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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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Traumatic Post Stress Disorder

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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This is the postage receipt from last Friday's batch of The Cousins' War dispatches. Faithfully Jiffy-ed, air mail-stickered and customs labelled, thirty one copies of this a-lot-in-the-box treat are now winging their way to the four corners.

Annoyingly for Yours Truly, the postage rates don't map on to postage stamps of an equivalent (and singular) cost, so:
£5.15 = 2 x 2.55 and a 5p
£4.10 = 1 x 2.30 and 4 x 20p
£2.90 = 1 x 2.55 and a 20p, a 10p and a 5p (!)

The alternative is to let the cashier staff type Addresses, manually, in to a labelling form one-by-one (2 mins each average transaction time) which, naturally, annoys the Hell out of the other waiting customers. So, painfully-slow affixing of lines of stamps it is.

And we're supposed to be in the 21st Century?!
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Today 2:45 pm
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1d for your thoughts?

Anthony Boydell
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By way of some calming therapy - after the stark horror of my recently-acquired railway crashes book (!) - here's my take on a 'Parly' for my beloved (relaxing) Snowdonia:



As part of the Foundry action (C), you can convert 1 Iron Ore to a Penny as a mini-action (in addition to the other usual Foundry mini-actions) - use rubble from supply to represent pennies and store them on this train; your third worker comes out of the Pub for the price of a Penny. Pennies are worth a point each at the end of the game.
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Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:22 am
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Are you sitting comfortably..?

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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...then we'll begin. Yesterday, on our usual Newentian plod, I discovered the following book:


Cheerful, I know.



A nicely-inventoried catalogue of utter horror and woe.


Ever so pleased with it, and because I'd also promised the kids (to get them out of the house and walking around for a bit), we went for a deluxe drink and cake at The Good News Centre. Sat in the sunny garden area, I leafed through and came across this chapter (sweet Moses in his raspberry-flavoured basket coz it uses phrases like "the greatest slaughter in the history of Britain's railways" and "The lucky ones were killed outright"):











Have a lovely rest-of-the-day, now...
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Sun Jun 25, 2017 6:20 am
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The Night of the Long Scythes

Anthony Boydell
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Smudge has been tepidatious (a mix of both trepidatious and luke-warm) about the concept of Scythe - especially because it has fighting in - since I first waxed-ever-so-lyrical when the super-deluxe KS edition landed (with a terracotta-tile cracking THUD!) on my Hall floor. She hem-ed and hurr-ed equally noncommittally about Terraforming Mars six months back (and she LOVES it now), so I was hoping for a similar Damascan Road experience for her on Friday (last) night.

Of those attending - a circle-the-date-on-the-wall-calendar SIX - only Jobbers and Boffo had played before so I set off on a 20 minute unpacking, setting up and action-explaining spiel including such oldies-but-goodies as:
- "You don't have to do a bottom action"
- "You produce in the indicated number of HEXES not number of individual workers ie. multiple workers in one Hex = a good thing"
- "A single movement icon is 1 unit moving 1 hex, unless it's a big unit and you've built your +1 Move mech"
- Only your big units (leader and mechs) are affected by built-Mech abilities
- If you're stuck for a resource, you can always take the TRADE action
- When you've recruited, you get the bottom action bonus whenever YOU or an adjacent NEIGHBOUR takes that bottom action...and ALL of the bottom actions are in the same position on ALL boards
- and so on.

In addition, to avoid any gripes and whines about 'you didn't tell me!' later, I also made a MASSIVE point of explaining how POPULARITY affects game-end scoring. I only mention (all) of this because much of the game was spent reiterating the above points time-and-time again; not that I'm really moaning because I got to play one of my all-time favourites.


Jesus; you'd think someone had died!


Smudge loaded up on combat cards and initiated the first fight; Jobbers raced to the Factory and then got kicked about by Boffo; Norm forgot to use his flags but conquered a creditable number of hexes (to be let down by very low popularity); Gary completely ignored his Trap ability and stayed in the corner obsessed with completing his objective and always getting the PRODUCTION rule wrong; I spread, achieved, fought, built mechs, upgraded, recruited and everything-and-anything else with alarming ease. Boffo, game-end imminent, attempted a last ditch dust-up to deprive me of points only for me - with my special ability - to steal his POWER 5 combat card from him (a 33% chance of doing so) and send him home in utter disgrace (and to the Bar in a genuinely-unsportsmanlike muttering tirade). I placed my sixth star, with Popularity way up in the teens, and romped to such an easy victory (80 points) that only Smudge (39) and Norm (35) bothered to add up their scores!



It didn't help the post-drubbing atmos that the whole thing had stretched to a bum-numbing (though not for me because I just immersed myself in the wonderfulness of it all) 140 minutes - about half an hour longer than I've experienced a 5+ player game before. I fear that although there was a glimmer, the faintest sliver, of a positive reception from Smudge (she DID pick it up quickly AND she came second), the loooooooooog evening might have ultimately killed it for her. A damn (or should that be 'Dame'?) shame.

Norm and Gary had to scuttle away - a 45 minute journey to the other end of Herefordshire - so the usual suspects broke out an end-of-the-evening comforter:



This is a fantastic game. It is a true classic of the hobby. Everyone needs to play it regularly and with an evangelistic fervour. An odd combination of goals - 'lots of little settlements' plus 'one big settlement is good' plus 'building by water is good' - proved distracting for both Jobbers and Boffo, who forgot one criterion completely, leaving Smudge and myself to edge in front: Smudge pipped me by just the two points, despite Boffo chuckling, mid-game, that I didn't seem to know what I was doing.

A curiously-tetchy evening, then, and - for everyone else - not seemingly a very satisfying one; personally, I thought it was fantastic but 'one out of six' is a poor return on four hours investment.
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Sat Jun 24, 2017 9:00 am
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I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:11 am
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Love is...

Anthony Boydell
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While I'm on a bit of a nostalgic bender, does anyone remember this saccharine shit from (particularly) the 1970s and 1980s?



Well, as stomach-churning as this is, it gives me an idea for some blog commentary fun: what would be equivalent 'frames' for gamers?

Here's a few to start us off:

Gamer Love is...never having to play your Sorry!

Gamer Love is...only taking Start Player in Agricola when you have a Minor Improvement to play too

Gamer Love is...helping to pack the game away when done

Gamer Love is...indie fayre (sounds like 'in the air'...)

Gamer Love is...reading the rules for a new game before the session

Gamer Love is...a many Splendor-ed thing

Gamer Love is...like oxygen: you get too much you get too high, not enough and you're gonna die (ie. you'll probably end up asphyxiated for being a dick)

Gamer Love is...the drug I'm thinking of

Fancy joining in (so to speak)?
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Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:02 am
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Two Pools

Anthony Boydell
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My landlady during the first couple of years doing my Computer Studies degree at Liverpool Polytechnic (now the John Moore's University) used to have a saying that she'd roll out on the first sunny day of the year: "Cast ne'er a clout til May is out". 'Clout' is not, as one might expect, a reference to a swift clip around the ear or a slap in the chops BUT to clothing: in short, it means "Don't swap your Winter clothes for Summer clothes too early". Forever heeding this wise maxim - after trolling around Wallasey in shorts and tee-shirt in May, 1987 only to come down with a heavy cold - this Boydell has forbidden the other Boydell's from assembling the family-sized swimming pool until at least June and the thermometer hits at least 25 degrees twice. Fortunately, for our baking offspring, the last week or so has sunned and sizzled the British Isles in to it's usual moaning submission (its always either too wet, too hot or too cold) and parental permission was duly granted:





Fully-assembled, the pool's designated position was swept for pointy stones and laid with carpet remnants; the pumps and filters dusted off and test-run; hose-pipes and chlorine dispensers stood ready and a new toy for 2017 ordered from the Internet (a giant, inflatable X-Wing fighter and a visor/snorkel combo for Arthur). Fast forward 24 hours and the rubber heating panels have warmed the water to a comfortable 24 degrees and we're open for business. Yesterday, after a sweaty day of User Stories and bugfix testing, I - myself - took the opportunity for a good soak; almost (but not quite) a TV comical image of "man running through house - stripping off as he goes - to plunge, headfirst, in to the Blessed cooling blue". As the sun set behind the hills - and we air-dried in the shade of the shed watching the waterboatmen fighting in the pond - Mrs B brought out a couple of generously-dosed G&Ts and the (start of the) Summer bliss was complete.

Now, if we could only play Molkky underwater?!

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Wed Jun 21, 2017 9:49 am
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Cant Stop

Anthony Boydell
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The 1970s are a misty room in my memory but one filled, still, with the echoes of jokes and songs. Whether it was the twinkling Vernon Elliot ditties accompanying Postgate & Firmin's Smallfilms, the bright pop of Top of the Pops or - above & below - the playfulness of BBC TV's Play Away, we were all short trousers and scuffed knee-caps while our parents papered the walls with orange/brown concentric circle patterns and served up 'posh' prawn cocktails and sherry trifle.

Yesterday, because that's the way Time Passing and Old Age works, one of those warm, fuzzy characters passed away: Mr Brian Cant. If you're British - and over 40 - then I shall need say no more and, like me, you will no doubt be feeling the sadness of losing an honorary grandparent. Play Away, figurehead-ed by the genial Mr C, was a variety show for us children; a Saturday evening - right after the Football Pools Results and before Doctor Who - distraction we could curl up and giggle along too. It was a simple joy.

When I started at Secondary School, we had a geography teacher called Brian Cant: "No, I am not the famous one...though I'd quite like to have his wage packet." he quipped. He tried to tell us lots of jokes, though, in those first few academic years but he just didn't have the timing.

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Tue Jun 20, 2017 6:20 am
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The Burrowers

Anthony Boydell
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Arthur had a Cub Scouts thing on Saturday afternoon so, in the midst of swelteringly-wonderful sunshine, we nipped in to the Forest of Dean - and the village of Parkend (one terminus for the Dean Forest Heritage Railway) - so he could lark about in the Lake, there, for a couple of hours. Rather than trundle 30 mins back again only to have just enough time for a cup of tea, I remembered my recent Tidenham / Wye Valley Railway micro-adventure and set off in search of another abandoned railway tunnel known to be somewhere in the immediate vicinity:

The Moseley Green Tunnel
(from the Forgotten Relics of an Enterprising Age website: http://www.forgottenrelics.co.uk/tunnels/) The Severn & Wye Railway was authorised by an Act of Parliament in 1809 and opened the following year as a horse-drawn tramway. In 1865, five locomotives were bought and the route was largely converted to broad gauge in 1868-9. Standard gauge arrived in 1872.

That year, a Mineral Loop was added to avoid the need for reversing movements at Cinderford. The section between New Fancy Colliery and Pillowell Siding incorporated a 503-yard single track tunnel at Moseley Green - masonry lined throughout with substantial masonry portals. It benefited from three ventilation shafts, one of which is now capped.

The tunnel was requisitioned as an ammunition store between April 1942 and December 1943 before completely closing to traffic on 13th March 1951. In the Seventies, a short section of the tunnel near its centre was strengthened with rail and timber bracing to help it withstand the forces from traffic passing on the road above. This has though been recently fire-damaged so its effectiveness might have been somewhat compromised.


I knew roughly where it should be so I parked on the verge and ventured off in to the woods; within a couple of minutes I'd spotted the top of a ventilation shaft (below left). What looked like a fenced off ditch from a distance turned out to be much more; stone steps in the leaves (below middle) joined stone steps cut in to the buttress of the Moseley Green Tunnel itself (below right):



As per, the tunnel itself was blocked up, and its interior inaccessible, but there were a couple of 'outbuildings' to explore: a track controller's shed and a bunker. The ground was littered with stones fallen from the trackside wall, oily water and the obligatory lager cans. I dream of finding some genuine railwayman's relic on these sojourns but - unless a Forester's great-great grandpa was a chugger of Stella Artois - it was not to be.



Away from the entrance, and off in to the forest, the track bed horizoned in to dense folliage with a tall wall on it's left and a shallow platform edge to the right; I walked it for a while until it became just fat-trunked trees.



A quick nod of appreciation and a scamper back up the steps to the waiting, now baking, Touran. There are plenty more of these dark-throated sentinels around-and-about, so I think I may see how many I can discover over the Summer. I will, of course, keep you posted.
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Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:20 am
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Whattheactualheck?

Anthony Boydell
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Read this, please:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1797551/polite-negative...

Okay?

Now please tick one of the following:

Poll: The OP making the 'polite negative feedback' is...
The OP who made the 'polite negative feedback' is:
Not polite in the slightest and should be beaten with rotten celery until penitential
Not polite in the slightest and obviously having a pop at the Publishers for their own twisted, bitter reasons
Not polite in the slightest and should be forced to play Splendor until their eyes bleed
Not polite in the slightest and, frankly, I'm disappointed you didn't do more cussing Tony
Obligatory alternative option.
      184 answers
Poll created by tonyboydell


Good day to you...

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Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:03 am
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