Day 188: Saturday Clear Air

I am reading another Maisie Dobbs crime-mystery-WW2 novel, the last one available–number fifteen in the series, so I was not asleep until after 1:30 last night. Which would be not so bad if I was not up at 7:30ish to get ready for my hair-cut with Zerida, Susie’s gal, at 9:15. This is on my Kindle, so I do not flood the house with new books.

The air quality is fair!

So down to Bridgeport to the House of Hair this morning. I usually like to be early, but with all the restrictions, I prefer to be on time now, so I try to get there at the exact minute, three minutes before this time. My hair is short and orderly again.

From there, I headed to Portland, but it was too early, so I stopped at Barbur Boulevard Starbucks. I sat in the parking lot using the Internet on my Apple in the car while I watched the navigation update. It is about an hour to get the updates installed for the Pacific Northwest (PNW). I had noticed that the Nav in Air Volvo, the name of the car, was missing important new features in Portland–like Mox Boarding House and where I was headed. So I waited for it to update and apply the updates. The last step is to turn off the car (!?) to get the update installed–Air Volvo asked for a reboot! I went into Starbucks to get some coffee and a danish. I also buy, like I use to before Covid-19, a bag of coffee and have it ground. I do not think I can catch Covid-19 from coffee.

I saw in recommended reading on Powell’s website, and instead of ordering a physical copy from Powell’s–sorry Powell’s, I ordered the book, Yes, Chef, on my Kindle. I have too many physical books as it is! I read the first chapter, and it is hard to put down (I use the cloud reader that works in a browser). I recommend the book (at least the first pages).

Off to Portland with Air Volvo Nav now zeroing in on Mox Boarding Room PDX, I carry three games with me, and Tatyana and Marylin are happy to see me returning. I missed last weekend due to the smoke. Sydney is not there as she has the nightshift. We catch-up and share stories of the terrible smoke from last week. I catch-up with Sydney when she comes in later.

Evan shows up, and we get some food and set-up the board game Scythe. Evan looked at all the player mats and tries to pick one he wants to play. Evan takes the Crimean Khanate faction. I select the Rusviet (Russian), and Evan hands me the Innovative mat, and he takes Mechanical. In this game, you get a faction that defines the powers of your technology (mechs) and unique ability and then a mat that describes your arrangement of the same skills everyone has (some other mats are Agricultural, Militant, Industrial, Patriotic, and Engineering). There is an extra-large payment for upgrades on my mat of Innovative. I am thus driven to attain oil that is used to pay for upgrades. Evan can build with one less resource if he burns a combat card but starts with none, so he tries to get the cards. He also can build mechs for less than I, but he has to pay to bolster his strength to do that–making it expensive. I build mechs by producing goods and people–this lets me build an engine of creating the resources that I then use to build the mech in one step. I quickly have an engine running and have most of my mechs built.

Evan decides to attack me and break my engines. I often let him attack and then barely resist to then attack him in his weakened and overextended positions on the next turn. Evan attacks me over and over while I keep building and upgrading, and then I start to enlist also. I score stars for combat and an objective. Stars are won by completed a build of all of one time of capability, reaching a maximum rating, winning battles, and achieving often weird random objectives. The game stops when a player earns the sixth star. I win after my sixth star.  It was a longer game as I completed all my upgrades (six) and all my enlistments (four) and all my mechs (4), so I scored high. We also used the alternative encounter deck, which can cause higher scoring. The deck is a mixed bag; Evan got one card that was so poor that we agreed to let him have another draw.

Scythe is one of the best newer styled game (released in 2016). It is designed to force the player into making choices from multi-options while dispensing with paper counters and war iconography found in many games. Scythe, while based on a science fiction steampunk story, does not let the theme remove choices. It is up to the players to drive the game and make decisions–there is almost no luck. You see the loss of choice in many World War 2 games that force the game to follow history. The designer of WW2 games then often squares some of the loss of control with dice rolls and thematic rules. For example, why should not the USA join Germany for an easily win–a morally bankrupt suggestion, but if all you want is to win a game, that combination will win.

I find Scythe a well balanced and well-supported game! Last year Modular Scythe was released to allow the players to have even more control. The game builds a random board, but the players have to pick where to play and what to play. It is for experts.

We then moved to the game Architect of the West Kingdom with Artisans add-on. This is another excellent new style game. Architects is less about engine building and more about gathering and using resources to build scoring items. Players place a worker every turn and get something in return or get to do something. The players are often short some essential things and suddenly having to “arrest” their workers to put them to work on gathering other resources. Every turn is a decision about what to do with a worker. The game also allows you to “arrest” the other players’ workers, and there are a few places were direct competition exists. The other players can ruin your plans. Architects also makes an excellent solo game; there is an automata card deck to control the other robot player.

In our play, I slipped up and did not build enough buildings and lost to Evan by seven points. Sadly, I had a seven-point building in my hand that I needed more wood to build when Evan stopped the game with the last building.

We then left Mox splitting wins this time. I headed off to Guardian Games and Evan off to dinner, pizza. I bought a bottle of the Turbo Dork color at Guardians, silver fox. These are special metallic paints I want to try-out. The staff at Guardians asked me to report back to them on my experience using the Turbo Dork paint.

Corwin made spaghetti with meatballs for dinner. I watch an old movie with Susie, The International, the story of a criminal bank being investigated by the New York prosecutor office–sound familiar? The film ends in Istanbul, and I like to see all the places I have been to.

I hope to get to the build of my 3D printer tonight, but it is already late.

Today about six-hundred fifty people died from the virus in the USA.

With the excellent air, I thought a chant would be right: The Eagle Song.

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