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...tepid seas...

Alexandre Correia
Portugal
Lagos
Algarve
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Day 626. September 18, 2018. Lagos...

You are free. Within the prophet's domain, you're free to do whatever you want. That's the deal with The Oracle of Delphi.

Zeus drops you on the sea, commanding you to do his holy bidding. Fight monsters. Explore the misty islands. Build statues to honor the pantheon deities. And of course, give offerings to the temples. With those directives in mind, Nuno and I set sail in the Aegean. To race against each other, and be the first to come back home to our father with the good news.
"Look father Zeus! I've fulfilled the eighth missions you ask for!"

Wait? Aren't they supposed to be twelve tasks? Or just four, as I later found out in a proposed quicker variant at the end of the rulebook. How many tasks should you play? How many justify the cumbersome and tedious setup? A jigsaw of a board, which is hard to mirror when following the first timer's suggestion. A myriad of bits and bobs in and around the player board. From favors to injuries. To God tracks to ship upgrades. And don't you lose that tiny shield token! You're going to need its r strength battling the monsters and fending off the end of round Titans!


Freedom sea.

At least our crews knew what they were doing. Understanding the actions ordered by the captain is easy. Easier still if you're well versed in the mythological Feldian language of iconography. What is dubious, for the captains at least, is in what order to give those orders! So many too chose from and so much Aegean to explore! Again, the double-edged sword of too much freedom vs asphyxiating constraint.

Our vessels were never constrained. All the islands were outs for the taking. Nuno went first to deliver the yellow offerings to the temple? Not a problem for the other vessels! You still have five different colors to chose from! Race you for the cyclops battle in the easternmost island? No need! There's another cyclops in the southwest archipelago! With so much to chose from, the real issue in the Delphi islands is where to start!

What's the most efficient path? What's the right order to do the tasks? Should you load up on favors and go straight for the monster and the equipment rewards they provide? Should you hold the battles until Achilles joins the crew, augmenting the tiny shield?

In the end, you do what you want, but with on agency behind the actions. You're going to pick up that state first, because... because there's no difference! And when you don't give a damn about which path to follow in a eurogame, why should you even chose to play that game.

An interesting setup adventure followed by a voyage throughout tepid seas.

Farewell Aegean sailors. Farewell.


One year ago: ...a colony of tiles and FPS's in Rome and Mars...


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Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:00 pm
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...the new monster in the house...

Alexandre Correia
Portugal
Lagos
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Day 625. September 17, 2018. Lagos...

There are a few games that are still far-off Alice's age, but that whenever we decide to play something, are always the first to pop out of her mouth! Rampage! (or in Portuguese, o "jogo dos dragões")
"Not today," Is my usual answer. Although sometimes we will assemble the meeple city together and I'll let her play with eh trucks and pieces at her leisure.

The other often requested "grown-up" game is Monster-Falle. Why? Because she has sen her older cousins play with it once or twice and memory rarely skips a beat at this age! This afternoon I indulged her on the latter.

After a quick recap of the rules, I realize that with two players, you're supposed to play by yourself, moving all four sliders! They give you twice the amount of time to do it, but still... too much to ask for a first time play of a 3-year-old. So I cooked up a semi-cooperative variant. We'll team up as in the four player game. But it is the active player who's supposed to flip cards, locate the monster in the house and place the piece. Then the coop part begins!


Helping them fall!

As predicted, she moved the sliders a little too fast, or too slow the first couple of times. But she got the hang of it after a while. At least when pushing the slider to her left side. Pushing to her right (thus, with her left hand), was more difficult. Nonetheless, she liked it! And we played this supposedly 6+ years old game two times in the row. By her own request. And the second time she actually improved on her result! But I did notice that she was mentally exhausted during the last rounds. First-time eye-hand coordination at this level for Alice!

Next came Spooky Stairs. Not the most wonderful game with two players. This time, the ghost dice came up "ghost" as soon as the game started. Several times in a row! Before long, we had no idea who's who and what ghost is hiding which child! Fun times!


Chaos ghosts.

She ended up winning. I was moving her kid to the finish line while she was moving mine.

The last game, fast becoming her favorite "kids" game, was Gulo Gulo. Again, per her own request. With the Wolverines, it's easy mode for Alice. Even when she sounds the alarm and goes all the way back to the beginning, she'll quickly spot which color will put her back on the race.

And it was a long race this time. Not only the purple egg was the last tile, but both of us failed to catch it twice in a row! Winning was within our grasp and we couldn't tell who was going to win until the very end!


Hard purple.

There's a reason Gulo Gulo's ranked up high on the kid's geek lists. It works. For all ages!

Thank you for reading.

P.S. - Still a few bullets left...


Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!



One year ago: ...insertforming...


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Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:00 pm
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...disease healing cookies...

Alexandre Correia
Portugal
Lagos
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Day 624. September 16, 2018. Lagos...

This is where it ends after you get past the "uh's" and "ah's" upon first discovering the world of board games. After the obfuscating glitter of possibilities and analog worlds to discover. After consuming everything the web throws at you about next step games. After exhausting your beloved gateways into this world, what happens to them?

A place in the nostalgia shelf and a session per year... at most! After one year of two-player idleness, one of the games that started it all returned to our table. Pandemic.


Let's save the world! ...again!

Is it a coincidence? Is it cyclical? Around the same time last year, Ana suggested we should try to save the world one last time. Let's see if we still have what it takes against the jello cubes. Let's hop on the jeep, the jet plane, the chopper and run around the world to squash small outbreaks of diseased gelatin! Can we do it one last time?

We can't. We failed twice (because you can't just play a single game of Pandemic) and the world died both times, after the third Epidemic outbreak. The first time, Ana with the Dispatcher and me with the Scientist. We let the back plague spread throughout central Asia like the monsoon. Let yellow fever distracted us from the black threat for a while.

But that wasn't the main peril. We were not functioning as a team. In our hearts, we are both Alpha players I guess. Neither wants to let go of their convictions and absolute certainties!
"Why do you want to build a base in Istanbul?!?"
"Because is smack in the middle of the action!"
"But there's nothing going on IN Istanbul! Then we'll have to waste pointless action points to move to were the cubes actually are!"
The base, built a few turns later, in Karachi, served as CDC's team own graveyard.


Plagues, fevers and the blues.

The second time, now with the Medic and the Researcher, we lasted a little longer. We were, after all, playing with the Medic. This time what started as a Red menace in the Far East was quickly wiped! A debate on what would be the best city to use resilient population settled the Reds in that part of the world. Meanwhile, the Yellow Fever was back in force. And it was not a distraction this time.

"I think I should give you these 3 yellow cards," the Researcher said.
The Medic waved off his teammate as he entered the chopper!
"Let's wait a while longer for that! I'm about to eradicate the Blues!"
When the last pocket of Blue in St. Petersburg was about to met the Super-Medic, and Infection sprout in force in Madrid. So much for the eradication plan.
A few turns later, The Yellow Fever brought the world to its knees with a rapid chain reaction o outbreaks!
"I told you..."

So yeah. Pandemic... Teamwork... not tonight.


Jello of death.


Earlier, we pushed aside my ongoing Imperial Settler's campaign. More on that in a few days. To create a small area in which to plant herbs and tend to gardens, with Herbaceous. There wasn't much time for anything longer this particular nap-time. Still, this means little filler tests your resolve to the limit.
"Do I wait for one more turn?"
"Will she scoop that lone saffron and sage and leave my one of a kind pot on hold for God knows how long?"
"I better not wait," was my motto this game. The result? While I had 5 different herbs Ana had 6 in the same pot. I scavenged 4 pairs! Ana potted 5...

She even got the cookie... shake


Sage tea to calm the world.


One year ago: ...martian solo quilter...


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Sun Sep 23, 2018 4:00 pm
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...a good catch...

Alexandre Correia
Portugal
Lagos
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Day 623. September 15, 2018. Lagos...

The catboat rocked back and forth in the high tide's waves. The sun, breaking free from the high mountain tops. With his boat docked in Nusfjord's harbor, Arvid untangled the nets after another long night at sea. "Good catch today," he thought with a smile. His old pocket knife made quick work releasing various objects caught in the mesh. Cod fishing always brought to the deck, much more than mere fishes. Besides the algae and stray fishes caught, Arvid was often surprised with the amount of garbage and human objects he had to cut from the net.

Toy wooden dolls. Rusty cutlery. Old wagon wheels... Even the latest Swedish invention, the plastic bag, would sometimes rise from the waters, along with the fish!
"Fish goes away... Human garbage replaces it. Or is it the other way around?" Arvid though. He didn't know, and neither did he care. The sea was where he spent most of his time, but he didn't like it. It was a love-hate relationship he couldn't get past. Always forced to go back to the water. Always wanting to leave as soon as the boat left the dock.

His real love laid in Nusfjord's nearby woods, where his home was. More of a hut than a house really, but enough for a man living by himself. It was there were that Arvid retreated at the end of each morning to finally sleep for a few hours. And when the sea was too rough, the village's inhabitants rarely saw Arvid then. He preferred seclusion from prying eyes. Busy woodcarving small crafts with his pocket knife or tending his small orchard. Apples, plums, and pears were his favorites. He hoped to one day honed his wood skills enough to finally leave the sea. To make a living selling craft to the village's growing number of visitors or fruit basket in the county's fairs


Arvid's dockhouse.

Nusfjord grew alright. When Arvid first went to sea, 30 years ago, everyone was either a fisherman or a housewife. Fish was the backbone of every household in this corner of Norway. And people made good money from it! Some even bought houses in Oslo. A second home for those infrequent holiday trips to the big city.

But recently, young and energetic entrepreneurs were trying to catch the codfish ride. Scheming to use cod's money and fund other ventures. Other businesses attracted more people. More people visiting attracted more entrepreneurs! And the circle went on and on and on... So many in fact, that yet another foreign invention made its debut in Nusfjord's waterfront. A beach hostel!



Always a pleasure to play Nusfjord with the wife. Even if both our strategies take us in different paths with arguably little worker placement blocking. Such was the case today. Ana went for an early Forest Admin and built her board towards the Harbor Park. In the process, she upgraded all her little ships into Schooners. A humble 32 score for her.


Mirror entrepreneurs.


Good fish.

I, on the other hand, wanted freebies! Free sloops (Boat Hall) and a free Schooner (Dockhouse). And when the Beach Hostel came my way, I aimed towards it. Drooling for the potential 8 points, only to realize near the end that I would have to deduct 4 from the empty spaces! Learn to read Alex... Still, I concocted a neat little combo at the last minute with the Forest Home and Forest Hut. Also, a humble 32 VP for me.

Tiebreakers you ask? There are none in Nusfjord. We both won. At the end and while playing the game.

Thank you for reading

P.S. - ...earlier, while barbecuing the mackerel from our fishing trips in local fishmonger...


Arvid's orchard.

...forget-apple


One year ago: ...patching abstract continents...


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Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:00 pm
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...sea side fruit trees...

Alexandre Correia
Portugal
Lagos
Algarve
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Day 622. September 14, 2018. Lagos...

We spent this week visiting a different beach every day around Lagos. Today, we officially said goodbye to Summer vacations. By taking the bus all the way to its last stop. The small village of Burgau! No more crowds. No more crazy traffic. Plenty of heat and sun to go around to the season's last survivors and late tourists.


One last beach.


Lone sea.


Loose outcroppings.


Life's details.


Giant lapa.

And when the yellow king hit us too hard with his rays, we said farewell to the sand and the makeshift swimming pools. Heading towards the small alleys and picturesque scenery of the village.


As we waited for the bus home, we stopped in one of the few local cafes. A sip of the energetic beverage and a long overdue backpack game was the plan. I missed carrying a small game all the time. One that I could play anywhere, anytime. A new Aquaducts... a new Limes...

We were supposed to play one of the games from Unicorn deck. But Alice found a shopping cart for her lilliputian size and the one-horned horse stayed in the barn. Luckily, I packed another game. Lowell Kempf's blog covered Orchard a lot recently. Words like: "amazing accomplishment" and "one of the best PnPs I’ve tried" kept haunting me. So before we left the house this morning, I opened the crafting toolbox and cut the game's printed pages. Which have been waiting in the "to Craft" box for months.

The goal here is to mature your orchard trees. By overlapping cards, matching the right colors in the process. The more of the same color you overlap, the more you score. In the end, tally up the dice points and compare the result with the score sheet. Easy to craft. Easy to play. Easy on the mind.


The good Orchard.

I'm sure there's a strategy here. The scoreboard hints at it. The fact that no card has more than two of the colored trees, also suggests that you should avoid clumping the same trees together. Mix and match should be the key. That at least, is what I could deduce from this first exploratory play, with a Remark-Apple 35 result.

A good morning and a good orchard. Goodbye Summer.


One year ago: ...a playtester's quick glances while waiting...


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Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:00 pm
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...nimble ring-tail...

Alexandre Correia
Portugal
Lagos
Algarve
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Day 621. September 13, 2018. Lagos...

Continuing with the learning process of each of Root's factions, tonight I threw the Vagabond vs the Mechanical Marquise. An idea, that in paper sounds ludicrous, after witnessing the brutal raw scoring power of the Bot. How can one lone raccoon hope to even dent the armor of the Cat Terminator?


Ring-tail...

To my surprise, it did dent! Smoky, the Thief Vagabond, was more adaptable than any of the other already played factions. For instance, an item traded with the opponent created a way of exploring a distant ruin site. The ruin provided yet another item with which to attempt another action.

Not only that, but Smoky's nimble ability allowed him to be where he was needed the most. And in a game vs the Cat Terminator, that chance is priceless! The mouse clearings are getting overloaded. Soon they will tip to the dangerous 3 cat crowd, and Smoky is nowhere near it! Not a problem for the Vagabond! Nothing that a few old boots won't do, as Smoky zings and slips between unreachable forests and overcrowded clearings!


Priorities.


Here comes the tax fox!

Throughout the five rounds, Smoky battled against the Cats in every single one of them! Sometimes more than once per round, in different clearings! Even when the Cats had all their troops on the board, there was still a chance! There were still items to craft! Battles to fight with the hostile opponent! Ruins to uncover! Quests to attempt! Smoky was relentless and omnipresent in the Woodlands!


Lost in Cat woods.

...just not as omnipresent as the Mechanical Marquise.

So far, against the Bot Cats, the Vagabond is the faction that shows the greatest promise of a victory.


One year ago: ...welcoming party in the red planet...


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Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:00 pm
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...bake sale guerrilla...

Alexandre Correia
Portugal
Lagos
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Day 620. September 12, 2018. Lagos...

It started with the foxes. Deep inside the Woodlands, a small band of foxes spreads rumors of dissidence from the harsh feline regime.
"It's too much! They keep us on a tight leash! As if we were a bunch of domesticated dogs!"
"We can never leave our clearings! I want to see my distant relatives on the other side of the river!"
"I will not stand these continuous trampling over our rights as forest citizens! We are free!"

A small group of foxes gathered behind the shrub of the big Oak, every third Tuesday of the month. In the silence of the night, only the crickets and the pull of crossbow strings under construction were heard. The Woodland Alliance had born.

But nothing could escape a cat's sixth senses. Even mechanical cats.
Scouting parties roamed the woods, just as stealthy as the foxes. Unbeknownst to the rebellion, the oppressors were preparing to squash them with their large numbers.


Rebellious foxes!


Wise rabbits.

The foxes rebelled! Seizing the clearing, killing and expelling all enemy forces and proclaiming it as the first Alliance's military base! ...but the cats were not surprised by this.

As the revolt occurred, on the other side of the Woodlands, the cats played a different game. The tender and fuzzy fur approach to conquer the citizens, not through force. But through their love for cakes! A bake sale in every rabbit clearing put an end to any roots of rebellion among the bunnies! If the Woodland Alliance wished to spread their propaganda there, it would need extra supporters now to do it!


Scouting for cakes.

The fox base was getting surrounded by cat troops! They had to do act fast. A few guerrilla warriors were sent to the nearest rabbit clearing. A sabotage mission on the cakes, to blame the fetid taste on the cat's military sous-chef! It worked! But a fox warrior had to sacrifice himself for the mission to succeed. A rabbit clearing was part of the Woodland Alliance!

Meanwhile, a lone fox attempted to put a stop to the cat's growing army. By a more traditional military approach. Infiltrating a mouse clearing and trying to lure the cats into a trap! As the feline army closed in for the kill of the single rebel, it sprung a mouse trap the ended up in their own demise!

But a small victory with the cakes or a cat warrior killed in a forgotten mouse clearing did little to stop the inevitable. The Cat's owned the Woodlands! No matter how many clearings revolted, their number's simply couldn't be matched!



So... let's see if I got thins right.
In solo, the Mechanical Marquise scores a point each turn, plus 2 for every clearing with 3+ warrior. Yes?
In solo, the Mechanical Marquise recruits in every clearing (according to the craft of the order card) regardless if it rules the spot or not. So even an empty clearing, or one ruled by me, will see a cat sprung if the order card says so. Right?
In solo, a "wild" bird order card triggers all clearings. They will battle everywhere where their enemies and themselves are present. Move everywhere from which they have 3+ cats. Correct?


Overrun!

So... how do you win solo Root?

I would have liked for the game to have lasted a few more rounds at least. The Marquise's forces pulverized me with not even a glimpse of hope! None!
Two warriors in every mouse clearing with the scouting party... BAM!
Two warriors in every rabbit clearing... BAM BAM!
A wild Spy card triggering guerrilla warfare in every clearing! BAM BAM BAM!

Woodland Alliance 4 VP. Mechanical Marquise +30 VP! Game over dude...

Let's see how the Vagabond fares tomorrow.

One year ago: ...a terraformers log...


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Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:00 pm
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...an eerie menace...

Alexandre Correia
Portugal
Lagos
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Day 619. September 11, 2018. Lagos...

Taxes! The Mechanical Cats' first order of business as the ruler of the Woodlands was to collect taxes! To be certain of the revenue, the Cats doubled their warriors in every clearing! That they ruled all but one clearing was already a serious obstacle for the Eyrie Dynasties. Currently under the law of The Despot. But now they had double the amount of cat contraptions to deal with!

Luckily, the Birds relentless Decree created another buffer bird-friendly clearing. All the way on the other side of the Woodlands. Sometimes the Despot's decree did provide solutions. Sometimes...


Vicious.


Woodland's Doom.

The Cats next marching order was to dig in around the mouse population! Sappers deployed in every mouse clearing made their defenses there even more formidable! The Woodlands was beginning to be a dangerous place for the Eyrie's birds. But the Cat's actions were chaotic and random. How could they plan ahead if you couldn't predict what was behind the Cat's circuits?

The Decree flexed towards the inevitable battle! It had to start somewhere. So why no go ahead and charge all in in one of the mouse's clearing and liberate the oppressed rodents? Eagles swooped from above their hidden branches! Ready to rip and slash with piercing talons! If there was one thing that the Despot's troops knew was to be vicious in battle. No mercy!

The Cat's warriors responded... by not moving! Standing motionless as automatons, which indeed they were, they didn't even raise their weapons! The Eagles went through their heads, decapitating everything single one of them as if plucking chestnut fruits from trees!

Were the cats did respond was in a completely different area. More sappers deployed! This time amidst the rabbits!


A forest to fight for.


The last flight of the Eyrie.

The birds couldn't respond so fast The Despot dynasty, set for an inner coup. But not until it stretched the Decree to its maximum usage! The remaining birds, scattered all over the Woodlands, engaged the cats whenever possible. Building roosts in every clearing they scored a victory! A turmoil for both the Cats and the Birds!

The Charismatic leader who took over chose to calm things down a bit. To plan for the long-term and create winning battles, instead of luck dependent skirmishes. Recruit as many birds as possible. Building strong bastions of birds of prey. After a while, the Charismatic forces were ready to deploy like a wave from the Woodland's skies. But as they were about to deploy, the Mechanical troops swept through the forest first! Like an out of control monstrous fur tornado!



How easy it is to play with the Mechanical Marquise. Very easy. Setup is a breeze in Root and you couldn't ask for clearer rules and procedures in both the player's boards and the rules themselves. I guess if you go nip-ticking at the wording, some issues might arise. But shouldn't this be a sort of gateway into asymmetric warfare?

The robocat provides a welcoming addition to the base game. Highly luck dependent, sure, since there's no way you can predict what's the next card in the order of actions. Unless a spy or two comes your way. Maybe... But if luck is not on your side, the robocats will trample you pitilessly.


Cat land.

Sapper's respite? That's what I thought until they grew into 3+ warriors and started a cat's scoring engine that far superseded the Eyre's! And by the end, I had all 6 Roosts on the board! So it's not like I wasn't trying here!

Next time, I'll play with the Woodland Alliance.


One year ago: ...blue tiled windows and twilight in the red planet...


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Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:00 pm
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...confessions of a drone...

Alexandre Correia
Portugal
Lagos
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Day 618. September 10, 2018. Lagos...

Alice learned a new word today. Drone.

For the longest time (since the dawn of men around these parts I guess!), the cliff's edges surrounding Ponta da Piedade have remained virgin and untouched. Save for the lighthouse and military antenna... Or the odd old house built before nature needed a reservation... or that monster hotel and resort villa... or... Well. They have remained mostly untouched. And since the 50's and the rising crowds of tourists, people who travel to Lagos and visit this particular spot have always tried to capture the moment. With a photographic contraption, a smartphone or, in these days, drones.

But the cliffs are dangerous. More people fall to their deaths taking a selfie every year, than the authorities or local media would like to advertise. And the more people walk over them, the more the earth below their feet loosens. A crack evolving into a fault. A small pebble drops in Summer. A killer boulder the following Winter. Of all types of erosion events that shorten the cliffs lifespan, none is more brutal and violent as men.

But finally (finally!), earlier this year, the local powers that be, decided to build a long overdue wooden pathway! Transversing almost all the way from the lighthouse, Ponta da Piedade, to the closest beach in the west, Porto de Mós.

This morning, Alice and I took our first walk in the cliff's wooden pathways.


A new walkway to walk.


Morning commuters.


Luz and geology in sight.


Passer-by.


Snack balcony.


On the edge of nature.


Outcroppings of sea life.


Giants.

Glorious sights! If it wasn't for Summer's last whiplash of heat in this corner of the world, we would have continued further still. Maybe ending the trek with a well-earned ocean splash!

Amazingly, even in the wee hours of the morning, nerds lurked in nature. Alice was the one who first noted the mosquito buzz. Loud and clear over the waves crashing down below, or the cicadas singing as the sun shone brighter. I took us a while to locate the "mosquito". A drone. It's the second time I'm seeing touristic drones this year. The first was on the beach. But that one was gentler and stealthier. This tiny contraption, no bigger than a tablet, made a disquieting sound!

Next year their numbers will increase. Replacing the selfie and the self-stick as the favorite "I am here! boast! Maybe we'll get to see those flying buzzards crash with each other by the dozens over the cliffs. Falling to their machine demise, bellow on the waves.

Better them than their masters.


But it wasn't only Alice who learned new words today. I learned one myself: Xennials.

Grammarly announced a partnership with something called Medium, and I clicked away to find more about it. I use Grammarly a lot (every single day!) and everything they do always spark my curiosity. Medium as it turned out, is nothing but another blogging platform. Cleaner and more modern. Same s#!t, different clothes I say. But in it, I stumbled upon Rob Birken's confession. Former nerd editor of io9.com.

Confessions of a 40-Year-Old Mega-Nerd

I invite you to read it yourselves if you happen to be a Xennial. Or not... I couldn't relate more, with the words Rob wrote.


One year ago: ...Terraforming Mundus...


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Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:00 pm
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...Tiko's trinkets...

Alexandre Correia
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Day 617. September 09, 2018. Lagos...

Tiko the Vagrant, liked to keep himself to himself. Seeker of trinkets and useful objects, Tiko roamed the Woodlands in search of anything that shined. He preferred solitude and thus, spent most of his time walking through the dense forest areas. Far from the sounds of bustling clearings and forest's paths. But, as it is the way of trinkets, these seldom appear on the primeval forest floor. So Tiko sometimes had to foray into clearings.

Whenever Tiko ventured into a clearing, he remained as inconspicuous as possible. Walking near dense bushes, or sniffing and fumbling around deserted ruins. Those were his favorites places! He always found a trinket in the ruins! Rarer still, Tiko sometimes sought out other creatures who were open-minded enough to talk to a vagrant raccoon. Then, Tiko would talk and talk as if he hadn't talked to another animal for weeks! Which was sometimes true.

Stealthily, beneath all that parley and tales of treks through dark forests, something else was happening. Tiko's nimble hands alleviated the listeners from whatever object they might have in backpacks or front pockets. A kettle. A hammer. A bag with which to carry even more valuable trinkets! Oh, how Tiko loved to have trinkets!


Fed up forest citizens and the trinket hoarder.

The fascist's birds and the young cat soldiers did not share Tiko's feelings towards shiny objects! If they could craft them fine. If not, it was of little consideration. The Eyrie and the Marquise's only preoccupation was warmongering among each other! The Eyrie, ruled by a charismatic despot, sought quarrels with whatever animal they could find defenseless. Mostly it was the young cat nation who suffered the bitter end of the bird's beak. But sometimes, not even Tiko was safe from the chaotic blind following of the Decree! A word that brought fear to all animals in the forest! Even Eyrie's own citizens!

The Marquise's young nation was still new at this. After taking advantage during one of the Eyrie's turmoils, the cats spread out all over the forest like a flash fire! Before anyone noticed, the Marquise stationed their troops in almost every single clearing of the Woodlands! But after finding themselves in this privileged position, they didn't really know how to take advantage of this.

Their crafting skills were poor, to say the least! Recruitment centers and sawmills built haphazardly most of the times! Often, the wood necessary for construction couldn't reach the construction site. To top their inadequacy as rulers of the Woodlands, the cats suffered continuous attacks from the Birds and the crazy raccoon! The coon disdain for the cats was such, that at one point he declared open hostility to any cat warrior crazy enough to wander near him!

With so much resentment towards them, the cats took desperate measures! Rallying their troops in key strategic clearings, the cats appeared to be gathering numbers for big battles. What they were doing instead, was preparing to take the entire rabbit population hostage in return for the dominance of the Woodland!



An unusual alliance vs the cat's dominance.


...but my Birds and Nuno's raccoon would have none of it, of course. What's a game of Root without temporary alliances to keep others from winning? There was one clearing where the Cat's were a little weaker. The Keep's clearing. That raised some doubts about whether we could move in there at all with our pieces. We could! But it would still be an all-out effort from both of us to keep him from winning.

The birds moved in first, engaging the feline warriors during two consecutive battles. The Cat's suffered heavy casualties, but unfortunately also did the birds. Did the Keep count as a ruling piece? We didn't know and it didn't matter. The Vagabond would have to finish him off anyway.

He did, and so the game dragged a little longer. Long enough for my roosts to score past the 30th mark. Although the Vagabond's last turn was one of ingenious resourcefulness. I don't recall the exact numbers, but Nuno scrounged up a way to come from behind the 15's VP track, up to the 27's something! Tight match until the end.

It was Nuno C. first foray in the Woodlands. And while I and Nuno have a few Root notches in our gaming belts, the newcomer picked up the game fast enough to almost win with a dominance card! We didn't see that one coming. But experience pay's off in Root. It's hard for newcomers to stay afloat in the Woodlands against experienced players.

A chink in the armor of this asymmetric smash hit? Time will tell.


A castle by the woodland.

...while we waited for Nuno C. to show up at the store, we entertained ourselves with a classic salad board game. Castles of Burgundy. Crappy components. Great game. And as many people have already put it, CoB does make you feel smart. Like every usage of the die seems productive and rewarding.

A good start for our gaming morning, after an unusual morning sight.


Morning sights.



One year ago: ...micro-travels in the jungle...


Photo & Image credits: ZombieBoard
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Sun Sep 16, 2018 4:00 pm
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