Every Man Needs A Shed

Life and Games (but mostly games) from Tony Boydell: Dad, Husband and Independent UK Game Designer, Agricola fanboy and jealous admirer of Carl Chudyk. www.surprisedstaregames.co.uk

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Punch Junk Love

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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What with "everything", it's been a fair few weeks since Arthur and I have had the simple pleasure of walking in to Newent Town. Hot and dry; sweet, flower-scented air; those thin rivers of tar melting at the edges of filled-in pot-holes - Summer bliss. There was a high quotient of elderly folks clogging up the pavements with their shuffles and window-pointing but we weren't in any particular hurry so we hung back until the overtaking opportunity presented itself. First stop was Sweet Memories for a quarter of melon chews, a quarter of white chocolate pebbles and a quarter of jelly dolphins; second stop was The Shambles Charity shop:


Arthur catches his Pa with a crafty left-hander!



What a pair! The Buccaneer has some lovely plastic ships with paper sails and original 'gems' (its a 1970s edition).



Spiral Tunnels? A 'Big Hill'? The lost Severn Railway Bridge? A bargain at a fiver for the lot.


Third stop was the supermarket for my latest addiction: black grapes and Pink Lady apples.

Fourth stop was the garden: with a hat and a good book.
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Today 6:30 am
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Reiner Shine

Anthony Boydell
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After an uncomfortable realignment of work last Thursday, I drove home feeling anxious and sad; it seems that Tony the B.A is no longer regarded favorably (my views and experience are no longer listened to). While I was restocking my car's supply of nibbling grapes in Monmouth, I noticed a job call on LinkedIn and registered my interest immediately; a quick chat followed and my CV was submitted that evening. On Friday AM, I was called about availability to interview and by lunchtime, I had been booked for a chat on Monday afternoon. The intervening days were pretty miserable thanks to a family crisis; this didn't leave me much room for preparation. The new week began with an odd prospect: if all went well, I'd be handing my notice in - indeed, within an hour of getting home from the Interview, I'd been offered the role.

As the week has progressed, blue skies began emerging from the black clouds:


(sings) The Sim...psons...do dat-dat do-dat duh-do-dat-dat do-dat


With a hopeful spring in my step, it was off to The Plough Inn to pick up where we'd left off last time: I was still owed a game of Nusfjord, after all. First things first, though, and despite a noddingly-eager Smudge pressing for some turd-avoiding wood-lobbage (Molkky), we jumped straight in to Game Three of our Charterstone campaign.


(note: deliberately unfocused to avoid spoilers!)


Having complained - for most of 2017 - that the club was constantly max-ing out at just four attendees, this year has been the year of five or more which (of course) has consigned Jamey's cartoonish legacy to the barely occasional pile. Not to worry, however; it's only been a few months so we were soon off and rootling through the Index. Charterstone certainly doesn't hang about, so we were in very good time to play Boffo's shiny new (deluxe reprint) copy of Knizia's classic Ra:



I say 'classic' but, until yesterday, I had played it just the once - and that was about 17 years ago, so I was keen to see what the Hell I've been missing. The deluxe version is very beautiful but, in the dim light of the Pub (and my old age), I found it a little tricky to differentiate some of the tiles; not a problem after the first Epoch, though, and I'd managed to gather a full set of the professions to max out 15 points-per-Epoch scoring as well as a rich variety of Monuments. Jobbers floundered miserably at the back and ignored the potential of his two-Gods-won-from-the-first-auction in favour of a fruitless Pharoah race with Boffo (I ignored Ps altogether for a whole-game penalty of just -6 points). I thought I'd ripped ahead with ease only to find Smudge's judicious Invoke Ra just to swap a low tile for a not-so-low tile had sneaked her the 'highest Sun tile total bonus' and tied us both on 61. Ra is the perfect Ross-on-Wye gamers game: push-your-luck, auctions and - importantly- plays briskly.

And so to the long-promised (and much missed these last three weeks) fishing expedition:



My Architect is the latest in a series of Elders to be roughly-handled by Captain Combo (Boffo)!


Smudge was uncharacteristically slow and seemed to be lacking focus while Jobbers, Boffo and I skipped gaily along implementing our various plans. Boffo, in particular, had latched on to 'future expansion building' Dance Hall (see above) and set about abusing it most vigorously! It certainly didn't help that Smudge - to his right - kept refilling the Plates just enough to power the 'double use', so Ben's final tally of (a magnificent) forty seven (47!) was as unsurprising as it was utterly-dismaying! I've logged this as a potentially-abusive card with the Lookout peeps but, to be fair, Boffo spun a well-planned web: averaging more than 2VPs per action for the whole game is a cracking achievement.

Almost there! Having managed a completely-uninterrupted session, we still had time for one more table-topping delight:



Two Knizias in one evening? Who are you, Sir, and what have you done with the real Tony Boydell? Indigo is like Tsuro but good! Jobbers and I did a great job of sharing gems - including the prestigious sapphire - for a completely-tied 8 pts victory: place a tile and move the gem(s) to the end of the newly-extended path and, if off the board, award to appropriate players positioned at that exit point. Ridiculously-simple, colourful and relaxing; it's hardly going to change my gaming life but the £1 charity shop copy in my Shed will now get some family-gathering love in future. Mr Knizia is quite good, isn't he? I may be sticking my neck out but, I think, he'll go far*.

*do check out the latest 5 Games 4 Doomsday episode featuring Mr K's choices for surviving Armageddon!
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Sat Jun 23, 2018 9:56 am
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Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:05 am
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Background Noise

Anthony Boydell
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One of my all time favourite albums of all time is Spirit of Eden by Talk Talk; they’re a band that I’d enjoyed amongst many while growing up but it was only when SoE was the auto-repeat soundtrack to my reading of a lengthy Stephen Donaldson series that it wound its way permanently around my brain. If I’m reading then it must either be totally silent or a background of classical or ambient music; anything else and the aural and visual mix and muddle. WRT gaming, I remember my first proper D&D campaign (when a student at Liverpool Polytechnic) was mostly accompanied by Rush and Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds; there’s nothing quite like a Martian “Ullah” reverberating across the bedsit at 4am as your party enters a crypt!

Table topping whilst working away in London was wallpapered either by 1980s New Wave (at pal Richard’s) or Sport radio. Pub gaming was/is white-noised by the clientele and it’s been a long time since music played hand-in-hand with a Euro within my earshot.

If we were a lot better at pre-selecting a game night’s menu, then it could be a hoot to pick a matching soundtrack eg. Norwegian Wood (Nusfjord), Love on a farm boy’s wage (Agricola) etc.

No, but seriously; what music would be awesome for Gloomhaven, for instance? I’d suggest something heaving with momentum like Led Zeppelin 1 and 2. Please suggest your own (pun-free) matches of melody, rhythm and Boardgame below!
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Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:11 am
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Hymn

Anthony Boydell
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Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:53 pm
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Love’s Great Adventure

Anthony Boydell
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Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:42 pm
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Lament

Anthony Boydell
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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.
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Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:01 pm
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FLGS 45 (Box)

Anthony Boydell
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(we are in a friendly, local game store; there is no-one in here apart from the Cashier and a customer browsing the Chess sets. The cashier is chuckling along to YouTube movies of people who fail to see holes in the ground and comically come to a sticky - and painful - pass. An early 20th century police box materializes in the middle of the Family Favourites section; a copy of Carcassonne is knocked to the floor as the door opens. An urgent-seeming man steps out and on to the fallen game box: he slides across the floor, waving his arms about erratically, until he comes to rest against the Roleplaying Supplements. An assistant follows him out of the police box and hands him a game.)

Cashier: (looking up from his phone) Can I help, Sir...Madam?

Urgent Man: (holding out a colourful box in the direction of the Cashier) I wish to complain!

Cashier: Oh yes, Sir? What seems to be the problem?

Urgent Man: (shaking the box roughly) I bought this (points) from you six months from now and it's got a whole player's worth of components missing!

Cashier: (remaining calm; he's had all the proper training, you know) Goodness but that's a shame, Sir; I'd be happy to check things over and arrange for a replacement? When exactly did you buy this from us, Sir?

Urgent Man: (pulls a receipt from his pocket) Here!

(the cashier takes the receipt and looks it up and down)

Cashier: Oh yes, I see: this coming Autumn. (looking at the game box) That's interesting...how many players were you expecting, Sir?

Urgent Man: Five, of course!

Cashier: Hmmmm...this game doesn't support five players, Sir; though there's a rumour of a five player expansion next year -

Urgent Man: (seems to have an idea) Er - Hold that thought!

(the urgent man and his companion run back in to the Police box; it de-materializes.)

Cashier: *sigh*

(the police box re-materializes; it's too close to a copy of Feudum that's sticking out of it's shelf; leaning, off-balance, against the colourful twaddle, the police box topples backwards to the floor with a lazy thump. The urgent man and - this time - two companions emerge, flopping about on the linoleum like a trio of freshly-landed fish; the man is carrying a small box and seems less urgent than before)

Less Urgent Man: (brushing himself and stepping up to the counter) I wish to complain!

Cashier: Still?

Less Urgent Man: (perplexed) I beg your pardon?

Cashier: You were already complaining about this (he gestures to the box already resting on the counter)

Less Urgent Man: But that (gesturing to the box already resting on the counter) is what I want to complain about -

Cashier: I know -

Less Urgent Man: I ordered that on your web site two years from now but was sent this instead!

Cashier: (looking from one box to the other and back to the man) And do you want a refund? Or an exchange?

(the customer in the Chess corner steps in to the glare of the point-of-sale lights: it is the Urgent/Less Urgent Man and he seems quite calm)

Calm Man: Don't give him a refund; you've already given him a refund once!

Cashier: When?

Calm Man: Last Thursday.

Cashier: (momentarily struck silent) -

Calm Man: He gave you a receipt; take look in the till.

(the Cashier looks in the till and finds a receipt that he'd not noticed before; it is, indeed, for a refund.)

Cashier: (pointing to the games on the counter) And what am I supposed to do with these?!

Calm Man: Well, the small one is not due to be released for 18 months; you could always steal the idea and publish it yourself first?

Cashier: (indignant) But that would be immoral!

Less Urgent Man: To be fair, how do you know you're not going to design it in the first place anyway?

(both men nod and walk back in to the same police box, followed by the companions; the box de-materializes. The copy of Feudum falls off the shelf.

Cashier: (inspecting the small box in detail) Well, I never!

FIN

(we are in an FLGS...)
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Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:20 am
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T.G.I. Monday!

Anthony Boydell
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Well that was a weekend from Hell, to be frank. It began on Thursday evening with the realization that I really, really need to quit my current job (work politics is a bitch leaving me mortified) and I (already) find myself heading for an interview this (Monday) afternoon. Troubles with troubled children cast a black cloud across the family skies that Solo: A Star Wars Story could only temporarily banish. Arthur and I managed to get out on a long walk/bike ride to help burn off the blues and then constructed our own version of a Millenium Falcon(-ish) spaceship from his Lego...



...but the ice in the belly won't melt completely. Oh my dears, what a pickle.
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Mon Jun 18, 2018 6:20 am
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Death of a Gamer - 13

Anthony Boydell
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Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:30 am
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