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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Between a rock and a hard place (on the horns of a dilemma)

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Quite a lot of peeps have been chiming in on the various Snowdonia: Trans-Australian Railway & The Daffodil Line pre-order threads and asking about the availability of Snowdonia: Card 31 of 30. I've deliberately-avoided replying up to now (as some may have noticed) because I've been trying to find a way to make everyone happy, all of the time.



First PoD-ed for this year's UK Games Expo, it's a six card mini-pack born from some lazy Sunday mornings and the desire to just try something out; it also gave me the chance to print off 'real' copies of Katie for Pete Duckworth, winner of the Jack Vasel auction lot*. We printed 160 sets and came home from Birmingham with about 40. This week we've ordered another 200 or so, piggybacking off the printing of proper versions of Guilds of London decks for 'partner samples' (GoL is getting some serious love for upcoming Spiel meetings!).

The dilemma - upon whose horns I am currently, painfully, impaled - is how to get Snowdonia: Card 31 of 30 to those of you NOT coming to Essen? It's not the kind of thing that's economically (or physically) viable for PoD-ing in large numbers and it's too late to get an official print run in time for October.

"So we'll wait! Print it off 'officially' and stick it on the website!" you helpfully suggest. But, on its own, the International price-to-postage split is monstrously-stupid and you all know how I feel about lining the pockets of mail carriers!

"So, just send those PoD packs out with the Oz expansion then, Tony!" you cry, eager but with a tinge of anger. Sorry, no can do; if I make them available as part of the Trans-Oz pre-order, with such limited numbers, it would be the coffins all over again: 200 happy peeps, 1000+ pissed off peeps - quite the WRONG ratio. Nope, there's no way around it: unless you know someone going to Essen, I'm forced to accept - and to express - that I can't make them available 'outside'. However, what I can do is split the Essen stock over the 4 days of the show and restrict purchases to a maximum of 2 per customer? That sounds like a plan, doesn't it?

soblue

*there will be another chance - or two - this year, I promise!
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Today 6:35 am
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Sunshine Inside

Anthony Boydell
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Some of us cocked a snook at the miserable Bank Holiday weather and nipped to the most EXCELLENT Palace Cinema, Cinderford to watch Inside Out.



As with all things Pixar, this wonderful movie broke me...multiple times. Their depth of understanding is astonishing; their courage to present complex ideas with such vigour, wit and honesty is a triumph. So, after a Summer that - at times - felt like my heart was going to break, I'll just leave this here: one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written as a thank-you for one of the most beautiful movies ever made.


The Original



The Sunshine on Leith movie's sublime re-working
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Tue Sep 1, 2015 6:45 am
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Just what the Doctor ordered

Anthony Boydell
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In a change from going to Cardiff for work, I decided - during my week off - to take the family to Cardiff for pleasure! We stopped by my Uncle's house for morning coffee (and a sneaky choccy bar) before high-tailing it through the August drizzle to Cardiff Bay and The Doctor Who Experience. Ninety of your Earth pounds gets you a 20 minute 'live adventure'* followed by a leisurely browse through the extensive exhibits in the Museum. If you're lucky, you might even be able to afford some little token from the Gift Shop! It's a fun couple of hours (at the most) and the emptiness one felt in the wallet was only matched by the emptiness of tummy and, so, to Pizza Express!


Scenery and a mock-up of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop..oh, and Arthur hams it up with new doggy buddy!



Robot: I remember this colossal, segmented monstrosity though nothing about it's story.



Daleks...fahsands ovvum! No, really: (clockwise, from L to R)
Misconceived 21st Century re-work Dalek (with Companions), Vanilla RTD Dalek,
Thumping Great Cannon Dalek (with Genesis 'partner'), Roll-On Deodorant Dalek and
something for Xmas on "the Never-Never, Missus"


All we need is for someone to design a 'not Shit' game using this theme. Mind you, it'll be back on the telly soon! Let's just hope they kill Clara off tooty-effing-suite, eh? *mutter*grumble*whine*grizzle*complain*etc*


*Everyone wandering through a series of decorated rooms while a lady in a tent-like costume shouts over-loudly in to a cheek Mic and a Peter Capaldi VT plays on a loop behind her.
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Mon Aug 31, 2015 6:45 am
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Get on board

Anthony Boydell
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A Sunday Spielplan Snippet


I've been noodling around the idea of a new Snowdonia board for a while and have even experimented with something three-dimensional with little (stable) success. In recent weeks it's boiled down to TWO distinct concepts:

a) new version(s) of the existing board, and
b) new board(s) as part of new scenarios.

The latter would cover my long-gestating tea-themed Darjeeling & Himalayan Railway / Wye Valley Tourer pair of scenarios OR maybe the Mount Hakone / Snowdon super-teaming of Hiyashi and Boydell - especially as both would need additional wooden '-eeples' storage (for TEA LEAVES and WOOD respectively) and/or new actions & events.

The former would be a fun way to differentiate mountain-based scenarios (Snowdon, Jungfrau, Zugspitze etc) from those 'on the flat' (Trans-Australian, Necropolis, Blaenau Ffestiniog etc) ie. have a double-sided board!

So, for a sleepy Sunday morning, brew yourself a cup of delicious coffee and take a look at these roughs; feel free to express thoughts, ideas etc 'as per'.


A left-heavy Mountain approach - note the contoured action spaces and the appearance of the promo H space (take a Contract card from the discard pile) as 'standard'



As with the previous board, I like the Sun coming up (the weather spaces) being in a 'top corner' - it feels right! Also, the work rate tracks being right next to their actions makes sense.



A 'flat' board idea: I love the steam-powered excavator and, hopefully, the board preserves the sense of it.



A closer look at the postcard: Llanberis gets it's own build-able stuff, a train can be built early and the Pub gets an upgrade!


Ah, the kettle's a-whistlin' - over to you.
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Sun Aug 30, 2015 10:37 am
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Smudge's Birthday

Anthony Boydell
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Life in the Boydell household has been rather tense in recent weeks - for lots of different reasons - and in the occasional moments of calm, Arthur and I have managed to steal the playing of the odd game here-and-there.



In summary: Lay out tunnel tiles at random, between glued-on 'fixed tiles'. The one left-over tile is used to push a line in either the horizontal or vertical which will connect tunnel tiles, open up new routes etc. A deck of cards with quest images on (that match those printed on the tiles) is divided among all players. The goal is to push & move on your turn; if you can move on to the tile that matches the top card of your allocation, you reveal it and start working towards the next one. The first player to have 'found' all their cards and returned to their HOME is the winner.

If you scan the BGG entry for this, you will see it's something of a mega-classic but in a 1980s sort-of way ie. it was good then but doesn't really hold up now. Perhaps it's just me, but we spent the best part of 90 minutes (two sessions) staring at a board that seemed frustratingly un-connectable: L and T passages the wrong-way-round, needing to move a line only to find it was one with fixed edge points and so on. Imagine throwing some deliberate line shoves to mess with other players' plans and the whole thing would go on forever!


Karnickel


Thankfully, Arthur's long-fought victory hadn't dulled his appetite for gaming so we returned to safer, cuter ground with Karnickel: role dice, move rabbits, move the train (if needed) and collect carrots. Arthur's penchant for shoving MY rabbits on to the 'exploding carrot' space was uncanny, as was my ability to trigger the running of the train immediately afterwards! 13 carrots to 6 was the final, emphatic scale of his victory...though, as you will see above, Arthur was happy that all of our rabbits shared in the crunchy orange bounty prior to packing up. He's all heart, that one.

Then came the end of the day and the sanctuary of The White Lion in Ross-on-Wye. After reading another chapter of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory to Arthur, Benedict accompanied me for an evening of Becky's Games - the privilege afforded to a birthday celebrant. I came bearing gifts: a cartoon caricature of Boffo (last seen here: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/38967/back-school-3) and the Spielbox Colt Express playmat for Byll, as well as Keyflower and Cockroach Poker for playing.

It was another impressive turnout, denied a repeat 9 by Dan's possibly-concussed infant: Boffo, Birthday Girl Smudge, Byll, Jobbers, me, Benedict, Suzanna and Suzanna's flat-mate (name not heard nor repeated). There would be no doubt whatsoever that Becky would pick Lancaster as it's her favourite game by a long streak, so I proposed Keefers on the other table. An interesting debate raged about whether new-to-boardgames SFM (Suze's Flat Mate) should be baptised with early-medieval worker placement OR colourful Colonial worker placement with auctions: they (ie. not me) all regarded Keyflower as 'too advanced' - what dost thou believe, dear reader?

No matter: we separated and would remain thus for the remainder of the evening due to mis-timed overlaps: me, Suzanna, Benedict and Byll by the front window, the rest by the radiator and the mini-hifi.


Our menu for the evening


Suzanna needed a rules explanation and only a little guidance during play (she's pretty quick off the blocks); however, that 'little guidance' proved hugely important at the end as it gave her a face-slapping, 71-48-42-37 win. She had the '1 metal/3 metal' Key Mine tile and the Blacksmith (2 or 3 points per metal on this at game end) was waiting in the centre of the table: "If you intend to flip the Mine, you really must win the Blacksmith first" I suggested. She resisted for a bit and, eventually, acquiesced: that combination was worth >20 points on it's own. She would've won anyway, I believe; though by a few dribbling points rather than that monstrous, humiliating avalanche!

Becky's table had loudly-laughed through Fauna and were now clubbing poor SFM with 7 Wonders, so Byll suggested Machi Koro with the Harbor expansion. It was a fun diversion using the new - better - 10 piles from a central mixed deck rule and came down to me rolling a double to gain an extra turn and gather 30 coins (for the last achievement) before Suzanna, who already had enough money. How we (except Byll) laughed as the lucrative Tuna and Mackerel Boats triggered, regularly, for everyone (except Byll)!

Before we outstayed our welcome, it behooved Boffo and myself to present Becky with her present and sing a lusty, if in-the-wrong-time (and, for some, key), version of Happy Birthday To You:


Although Snowdonia is only Becky's second (or third) favourite worker
placement game, I still found her a super-rare copy (there are only 18)
of the Katie engine.


Ah, the perks of knowing a game designer ALMOST outweigh the disadvantages!
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Sat Aug 29, 2015 11:05 am
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Nature: Red in tooth and claw

Anthony Boydell
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I mentioned that Inhabit the Earth is NOT a children's game and THIS is why! Leave this box unattended and all natural Hell is gonna break loose!

Don't say I didn't warn you...




Seal eats Penguin: it's a Leopard seal, the Penguin is chocolate flavoured.



Wolf eats Zebra because it's closest to him and, besides, the panda looks too bloomin' weird.



Lion eats Gazelle - a tale as old as time.



Walrus eats Seal: It's sort of cannibalism, isn't it?



Wolf eats Panda: It's creeping it out too much with its big eyes, shit procreative technique and bamboo fixation.



Lion eats Reindeer - only because the zebra's disappeared (it was there not long ago) and the reindeer looks a bit like that tasty gazelle *burp*



Elephant sits on wolf by accident; there was a short whelp noise and then silence.



Condor eats Parrot...because the Parrot just wouldn't. Stop. Talking.



Elephant & Giraffe team up to trample the Lion to death. A cub and an evil Uncle look on, from a distance.



Elephant reneges on the deal and gores the Giraffe to death. Mutters something about 'always looking down at me...'



The dominion of the Earth has been divided. No-one noticed the chameleon who shall, one day, evolve in to:



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Fri Aug 28, 2015 6:45 am
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In Other News...

Anthony Boydell
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Item: Doncha just LOVE it when the doors open on a Sale?

Despite some hiccups over postage (and a designer with a doubled-up forename), Snowdonia: Trans-Australian Railway & The Daffodil Line jumps up to No.1 in the Funagain chart! thumbsup



Item: A new game from Richard Breese!
Yes, indeed! But it's NOT a 'Key' game but another one of his occasional floral/faunal diversions: Inhabit the Earth (a name I fought to KEEP in playtesting). I last played this about three years ago (we had a bit of an intensive few months giving it a hammering) and I am delighted to see it coming to light at last! The box looks a bit HABA (corrected), though - which it certainly ISN'T!

 


It plays more like "Lewis & Clark" TBH:




Richard provides his usual walkthru/overview here: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/195869/inhabit-earth-...



Item: Interviews Galore!
A couple of weeks ago it was ME (http://gaming-rules.com/gaming-rules-podcast-14/) and now it's the aforementioned Mr Richard Breese (http://gaming-rules.com/gaming-rules-podcast-15/) on the Gaming Rules Podcast (https://www.boardgamegeek.com/guild/2258). Hear us prattle on about games roar!



Good day to you.

I said GOOD DAY!
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Thu Aug 27, 2015 6:45 am
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A Miscarriage of Justice

Anthony Boydell
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I want to talk just a little about postage - a subject I've ranted mildly about in the past. The joy of launching a new product is quickly being tainted by a swelling disdain about postage in the U.S. which is, of course, something about which I can do not a thing. Postage, couriers, dispatch and whatever is a bitch; do you want your parcel to
a) arrive intact
b) be track-able (because we're all impatient), and
c) not be stolen along the way?
Then it costs. Thanks to eBay and Amazon, the Postal Services have significantly-increased demands and (of course) shining new rivers of revenue to exploit. Not content with seeing the carriers hoovering up the sponds, we must now welcome Customs & Excise to the party. Everyone wants their slice of the pie, don't they? Snouts in the bloody trough the lot of them.

Sadly it's not these middlemen, these top-of-the-milk skimmers - these thumb on the scales merchants - who feel the wrath of the consumer but those who must utilise their services.

My $8 expansion - designed with care and both physical and financial economy in mind - is costing as much again to send internally in the U.S - not because the vendor is scamming but because that's what it costs nowadays. We're all running around in the background trying to find a better solution but no one's going to give up their portion easily.

I remember the look on the Cashiers face (at my local post office) when I balked at £5.20 ($9) to send three Snowdonia weather discs to the U.S: "WE say it's a small parcel NOT a letter...and how ELSE are you going to get it there anyway?".

Without a distributor, there's no way I can get my stuff into U.S. stores so this is the channel left to me: people who have been good and fair with me for years. So, in summary, we're not ALL out to fleece you...only the inbetweeners who neither created the game nor have any intention of consuming it! I will, however, apologise anyway on behalf of everything: I'm sorry.
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Wed Aug 26, 2015 6:25 am
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Snowdown Under - It's that time again!

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Okay! We've checked (and double-checked) the PDFs, chatted with the Post Office and received confirmation from the printers that all the files are uploaded and production is sorted for Spiel 2015! After the month I've had, that's quite a weight off my mind...so now it's time to add a new weight:






In Snowdonia: The Trans-Australian Railway expansion, 1-4 players help to complete one of the iconic transcontinental railways. Matching the route completed in 1937, players build from Sydney (my home town - Matt D) on the East to Perth in the West, requiring changes of rail gauge (sort of). The Trans-Australian Railway includes the longest dead-straight stretch of track in the world at 478km. Players have to make use of a new resource: water, which is scarce in this desert country, as well as coping with wild weather and the possibility of drought and flash-flooding. This advanced scenario, for 1-4 players, adds more variety to the weather, as well as introducing water as a valuable resource in the harsh climate of Australia.

With a little bit of space left in the 33-card deck template, the pack also includes a reprint of Snowdonia: The Daffodil Line for those of you unable to grab it back in 2013!


Essen Pre-Orders & Pick up
The price per copy is €6 (six euros) and can be collected up to 12PM on the Sunday (October 11th); after then all unclaimed copies will be put on general sale. Please send your required number of copies and contact information - name and email address - with a Subject of "Oz for Essen" to preorders@surprisedstaregames.co.uk

U.S Pre-Orders
We're continuing our long-standing working relationship with splendid peeps at Funagain and they will be handling the U.S pre-orders for this expansion. So, if you're in the U.S then please go here to reserve your copy: https://www.funagain.com/control/product?product_id=034078

All Other Pre-Orders (payment in advance please)
For the UK
The price per copy is £5.50 (five British pounds and fifty pence) incl. postage & packing.

For Europe
The price per copy is €10.50 (ten euros and fifty cents) incl. postage and packing.

For the rest of the world (NOT including the U.S, remember!)
The price per copy is £8.25 (eight British pounds and twenty-five pence) incl. postage & packing.

Important Note: If you want extra copies in the same consignment then contact us at feedback@surprisedstaregames.co.uk, before paying, so we can optimize your postage charge!

Paying
For all non-Essen preorders, you will need to pay in advance (we're using a separate fulfillment team this year thus freeing up space in my dining room!). Payments should be through Paypal - in the appropriate currency - using the following address:

payments@surprisedstaregames.co.uk

Please ensure your postal address information is up-to-date!
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Tue Aug 25, 2015 6:30 am
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klemens sana in corpore sano

Anthony Boydell
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(Note: this really doesn't work viewed from an iPhone)

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This isn't creepy. No, not creepy at all!



After all, I only suggested this:


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Mon Aug 24, 2015 6:45 am
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