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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

Archive for Tony Boydell

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Saint Nicholas' Eve

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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Yesterday started cold and frosty, but warmed up with a visit from (Uncle) James and a kettle seemingly-perpetually on-the-boil from 11 'til 3! Alice needed to get her packing sorted - as I would be driving her to Heathrow, late afternoon, ready for her 10.30PM flight back to New Zealand (via Guangzhou) - but we were able to pause for a last bit of gaming:


Those Magnificent Men...coming along very nicely.



Villainous Alice wins the Race...


This particular play-test was an important one: my lot are tricky when it comes to learning new games as they don't enjoy the rules explanations! You can see my quandry BUT 'MagMen' is a relatively-simple pitch: draft and play cards to get you ahead in the Practice race THEN use the drafted cards in a draw deck for the 'real' race. Alice managed to avoid filling her deck with quite as many 'Distraction' cards as the rest of us and pulled away to land in Paris as the victor, despite being almost 100% villainous - where the Hell were the good guys? Phut-phut-phutting along at the back staring dreamily at the clouds! Figurative, as well as actual, forward movement continues to be made with this prototype: think FLAMME ROUGE meets 7 WONDERS (so far).

We had, temporarily, a complete set of Boydell children in the house - come tea time - so, while I loaded the car, there was a final round of farewell hugs, kisses and tears and then me and my eldest whisked ourselves Eastwards for the 3 hour journey to the airport:


Queue for baggage deposit selfie!



Whose flight is THIS? A Robin joins us for a latte...


I maintained a jolly demeanor as we checked-in Alice's huge rucksack and paused for a perking-up coffee but there was no avoiding the goodbye; we hugged, for ages, and I kissed her head like I did when she was newborn and when she skipped through the gates at Primary school and when we left her in her student digs in Plymouth in 2013 and when we sent her off to the other side of the world last year. I watched her zig-zag the empty queue path to Customs & Security and through to Departures until I couldn't see her any more; I coughed out the lump in my chest and the tears in my eyes and trudged back to the car. Only 7 months until she comes back.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Yup! Concealment ongoing:


Yay! I actually have Broom Service! Five days in and a first relevant Adventish gift!



Finally, a song for my heavy Yuletide heart:


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Today 6:30 am
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Four (Advent) Candles!

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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(I know this is cheating a bit but I liked it the first time around AND there's a loose Christmas link with the word 'candles' *ahem*)





Spoiler (click to reveal)
Ok, I'm still hiding this bit:


Now THIS is more like it! SIX board-filling tiles that are UNIQUE and they're an ODD SHAPE too! Effort has, indeed, been made...it's a pity I don't have Hansa Teutonica


Finally, a song:

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Sun Dec 4, 2016 6:30 am
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I Saw Three Ships

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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There were four for games in Ross-on-Wye yesterday! Yay, the magic number with an extra little bit of sparkle; finally, a chance for Flamme Rouge (newly-arrived from the most excellent and generous Mr Mike Barnes: curator of the Who Dares Rolls podcast and a fine Leonidian beard) and a retro (long overdue) visit to Magnum Sal!

Alice is in Plymouth visiting Uni-pals (using our other car), Daisy and Benedict are with friends on a Christmas Retreat, Fred is at his favourite club in Gloucester (pick up duties required later); so this leaves me, Mrs B and young Arthur with some quiet, chip-scoffing time together. The mysterious judder in the Touran came back, annoyingly, as I rolled in to Ross but I soon spied Jobbers' silhouette (backlit by the streetlamps) in his idling BMW in the Prince of Wales' car park. There was the faintest suggestion of a Rush/Black Sabbath/Rod Stewart album playing from his stereo as I reversed in to a space...and then my phone rang:

Fred: I'm not feeling very well...can you come and get me now, please?

With no-one else able, or available, to help I had no option but go. I might be able to salvage it, however; there and back again within the hour? It was do-able, so I phoned Smudge and got weaving. The judder was gettng more pronounced (front passenger side) and a quick check of the tyres while dropping Fred off at home had me touch the hubcap accidentally: whoooooaaa, that's hot! I'm not going anywhere else tonight.

Cue a wobbly fade: last week, I had to emergency brake in a slip-lane due to the person in front just stopping in their tracks: I think I've fucked the brake calliper as a consequence so it's 'on' all the time and heating up the disc.

"Sweet are the uses of adversity", init? With the full evening ahead of us, Mrs B and myself finally got the chance to watch the Coen brothers' "Hail, Caesar!":


Brilliant.


So, that was my Friday night.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Ok, so I'm going to hide this next bit because any mention of that seasonal quotidian item seems to be the kiss of death for any interest in the blog post:


I refer you to what I was moaning about yesterday, m'lud.


Finally, a song:

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Sat Dec 3, 2016 9:16 am
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Two Thousand Miles

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Today's gift is for a game that I don't have (if I had a pound for every time I'm going to be saying THAT I'd have fifteen quid etc).

What strikes me is what a wasted opportunity this is; I mean, not only are the tiles EXACTLY THE SAME but they've left the sixth slot blank!
Whilst I have no idea whether West of Africa is any good or not, this so-called promo seems luke-warm to the point of being actually chilly!



I'm curious: if any of you HAVE West of Africa, does this item make you happy?

When I designed Snowdonia: Wagons Expansion for the 1000th blogpost, I put a lot of effort in to make it a full and valid addition; revisiting it for the Brettspiel Easter Basket 2016 I checked and double-checked that I could get the most wagons on to the sheet as I could. For this year's Advent Calendar, the Guilds of London: Cheese and Papermakers (Day 7, I believe) are a proper pair of new Guilds with new mechanisms; I judged what to put IN by what I would like to pull OUT if I were not Tony Boydell!

Ultimately, the Calendar - which is a glorious concept and beautifully-realised - will stand or fall on the quality of the bits we publishers submit!
It would, indeed, be a brave Matthias (Frosted Games' cuddly meister) who stood up to some providers and said: "This is not good enough, frankly!".

I'm sorry; I seem to have wound myself up a little there; so, finally, a song:

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Fri Dec 2, 2016 6:30 am
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Heist!

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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You've got to admire this fellow's chutzpah:

(man walks off with an unattended bucket of gold)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38164590



As for finding the guy? I suggest setting up an enormous pile of Frankincense and Myrrh and just wait...

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Thu Dec 1, 2016 9:24 am
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The First Nowell

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Last year I set myself the daft goal of doing a regular blog and an Adventskalendar-related post for the first 24 days of December; I managed it BUT it was a hard slog! So, this year, I'm turning it down a little and making the AK stuff a coda to my usual burbling. Probably.

I got the vacuum cleaner out and dallied around the Library room; dusting off the mantel in preparation for the cardboard Holy of Hobbygame Holies and rearranging the various piles of yet-to-find-a-place-on-the-shelves detritus. The decorations have yet to go up; in fact it's somewhat remiss of us as we've normally heaved the Xmas DVDs and CDs out of the attic in readiness b'now: all restrictions are off from December 1st! Still, with the help of the trusty Mosaic PRISMA filter, I can bring you a jolly Christmas Card:





As for the Day's promo goodness, things gets off to a pleasing 'high profile' start with The Oracle of Delphi by Stefan Feld:


Smashing little boats! Though calling this an 'expansion' is stretching things a bit; I mean the ships replace the woodwork and that leaves two tiles - not so much an "expansion" as a "semi lob-on". Still, I can't complain as I'll likely never play this - Feld doesn't get much love in Ross-on-Wye - so on to the "Pay me the postage and you can have it" pile it goes (for the end of the year clearout).


And finally, a song:


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Thu Dec 1, 2016 6:25 am
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(Still) No Hex Please, We're British

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Wed Nov 30, 2016 6:25 am
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A Real Friend of Humanity

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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He gotta be jizzing this negativity thru an API, surely?

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Tue Nov 29, 2016 10:07 pm
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Diaries, Dreams, Dobble and Drafting

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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My Dad had popped over on Saturday, from Aberystwyth, for a brief weekend stay; he brought with him a box full of very old family books - further legacy gifts from my late grandmother's estate. Among these musty, scuffed tomes were several hand-illustrated and hand-written diaries from the early 1900s: my great-grandmother's notes from a Tour of Italy in 1912, a book of her own hand-typed stories from 1913 and more. The rest of the close family are wholly-disinterested in these personal treasures - they have no antique value - but, to me, they are precious beyond any counting; my Father knows this and is slowly-but-surely shipping the artifacts to Newent!

On Sunday, after a (Tony cooked) bacon, egg and muffin brunch, Mrs B brewed up some coffee and we broke out a couple of board games; my Dad, not really a games player, consented to join us in a first try of Dingo's Dreams which, itself, is a present from my brother following his recent trip to Australia! A chance for some rare family gaming, to be sure!


(from L to R) Mrs B, Ziggy D and my work-in-p.


In summary: You are attempting to shunt your personal tableau of 25 tiles (5 x 5) so that your 'animal' images match a central target arrangement (a big X, a big cross, a small cross, an eight point square etc). The tiles are double-sided: a colour + terrain on one and your animal on the other; each turn, a card is turned over from a central deck that triggers the turning over of one of those colour/terrain tiles for all players - one's tableau is randomly-arranged so MY blue cave will be in a different position to YOUR blue cave. Once you have flipped the appropriate tile, you 'shunt' - from any row or column - with the spare tile in your hand: it will 'go in' and another will 'come out at the other end'. Repeat until someone's tableau has (a number of) revealed-animals that match the goal pattern.

We absolutely LOVED this! It's sweet and simple and puzzley and has a little luck to help move things along. My Father enjoyed it; Mrs B and Alice enjoyed it; _I_ enjoyed it and - as you can see above - even Ziggy enjoyed it (Alert: Wet doggy nose on game components!).

Curious as to what we were doing, Benedict and his girlfriend Libby, joined us and the table of six embarked on some raucous Dobble-age; no photos but you can imagine the scene! Arthur, drawn by the noise, was keen to play Best Treehouse Ever so the table changed again and we got right on with this jolly little drafting filler:


Just look what _I_ had to discard, unplaced!!!


Pa needed to be on his way - driving at his age needs to be as much 'in the daylight' as possible - and I had a couple of chores to do ('the bins' don't put themselves out and - see yesterday - the Touran needed relocating), so began the Ritual of Farewell. I am extremely-delighted that we have managed a lot more household gaming in the last few weeks which bodes well for Christmas!
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Tue Nov 29, 2016 6:26 am
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Breaking and Entering

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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I had to drop my car off at the local garage (the other end of Newent) yesterday (Sunday) so it could be serviced today (Monday) after an interesting (juddery) drive back from Friday's matey luncheon. Neither has it helped that the EMS has reached its time for a Service threshold and now beeps the heck at me every time I switch on the ignition, open the door or just look at the thing from the Living Room window. So, returning to lower blood pressure, this 'drop' involves a quick drive down and a long walk back. With just the tiniest of perambulant course adjustments, I skirted the Town's lake and kicked through drifts of leaves to the site of the old Newent Railway station; it's undergoing the slowest of renovations with - I believe - the intention of re-digging the track bed as a stretch of canal. I missed their single 2016 'open day' in September so decided to conduct my own tour of the 'works' by climbing over the 6ft padlocked enclosure. Oh, the thrill!

I am always hopeful of discovering a rare and poigant physical memento such as a thruppeny bit, a station master's button or the bones of a navvy but, today, all there was were bricks, glass shards and a plastic cigarette lighter. For the lyrical eye, however, there was much to be discovered amongst the overgrowth and the spoil heaps:


Views up and down the length of the platform area



The bridge over the Newent/Ledbury road; the track bed continues away toward Gloucester (q.v. Snowdonia: The Daffodil Line for more deets)



A snippet of my wandering



The footbridge skeleton - soon to be revivified?



Platforms: note the layers - some sections go down to the original wooden supports; others have tarmac upon brick upon wood upon soil.


Finally, some THENs to go with all of the above NOWs:


When the trains came.


The last passenger train leaving Newent station, 1959.

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Mon Nov 28, 2016 6:35 am
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