Back in 2007, when I was living in Japan and my passion for Commands & Colors: Ancients was at its height, I took a 'partscaster'* version of the original back to New Zealand on holiday with a view to introducing the old man to it.
He loved it. So much so that he ordered in copies of the original game and the first expansion from the US. He bought a folding table sized just right and sourced some large plastic containers to store the blocks in orderly, easy-access fashion. When I went back to NZ thereafter we would play his copies and we roped one of my brothers in to play as well. There were some great times, with that good-humoured banter that you get when playing games with members of your family.
That was before the old man got sick. After he got sick, we went back to playing Catan, and later Carcassone. When he got really sick we moved back to New Zealand to spend time with him. Well, strictly speaking, I moved back to find a job and house so that we could bring my wife and the kids over, but things moved too fast for the family to get here in time. One of the last things I did gaming-wise with him was paint up some 20mm figures to make a 'partscaster' version of the Desert Raiders of Catan variant. He was proud of the figures but I think we only got to play about three times before it became too hard for him to muster the concentration needed to play.
When he passed away things were pretty raw for a while. I asked Mum if I could have his Commands & Colors games and a couple of other things. They've sat on my shelves for about four years.
My brother, who lives in Australia, every now and then gives me a video call for a catch up and a few drinks when he is back on shore (he skippers a fishing boat). Earlier this year he mentioned C&C:A and we talked about how much fun those games had been. He said he'd love to play again. I said I'd kept the old man's copies and would get them to him.
It turns out that Mum is heading over to Australia to visit Stu and his family for Christmas. Miracle of miracles, she has a bit of room in her suitcase and is happy to take the games over to him. I packed up everything in the original box and left the expansion box empty so Mum can see if she can fill it with socks or something and squeeze that in as well. She reckons she can.
The old man's giant plastic storage boxes are too big to send so I am keeping them here. I put all my blocks into them tonight.
|My C&C:A collection now stored in the old man's containers.|
It's a strange thing, but it feels like a bit of a weight off the shoulders. I guess it has resolved something that was perhaps more important that I had realised.
Anyway, I've got us tickets to see Iron Maiden in Auckland in September, so we will be able to talk it through in person!
* for the non-guitarists out there, a 'partscaster' is an electric guitar you put together out of bits from different guitars, or that you assemble yourself from a kit.