April 4th, 2010


Gaming - Pandemic and San Juan

We finally got round to playing Pandemic thanks to chomper99 and caffeine_fairy who fed us and showed us how it's done (cheers guys!). Unfortunately we lost but it's a game that has much to recommend it, not least the cooperative aspect.

Afterwards we played St Juan which has the benefit of being much easier than Puerto Rico and cleverly uses cards as buildings, currency and produce. I suspect that going first in the first round might be a big advantage because you can build a better thing than everyone else (if you've drawn it) but it's possible that order is not such a big determinant as in the full game.

Reading - Cold Hand in Mine

This is a selection of short stories by Robert Aickman, an English writer who lived from 1914 to 1981 and wrote "strange stories". He was the grandson of Richard Marsh who wrote "The Beetle" and also "Curios", seven short stories about two rival collectors Mr Tress and Mr Pugh which are also strange but also darkly funny. A few of Aickman's stories have been filmed including the first, and best, of this collection, The Swords. Part of the problem with Aickman's writing is that the development of the story is often slow, comprising a whole host of descriptions which seem to bear no relation to the story at hand. When these serve to build the ambiance, such as in the Swords or The Real Road to the Church, they do excellent service. In the first a man enounters a bizarre side-show act and in the second, a woman uncovers some unsettling folklore. However, in other stories, such as Meeting Mr Millar, about the downstairs neigbour of a young adulterer, you wish he'd just get one with it.

That said, for the stories that do deliver, especially the first two, I'm glad I read this.