The calendar listing for Bløm Meadworks’ Wednesday board game night says you can join existing games or bring your own game partners. I’ve been traveling for a few years and am eager to meet up with my girl Maria. We did politics together, challenging the way Michigan handles child and protective services cases. We fought fiercely for families together, and won. Maria’s one sweet, smart mama. I feel safe and loved when we’re together, no matter how long we’ve been apart.

Bløm, a maker of craft mead and ciders, is bright and open, but there’s just one little table available when we arrive. The rest are filled with groups of players, and couples are playing games at the bar.

I wander around while Maria gets us set up. I’ll be honest: I’ve never seen most of these games. Four friends are playing Skull and Roses, with a colorful sugar skull on the box, a couple at the bar are playing Poison Bottles, and a group of about eight super-smart-looking fellas are absorbed in a Dungeons & Dragons–like role-playing game. But what stops me in my tracks are two young women playing a game called Wingspan.  

Bløm’s games are first-come first-served, but if Wingspan weren’t taken, it would be first my choice. Not only because of the clever bird puns and cute hummingbird pictures, but it’s truly gorgeous. The colorful board, egg-shaped pieces, cards, and birdhouse dice tower are visually pleasing and mentally stimulating. The women tell me they assume the roles of bird enthusiasts—researchers, birders, ornithologists, and collectors—and try to attract the best birds to their personal wildlife preserves. What fun!

Maria is ready, so I stop bothering the nice young women and head to our table. She has, hilariously, chosen Guillotine. It’s a “revolutionary” card game where you “win by getting a head”: whoever beheads the most important nobles wins.

The game takes place over three rounds, each of which represents one day. We each draw five “action” cards and place twelve “noble” cards face up. The nobles are waiting their turn in line for the guillotine, and we’re competing to kill the most valuable ones.

The action cards have names like “Confusion In Line,” which lets you change a player’s position right before the next execution, and “Was That My Name?,” where you move a noble up to three places ahead in the line.

Tonight, I not only stack up the highest point cards, including Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI, but an action card lets me take my girl Maria’s most valuable nobles—and then end the game. I can’t believe I beat Maria! She is more focused and diligent than me in
every way.

We laugh and hug and promise to see each other soon. All is fair in love and revolution.