharkbait ignored the closer islands and tried to close with my fleet. He finally caught my wind catcher as it docked at a island. Which was when his second mistake caught him. He had loaned me a Firepot Specialist - a special cannoneer who could launch a napalm concoction. I employed it to spectacular use:

He managed to knock most of my masts down, but I started a fire that ended up costing him his ship. He continued to engage my ships, and managed to sink most of them, but by that time I had off-loaded the gold onto my home island. By the time we called the game due to the lateness of the hour, I had the lion's share of the loot. I went to sleep a happy captain of a very eclectic fleet.

On my last day in my family's home, we went down to the ocean front, where I enjoyed playing tourist and seeing the sights. I bought a shark tooth necklace - something I'd always wanted, but as a youth I felt that since I wasn't running with the surfer crowd I couldn't wear one. Now as an adult, I figured "What the heck." I also considered purchasing another ship in a bottle. I didn't feel like dropping the coin for Made in China quality crud, so I let it go.

Once we returned to the house, Sharkbait and I had one more battle. I used pretty much the same fleet I had the previous night, but he swapped out a couple of ships for better models. Once again he used the same strategy - seek and destroy. I employed the same strategy that brought me victory the night before. This time, however, he caught one of my ships. He had also kept his Firepot Specialist, which he used to get his revenge:

Still, I managed to wound enough of his ships to send them back to his home island for repairs. The die rolls really went my way, as I also made use of the whirlpools (which act as Warp Points for you Babylon 5 fans out there) to get away from his ships and make it to the islands that held the most treasure. Sharkbait gave me a sound beating, but I came out in the end, winning by 20 pieces of gold.

Of course, there's a lot more to talk about - my nephew's birthday, and teaching my niece how to fold cootie catchers and fish and sailboats.

But I figure I'll save that for another time. The day is almost over and there are a few more patients to deal with.

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