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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In Which I Deliberately Wind-up Some Of The Other Attendees

Anthony Boydell
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(Bastion 2019, Day 2 Part 2)


After the bumper 4 hour Eclipse marathon (see yesterday's blog), we flowed back up the stairs to the main room for a late luncheon. A quick ham-and-cous-cous plateful (washed down with lime-and-soda and a small banana) meant I was more-than-ready to tackle the gaming demands of the P.M and gathered up a couple of strays to play the always-tremendous AuZtralia:



I've realised, subsequently, that I've been playing combat a little bit wrong but don't tell that to the others with whom I wiped the VP floor. Indeed, young Ross - a self-confessed member of Asmodee UK's demo staff - should really have been soaking up the laurels after twatting old dangle-chops himself in to next week when the be-squided bell-end woke up within 3 hexes of his Port! Ross jumped in, punched the ancient pillock in the balls and then tactfully-retreated then repeating this until the requisite 15 damage was dealt. Good job, that man!

I bumped in to young Paulio Naynay and roped him in to a quick run-thru of the forthcoming Foothills:



He made an excellent fist of the mechanisms and was only 9 points behind me at the finish (a better performance than Boffo has managed in recent weeks). I'm still a little unhappy about 'the endgame trigger' at the moment, so I shall be mulling some more during this week's forthcoming work commutes.

There was a brief pause as we all congregated around one of the gaming tables to admire Yvonne's edible board game:


A work of tasty beauty...and the game is good too!


New arrivals Jen and Ryan joined myself and Aaron for a second run at Symphony No.9; this is an absolute treat of a game and much fun was had by all concerned! Inevitably, I was pipped to victory by the inestimable Aaron who is quite the gaming force to be reckoned with:



Moving on, it was supper time and then Xander (he who failed to kill a simple alien derelict on Friday) suggested 'something quick' so...we opted for Terraforming Mars with everything APART FROM the beshitted kitchen sink that is Colonies:



It was during this most revered and reviled of card-floppers that I delivered the first sleight of the session: by piling asteroid upon asteroid on my bit of the Red Planet, I just happened - coincidentally - to burn up Ed's supply of saplings and tender shoots. Encouraging a new-to-it Eddie to do the same shortly after (and then threatening further airborne cataclysms to his hardy annuals) made Ed stand up, push back his chair and throw his cards to the table in a disgruntled retort*. Xander was the real target of this particular missile and took it in good stead while we attempted to talk Ed down from his place of high dudgeon**.

Marmite toast beckoned - as did the dribbles of Carmenere in the bottle - and it was a 20 minute session of Ticket to Ride: New York: all the fun of the hobby-dominating behemoth but in a pocket-sized suppository:



I think I breezed this one but I can't remember too clearly; all this gaming and staying-up-late takes it out of old folks like me...God help me at Leiriacon, then!

My second offensive move - albeit couched in a warm, end-of-the-evening demeanor - was to rope Stewart in to a Glory to Rome:



Stewart played this 'a year ago' and thought he might just "get started and pick it up as we go along" - ah, the poor deluded lad! GtR for those 'without the requisite experience' is a Gordian Knot of card transitions, confused strategies and horrifying over-power; for those who are it's friend, Glory To Rome is simply exquisite. Stewart's eagerness evaporated over the 30 minutes until he was grumbling through gritted teeth at the lack of "anything to do"...as it turned out, he was one turn away from stealing a Forum Romanum win but couldn't be placated either way. GtR is for the big boys, people; snowflakes and the casual 'fan of fillers' need not apply.

*hissy fit
**it was funny, tho'
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Mon Jan 21, 2019 6:17 am
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In Which The Galaxy Is Conquered. Sort-of.

Anthony Boydell
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(Bastion 2019, Day 2 Part 1)
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Sun Jan 20, 2019 6:30 am
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In Which I Forget To Pack Any Pants

Anthony Boydell
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Note: For the U.S-afflicted, this does NOT mean my 'trousers' but - instead - my undergarments. My knickers. My grits. My Y-Fronts/Boxers. My Smalls. My Undercrackers. My Buttslings. Etc.

This weekend is a long weekend of gaming courtesy of North Wales' Bastion (https://www.bastionwales.com/). Hosted in the YHA (Youth Hostel Assocation)'s resplendent Conwy site (overlooking the Castle, the mountains and - in the distance - the Llandudno/Great Orme peninsular), I have returned to what was once a regular and beloved haunt. Now that I work in Bristol, occasions to meet up with the Snowdonia Dragons/Prestatyn Prometheans/Abergele Argumentatives are very few and very, very far between so - for the bargain price of £40 all-in, I booked a bunk bed for myself back in August and that was that. Indeed, 2019 is shaping up to be an extraordinarily busy year for me and the gaming world: four games coming out, Leiriacon, UK Games Expo, Essen Spiel, a KS-funded holiday in Snowdonia and - gosh - maybe some family 'away time' too?! I shall not think about all of that too much as it sends me a little 'anxious'.

Picking young Phillip up from Wrexham on my Thursday afternoon 'drive up', we paused for me to shop for fresh fruit and cous-cous before checking in to the YHA and get immediately in to gaming:


Futuropia for Four


Futuropia was a lot more fun playing by the advanced rules where we got buildings with special abilities (as opposed to the vanilla set-up we endured in Ross-on-Wye). It still reeks of Factory Manager sprinkled with Power Grid and I think I'd rather play either of those instead, if I'm honest.



Next up for the fabulous foursome (Aaron, Tim, Phillip, me) was the marvellous Caylus:


Phillip is a bit of a beast at this but was edged out by a canny Aaron.


The room, for the first evening, was buzzing merrily and all were engaged in other things so it was stay-where-you-are for my recent KS acquisition:


Railroad Rivals: I did better than last time but still came last.


More fun but a nagging irritation with the auction for turn order; the basic one results in the 'winner' jumping to the front but the others staying in relative position - this was particularly irksome for me given I ended up in fourth and would have had to tank my VPs irreparably to move to first. There is a suggested alternative auction process which I'll try next time so we'll see if this rises or falls in my estimation.

Key Flow closed the published game part of my evening and, to be transparaent, I was two-thirds of the way through a bottle of delicious Carmenere by then. I hazily-drifted through the drafting and ended up with a respectable 4th place but my most urgent requirement - once we'd spreadsheeted the final totals - was to make myself several rounds of marmite-y toast.





Phillip, Paul N and I ended the night - it was 0130HRS - with a Nusfjord-with-new-expansion playtest: the tourists again. I let Phillip grab some horrific combos and he powered to a maniacal 70 points winning total...compared to my 44 and Paul's late 20s. I'm sure there were plenty of things we could've done to rein him in but the glubbable red had clouded both my vision and my brain. To sleep, then, perchance to dream.
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Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:20 am
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Tummy Ache

Anthony Boydell
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Fri Jan 18, 2019 6:20 am
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Ward Up

Anthony Boydell
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Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:50 am
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FLGS 49 (Repeat)

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After yesterday's Parliamentary Vote, the future of the UK still hangs in the balance; perhaps, then, it's time to re-present my take on this from 30 months ago. God Help Us.

soblue


(we are in the open gaming area of an FLGS and there are many tables ‘on the go’: see four two people playing Hanabi while the other two sit, bemused, watching them argue about the best way to give clues; see Game of Thrones, full to capacity - but stalled – because someone mentioned, in passing, that “the books are better than the TV series”; see a five player game of Agricola where three of the players have stood up and pushed their chairs back...things are getting heated)

Player 1: I think we should be allowed to leave this game.

Player 2: (confused) Why?

Player 3: Because I’m deeply concerned about the number of Occupations that are coming in to this game that aren’t ours (points to the others who are standing)

Player 2: So why don’t you take the Start Player and go on ‘Lessons’ yourself?

Player 1: Why should we have to? It’s my game…

Player 3: (supportively) Yeah; it’s his game!

Player 1: (continuing) We should carry on playing the family game rules; it will be less unfair...

Player 2: What about the occupations we’ve already played?

Player 4: Put ‘em back to the game box.

Player 2: But...

Player 3: Yeah! Though we get to keep the resources we’ve already collected, right?

Player 1: Of course we should; it took me ages to accumulate all this wood and stone...

Player 2: If you want to restart the game from scratch then that’s fine but you can’t just change things half way through!

Player 1: Why not?

Player 2: Because it’s a different game with different rules!

Player 1: (clicks fingers and points because he’s just been reminded of something) Oh yeah! About that...

Player 2: About what?

Player 1: The rules: I fundamentally object to being told what to do on my own farm board by a German!

Player 2: (speechless) Er...

Player 3: Yeah! Where does (looks at the rulebook and reads aloud) Uh-wee...Ross...enn...berg get off telling me what I can and can’t do?

Player 2: He designed the bloody game!

Player 1: (outraged) So? Just because his name’s on the box doesn’t mean we have to cow-tow to his every demand! And talking of cows, why can I only have ONE baby even if I’ve got more than one pair of parents? That’s imposing quotas, that is!

Player 2: Those are the rules, mate.

Player 3: (pointing around the table) Doesn’t matter! The three of us think that we should change so you’re out-voted!

Player 2: But you’ll break the game!

Player 1: We don’t know that for sure...

Player 3: ...No-one knows that for sure...

Player 1: ...and, anyway, we could spend the extra food we get from the extra animals on more family members!

Player 3: (under his breath) We could, yes; but I won’t...

Player 2: (exasperated) This is madness!

Player 3: You’re just a sore loser!

Player 1: Yeah – call yourself a democrat! You should accept the majority decision and move on!

(the three standing players move to another table, taking their farm boards and resources with them)

Player 2: (turning to the other, remaining, player) Fancy a game of Isle of Skye? I hear Scotland’s lovely this time of the year...

(there is a shout from the other table)

Player 1: Why won’t you let me put my worker on the ‘Plow 1 Field’ space?

Player 3: Coz that worker was ‘born’ when we were over there (points back the original table); here it’s "new table actions for new table family members", mate!

Player 1: You bigoted bastard! (tips the table and storms out of the shop)

Cashier: (feigning surprise) Well! I never saw THAT coming!
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Wed Jan 16, 2019 6:10 am
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Better Out Than In

Anthony Boydell
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angry


Jesus Suffering F*ck. The world needs another Lord of the Rings game like it needs a volcano breeding program. Or a kite the size of Cumbria. Utter horseshit, all of it. In an already crowded market (eg. The Hobbit: Goblin Legacy of Mirkwood, Lord of the RIngs: Frodo's Quest For A Quiet Wanking Place, The War of the RIng, The Battle of the Ring, Fight for the Conflict of the Skirmish of the RIng ,The One Ring: Cockroach Battle Simulator, Reiner Knizia's "Lord of the Rings Co-Operative Game", Gollum's Quest, Aragorn's Quest, Eomer's Horse Racing Game, Ave Elrond, Forging On: The Trouble Aeons of Sauron Kerr, River Deep/Uruk High: Das Kartenspiel, Gandalf's Staff Has Got a Knob On The End (CaH spin-off) and Kingdom: Death Franchise), this is a further turd on the generous tread of our gaming welly-boots.

angry


Dice City, Dice Settlers and Dice Hospital have been recent publications 'on a theme' from entirely-different sources and because the World can't just spin on to something new-and-interesting, the bandwagon is being well-and-truly hijacked: Dice Farmers, anyone? Dice Aztecs? Dice Medieval Merchants? One Night Super-Ultimate Dice Werewolf: Legacy Season 1?

angry


Roll-and-write games, too, are hurrying through the Ludomentary Canal like a rotten batch of oysters: {whatever} schon clever? Railroad Ink? Castles of Burgundy, Quixx, Shitzxxxx etc.

angry


I'd put money on us seeing a r&w Azul (Azul: The Liths Of Papyria), 'Dice Terraforming Mars' and Century: Spice Road Lite with custom polyhedra and a scoresheet pad within the next 12 months (and, I bet, Codenames: Cubes just to rub me right up the sphincter).

angry


The convention previews will be deluged by a b*kk*ke of 'likes', a proctologist-shocking quantity of thumbs. Long queues of panting content providers - the groupies of the gaming world - figuratively blowing any-and-everyone to be the first to post their gurning, effusive and ultimately-valueless reviews. Five years ago, 'dice' were the scourge of the industry: rightly scorned, derided and exiled. Then folks came up with 'interesting ways' of using them (ie. one way copied then changed ever-so-slightly by all-and-sundry) and now you can't walk across Hall 3 of the Essen Messe without slipping on to your bony arse on a carpet of hexahedral dogdirt.

"Oh, but these are excellent gateway games, Tony; why are you being so negatively-inclusive?" you wail, teeth gnashing in silent fury at my presumption. Because no-one else is saying it and I can't stomach the niceness of it all any longer!

angry
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Tue Jan 15, 2019 6:15 am
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The Country Diary of An Edwardian Gentleman

Anthony Boydell
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As a very young lad - we're talking barely in to double figures - me and my brother and my sister (with the help of our Pa) pooled several weeks' pocket money and bought the above book for our Mum on the occasion of Mothering Sunday. It was the big-hitting tome of the time; everyone wanted a copy and you had to go and find a real bookshop to get one. It was a recreation of a typical Edwardian lady's scrapbook-cum-diary: delightful, pastel sketches of fauna and flora combined with twee quotes, poetry and 'thoughts'.

After I'd dragged my quill across the Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea contract - a couple of Spiels ago - we immediately had a discussion about the art style for the game and - serendipitously - both Hicham's and my vision collided at this 'journal' concept!*

Encouragingly, the last few days have seen Snowdonia proofs and, now, Alubari progress:



I'd show the latest board design too, only it's a HUGE file and I can't quite get it in to a reasonable BGG-posting size (and, besides, I'm still trying to massage the final composition); this will have to do for now.

Is there any other game designer who shares quite as much as I do?

*I am extremely grateful that I am afforded the chance to contribute to the final stages of a game's journey to market; it's not many publishers that would continue to indulge the mores of a designer once the ink has dried on the baseline version and the 'Go!' button has been pressed.
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Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:15 am
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Stick In The Mud

Anthony Boydell
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It's good to have a routine and it's even better when the routine is maintained despite a nose-nipping, fingertip-freezing volt-face in the temperature: the dog needs walking no matter what the weather is like and that's that. The changing light and landscape is bewitching to witness: Winter brings a stillness that holds you, eyes on the grey horizon. Ziggy, however, cares not for this visual poetry when there's duck shit to roll in.



Our landlady at The Plough Inn has taken her annual holiday - as Pub Landpersons are wont to do in January - so there was no cheery 'Halloo' upon my entrance from her pal, the 'temporary replacement'. Forty of your Great British Pence purchased me a pint of fizzing lime & soda which, in hindsight, may not have been the optimal beverage selection given my aching belly: perhaps a little too much beetroot and spicy cous-cous this week in my working lunches? Like my digestive system, the club was positively gut-bustin' this week with Jobbers, the Batesons, Gerv, Lydia and occasional local (and pretty damn good gamer) Charlie joining me - and a large plastic tray of sandwiches - in the back room. Charlie was hoping to get Anachrony played but it's an Evening-hogger (albeit a very entertaining and presentationally-striking one) and there were neither enough willing takers nor enough table space to accommodate it. Not to worry as Boffo has recently taken delivery of Moa and I'd brought Lowlands along for Becky and finally pasted up a physical prototype of my 'Tourists' expansion for Nusfjord.


Me: "Baa baa, black sheep; have you any wool?"
Black sheep: "No, coz I'm up to my twitchy ears in saltwater and about to expire!"


Gerv, Smudge and I were rather less adept at holding back the tides than the first play a couple of months ago; indeed, having put a lot of effort laying the Dyke and stretching ahead on the dyke contribution track, it was in my selfish interest to let the whole thing stagnate. Despite having a building that protected her from the 'Flood Token' ovine attrition, Smudge panicked and sold all her sheep off rather too cheaply; there would be no thumping victory for her this time. Gerv stumbled in his fence building and wasn't able to get a decent combo like what I did which, in the final count, proved rather offensively decisive: BEFORE BREEDING I could sell a sheep for the going rate AND THEN buy a sheep for just 1 Gold - this was netting me 3 Gold per upkeep without any dip in my sheep numbers.

Moa exploded in an almighty and exciting finish leaving many of the participants gasping and panting in their chairs! Jobbers had loudly-announced it as 'not even playtested properly!' fifteen minutes earlier but was now chuckling and gurgling his pleasure at the thrilling denouement: he's a one, isn't he?

Gerv and I remained at the back wall for a run at my Nusfjord deck and were joined by a cynical and grumbling Boffo. He is very much of the 'the game doesn't need another resource' camp because the expansion introduces a fourth: tourists. I've also been noodling about with effects that have yet to be explored in the other sets (of which the Public have only seen 4 of 6 to date): messing with Elders (the 'Graveyard'), a tech tree (Toy Shop -> Wooden Tramway -> Miniature Railway) and more (!) player interaction ('Small Claims Court' removing all your shares from the game, being able to pay other players to use their Elders).



A personal favourite is the 'Wood-burning Stove' which as a high-scoring 'A' building was a right-proper pain in the arse for the rest of the game (see photo). It, and many other buildings, seem rather over-costed after this first navigation: my mental arithmetic being rather biased to the way that I play Nussy rather than a more general 'average' approach. Boffo went the full 'Tour Guide' and did a lot of things but was only 6 points ahead of me in the final reckoning; my excuse is that I was too busy monitoring the play-test to actually play efficiently* and I'm sticking to it.

Boffo's overall reaction is that an extra resource is wholly un-necessary and he would be more inclined to take a Cave vs Cave 2 approach and add an 8th round; this round would be all about evaluating the boards we have built against some kind of tourist criteria. I like BOTH ideas, of course, which is why it's so much fun going through this process - the Truth lies, like anything in life, somewhere in the middle.


Capital to close? An excellent suggestion and, though I performed abysmally (that rumbling intestinal cloud), an excellent closer.


*that bloody Wood-burning Stove was a millstone around my neck!
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Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:15 am
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Postcards

Anthony Boydell
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Now that 2019 is upon us, it won't be long (though it WILL be a little longer than originally expected) before the Deluxe Snowdonia finds it's way to peoples' gaming tables. The pre-manufacturing period is hotting up with art files from Klemens (how DOES he fit everything in?!) - that I adore proofing - being Wetransferred across the Interwebs. The other day, I got to see the final image-complete files for the five NEW scenarios (wow!) and these little beauties caught my eye from The Wye Valley Tourer:


Each player has a postcard that, when a beer is supped during the game, confers a benefit of one's choice. Delicious.

As a side note: Later in the Summer, I think Boffo and I shall be arranging a Wye Valley Pub Crawl to recreate - in real life - the beer-swilling journey depicted in the scenario: any one else up for that?
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Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:41 am
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