Although I'm back, I'm about to go straight into finishing the December issue of Games Magazine, which includes the Games 100. It's a pretty exhaustive (and exhausting) 15-page supplement detailing the 100 best conventional and electronic games of the year.
My trip included a lengthy stay at Colonial Williamsburg, where the Founding Fathers were avid gamers and gamblers. This is in contrast to the Founders from Massachusetts, for instance, where playing cards and other forms of gaming were banned due to the Puritan influence. Virginia was a royal colony, and thus officially under the Church of England, which had no problems with cards, draughts, or similar frivolous activity.
The picture at the right was taken at the recently reconstructed R. Charlton Coffeehouse, which is across the street from the capitol where Patrick Henry urged the Virginia House of Burgesses to "Give me liberty or give me death". The Coffeehouse was a favorite gathering spot for legislators. They served strong coffee, even stronger unsweetened hot chocolate, and plenty of liquor, and games were a favorite past-time. It's strange to imagine the founders playing Whist, Shut-the-Box, or Checkers while slamming back hypercaffeinated cocoa and talking Revolution.