First Bell: Winter 2018

By Our Children

East Coast meets West Coast

When Randall Thompson, an expat Cape Bretoner, found himself in need of a career change after relocating to Victoria, British Columbia, he decided to start his own company and founded Caper Games. The company recently scored its biggest hit to date with the creation of a new deduction card game called Get Adler! The game has earned a Father Geek Seal of Excellence and can be found in stores across Canada, plus Barnes & Noble in the U.S.

The game takes place in London, England in 1937, where intelligence has discovered that top-secret documents are missing. So, too, is MI6 Agent Adler. The only clue is an intercepted message: “Trafalgar at seven”. MI5 Agent Gold, Inspector Sharpe of Scotland Yard, and Constable Townsend have been thrown this task: Find and eliminate Adler. They’ve got seven hours.
The multi-player card game includes secret characters investigating each other to unmask double agent Adler. Once the traitor is revealed, the game transforms into an action-packed race against time to eliminate Adler and recover the top-secret documents.

The game is suitable for ages 10 and older, works best with four to eight players and typically takes 30 minutes to play.

The popularity of the game has inspired two spin-offs. The first is a novella of four continuous short stories called Gold & Sharpe, based on the main characters from the game. The story follows MI5 agent Sarah Gold and Inspector Victor Sharpe of Scotland Yard as they try to catch German double-agent Adler and solve cases across London.

The second is a line of apparel featuring Caper Games’ new logo. The new clothing line includes hoodies, toques, and tees. The clothing is proving quite popular with Thompson’s fellow Capers.

“The response on Facebook has been amazing,” Thompson says. “After doing a small run and a prize-draw in a couple of Cape Breton groups, we received many requests for the toques and had to quickly place another order in additional colours.”

Weekend fun

If you’re looking for a break from your usual weekend routine, you might want to round-up the family and head out to Hatfield Farm, 1840 Hammonds Plains Road. From now till the end of March, Hatfield’s if offering two and a half hours of adventure, including a wagon ride, a petting pen, all-you-can-eat hot dogs, unlimited juice/pop/coffee and tea, time in the Rubber Rodeo with the inflatable games, zip lines, playgrounds, and mini-golf (seasonal). There’s no minimum group sizes or reservations needed, but you do need to arrive prior to 10:30 a.m. to register. You should call ahead too, just to make sure the weather isn’t going to ruin your fun and to check on pricing.

Auld Land Syne

Who isn’t allowed to stay up a little later than usual on New Year’s Eve? Join thousands of revellers at the Grand Parade in front of Halifax City Hall for the East Coast’s largest New Year’s Eve party. The family-friendly celebration begins at 10:30 p.m., with headliners Neon Dreams and A Tribe Called Red offering live musical performances, followed by a giant firework show at midnight.

Looking for a little action?

The Halifax Mooseheads always promise a good time for young and old alike, so head down to the Scotiabank Centre on Dec. 15 for their final home game before the Christmas break. Halifax’s major-junior hockey heroes will be facing off against Maritime rivals, the Charlottetown Islanders.

A symphony of entertainment

Symphony Nova Scotia’s The Nutcracker has become one of those staples of the holidays. Successive generations have attended and no doubt they’ll be back again this year from Dec. 7 to 9 and 13 to 16 for the 2018 performances. Complete with larger-than-life puppets, spirited dancing, and Tchaikovsky’s hauntingly beautiful music, this tale of magic and wonder is as delightful today as the first time you saw it. All performances are at the Dalhousie Arts Centre from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Following The Nutcracker there’s Handel’s magnificent Messiah on Dec. 21 and 22. This year it’s presented in the historic “Dublin” arrangement, and features Mezzo-soprano Marion Newman, tenor Michael Colvin, and baritone Alexander Dobson.

And once the holidays are over, there’s still plenty of reasons to return to the Symphony as it presents the music of New Scotland on Jan. 12. From jolly jigs and reels to lilting laments, SNS explores the traditional tunes of the Highlands, complete with live step-dancing and bagpipes. It’s a fun, feisty kitchen party for the whole family.

Participation is actively encouraged at the New Scotland concert, so bring the whole family and have fun enjoying and learning about music together. Children on the autism spectrum and their parents are welcome. The performance is at the Alderney Landing Theatre, 2 Ochterloney Street, at 3 p.m.

Please note that seating is first-come, first-served. You and your children are also welcome to stand, sit on the floor, or move around as you wish. Unfortunately, due to space limitations, SNS isn’t reserving free tickets for adults without children.

It isn’t all fun and games

If you’re looking to keep your kids a little grounded during the holiday season, keep them in touch with their history by attending the Halifax Explosion Memorial on Dec. 6 at the Fort Needham Bell Tower, 3372 Devonshire Ave., 8:50 to 9:20 a.m. This solemn ceremony marks the 101st anniversary of the First World War accident when two ships (one laden with ammunition) collided in Halifax Harbour, sparking an explosion that levelled the city’s North End and killed some 2,000 people.

Festive Theatre

Neptune Theatre’s long-awaited holiday production begins on Nov. 27 and continues through Jan. 5. Artistic director Jeremy Webb adapts the classic fairy tale Cinderella as a musical comedy for the stage, starring Samantha Walkes as the title hero. Concurrently, Neptune’s studio stage hosts another holiday mainstay: Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, a one-man show starring Rhys Bevan-John. The pantomime at Theatre Arts Guild is another annual family favourite. It’s always a lively, rollicking show with lots of audience participation. This year see Sleeping Beauty from Nov. 22 to Dec. 8.

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