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Highlights of Megafest 13.1

Started: 2014-09-13 11:26:38

Submitted: 2014-09-13 12:35:13

Visibility: World-readable

In which the intrepid narrator visits Lincoln in August

Last month we drove to Lincoln to visit Yanthor and Anya for the gathering we dubbed Megafest 13.1. Here are the highlights, conveniently organized in bullet points:

  • Setting cruise control exactly at 75 for 300 miles across I-80 in Nebraska.
  • Enjoying culture shock while visiting Starbucks in North Platte.
Jaden plays with a plastic bag (
Jaden plays with a plastic bag ("the cat is out of the bag")
  • Staging a photo shoot involving Jaden and a plastic bag so @version2_1 could tweet "The cat's out of the bag" when Kiesa felt compelled to disclose that she's pregnant in order to get out of certain responsibilities in the next year.
Calvin's first game of The Settlers of Catan
Calvin's first game of The Settlers of Catan
  • Playing grown-up Settlers of Catan with Calvin. Kiesa advised Calvin as his regent, but Calvin made his own decisions.
  • Watching The Lego Movie, one movie that all of the guests could enjoy.
  • Playing a wide variety of board games with some of Yanthor's friends in Lincoln, cataloged in greater detail on the official Megafest 13.1 page.
  • Beating Kiesa, Yanthor, and Anya in the three-against-one "Rise of the Overlord" scenario in Rune Age. I may have neglected to mention to my hosts that Kiesa and I have played very little other than Rune Age for the past year and I've optimized my deck-building, especially while playing the Orcs of the Broken Plain. I picked off Anya first, then Yanthor, and finally Kiesa, to win the game while sustaining only minor damage myself.
Shelly, Ric, Yanthor, and Kiesa play Civilization
Shelly, Ric, Yanthor, and Kiesa play Civilization
  • Spending all day Sunday playing the classic 1983 Avalon Hill board game Civilization. I played as Illyria and set up modest non-aggression pacts with my neighbors on the Agean Peninsula, Italy (played by Kiesa) and Africa (played by Yanthor). Then I experienced both a flood and a civil war in a single turn, which set me back somewhat on the archaeological succession table. The trading mechanic was interesting, since resources gained value exponentially, making it possible to conduct real win-win trades. (The possibility for positive-sum-game trading in the real world is overlooked by the critics of global trade.) After playing for ten hours we declared Yanthor the winner by virtue of his being the furthest along the archaeological succession table.
  • Watching the live streams of the Hugo Awards from Loncon3 while playing Civilization. I set up my Twitter client (TweetDeck) to follow various authors and other people who might have interesting things to say, including Lightspeed's live tweets in their own column; Kiesa followed the official live text stream. I turned on the video stream just in time to see Ann Leckie's acceptance speech for best novel for Ancillary Justice (my top pick), then delved into the statistical minutiae of the full ballot. I was pleased with the results of the ballot, possibly because my candidates won; in every category in which I voted -- even the categories in which I voted only for one entry -- my first or second place vote won the award. And it was most gratifying to see Vox Day's boring story lose to No Award in fifth place.
Main gallery in the Strategic Air and Space Museum
Main gallery in the Strategic Air and Space Museum
  • Visiting the Strategic Air and Space Museum with Calvin (and the rest of the Megafest group). It's been eleven years since the only other time I've visited the museum, and this time I got to follow Calvin around the museum trying to explain what all the planes he saw were used for, which involved no small amount of consternation on my part about exactly how much of the Cold War I ought to mention. I was amazed by how little thrust the old jet engines put out; the eight tiny jet engines of the B-52 on display put out less thrust combined than a single 777 engine. (Of course, a 777 is much bigger than a B-52.)
  • Confirming that Chipotle in Omaha is decorated just like every other Chipotle I've visited.
Calvin and Anya with
Calvin and Anya with "Big Boy" UP 4023 and UP 6900
  • Climbing a hill in Omaha on a muggy August afternoon to visit two massive Union Pacific freight engines in Kenefick Park, a 4-8-8-4 steam engine and a D-D diesel-electric locomotive.
  • Returning home again, rejuvenated if not exactly rested.