#921

9:28 pm, Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

Welp, I’m back in Pullman. Seattle was fun. The Automatic Data Processing seminar was about as exciting as one might expect, but I did learn some useful stuff. For instance, did you know it’s your responsibility to verify your SIT-EIN, SUI-EIN, MISC-EIN, EVPDI-EIN, and unemployment experience rates for every quarterly tax verification letter you receive? Or that you can’t submit out-of-sequence payrolls after January 9th (whereupon they must be filed as “amendments” because they result in updated Wage and Tax registers, quarterly reports, and W-2 forms)? Oh, how I could regale you with fascinating trivia about 1099-R forms.

Anyway, we had dinner at I Love Sushi in Bellevue. It was a 40-minute wait, but worth it. I tried geoduck sushi for the first time and discovered I’m not a fan (the flavor’s acceptable but the texture makes me queasy). I’m liking scallops more and more, OTOH. The day after the seminar, we drove up to downtown Seattle and had lunch at Boulangerie Nantaise (the French bakery next door to my old apartment building). Then we walked to Pike Place Market where Brett bought some political pins for his collection and we picked up two dozen Daily Dozen doughnuts (which are delicious even cold). Wish I’d had more time up there — I really wanted to visit Charlie, Anthony, and the rest of the Fed Way gang.

The pass was excellent. Stopped in the Tri-Cities for an hour to visit with my parents and pick up Looker. When we arrived in Pullman, we found the floor of the back bedroom soaked — looks like there’s a leak of some kind in the southeast corner. Heritage Realty sent out a contractor who’s not exactly a paragon of professionalism. The guy looked at the wall, felt it, looked at the window outside, and left without saying anything five hours ago. Hopefully he’ll come back at some point and actually fix something…

As promised, my thumbnail reviews of the board games I played in Pasco:

  • Weinhändler — A simple game that seems complicated because of its awkwardly written rules. (A poor translation, maybe?) Basically, you bid on bottles of wine and use them to build “cellars” that give you points based on the quality of the wine and the arrangement of the bottles. The bidding strategy is a little tricky in the beginning, but everyone’ll figure it out by the second game. I was very fond of this one, but Logan and Jones seemed less enamored.

    Weinhandler at AU

  • Gheos — We played this the most. It’s vaguely like Carcassonne with triangular tiles, Alhambra-style scoring, and meeple that anyone can claim. You play these gods that create civilizations and manipulate the geography of the world to bring about war and migration. Success in most games seems to require diversifying your follower pool and temporarily allying with other players. The most valuable continents tend to split up quickly. I enjoy it, but it’s hard to master. Even having won a couple games, I still don’t feel like I’ve developed a cohesive strategy.

    Gheos at AU

I was going to mention Power Grid too, but I don’t think I’ve played it enough to form a fair opinion. It’s very difficult to learn (without an experienced player) and requires the players to keep track of a lot of details to make sure they’re operating in the proper step. On the upside, it has really cool systems for fuel supply/demand and buying power plants in a way that mimics real world advances.

Random stuff:

  • Did you know James Lipton is 81? I thought he was like 60!
  • A bunch of awesome statistics for Team Fortress 2. (E.g. average damage per hit per weapon, total time played per class, average lifespan per class, etc.)

I got my 2 GB microSD card from Newegg recently, so I’ve been playing a bunch of DS games. Updated my R4 kernel while I was at it. Phantom Hourglass is good. Geometry Wars is a little better, though the controls tick me off; I wish games wouldn’t force you to use a stylus for something designed for a joystick, mouse, or dial. Drawn to Life is okay till the novelty wears off, Scrabble Interactive is decent, Picross is surprisingly fun (I hate sudoku, but for some reason love nonograms), Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is amusing for a little while, and The Wild West sucks big time.

Unrelated quick junk: Planning to get Chinese for dinner tonight. Want to see I am Legend on the 14th. Made Brett watch Reefer Madness with me last night. Successfully lynched a mafia member in my Newbie 497 game. Prolly returning to Pasco around the 20th.

3 Responses to “#921”

  1. Logan:

    Did you find the Truth song better the second time around? I still can’t believe you pinpointed that as the weakest song. It’s catchy.

    I’m with you on Gheos. I like playing it, but just like Tongiaki, I don’t really think I’m very good at it. Or that it would be really possible to get good at it without playing twice a day for a month or so.

    Power Grid seems like good fun though – but again, it seems like it would take a number of playings to figure out exactly what needs to be done to make yourself better at it consistently. Weinhandler and Power Grid are really the first games I’ve ever played where you have to bid on something – and it seems like kind of a weird way to go about things – especially in Weinhandler where you ability to match your opponent’s bid is randomized.

  2. hjo3:

    Re: Truth song: Yeah, I’d say it’s probably only the second worst now. The orgy song (with the polynesian motif) is the worst. Mary Lane is the best.

    Ditto on Power Grid — we’ll have to play again soon. Re: The bidding mechanic: Yeah, it’s clumsy; I don’t like having to remember sets of ever-changing two-digit numbers. But it does keep things extremely fair. Especially in a game like Weinhandler where the currency is just another facet of the medium you’re trying to acquire.

  3. Krunk:

    Not sure if you saw this comic:
    19/f/medic in regards to Team Fortress 2.