October 2023 Wrap-Up

This is the first monthly wrap-up post in what will hopefully be a great series of posts that I keep going for years to come. October was an incredibly busy month, so there is quite a bit to cover. I'm sure there will be months where I'll have less, but that'll be a good opportunity to try out a new segment or share something different. If you have any suggestions, comments, or questions regarding what I'm covering, please leave a comment at the bottom of the post. I'd really like to start interacting more with my readers here. If you came here from social media, you can always interact there as well. With that, here's what was going on in October:

Blah Blog Log

I thought the name of this segment was funny when said out loud. My assumption is that you just said it out loud as well and found it as comical as I did. If you didn't then you probably weren't an Arrested Development fan. Anywho...here are links to the posts on the blog for October if you haven't already read them.
  • New Job 30 Day Update - I've been in a new position for a little over a month now and *spoilers* I'm enjoying it.
  • Announcing Monthly Wrap-Ups - You don't need to read this one to understand what you're reading here, but I do give more insight to what these posts could look like.

Bored Board Games

October was my second busiest month of in person gaming ever. I only started tracking in person plays in September of 2022 on the BG Stats app (a fantastic app if you're looking to start tracking), but I never had a high number of in person plays until recently. Between this year's Solotober challenge and my new gaming group, I had 83 plays across 47 unique games. The BG Stats app produces a variety of great shareable images like these:

With so many plays, I wasn't sure exactly what to cover here. First, I'm going to suggest you check out the Solotober 2023 post that recently went up to see how I did and what I played. Now I'm going to just quickly highlight a few games that really stuck out to me.

Apiary - Space. Bees. If that doesn't peak your interest, I don't know what will. I played this worker and tile placement game with three other players and really enjoyed it. We haven't played many Euro style games as this new group and Apiary may have been the heaviest (complexity rating) game we've played thus far. I had a blast playing this once I picked up on how to best use my workers. It gave me Scythe (another game published by Stonemaier Games) vibes, in that I could plan ahead multiple turns in advance.

Cartographers - This could be my new favorite flip-and-write game. It plays 1 to infinite (the box says 100) players, as long as they have a pencil and play sheet. Playing over 4 seasons, players are competing to win the queen's favor by mapping "the greatest share of the queen’s desired lands". Players score reputation points by following a simple set of predetermined scoring rules. My only wish is that I had better artistic abilities because some of player sheets I've seen are like works of art. Check out the game's image gallery on BGG to see what I mean.
Regicide - I can't explain just how smart this solo design that only uses a standard deck of cards is. You use the 40 numbered cards to try and defeat the 12 face cards, through a variety of abilities assigned to each of the four suits. Like any card game, card draws can make it impossible to win. However, once you understand the strategy, there are a lot of ways to mitigate the randomness of the deck. I've only played on BGA, but want to pick up a copy when they do a reprint. 
The Guild of Merchant Explorers - This is a network and route building game, a la Ticket to Ride, that's played on a variety of maps. Each game, the players build routes to new lands where they can establish cities and find treasures. I found this very enjoyable both solo and at three players. Gameplay is pretty similar in both settings since you're always playing on your own player board. The real hook of this game is that you play over four rounds and must reset your board, except for cities you've established, between rounds. Between that and the unique ability cards that players gain in rounds 1-3, players end up doing a lot of actions as the game enters the later two rounds.

Enjoyable Eats

I'm going to try and keep this as separate from the Watcha Snackin? segment as I can. I wanted a space to highlight good food that I have each month, whether it's something I have made or a dish I have enjoyed while out. I don't have any pictures to share of food that I made, but I did want to highlight a dessert that Christine and I shared during one of our weekly date nights.
I shared this picture of Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie from Brick Works Brewing and Eats on my social media accounts because it was one of the best pieces of pie I've ever had. I'm pretty sure the crust wasn't made from scratch, but the filling and toppings all were. Unlike most pecan pies, this one wasn't super sweet and sticky. The bourbon flavor really shined which normally isn't my thing, but everything was so balanced that it didn't take over. I'll happily order this again at one of our future outings to Brick Works.

I'm Watching 👀

This segment may not show up every month, but we did watch one really great piece of entertainment so I wanted to highlight that. While I'm here, I'm going to rant a bit on something we are hate-watching at the moment.
Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour - Christine and Grace really wanted to see Taylor Swift live but weren't able to secure tickets. However, the movie version of the concert ended up coming to theaters in October. The boys were interested enough to make it a family affair. I didn't know that it was nearly three hours long until after we sat down, but it was well worth the time and money to go. She puts on an amazing show and her music is incredibly catchy. I know she's not everyone's cup of tea, but I thoroughly enjoyed the theater experience of seeing a concert. I'm hoping what she's done with this film will encourage other artists to do something similar, because I would love an excuse to go to the movies more often.
Fear The Walking Dead: The Final Season - Christine and I watch everything in The Walking Dead universe, which has had many high highs and some very low lows. We're currently watching some of the worst writing and acting that we've ever seen. If this was any other show, we would have just stopped watching already. It being the final season is the only thing keeping us tuning in each week. It's clear that they pretty much gave up on this show with all of the new spin-offs (which have been great, IMO) coming out. I understand wanting to give closure on some of the storylines, but this season has been all over the place. Then *spoilers* they bring back a back a character from seasons ago when the show had a very different cast. Everything feels too convenient and there's no connection to any of the characters for us. It's a dead show walking...<insert obvious joke here>. 

Resolutions Update

If I'm checking in monthly, I feel like I might be able to do a better job of reaching my New Year's Resolutions. This year hasn't been great, which is partially my fault and partially a scheduling issue that I had no control over.
  • Goal #1: I Will Lose At Least 5% Body Fat (and keep it off) - I was down 1.7% for the year in August, but I'm currently at 1.6% as of today. That being said, I haven't focused on this goal very much. It's still possible for me to get to 5%, but with the holidays coming it's going to be a challenge.  
  • Goal #2: I Will Eat at a Michelin Star Restaurant - We still have plenty of time to make this happen and plan to take a day out to Washington D.C. during the Christmas break. I've identified a few places we'd like to try, so of the three this one is most likely to happen.
  • Goal #3: I Will Attend a Colorado Avalanche Game - This one was pretty much dead in the water once the new season's schedule came out. The vast majority of the Avalanche's east coast games are happening after the new year. There are a couple of games against the Flyers and the Capitals that are options in January and February, respectively.

Whatcha Snackin?

I was going to just go with Halloween candy, because the kids have had some for a couple weeks due to various parties and Trunk or Treat events, but I wanted to be a little more specific. Then while at an event for work, I was reunited with one of my favorite snacks of all time, oyster crackers. Not just any oyster crackers either, a premium brand that I've not seen in many years.
Westminster Bakers Co. has been in operation for over 100 years and makes really delicious crackers. I will sit and eat an entire sleeve of saltines or handfuls of oyster crackers of any brand, but these ones have much better texter and flavor. They also only have 7 ingredients with no preservatives. I think what made me enjoy them even more, was my ability to keep stuffing my pockets with packets randomly while lunch was being served. Free food always tastes better, but I plan on finding these out in the wild to buy to have at home.

Wrap It Up

I hope you've enjoyed this first of hopefully many monthly wrap-up posts. Please comment below with any thoughts or comments on anything I've covered. Thanks for reading!


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