Day 173: Friday End of Summer

Labor Day is Monday. So today is counted by many, including Nike, as the end of summer. This is the last week that has Nike, even when working from home, close at noon, giving most the afternoon to enjoy.  I have been heading into Portland to have lunch and play a game at Mox Boarding House each Friday. So today was my last day to do this for 2020.

Before I headed out, I started this morning at 6ish in a rush. I had a 6:35AM meeting! I had four hours of Zoom meeting discussing how Nike’s new software should work. I had trouble sleeping last night, so I was working on only four hours of sleep! The first thing I did was make coffee. Mexican fair-trade and non-GMO and organic whole bean coffee makes an excellent cup of liberal board-crossing coffee.

The frustration also returned as agreements forged this week in hours and hours of meetings were again broken. These problems are put off until after Labor Day.

So getting to Mox around noon, I met the folks who know me now and expect me now. I sat down in the same place in the bar and set-up one of the most challenging games I have to play, Pax Pamir. This is also one of the most elegant looking games. Pax Parmir recreates The Great Game into a board game where you represent a local warlord in the region made up of modern Afghanistan and Iran but set in the 1890s. It plays poorly with two players, but it has an automata player that creates a particular opponent that represents an idea, not a single warlord that can make it suitable for two players. It is hard to fight an idea, and the game mechanic makes this still real. And the board for this board game is not a traditional paper board, but instead is a small rug with a map of the area.

Evan did not know the game–he met me today at Mox, and I have played only a few times. I set-up the automata and for a three-person start, but we played just two of us as a learning game. I won, but that was mostly to stop the game as Russia, my faction, was too far ahead as Evan was just learning. Again, it is a weak game with two players, and a faction can have a run-away. Evan’s play should have been to abandon the Afgan faction and join Russia, which was running-away, forcing a reduction of payment to me being the only supporter of Russia. Yes, you can change sides! So if one side is winning, everyone switches to that faction and starting buy gifts and adding supporters of that faction to your court to get your cut. Yes, it is a tricky game as you want victory points, not necessarily a winning faction. Evan tried to play some more winning combinations instead. I forced the Dominance Check by buying that card and, as the only supporter for the apparent domination of Russia (yellow in the picture), I got the maximum points. The game ends after the fourth Dominance Check or when a player is ahead by four or more points–I was.

Again, faction management, dominance, and influence peddling are not everyday gaming concepts, so we look forward to another game now that Evan has more of a handle on the game. We will play the automata or get more players (hard in a Covid-19 emergency). Evan wants to play again. That has been my feeling about this game. It is challenging but fascinating–the journey is exciting and a challenge.

I had a headache but ordered dessert at Mox (wonderful dessert there) and coffee (hoping chocolate and coffee would help–it worked), and we got out Scythe.

It was a hard gaming day for Evan. I also won in Scythe, earning 48 to his 47 final coin count. We played new factions this time, we have been playing a lot of two-person Scythe these months, and I gave Evan the war-monger set-up to try, Saxony with the Militant mat (black color). I picked the Nordic faction (blue color) with a randomly selected Patriotic mat. Evan slammed into me over and over, and I recovered and kept building but at one point when I misplayed and got a severe spanking, I nearly conceded. I continued to play through the process and gather more and more coins–the usual play for Nordic. Saxony ended the game, as I have seen often, by a double attack into me after I earned my fifth star by winning combat on Saxony. This is the Scythe punching-bag move. After you are attacked, you sandbag and lose that battle, and know that your opponent has used up all his/her power, you make a double attack and crush them and ending the game. Often, Saxony still loses as combat, while earning stars seldom brings other advantages, and that was true in this game, but it was very close and was anyone’s game.

I received a packaged for Scythe from the manufacture, Stonemaier, after I drove home from Mox, Evan, and I leaving Mox after the last game. Including the new rule book (which has typos in the Scythe Automata section and they will be sending me a replacement soon) and I did miss a minor rule (miss playing Will who always knows everything on Sycthe), but as we played consistently, it would have not changed the outcome of the game. It is nice to have an indexed full set of rules finally for Scythe!

The package from Stonemaier also had a back-up set of miniatures for airships and Fenris items for Scythe. I like to have a spare set when I paint miniatures so that the game remains whole while I work on the items. Now I do!

I started the color painting on the Scythe items today.

Tonight I started to wheeze, banshees screaming in my chest, and getting dizzy. I stopped, took some aspirin and Benadryl, and rested for a bit. I am feeling much better now after a few hours and no screaming banshees. Lack of sleep and asthma exposed to unrelenting Pacific Northwest tree pollen is the usual cause. So I will sleep even more, a two-hour nap today, and should be better soon.

Dinner was cold pizza leftovers. Not exciting, but the frig is filling with left-overs so time to eat leftovers.

The USA stock market continued to experience gravity and cratered a bit today. It did recover a bit in the afternoon, but still, the fall in tech stocks was harsh. I read, as I am hoping I am wrong, that bad times are coming, that the change in the market is driven by a belief that inflation is returning. Bonds yields are climbing, meaning that Bonds are running counter to the traditional wisdom that treasuries are purchased when the market falls. That is not happening, meaning inflation fears are driving the market. I am watching and hoping my fears of out-of-control inflation is the product of my imagination. I am changing nothing in my 401K at this time.

Like yesterday, about another thousand people in the USA died from the virus today.

Today I decided on a nice hymn I do not know, Higher Ground. It is a old hymn but not in the Methodist Hymnal.



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