Story 12Nov2022: Saturday Heavy Board Games

Today I was a bit busy, but I did not feel rushed. It was my usual Saturday trying to fit a weekend into one day. While my body seemed to complain that it had been pushed on Thursday and Friday, it seemed fine. No sudden visits to the bathroom. There are pinches in my lower back that could be muscles, colon, or possible kidney issues–So far, this is not serious enough to do more than ignore it. It is easy to imagine much worse things than a pulled muscle.

The day ended, going backward, with me making my bed with clean sheets from the dryer at 1ish Sunday morning. I had put the sheets in the washer at the start of Saturday, knowing this would make for late-night laundry, but I forgot on Friday. So I also put in a load of laundry after that to dry on Sunday morning. While I waited for the sheets, I watched the next episode of Matt Smith’s Doctor Who, the first season (season 5, episode 2). While it is a harsh storyline that I remember not loving when it came out, I liked it better this time and the acting and camera work I thought better than most new shows (considering that the lead actors are in new roles). I had toast with butter and some jam to take with my pills and as my late dinner.

Before getting home in Air Volvo, I dropped Kathleen at her home just out of Portland in the east. I usually take her home for a twenty-minute trip where we discuss our gaming, and I describe my newest Dungeons and Dragons writing and playing while I manage the light traffic in Air Volvo.

Moving back in the day, I was at Richard’s house with Kathleen to play Weather Machine. This is a new board game, Richard’s second play, and a Kickstarter game with all the premium pieces and bright colors–a Kickstarter copy is available with add-ons from The Game Stewards for $189. This is from Vital Lacerda, who made other favorites like Lisboa, and it is his masterpiece. It is enormous and has the usual mass of fiddle parts his games are known for. Kathleen thought it way to fiddle and required the player to pass through most of the game to win instead of the usual worker placement, resource management, and engine building.

It reminded me of Concordia (but far more complex), as you seemed to collect resources then, acquire a place on the map, and then run machines (much more complex ones in Weather Machine). Also, I thought the iconography was tiny and hard to understand, and like the game Lisboa, there is a menu of iconography for each player!

Overall, I like the game, but I agree with Kathleen that it could have been reworked to make it flow better, and some mechanics do not naturally flow. However, the theme worked for me, and it was fun to run the machines. Afterward, we played a strange reverse bidding card game, No Thanks. Cards are numbers 3-35 (or something close to that), and nine are removed randomly. Then you take the card or put a chit on it. If you are out of chits, you must accept the card. A Series of numbers are then counted as the lowest number in the series. That is it–the lowest total of cards wins. A fun and quick reverse auction game.

The Weather Machine game was complex and exciting, but it melts your brain.

My trip to Portland in Air Volvo to play games had no paint-loss incidents. However, on late-night return home, I had cars passing me at breakneck speeds of at least 100 mph. Traffic was light on the way in, with just a bit of stop-and-go. I did have the auto-braking from Air Volvo as I was starting to slam the brakes when cars decided that coming to a complete stop on I-84 was a means of merging. Air Volvo really hit them! I got a message on the dashboard that city-based driving auto-braking had been executed to avoid a wreck.

Before going to Portland to play games with Richard and Kathleen, I was at the tap room, The 649, in Aloha, Oregon. Evan and I tried our hands at another Kickstarter new game, The John Company. This game simulates the families running the East Indian Company and the plundering of India, most of it tongue-in-cheek. I have been trying to learn how to play, playing it against myself a few times. First, I set up the game with Evan’s help for four players. Two-player games require the automaton as a third player, which is a pile of more rules (yikes! There are many rules without it). Instead, we played two families each. This also allowed us to have more experience spreading out the company’s offices. In this odd game, players are randomly assigned offices that run one part of the company, trading, or the military that will start looting India and resisting rebellions caused by the same. Like most Kickstarters, the game is lovingly made and has too much going on. Evan and I had a drink and played four turns, with the turns taking as much as thirty minutes to complete. We did loot Hyderabad and had yet to start the opium trade with China (!). The game is about money and prestige.

It is hard not to like the strange gameplay of The John Company, but the subject matter is dark, and you can win by breaking the company, but all the money is so tempting. So far, as they say, the jury is out, and I am not sure political-economic simulation games of the Empires are a good theme. But, if one reset the theme to the Evil Empire in the Star Wars Universe, this would be an exciting experience of running the Empire, so I think I like this as a new idea for a game. More to come.

Evan and I had lunch at the Tapas Mexican place near The 649. I had my usual with a large beer (a mistake–I asked Richard for a coffee that he gracious made for me–hate to nod off in the rules explanation) of a chili Relleno and pork enchilada with the usual if not ubiquitous rice and refried beans. Our familiar Saturday waiters were there and were very happy to see our return.

Before lunch, we (Evan came a bit later) spent the morning and early afternoon with Susie at the hummingbird house. We went to the social room and watched Mama Mia, the Movie, on my Apple. I forgot the cable to use the larger screen, but I did bring the speaker, and the movie is bright enough to see even on a small screen. Susie was tired and slept through much of the film. Even with her eyes closed, she sang along,  but her voice was more of a growl today. The winter pine pollen is out, and the rains have slowed, letting the trees smoke with pollen! Susie was happy to have some company for a few hours.

Susie and I called her mother, Leta, and they chatted for a bit, but Susie kept falling asleep, so it was a brief call.

Aside: Susie’s birthday (20Nov1962) is next weekend, and her sister, Barb, is coming out to celebrate on Friday. The church will have cake and sing her happy birthday on Sunday. I was planning to have ice cream at hummingbird house too.

Before taking Air Volvo over Coopers Mountain on a lovely sunny, if cold, Saturday morning, I wrote the blog and had toast with 1/2 can of peaches for breakfast with liberal French Press coffee. I managed to sleep into 7ish.

Thanks for reading.


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