The holidays are in full swing here at Stardock, and we’ve had ourselves quite the busy week! Although most of us are local to Michigan, some of our colleagues work remotely with us from elsewhere. For the last couple of years, Stardock has made sure to fly them out for the festivities so that we can spend some time with them in person, and believe me we made the most of it this year!
We kicked our week off with one of our patented game nights in the studio’s cafe. We wanted to make sure they got a taste of the original Detroit-style pizza, so we ordered some Buddy’s for dinner and got started right after our work days ended.
I brought and introduced a game that was new to most everyone else called Wavelength. In Wavelength, you break off into teams and take turns sending up a clue giver. The clue giver then draws a card with a range on it (example: Genuine to Not Genuine, Best Dog Breed to Worst Dog Breed, etc.) and then spins a dial.
The dial brings up a target range which, due to the spin, lands randomly on the face of the spinner. The clue giver must then give a clue that falls within the range of their card in an attempt to get their teammates to turn the dial to where they think the bull’s eye is.
The clues can be pretty creative, too! My favorite was for Genuine | Not Genuine and was “A used car salesman, but he has pictures of his family in his wallet.” Our team turned the dial hard toward Not Genuine, but pulled it back a bit because of the “pics of his family” modifier. It was a clever clue, even if we did end up missing the mark a bit!
We played with 3 teams instead of 2 because there were so many (25!) of us. Team Right, Team Left, and Team…Clump of people in the back. Team Clump was very enthusiastic, and all I learned from that night was that I need to switch up my naming conventions. Also, just so I don’t get bullied, I feel that I should mention that “Team Left” took home the win.
We split off into groups then and played some rousing games of Avalon, Euchre, and other things. It was so nice having our friends from out of town in the same room as us! We enjoy our online game nights, sure, but there are just some things that are better to do in person.
Speaking of better to do in person, one of the other things that’s hard to do online together is an escape room. So the following night, we loaded everyone in a few cars and drove out to Decode: Ypsilanti, where we tackled probably the most elaborate and beautiful escape room I’ve ever been in (and I’ve been in a lot!).
But first, we had dinner at Hop Cat, a local favorite in downtown Ann Arbor. Can’t tackle complicated puzzles on an empty stomach!
When we got to Decode, our guide Patton was waiting for us. He was fantastic! A great game master with a ton of enthusiasm and full-on commitment to the story of the room, which I really appreciated.
We escaped with about 10 minutes to spare! It was definitely the most challenging room I’ve ever been in, but we tackled it with gusto and had a fabulous time doing so. Our smiles afterwards were even bigger than our smiles going in - I knew we had it in us to get out.
Finally, to the main event of the week: the holiday party! Brad and Debbie, the company’s owners, always graciously open their home to us each year so that we can spend the day enjoying delicious food and even better company. We play a lot of games, have a fun white elephant gift exchange, and just enjoy time appreciating each other and the year we’ve had.
Getting back to reality on Thursday was tough, but we managed! We had the update for the Sins of a Solar Empire II Technical Preview to release, after all. Today is a day for eating more of the leftovers from the party, playing some lunch euchre, and then crashing at home under my Star Wars Christmas blanket with my cat.
We are getting ready for our holiday closure here, too. Stardock will be closed from Friday, December 22nd through Monday, January 2nd and will reopen on Tuesday, January 3rd. I know we’ve all been looking forward to some well-deserved rest and relaxation!
From all of us here at Stardock, we wish you and yours a warm and wonderful holiday season. See you in 2023!