Down with the Doctor
As ever, gaming had to wait for the latest Doctor Who episode. WOW! What a freakin' episode! Easily one of the greatest Doctor Who stories ever told, which is saying a lot given the superb stories we've enjoyed in previous 2 seasons alone. In terms of the currents season's plot arc, it was really good to see how Martha is being developed. How to follow Rose was of course the question. Well that question has now been definitively answered: Martha won't be the carbon copy of Rose which'd've devalued both characters; but she will be the same kind of modern (post-Buffy if you will) companion the successful delivery of which was a secret of the success of this most stupendous revival of our childhood favourite.
The more than satisfactory development of the Martha character is one thing- one very important thing, but it was just one strand of a multi-layered 2-parter pregnant with meaning and reference. And all this presented in the form of a ripping yarn featuring murderous body-snatching aliens toting rayguns, with hordes of scarecrow zombie minions. I mean: could you ask for more? But so to encapsulate the plot is insufficient to convey the power of a story which made me cheer, bounce up and down with glee, shiver with horror, and- yes dear reader- which even left me with 'a bit of grit in my eye'.
Here I am left grasping for words. In the end, if I had to pick out one moment- just one- which epitomised the qualities of this story, I'd have to go for the sight of the Doctor, weeping like a baby, pleading to be allowed to remain just simple John Smith, and so to enjoy the life he had found for himself as the result of the machinations of an identity of which he knew nothing, and about which he cared even less. Monumental stuff.
On to the Carcassonne which followed. Ros and I got 4 games in in the end. I can report that 16 games into my experience of Carcassonne, I continue to be highly impressed with this game. Ros is emerging as a player who likes to go for a good long road as well as the cities and monasteries which are more or less mandatory. Myself, I am focussing very much on the farmers' game. We are both fighting tooth and nail for every point, each small positional advantage, and for ultimate victory. And make no mistake: for all its placid appearance- which includes the absence of the destructive play of familiar wargames, and which goes right down to the suggestion about cooperative tile-placement in the rules- Carcassonne is still a highly competitive game whose basic gameplay is a finkers' delight.
Memorable moments from last night's games include:
- my plaintive cry (after a losing game, natch!) of- how did you get those farms joined up?
- the horror of seeing Ros set up to steal a great city I was aiming to develop with some smart tile placement
- the satisfaction of thwarting Ros' evil scheme with a spoiling play which prevented her from completing the city, with the result that I was able to score my uncompleted section at the end of the game.
An honourable draw. :)