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Welcome...to my Shed!
7 Wonders 39
Unpublished Prototype 10
Paperclip Railways 6
Glory to Rome 5
Le Havre 3
Magic: The Gathering 3
11 nimmt! 2
Balloon Cup 2
Battlestar Galactica: Exodus Expansion 2
PitchCar Mini 2
Race for the Galaxy 2
Saint Petersburg 2
20th Century 1
Beer & Pretzels 1
Canal Mania 1
Crude: The Oil Game 1
Fast Food Franchise 1
Key Market 1
King of Tokyo 1
Labyrinth: The Duel 1
Monopoly Deal Card Game 1
Power Grid: France/Italy 1
The Princes of Florence 1
Railroad Tycoon 1
Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game 1
Wits & Wagers 1
Welcome...to my Shed!
This morning I wake to find myself feeling a little dirty – a low, dark cloud of guilt hangs over me as the memories, of the night before, return. I’d promised myself I wouldn’t do it again – it’s been a year since I last dabbled/lapsed and two since I’d made the decision to stop altogether (albeit MOSTLY successfully).
Perhaps I could be regarded as weakened? Maybe it was their fault for preying on me in my moment of weakness? Can I really be held wholly complicit given the situation I found myself in?
I went to Hemel Hempstead to play board games…but I ended up playing in a Magic: The Gathering draft instead.
I know! I should be ashamed of myself…and I am, to some extent, but while I feel tarnished (and I know I’ve let people down) I have to admit that it was…fun.
Your Honour, if I might plead extenuating circumstances?
A group of us arrived early and, suitably be-French Fried, we set about a game of King of Tokyo, the new Richard Garfield board game from IELLO (innocently I paid no mind to this omen). It’s simple, colourful, quick and fun! It was while we were rampaging across the Far East (the irony was NOT lost on us, I assure you) that the rest of the Magic players arrived as did a small group of the board gamers.
The board gamers immediately set about a game of Hamburgum (with the Londinium side) without asking me ‘my plans’ (for info: they know I prefer board games) and when we had finished King of Tokyo to allow the draft to start, they were well into the rules explanation. It wasn’t, in theory, too late to be the fifth player but I find Hamburgum tedious and overwrought.
This left me with the unenviable choice of sitting in the corner of the room playing on my iPhone (Land-A Panda!) or making up the 11th in a Mirrodin Beseiged / Scars of Mirrodin draft.
What would you do? Really...can I be blamed for the choices I made?
I plumped for the draft and proceeded to build a blue/white control deck around a meaty Plainswalker, a card-drawing Sphinx and damage reduction / counter spells / some deck milling.
Round One was against Joel who recently Q-ed for the Pro Tour in Paris (go, Joel!) – our first game went long and I won with the Plainswalker (gaining too much life and soldiers). The second game was a quicker affair, but having milled him down to a single card in his library, he stole my flyer (the only means of blocking his assault) and attacked for the win (0W-1D-0L)
Round Two was against club card-pusher Rob. His Red/White affair proved too quick (and too fat) to bring under control – I was especially dismayed to be hit by a 3/3 Golem and his triplet siblings. Made me look a little ‘easy’ (0W-1D-1L)
Round Three was against the very epitome of ‘a good chap’, the wonderful Graham. His three colour affair seemed to be struggling – I milled away some of his tidier cards, beat him up with 2/1 creatures, prevented most of the damage his creatures tried to do to me, and abused my Plainswalker and Sphinx for a comfortable 2-0 victory (1W-1D-1L).
It was like old times playing against these guys; I enjoyed the drafting process, the matches, the decisions etc – it was a really fun evening but I won’t be doing it again any time soon, oh no!
My name is Tony Boydell and I am a Magic: The Gathering addict.
Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:11 am
Welcome...to my Shed!
With apologies to Monty Python
(A customer walks in the door. A bell rings)
(Musical ambience provided by some Nu-Metal plays, softly, in the background)
Customer: Good morning.
Owner: Good morning, Sir. Welcome to the your Friendly Local Game Store (FLGS for short).
Customer: Ah, thank you, my good man.
Owner: What can I do for you, Sir?
Customer: Well, I was sitting in the public library on Glebe Road just now, skimming through a copy of 'Rogue Trooper’ by Gerard Finley-Day and Cam Kennedy, and I suddenly came over all 'game-y'
Owner: ‘Game-y’, sir?
Customer (whining like an ungreased 'nipple'): 'Ee, I wanna ploy games wi’ cards, meeples and dice, loike!
Owner: Ah! Board Games!
Customer: In a nutshell. And so I thought to myself: "A considered browse through multi-shelved exhibitorial facilities will do the trick." So I curtailed by studying activities, sallied forth, and infiltrated your place of purveyance to negotiate the vending of some desirable fillers and the like.
Owner: Come again?
Customer: I want to buy some new games.
Owner: Oh, I thought you were complaining about our Korn soundtrack!
Customer: Oh, heaven forbid! I am one who delights in all manifestations of the belligerent muse.
Customer: 'Oooo, Ah lahk a narse toon, 'yer forced to!
Owner: So they can go on bellowing and roaring, can they?
Customer: Most certainly! Now then, some releases from the last 6 months if you please, my good man.
Owner (lustily): Certainly, Sir. What would you like?
Customer: Well, eh, how about a little Navegador? Or the new map for Hamburgum?
Owner: I'm afraid we're fresh out of rondel games, Sir.
Customer: Oh, never mind. How are you on World of Warcraft boosters?
Owner: We never have them at the end of the week, Sir; we get a fresh batch in on Monday.
Customer: Tish, tish, no matter. Well, stout yeoman, a Dixit with the extra 80 card deck expansion, if you please.
Owner: Ah, they've beeeeeeeen on order, Sir, for two weeks. Was expecting them this morning.
Customer: 'T's not my lucky day, is it? Aah, Magnum Sal?
Owner: Sorry, Sir.
Owner: Normally, Sir, yes. Today the van broke down.
Customer: Ah, Stone Age?
Customer: Tobago? Railway Barons?
Customer: Any German language 7 Wonders, per chance?
Customer: String Railway?
Customer: Ticket to Ride: Alvin & Dexter?
Customer: Small World?
Customer: Great Fire of London?
Owner (pauses): No.
Customer: Key Market?
Customer: London? Totemo? Age of Industry? Cubiko? Age of Inventions? Thunderstone? Sid Meiers Civilisation?
Customer: Power Grid, perhaps?
Owner: Ah! We have Power Grid, yessir!
Customer (surprised): You do? Excellent!
Owner: Yessir. It's ...ah...a bit scuffed...
Customer: Oh, I like it scuffed.
Owner: Well, it's very weather-beaten, actually, Sir.
Customer: No matter. Fetch hither the classic resource management and auction-mechanic-ed classic of long-standing choice! Mmmwah!
Owner: I...think it's a bit scruffier than you'd like it, Sir.
Customer: I don't care how f**king scumbled it is. Hand it over with all speed.
Owner (regretfully): Awwwwwwwwwwwww...(pauses)
Customer: What now?
Owner: The Saturday Assistant has eaten it.
Customer (despondently): Has he?
Owner: She, Sir .
(There is a pause)
Customer: Ghost Stories?
Customer: Le Havre?
Customer: Wooden box edition of Settlers of Catan?
Owner: No, Sir.
Customer: You do HAVE some games, don't you?
Owner: Of course, Sir. It's an FLGS, sir! We've got...
Customer: No, no - don't tell me. I'm keen to guess.
Owner: Fair enough.
Customer: Uuuuuuuuuuhhhh, Adlungland?
Customer: Ah, well! I'll have one of those!
Owner: Oh, I thought you were talking to me, sir. Dave Adlungland, that's my name.
(There is another pause)
Owner: Uh, not as such.
Customer: Glory To Rome?
Customer: Puerto Rico?
Customer: Blokus? Einfach Genial?
Customer: Chicago Express?
Customer: Cheapass Games print-and-play version of Kill Doctor Lucky?
Owner: Not TODAY, Sir, no.
Customer: How about Chess?
Owner: Well, we don't get much call for it around here, Sir.
Customer: Not much ca - it's the single best board game in the world!
Owner: Not 'round here, Sir.
Customer (slight pause): And what IS the most popular board game "round hyah"?
Owner (proudly): “Hey That’s My Fish”, sir.
Customer: Is it?
Owner: Oh, yes. Staggeringly popular in this manor, squire.
Customer: Is it?
Owner: It's our number one best-seller, Sir.
Customer: I see. “Hey That’s My Fish”, eh?
Owner: Right, Sir.
Customer: All right. Okay. "Have you got any?" he asked, expecting the
Owner: I'll have a look, Sir. (pause) Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn-no.
Customer: It's not much of an FLGS, is it?
Owner: Finest in the district!
Customer (annoyed): Explain the logic underlying that conclusion, please.
Owner: Well...it's so clean!
Customer: It's certainly uncontaminated by games...
Owner (brightly): You haven't asked me about Brass, Sir!
Customer: Would it be worth it?
Owner: Could be...
Customer: Have you...SHUT THAT BLOODY NU-METAL ARSE OFF!
Owner: Told you, Sir.
Customer: (slowly) Have you got any copies of Brass?
Customer: Figures. Predictable, really I suppose. It was an act of purest optimism to have posed the question in the first place. Tell me:
Customer (deliberately and carefully): Have you, in fact, got any board or card games here at all?
Owner: Yes, Sir.
Owner: No. Not really, Sir..
Customer: You haven't
Owner: Nossir. Not a scrap or trace of one. I was deliberately wasting your time, Sir.
Customer: (pulling a gun from his jacket) Well I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to shoot you.
Owner: Right-O, Sir.
The Gun: BANG!
Customer (exasperated): What a senseless waste of human life.
Welcome...to my Shed!
A quiet evening at The Red Herring on Gresham Street this evening – barely into double figures for attendees, the light seemed especially poor and the crispy pork belly with lentils and black pudding a little too chewy for my liking.
Tonight saw the first appearance at London On Board for fellow designer Ian Vincent (Fruit Bandits plus many almost-but-not-quite-s, Runner up at the 2010 Ticket to Ride World Championships, World 'Versus' Champion and serial narrator of his own life and game thoughts); he came with a play-test map and tickets for his forthcoming entry in the Days Of Wonder Ticket to Ride Map competition – I won’t (obviously) reveal the exact nature of the map, but we ended up completing three and four player games to the great satisfaction of all participants. My shameful third place was followed by a dazzling 2nd place by a single point – it’s all my own fault for building a 15 point link one link away from my longest network thus giving away the 10pt ‘longest’ line prize.
Ian sent me all the layout files earlier, so even if it goes no further in the contest, I’ll have a copy of it to play at home!
An utterly disastrous Wits & Wagers served as a rather sour filling to the train-themed bread of the rest of the evening – let’s just say that I ended the game with what I started and failed to get above 3 money at ANY point *sad face*
To round off the evening, I suggested a ‘quick’ 4-player Paperclip Railways which, with rules explanations and coaching, came in at a little over 90 minutes…ninety bloody minutes...for a game that has consistently been coming in at around 60! While the players seemed to ‘get it’, I’m not sure that the overly-long playing time did anything to endear the game to them. It’s also quite depressing to be still playing a game when everyone else had packed up and gone home!
We were the last ones to leave the venue (around 10.15) and I still had the journey across London, the train to Beaconsfield and then a short drive ahead of me – not getting to the comfort of bed before midnight!
Today hasn’t been bad, all-in-all; another positive was an idea to include placeholder cards in the basic Paperclip Railways deck for when players get hold of various promotional stations (there are already at least FOUR ready to go). The idea is the placeholders are the same card stock as the base set but I can print & make up promos using any card-stock without them affecting the draw deck: play out a placeholder and swap it for one of the promos from the game box!
I’m full of ideas, me and *burp* also, it seems, full of badly-underdone pork belly too.
How one suffers for one's art!
Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:27 am
Welcome...to my Shed!
Another sunny morning beckoned us on a short drive to our friends house and a Sunday lunch followed by chit-chat and some family games.
One of their children, Mary (7-ish), is my wife's God-daughter and for a recent birthday, hearing that she was quite the gamestress, we took along a copy of Totemo as a present. Once we'd taught her this, we proceeded to roll-out a few of her own favourites and a more 'normal' afternoon of gaming followed - at least, more normal than I'm used to because of the geeks I usually pass the time with!
First up was Labyrinth: The Duel - one of Mary's absolute favourites - a game of sliding blocks with 'passages' on in the manner of those plastic puzzles of old, trying to create a path between where you are and a destination on a revealed tile: the first person to make a connection on their board wins the tile for end-game scoring. Hmmm...I was roundly-whipped by 11 tiles to 5...then so was my daughter Daisy...11-5 again.
In order to salvage a little dignity, we moved thenceforth to Monopoly Deal Card Game - ahh! now we're talking! A card game with bona fide special abilities, hand management, attack etc...oh! what's that? FIVE TURNS IN A ROW FOR MARY? *sheesh* Her Dad and I eventually succumbed to another embarassing defeat...why didn't I bring Power Grid?
To finish, her father suggested Acuity - a pattern-matching affair with pleasingly simple rules and colourful tiles: lay out a 6x6 grid of tiles (each with four icons on) - draw a tile from a face-down pile and reveal to the everyone - the first player to find a match for the four icons on the board wins the tile into their score pile...easy! At last - I was doing rip-roaringly well! A lovely stack of victory tiles at the game end and Mary, that demon in a four-foot mop-haired seemingly-innocent disguise, with only a few...surely the laurels must fall to me?
Hark - what's this? Mary's Dad and I have the SAME points?
What's that - Mary to decide who should win?
Call myself a gamer? I'm off to by some wax crayons, a bib and some finger paints...I'm fit for nothing else in this world.
Welcome...to my Shed!
The sun was shining this morning when I set off in the direction of Stroud to attend at least part of Alan & Charlie Paull's games weekend (aka Paullcon, well - only aka-ed by ME, but what do I know?). I had second son, Benedict, in tow so I wasn't going to get a marathon HIGH FRONTIER in, as I'd need to keep the young chap occupied and, preferrably, well away from the sweet bowls.
Our arrival coincided with Si and Arlo's, Si being one of the Holy British triumvirate responsible for the INTO THE GAMESCAPE podcast (go listen, it's marvellous) and they chit-chatted for a bit while Alan, Benedict and myself finished a game of MEGASTAR (a quirky Friese card affair that I picked up for €3 last Essen).
We retired to the back room, with the long table, for a 5 player of Paperclip Railways - the first one for quite a while in my recent play-test schedule! There was me, Si, Arlo, Benedict and Mike (a railway game enthusiast) and we took about 75 mins all-in-all. Good reception and a pleasingly aggressive game - lots of building to interfere or poach: just as it should be! Very, VERY early incarnations of the game were quite solo in their feel with players pretty much ignoring everyone else BUT NO MORE!
Next Beebs and I joined Richard Breese and Jenny for our first introduction to the excellent FITS - looks simple, doesn't it? It was all I could do to end any round with ZERO, let alone get positive points! Good fun and one game now on my shopping list.
In a similar vein, Richard suggested we tried Callisto (from honorary German: the British designer Reiner Knizia) - but this seemed like a varied (and inferior) BLOKUS, so I gave a second game a pass - though Benedict enjoyed it very much (but he's never played BLOKUS)
As is always the case at these weekends, the hours simply breezed by and I had to leave, with a tired son, around 3-ish. I was also acting as courier for Ross-on-Wye club supremo Ben (ousgg), taking him one of the few remaining copies of Key Market - it was a great excuse to nip out on my newly-refurbished motorbike in 'courier' mode.
And then it rained...
But you really couldn't take the smile off my face - it's been a delightful day, all-in-all, and garlic chicken awaits for this evenings repast.
Welcome...to my Shed!
Alas, another evening loomed and passed without the opportunity to play games. A general change-of-the-seasons malaise has stricken various family members, including myself: sneezes, snot and headaches :-(
I had hoped to persuade a new attendee with wargaming tendencies to turn his swords into plowshares, followed by another playtest of PCR (I've been tidying up the rulebook, the graphical layouts and - most importantly - started the costings process).
A delightful few hours spent with my youngest and eldest children in the middle of the day proved a refreshing, if tiring for us all, interlude.
Today also marks the start of the Paull's (as in Alan Paull) games weekend which I'm hoping to be fit enough to attend - if only for a couple of hours. Given the way this gaming sargasso of a week has gone, I remain cautiously pessimistic.
Finally, a quick shout out to SMOK, who is embarking on the epic 18C2C tomorrow - the 18XX game with map thats almost 1:1 in scale...and playing time.
Welcome...to my Shed!
…I carry mine around with me all the time like some kind of psychological snail.
Not a day goes by where I’m not thinking about a game from yesterday, a game design / new idea I’m mulling over today, or where I’m going to be playing games tomorrow. If I’m not thinking about the games then I’m considering game-related ephemera (shows, BGG, artwork – I like to dabble).
Some would think this is some kind of Obsessive / Compulsive scenario, but is it really any different if one is a music fan, an avid cinema-goer or anyone who has a decent hobby? Gardeners can be insufferable about their pastime (or should that be life-style), sports fans scour the back pages of papers in search of ever more reports, news and rumour.
We huddle together in the shelter of a pub back-room or cellar, or dimly-lit restaurant tables or, to be truly free of scrutiny, in the privacy of our own homes.
Hunched and chin-stroking, we mull and ponder.
But I have a secret…one that some of you may also be privy to…the truth is that ‘normal’ people are curious about what we do – like drivers passing a motorway accident, or witnesses to a decent piece of criminal activity, these ‘others’ are fascinated by the colourful papers, the dice and cubes and cards and markers. If I had a pound for every time someone stopped on their way passed our mid-games of Agricola, Glory To Rome, Age of Steam or Loopin’ Louie, I’d have about 20 quid! They see a world of intellect mixed with kindergarten – and who doesn’t want to be a child again (especially one that gets to pretend to run a car manufacturing plant, a medieval farm or rebuild Rome in cards only)?
So, we need to push ourselves out there – leave the boiler-fumed basements and the ‘converted dining rooms’ and advertise our delicious hobby by ‘doing’ – an evangelistic fervour needs to be whipped up and some!
Let us not be afraid any more!
Good Techniques for Promoting the Hobby:
- Talking to your friends and family – they’re around you most of the time, they know you and will probably be the easiest to convince (especially if you turn up every weekend with Dominion tucked under your arm)
- Setting up a group in a local hostelry – beer, food, tables…everything you could need for a decent night of hobbyist pleasure (no – not THAT one!)
- Demos in Libraries, Schools – a soft, comfortable and non-threatening environment that will also lend your session with a worthy level of gravitas…make sure you have copies of the rules in LARGE PRINT, mind!
- A poster campaign in toy shops and newsagents, or perhaps use local radio – the former may lure TCG-ers away from opening boosters into 18XX share-dealing whilst newsagents ‘advert boards’ are a fertile ground of second-hand fridges and Yoga classes…your natural market!
- Devote a regular slot to gateway games – ease newbies into our world gently and with patience. Nothing will send them screaming from the venue quicker than Age of Steam with the Sun map, Twilight Imperium (7pl) or three hours of Pickomino…
Bad Techniques for Promoting the Hobby:
- Standing at Tube Stations shouting and pointing – you’ll be inviting nothing and no-one but contempt and a possible overnight stay with the local constabulary
- Setting up a group in a local abattoir – nothing ruins a good end-game strategy more than the shrieking of self-aware pigs as their throats are widely-slit and their hot blood splashes to the cold floor…a deep, glossy puddle of life washed into the drains, a metaphor of working life and all that awaits us when the…oh, I’m so sorry, I seem to have drifted for a moment.
- Demos in Emergency Rooms of local Hospitals – when it’s Bobs turn you may find Bob is pre-occupied with stopping his liver from flopping out over the Formula De track or unable to see the board position due to the saucepan wedged over his head
- Expensive tele-visual advertising campaigns and/or Formula 1 sponsorship – while it would be utterly delightful to see ‘Play more Sid Meiers Civilisation’ on the side of Schumackers Ferrari, or have this weeks episode of Stargate: Anusverse interrupted by talking heads re-playing Bunny Bunny Moose Moose, I would suggest the garnered response would be disproportionate to the investment
- Devote a regular slot to Historical Re-enactments of the Skirmishes of the 100 years war – do I really need to explain why this is a bad thing?
Good luck with your efforts - now, go to it for the good of us all!
Welcome...to my Shed!
Ah, Wednesdays! Traditionally an evening of all you can eat vegetables and meeple-play. However, as has been the general pattern this week, only our cousins from across the Atlantic (with or without whiskers) can be counted on to give some good game!
Jimmy? Working two jobs and can't even come out to play when his family are out of the country!
Carl? Just spent a looooong weekend officiating at a major TCG tournament, so probably needs time to wash the stink of Powerade, loneliness and despair from his wardrobe.
Iain? Somehow the hedonistic pleasures of University life (moots, hustings, beer) have proven too overwhelming to be interrupted by an Automobile or two...
...and Ray...currently 'resting' between jobs, dependent-free and singularly unwilling to give London a fling, run through a quick Powergrid or two, or even Furstenfeld into the early hours.
Who the bloody hell can you rely on nowadays, eh?
(retreats into room in a big sulk)
Welcome...to my Shed!
Having spent a relaxed few hours sipping OJ & lemonade and reviewing a training presentation I'm due to give tomorrow, I hot-tailed it to The Red Herring (Gresham Street, London) for this evenings proceedings.
Nominally, there is usually a 'theme' to inspire and entice - but I usually forego this in favour of Agricola - it's fun trying to justify medieval farming when the theme is Czech designers (it has a 'Czech deck) or Party Games (who needs a pinata when you have wooden wild boar?) etc
After the disappointment of no games last night, I waited for the arrival of Conrad - beardy, American - and his precious cargo of Lookout Games' 'turning point'...surprisingly, while Conrad (hirsute, foreign) had yet to appear and my meal of 'Crispy Pork Belly with Black Pudding and Lentils' lay cooling on the table in front of me, I noticed that someone elses copy of Agricola has magically appeared in the 'game supply'.
Lord, is this a sign?
Within a few seconds I was laying out wooden discs, shuffling the Occs and Improvements and dibsing myself the red pieces. Conrad, follically generous in the buccal region and from the other side of the Atlantic, duly arrived to find us all set up and raring to go! Us being: Gabe (a clean-shaven fellow USA-ean), Martin (English through-and-through) and myself (balding, greying, slightly-unfit).
90 mins later and I reigned supreme: 44-35-28-26 - not merely a 'victory', but the Agricolan equiv of rubbing everyone else's face in it!
Conrad reacted to this Olympian triumph by getting food poisoning from his Caesar Salad and having to go home early - leaving Martin and Gabe to join me in a 3 player play-test of Paperclip Railways (ha! got 'em!).
Play-testing is an odd fish and no mistake - I dearly want people to try out new designs but I feel ever so guilty for dragging them away from stuff that's already been released. There's that awkward moment when the question is asked and the surrounding group of waiting gamers fragments...off to the loo, the bar, or to 'Dave who's just starting up a quick Dominion' etc.
To round off the evening, someone in the same carriage on the home train let off the most outrageous arse-stink and it brought most of the rest of us to tears. Goodness, what has the world come to?
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