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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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荼 荼 荼

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Ok!

I've mocked up the cards and the board for A Nice Cup of Tea, the tea-based spin-off from Snowdonia, and they're available for Print-and-Play here:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/x0ddipoldynlay2/AADheIcKilCv6j5JS...

The rules are in DOCX and PDF format, the cards (and a copy of the board) in PPTX and PDF and there's also a png of the board. I've had probs in the past with Mac-generated PDFs, so if they're odd/unusable then PLEASE LET ME KNOW and I'll produce some PNGs instead!

I'll also be starting a Forum post on the main Snowdonia page to log and discuss the play-testing - one each for the two scenarios.

Finally, some bits-and-pieces:
because the Tea Estates can have high numbers of rubble cubes on them, I've included a 5x chit template to help with 'space' (stick on to cardboard etc)
you will need something to use as TEAPLES in the Tea Gardens scenario
if you chop it up right, you can stick the new board on the back of your existing Snowdonia board...this may, of course, utterly horrify you OR make your copy a super-rare one!
Let me know who you are!
Photos (broad, close-ups etc) during, and after, games then posted to the Forums would be excellent!
Please be honest with your feedback!

I'll see you over in the Forums, whenever!
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Thu Nov 26, 2015 8:29 pm
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Transmission

Anthony Boydell
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No stranger to getting hooked in to sci-fi/horror serials, me and Mrs B were X-Files nuts in the 1990s, I was a Twin Peaks obsessive and you won't get much sense out of either of us when Doctor Who is on! Always on the lookout for something 'a bit different', a few years ago we were recommended a French series by - of all people - my In-Laws! They were getting rather immersed in the strange, slow and intriguing production: The Returned.



It's set in a remote French town where, suddenly, people who had died, over the last 30 or so years, start turning up - seemingly fit and well - to find and meet their loved ones; the opening scene is of a bus full of school children plummeting off a cliff because a young boy (who has 'returned') steps in to the middle of the road. The bus is important because one girl, an identical twin, returns 4 years later to rejoin her family - including her grown up sister - with no memory of the period between her death and subsequent return (seemingly true for all of 'them'). Cue: a serial killer, a burst dam, time loops, a submerged village, a Christian cult, subtitles, deadly hallucinations, murder, madness, sinkholes, a housing estate of the Dead and other oddness - all set to a creepy Trance soundtrack and filmed with a cold lens. It's coming to the end of season two and it's fantastic!

* * *


The other day, while letting my ears be assaulted by the aurally-brutal monologues of Mark Maron...



...I was alerted to the quirky sci-fi podcast play The Message: a team of cryptologists is engaged to decipher a possibly-alien message with consequences. Eight parts, each about 10 minutes long, trace the progress of this team in a similarly cold and creepy manner. It's a lot of fun!



Are there any other curios and box sets out there that I should be aware of? And I don't mean the usual 'big' superhero spin-offs et al; I'm looking for something darker...

...and talking of things 'dark' and 'transmission'-y:

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Thu Nov 26, 2015 6:12 am
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Silver Lining

Anthony Boydell
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Despite my general feeling of employment malaise, there IS some fun to be had in the work environment.

For Example 1:
Today, I managed to lure Tim the Head Statistician down to the canteen with a promise of a vegetable moussaka and a board game:


There's nothing patchy about the excellent Patchwork!


Tim is curious about the kinds of games I constantly evangelise about and will often lament the lack of time spent, with family and friends, on this kind of pursuit; the curse of the television preys hard and heavy on his domestic life! No matter: he managed to "name" our IT system and won a minty-fresh copy of Ivor the Engine for his trouble. I've also persuaded him to get Ticket to Ride: Europe and have almost sealed the deal on Risk Legacy, Hive and Kamisado! Not quite a regular lunchtime group, yet, but certainly the rare raw materials! Needless to say that Patchwork is also a likely candidate of something to get for his Missus; so, he's buying a game only he has played as a present for his non-gamer wife? His potential is obvious, the 'geek force' is strong with this one; it's only a matter of time before he's fully one of us.

For Example 2:
Our IT system generates random four-letter suffixes to append to Unique Reference Numbers (combating a Microsoft bugette). Somewhat inevitably, this 'notification ID' turned up, in full view, recently: NOT-00043273-CUNT. How we laughed (inwardly, of course, maintaining a serious and professional exterior at all times)!

Every cloud etc?
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Wed Nov 25, 2015 6:35 am
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Going Postal

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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The
path of
the righteous
man is beset on
all sides by the in-
equities of Users and
the tyranny of Ineffectual
Management. Blessed is he who,
in the name of a Day Rate and good
will, shepherds the weak through the
valley of the darkness. For he is truly
his brother's keeper and the developer of a
new IT system. And I will strike down upon thee
with great vengeance and furious anger those who
attempt to poison and destroy my System. And you will
know I am the Business Analyst when I lay my Requirement
Specification upon you! I hate my job; please give me a new one.


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Tue Nov 24, 2015 6:30 am
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Cautionary Tales - 5

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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The Live Action Roleplayer and Albert
(After Marriott Edgar)

There’s a famous convention place called Essen
That’s noted for fresh games and fun
And Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom
Went there with young Albert, their son.

A grand little geek was young Albert
All dressed in his rucksack so swell
With his map and his folding down trolley
And a fist full of Euros as well.

They didn’t think much to the Comics
The TCGs failed to enthral
There was no space for demoing product
‘Fact, no space for playin’ at all!

So, seeking for further amusement,
They wandered far in to Hall 2
Where there’s alcohol, costumes and weapons
Lots of things a roleplayer could do.

There were one great big LARP-er called Dennis
His nose were all broken and squashed-
He lay in a somnolent posture,
In his chain-mail and jerkin (unwashed).



Now Albert had heard about LARP-ers,
How they practiced the swordplay and that
He was saddened to see him so peaceful,
When he should’ve been deep in combat.

So straightway the brave little feller,
Not showing a morsel of fear,
Took his folding down trolley, unfolded
...and spiked it in Dennis’ ear!

Albert shouted: “Have at thee, thou coward!
Get up and get fighting, you cur!”

But Dennis, still sleepy and grumpy,
Grabbed the poor little lad by the hair.

He pulled him by earhole and ankle
He stretched him, he bent him and, woe!
He folded him up like a parcel
Stuffed his head up his arse, made an ‘O’.

Then Pa, who had seen the occurrence,
And didn’t know what to do next,
Said “Mother! Yon LARP-ers killed Albert”,
And Mother said, ‘Well I am vexed!”

Then Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom-
Quite rightly, when all’s said and done-
Complained to the Head of the Messe
That the LARP-er had done in their son.

The Messe were quite nice about it;
They said “What a nasty mishap.
Are you sure that it’s your boy he’s snuffed out?”

Pa said “Am I sure? There’s ‘is sack!”

The manager had to be sent for.
He came and he said “What’s to do?”
Pa said “Yon LARP-er’s ‘killed Albert
And stole all his promo cards too”


The Mother said, “Right’s right, young feller;
I think it’s a shame and a sin,
For a LARP-er to go and stiff Albert,
And after we’ve paid to come in.”


The manager wanted no trouble,
And while thinking touched pen to his lips.
Offered “How much to settle the matter?”
And Pa said: “Martin Wallace’s Ships!”

But Mother had turned a bit awkward
And taking the situ in hand
She said “No! someone’s got to pay dearly –
We’ll ‘ave everything from Japon Brand”


Then off they went to the P’lice Station,
In front of the stern Friedensrichter
They told ‘im what happened to Albert,
And it painted a horrible picture

The Justice then gave his opinion
That no one was really to blame
And he said that he hoped the Ramsbottoms
Would make do with a set of The Game

At that, Mother got proper blazing,
“And thank you, Herr, kindly,” she said
“What? THAT card game in lieu of our Albert?
I’d rather
Hanabi instead!”

Moral: Just stay away from grown men who think they're fantasy characters.
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Mon Nov 23, 2015 6:34 am
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A boy's best friend is his mother

Anthony Boydell
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On Friday night, Boffo's mother joined us at the White Lion and I had to be on my absolutely best behaviour: no "eff"s, "cee"s, "shitting Hell"s or "buggering cock-fungus"s (either during the session or in the subsequent write-up)*! Snuggled in the cosy nook nursing our beverages, the four of us (Boffo, Smudge, myself and Judy) were also not at home to Mr Ian Uendo either; you might as well have gagged me and put me in a straightjacket (waits)...

So, what did we play? Well, the age-old conundrum for the gamer with non-gamer relatives, is how to fill an evening with games that they would enjoy without running your own brain in to a torpor. Boffo took a direct and fearless approach by pulling out Glass Road and treated Smudge and Judy to his 'Mmm, okay?'-peppered rules explanation. We pushed right on with it and everything was, actually, fine; there is a demeaning perception that people not au fait with our style of games are somehow incapable of playing them, and that they should be nursed and patronised and pandered to. This poppyrot was ably-dispelled by Judy's confident (if flawed) play and rewarded her with 17 points...and joint last place with me (her 'experienced' son only four-and-a-half points ahead for victory). If one were to take a blurred view of most medium-weight Euro games, one could summarise them quite succinctly - and understandably - to the unwary; just leave all the fiddling admin to those in the know.


Judy contemplates her next move; Boffo twats** about.



Two games down, 17 points in each. Hmmmm...I don't seem to be learning anything.


Boffo trudged to the Bar and left me in charge of picking the next game; at first I was keen to get stuck in to Pi mal Pflaumen - my accessible card game du jour - but this prompted some distant Boffonian grumbles so, instead, I de-bagged my 2010 (super-rare) 3D family game Totemo; a distant, huffed "Excellent!" validated my choice.

In summary: Play a coloured block for points (itself and all blocks it touches in the 3 orthogonal dimensions) and if you score enough to land on a special space, place and score another block. The most points wins.


I remain unable to beat Boffo at my own game but tonight saw Smudge's first public victory


Smudge's choice was the always-excellent Dixit. Of course, with a new player in attendance, I simply had to roll out the familiar Boydellic complaint that Marie Cardouat's name should be in the box just as prominently as Jean-Louis Roubira's because it's "nothing without the art, is it?". Anyway, everything was going oddly Mirror Universe (Boffo in the lead and, eventually, the winner) until this appeared:

The Ogre's shirt-tails, upon first revealing, looked like a pair of bleached buttocks...and as for the 'follow me in to the woods' vibe...?




It was getting late and the pub had emptied of everyone apart from us and the Staff; it was a little unsettling and I thought it best that we keep our spirits up with the gorgeous eye-feast that is Pi mal Pflaumen. Smudge claims she has "no idea what to do" and Boffo is convinced it's all luck-based, so I was looking to Boffo's Mother to compliment me on my plums***.


What an attractive pear!****


To close, we selected Codenames: yadda, yadda, yadda etc. What else can one say? Smudge was surprisingly coherent in her clue-giving though STILL finds it impossible to remain silent and un-reacting when Spymaster. Boffo and Judy almost pulled off a four-for-the-win but it ended in a Just one-a-piece result.


Another boring shot of Codenames laid out on the table; get used to it because many gigabytes of image space is going to be used up in this manner.


To close, we played I-Spy with every clue 'beginning with B' (Boffo, Beer Belly, Back, Beard and 'Bastard'). Another fine session and all the better for being polite...I knew I could fucking do it!

*dammit!
**double dammit!
***dammit all to Hades!
****Arse!
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Sun Nov 22, 2015 7:25 am
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Gewegle Translate?

Anthony Boydell
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A Sibylline Syllabary for a Saturday

Me being me, I subscribe to the Shephy BGG page and a few weeks back THIS forum post appeared:
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1467894/related-2-5-pla...

Of course, me being me, I HAD to have it and contacted Mr Blanco on the off-chance
that he might be going back to the shop before continuing his travels...he DID!

And he got me a copy!

And he posted it to me (after I'd remunerated him for his generous troubles, natch).

And it arrived yesterday!








Um...er...

How do we play it?
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Sat Nov 21, 2015 7:30 am
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Cautionary Tales - 4

Anthony Boydell
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George (A noob who played a heavyweight game and
suffered a Catastrophe of considerable Dimensions)

(After Belloc)

When George’s gaming group was told
That George was coming to the fold,
They questioned him as what he’d wish
To play when first he took pozish..
And so he said, with brandished fist,
“I want play The Gallerist!”

And being of a heavyweight sort
It made poor George’s brain contort!



His eyes were tear-ed, his words were stumblin’
The fingers on his hands were tremblin’
And round the table shrieks and yells
Were mingled with unpleasant smells.
For Vee Lacerda’s game (deployed)
Had caused young George’s bowels to void!
And dreadful shrieks as gibb’rous loon
George gibbered: “Sca…Sca…Scandaroon!”
He stood, then tottered to the pane
And threw himself nine floors, in rain,
On to the slabs of Drury Lane!

When help arrived, poor George was dead
The blood, and rules, leaked from his head
The gamers joined all those in prayer
Stood solemn on the thoroughfare.

“Why not play Carc? Or Tier auf Tier?
Why step right up to complex fayre?
Why torture such a virgin shoot
With such advanced, forbidden fruit?”

Quoth George’s Ma, o’erwhelmed with stress:
You might’ve led with Colt Express!“

Moral:
Thus players with such fragile frames
Should not be playing Vital’s games!
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Fri Nov 20, 2015 6:30 am
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Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! (pause) Boom! Boom! Boom! (long pause) Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! ... Boom! Boom! Boom!

Anthony Boydell
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Now that Christmas is approaching, the parcels are flowing thick-and-fast in to the Boydell household; this is the PERFECT cover for sneaking in board game purchases without arousing unnecessary suspicion! Until I spoil it and get all excited and open those saucy packaged temptresses!


God Bless the Geek Marketplace! €86 and it was MINE!


...not that this was going to see the light of day this (yesterday) evening because that would mean a late one and it's a school night after all. No, last night was the first bijou gathering of the old lags (Daffers, Boffo, Jobbers et Moi) for a bloody eon and we - Boffo and myself - had already got the evening planned.

First up: Unpublished Prototype (aka Totentanz). Running through it's first, FULL play there is much promise in the basic premise...I just need to trim a little fat, remove some luck, add a little more interactivity and make sure there's enough room for The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: shouldn't be too hard, then? A first play that is warmly on the way to a second (rather than being consigned to the component recovery pile / combustible waste box)!

The main event, courtesy of Boffo's weekend at Midcon, is Uwe Rosenberg's Glass Road; yes, I know we're a couple of WHOLE YEARS behind the curve but, sometimes, all good things come to those who wait. It's pretty darn good and was warmly hummed-and-hurred (our group's equivalent of the cat's purr) throughout:


The bastard child of Ora Et Labora, Castle for All Seasons and Puerto Rico?


In summary: You have a hand of 15 actions cards from which you will select FIVE to be used/available each round. Everyone simultaneously selects their first card and each is revealed, in turn order, and resolved; however, if anyone else has that played card in their (selected) hand then that MUST be played at the same time. A card resolving solo garners a double benefit while a card resolving amongst multiple players means only one (of the two possible) benefits can be chosen; thus, leeching off other players is a free action for you and a slightly-saboutaged action for the active player! The actions allow you to collect resources and/or build terrain or buildings and buildings provide on-going resource manipulation/conversion, one-off gains or end-game scoring. Four rounds of this and you add up your victory points on those buildings and Bob's the Father of your direct Cousin!

As Boffo had anticipated, this was heartily-received all round and we're all keen to play it again on Friday; we would've played it straightaway this evening only the hour was getting late and we only had time for a filler.

Cue: The Grizzled; a curious card-based co-op that had been mentioned in passing by my most excellent pal Neil Yates last week and bought IMMEDIATELY I'd put Skype down from amazon.co.uk!

In summary: You're trying to run a deck of cards (and your hands) down to empty by playing out cards and coping with handicapping traumas (Hard Knocks). On your turn you can either play a card to a central line (No Man's Land), make a speech (get cards out of everyone's hands), use a lucky charm (to punt a card out of the central line) OR withdraw (end your involvement). If the central line doesn't get too full of the same 'threats' and everyone has withdrawn, then you get a chance for a nice bonus; if you get too many of one threat BEFORE everyone has withdrawn, it's not so good. Cards left in hand are retained, but the trail deck is supplemented by a number of new cards equal to all cards retained that round...if the supply deck for these empties and the Monument is revealed, you all lose.

This first game was very difficult as we settled in to understanding just what the heckington was going on...but not in a BAD way, oh no. It was an intriguing, if frustrating, exercise that I hope we will dip in to regularly until - at least - we manage to WIN at least once!


Is it disrespectful for us to come up with a Blackadder Goes Forth version of this?


Having got the band back together, it was a satisfying chin-stroker of an evening.

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Thu Nov 19, 2015 6:30 am
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Gamecrasher!

Anthony Boydell
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My cunning plan to quietly inveigle my way in to everyone else's games as well as my own
continues...even if I didn't know this was going to happen! Oh, Mr Klemens Franz - you little tinker!



So I spent my holidays in the Grand Austria Hotel, apparently...waiting for strudel & cake!

Have I turned up anywhere else? If you spot me, please let me know!
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Wed Nov 18, 2015 6:30 am
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