I took my time writing today, so this is a bit late.
Today I slept into 9ish after waking early and decided that no essential cosmic plan would fail if I just rolled over. The cosmos seemed OK with me, not rushing. I instead chose to learn my new game. I had set up the game last night after finishing my writing. I even tried to play, but sleep became necessary, so I delayed until this morning. Still last night I set-up as a two-person game, rediscovering the special two-person rules, including special stock cards to use (on the reverse of a standard stock card–how efficient).
Back to 18Chesapeake, while I drink the morning coffee and making poached eggs on buttered toast (my favorite), the first auction for private companies that start the game had me worried. Ask any gamers that plays games with me, I am terrible at auctions and always pay too much (i.e., Modern Art a great light auction game). But, this game has special high-pressure rules that trip a cascade of sales. It took me two practice auctions to get it. Instead of a free-for-all auction, the player can buy the cheapest company or bid on another higher value company. This repeats to the next player–a very high-pressure decision. When the player buys the stock, there is a cascading evaluation of bids until a company that has no bids is found, and the next person’s turn to buy or bid or pass is next. Every decision matters. I like games were choices are given. I might not totally hose this!
I then moved on to the stock turn in 18Chesapeake. This reminded me of online train games I have played before and stock market simulation games. you IPO train companies, if you get enough investment, the company “floats” and effectively goes-live. The Par value is set, and the stock begins to trade. All done with a board and markers. Like an 1800s stock board. I really like it now.
Then the operational part started, and then I was lost and have to try again on these rules. Also, laying track was my least favorite part of the online games, and this is part of this. I found running trains unrealistic for online games. I was lost in this game. I effectively had this all wrong and will try again and try to find an 18xx game video online to help me with this part.
I had to pop out to the pharmacy to get some supplies and take Corwin somewhere. I was a few minutes late for my wife’s family Facetime call. We got all connected, including Emma (Susie’s sister’s daughter), who use to beat me at chess when she was just starting high school. Emma just graduated from college and started her career, and then the virus came. She is doing well–saying something about working in pajamas at home.
Matt Vincent called. He is one of the leaders of our gaming groups. Matt is the master of game mastering and dungeon mastering. He has no equal; I once asked him to bring figures for River Dancing Demons in formal dress, and he had them and brought them for my game–he has everything. We all enjoy his company, and he is fun as a player, and when he leads, you are never sure what he will pull out next.
I talked to Matt outside on the phone while Susie continued to speak to her family on Facetime. Matt is well and wanted to check in and just chat. We shared how our families are doing (very well) and a few gaming details. We also reviewed our investment results with both of us with our eyes on retirement targets. We also shared favorite view items for binge-watching (I recommend “Project Blue Book“).
It was great to hear from M@ (as he is known) and to know someday we will return to role-playing in person, and hear words like “you find steps leading down into darkness” at a table covered with maps and fantasy figures arranged on little squares on the charts. And there is the other kind of story we could go with, “it is 1926 in Egypt, and there are rumors of strange if not disturbing circles and strange marks left on the banks of the Nile.” We would then get all those cool handouts and some real 1926 stories mixed in with cultist stories and items that never made into the “official” record.
(some of my cool props for my 1920s and 1930s games in black and white to fit the period)
Lunch was from McDonald’s with me having a cheeseburger meal (splitting it with Corwin) and Susie with her Chicken McNuggets happy meal. Unfortunately, the troll count is quickly increasing here at The Volvo Cave! Yes, the Troll movie is sponsoring the Happy Meals (notice I did not include a line to it–“just say no to more troll”). The house is still full of miniature “care” animals from previous sponsors of the same.
Susie and I then ran away. We headed out to The Gorge. I have not been back to Portland for two months. Eliminating unnecessary trips as part of the lockdown. We visited the Gorge last summer. It was time to see it again. Susie asked for munchies, and so while getting gas, the first fueling for The Volvo since February, I procured chips and corn chips and pretzels.
The famous waterfalls blew by. Exits are locked-down. Even the parking lots were closed. Multnomah Falls and the other falls were white with a huge volume of water. They looked awesome for the seconds I saw them in the car. We still enjoyed the freedom of snacks and drinks from yet-another McDonald’s on the road. Hand sanitizer was used often!
(holding the phone and driving and taking a picture of falls at nearly unregulated speeds).
I thought about taking pictures of the speed I was driving. I could at least get that photo. Oregonians have found they like to drive fast again. One interesting change from the emergency: polite but fast driving in Oregon!
It was raining so hard at one point the roads filled with water, and a car buried us in a wash that made it impossible to see for a few very long seconds, twice. Never have I had that happen when I am totally blind, and it goes on for a while. I took my foot off the pedals to let the car slow without breaking–The Volvo can “see” and automatically brakes when traveling below 35 mph. I do not panic behind the wheel of an XC60 Volvo; one of us will figure it out. A few minutes later, the car told me to get a rest. It actually has a graphic of a cup of coffee on the dash. I think it needed a break.
We reached home without, we believe, infections or accidents. It was nice to visit a few places, even if it means only driving by. Even The Volvo seemed to be happy to be home.
Dinner was a snack of Olympia Provisions with crackers. Our next box came today. But, we have canceled the service and, instead, after a few emails, have been declared to live in the Greater Portland area and thus can get direct delivery. It was silly, and expensive, to have the meats Federal Express’d from Portland to Aloha with the fully insulated box with ice packs ($20) when they could just deliver. On Monday, our next order comes with a vegetable box, local artisan cheese sampler, a meat party, and bread and crackers. It again was expensive–but we will see how this compares. I am hoping for a festival. They also deliver beer and wine. Yes, being in “Greater Portland” has its advantages!
Returning to the sad news, today the reports show at least one-thousand two-hundred deaths in the USA from the virus. Some numbers are coming down, very slowly. So I finally went with the Methodist anthem hymn, and this version is quite dressed up: O For a Thousand Tongues. Please use the hymn to remember the people we lost today and the medical workers who are witnesses to their passing and for those who grieve the loss.