Day 181: Saturday Soup Day

The valley is full of smoke. The visibility is less than 1/2 a mile. I went out to get the mail, put the trash bins away, and felt a bit dizzy and tired. Nope, not going out there again. The air quality number is between 319 and 344 now–alarming.

Susie and I watched the horror-adventure film Constantine tonight. It is funny how it matches some later stories and movies like Angels and Demons a few years later. Constantine is actually a comic book character, and there is some noise that another film will include the main character. Like DC needs another dark character–imagine eye roll for those who follow these things.

Susie likes action films and Reeves. So this was a good one for a smoking end-of-earth look that is visiting the area.

(It looks like the movie image is Portland or California)

As the air is thick, I have kept to a slow day. I slept until 10! Some additional groceries were delivered this afternoon by Safeway.com.

I made lunch by reheating the quiche from yesterday. It was still delicious. I ordered barley and stew beef for homemade beef barley soup. I cooked the meat, next time I will make it smaller, and the barley. I added carrots, celery, onion (cooked with the beef to create a lighter flavor for onions), beef broth, and potatoes. It is a bit bland but still hit-the-spot. I figure soup, homemade, is what you make in a smoke and fire emergency. The news stations are all reporting that people should stay at home and not go outside. That sounds like time for soup!

Today is the first Friday-Saturday that I did not drive into Portland to play and eat at Mox Boarding House. I would have loved another game of Scythe there with Evan or even more folks. But smoke and fire is nothing to ignore.

Instead, I tried one at home: WW2 Deluxe: European Theater. I decided to play the most straightforward set-up and shortest game, the Wacht Am Rhein scenario. I am just playing against myself, and I wanted to get a feel for the game. Funny, the game lasted two turns instead of three.

(set-up for Wacht Am Rhien)

This game, WW2 Deluxe: European Theater, is the third recent game I have owned for the same exact theme, and I have a Third Reich from the old Avalon Hill somewhere (that would be number four). So far, I have been disappointed by Columbia’s hidden block version of the same topic, and I gave away my Axis and Allies version too. I purchased this game as part of a Kickstarter and hoped that the designer, Jon Compton, would produce a shorter game that did not lose the themes and something better.

Aside: Jon Compton is a wargame designer for the US military and a board game designer!

So my short play did have the feel of an old Avalon Hill game, but the number of moving parts was significantly reduced. Moving a single unit, now an army, felt like an important decision. In the other games that handle WW2 Europe, you would need to move three or four or ten or twenty units for the same change. Dice rolling and detailed moves would take an hour or more. Jon Compton’s moving to the army level has you make the same decision without the insane level of moving paper items and spending an hour trying to execute the same effect.

I liked the game so far. I think the navy rules, while not very interesting to a part-time naval historian like myself, clearly represent how much the navy choices impacted the land war in Europe, nearly none at all. The bombing rules force defenses against bombing. Again, not the details of air-combat are recreated, but the decisions are. Planes are used for bombing, stopping other aircraft, and supporting troops.

This is a two-person game. I do not have many chances to play just two-person, but it works for me for solo play, and this is a better game for this theme and fast. I will keep it. For you, Axis and Allies lovers, it still is one of the better multiplayer games for the same theme.

(US and British take Berlin, the German units have poor rolls, while the Soviet are held back by fantastic lousy luck)

I am happy to finally find a WW2 fast play but still a workable board game. I will try a more significant scenario.

We will continue with a lock-in all Sunday as air quality is expected to enter 400+ soon. The two close-by fires are being brought under control–we are at no risk for a fire at this time.

Just over seven-hundred people died from the virus in the USA today.

I found this beautiful video for today: Prayer for World Peace.

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