Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Break in the Windy City ... A Break for a Board Game

CHICAGO -- Off the Southwest Chief, the walk into Union station has that rare Chicago pulse: Tethered engines blasting out their impatience to be hooked back up to cars and freed to roar up the rails ...

Gray and cool outside. Here typing this out in the Metropolitan Lounge, Wi-Fi on the house. Soon to board the Capital Limited, dinner at 6:30. Good news for Boyi: Played our game Can't Stop Shopping with two engaging folks from South Africa who tour the globe, during which time they play games (their latest fancy, one called "Sequence"), and usually insert a stopover in Dubai. Recently in Vegas, they inserted Cirque du Soelie's Mystere into an evening and loved it.

Sandy and Graham, their names, Brit accents their mystique. Can't Stop Shopping went famously well. "Great fun," declared Sandy, who terms herself a board game addict (or fanatic); plays many far and wide. Last night's roll around the board, with a new rule tested for the first time, was won by the cool deliberative Graham. I played banker and coach. Sugessting that the new rule be revised back to the old one, they wanted to play the game again today, but unfortunately all the tables in the lounge car were taken.

At Chicago, they left for other portals. We've got each other's e-mails. I offered to send Sandy a copy. Recounted for her the long winding road taken by Monopoly, for years played informally among east coasters who liked it enough to pass it around, until Parker Brothers finally said, Yes."

Who knows who may be playing our game and where in the near future. "Boyi and I are international," I told Sandy, referencing the game's connection to China, where it was first played, and now to South Africa, where it may soon be tried out. Added Sandy, "And now, you're going to Dubai." Wouldn't that be something if our invention ended up being played by the Cirque King himself. The people you meet on a train!

Sandy asked me where we got the idea. I answered, from my sister, Kathy, who a couple of years ago suggested a shopping competition in a mall. Sandy smiled. "Ladies like to shop."

And I like sitting in this cool Amtrak lounge, where I can't stop blogging.

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