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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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Dry Wit

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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Today I got nuthin' for you; not a sausage, zip, nada, NULL. My brain is The Empty Set, it's
divided by zero. I've got a photo of some pigs on my phone but I'm lacking the context in which to
present it. I didn't play any games yesterday and I've not built up a reserve of emergency posts.

Oh, hang on!

Here's a jolly wheeze!

Why don't as many of you as possible THUMB this post - getting it
seriously high up (hundreds?) in the charts - and then later this week (shall we target Thursday)
come back and DE-THUMB it so it sort-of descends as quickly as it ascended?

That would be a tremendous wheeze, I'm sure!

Oh, but...is that too convoluted?

*ach*

It's the best I got for now...

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Oh alright, then:

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Mon Oct 26, 2015 7:15 am
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F.A.B spells Fab!

Anthony Boydell
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'S bin a fahny ol' Saturday, all-in-all, what with getting up at the crack to let the dog out in to the garden for the first pee-and-a-poo; finally, after much snuffling amidst the new-blown leaves and the over-growing grass, Ziggy dumped his "sausages de chien" and then simultaneously leapt in to the air / yelped in surprise...the daft mutt had stung his bum on a nettle! I had to stiffle my laughing/coughing fit for fear of waking the neighbours at such an unsocial hour!

A visit to the In-Laws for lunch, 'tis Mrs B's Father's birthday, and a rain-soaked leg-stretcher saw us well in to the grey P.M* so - while the dough was a-rising for the home-made pizzas - I conscripted Arthur, and then his Uncle Tom, in to the library room for some games!


Warming up!


While the others were settling themselves in to the demands of whatever, Arty and I pulled out a couple of me-and-him favourites just by way of warming up: Dragster and Monster Surgery. Arthur's skillful extraction of the Brain in the latter kept him comfortably in front (22-18) though, in the former, my rich seam of indefeatability continued (3-1). The main item on this weekend's agenda was, of course, my newly-received copy of Thunderbirds and no amount of vibrating cadavers and/or marble-flicking goodness was going to distract:

Thunderbirds are Go! (*sigh*)


In summary: It's a co-operative game, as you would expect, and on one's turn one can perform up to THREE actions. These actions can be: MOVE, Attempt a RESCUE (dispel a Disaster card for a reward), PLAN (draw a power card...but at a cost) and SCAN (manipulate disaster cards). You can mix, match and duplicate these actions as you see fit and may (though you WILL, and OFTEN) supplement them with one or more operations (free actions, mainly involving moving people and equipment from ship-to-ship).

The aim of all this chicanery is to prevent disasters from hanging around long enough to kill your game and/or collect sets of chits (and be in specific locations) to thwart The Hood's evil schemes! Disasters have a strength that needs to be overcome with a dice roll and as many PLUS modifiers as you can muster! Fail and they hang around; succeed and they go, freeing the tension on the disaster track and netting you some all-to-valuable chits!


It's hard work and no mistake. The Hood's schemes seemed to be but a mild distraction as most of the time is spent positioning everything to keep the (relentless) Disasters from hitting critical mass. Thunderbird 2 is absolutely essential in all of your plans as there's no other way of shipping machines, FAB1 and/or Thunderbird 4 around the globe! Arthur had dibbs-ed T2 at the start (as Virgil) but make damn sure you get a grown-up to manage it! The chits you collect, ostensibly to stop the Bad Guy, are also currency for some useful effects (extra action, free F.A.B card, build equipment etc) and you should NOT be afraid to cash them in; more than once they saved our supermarionated arses! Overall, however, it was quite a gruelling (though enjoyable) experience: waaaaaaay too complicated for the others, I had to spin the story along with Arthur and basically decide everyone's turn for them - I was very tired at the end!

Component-wise? The minis are totally-awesome, the card stock is good and the presentation / styling superb...but the cardboard chits feel a little fragile and some had already begin 'separating' as I packed it all away.

Thunderbirds is NOT a straightforward family game, however; it's a GAMER family game. I fear that the more inexperienced households will unpack this come Christmas Day and be comprehensively and depressingly crushed; this fantastic, holistic gem then consigned to the attic, the dusty cupboard or - more depressing still - the Charity Shop in January.


You cannot deny that there's a lot of gaming
adrenalin running through this superb adaptation!
I fear it might be too much for many, though.


*not that I went out, you understand; I stayed behind and taught fellow-lazies the delights of Codenames!
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Sun Oct 25, 2015 7:00 am
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It's nobody's fault but your own!

Anthony Boydell
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As players, you love your games to have a measure of depth; sometimes knee-high, figuratively, is sufficient but then, sometimes, up to the neck or even (if one is truly hardcore) completely over your head so it feels like you're drowning!

However, being enigmas (and the anthropomorphic representations of contradiction), these SAME Players hate games for spawning analysis paralysis:


Fig.1 Propensity to suffer A.P (University of Please-your-bloody-self, Hoxton)


However, if you find a game causes AP then it's not the fault of the game; its YOUR fault, pure and simple, and scientists* have proved this recently and beyond refute!


Fig.2 A professional person pointing out an uncomfortable truth, yesterday.


Of course, you may be swinging there in your hammock thinking 'None of this applies to me, Tony, for I never DO suffer from anal-paral!' and you may well be correct BUT why not take the following Poll to see if you might be susceptible should the wrong right game come along?

*Clarification: not actual scientists.

Poll
Scientists spend a lot of time looking at very small things, writing on pads and typing things - one key at a time - in to computers; this is a reflection of the both the importance and complexity of their work and should, in no way, be derided or mocked! Such a group of individuals have spunked a large Governmental grant against a wall to derive the following questionnaire - a questionnaire that will tell you, once-and-for-all, if you're going to fall prey to the curse of Analysis Paralysis.
1. 1. You are playing Snap! With your 4 year old infant; s/he has just laid a King on the stack
Flip the top card of your stack to see if it's a King and, if so, proceed to the appropriate Snap! protocol?
Recall that only one other King has been played so far, calculate the percentage chance that you will now follow with a match and adjust your wrist movements in anticipation?
Send the child to their room, set fire to the cards and throw yourself in to the kitchen waste disposal unit?
2. 2. It's your last action of the round - a Harvest round - in a game of Agricola and you need 2 more food. The Day Labourer space is the only one available for food gain and you have no cards in hand to help further. Do you:
Take the day labourer action?
Look at your hand of cards, the layout of each other players' tableau and your written notes from other games in which you have needed more 2 food in a Harvest round?
Force yourself to vomit over the action boards, set fire to the Start Player and press yourself up against the wall pretending to be a Grandfather Clock?
3. 3. It's the first Power Station auction in Power Grid; the first station has been proposed for its face value and bidding has come to you. Do you:
Pass because there's a better station coming up?
Wrestle with a complex internal monologue about whether oil or garbage is going to be premium with this map and this pool of players, eventually Pass and then instantly regard it as the decision that cost you the win 2 hours later?
This is a trick question! Option 2 is always true, ALWAYS!
4. 4. Do you tend to suffer from being overwhelmed by the range of decisions available in a game OR enjoy exploring every possible action pathway before committing a move?
No.
Yes.
Er...isn't that the same as...um, never mind.
      71 answers
Poll created by tonyboydell


Results:
Mostly A's - you are not susceptible to AP
Mostly B's - you MIGHT be susceptible to AP: if you've reached THIS part of the article then your risk is LOW, if you're still thinking about your answers above then your risk is VERY HIGH
Mostly C's - Have you thought about Yoga?
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Sat Oct 24, 2015 7:00 am
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Vindicated!

Anthony Boydell
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From the inimitable Terry Pratchett's final discworld novel The Shepherd's Crown - which is, incidentally, really rather excellent actually - come these vindicating paragraphs!



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Fri Oct 23, 2015 6:45 am
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Dairy of a Spaceman

Anthony Boydell
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The last five or so years have seen me meeting up with the Tyrland boys for supper during Essen Spiel and for all those years, apart from this one, they have been accompanied by an enigmatic - and magnificently-bearded - friend by the name of Christer Hägglund.

Christer has been developing not just board games, like his pals, but an entire Children's brand: Space Yoghurt. There are clothes, a cartoon series, books and game(s)...which is where the Boydell household steps in! This year, hand-delivered by 'the lads'*, was a copy of the board game:



Last Saturday afternoon Arthur, Mrs B and myself grabbed ourselves beverages and retired to the library room - and the square, low table - for a first go...

In summary: Each player has three alien spaceters - small, medium and large - in their colour and they need to travel along-and-around the board to the cockpit of their Spacecraft; the first player to get all of their crew home is the winner. Thus, Ludo meets Sorry!-like, we roll-and-move BUT there are several gamer-y twists that lift it above the mundane:
- each crew member has their own die ie. you will roll a small, medium and large die on your turn and will select ONE of the crew to move using their key-ed die (the small engineer is quick, the fat Captain is slow!);
- some of the spaces are 'bouncy craters', for which you roll a special die when landed upon; this may result in you travelling further around the board towards (or in to) the cockpit; and,
- some of the spaces contain the eponymous Yoghurt which allows you to send another player's crew member back to the start, one of your own back (Boo!) or even one of your own straight to the ship.




Despite the opportunities to bounce players back to the start, the game moves briskly along (on rippling tentacles?) and keeps the interest; Arthur was engaged throughout (as were we) and delighted in the chance to pick on Mum/Dad and use the crater/yoghurt dice whenever possible. It's bright and pleasing to behold and the custom crew pieces are fantastic (you just can't help holding conversations between them)! I won the first (in a little over 10 minutes) and everyone wanted to play it again straight away! Space Yoghurt is a welcome step-up from Toys R Us homogeneity; a well- (and lovingly) executed family game!

And, as far as I know, we currently have the ONLY copy in the Country!

*Anders, Mons, Magnus and Olle aka A.M.M.O?
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Thu Oct 22, 2015 6:25 am
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I'm alright Jack!

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Just a quick note for any Snowdonia fans out there...I've put my (now) traditional Jack Vasel Memorial Auction Lot up:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/197203/item/4230212#i...
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Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:20 pm
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In Loco Abstinentia

Anthony Boydell
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Do you remember that promise thing I made back at the start of the Summer? Something about not buying so much stuff? Well, that particular particle of resolve disintegrated in to it's constituent quarks pretty damn quickly and, recently, a train game came up on the UK 'For Sale' Facebook group at a steal-price of £10 INCLUDING POSTAGE!!! How could I possibly resist? It would've been plain rude!


I've no idea how it plays yet BUT it has a turntable!


As if to compliment this long-length locomotive legerdemain, I found this booklet staring out of the window of Newent's premiere charity shop:


Scenario OR complete new game - ahoy?!
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Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:38 am
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Let's clear up this little misunderstanding, shall we?

Anthony Boydell
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Apparently, so many people have remarked, the man on the front of the Snowdonia box has got his hand ON his crotch; this is patent nonsense! It is resting on his thigh...which is an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT THING!!!


See here:
Spoiler (click to reveal)




I rest my case, m'lud!
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Tue Oct 20, 2015 6:35 am
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Playing with my Booby

Anthony Boydell
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After Friday's aborted Ross session, Smudge messaged me with an invitation to their weekend 'first time thru' of Inhabit the Earth. So, after taking the dogs - and ourselves - for a walk in Dymock Woods I popped in for a couple of hours.

Inhabit the Earth is going to provide many a session of tiresome innuendo if this afternoon's (Sunday's) sojourn is anything to go by!



'Many' because it's an even better game than I remember; it 'breesed' along - about 50 minutes per game for the three of us - and 'tiresome innuendo' because what does one expect when one is called upon to 'flip the bird' during a Breed/Move, 'involve'* a Kangeroo in one's action or 'play a Booby'?

As for Boffo's antics with his Rhea? Least said, soonest mended.

In summary: Race for the Galaxy meets Lewis & Clark - on your turn choose to either i) mess with your animals, ii) draw some cards (breed) or iii) move further up the continent board(s). Repeat until the top of two continent boards have been reached (3pl) and then score...

I won the first game by stacking up my lead creatures with icons (via adaptations, multiplications and bonus chits) and racing them to the top of both Europe and North America. I tried the same stratagem in game two, only to have Boffo reach the apex of Asia (triggering game end) immediately before I would've reached Europe (my second, again); however, both of us had neglected to fulfill any 'stack 3' bonus cards unlike Smudge, who comfortably sailed in to the 30s and the top of the evolutionary tree!

Inhabit the Earth is Terrific and Tense and Teasing and Testing and, provided we avoid shoving it under the nose of the Jobbers Computational Matrix, just exactly the right amount of Time!

*Smudge's charming tongue-stumble of 'evolve'
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Mon Oct 19, 2015 6:35 am
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Scoring Zero

Anthony Boydell
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Michael Fox, Mr Little Metal Dog Show (http://littlemetaldog.com), went and emigrated to the U.S earlier this year and now I don't get to meet up with him so much *sob*.

He's a top bloke and I love talking to him - which we have done, and hopefully will continue to do, via Skype - but, for now, his new YouTube gaming news/reviews/everything else VidCast has premiered and it's all I've got to cling on to!

He was even kind enough to give me a mention in this 'Episode Zero'...though I would only remark: "Be careful what you wish for, Mikey babes!"

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Sun Oct 18, 2015 7:30 am
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