See, there's a board game called Ticket To Ride, which we both like a lot. But Shannon gets bored easily, and so doesn't like to play the same game over and over again. Me, I'll play the same thing (if I like it) a hundred times with no boredom factor -- just like I can eat the same thing every day for weeks with no boredom factor -- but Shannon gets "burned out" on things (those are his words).
So we've played this railroad game enough times that Shannon had described himself as "close to burning out" on Ticket To Ride, which would be a shame, since I could probably quite happily play it twice a day, every day, for the next year and never get burned out.
But other people are big fans of this game, too, and so some French folks made a sort of supplement for the game, including a new map/board and 36 corresponding route cards. Unfortunately, since this isn't a professional publisher, you can't just go out and buy the supplement.
Instead, you must print out the supplement from the webpage, and then assemble it yourself.
I didn't think this would be a huge production. I was so very wrong.
- We started out on Friday evening with the color printing of the map pieces, because the map is about 25"x25" and is therefore cut up into 12 pieces, which must then be assembled to form the complete map. We went up to Kinko's and rented a computer and used their color printer, and the whole thing was very easy.
- We also color printed out the 36 destination cards (on 4 sheets of paper), which was also extremely easy.
- Then we did the cutting, and this was where things started to get non-easy. The map sheets had to be carefully cut on all sides so that they would fit together without any strips of white showing. Since there wasn't much overlap on most of the sides, this cutting had to be very precise.
- Then we (that is to say "I", because Shannon isn't as good with obsessive detail work as I am, and so I was doing all the cutting) had to cut out the route cards. This was far more difficult, because they are small (about half the size of normal playing cards) and thus difficult to cut precisely. Also, we were attempting to get the cards all trimmed to the same size, as much as possible. There was much futzing, much cutting off of 1/16" and such. It took forever.
- Then we laminated the route cards, because we plan to use the game a lot and normal card-stock wouldn't last very long. At this point, I was tired, so we went home.
- But I had to cut and trim the cards all over again, now that they'd been laminated, so we went back on Saturday. Luckily, this cutting was a bit easier, because I could use the lines of the card as a guide. But it still took forever. In the end, the cards turned out beautiful. Go me!
- On the way home from Kinko's we swung by Aaron Brothers to buy a foam board and have them trim it to the correct size. This was obviously a very easy part of the process.
- We then went home and played the game, just by lining up the un-pasted map sheets and using them very carefully. The game rocks, and we were much cheered at the prospect of playing this game many times in the future. We played the game again, later in the evening. It still rocked.
- The next afternoon, Sunday, we took out my "Yes!" paste from the collage work I did a couple years ago, and opened it (after much effort) to discover that it now looked rather like Death Valley. All hard and dry and cracked. So we walked up to the art supply store that's a couple blocks from our house and bought some new "Yes!" paste. Again, a very easy step in the process.
- At this point, I thought the hard stuff was behind us, because I'd done all that horrible cutting and trimming and such. It took hours, but I thought all the horribleness was over. Ha! Again I say, HA! I was so very very deluded. Because at this point -- still on Sunday afternoon -- we began assembling the board. Yes, those 12 pieces of paper now had to be glued onto a piece of foam board. Now, see, that sounds easy. But it's not not not not not. Because every side of each of these sheets has to align with 2-4 other sheets. And if you get one alignment off by half a degree of rotation, then it throws off the whole fucking map afterward. The map has a gazillion tiny lines and words and such that must all match up correctly. Even the smallest mistake can multiply and cause complete chaos.
So Shannon and I worked out a system. He would apply the "Yes!" paste to the back of each sheet, and I would then align the sheets on the foam board. This went fairly well for the first 4 sheets. And then when I pasted the 5th sheet, which was smack dab in the middle of the map, all hell broke loose. It was off. By an amount that most people would have trouble detecting even with very very close examination, but by enough that it would throw off the entire rest of the map in very ugly ways.
- So now we have the marital discord part of the assembly process. Shannon kept saying, "It's not good enough," and I kept saying, "I think it's good enough," and he said something about throwing the whole thing away if I wasn't willing to re-do page 5, and eventually it all spiralled out of control until I left the room and sat in the living room sullenly watching Inu-Yasha while Shannon decided to tear up the 5th sheet. Then he came out to tell me he'd done that, and then we fought a bunch, and I cried some, and he shouted some, and I said "fuck" a few times, and eventually we figured out how each of us hadn't been communicating optimally, and we got to a better understanding of what the other person had been feeling and saying, and we decided to take a break and then continue work on the project.
- Now came the reward-buying part of the assembly process. During the fight, I had said that this was very hard and stressful work, and that I thought I deserved some kind of reward system for when I got things done, so that even if a sheet had to get torn up (which may indeed happen again, simply because of the precision required in order to get it all matched up right), at least I would have a sense of accomplishing something, even if my work got torn up. So we went to Walgreens and bought a whole bunch of candy, so that we could both have a reward after each 2 sheets we completed.
- And then we were finally back to pasting. This was yesterday. I pasted 4 more sheets, and all looked well. But we have not yet attempted to re-place the wretched "5th sheet" which was torn up amongst so many recriminations. Instead, we pasted up 4 other sheets, in the hopes that we could get things lined up such that the "5th sheet" will be easier when we go to re-align it. During this stage, we worked out a new system, so that I align the sheets, and then Shannon and I examine them together while the paste is still wet, so that I can make minute adjustments. Thus all of the alignment pressure is not on me alone; we can decide together when something needs more work, and Shannon can help me with determining which direction things need to be nudged. Nudging up or down or right or left is easy to figure out, but when things need to be nudged in on of those directions and rotated some tiny amount at the same time, figuring it out becomes a bit more complicated, so it was a huge relief to have two of us figuring that stuff out, instead of me alone.
- This brings us to today, Monday. At this time, 8 of the 12 map sheets have been pasted to the foam board, and alignments look mostly okay. There are tiny alignment issues, but it's good enough. But now we must go back to Kinko's and print out a replacement "5th sheet" ... and then I must try to align it. I'm askeered (as we used to say when I was small). But we'll give it a try tonight. If we can get that one sheet aligned well, then the remaining 3 should be relatively easy. This one is just in a very bad location where it's very difficult to align it and there's very little overlap with the neighboring sheets and it affects 4 other sheets (because it's in the middle). Still, with a new sheet (cropped for as much overlap as possible) and both Shannon and me working on the alignment, I have high hopes. It's possible that we might have the entire thing pasted by the end of today.
We'd better fucking play this game a hundred times.