So, I managed to finish my first game of L-TWOT today. (To be clear, I did not play the solo/robot rules, I played both sides. Since I don't know all the cards yet and have a poor memory, I felt that was kind of fair.)
So, to take the tension off: the game came down to the last roll of the die, and the Jihadists won by default. (I ran out the deck, at which point the US need to control twice as many resources than the jihadists to win, and both had 0, since I had not aimed for that victory condition. The last two rolls were trying to improve Indonesia's stance from neutral/fair to ally/good, and only one of them succeeded.)
As the jihadist player, I think I had a somewhat good chance to win: for the last third or so of the game, I sat at 15 poor-governance countries, so all I needed was to run down the US to 0 prestige, and they were sitting at 2 prestige for a turn or two, but I blew two roll-prestige events, one of which netted the US +4 prestige and the other one +1. I never got the WMDs, I never got any cells into Schengen (I did the "make two recruitment rolls for US" event, but failed both of them). I hardly ever made any jihad attempts (maybe two or three), so mostly I was playing events and setting plots, combined with a bit of travel to test as many islam countries as possible. For all but the last turn, my funding was in the top bracket, and I had a turn or two of unopposed plots.
As the US player, I failed to get any dominance on the game at all. I played the first scenario, where you are already deployed to Afghanistan, and I failed to get the country into good order again (until the jihadist player played something which removed the Besieged Regime status). I hardly moved any other troops anywhere, because i would have put me into overstretch, until I gave up towards the end and went after the jihadist who moved from A. to Pakistan in search of WMDs. Mid-game elections turned me into a soft stance, which was nice, because I figured at some point that I could war-of-idea in Europe to gain prestige with my low-ops cards. Seriously, I never felt like I could make a change in the middle east, because countries test as poor 2/3rds of the time, so they need 3ops to have war-of-ideas, and even then, that fails fairly often, so it might not be a good idea, but it's the only way to remove the poor governance status the jihadist was going for.
All in all, of course I did a fair bit of back-and-forth and the usual rules misremembering ("oh, can't deploy to neutrals", improving governance instead of alignment by mistake, disrupting without having +5 surplus troops, forgot US player can discard the final card instead of taking it to the next round), but that got better over time. And of course, this being my first or second game (I aborted the first one simply because I needed the table space back), the analysis paralysis is brutal. It's very very tempting to try and play everything for the event.
ETA: It occurs to me I didn't factor in the WoI penalty for soft world stance and hard US stance in those final rolls.
ETA2: BGG discussions suggest that Afghanistan is indeed a bit of a poisoned chalice (OTOH, if you don't get in there right quick, it's a source of jihadist cells that takes massive amount of troops to keep in check.)
I seem to have struck a nerve with some people… we did a controlled switch-over to a new administrative file server this week, and thanks to having new blood with job experience here, there was a pre-announcement that went to the detail of "9:45 we switch over, 9:50 we will try to add a new user that will trigger all the automatisms, 9:55 please everybody check your automatisms have been triggered", the way it's supposed to be done.
So I took the opportunity to "award" the two colleagues in question the first "Throw away and Redo From Scratch" RZ commemorative coins (OK, cheap poker chips with stickers on them, hey, I'm doing this out of my pocket as a joke.). Only it was Torsten's day off, so I gave Tom his and said I'd be back. And the next day, Tom came in and said "Torsten's here! Torsten's here!", he really seems to enjoy the concept. Gamification at its best.
I like a good deal as much as the next person. But I didn't twig when one of those too-many food box companies had a 5€ trial box, and I didn't twig when they had an entirely free trial box this week. (Don't mistake me -- this isn't a produce box you get from your local farmer every week with whatever is in season right now, something I totally approve of, this is a "you get a recipe and the groceries for it (short of pepper and salt)".
Maybe this has appeal for some people? I have no idea why, though. Is this "I'm supposed to be adult and able to cook and I'm not and I'm trying to fake my way through"? Is this for people who are scared of cooking? (People, it might be easy to cook something that's not brilliant, but if you stay away from a few things, like raw egg, it's fairly difficult to poison somebody by accident. Are you that easily scared? Why am I the timid person here when you are scared by food?) To me, these boxes take everything that's exciting about cooking away and reduce it to what I used to call the assembly stage. Many years back, when I would meet with P and E for dinner once or twice a week, making dinner meant carrying it a mile across town and re-heating/baking it at their place, so it had a very clearly separated split of prep and assembly. And even after a year and a half, I couldn't make rice pudding that would be right after setting for an hour.
But I digress. What's left with these boxes when you don't get to feel inside yourself for what you're hungry for, you don't get to have that sudden whiff of rotting apple that triggers memories and ideas, you don't get to think about how to replace raspberry vinegar because you don't have it, all you're doing is following a recipe. Don't get me wrong, I like recipes, but to me, I'm getting two things out of recipes: techniques and flavour combinations. I spend my whole working life writing specs and working to specs, and when I get home (and am in a relationship) there's even more managing other people's expectations, and then I'm supposed to listen to a four-color glossy sheet from a box that may have contained fresh vegetables three days ago when somebody handed it to DHL? No thank you. I'll make Himmel un Ääd, and the onions may not be quite right and mash could need a pinch of salt, a knob of butter and a hint of nutmeg, and yes, blutwurst is a very acquired taste, but the thing doesn't fall apart because something's off by a percent or five.
Sorry, rant over.
… but really, with the influx of new, young and ambitious colleagues, we have a lot of corners we're trying to clean up, and I've joked about stickers labeled "Wegschmeißen, Neu machen!" (Scrap it, Re-do from scratch!) to be put on many of our servers and non-existing documentation of our procedures.
So, well, once you've coined a phrase (pun intended), you might as well go along with it. I've done some research and can tell you, if you ever want to get custom poker chips, double-sided print or not, you really can't get fewer than 300, and they'll be around 200+ EUR at that point. On the other hand, white empty poker chips can be ordered at around 5-7€/50 from the worlds tat factories in the PRC. I also looked at those shopping trolley chips which are conveniently simultaneously the size of a Deutschmark, a Euro coin, and a US quarter, and those are cheaper, even when made in Germany, but have an inconveniently small size for putting on a sticker. Oh, and 40mm circular is a size you can get printable stickers for, because poker chips have a fairly standard size.
So, after this much ado, here's my current thinking for the motif:
Wegschmeißen (Scrap) side: trash icon.
Neu machen (Rebuild from scratch) side: old reverse of German 50 Pfennig coin. (Needs work to be turned into line art.)
I feel there's too much of a clash of styles there, but I have my heart set on the Trümmerfrau imagery. So, in what must be the weirdest question on LJ today: anybody have a mental image of the "trash, throw away, abandon" theme that would be more in style with the other side?
I found out today, by accident (ok, it was the lure of the red "this week's offer" sticker) that Mövenpick still do their maple walnut ice cream. Sigh.
Why should you care about maple walnut ice cream, you ask? Maybe you needn't, but thirty years ago, when my parents planted the seeds that would have me coming to seaside resorts (albeit in the UK), we'd spend summer vacations on Norderney, one of the (fx: rolls dice) eight? islands in the North Sea. And while I do remember the classical concerts that may have come free with the mandatory tourist tax (not with any amount of affection, though, because, well, I was six, sitting in silence for hours on end isn't fun when you're six), and remember fragments like Smitty's news agent, the weekly test run of the air raid sirens (this is the mid-eighties, we're still prepared to be a bump in the road so the US can defend the Rhine and then we get turned into a big glazed parking lot that glows in the dark), trash bag zeppelins, shards of memories like the bag of broken waffle cones one of the stores would sell (so I guess you can call me waffle-brained), one of the things that somehow sticks with me was the occasional treat of splitting a tiny (80ml?) single serving plastic container, tiny spoon glued under the label, of Mövenpick maple walnut ice cream between the four of us (though I have a feeling my dad might have often given up his share for us), deliciously sweet ice cream with the occasional quarter-walnut glazed in maple syrup, the quarters drawn into the rectangular box like tiny lines of demarkation, and lucky person who'd guess best where most of the walnuts were, huddled up in a strandkorb (they don't only exist for G8 summit photo ops), sometimes watching a seagull walking on top of it (strategically placed bread would help with that), sometimes sitting in there sheltering from the rain, kept quiet with crosswords and connect-the-dots games, and this has gone far far away from ever being a grammatically sound sentence, hasn't it.
Ah yes, things that were. So when you see Mövenpick's maple walnut ice cream in your local grocery, treat yourself, share it with your loved ones, but be careful, some parts have more nuts than others. ;)
... goes to the young lady in her 20s who was crouching in front of the lube section, having a bit of decision paralysis.
(I hear that consensual ethical enjoyable sexual acts involving more than one person exist, but I think that's just a rumour.)