A Green Christmas

Due to the large price tag of a flight across the ocean, we spent Christmas in England this year. There wasn’t any snow. My husband can’t believe it. He might believe Christmas was a dream. Thanks to modern marvels like the Internet, however, both of us got to chat with our families on Christmas day.

Since we tackled the holiday alone this year, we decided to make proper Christmas breakfast and dinner alone for the first time. Hubby managed breakfast and I cooked dinner. We didn’t go all out (no entire turkey for two people), but we did well for ourselves. I found a frozen turkey breast joint already basted, ready to pop in the oven as soon as it thawed. I served it along side mashed potatoes, stuffing (stove top, because our turkey couldn’t be stuffed) and steamed veggies. Breakfast included scrambled eggs, bacon, fabulous sausages and hashbrowns. Dinner was supposed to include rolls, but I forgot to make them (oops).

A few days after Christmas we ventured outside to find a patch of frost on the ground. I teased my husband it was all the winter he’d get this year. Living in Northern Quebec this year, we’re used to snow up to our calves by now. My husband keeps mentioning that there are still leaves on the trees. I think England broke his brain.

For New Years Eve we took another trip down to Portsmouth to ring in the new year with friends. We took the train to Swindon, then hopped a ride with one of our new friends to Portsmouth from there. As we traveled the darkened roads, we sang along to Meat Loaf, which has long been one of my favorite ways to spend a car trip.

When we arrived, we played the shortest game of Pandemic ever. We didn’t even make it all the way around the board once (though granted there were eight of us) before a massive outbreak chain ended the game. That’s got to be some kind of record. I’ve heard the game is tough, and our first experience with it was certainly memorable. We’ll have to see how it goes with just two people (as it was my Christmas present for the hubby this year).

We made our way through a line-up of games I’ve seen on Tabletop. Next was Tsuro, which is incredibly challenging when you have 9 people playing, even if the game is short. We followed that with Monty Python Flux. The various flux games include mechanics that are unique to the pack – so the space theme includes characters and mechanics from popular science fiction shows. The Monty Python pack involves a lot of silly actions that enhance your turn, such as speaking with an outrageous accent or singing any of the many Monty Python songs to get an extra card. This was the only game I won. I happened to have two cards which allowed me to win with the evil bunny (a creeper which usually prevents you from winning the game). Just before a rule card would have forced me to discard every card in my hand, I drew a card that allowed me to steal the winning card from my husband (*cackle*). It was a great game. I’d been wanting to try Flux since I saw it on Table Top but, alas, my husband isn’t usually fond of card games and it’s not really a two person game. Great party game though!

After that we took a stab at King of Tokyo. I played as Mecha Dragon and I did pretty well at first. I made it to 11 victory points (the highest score at the time) before I got trapped in Tokyo and lost all my health. I hung in there as long as I could, even purchasing a card that might let me turn damage into healing, but alas the dice were not with me.

When we finished with the board games, we tried a party game my husband discovered in Quebec entitled “Werewolf.” Essentially everyone is handed a card which tells them their role. At night the werewolves wake up and choose someone to kill. There are various special roles that can take actions which help uncover the werewolves. We used only the sorcerer, who is able to bring someone back to life once and kill someone once. If you have larger groups you can have a hunter, who has a gun which is able to shoot someone once during the game. Or the little girl who is allowed to peak and attempt to catch the werewolves in the act. During the day the villagers pick someone whom they feel is guilty and execute them. It’s only after the deed is done they discover if they killed a werewolf or an innocent.

We had great fun even with a small group and we played four times. I ended up being a werewolf twice. I almost won the first game too, except that I forgot the sorcerer only had one potion of life (whoops!). On the third game I got to be a villager, but of course everyone still suspected me because I’d been a werewolf twice. I ran the final round so my husband (who had been “GMing” the rest of the time) could take a turn playing.

The highlight of the evening was when one of our friends forgot he was a werewolf (we believe alcohol is at fault ;). I had to give him a small kick to wake him during the werewolf portion of the “night” and he looked at me like I was insane. Pretty sure everyone’s still laughing about it a couple weeks later (damn it MoonMoon!).

We rang in the new year with good friends, good food, good cheer and a round of Bohemian Rhapsody. It’s certainly among my most memorable New Year celebrations and I’m glad we got to participate. I hope the end of last year and the beginning of the new one were as joyful for you, however you decided to celebrate.

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