Board games and thrift stores
I love board games--since my son was born we don't play nearly as often as we used to, but we have tons of games down in our basement (none, of course, suitable for a nearly-3-year-old). Back in college I was part of a historical simulations club where we'd play a strategy game that would take an entire semester (trust me, there's not much geekier than that). It seemed that for many the pinnacle of that type of gaming was World in Flames, a WWII game, but to me it always seemed like that game had players' hands very tied politically. So it was basically a game of planning the strategy of troop movements. The game I ended up playing each semester that I participated was Empires at Arms, a Napoleon-era game where political bargaining and manipulation and diplomacy determined most things. A great game.
My wife and I never play games like that--we'll play word games like UpWords and Boggle, shorter strategy games like Settlers of Catan (when we have a third player) and Carcassonne and such things as well as Blockus and others. So last night we went to a new Goodwill store and I found one game by the makers of Settlers and another by the makers of Carcassonne. For two bucks each I couldn't really turn that down. Rio Grande's game is King of Elfland, which looks like a pretty fun game of creating villages and collecting gold--far more elaborate than Carcassonne (part of what makes Carcassonne great is that it has relatively simple rules but that allow for fairly deep strategy and repeat playing), but still fun.
The other game (from Mayfair) reminds me much more of those semesters-long games in college. It's a fantasy game of trains and rails called Iron Dragon. The box says games take four hours... Yeah, little chance of us finding time to play a game like that, since we'd have to leave the game board up for multiple days and keep our son away from it. But still...it looks fun, and maybe someday I'll play it with my son. And set him on the road to geekdom (in case the types of stories I read to him haven't already done so).
I also picked up a copy of Gene Wolfe's The Wizard--I've read the first half of the series (The Knight), so I have been planning to read it. But it hadn't captured me as much as some of Wolfe's other books--I just finished the first two books of the Long Sun sequence, and I hope to get right to the last two soon, whereas it's been half a year since I read Knight, and I didn't feel the urge to pick it up from the library yet. But for thrift store prices, it's certainly worth it.