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Boydell: (knocks on door) Knocketty-knock knock
Headmaster: (very loudly indeed) En...tah!
(Boydell shuffles nervously into the Study; he is staring intently at his shoes. He approaches the large, leather-surfaced desk)
Headmaster: (standing on his desk, a megaphone to his mouth) Ah, Boydell?
Boydell: (holding his palms to his ears and grimacing) Yes, Sir!
(The Headmaster flips the megaphone around so he is speaking through the funnel)
Headmaster: Speak up, lad, I've not got ear canals filled with custard. Do I look like I have a custardy cochlea to you, Boydell; do I?
Boydell: (blushing) Yes, Sir...no, Sir
Headmaster: (puts the megaphone down; there is a thick black paste line around his lips) Yes to the negative thixotropicity, lad? Or yes to speaking louder?
Boydell: ...to the speaking louder, Sir.
Headmaster: (opens a desk drawer and retrieves an invisible box) Quite right, young fellow; and I certainly couldn't fit in to this invisible box, could I? (he points)
Boydell: (puzzled) No, Sir...
Headmaster: Why are you here, Boydell?
Boydell: (very quietly) Yesterday I posted up a picture of an old diary entry about a trip to Essen Spiel and it was impressively dull, Sir.
Headmaster: (face assumes slightly taken aback demeanor) Impressively dull, Boydell?
Boydell: Yes, Sir - quite anus-flappingly boring, tedious and shallow, Sir.
Headmaster: I see...and WHY did you post this? (looks down at the megaphone; thick paint is oozing from the mouthpiece)
Boydell: Don't know, Sir.
Headmaster: (looks up instantly) You don't KNOW, Boydell?
Boydell: No, Sir; though I did give a clue in the post's title, Sir!
Boydell: It was a pun on 'diarrhea', Sir...
Headmaster: Could it be you were trying a little too hard to impress your friends, Boydell? Hmmmmm?
Boydell: Don't know, Sir
Headmaster: Don't know, Sir? DON'T KNOW, SIR??? Do you know anything, Boydell?
Boydell: Yes, Sir. I know about the History of Art, Mathematics...and 'spacedocking', Sir...
Headmaster: I should hope so, Boydell - otherwise your Parents are wasti...'spacedocking', Boydell?
Boydell: Yes, Sir; the act of (redacted) directly into a (redacted), Sir, like a space ship attempting to dock to a space station. It involves very accurate control and near-perfect alignment of the two orifices.
Headmaster: (writing it all down) I should think it DOES, Boydell...
(there is an pregnant pause)
Headmaster: (pacing back and forth behind his desk) So, what sort of things were you saying on your blog then, my boy?
Boydell: I transcribed some 10 year old memoir entries in which the most alarming and interesting thing that happened was someone forgetting their hat...
Headmaster: I see...
Boydell: ...it was supposed to be quirky and nostalgic but it ended up being pointless and antiseptic, Sir.
Headmaster: And what do you intend to do about it, Boydell?
Boydell: To smarten up my act, Sir. To have more fun and tell it like it really is, Sir. With selfies.
Headmaster: (stoops behind his hatstand and picks out an Astronaut;s helmet) Excellent. That would be the very best thing, Boydell - for all concerned. Now, stay here and write 100 lines: "Experience is a hard school but fools will learn no other". I'm off to see Mrs Headmaster about some science-fiction roleplaying...
(Boydell spends 30 minutes, alone, writing out the lines. Presently, the Headmaster returns...gingerly)
Boydell: (proffering his punishment) May I go now, Sir?
Headmaster: (he has a haunted. distracted look) What is your next lesson, lad?
Boydell: English Literature, Sir. I have to start drafting a Designer Diary, Sir.
Headmaster: I see...and HOW will you be describing this?
Boydell: Through a 30 minute video of mime, stills of custom-painted miniatures drying under an infra-red lamp and interpretive dance, Sir...
Headmaster: Same time tomorrow then, Boydell?
Boydell: (resigned to his fate) Yes, Sir - same time tomorrow, Sir.
I found this while browsing through my old diaries yester-evening; it’s unusual in that it’s my ONLY Essen Spiel diary log in ANY of the volumes; it’s only since the advent of this blog in 2011 that I properly started chronicling my European Convention Adventures!
What stands out the most is how ordinary it all sounds; I had yet to find my voice...certainly these entries give no sense of awe or atmosphere, which I DO remember feeling at the time! Living it was much more important than recording it, obvs!
This is the year AFTER the launch of Coppertwaddle and my memory had, previously, convinced me that we’d come straight back to Germany with Bloody Legacy as a follow up.
You will also take note of how naive my expectations are re: publishers and publishing; sweet bubba cheeses did I have a LOT to learn!
Finally, if I knew then what I know now…I wouldn’t have let my Magic cards go for such a bargain basement price: a Black Lotus for €250 and I was pleased with that?!?!?!?!
WEDNESDAY 22ND OCTOBER 2003
(OFF TO ESSEN TODAY!) Early start – we had coffee & were on the road by 7AM. Alan forgot his hat, so we had to go back lucky we’d only got as far as centre of Nailsworth! Clear drive down the M4 to Reading, where we stopped briefly, then onto the M25, the M11 & to Bishops Stortford FC where we dropped the car off. Arr(ived) airport 11AM, checked in and went for breakfast at Ponti’s (Stansted) – where we were stranded in January! On to the gate (2) by midday via auto-train, boarded plan 12.15 & were flying by 12.45. Flight around an hour or so – beautiful views from the window. Chilly at Moenchengladbach – picked up a taxi & got to Essen in 30 mins for €60 total – into hotel & wandering around the centre of Essen by 4.30PM(!) Played Coppertwaddle outside Starbucks! Had supper in the bar, met up with Peter A, Chris & Andy & played games / got pissed up! Bed 2AM.
THURSDAY 23RD OCTOBER 2003
(BENEDICT IS 2 TODAY) Had to queue for an hour to get my 4-day pass – Alan & Charlie got two spare exhibitor passes from Joe/Chad of Cutting Edge. A+C meeting up with friends later – I decided not be the odd one out & went for supper with Pete, Chris & Andy. Rang home this AM to wish Benedict a happy birthday – found some great stuff for them already – incl. another superb wooden shape sorter table/toy game (it was a Noah’s Ark theme). More late night gaming in the IBIS restaurant!
FRIDAY 24TH OCTOBER 2003
(ESSEN) Shared lift in with Chad/Joe this AM. Spent the AM trying to sell Coppertwaddle off the Cutting Edge stand – no takers. Helped out selling cards and stuff in return. Sold my Black Lotus for €250 (£190) & my collectors edition Power 9 for €150 (£90) – plenty of money for buying more games with! Got King Me! plus lots more – also got a big bag of miscellaneous game components. Played Alhambra with a group of Germans – missed meeting A+C over at Adlung-Spiele – home to hotel alone. Ended up going out with Chad + Joe to a Steakhaus (the Istra in Martinstraße) for supper, then more games in the restaurant – left Joe with his bong & Chad listening to Why Bother? on my mini-disc player!
SATURDAY 25TH OCTOBER 2003
Absolutely heaving with people & the day of our King of the Castle (Tara, Seat of Kings) presentation to Wolfgang@Kosmos. Took 15 mins to find us a room, we explained the game & played a few rounds & then he explained it was too abstract for them – I was bitterly disappointed & decided to take myself away for the PM – Alan was cheerful about everything – I just wish he’d show his disappointment too! They’re still looking at Haunted House though – so that’s something! Adlung-spiele aren’t producing a 2-player game this year, so that’s Coppertwaddle out for another 12 months.
SUNDAY 26TH OCTOBER 2003
Didn't bother going in to the show today – stayed in the hotel & played games. Got a taxi to the airport 5-ish & were safely tucked up in the departure lounge by 7PM. Taught son of A+C’s friends to play Coppertwaddle – and then a quiet flight back to Blighty.
It was a different World back then...thank Christus!
You might have been expecting a session report from the Ross-on-Wye boardgamers by this point, what with it being nearly the 'end' of the 'weekend' and all and (usually) you'd be correct in your presumption. However, a number of metaphorically-spinning plates conspired to keep me away from The White Lion and, instead: arguing, driving around the rainy dark to (separately) pick up my daughters and then falling asleep in front of the television. I'd gotten Historia all unwrapped and baggied, Lux Aeterna packed for a cheeky two-player playtest and - yes - a hopeful Five Tribes.
On (yester-) Saturday, I wandered in to town with home-for-the-weekend eldest and always-home youngest and spied the following dusty item in the stock room of my favourite Charity Shop - sold to the fat bloke with the jumper for £3:
I also managed to pick up a mint copy of Pass the Bomb and a service-able 2nd hand copy of Pictureka! at a Table Sale in the Memorial Hall (50p each). To a soundtrack of the iPod-on-shuffle, a genteel evening around the kitchen table awaits...
...meanwhile, just like last week, Arthur was up for some lighter gaming and we recovered our lost copy of Cubiko (tidying up the living room reaped MANY benefits, of which this was one); my victorious one-on-one with the young upstart was quickly diminished by Arthur's domination of the follow-up 4 player (Daisy and her BF joined in).
A Life Truth: If you start playing Cubiko, others will quickly join in.
We followed up the bouncy silliness with The Game of Life Adventure Edition that Arthur has been wanting to play for a while; thankfully you're able to adjust the game length (based on the number of '10's spun) to something approaching tolerable and we had a noisy blast for 45 minutes.
To his Slow Mitspieler
Andrew Marvell Tony Boydell
Had we but world enough, and time,
This slowness, matey, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To bid or pass, what card to play;
Thou, when for Vict'ry point engines seek,
Shouldst combos find; I by the side
Of your Left would complain. I would
Play you ten times After the Flood;
And you should, if you please, refuse
Instead Stone Age or Santa Cruz.
Our Agricola love could grow
Vaster than empires, but not slow.
An hundred minutes for thine plays
Thine Occs, and on thy Minors gaze;
A hundred to adore each space,
And then your fam'ly member place
An age at least to every turn,
And still for one myself I yearn.
For, mate, do I deserve this wait?
So could we play at quicker rate?
And at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
B.G.G shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My Twilight's Struggle; then worms 'Shima Hex
Or long, drawn out 18XX;
And your Snowdonia turn to dream,
And into ashes all my Steam.
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none do there for Galaxies race.
Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul don't bleed
Just take your move with urgent speed!
And let us sport us while we may:
Pick up those dice and roll 'em, pray!
Rather at once our time devour,
Than languish in this deadlocked hour.
Let us purge your paralysis,
Your turgid o'er analysis;
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the Start Play'r of life.
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will have some FUN!
Being a pictorial representation of the travails of my overly-circuitous travels, yesterday:
Appendix: During the journey, the shuffling MP3 player threw up this heart-breaking folk song:
This week I 'ave re-turn-ed to Llandudno for work-based standing-up-and-walking-around training and presentation type stuff; to be honest, I'm getting rather sick of the sound of my own voice. Still, it's always nice to make the journey through Snowdonia National Park - this time hanging a left at Oswestry and up the deep valley to Llangollen and Betws-Y-Coed following Telford's old A5.
The delightful seaside town was still cheerfully bright, if brisk, despite the impending onset of Winter and - now that 'the Season' is done - vastly reduced in the quota of doddering octogenarian tourists. Even the tide seems to have turned the volume down...
Fairly sprinting out of the Welsh Govt offices, I nipped back to the B&B to change and to locate a phone charger for a barely-alive iPhone; today it has been buzzing alerts at me at regular intervals as (some of) you good people have been 'getting your orders in' for them copies of Shephy wot I have acquired - sold out now, but more on their way probably in the New Year. I digress: a premature A55 junction exit had me bimbling along a parallel-to-the-sea road though Towyn and Rhyl on the way to tonight's gaming venue: The Nant in Prestatyn. There was a bijou turnout but just exactly the right number to play a full-to-bursting first Historia:
Daffydd (red), Lee (purple), Mark (green), myself (grey) and Dan (blue) were attentive to Jeremy's (yellow) rules explanation and after about 10 minutes we were off! Yvonne had popped in, taking a sanity break from the her Studies, to say 'Hi!' and pick up some Essen goodies - Terra Mystica promo stuff - that I had managed to blag. When she'd gone - by way of the bar to set up a second Pineapple Juice & Lemonade for Uncle Tony* - we set to building our Civs in earnest.
In summary: each player has the same hand of action cards - most are available immediately, but some need to be acquired by progressing on the 'matrix'; other advisor cards are also available - again, by way of the matrix. The matrix is the row/column progression chart at the top of the board and is your measure of advancement: vertical means better Military, horizontal means better Technology (always forwards, never backwards). Better military and/or better Technology means better versions of the actions on your action cards. The actions are, typically, things like
- progress on the matrix;
- colonise somewhere on the map of the world (sole control of regions scores regular point-age);
- get some action cubes back (to power further actions);
- take a Wonder (setting up triggered combos);
- gain VPs and so on.
Players select one card to play (later you can progress to playing two, or even three, cards) then
- reveal simultaneously;
- resolve in turn order.
Most actions require the spending of cubes and you will recycle these from the 'used pool' repeatedly as the game plays out; it's a sort of Lewis & Clark vibe with a pipette's drop of Dominion. Used cards go in to a personal discard pile and 'the bottom two' will come back to your hand at the end of the Round (when someone plays 'Revolution'; one or more played will trigger this end). Round end means scoring VPs, regaining used cubes and refreshing various Age-specific card resources. After 4 rounds the current Age ends and, after three Ages, it's game over and 'most VPs' wins.
Historia is all cube-and-hand management, hoovering up combo-tastic Wonders (that trigger off your actions to give additional free stuff) and card play. It's very straightforward though, oddly, the 'Civ' theme didn't strike home, a bit like Lords of Waterdeep and the cubes vs clerics debate; never mind about all that Artsy marsh-gas because the six of us were 100% fully-engaged throughout. Jeremy, having played it solo to get a feel, took an early lead and proved uncatchable HOWEVER Dan exploited a truckload of Wonders to streak from last place in to second; cleverly tailgating the rest of us to ensure 'start player' and, therefore, first pick on even MORE Wonders.
My copy of Historia is still mostly shrink-wrapped but, now that I've spent 160 minutes in it's genial company, I shall be popping it in the bag for Friday at the White Lion**.
Verdict? The matrix, in particular, is a smart piece of engineering and the iconography excellently-intuitive. I also loved the delicate nature of the little bonuses you accrue as you progress. A tentative, or should that be ?'tenta-civ'? hit.
*that sounds a bit creepy, actually
**not wanting a 2-4 only disaster for a third week on the trot!
As promised a couple of weeks ago (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/35510/oviner-monologue...), I have tried to get hold of some copies of this wonderful game - Shephy - from the Japanese publishers and, I am pleased to say, I got some!
Forty Eight copies are being shipped over to the UK (eta as yet unknown) and, as of NOW, I'm taking orders! First come, first served! Some of you have already expressed an interest (Robert Forrest, Michael Fox, Russell & Alex, Alyn Rodis, Dave from Ledbury and Dave Vogler) - you're on the list but please let me know if you still want a copy!
Q. How much will it cost?
Sending to the United Kingdom = £17 (includes P&P)
Sending to the Rest of World = £20 (includes P&P)
Q. Who do I contact?
Email me via firstname.lastname@example.org with the Subject 'Baaaaaaaa!' (or some similar muttonesque braying) and I'll add you to the spreadsheet! When they arrive, I'll be in touch about payin' and 'ting!
Q. What happens if I'm no. 49+?
Well, I can always put in another order now that I've set up an account! Don't panic, we'll find a way to add this wonderful, wonderful game to your collection!
Q. Is there anything else you want to add?
No, not really - just 'spread the word'. I guess!
Long presentations present, like long train journeys, a chance to drift and daydream. Yesterday, while some policy or other was being chewed over in a pen exercise, my mind wandered to the current Snowdonia Solo Scenario Series (4S):
I've decided to design a new train to give to the participants - once it's all done-and-dusted - and these are the notes:
A wandering mind is a dangerous thing and you will notice I've had some other thoughts too: the Snowdonia equivalent of Bradshaws Guide, a sort of strategy/tips/FAQ/real history/ideas tome:
Bradshaw's were a series of railway timetables and travel guide books published by W.J. Adams of London. George Bradshaw initiated the series in 1839; after his death in 1853 the Bradshaw's range of titles continued until 1961.
Add that to my previous brainstorm for a 3D mountain board and I've created more bloody work for myself! Oh, for a quiet week...or NOT, for preference!
I took my eldest boys to see Interstellar yesterday, the 15.50 showing at a major chain. Due to some confusion, my eldest - Fred - found himself in completely the wrong part of town (after several hours hanging out with his mates) while Benedict and I were in the screen foyer, tickets in hand and car nestled in the multi-storey! Annoyed at missing the start, I sent Benedict 'in' as an advanced party and paid, left the car park and drove through the Sunday PM shopper traffic to fetch my stray. After much haste, we were brisk-walking in to the darkness at 16.30...40 mins late...
...to find the credits had literally just rolled and the movie had begun; thank Jehovah for the capitalist fuckwittery of Cineworld, eh? Their money-grubbing prostration to advertising gave us enough time to resolve the predicament!
Anyway, without spoilers, I found the film to be exciting, intelligent, awe-inspiring, heart-breaking, immersive, breath-taking, funny, thought-provoking and WHOLLY satisfying. A proper cinematic experience: bold and grandiose and, yet, personal and intimate. Brilliant.
I'm working up in North Wales again this week; I know what I'm doing on Tuesday evening...
It had all gone a bit quiet in the house after me and Arthur had come back from our Saturday visit 'to town'; this 'kick off the weekend' perambulation (usually just me and him) netted a bag full of bacon, sausages and white chocolate buttons. Everyone else was preoccupied with washing, homework and/or television which left me and the youngest one kicking around the house looking for something non-electronic to do.
Satisfyingly, it was while bubz and me were flicking through a collection of Chris Foss space pictures that Arthur asked if we could "play some boardgames" - I could've done a little jig right there-and-then! "You choose" I said, and he scurried off to the toy corner to bring back
This modern edition has humorous digitized noises to help amplify the fun whenever you smack the unfortunate butcher-victim on his LED conk; the farts and croaks and squeaks wore VERY thin, VERY quickly but that couldn't detract from the laffs me and my boy were having. The funny bone (no longer a bone but a Watchmen-style, laser cut smiling badge) proved the stickiest of all the ailments; I coached Arthur in an unorthodox 'lift and pinch' move and he won 7 choking hazards to 6.
My choice, then, for the second game and I ransacked the 'corner cupboard of doom' (resting place of haphazardly-thrown products) for the ever-wonderful
Now, this is a game that Arthur is eerily adept at; he has often been seen to contrive a single marble to push two cars down their tracks to the finish (WTF?!?!?); indeed, my recent tally against 'the boy wonder' is an alarming three straight loses - it must be my fat Dad fingers! However, this semi-gloomy November P.M. saw a pleasing Oasis of victory for the old man and I danced around the square mahogany table, arse-out like Mick Jagger.
Shaking my hand like a true gentleman, Arty nipped off to the shelves and returned with a another racing game
It's not very good with two (or any other number, probably): draw a card from your personal deck (cards numbered from 1 thru 12) and move that many spaces on the board. You can contrive to get in the way a bit but, overall, it's bottom-of-the-barrel mass market stuff; gift shop fayre intended to languish in British living room corner until eventually thrown out during a House move (probably still in shrink). I crossed the line just ahead (one space) of offspring 5 but we declared it a draw because that seemed the fairest outcome:
To finish this awesome Dad/Son couple o'hours, my final choice was last year's Lookout Games family filler
Designed by my good gaming buddy (and Most Excellent Egg) Mr Brett J. Gilbert, this dice-rolling Leporidaen loveliness has you shuffling rabbit markers - yours and your opponents (to tactical preference) - around a railway line in search of scrummy carrots. Dice that roll their 'train' side are locked and, when all become locked, you roll again to see how far a TRAIN moves; if it passes over a rabbit(s) it/they run away (just in time) ohne Karotten then everyone else gets carrots as indicated on their current location. Alarmingly, one of the spaces has 'exploding carrots' (you hand one back rather than gaining) and I delighted sending Arthur's bunnies there just before the train would move! My long life, and extensive gaming experience, meant that I reached the requisite 12 carrots while Arthur still had barely a handful - mwaah-ha-ha-ha-ha-HA (twitchy nose). As one would expect, Arthur responded to my inappropriately over-vigourous victory celebrations* with justifiable disdain and, scooping all of the cardboard in to his play area, declared that he 'had all the carrots now'!
Now 1600HRS, the sky was darkening and Mrs B popped her head around the Library Room door to ask if we wanted tea and/or cake. Packing away the last bits and pieces, I switched off the record player and we retired to the kitchen for a well-earned repast.
*I may have used the phrase 'In your face!' at one point #alittlebitashamed
Sun Nov 16, 2014 11:30 am
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