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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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Horse D'Oeuvres

Anthony Boydell
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Mother,

Much thankfulness for your monthly parcel, as always, but can you imagine my surprise when I found the horse amid the meats, pickles and beverages that normally make up your delicious hampers? Fully-acquainted as I am with French cuisine, I found it to be a little “rarer” than I would normally prefer – standing (as it was) in all its nostril-flaring majesty and whinnying like a Etonian with a stubbed toe!

Quite how I’m supposed to garrison a full-grown eighteen-hander inside a muddy warren, the Devil only knows – though Warren did say wouldn’t mind as he has often been required to ‘pony up’ in the past (something to do with ‘below stairs’ publications, apparently). We’ve decided to call him ‘Proud Flanders Beauty’ (and we’ve called the equine ‘Joey’).

When Boffo and Smudge arrived for games this evening, it was hard to ignore the powerful beast snorting, skittishly rubbing its fetlocks and tossing its mane...so we asked Warren to leave and go look after the horse.

Boffo and Smudge were fresh from their recent triumph at the Trench Arts Festival where they premiered a nude production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream; from all accounts, there was much to admire in both Boffo’s Bottom and Smudge’s Hippolyta. Boffo lamented (at length) the casting decisions, suggesting that the audience should’ve been utterly transfixed by his Oberon.

Having regaled them both with the story of Joey, Boffo expressed his own ‘personal interest in horse’ – apparently, there are many fine examples in the nearby Town and he likes to ride there whenever leave (and Smudge) permit.

A recent consignment of gaming ammunition delivered two new decks of Occupations and Minor Improvements for the perennial favorite Agricola and we determined that “deal 10 (5 each from the NL and WM decks) and keep 7” would be a suitable ‘first exposure’. My first impression was regarding the large amount of text on each card – quite startling paragraphs that needed multiple re-reads to fully-glean the gist. Mother, you know (of course) how I detest, abhor and loathe overly-worded literature – hence my Burke’s Peerage entry of just ‘Very Important Indeed’! In the end, I scrabbled about for bonus points wherever possible and managed a couple from Cookies, a good food supply from both Worms and Prolific Writer and the rest through ‘just building a nice farm’. Boffo made great show of playing and combo-ing cards but ended up in last place – more an indication of the distracting (but only mildy-useful) effects of those cards rather than his own play.

(Side Note: recently we have taken to playing Agricola-by-carrier-pigeon at which he is much improved – though I suspect he may be interfering with my Helmet cock*)

The overall mood was somewhat tinged with disappointment, I think, at the hum-drum ‘more-of-the-same’ nature of the new cards. I have refused to ‘read through’ them all beforehand, wanting to be surprised in forthcoming plays; we’ll see what transpires in the coming weeks.

Having suggested more exposure to Goa, Boffo reached into his knap-sack and produced same – though lacking the rule-book and, for the second time in as many weeks, subsequently needed to answer an in-game query**. Boffo took the ‘I am the expert’ tack and pronounced against me, leaving a bitter taste (though that may have been a dubious pork scratching). Wishing to avoid an un-necessary and violent conflict over such a ridiculous matter (something our superiors should’ve done some years ago), I demurred with the comment: ‘next time bring along that bit of a Goa’. I swear Smudge snorted. In the final reckoning, I proved once-again triumphant after pipping Smudge by a couple of points 35-33-27; Boffo drooping sadly at the rear unable to push up his rankings.

With the evening developing in a relaxed and leisurely manner, and with two stout products already under-the-belt, we decided to change tack*** and play something lighter – something Boffo might actually have a chance of winning: Familienbande. No, indeed - Smudge managed to ‘make a spectacle’ of the rest of us by steaming into an unassailable lead and leaving Boffo clutching his ginger hairs and (me) fingering my shriveled lips in shame.

The final distraction for this, the second anniversary of our little hobbyist group, was the simplistic but always-dependable (a bit like Boffo himself) Braggart; true to the irony of this comparison, Boffo ended up with his only win of the night by ‘making stuff up in a pub’.

Pausing to groom Joey (the Hearing is a fortnight Wednesday), we packed up our troubles into an old kit bag and smiled our way into the chilly evening. Here’s to the NEXT two years!

Kind regards to Mellors the Groundskeeper - I hear he’s most attentive with your Ladygarden.

Your loving son,
Antonius.

*this is a real breed of pigeon
**Additional Harvest Tile – does it apply ONLY to one, two or three TOTALLY empty spice fields or can you use it to restock oartially-empty fields as well?
***Ha! A horse-y play on words!
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Sat Mar 3, 2012 10:09 am
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It's Breese-y out

Anthony Boydell
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Yesterday evening saw the return (to Carl’s House) of Mr Richard Breese – games designer and card-carrying lovely chap – for a play-testing session of his new Key game. I’ve mentioned it in passing, and in secrecy, before but – huzzah – last night Mr B gave me permission to not only ‘spill the beans’ but also ‘upturn the toast’, and ‘tip out the mash’@.

My association with the fragrant KeyMeister* began in 2003 (IIRC) when Surprised Stare Games Ltd attended their first Essen Spiel – not only as gamers but also as a games company! We had absolutely NO IDEA what to expect and were keen as mustard to make a good impression. We ordered carpet for the stand, we adorned it with goblet-stencilled curtains (Coppertwaddle was our game), we had a small side-room for “meetings”**, we had framed pictures, real props (knights helmets, gauntlets) etc. On the set-up day, we’d finally finished fart-arsing about making everything pristine (I don’t remember a vacuum cleaner, but I may have sucked really hard through a short length of hose***) around 5PM. The stand to our right (we were on the end of a terrace in hall 9) remained resolutely unoccupied…

Who would be our ‘show neighbours’ at this, our virgin attendance?

Who could we share our nervous tension with – or our anxiety at the sheer quantity of dead pork-based products available in the cafeteriae?

When it seemed night would fall and we would remain isolated, who rocks up in a Ford Galaxy but Mr Richard Breese. He dumped a number of PC Monitor boxes into the empty stand and then proceeded to (sloppily) paste up the walls of his territory with ragged sheets of lining paper. Once completed, and the boxes shoved unceremoniously into a corner (some forming a makeshift counter-top for demos/play), he scrawled Keythedral price info (and other, illegible scribblings) on the still-wet surface before sodding off into the Essen darkness.

He did have the courtesy to introduce himself – not that any of us knew who he was!

The next day, the Thursday, the ‘day of the unwashed collector’ dawned and we spent the first 4 hours trying to demo Coppertwaddle to punters passing on the other side of a queue of Keythedral pre-orderers and ‘worth a shot’ blaggers OR appealing directly to the R&D obsessives (to no avail). Thus was a great friendship formed; the following year we shared a stand with Mr B – him with Reef Encounter and us with Bloody Legacy

Anyway, I digress.

There were five of us in attendance for the play-test: Richard, Mr (Carl) and Mrs (Richard) Crook****, Richard Breese and myself (happy to call myself Richard if this made things easier).

The game, code-named KEY CUTTING (24HRS), is a worker-placement / dexterity Euro-game with a Risk-like combat system, deck-building using meeples, area control/tile placement and a dice-rolling/Mancala action-selection system. There IS a rondel for determining player order (though this seemed overkill when you can also bid for turn order being set by ‘drawing from a bag’).

The board, such as it is (its more like a folded sheet of A2 with crayon all over it), was formatted for 2/5 players (there were other ‘maps’ in the box – it plays up to 9). The playing area is split into several terrain types (mountain, swamp, lake, biscuit, field and forest) where you are allowed to harvest resources, build Henges (for the VP-rich ‘sacrifice’ action), build other stuff, expand your village and/or launch raids on other players.

Even with a less-experienced, new-to-Key player – the first test came in at under 45 minutes with Richard ‘The Beard’ pulling off an excellent ‘grain/bison’ combo, pipping Carl’s ‘sink everything into losing battles’ approach. I suspect Richard B was deliberately holding back – just so we could settle into the basic rules and flow-of-play – because he seemed hell-bent on exploring a ‘thin your deck’ strategy even AFTER he had thinned his meeple-pool down to zero!

Pausing for supper (the ‘usual’ oriental), we gave it another whirl – this time things taking a little longer (I blame Elizabeth stalling out the auction for henge-building so she could stock up on driftwood in Phase 4 – Autumn), and this time experience paid dividends: Breese’s archers holding off all and sundry after collecting up pretty much ALL of the GOLD (end game scoring for this alone gave him 375 points!).

We rounded off the session with 7 Wonders: Leaders – I joked that the only thing KEY CUTTING (24HRS) was missing was a card-drafting mechanic. Richard frowned and made copius notes in his filofax!

Roll on version point 17!

@he didn’t really – in fact, I forgot to ask him. I made (almost) all of this up, sorry.
*that’s NOT what the new game is called, if you’re wondering
**how naive and optimistic we were – it ended up being a glorified locker
***we come to a junction in the blog entry – feel free to take whichever path you deem fit
****an in-joke; see last week’s blog for details
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Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:47 am
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I don't want questions, I want answers!

Anthony Boydell
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[1] Sounds like half an acre = SOME AREA = SUMERIA

[2] A belt twisted between two oars? = OAR/ORA = OAR ABELT OAR = ORA ET LABORA

[3] Mongkut = KING OF SIAM

[4] Into Attika, largely = At-TIKA L-argely = TIKAL

[5] There was a flurry in outer Iowa? = SNOWED ON IA = SNOWDONIA

[6] Silver mixed with car oil = AG CAR OIL = AGRICOLA

[7] Buzz or double-stroke? = They are types of DRUM ROLL

[8] Um…er…ah…um…oh…hmmm…er… = 7 WONDERS

[9] Ron and Russell’s Halfnelson? = THE FIRST SPARKS

[10] Out of Ferrell, Eisner and Smith I pick Smith = LAST WILL

[11] Another newbie frothed = anagram of BEFORE THE WIND

[12] Four again? Answer four is TIKAL = TIKAL TOO = TIKAL 2

[13] Almost half-past six! = 1829

[14] A quick example = BRIEF CASE = BRIEFCASE

[15] Re-heated moss? = anagram of HOMESTEADERS

How did you all do, then?
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Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:44 pm
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Brevity is the soul

Anthony Boydell
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Faggots for supper (with chips).

Read ‘Sitting Ducks’ to Arthur.

Went to the White Lion in Ross-on-Wye.

Boffo and Jobbers and Aly and me, we played Goa. Boffo won by 7 points (which is a country mile in that game); he was pleased – though it’s a fine line between ‘satisfied’ and ‘smug’.

I like Goa – it’s clever.

I like pork scratchings – they’re tasty.

Got an e-mail: 2 player Snowdonia needs some tweaking (it does).

Talking of pork scratchings, here are some games that aren’t so good for you nutritionally (remember: anyone can play!):

- Crisp: Legacy
- Omelettes From Whitechapel
- Welcome to Walnut Whip / Across The Dessert
- With a LOT of Cream
- Fatikka
- Agricholesterol / Thrombosis & Osiris
- Deep Panic Station / St Pizzasberg / Big Topping
- Takeaway It Easy / Steak It To The Limit
- Butterlore / 2 De Mayonaisse / Sauce of the Nile
- Bread Roll Through The Sausages
- Starter Player
- Pies Of Empires / A Few Acres of Stew / After The Food
- Tikkal / Pilau Fight / Pakora Et Labora
- Race for the Gluttony
- El Grande Latte / mocha?
- Glen More and More and More / All You Can Eat Buffet The Vampire Slayer CCG
- Pastie-sh
- 51st Ate
- Beer & Pretzels and more beer
- Cake-in-hole
- Dungeon Pitaz / Spice Alert / Bunny Bunny Chocolate Mousse

On the other hand, how about a more healthy gaming diet with:
- Quinces of the Renaissance
- Magnum Salad
- Lettuce From Whitechapel
- Age of Steamed Vegetables / Discworld: Ankh Lesspork
- 18X-Exercise
- Le Havre Bread

Until we meet again, dearest hearts.
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Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:32 am
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Enigma Variations

Anthony Boydell
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Chim-chimmeny chim-chim and a chim-chim-cheroo, we’re well overdue for another one of Uncle Tony’s cryptic quizzes, non? IIRC we’ve had an Essen Spiel AND a Nuremberg since, so nearly a 1000 new items that may (or may not) make it to the testing mix!

The answers, as always, are board games or card games. Post as you see fit but remember to hide them with the spoiler tag!

[1] Sounds like half an acre
[2] A belt twisted between two oars?
[3] Mongkut
[4] Into Attika, largely
[5] There was a flurry in outer Iowa?
[6] Silver mixed with car oil
[7] Buzz or double-stroke?
[8] Um…er…ah…um…oh…hmmm…er…
[9] Ron and Russell’s Halfnelson?
[10] Out of Ferrell, Eisner and Smith I pick Smith
[11] Another newbie frothed
[12] Four again?
[13] Almost half-past six!
[14] A quick example
[15] Re-heated moss?

End of Line.
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Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:01 pm
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All Pain, All Gain

Anthony Boydell
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Lo! The velocipede-mounted Son Of God it happened again; yesterday it was rib-ache with a side salad of sinus pressure, today it’s a cricked neck and biryani-induced noxio-flatus – what’s a girl supposed to do? You’d be forgiven (it is that time of year, after all) for thinking I was being attacked in the night by a rogue Osteopath or maybe Bill (the cat) has learned how to head-butt? It seems very unfair to follow a delightful evening of thinkyplay (of ludo vitae) with such undeserved bodily discomfort*.

It all started when Richard and I made the short trip ‘across town’ to the Crook residence for an evening of recreomechanics, pausing for only the slightest moment to exchange greetings it was up-and-at-em with a 4-player Snowdonia. I’m trying to break away from ‘play-testing’ this into ‘lets just play it competitively’ but, inevitably, little clarifications and typographic errors keep surfacing – it’s useful and utterly-frustrating in equal measure, because I recently sent a copy of the game to a blind-test group and I really want them to play a proper, good game. Really, REALLY want their session(s) to go well.

Game One was an unusual affair, one of those ‘end of the bell curve’** scenarios, where a combination of good weather in the early to mid-game and ‘we want to come out and play’ white Event cubes meant the whole thing accelerated to a quick (35-40 minute) finish – we could see that the game was going that way, so our tactics had to change to sweep up as many VPs as we could before the end. I failed to complete ANY work packages as they all revolved around some element of rubble-collection (excavation) and Richard had built a ‘very good at excavation’ train and hovered-up all the pieces (good points for him, denial for the rest of us!). Not that I’m worried, though – a quickie like this forces the players to ‘change tack’ (and keeps the game fresh!); imagine Agricola where some rounds the action cards are revealed in multiples? Result: Richard beats Tony by 10 points.

Everyone wanted to play again, so I reset the layout and off we steamed. Game Two unfurled more conventionally, with early weather being fairly even and the Event cubes displaying their usual shyness. My first Work Package was the ‘this’ll be difficult: lay five track and get 40 points’, so I determined to collect iron ore and visit ‘the Works’ as often as I could – when you go down this path, it’s often difficult to afford a train as well (because trains cost track pieces as well) – there are short cuts (some cheap ore to track card effects) but Richard managed to grab those before I had a chance – grrrrrr! Richard was the only one who ended up by a train – in fact, he bought TWO: a cheap runabout (no ability, just for use as an extra action) with lots of coal first that he ditched at the ‘train upkeep’ event and replaced with a ‘gain a free build action’ train later. Once again, Richard took a more hard-fought victory (making it three out of three for him this year), with Carl and I tied 7 points behind.

There IS an old adage that a game designer never wins at their games – I don’t mind this at all because
a) I do win Snowdonia every once in a while, and
b) I enjoy playing this game so much!

The closer for a rather over-centrally heated evening was, inevitably, Power Grid – this time with the conventional German map accompanied by the less-conventional Power Grid: The Robots expansion. One of our group, rather less in attendance now than in the past***, went through a love-hate relationship with this game in that he’s never loved it and always hated it. He did go through a phase of indulging the groups ‘Frieseian itch’**** but, t.b.h, the resultant post-match fallout wasn’t worth the effort and he imposed a personal ban on it’s re-emergence. I mention this because if you have a new ‘guest player’ in the game, it’s common courtesy to know his name - so, in my head (now, because I just thought it up on the train) the cardboard automaton was called Raybee the Robot, or maybe Ray2Dee2, or perhaps ‘PG-Vee-Toe’. None of these will mean anything to your good selves but, believe me, for those of us in on the joke, these are colon-spasmingly hilarious!

If you’re interested, this is how the randomly-assembled Rayborg***** composed himself:



The game got off to an odd start, with an auction required to determine which player would set the dummy players’ starting city that resulted in Carl winning the right and then dumping it – in a blocking move – next to Richard. This caused a measure of consternation from ‘the Beard’ that continued, in patches, for the rest of the session. He’s convinced that this allows player elimination at the very beginning WITHOUT ANY RECOURSE – I feel uncomfortable about it, but perhaps any of you with more robo-experience could chip in with a retort/rebutle/explanation?

The game proceeded in accordance with the usual parameters ie. Carl and Richard providing a running commentary while Elizabeth and I quietly went about our electrical business. Richard’s knockback and Carl’s derisory ‘ignore Tony, he never wins this’ attitude left an open spot for me to hoard some cash and nip in to buy a 7 city station / build to 16 in the final round and end up powering the lot for MY FIRST EVER WIN!

Yes, that’s right – you read this blog correctly! After nearly 18 months of regular play, Tony Boydell – Agricoholic and Carl Chudyk fan-boy, father of 5 and eater of wine gums – has FINALLY won a game of Power Grid! Finally and magnificently!

(does a little dance)

I have to say that my restraint at the gaming table was bordering on the Dalai Lama-esque ‘serene’ – it was all I could do to stop myself punching the air (or the other players) in delight!

Here is an image I shall treasure:


Unfortunately, Carl provided another image that will not be so joyful (or comfortable) to recall: at one point he turned to his new spouse and called her ‘Richard’...as verbal fauxes pas go, this is scrotum-witheringly awkward@. Her Indoors certainly doesn't have a beard OR an unhealthy interest in 3 hour+ economic train games.

Imagine Elizabeth’s reaction to this Freudian ‘bromance’ revelation?

Imagine RICHARD’s reaction?

Le Fils De Dieu Sur Une Bicyclette indeed.

*ok, so the biryani was my own fault
**often abbreviated to “end-bell”
***he’s moved away and is currently completely his Grand Tour of Europe – the intention seems to be to see the majesty of the continent from inside the Sports Halls and Conference Centres of many of the major capitals, ruling on WoW:TCG rules infringements in a fug of body odour and no eye-contact
****Beware! The dangers of unprotected play!
*****Pant-wetting, absolutely undercracker-soilingly funny
@In the interest of sexual equality, you could replace this with “nipple-shrinkingly”
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Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:53 am
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The Irish Shrover

Anthony Boydell
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Ash Wednesday cometh and with it the beginning of a Lent. Of course, during this noble period of sacrifice, Sunday’s are exempt / excluded / don’t count towards the abstinence (in whatever form that should take), thus do Christians around the world gorge themselves in a calorific holocaust of chocolate, pies and carnal abandon on the Sabbath – often combining all three. If you’re a Catholic, like me, you can get absolved for the more ‘over-the-top’ extravagances the following morning.

But only if you’re truly sorry.

I am truly sorry.

This Holy Day of Obligation dawned uncomfortably for me after a night of odd dreams and the possible onset of Masculine Orthomyxoviridae-induced malaise (or maybe it was the combination of an aggressively-chillied beef stir-fry and delicious Irish whiskey). All achey ribs and pressured sinuses, I emerged from the cosy mid-week duvet to commute into the Nation’s* favourite** capital. I took the bus from Marylebone to ensure I got 10 minutes in Westminster Cathedral before the work day began in earnest – nothing sets you up for a day of IT consultancy than some quiet time with the Big Man.

Talking of ‘big men’, it wasn’t so-such-much a quiet time with Mr Crook last night as it was a ‘noisy, boisterous time’. Mrs C, overpowered by a hairy tonnage of men-folk, maintained a dignified silence throughout our gaming proceedings surrounded (as she was) by filthy sous entendu (me), technical analysis of player moves / pleas for ‘backsies’ (all of us), games industry gossiping (lead by Carl, vigorously debated by Iain and Richard) and – most disturbing of all – her husband’s increasing levels of whining-during-play.

Like a blocked vacuum cleaner, Mr C bleated on-and-on about building a clay house too early in Agricola, being shut out of his first ever game of El Grande after the first round etc. A litany of carping, grousing and nit-picking*** the like of which we thought we’d never hear the end****

First up was Agricola (plot spoiler in the previous paragraph) – a rare five player to whet the evening; a mix of standard and Gamer deck cards in the draft leading to a pleasingly-fecund session. Richard narrowly missed the honours after abusing Clay Supports (43), surpassed by mine and Iains differently-approached 46 point shared victory. Iain gifted me a golden (gut-stuffing) opportunity by playing the early harvest card that emptied my fields of grain, allowing me to sow and bake immediately and garner enough surplus food to power this guy:



Combined with the constant supply of chomping vittals via Baking Field PLUS the abusive Chamberlain for good measure, this was a rich result indeed – 17 bonus points in all.

Insert Traditional Punditry Here
(cue: hamster-sucked-up-the-hoover racket from the Carl corner)

The second half of the evening was to be taken up with the revisiting of a ‘classic’. Richard revealed a groaning package containing El Grande and pretty much all of it’s expansions. I played this about 3 years ago and found it to be fun but unfathomable – I never seemed to have caballeros in the right place for scoring, never got the action card I really wanted and, generally, made a porcine auditory organ out of the whole shebang. The last thing I wanted to do this evening was repeat those failings. Sure enough, however, the last thing I did yesterday was repeat those bloody failings. I brought up the rear like a clown in a particularly-dilapidated clown car – honking my wheezy horn and seeking consolation in Carl’s excellent fermented grain mash. Way, waaaaaaay ahead were Iain and the still-silent (unable to get a word in edge-ways) Mrs C.

My only regret is that I somehow made it through the day WITHOUT having a pancake (sad tosser face)

*the nation being ‘Great Britain’
**only to those who live there, the rest of the British Isles couldn’t give a monkey’s oscillating sphincter
***I love Thesaurii
****I may be exaggerating this a little
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Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:51 pm
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In the library...with the Lead Piping...and some nice biscuits

Anthony Boydell
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Nothing to write about today, so here's a piccy of my library room.

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Mon Feb 20, 2012 12:03 pm
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Huffetty-Puffetty

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Not very long ago, in the top left-hand corner of Wales, there was a railway. It isn’t a very long railway or a very important railway, but it was called the Snowdon Mountain Tramroad and Hotels Company Limited, and it was all there was. And in a shed, in a siding at the end of the railway, lived the Locomotive of the Snowdon Mountain Tramroad and Hotels Company Limited, which was a long name for a little engine so his friends just called him Boffo.

Now, in the evening Smudge the Steam, the engine driver, would come down the hill. “Evening, Boffo! Jumping cold, this evening!”

Then Smudge would light Boffo’s fire*, fill up his coal box** and then, when Boffo’s boiler was boiling***, she would make a pot of tea. Then, when they had finished their tea, Smudge the Steam would climb onto the footplate****, open Boffo’s regulator***** and…

HUFFETTY-PUFFETTY…HUFFETTY-PUFFETTY…WHEEZETTY-WHEEZE

Off they went up the hill and down into the Living Room. There was Dell the Engineer.

“What is there for us today, Dell?”

“Ayve god uh pro-toe-tape rail-way gayme anne-die think uh rrround of Argree-coh-luh izzin orduh, izzenit”

“Right away then, Dell”

PEEEEEEEP! HUFFETTY-PUFFETTY…GASPETTY-GASP

Off they went, setting up Snowdonia on the little coffee table. A brand new play-test copy with a couple of bonus cards just for Boffo (he wanted to make more of the Surveyor who walks up the mountain for some victory points). They all agreed that they would play it as an ordinary game – all competitive and that.



CLOMPETTY-CLOMPETTY…over Two Viaducts, through Hebron, past Halfway Station, past Rocky Valley Halt, past Clogwyn where the mountain drops steeply away from you on both sides and…PEEEEEEEP!...up to Yr Wyddfa, the summit! All in about 45 minutes! Boffo went for the Surveyor strategy, with all the appropriate bonuses, Smudge the Steam did a bit of everything while Dell the Engineer built lots of track – uncontested – and proved an easy victor: 132-103-95******

All three sat there after the clean-up. They felt tired and drowsy. Then they heard the lowing, grunting and the bleating. Oh, it was lovely bleating! It was the animeeples in Agricola calling from their packed carton. They listened and it seemed to them as though the streams, the trees, the mountains – the very land – were all singing together, singing their praises to the chill Winter moon!

Boffo steamed into the packaging and dealt 10 Keep 7. An hour later, most of their cards now arrayed across the table (and with Dell the Engineer and Boffo gaining free resources off virtually every space on the board), the final result reflected a mostly-conflict-free game: 41-35-35, Boffo the Engine and Smudge the Steam inseparable at the last.

With only a few more minutes left in the working day, Dell the Engineer suggested a quick Familienbande before Boffo had to be banged up in his Engine Shed@. The little railway locomotive pipped his driver by the smallest of margins and puffed himself to sleep, happy and content.

HUFFETTY-PUFFETTY…HUFFETTY-PUFFETTY…PEEEEEEEEEEP!

*oh, I say!
**Great Scott, missus!
***Saint’s Alive, Vicar!
****Lawks a mercy, Your Majesty!
*****Crivens, helpmabob!
******Boffo was so engrossed he let his tea get cold! That’s some kind of endorsement, I think.
@I give up.
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Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:15 am
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Quizzical

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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With it being school’s half-term, and an opportunity for some ‘working from home’, I’d envisaged a little more evening games time than actually resulted. I had visions of a cleared kitchen table generously-strewn with a Last Will, an Ora Et Labora or a Gargon or two. Alas, when the young ‘uns bed-time routine (currently stretching between 1830 and 2130) is finally complete, all the remaining adults want to do is gawp at Sweet Sixteen, The Big Bang Theory and/or consume tea and biscuits.

Not even a visit from long-time pals Malc & Angie (and their two boys) elicited any Eurogame action (though their eldest, Luke, did manage a Battlelore with my eldest boy and – gulp – I heard rumours of a Monopoly session while we grown ups were out having a Nepalese curry!)

Turning, on Wednesday night, to Boffo & Smudge compounded the disappointment when they had the temerity (and ill-judgment) to prefer celebrating their ‘Anniversary’ (pah!) instead of fulfilling their end of an Agricolean ‘booty call’ (a sort of spiel-ish ‘friends with benefits’).

Since the Ross-on-Wye session last Friday, I’ve played a grand total of absolutely bugger all and I’ve developed the symptoms of deprivation: waking in a cold sweat after dreams of catastrophic boiteajeux.net mis-clicks, mulling game designs after lights-out and wandering the games room at 6PM on-the-dot running my fingers along the edges of the colourful boxes with a heavy heart.

Metaphorically, my gaming testes are swollen like a tin of Fussells!

But there’s always Friday nights at The White Lion! Huzzah for the shining dobber-popping light at the end end of the tunnel! I spent moments of quiet tummy-tickling joy yesterday whenever I thought of the chance for a Goa or a Puerto Rico in the forthcoming evening hours. Fate, however, was waiting around the tea-time corner with a fresh canine turd to place under the slipper of my expectation...I had been double-booked!

Oh woeful day, o! misery complete! Mrs B, all-butter shortbread and ginger nuts in hand, paused in her leaf-brewing circa 4.30PM to remind me that we needed to ‘leave by 7PM to get to the Hall before the quiz starts’. Quiz? I thought that was next week?

Sulking like a teen receiving an 8GB iPod Touch for their birthday, I drove over to the back-arse of the middle of nowhere to recall some pointless facts and nibble on a ploughmans*. As things turned out, it was a much more entertaining diversion than I’d expected – at least for our table, as we (myself, Mrs B, Uncle Peter and Aunt Sarah) and my In-Laws (who’d pulled a team together on an adjacent table) quipped our way through a riveting three hours of general knowledge recall. It was particularly riveting because
a) our two teams were locked in a tight battle for the top spot all the way through, and
b) everyone else in the Hall was being rather po-faced and serious which just fuelled our joke-cracking and mischievousness even more.

Guffawing like drains and polishing off pickled onions and alcoholic ginger beer with equal gusto, we netted a large tin of chocolate-coated biscuits from the raffle and a final 1-2 finish for the family contingent; Team Boydell (aka ‘The Zelly-Dellys’) walking off with a £20 bottle of Bollinger and the laurels by a solitary point. The quiz-master generously announced, at the end, that there ‘were no losers tonight’ – though the other fifteen or so teams patently were!

Pausing to ‘pull some more air’, we motored off into the Winter dark - smug don't come close to describing it.

Final Note: there had better be some gaming action tonight, however, otherwise I may go crazy ape bonkers with a drill and sex.

*a ploughmans what, I hear you not ask?
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4 Comments
Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:35 am
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