And so, a new real life adventure for our mechanized heroes begins in Top's native home in Montreal! As usual, Snake flew in from Regina with a connecting flight in Toronto.
Snakeman: Alright, here's Toronto. Looks like the other plane will start boarding soon, so I'd better head straight to the next gate at (checks ticket) A02, huh? Looks like that's all the way at the other end of the terminal. Better get moving.
(Five minutes later.)
Snakeman: Why is nobody here? I couldn't have missed it... What's the board say... Flight to Montreal... on time... Gate A42... !? They changed the gate on me!
(Four minutes of running with luggage later.)
Snakeman: Guhhh... so thirsty... Only in the twenties... here's where I arrived... How am I gonna make it?
Airport employee: Where do you need to go?
Snakeman: (Rasping) A42... Ticket said the wrong thing... Need water...
Airport employee: You just passed A42. It's on the OTHER side of the hall.
Snakeman: (Looks back. Notices the right gate was directly across from where he arrived.) Oh for fuck's sake. I mean, thanks.
He made it in time and got some water. He was the first to arrive at 12:40, hailing a cab to the Le Hotel Cantlie at 1:00. Shadow arrived at 3:00, via Megabus.
Shadowman: Eight hours on a bus. And I, genius that I am, decided to bring a gigantic bag with my laptop and an e-reader, sandwiched in between my legs the entire way there. Being totally useless since there are no outlets on this side of the bus. Why do I always forget how terrible of an idea this is!?
Snakeman: It probably wasn't fun for the person across from you either.
Shadowman: If a Megabus hits a robot master, does it get the powers of the robot master?
Sparkman: Well, I feel bad for anyone who rides Crashbus or Needlebus.
Snake and Shadow killed time in the hotel playing video games while Top was getting off work. There was a bit of a communication issue as Top didn't have access to the FB messenger thread with all the important info and his texts weren't quite getting through.
Shadowman: Top keeps sending me texts but all I see is "multimedia failed to load".
Snakeman: (At the game controls) Weird. If they're group texts maybe it shows correctly on my phone.
Shadowman: Do you want to check your phone then?
Snakeman: Eh. Maybe when I finish this level.
(Ten minutes later.)
Snakeman: Alright, now what's keeping him? (Reading texts) "I'm here... What's your room number?" Uh oh.
With only minor hard feelings, by 4:00, Top, Snake, and Shadow had convened at the hotel, enjoying the pleasures the Switch had to offer. Spark was the late arrival, driving from the mighty seat of the United States Empire, New Hampshire. He had the harrowing first world problem of navigating Montreal without googlemaps, as he did not have an international data plan, meaning he had to stop a couple times to make sure he was still on the right highway, lest he become the Flying Dutchman of AR-10/55. With all the traffic, one-way streets, turn-only lanes designed to trap clueless motorists, and army of pedestrians lying in wait to cross in front of all the turns he needed to make, and bicyclists zipping in and out of his blind spots, it was quite the white-knuckle ride for him. Laced with a tapestry of obscenities that as far as we know, is hanging in space over Mount Royal. But amazingly, he reached the valet parking without anybody hitting him, or him hitting anybody. Accidentally or otherwise.
Napalmman: No fucking promises next time!!
Topman: Yeah, drive through at rush hour at your own risk.
Napalmman: Next time a bunch of bicyclists try to clip me from behind as I get in my car, I'll give you French wannabes something to 'souviens'!!!
The group wanted to start with a bang, so decided to get swept up in the Brazilian meat tornado that is Le Milsa and its famous turnstile. Chicken, beef, lamb, pork, it was all there. And it kept coming until we flipped our coasters to indicate to the waiters when we've had our fill. So at least a good, six or seven passes.
As Top secured our subway passes, we returned to our suite. Snake insisted on bringing to life the X-series classics on the Mega Man X Collection. I am of course referring to X5-6.
Snakeman: I wanted to see if maverick names had changed!
Shadowman: X6 is so stupid. Why is it even called the 'Nightmare Phenomena' anyway?
Sparkman: Because you see the levels in your nightmares. At least I do.
Topman: Why would you play these games after we said how bad they were over dinner?
After Snake's curiosity was indulged, at everyone else's relief, we did a round of Zelda Hyrule Warriors.
Topman: So, why this now?
Shadowman: I made a Navi sound board phone app!
(Shadowman whips out his phone.)
Navi: Hey! Hey! Watch out! Hey! Listen! Hey! (Incessant jingling noises.)
Topman: (Winces) That's... great, G.
Shadowman: That feeling you have right there? That makes all the time I spent on this worthwhile.
Snakeman: And there's another fairy character in this game called "Proxi" who has all the same voice clips as Navi plus some new ones. I thought I could try out the co-op feature in Hyrule Warriors while showing Gauntlet what he could be adding to his app.
(Proxi doesn't say a single thing in twenty minutes play time.)
Snakeman: Uh... I guess the co-op mode bypasses some of the dialogue from player characters. Welp, we beat the final boss.
Shadowman: We did? I didn't really understand what was happening in there. I was just mashing buttons and enemies were dying in swaths.
Sparkman: Well then, what's next?
Next, the team favorite, Super Bomberman R!
Napalmman: He's black! He's beautiful! And he's black! Not that you could ever forget...The Black...Bomber!
Topman: Oh wow. He does exist. I thought it was just an obnoxious schtick Spark came up with.
Shadowman: Nope. Just an obnoxious persona he absorbed flawlessly.
Napalmman: And BEAUTIFULLY!
Or at least, the group must've felt that way after the dozen some odd times he won (re: the only one not to blow himself up). Though everyone got in a couple winning streaks here and there, so it wasn't all Beautiful Black Bomber. But once we all had as much beautiful Black Bomber we could stand, we laid out our plans for the next day and went to bed.
Shadowman: Better let the front desk know the hair dryer is broken.
Snakeman: We already broke something!?
Shadowman: No, it just wouldn't turn on. It's not our fault.
Snakeman: Aw. It's tradition that we break something around here.
Sparkman: Give it time.
We grabbed breakfast close to home as it were at the hotel's buffet. It wasn't bad, but we probably paid more than we should've for an average buffet. The important thing was, we were fed. After getting food in our stomachs, we perused the small library of board games that Spark managed to fit in one suitcase. We all picked Hotshots, where you take the role of actual hotshot firefighters doing anything and everything they can to keep a rampaging wildfire from torching the forest. In essence, it amounts to firefighting yahtzee on a Settlers of Cattan board set up. It's fairly tough on beginners, as things always get worse before they get better, as the fire inevitably cooks at least a couple patches of the forest (some of which are almost doomed to die). But we got better with each successive playthrough once we understood the mechanics, saving larger portions of the forest each time.
Napalmman: What the fuck-?! You're putting fires out, NOT starting them?! At least let the hippies in tent city die!!
Sparkman: That's not how game works, pal.
Napalmman: *sniff* It's like I don't know my own creator anymore...
After the forest was saved, we set off towards Old Montreal for lunch and a bit of siteseeing. Top was working that day, so the rest of us had to brave navigating the Montreal transit system on our own.
Snakeman: This isn't so hard. I kinda turn my sense of direction off whenever we're following Top, but I can read a map just fine and the Metro makes plenty of sense when you learn the basic rules.
Shadowman: So why are we walking dozens of blocks through the city to get to the port?
Snakeman: My careful analysis of the map told me this was the closest Metro stop to our destination.
We ended up at Pub Brewskey, which came recommended to Shadowman by one of his friends. The grilled cheese sandwiches were great, but they had a funny idea what milkshakes were.
Sparkman: It's a beer??
Waiter: You're in a bar. It's called "Brewski!" What did you expect?
Sparkman: I dunno. A partially gelatinated non-dairy gum-based beverage? Whatever. I ain't touching it.
Diveman: What?!? Since when were ya a fuckin' teetotaler?!
Sparkman: What can I say? Booze always tastes like turpentine to me. This one's no exception.
Diveman: It's like I don' even know my own creator no more!!
Napalmman: Tell me about it!
Snakeman: And so continues the Mech tradition of a menu item in Montreal turning on Spark.
Sparkman: Fucking mushroom burgers!! Anyway, I'll just drink my water out of this glass. (The glass breaks.) Oh no!
Snakeman: Ah, tradition.
Our stomachs filled, we ventured down to a virtual reality place that caught our eye on the way to the pub. The game we chose was 'Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes'. One person wears the VR gear and defuses the bomb, while the other two sit with a bomb defusal manual and guides him through the process based on the descriptions the defuser gives us. Since this required teamwork, naturally, we lost more than we won. But we all got to defuse at least one bomb. Though we all had some kind of hiccup with getting the game set up each time we switched off. At least they gave us extra time.
Napalmman: And now you're fucking defusing bombs?! My own creator makes me sick to my stomach! You're dead to me, cheesedick!
Despite our lackluster winning record, we still had fun and were glad we checked it out. We made a dogleg back to grab some beavertails and ice cream to get something sweet on our palate. Afterwards, with the work day done, we made our way back to the Metro to meet up with Top.
Shadowman: There was a Metro station a block away from the port the whole time?
Snakeman: (Re-examining the map.) Oh. Whoops.
We met up at Topman's house. There, he promised us a wealth of board games we could choose from to pass the time together.
Topman: It almost makes the board games you packed a waste of space, Spark.
Sparkman: Almost. I counted only two games that we both had.
Topman: Fair enough.
Spark spotted Elder Signs and Mansions of Madness in Top's collection. Since he was very familiar with both of those (Top hadn't had a chance to play a lot of the games he had), they seemed like sound choices to be had. Especially since these were games Spark always wanted to share with the group. First was Elder Signs, where we worked together investigating the infamous Miskatonic Museum in Cthuluverse, trying to stop Nyarlathotep from awakening and ending the world. In basically what amounts to Cthulu Yahtzee. With Spark's veteran leadership, and our winning streak, and making the best of our abilities, we sealed away Nyarlathotep well before he had a chance to wreck all of creation.
Sparkman: Glad we're using the physical version! The mobile version I normally play is a little more restrictive. Snake's researcher character's ability to grant a re-roll only works on themself, for instance, though the card clearly says he can give anyone that chance.
Snakeman: I get a re-roll! You get a re-roll! Everybody gets a re-roll!
Mansions of Madness was a bit of a different story. All we had to do was explore the Vanderbilt Mansion for strange goings on and make it out with our sanity intact. But as anyone who's played the game can tell you, the longer you take, the more the creepy stuff starts to pile on you. And there was some disagreement as to how the monsters should be played. Top going insane didn't help things either. We noticed a lot of the mansion seemed to try to draw its creepy ambience from...disheveled papers!! There was always at least one or two piles of those in every room, that game felt like pointing out.
Topman: OH NO. PAPERS!!
Snakeman: But at least we stopped Vanderbilt and got the cult artifacts. All we got to do is get out, and we win.
*The cultist stabs Top's insane Angela Lansbury character and she dies.*
Cultist: Hahaha! Since you can't leave the mansion by the end of your next turn, you all lose!!
Sparkman: What?? We still have all the evidence we need. Why can't we just leave without Murder She Wrote?
Cultist: Those are the rules!! Praise be to the unforgiving game mechanics!
Shadowman: Well, why didn't you tell us?! If we knew that's how the game works, we would've made healing Top a stronger priority! I even had an item that I could have given him at any time.
Topman: Then why didn't you!?
Shadowman: Had I known your death would have actual negative consequences for me I definately would have! But I didn't know!
Cultist: Should have, could have, would have.
Sparkman: ...Screw this, we're pressing on.
Cultist: But-! The rules say-!
Sparkman: We're playing off my ap, my phone, my rules.
Cultist: ...Cheating pricks...
Shadowman: Praise be to the cheaters who prosper!!
Topman: I'm still dead, by the way.
By the time we got through wading through unspeakable horrors, it was already quarter of nine. Too late to consider take-out or a sit down place. And we were a little tired to begin with. So we shuffled back to the subway station, made our way to a stop where Top knew of a Wendy's that would do in a pinch. And well it did as it had a Tim Hortons adjoining it.
Sparkman: Seize the opportunity!! *stocks up on donuts*
Topman: ...There's like one every block, you know...
Sparkman: SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY!!
Once boarding the subway and parting ways with Top for the moment, we adjourned to the suite. There, we closed the night off with a viewing of the new Mega Man Fully Charged on Kimtoons.
Shadowman: Hardman had nothing but bad things to say about this! This is going to suck! Let's do this!!
Sparkman and Snakeman: Yeah!!
*Ten episodes later...*
Shadowman: ...Despite some interesting plot choices, it has some potential.
Sparkman: Boo on the gremlin thing that lives in Mega Man's noggin. Yay for the retro graphics and music!
Snakeman: The number of Mega Man references they stuck in the museum was impressive.
Sparkman: Including Gutsman's ass!! I love it!
Shadowman: Their Fireman was an irrational hothead like Torchman! Their Waveman was as much of a crybaby as our Waveman!!
Torchman: I am NOT irrational! The rest of the world has trouble acknowledging when I'm right!
Waveman: *sniff* I wish I could be as happy as their Waveman...
Shadowman: But why wasn't Mega Man's sister Roll? How is it Dr. Light doesn't recognize Aki as Mega Man? How did Aki become Mega Man if Dr. Light didn't do it? And why is the dialogue so bad?
Sparkman: So, you'd keep watching it?
Sparkman: But why does Drillman have a father all of a sudden?
Drillman: Because of Ringman's conspiracy to rewrite history! He did it to me! He'll do it to you! Next question!!
And so, our heroes drifted off to sleep with images of CG Megamen and bad kiddie dialogue dancing in their head.
With Top stuck at the office for one more day, and his advice to do the touristy stuff in his absence since it wasn't so much his thing anyway...
Topman: I mean, I live here. I don't need to do any siteseeing.
The original plan was to do more stuff at the old port, but this was also the one time it would be rainy all day, so we opted to spend it indoors instead. After grabbing breakfast at Tim Horton's, which definitely proved more economical than a $15 buffet, we all put on our thinking caps as the three of us worked together on a collab epilogue Shadow had been kicking around. We got the whole thing more or less done, though it ended up taking the whole day.
Sparkman: We got done what would've taken at least a week on a forum.
Shadowman: And I'm happy that an ep came together so quickly!
That isn't to say we stayed indoors all day. We ventured into town for lunch and dinner at Reuben's deli and Seoul Chako, respectively. Reuben's came suggested/recommended by Snake, while Seoul Chako, a Korean buffet barbeque came recommended by Top. Top had a long day at work, so he didn't join us until close 9:00, meaning we had a late dinner. But it was worth the wait, as it offered every bit as wide of variety of meat as Le Milsa that we could cook to our liking on our table top grill.
After filling our stomachs, we returned to our hotel to treat Top to some of the best episodes Mega Man Fully Charged had to offer. Namely, Waveman's and Blastowoman's episode.
Topman: Eh. Didn't care for them that much.
Shadowman: At least agree with me that they should be counted separately from the Classic franchise!
Topman: Wily's not the bad guy, Aki and Suna are too different from Rock and Roll, and the story feels too different from the normal classic stuff. Sure.
Shadowman: Ha! Now this is a man who knows what he's talking about, guys.
Snakeman: If you say so.
Proud with our accomplishments, and satisfied with our trip to Seoul Chako, we drifted off to sleep after midnight.
This day proved to be more adventurous than the last, as being the weekend, Topman didn't have to work. Our big event for the day was the room escape at A/Maze. One jump along the subway, and a short walk into town, we found ourselves escaping from a corrupt police station's jail, and military contractor's laboratory. The jailbreak escape had us in handcuffs, locked in cells as soon as we started. Despite our best efforts, we needed a hint right away, as we weren't finding any clues.
Shadowman: Turns out there was an item hidden in between planks of wood I checked and missed. Super great ninja work.
Once we got out of the jail and the cuffs, we picked up a bit more momentum, and everyone had a chance to contribute something and find at least one key. We made a clean get away through the evidence room's vent, which led to the lobby.
Sparkman: (crawling through vent) So, this is what a TV dinner feels like! Always wanted to say that!
The military facility/lab was a bit more intricate. Requiring us to utilize all sorts of technology from computers, barcode scanners, McDonalds two-way speakers, to a VR setup, to find whatever keys and codes we needed, and synthesize a vaccine for the zombie virus that had been unleashed. We kept a good pace throughout the escape. Snake even unknowingly grabbed a key sooner than he was meant to with some diligence and some clever, nimble MacGyvering. But we seemed to hit a dead end in the lab itself, until Spark unknowingly turned on another computer we needed to work the vaccine synthesizer and open a lock Snake was stuck on. From there, Snake whipped up the vaccine, and Top uncovered a key we missed so we could get out with less than a half hour to spare.
Shadowman: Good job not setting off the lasers in the hall this time, Snake.
Snakeman: They were so easy to avoid, there was no excuse to go rushing through them.
Sparkman: Also, serious bonus points for the Parasite Eve soundtrack in the background. Ingenious touch.
Snakeman: And how!
We were done by 1:30. But Top went ahead and booked another escape at 4:30. Which gave us three hours to get lunch and otherwise occupy the time. Top rattled off a couple local burger joints, and Spark quickly pounced on Notre-Boeuf De Grace, where there was sure not to be a dreaded veggie burger in a four block radius. The burgers themselves were all impressive, as were the sides of onion rings, poutine, and cheese curds the size of a child's fist, all of which everyone piled on.
Sparkman: Because fuck eating healthy, bro!
Shadowman: ...As long as it doesn't mess with my diet too much. I'm still trying to keep my weight.
Sparkman: I see your point. But hey, we're on vacation.
Our stomachs filled, Top knew of a dessert place a few blocks away. With a few hours left to fill, we made the most of it, at Juliette & Chocolat. A place where, when you ask for a milkshake, you get a milkshake (one fit for kings at that) and not a pint of hard booze.
Diveman: Ya say that like it's a bad thing!!
Sparkman: You do what you want in the eps. But in real life, I'm anything but a drinker.
Diveman: I ain't speakin' ta ya fer the res' o' the trip!!
Snakeman: No straws though?
Topman: It's better for the environment.
Snakeman: Okay, but I never realized how awkward it was to drink a milkshake without a straw before...
Shadowman: My diet! Oh, it's dying a thousand deaths on this vacation.
Our stomachs filled to the brim, we figured it best to walk it off, especially since we still had some time to fill. We got back to A-Maze with a little time to spare.
Our third and final escape was the laboratory, where we were trying to find and defuse a bomb left by a mad scientist in his apartment. This one proved to be our toughest yet, as the clues were even less obvious than the ones before. And it didn't help Spark and Snake missed some very vital clues after finishing one of the puzzles.
Snakeman: So psyched about a puzzle involving a chess game that I forgot to look underneath the pieces! Last year's room escape bungle all over again!
We ended up spending over half our allotted time just trying to find the secret lab. The lab itself was even more challenging, as we couldn't figure out the four digit code to work the computer in the middle of the room. Even the clues we found weren't helping much, even after we used a hint at fifteen minutes remaining.
Topman: The first digit is the latitude of Montreal?! Where the hell is the latitude of Montreal?
Snakeman: I'm not finding it in any of these books!
Sparkman: (reads the computer screen) Uh, guys? The computer's not asking for that anymore. It's asking for a different code altogether.
Topman: What?? We solved it? When did that happen?!
Snakeman: I never saw it. It must've been when Shadow was inputting random numbers.
Shadowman: What? We already knew the other three numbers. That left only left a couple different options.
The remaining codes weren't so hard to find. Shadow had found two of them while everyone was spinning their wheels on Montreal's latitude. We ended up using the last hint to find a key we missed, and we stopped the bomb with four minutes to spare.
With our undefeated track record of three for three, we returned to our hotel room. We had 9:30 reservations for O Noir, a restaurant where the waiting and cooking staff are blind, and you eat in total darkness. Killing time with an old favorite like Endangered Orphans of Condyle Cove seemed like the best way.
Topman: Except it wasn't. It was too random! Both times I was killed, there was no defense against it! What was I supposed to do?
Shadowman: It's more fun when you luck out enough to make it farther into the game.
Topman: What about when I get knocked out early and then the rest of you go on for twenty more minutes?
Shadowman: Well if Snake would stop going to the 'Last Winter' deck at every opportunity...
Snakeman: You guys don't appreciate the wildcard aspect of those expansion cards enough. In hindsight, since it keeps us alive if we're running out of regular cards, abusing it kinda makes the game go on forever.
Topman: (Browsing on his phone) Fun times.
Sparkman: Eh. Guess we'll have to throw in some house rules next time. The rulebook itself didn't say much about it, and nobody but Snake wants to include 'Last Winter', so I wasn't prepared for that outcome.
Sending orphans to their doom ended up filling the time we had before our dinner. So we made our way there without delay. After turning in all phones and anything else that could give off light, we were led to our table, which was indeed, in total darkness. It was indeed a dining experience like no other, as your world is the five-foot area around you can feel while seated, and the voices you can hear around you. Otherwise, you are in a total void. Eating the food presented its own challenge, as you had to feel around where the food was with your utensils, which required a good deal of patience and diligence to cut the food and get it on your fork. Or you could just say 'fuck it', grab your food in your hand like a Viking and scarf it down. It's up to you. Nobody can see you either way. What you order is something of a surprise, as the menu is (deliberately) vague, forcing you to guess your cuisine by taste. And if you were brave, you could order the surprise option for appetizers, dinner, and dessert, and you'd never know what you got until it was in your mouth.
Shadowman: The food was good, too.
Snakeman: I liked mine, but some of the jerks across the room were throwing their food at me! On purpose! Assholes!
Blademan: HAW! It ain't on purpose, was it?!
Oilman: Tell us more about your delightful job, waiter, (and be sure not to wait on the Mechs at all in the meantime)
Waiter: Oh, I'll be glad to! Join you for a drink? Why not! It's not like I have a job to do!
Despite the shenanigans of our fellow guests, it was alright.
Sparkman: I'm glad I found room in my stomach for my dinner. I was still full after lunch. But I couldn't finish the potatoes.
Topman: I rolled the dice hard by ordering three surprises. But they all turned out great! ...Except for the side of fennel. Blah.
It was closing in on midnight by the time we left, so we parted ways with Top and returned to try out Mysterium, one of the board games Spark brought with him. The operative word being 'tried'. Spark had only played it once, years ago, and jumped in halfway through the game. He proved to be a lot rustier than he thought he was.
Sparkman: Maybe because it's 1 AM, or maybe my skull is thicker than a slab of concrete, but I'm not figuring out how the last half of the game is supposed to be set up.
Shadowman: I think we should just call this a dry run for now.
Sparkman: Works for me. Sorry guys.
Today was Spark's last day. So he got to pick the brunch/lunch at a pizza place Topman heard through the grapevine, Pizza Focolaio. With over sixty pizza options to choose from, it wasn't hard for everyone to find one they liked. Plus, it's hard to go wrong with pizza.
After lunch, we returned to the hotel room for a rousing DnD session with J-05H, Phelia, and Skritch in Top's ongoing Mech campaign. We've been patiently waiting over a year to reach the conclusion that a lengthy battle and computer glitches thwarted last year. This time, there'd be nothing stopping us. Our group made its way to the inner sanctum of a shadowy secret guild that's been secretly running the whole town of Ravnica through a web of secret plots. For the good of the city, of course.
Guild Master: Including everything up to, but not limited to murder, kidnapping random adventurers exactly like you, making them into Manchurian Candidates, and dumping their memories when it's all said and done. But I'm still nice enough to let you either continue working for me, or leave now while you can.
Skritch: I don't like our odds. I'll go along with this.
Phelia: I'll go along with whatever I want, as long as I get handsomely paid for it.
J-05H: I refuse to comply. Dead or alive, you are coming with me.
Skritch: ...Well, being alive was nice while it lasted.
Demonstrating the cohesiveness that keeps our Mega Man team alive long after most of the rest fold, helps us unravel the most complex and convoluted of room escapes, and physically brings us together each year for a week of adventures and bonding time, Skritch and Phelia ran off while J-05H pulls a Leroy Jenkins. Teamwork! Skritch was mostly concerned with getting away from the thunder and lightning coming out of the guildmaster, and Phelia, with plundering treasure chests, leaving J-05H to fight the fight he initiated against everyone else's wishes, armed with d20s that refused to roll above a 10. But ultimately, the team did come together to vanquish what seemed to be a humanoid cloud of lightning and thunder, just after J-05H fell in battle.
There was still more story to unravel. But alas, Spark had a five hour drive back to the states, and it was already 3:00.
Shadowman: Three years! It's been three years and we still haven't gotten to the bottom of this story!
The group helped carry his multitude bags down and said their farewells. Afterwards, the sole American present for the meet returned to the, ahem, 'Made Great Again' country from whence he came.
Down to three, the Mechs' next headed to a tabletop game store for some hobby-based shopping. Top had his eye on a couple new board games to buy but for budget reasons had to narrow his choice to one. Snake wasn't so picky and grabbed a handful of woodblock puzzles for the road, as well as a rubber snake, and a single die.
Snakeman: The other d4 I brought for D&D wasn't the same shade of green as the others in my set.
Shadowman: You certainly commit to a theme.
After that we mostly just wandered around town looking for places to eat. Top had a Japanese restaurant in mind, but it turned out to be closed that day. After some more searching we settled on Dirty Dogs, a hot dog specializing diner.
Topman: These are some elaborate fixings for hot dogs!
Snakeman: The sauce on this one is made with Dr Pepper? Well I guess I'm obligated to try that one.
We got some gelato for dessert on the way back to the hotel to finish the Meet with a game of the Big Book of Madness, a collaborative board game where students at a wizard school try to stop an outbreak of otherworldy horrors, with an objective of staying alive for the length of the game while also building our strength to defeat the final boss. After a couple thorough failures to recognize the stakes, we came within a hair's breadth of winning our third attempt, but a streak of bad luck in the final round meant evil still triumphed.
Topman: Bad luck... also Snake never using one of the best spells in his arsenal.
Snakeman: I kept forgetting I had it. At least it wasn't as bad as in the first game when I sold one of my best spells because I didn't realize what it was for.
Shadowman: I guess this means we flunked out of wizard school.
As the night wrapped up, Snake and Shadow said their goodbyes with Top, as the next day was time to check out and head back home. Not much to note except the comedy of errors that resulted from Snake not knowing the hotel could continue to hold luggage after checkout and instead carrying it around downtown looking for other places with storage lockers.
Snakeman: So the guy at the bus station suggested the nearby hotel, but I wasn't a guest so they suggested I ask the people at the train station, who pointed me to the nearby mall, but it turned out their lockers were removed by recent renovations... So... tired...
And Shadowman returned to his home via the Megabus and a Go Train.
Shadowman: Ten hours! Oh my God, maybe the train is worth the hundred dollar price difference.
Overall, it was a nice and compact vacation full of new accomplishments and experiences. Montreal is one of our favorite destinations and it's always a treat to go back. Sometimes it's a challenge to get as many of us as possible out to the same place at the same time and one day soon we hope to make the gathering a grand one again. Until then, it's still a great time making the best out of key hometown destinations.
Topman: And until I can get to have a vacation where I don't have to go to work for half of it, we are... the Mechanical Maniacs!
Gatherings: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019