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Every Man Needs A Shed

Life and games (but mostly games) from Tony Boydell: Independent UK games designer, self-confessed Agricola-holic and Carl Chudyk fan-boy. www.surprisedstaregames.co.uk

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Brag Week

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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Once upon a time, Reiver Games was going to publish a humorous, fantasy-themed card game and bits of Surprised Stare Games Ltd (not me) got to play-test an early version; they - the 'bits' - were very excited about it and we all settled back to wait for its release. Several months later, Jack of Reiver Games shut the company down and the rights to this card game were suddenly up for grabs! Having heard the overview, and the tireless praise heaped upon it from peeps I trust, I suggested we grab it as an SSG release ASAP...but we were too late! Dammit!

And so, in 2011, Braggart appeared from Spiral Galaxy Games though with the slenderest of slender links to SSG through the Paull's daughter - Vicky - doing all the artwork. I secured my copy, as did many of our friends and associates, and it deservedly won 'Best Card Game' at that year's UK Games Expo. The regular blog followers amongst you will know, of course, that I have been banging on about how much fun the Ross-on-Wye gamers have had with Braggart for all of the intervening five years: it's a gem, it's a treat...it's genius in a little box!



Long out of print, and hard to find, this shining star of 'end of the evening closers' is coming back in a new and revitalized version through the medium of Kickstarter; naturally, I pledged as soon as the email plopped into my Inbox:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/spiralgalaxygames/bragg...

Make no mistake: this is extraordinary value for an extraordinary game! Pledge now, my friends, and you - too - can share your encounters with Simon the Lonely Ogre in the same reverential tones as we do!



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Wed Aug 24, 2016 6:25 am
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Pretty Vacation-t

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Some smug bastards (yesterday)


Wow! It’s all gone a bit quiet around here, hasn’t it? Looks like everyone’s off on their holidays and NOT checking BGG while they’re there! To be honest this seems inexcusable in an age of Free WiFi: one thing you can be sure of is a branch of Barstucks or DcMonalds that pretends it’s all business enabled so professional types can work online whilst simultaneously sucking down fat and sugar. Mind you, squinting at your iPhone whilst scratching your speedos on a Portuguese beach filled with buxom 18-30s is likely to get you banged up in a cracked, insect-ridden slammer!

Of course, I’ve already been on my holiday and can only watch, jealously, as cheery Facebook statii scroll by: “Yes! We made it to the airport!”, “THIS is our view for the next fortnight!” and “Does anyone know the Greek for ‘Can I buy some fresh yoghurt please?’”.

Actually, this reminds me of a joke: three young lads go to a fancy dress party where the theme is ‘Emotions’; they knock and wait until the host answers. Presently, the host opens the door and sees that all three of them are completely naked apart from
- the first lad has his penis in a bowl of crème caramel;
- the second lad has his penis in a Pyrus communis; and,
- the third has painted himself completely the colour of jade and is holding a couple of large, cardboard consonants.

This is an ‘emotions’ party” the host complains, “What are these costumes about, then?”.

The third lad pipes up: “Well, I'm Green with N.V, he’s fucking disgusted and he’s come in despair.

*bomp*tish*
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Tue Aug 23, 2016 6:30 am
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For Your Information

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Fascinating; an insight in to the workings of the British railway network:



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Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:25 am
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Graduation Day

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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"Sweet are the uses of adversity" quoth Duke Senior but, to be honest, he had a lot more on his plate at the time than the Boydell household did yesterday. Dog needed exercising, hair needed cutting* and children needed entertaining regardless of the cold rain that had been falling since the Dawn.

Dog session 1: Macintoshed and booted, I stood on the puddling patio and lobbed alternate orange balls for an enthusiastically-panting Ziggy.

With the canine suitably knackered, me and the boys bimbled over to Ross-on-Wye in Mrs B's Nissan Micra - barely room for the long-legged lads / Mrs B is still in Guildford with my car - and spent a damp-but-happy couple of hours shopping for boy stuff, drinking coffee and being a bit daft. As they were consuming their own body weights in paninis, my phone 'ting-ed' with a message from Ben 'Boffo' Bateson: Smudge had been called away on urgent family business and "...would anyone be available for the wet Saturday afternoon games?" Today's plot offers no surprises at this point...

We got back with half an hour until Ben is due to arrive, so I take the mutt in to the back garden:

Dog Session 2: It's humid but not raining, so I stood on the stained-damp patio and launched alternate orange balls for an effervescently-frantic Ziggy.

After Arthur's happy Agricolean debut yesterday, he was keen to play it again or preferably - given Ben was coming over and Benedict was at a loose end - 'the real version' instead:


90 minutes in and final scoring commences...


The Family version had provided an excellent introduction because it was all still fresh in his mind and that left Occupations ('people who you can pay to help you on your farm'), Minor Improvements ('basically more of those square tiles that you were building to make food yesterday but they do other cool things') and vegetables ('they're like grain only better...and pumpkin-shaped') to explain! Arthur did, naturally, still need some guidance - ie. to keep him from doing totally daft and/or unnecessary things - but, in general, he followed his own path:


Arthur's final (24 point) farm board; for the second time in two days, Arthur beat his elder brother! Continuing a bit of run, I once-again kept Boffo at bay 46-40-24-20.


Benedict was off planning a trip to pal Peter's and Arthur wanted to play some Minecraft, so that left Boffo and me to get stuck in to one of his favourites-du-jour and one of my too long languishing on the shelfs: Ora et Labora


187 (Boffo) to my 178.


It's a fiddly-chitted beast like it's Daddy Le Havre, but plays in about a third of the time and was extremely engaging and fun; the path from Le Havre through Ora Et Labora to Glass Road, in conjunction with the Agricola/Caverna/Arle branch, is a well-defined one and probably should be covered by an in-depth and learned dissertation some time**. Nevertheless, it's fascinating to see how Rosenberg refines, revitalilzes and reworks his oeuvre time-and-again.


Quiet mayhem...


Having tired of the TV, Arthur rejoined Boffo and I for a closing-the-session, household favourite Thunder Road: us Boydells were a tad ungracious in eliminating Boffo from the chase early on (and then trashing the rear board to prevent him from repairing any of his wrecks) but it was grizzled old Pa who proved finally-victorious! Ben departed, Arthur went to read some more of his book and I took the canine in to the garden for some exercise:

Dog session 3: Linen shirted (top-button undone and sleeves rolled up), I stood on the warming patio in the sunshine and chucked alternate orange balls for a dartingly-bouncy Ziggy.

*not mine, obvs
**not by me, obvs
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Sun Aug 21, 2016 11:00 am
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An Education

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Bureaucracy gone mad meant that Mrs B did not return yesterday from taking Daisy (youngest daughter) - and pretty much everything she owns - back to Guildford. Delays in access to the 'student house' curtailed both THEIR plans for a pleasant settling-in and MY plans for going off to the Pub to play board games. However, never one to totally give up I suggested that Benedict and Arthur join me in a game of 'something' after supper:


The first hit is free...




Final Tally: Arthur (top tableau) pulled in a VERY respectable 35 (with only a little prompting) whilst Benedict floundered after boxing himself in with a couple of begging cards (he "definitely prefers the proper version"). Arthur wanted to play again immediately...only it was bedtime.

It's a start, people; it's a start!
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Sat Aug 20, 2016 6:45 am
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Games for Muppets!

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Ok, here we go!



You know how a throwaway comment can lead to much, MUCH more? Well, I suggested 'Kemet' as a good fighty game for four and Boffo responded with 'Miss Piggy'!

And then this...

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/212875/games-muppets

Fill your boots!
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Fri Aug 19, 2016 9:25 am
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Karma Lutra?

Anthony Boydell
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I was driving home - through the sun-hazy, straw-baled countryside - following a bit of a back-of-beyond route from Abergavenny through the 'B' roads to Ross-on-Wye. The journey took me past a childhood home, the old secondary school bus route and within spitting distance of a couple of castles ('White' and 'Skenfrith'). Switching off the spoken word for a moment, I was very much enjoying - in that gutsy singalong way - the works of Marjorie Fair and Jellyfish when an otter lolloped out of the hedge on my right-hand side and into my path..!

He disappeared between the front wheels and I could hear the bumping of him against the sealed underside of the VW Touran; looking in my rear-view mirror, I noticed him roll on the tarmac, right himself and start licking his paws...there were a couple of vehicles about 800yds behind but I didn't see what happened with them on account of not wanting to crash at the upcoming crossroads!

For the remainder of the trip, my brow was stubbornly furrowed and my mouth of a melancholic downturn; I don't mind crunching in to dumb pigeons on occasion - a strange frisson to be gained from seeing the spherical bloom of feathers when glancing behind - but thumping in to poor Mr Otter has me feeling very sad indeed! Can anyone cheer me up, please?
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Fri Aug 19, 2016 6:30 am
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My new favourite person...

Anthony Boydell
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(...until the next one, obvs)



This makes me very happy:



Love from one's peers is just awesome! And while we're mentioning the Stegmaiester...last night me, Daffers, Boffo and Beebs sat down to play some Scythe:



With only the one previous play under my belt (over a week ago), I found it relatively easy to explain the rules (15 mins or so) and we were quickly away and 'doing'. Boffo exploited his 'any number of Objective and/or Battle Stars' faction ability - and a very nice Factory card - to drop his last star after 100 or so minutes...just ONE turn away from me moving my popularity in to the next scoring bracket: it was a low scorer with Boffo winning with 51...but I'd have equalled or possibly-pipped him had I got that one extra turn: gaaaah!!! Benedict threw himself into moving and fighting, though both he and I ill-played ourselves in to fights with Boffo thus gifting him extra stars! As expected, Boffo's response was low-key but that didn't affect the rest of us who were delighted and well-entertained enough. Lots more to explore (at least for the time being) in this gorgeous diversion.
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Thu Aug 18, 2016 6:24 am
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All Take and no Give

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Free Internet-based 'content' is everywhere and I, like many, have been consuming it in vast quantities for years. Of course, one is occasionally prompted to - perhaps, if you would be so kind - *gasp* PAY for such content and I usually, like many, briefly consider it and then move along to the next podcast, YouTube video and/or scratch'n'sniff RSS feed: it's not that I'm ungrateful or spiteful, it's just that I forget!

Occasionally, though, I remember and - spurred on with warm, fuzzy feelings and a Paypal account - drop a happy little package in to the laps of those who have pleased me: yesterday I donated to my current M.V.P* "Perfect Information" because they have provided over 20 hours (so far) of high quality, intelligent (if 'earthy') discourse and made me snort fizzy Spring water out of my nose at least three times whilst driving. I would like this high-quality fayre to continue massaging my ear canals and, thus, felt it appropriate to bung the boys a bijou Haribo fund.

Aside: I always remember BGG come the end of the year; it's like a third arm!

I probably now spend more time digesting Web media than broadcast media which means the £120+ per year that goes on 'the BBC Licence Fee' should, by rights, be diverted in to DanTDM's coffers OR Pappy's Bangers & Mash OR WTF OR boiteajeux.net OR everything else I currently exploit for not-even-the-minimum-wage.

So, do YOU volunteer payment for (some) content? If so, for What and How Much and through which Medium (Paypal, Patreon, Kickstarter and Indiegogo etc)? Let's get my Poll out:

Poll
1. How do you feel about funding independent gaming content?
I never do it; the Interwebs is a creative playground where everything should be free and industry is it's own reward.
Sometimes (like you) when I remember; the thing needs to be pretty special though
A lot! a fair day's wage for a fair day's work!
Always; I _am_ richer than Croesus' better-off older brother.
2. How much do you like to donate per 'thing'?
A vanishingly-small amount because, when multiplied by 1000s, the bread will be rolling in for them!
Up to $20 (do the currency conversion thing, if needed!)
$21 to $50 (ditto)
$51 to $100 (ditto)
£100+
3. How would you like your contribution to be recognized?
Anonymously, because the IRS mustn't know of my true wealth.
Anonymously, because the giving is enough reward in itself.
With exclusive promotional materials.
With a 'shout-out' of some kind.
I'd like a badge, please; to go on my 'badge hat'
A personal gesture, preferably physical.
A Legal share in the enterprise in question.
      142 answers
Poll created by tonyboydell


*Most Valued Podcast
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Wed Aug 17, 2016 6:20 am
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"He looks at me... and he throws me out of his eyes."

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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This is just the beginning:



Could this happen with board games?

Should it happen?

Has it properly happened already (clue: Stefan Feld always carries a briefcase full of new batteries)?

(I suppose one could argue that 504 is a board-gaming equivalent, in the sense that Friedemann Friese didn't individually-author all 504 variants just the 9 'base mechanisms' and that everything was burped out of the EveryCombinationMachine with a little manual-sandpapering of rules interfaces.)

Would we even notice if it had?

Oooooooh, I've just spooked myself...time for a hot, sugary tea and an hour in front of Cartoon Network!
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Tue Aug 16, 2016 6:26 am
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