Don’t Tease The Flesh Golem!

…he’s sensitive

CritterCon 12

Trip Day Nine (Con Day 4): In Which More Games Are Played, Love & Hate Go Center Stage, Goodbyes Are Said, And Good Lord, Is There Ever Pie


It is late and I need to bust ass to finish this before midnight. Quick and dirty, folks!

Breakfast: Waffles From Outer Space! Ate too much.

Morning games: Betrayal At House On The Hill, Dog Poker, The Fantasy Trip, The Crazy Game Boardgame Expansion #1: City Pitch

(Luke: Dad got his usual 5 gallons of Butter & Bacon flavored syrup.)

Lunch: Tamalemania, where I ate pork barbacoa tamales and drank horchata.

(Cupcake: Horchata is REALLY good!)

Afternoon Panel: “We Loves It, We Hates It!” Spike and I have been on this panel for years now and it’s always fun whipping the crowd into a frenzy over things geeks hate and love. It was held in an auditorium that seats 2,000 people and was SRO.

Afternoon Other Stuff: Got drinks at Mink’s Cold Drinks, took one last stroll through the Dealer’s Room, said goodbye to many folks.

(Cupcake: I’m going to miss my adventuring homegirls.)

(Brownie: I’m gonna miss Chance.)

The con ended at 5:00 and as always, the Goodbye CritterCon pie feed started up an hour later. They had 100 different types of pies this year and I tried 6 of them. I believe Brownie summed it up best when he said “Holy crap! That’s a lot of pie!”

(Sasha: Whoever thought of Hot Dog Pie, I love you!)

About 7:30, we got on the Bus and started beaming our friends home. By 8:00 the Cross family was heading out of Critter City until next year. We were all pretty tired. And very full of pie.

Sweetie will sort of meander toward New Mexico tonight, then stop at the border. In the morning, we will start the trip home in earnest.

More trip news tomorrow.

Destination Sign When We Started: The Sea of Green

QM Radio Station: Music To Sleep By


The Almost Certainly True, But Still Damned Hard To Believe, Story Of Mostly Purple Patty And The Singing Dugongs

…co-starring her mom, Mostly Green Josephine

CatCon 8

Day 11, Con Day 4: It’s all about the pie!

The convention is almost over and, as we do every year, we had big fun. Last night’s Old Time Radio shows went of without a hitch and were very well received. Next year, the con staff wants to do Old Time Radio broadcasts all 4 days of the con, from noon to midnight. AND, they want to do a different decade every day. I volunteered to do a late 60’s freeform FM show.

(Silky: I’m looking forward to that.)

As we do every year, Spike & I (this year joined by Peter, Brian and 4 others) took part in the two hour “Ask A GM ANYTHING event. This year was another treasure trove of questions ranging from goofy to well thought out. Most fun question? “Can you read from a rulebook like a preacher reads from the Bible?” We used the first edition AD&D books, mostly quoting Gary Gygax at his most verbose and, dare I say, preachy. I gave my reading a real old fashioned fire & brimstone treatment.

(Daisy: Daddy got several “Amens” and even healed three people of their addiction to house rules.)

We also did the “I Love It/I Hate It” event. As one might expect with a room full of over 500 geeks, there was a wide variety of things to hate or love.

And now, Gentle Readers, we are about to head into the Post-Con Cooldown Party, which many of you will remember is a huge pie eating festival. This year, they have 50 different kinds of pie. Since we have an ever full ice creal locker, we supplied 50 kinds of ice cream. I predict many full tummies.

(Sasha: One of which will be mine.)

After going comatose from pie eating, we will get on the bus and head to the “Oklatexas RV Park”, up on the state line. Tomorrow, everyone goes home and this trip is a wrap.

Blog ya later, alligators!

Zany Bullfinches Pestered My Hoopoes

…google it

CatCon 8

Day 2: In which we check out some monsters, the cheekiness of jackrabbits is discussed and Auntie Avis bakes pies.

Day 2 of our trip found us in Kingman, Arizona, where we visited the newly renamed and upgraded “Monsters Of The Desert!” Years ago, desert sculptors with time on their hands built something goofy and big, a kind of octopoid looking alien creature with three eyes. But in the last couple of years, they’ve added 5 new Monsters, so naturally we had to check it out.

(Silky: This was my pick of where to visit, folks.)

One of these monsters looks sort of like a giant praying mantis made out of stainless steel, crushed glass, plaster and about 15 colors of paint. It stands across from two 30 foot tall creatures made of old plastic milk jugs, flattened tin cans and some sort of plastic foam. They look like crazed yetis.

(Daisy: Real yetis are much scarier. Flash & Leon once poked one with a stick It was not amused.)

(Leon: No shit! That damned thing chased us 3 miles! It was wicked pissed off.)

Then there is the winged triceratops creature that uses an old school bus as the basis for it’s body, then added on tons of plumbing fixtures. Finally, there is “Ograntor!”, a 75 foot tall giant ape/ant/platypus thing built out of concrete, steel and what looks like about 6 months worth of the empty booze bottles from Las Vegas.

(Sasha: Hmmm…giant apes…hmmm.)

(Leon: You are crazy, Sasha!)

(Sasha: What part of “mad scientist” confuses you, cathead?)

We wandered around for about 90 minutes, because what the signs along the highway don’t tell you is that while there are only 6 giant monsters, there are over 150 smaller ones scattered about, some no bigger than my fist. Some can move a bit and have motion detectors built in, so they only move when you get close. This startled some of our group.

(Daisy: HAHAHA! One of them scared Sasha so much, she pooped!)

The whole place is surrounded by high chainlink fence, too keep out vandals. Our critters discovered that the local jackrabbits like to hang out just on the other side of the fence. They do not seem to fear human, yowling cats or barking dogs.

(Leon: Open up that fence and we’ll see who’s laughing.)

(Silky: One of those cheeky little bastards peed in front of Sasha and I when we barked at him.)

(Daisy: They called us rude names!)

(Sasha: We’ll see how fuckin’ smug they are when my flying monkeys come for them.)

Before leaving, we stopped off at the concession stand for Desert Monster Dogs, which were delicious foot long hot dogs. I had two with chili. We also drank Monster Shakes, which were both tasty and large.

(Daisy: Oh, baby, those were tasty hot dogs!)

We got back on the bus and dimension hopped over to a Hawaii that never had humans settle there. Most likely, this was because it is a popular place with the Megalodons, Giant Octopi and the Rocs that live up in the mountains and prey upon the Megalodons & Giant Octopi. It’s a peaceful place, if you’re not one of those three species.

(Leon: Humans pick insane places to go! Those Rocs were enormous!)

(Daisy: I know, right? They had like a 400 foot wingspan!)

(Silky: One of them grabbed a 65 foot shark like it was a goldfish!)

(Sasha: Eh, could have been worse. Could have been dragons.)

Anyway, being way too small to eat, we mostly hung out on the beach or wandered around in the bus. It was while wandering through the greenhouse that Avis and Silky found several blueberry bushes loaded with ripe fruit. After picking a bunch of them, Avis told us all that we’d be having blueberry pie for dessert tonight.

(Silky: we may have eaten a pound or so as we were picking.)

Sure enough, when the rest of us came in, the bus was filled with the delicious smell of fresh baked pies. After a dinner of steak, potatoes, spinach and rolls, I got a gallon of French Vanilla ice cream out of the Ice Cream Closet and we had blueberry pie ala mode. Totally yummy! You did well, Auntie Avy.

(Daisy: Auntie Avy, Queen of Pie!)

Once we were all stuffed with pie & ice cream, we got out the dice and I ran Grace, Avis, Spike, Mary, Daisy & Silky through “The Megadungeon of Horrible Doom!” Much fun was had, even when Spike rolled two critical fumbles and fell into a pit full of Snot Goblins.

While we played D&D, Sasha & Leon were playing a new video game called “Assault Of The Robodemons”, which is part RPG, part shooter. Judging from all the yelling, they enjoyed it.

Now it’s time for bed, Gentle Readers. More fun & frivolity tomorrow.

Destination Sign when we started: Mirkwood

Destination Sign when we ended: Camelot

Radio Station of the Day: Duck Rock Live From DuckEarth 5

It’s Zooby!

…everyone’s favorite sea slug!


The Doclopedia #1,009

Magical Pies: Winkleberry Pie Of Extra Energy

In the Small Folk lands of Bilovia and Cerotania, they grow a very unusual type of berry called a winkleberry. These berries, besides tasting of watermelon, cherries and vanilla, are packed with a form of magical energy. A pocket pie made from these berries will give a person great vigor for up to an hour. Up to three pies can be eaten in a row, one per hour, before the person who has eaten them will collapse and fall into a deep sleep.

Winkleberry Pies of Extra Energy do not keep as long as most other magical pies. Unless coated with a grease or fat of some sort, they will only last about 6 days. The grease coating (butter is a favorite) will double this.






The Doclopedia #1,010

Magical Pies: Banana Cream Pie Of Dreamwalking

The pastrymancers of Banzib-By-The-Bay are generally thought to be the kings & queens of pie making and the Banana Cream Pie Of Dreamwalking is one of their most delicious and powerful pies. They are also very expensive full sized pies that cost around $200.00 each.

These pies are used by groups of exactly eight people to enter the Dreamworld that exists just beside the Real World. While there, they can learn things, travel from one part of the Real World to another very rapidly or even take Dreamworld things back into the Real World. One slice of pie is all it takes to Dreamwalk, but the pie must be eaten within 24 hours of coming out of the oven.




The Doclopedia #1,011

Magical Pies: Steak & Potato Pie Of Duplication

Another great magical pie from the pastrymancers of Banzib-By-The-Bay, these pies are absurdly complicated to make, but have an astounding effect once consumed. Simply put, they cause you to become two exact copies of yourself.

Once you are two, you can communicate telepathically and in most cases, this allows you to seriously kick ass in most endeavors. The effect lasts for several hours and if one of you dies, it’s no big deal.

As you might expect that makes these pies very popular. Unfortunately, the highly specialized ingredients and the complex creation and baking of the pies (taking upwards of two weeks) causes them to be too expensive for most folks at $1,500.00 per pocket pie. Another problem is that in most kingdoms, they are either illegal or highly regulated.

On the plus side, they’ll keep for as long as 90 days.




The Doclopedia #1,012

Magical Pies: Strawberry Pie Of Life Energy

Take a regular strawberry pie, infuse it with life energy taken from the statue of the Green Mother Goddess and you have a Strawberry Pie Of Life Energy. Once wrapped in the leaves of a luluku tree, the pie will stay fresh for a week.

These pies are most often eaten by those brave souls who wage war on the undead. The increased life energy they get from the pies allows them to repel and slay everything from skeletons to vampire lords.

Rabbi Bob Goes On A Road Trip With A Turtle

…and two strippers from North Beach


The Doclopedia #948

Pie!: Chicken Pot Pie

Ah yes, a most delicious chicken pot pie, don’t you agree? Branwell, please convey our pleasure with dinner to Mrs. Zelogny. And ask Walton to set out the reserve brandy.

Now, my friends, let us adjourn to my workshop where I shall fulfill my promise for this evening by showing you my Temporal Conveyance Engine. Using it, we shall open a passage between our own year of 1891 AD and the year 1056 BC. I believe you will find it most enlightening.

Why of course, Nigel, I can have Mrs. Zelogny pack up a pot pie for my bachelor brother! Now, as for why the year 1056 BC was chosen, it all has to do with certain temporal weaknesses inherent to these grounds…”




The Doclopedia #949

Pie!: Ollywox Pie

Today on Cooking For Gorvoons we’ll be making Ollywox Pie, a worldwide favorite that originated in the Zarinar Republic several centuries ago and quickly spread during the Jarib Uprising. The big secret to making a great Ollywox Pie is a light flaky crust and very ripe ollywox fruits. By very ripe, we mean extremely soft and squishy. The best way to insure this level of ripeness is to purchase the fruits green, then put them in a warm dark place for a couple of moon phases. Now, as for the crust, you’ll want to use good flour and cold cubes of Tarfu Lard…”

Bubblegum In The Microwave

…an ill advised experiment

A long post today, Gentle Readers.

The Doclopedia #947

Pie!: Lemon Meringue Pie

It was 12:15 on Saturday, May 22, 1966 that Porky Patterson’s mother put a nice fresh lemon meringue pie in the fridge for dinner. At 12:45, she left to go visit Porky’s Aunt Hilda on the other side of town, leaving Porky alone in the house with the pie. Had his dad or siblings been home, he would have never gotten into the fix he did, but his dad and older brother were off fishing, his older sister was out shopping and his two younger sisters were at a birthday party. So it was just Porky and that pie. That lovely, delicious pie.

As you might imagine from his nickname, Porky liked food the way a sailor likes the sea. It called to him and he went to it. So it was with the pie. By 1:30, Porky could resist the siren song no longer, even though he knew his mom would skin him alive if he ate any of the pie. After maybe two minutes, he decided to cut a narrow slice of pie from exactly in the center, a long narrow strip of pie from one side to the other. He figured that then he could just push the sides together and nobody would be the wiser. Now, that might have worked if he had made the slice a quarter of an inch wide, but Porky cut it more like a full inch. This meant that when he pushed the halves together, the formerly round pie was now more of an oval.

In true Porky Patterson style, he then panicked and formulated a plan that was risky at best and doomed to spectacular failure at worst. Had any of his buddies been around, they would have put their money on the latter.

Stopping only long enough to raid his secret stash of birthday money, he left the house as fast as his 10 year old legs would carry him, jumped on his trusty bike and started pedaling to the bakery over on Main and Third where he planned on buying a replacement pie. Time was of the essence, since his mom would be home by 3:00 to go get his little sisters from the party down the street, then start dinner. If she saw her pie, Porky would be a dead man.

Now, the Patterson family lived on the west side of town, which was up in the hills and about 5 miles from the bakery. Getting there would not take Porky too long, but pedaling his pudgy self back up the hills would take up valuable time, so he decided to shave minutes off the downhill ride by going down Suicide Hill.

Known to everybody but the bicycle riding children of the town as Hanford’s Hill, it was a 3 mile long stretch of mostly woods on a very steep grade. Several trails ran though the woods, but the widest and most straight ran from top to bottom and ended at Pine Street about a mile from the bakery. The trail was fairly smooth, but crazy steep and you never knew when you’d find a rock or tree limb or species of wildlife in your way. Local kid legend had it that the last person to make it safely from top to bottom on Suicide Hill was Brian Hobbles, way back in the spring of 1955. Even then, they said, he was afraid to ride a bike downhill for years.

So Porky’s fear of his mom trumped his fear of Suicide Hill and down he went. By the time he’d gone 100 yards, he was doing about 60 miles an hour and screaming at the top of his lungs. His screams only got louder when he realized that recent light rains had made the trail slick and it was all he could do to keep the bike from sliding sideways. He passed a couple of kids that were out for a hike and later, they would relate to others how wide Porky could open his mouth to scream. Mention was also made of how his eyes looked eerily like car headlight, they were so open.

About halfway down the hill and still screaming, Porky encountered a cow, most likely belonging to Mr. & Mrs Duglemann who had a small farm on the less steep part of the hill. In the three seconds he had to make a decision, Porky opted to go off to the right, forsaking the trail and an impact with a Holstein heifer. Of course, going off the trail upped the Danger Factor to about 1,000, which Porky soon realized as he plowed through high weeds and several small bushes that scratched him and filled his clothing with various types of stickers.

As he came out into shorter grass and could devote more time to avoiding fatal impact with trees, the terrified boy began steering back towards the trail. This took great concentration, which is why he did not see the skunk. Unfortunately, the skunk did see him and even though the bike never touched it, the skunk released what skunks release. The effect upon Porky was immediate, since he went from screaming to gagging and coughing. Even so, he made it back onto the trail at about 50 miles an hour.

Of course, the latter half of the trail was also the steepest part and also the part that crossed the most other trails, so it was probably inevitable that he would meet up with other humans and animals. The first of these were the Richards brothers and their four huge Dobermans. Porky barely missed hitting Olaf Richards and that pissed off the dogs who then started chasing him. Going down that steep hill as they were, the dogs made good time and were less than a yard behind the bike. At that point, Porky found his ability to scream had returned.

A couple of minutes later, the trail went under a low hanging tree branch. Porky ducked, which kept him from getting hit, but did not keep a large cat from falling off the limb onto his back. Given the speed at which he was now moving and the pack of dogs behind them, the wise feline decided to dig in his claws and hold on. Just for good measure, he added his own yowls to Porky’s screams of terror and, now, pain.

Soon, Porky saw Pine Street in the distance and was hoping the dogs would stop following him then. The cat would have to wait until he could stop. He was beginning to think he would survive Suicide Hill after all when he saw Susan Leems step out onto the trail in front of him.

Susan, a pretty young lass of 12 years old, had been cutting across Suicide Hill on her way home from her regular Saturday art class at the YWCA. In one hand she carried a bag full of containers of paint and in the other, she held her 5 year old Dachshund, Fritz. Fritz was well known around town as liking absolutely nobody but Susan. He had bitten a couple of dozen people and was roundly hated by humans and other dogs. Actually, aside from Susan, pretty much every other mammal in town hated the surly little bastard.

As Susan turned to scream at the approaching Porky, she threw her bag of paints into the air. Porky swerved to miss her, but got pelted by several pots of paint. He, the cat and the bike were now quite gaily colored, not that any of them cared.

Susan was falling backwards now and Fritz, seeing both a human and a cat he could terrorize, made a mighty leap that put him right into the handlebar mounted basket of the bike. About a minute later, holding a snarling weinerdog in one hand to avoid getting bitten and his handlebars in the other, Porky entered Pine Street at roughly 55 miles an hour. Since Pine Street started at the bottom of Suicide Hill, there was no immediate cross traffic. There were, however, many people outside on a nice weekend day to see a multicolored boy wearing shredded clothing and a crazed cat on his back as he rocketed past on his bicycle while being chased by a pack of dogs. Nobody much cared about the part where it looked like he was strangling Fritz.

After flying through about four intersections and causing at least three fender benders, the Dobermans stopped chasing Porky. Sadly, they were quickly replaced by a couple of police cars, one of which was telling Porky to pull over and stop. Being a law abiding kid, Porky tried to stop, but it soon became apparent that wet paint or mud or cat urine had made his tires too slippery for his brakes to grab onto. He was going to tell this to the cops who pulled up on his left side, but it was at that moment that Fritz broke free of his grasp and chomped down on his left hand. With a yell, Porky began waving his arm, trying to break free of Fritz. He was successful, but at the cost of actually tossing the vicious little hound into the open window of the cop car, where Fritz landed unharmed on the front seat between Sgt, Foley and Officer Zims. With no respect for the law, Fritz went on the attack, causing the car to swerve off into the rose garden in front of the town library, where it knocked over a sundial after uprooting a dozen rosebushes.

By now, Porky and the bike were doing less than 10 miles an hour and the cat decided to get off. With a sigh of relief, Porky headed up onto the sidewalk at Broadway and third, a mere two blocks from the bakery. He stopped right in front of the fabric store and collapsed as the policemen got out of their car to question him. They did this from several feet away because of the skunk stink. Porky was just babbling to them about lemon pies and Suicide Hill when his mother and Aunt Hilda came out of the fabric store and nearly tripped over him. At that point, Porky just gave up and asked Jesus to come take him.

Once he was cleaned off, washed until he was much less stinky and patched up by a doctor, Porky went home where his mother told him he would never get to eat pie again in her house and by golly he was going to go to church every Sunday and he could expect to be grounded for a month. Add to this the teasing by his siblings and Porky was doing hard time. He wished the police had arrested him instead of letting him go.

Speaking of the police, they informed the Leems family that if Fritz ever got loose again, they would ship him off to San Quentin.

Caution: Blogger May Be Intoxicated!

…heh, heh…”may” be…heh, heh


The Doclopedia #946

Pie!: Summerberry Pie

Oh my, now that hit the spot, that did. Nothing like a nice summerberry pie, is there? Puts me in mind of that time Kree, Sonk and I joined up with those elves and humans on that mad journey to find that wizard staff. Remember that, Kree? Oh my, we traveled so far east we were nearly heading west again! Met those fellows in that inn over in Bagtown, that one that burned down a few years back.

There we were, sitting and eating a spanking fine summerberry pie and drinking a beautiful honey ale, when this great hulking human asks us if we’d like to earn some money and do a bit of traveling. Sonk tell him we might, but what do three humans and three elves…and Red Elves at that…need with three gnomes? Well, the big man tells us they might well be needing some gnomish inventing and engineering when they go off to find the Staff of Heritivus, some high muckity wizard from 500 years ago. Well, being low on funds and hearing they have a Bag of Holding full of building materials & tools, we said that we would indeed accept their offer.

Well, boys, I’m telling you we fought all sorts of creatures, cast mighty spells, went from ruins to ruins, built three bridges, a battering ram, two catapults and a boat before we finally found that bleeding staff! Kree got his arm broken, I got turned to stone twice and Sonk lost half of his right ear. We got paid quite generously, but I’ll be dipped in dragon dung if I’ll ever go out adventuring again.

Now, let’s have another slice of pie and I’ll tell you about the time Tweg and Doolo tried to build a flying ship.”

Doc Tempest VS The Russian Robots

…from the July, 1956 issue


The Doclopedia #944

 Pie!: Sausage Pie

Here you go, folks, a nice hot sausage pie. Dig in, but mind that hot gravy. You know, the crust on this one really turned out nice. I think I might be learning how to cook. Heh heh heh.

Oh, I learned this recipe from an old Italian hunting dog, back when I was in the Canine Pup Scouts. He was helping us get our Tracking merit badges and we’d go way out in the woods to track everything from rabbits to bears. At days end, he’d cook up all sorts of tasty things, including a sausage pie like this one. Of course, his version was a good bit more rustic than this.

Those are sweet potatoes, ma’am. I swapped them in for the usual potatoes because they just taste so much better. Same thing with the addition of artichoke hearts. And you’ll notice I added herbs to the dough for extra flavor.

Don’t worry about not finishing. I’ll just give the table scraps to my human, Albert. He’s a good boy, but like all humans he’ll pass up his human food for a chance at dog food.




The Doclopedia #945

Pie!: Coconut Cream Pie

The Great Mutation Outbreak of 1998 can be traced back to an apprentice baker in St. Louis, Missouri who came to work after a night of partying with his friends in an old chemical warehouse on the outskirts of town. Apparently, several random chemicals had found their way into his hair without him knowing it. These then got into 24 coconut cream pies that he baked.

All of the pies were sold early and 6 of them were taken to other parts of North America, including as far away as Quebec. Everybody who ate those pies found themselves mutating into a hideous monster over the next 48 hours. Worse yet, of course, was the fact that their bodies leaked out a clear liquid that had the same mutagenic effect. This got into water supplies and things got far worse in the next two weeks.

Fortunately, the chemicals broke down a few days after they entered the water, so the outbreak was confined to North America. Once the government had eradicated all of the mutants, things went back to normal.

The Mystery Of The Innocent Butler

…or was he?

Woohoo! New Doclopedia theme today and it all about Pie! Well, OK, pie and other stuff. But, you know, Pie!

The Doclopedia #943

Pie!: Blueberry Pie

Yes, ma’am, my partner and I was wondering if you’d have any odd jobs we could do in exchange for maybe a bite to eat of that blueberry pie you have coolin’ on the window and lettin’ us sleep down by that creek that cuts through your property. It’s been a dog’s age since we had homemade pie and that there one smells like heaven. We can do all sorts of stuff, ’cause unlike some guys ridin’ the rails, we ain’t got a fear of hard work.

Oh, no, ma’am, Pete don’t talk much anymore. See, when we was comin’ up back in Chigago, we run afoul of bootleggers back in ’26. They come real close to beatin’ us to death before that Shifter fella stopped ’em. Anyway, Pete got his throat hurt and now talkin’ is a chore for him.

Yes, Ma’am, we saw The Shifter right up close. He was tossin’ them bootleggers around like they was ragdolls, laughin’ all the while and tellin’ ’em to go back to their bosses with the word that crime had a new enemy in Chicago and he was it. After they was either dead or run off, he helped me and Pete into a big black car, then took us to a doctor that patched us up no charge and gave us five bucks each to boot! That Shifter fella is aces in my book, I tell ya.

Oh, why, thank you, Ma’am. Here ya go, Pete, warm blueberry pie. Mmmm Mmmm, this is delicious, Ma’am. Now, soon as we finish it, how about we split and stack that wood you got over yonder?”

The Wonderfulness Of Eating Pie

…blueberry pie with whipped cream

The Adventure By Poll Thing

Ok, so now we have our locations…

At the Lake Of The Pines resort, our creepy villain will cause all manner of trouble in The Woods Nearby, The Main Lodge, The Boathouse/Docks, The Cabins and The Small Island Just Offshore. The police in the nearby town of Grogan’s Corner (I had to flip a coin to break the tie with Pine Gap) have called Our Heroes to investigate.

Next post: I put all of the pieces together for your amusement and/or use in a game.