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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Mr & Mrs

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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With Thursday’s work done, and after a very late lunch, I drove between the raindrops from Haywards Heath to Horsham – only 12 miles according to Google Maps but it felt like a lot further - thankfully, an iPhone full of podcasts is your friend.

Horsham is home to the Greens – first encountered in their singular forms when I worked away from home and played a LOT of Magic: The Gathering between 1999 and 2001. During that period, we would meet every week at the Snooks venue in Hemel Hempstead – then home to a thriving and successful branch of the UK Magic scene (and a table of longhair RPG-ers) – and at least once-a-month at Pre-releases, Pro Tour qualifiers and/or Grand Prix-ziz. Mr G was somewhat of a TCG nemesis at those Tuesday night drafts (I only beat him very occasionally) and his now-spouse Alice a rare commodity for the time in that she is a) a girl, b) very good at Magic and c) a bit of a fox; Mrs G and myself also worked together, briefly, as subject editors on the (long-defunct) Meridian Magic*** portal site. Time, however, waits for no man; the candle burned twice-as-bright for half-as-long and I moved offices from Reading to Swindon to be within commutable distance of Home leaving all of that behind.

Fast-forward 10 years...Mr G is delayed at a slipped-my-mind leaving do and Mrs G is trudging down the drizzling street laden with bulging shopping bags; cue gallant Tony with an (late) offer of (small) help. Pausing to safely circumnavigate the enormous* canine ‘on guard’, it’s into the kitchen for unpacking/catch-up. Mr G joins us presently and there follows a scattergun conversation - in the manner of Katherine Hepburn/Spencer Tracey - covering lateness, supper, what we’ve all been doing with ourselves, games design** etc. I’m certainly excited about seeing these lovely peeps again and we share a few memories from ‘the good old days’ before us boys take our leave to go into town.

There’s a moistness, like a mist, and the tang of a chill as Matt leads me through several small arcades into the main street where the game shop is; this weather will get colder and wetter on the return journey (so much so that my breath would come harder due to my shivering!). The shop has a small ‘backroom’ and so a thin snake of five tables is available for use – we’ve arrived a little late and everyone’s committed to something, so I break out my copy of Innovation and give Mr G a learnin’ game. Matt’s a clever bloke and a former TCG-er, so a game about card effects and combos intrigues him from the off; I pride myself at being rather good at this brilliant beast but he gave me a thrilling run for my money - both of us were on FIVE achievements when I eventually pull a 10 and executed it’s non-demand Dogma effect just for myself and won with the biggest score pile (Matt had lost his score pile the previous turn trying, and failing, to trigger his 6th achievement with five top Coin cards).

The only other spare player in the building, Ash, joined us for a 3pl Caylus after he confirmed a ‘late pass’ with Regimental HQ; like most of the other attendees this evening, Ash is not very familiar with the medium-weight Eurogame genre per se, so it was very satisfying to teach him this thinky classic. Realistically, of course, it was always going to be a contest between myself and Matt but Ash’s first ever run at this put him only 13 points behind us in the final reckoning (very creditable indeed) and, by way of revenge for me pipping the Innovation, Matt pipped me by 4 in ‘the main event’! Wholly satisfying and utterly enjoyable.

It was very late by the time we dallied with hypothermia on the wintery trip back to m’car and farewells were bidden; a tentative repeat appointment has been made for a fortnight and I’m looking forward to it immensely. At last, something that makes going all that way for work worthwhile!

*and doe-eyed and gentle-as-a-lambkin
**Mr G had a game published on the back of every Cadbury’s selection box last year – wowza! A bigger distribution than wot I’ve ever got *envy*
***I did feel moved to chasten her on one occasion after she lambasted a player about 'perspective'...I was quite proud of the clever-cleverness of the article being a well-read person of enormous intellect:

The Rape Of The Jock
Being a reply to Ms Coggins' Recent Article about Perspective in M:TG and a Certain Patrick Mello (March, 2000) (with apologies to Alexander Pope)

What dire offence from am'rous causes springs
What mighty contests rise from trivial things
When Cupid's bow doth breach the Magic frame
And love, not cards, are broken by this game
Say, what strange motive, Goddess, could compel
A well-bred Miss t'assault a gentle Mell(o)
For much maligned is he by England's rose
Contained within her recent Dojo prose
There, through the person of her team-mate Phil
'Tis possible that Alice speaks HER will.
How Patrick has, perchance, committed crime
By shunning girls and playing all the time
(I do not know a mote about the fellow
So how could I presume to condemn Mello ?)
At length, inflated conversation flows
Of Art, emotions, poetry, and Pros.
But through it all there's no hope of disguising
The tone is somewhat crude and patronising.
A life, indeed, we all of us possess
Even if with lovers or with a 'Duress'
Presume ye not to judge those other folk
Whose 'perspective' may be seeming as a joke
Lest chickens, home to roost, are seen to come
And all we said rears up and bites our bum !
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Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:48 pm
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[-]Butterflies[/-] Rats!

Anthony Boydell
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Thanks to a good work pal of mine, I've managed to get a few days of contracting to alleviate the general frustration of being 'between jobs'. Despite there being little to no response from on-line job sites, I've not been short of irons in the fire and - to some extent - this had lead me to anxiety-attack predicament in which I now find myself; permanent job possibilities here, short-term contracts 'on the cards' there and even a complete change of direction towards games.

I suppose one thing that 2012 taught me was that being 'in I.T' is becoming a real bind and the branch of I.T to which I am hanging takes me away from my beloved family for too long, too often. Too long, in this instance, is three or four days a week but it hurts; 2012 also saw what was, for me, the pinnacle of my hobby career: releasing Snowdonia and seeing it get a, frankly, awesome response. While I was bimbling about at UK Toy Fair in January (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/16428/fair-enough), I was inspired to consider a more mainstream - for the UK, at least - approach to game design and therein also lies a business opportunity. So, give up I.T and found a (new) games company?
Am I brave enough?
Is it the right time of the Year?
Can it pay?
Can I subsist until it DOES pay?

This week started with a job interview and closes with my first days on the 'tickle' of temporary employment and for those 3 days solid I have felt like rats are gnawing at by stomach. Cold sweats, sleeplessness and delirious dreams take their part at kicking me when I'm down...

...but soft!
What light from yonder small town breaks?
'Tis a game shop and gaming there is fun!
Arise, fair fun, and kill the tedious telly
Which is already sick and pale with cookery shows...


Tonight I'm anticipating a visit to a long-time gaming pal, some tea and some healing boardgames: the metaphorical, Euro-based Milk of Magnesia to the roiling acids in the stomach of a panic-stricken old man. Wish me well...
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Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:27 pm
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Our Man In Havana

Anthony Boydell
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Friday night at the El Leon Blanco and it was a intimate turn-out comprising Ben, Becky, Gordon (on a massive winning streak at the moment) and my good self. I was taking the opportunity to escape the interminably worthy and ironically-mirthless Comic Relief broadcast; an evening of people 'doing something funny for money' where the money bit is spot on, but the funny bit is astonishingly wide of the mark.

Gordon was being instructed in the dark ways of Dominion as I stumbled into the toasty bar, so it would've been rude to stop things at that point so I joined in. My Dominion muscle has atrophied somewhat and I couldn't find any rhythm whatsoever (coming last in both forays).

Next up was Cuba, a super role-selection collect/convert/score that due to absent R-o-W-er John's assertion that 'you just have to play the water/golf course strategy to win every game' never gets much table time...something we rectified this evening with John elsewhere (presumably thinking hard and long about something).

(with apologies to the Gibson Brothers)

Cuba
Obrero alcalde jeugo
Cuba
Mercado el arquitecto

You play out action:
Collect or sell or build
You buy in the market
Los barcos they are filled

Cuba
Azucar y tabaco
Cuba
Cigarros, Ron, Agrios

My heart is on fire
The game is so fun
My only desire
Is beating Gordon.
You're the one
That I want
You're the one
Yes, you are

Cuba
An Eggertspiele winner
Cuba
You play it over dinner

I’m making cigarros
See G’s making rum,
Rebecca’s tobacco
And Ben’s ‘water fun’.
Have I won?
That...I want
Have I won?
So near, so far!

You play out action:
Collect or sell or build
You buy in the market
Los barcos they are filled

You're the one
that I want
You're the one
Yes, you are

Cuba
Gordon ganó por dos puntos
Cuba
El es un chumino grande.

Yes, Gordon - by virtue of having one more building than me - won by 2pts with me in second, Ben third and an aggrieved Becky in fourth - she was aggrieved because I went into tobacco/cigars straight after she did and then stole the cigar->VP building from under her nose. Ben attempted the aforementioned broken 'aqua' strategem to meh effect while Gordon just brewed his way to victory.

Next was Divinare, Brett Gilbert's "a moment to learn/a lifetime to get horrendously mindtwisted by" Award winner; another close finish: this time Ben as the one-point pipp-er and me (once more) as the pipp-ee.

Rounding off a delightfully-cosy sesh was the eternal Ross-on-Wye favourite: Braggart. Gordon not having played before meant the meerest squeak of rules refreshers - he's a big boy - then we were off and boasting. Unusually, it was yours truly who swept the gold medal in this one - something I've not managed to do EVER in this environment.

Home, happy and heart-warmed; just in time to fall asleep in front of the strained cameraderie of the chortleless telethon.
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Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:16 pm
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Wanted: Recipes for 'Hat'

Anthony Boydell
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I'm playing my first games of The Castles of Burgundy after a couple of years of huffing, puffing cynicism about the whole hexagonal/die-based proceedings.

I like it...quite a lot, actually.

Now I need some good recipes for 'chapeau'...
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Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:52 pm
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Bride of the Way My Mind Works

Anthony Boydell
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(A.K.A the continuing adventures of building up the Zugspitze)

Well, having finally given the Zugspitze some formal play attention I'm mostly happy with it; not too much new stuff and what there is ties nicely into the real story. The whole thing comes together on ten cards and I even get to layout the rules on the back of those cards along with a nice, composite picture of Mount Snowdon…yes, I know it’s the Zugspitze but the game is called Snowdonia.

Setup
This is an advanced scenario for 1-5 players. Select five trains at random and add the new train “Berglok” to make the number to six. Please note: Do NOT use “No.1 L.A.D.A.S” or “Snowplow” in this scenario.

Put station 1 (Garmisch) on top of Llanberis and space the others, in ascending order, around the board with the appropriate number of base game track cards in between. Make sure you are using the correct side of the Cable Car station for the number of players.

Place the new weather reference card on to the board; ‘fog’ is now ‘snow’. Take the two spare ‘fog’ discs from general supply and put them on top of the no. 4 and no. 8 spaces on the Event track.

Place the replacement [G] space card on to the board over the existing G space.

Playing this scenario is the same as for the basic version (Mount Snowdon) with the following changes:
• There is Snow instead of Fog
• The Surveyor position is important for building, excavating and laying track – you do not need to build the railway ‘from bottom to top’
• You need to use the Cable Car to get to Zugspitze Summit


Nothing unusual about this – the usual jiggery-pokery with the cards around the outside and the occasional overlay :-)

The Weather
The weather is the same as for the base game except that fog is now snow. Snow is also triggered whenever a snow event is triggered (a space covered with one of the grey discs). Players can Excavate and/or Lay Track at all times. When it snows:
• Find the highest partially or fully excavated station space (without a player cube in) or Track Card without any rubble on it (face up or down);
• Look at the excavation work rate for the round;
• Starting with the highest spot add TWO rubble cubes to each empty or partially-filled spaces/track cards (up to the value as noted on each). Skip over any full Track cards or station spaces with player cubes in (they do not count for the work rate). In stations, you fill from bottom-to-top, right-to-left


This is almost, but not quite, exactly the same as the Mount Washington scenario where ALL spaces with a shovel in – station or track cards – get snowed on and, in the case of the track cards, even AFTER the track has been laid ie. it’s outside so it gets precipitated upon!

The bit about adding ‘TWO rubble cubes to each empty or partially-filled space” is the latest modification to the original rule that just filled each space to it’s capacity. The reason I toned it down was that here, without dynamite, snow in its biggest falling form is a real impediment to play; combine a heavy dump of the white stuff with your surveyor being in the wrong station and you could find yourself ‘trapped’ for a round or two (or more) – NOT a good play experience. I am currently working on a hard fill rate of 2 rubble (1 seems almost inconsequential) so we’ll see how this turns out.

The Stations
Building a Coal Bunker will give you the third worker (from the Pub) for the next round only; return him to the Pub at the end of that round.

When you build in Grainau or Riffelriss, take a Contract Card immediately.


These work very well in terms of structure - 'competitively priced' would be a good phrase. In addition, the two new build bonuses - gain your 3rd worker for the next round OR take a contract card immediately - are a tempting and rewarding diversion from basic veeps. There is sure to be discussion as to whether the ‘3rd worker next round’ space is REALLY of any use ie. you’re spending an action (and a coal) to gain an action but remember that the build space does count towards some of the traditional ‘in station build’ contract card bonuses! The ‘free card’ bonus is simply awesome.

“What about the Cable Car station?” quoth thee, dear reader. I’m coming to that…let’s take a bit more about the Surveyor first…

The new G action
The G action allows you to move your surveyor up or down, one or two stations.

You are only allowed to excavate, lay track or build in relation to the station your Surveyor is currently occupying eg. if your surveyor is in Eibsee, you cannot excavate, lay track or build beyond Grainau or Riffelriss.

Excavation: you can take rubble from the station itself or from from track cards either side of the station.

Laying Track: you can lay track on either side of the station (as long as the track card is free of rubble, of course)

Note: You must always excavate/lay track ‘outwards’ in one direction; you cannot change direction ‘mid-dig’

Building: you can build spaces in the current station and/or in an adjacent station (as long as the track cards leading to it are clear of rubble).


I do admit to being caught out a couple of times when I wanted to do construction work of some kind only to find that I should have moved my Surveyor the PREVIOUS round and now I'd have to wait until the NEXT round! Snowfall can also mess up adjacent building plans too, so keep an eye on the Event track in particular.

The Cable Car
The spaces on this station are like separate stations for the Surveyor to move along and you need to use the G action. Moving on to a new space on the Cable Car costs a player TWO rubble (return them to general supply).

When moving from space 3, the player must choose an empty space on the Zugspitze Summit card for 16, 11 or 7 points at the end of the game; the 7 space has three spots.

While on the Cable Car, you can still work back down to Schneefernerhaus station but here’s a warning: once you’re on the Summit, you can’t do any more building, excavating or track-laying!


I’ve only seen one person push to the summit so far but if you think of 6 rubble getting you 16 or 11 points then it’s a fantastic contract card equivalent; you do need to be sure that you’ve finished doing anything else though! I think I’d recommend getting to the third space on the Cable Car card and waiting there until you’re sure it’s the final round then nipping up at the last opportunity – you might be able to sneak a couple of extra builds in Schneefernerhaus.

Other Notes
The Berglok loco gives you +1 Excavation and, if it is snowing this round, and additional +1 Excavation.

So this is a halfway house between No.1 LADAS and the Jungfrau’s Snowplow and quite a natty little engine too.

Game End
The game enters it’s final round when the all of the Track cards have been laid, as with the base game ie. if a player lays the last it’s at the end of that round, if the game lays the last you all get one more round.

So, the next step is to make this available for your feedback and I have done so: Snowdonia: Bayerische Zugspitzbahn
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Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:26 pm
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Keeping Mum

Anthony Boydell
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Here in the UK we love our Mums and duly set aside one day of the year to express that love through the making of tea, the presentation of flowers and a fleeting interest in the chores they are burdened with for the other 364. Obviously, given we're all gamers here, some of our hobbsessions must've come from her half of the genetic material - dormant or no - so make sure you give her half an hour off from making the Sunday lunch and play something with her.

"What shall we play?" you question, "what would be suitable?"

I thought you'd never ask...

- Agrico-ma / Ma-rkator / At The Gates Of The School (in fact anything by Ovary Rosenberg)
- not forgetting: Le Hoovre
- Brasso
- Polish: Fight for the Squeegee/Chamois
- a bunch of Keyflowers (Wealth of Carnations?)
- Dominimum
- Mummut
- Birth Canal Mania
- Town Placenta / On The Cords
- Womb für Rom
- Walk the Dogsbody / "You treat this house like a Grand Hotel"
- A Few Bakers of Dough

Happy Mothering Sunday!
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Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:47 am
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Loud Atlas

Anthony Boydell
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The 1820s
Prince George called for more claret as the card tables were assembled by the lower orders; this evening, as with most evenings, the wastrel Royal had arranged for a long session of gambling and roister-doistering with the fellows of Boddle’s Gentlemen’s Club: Lord Gordonstone, Sir John De Plante, the Prime Minister Benjamin Armpitt The Younger, the Reverend David Daffington-Smythe and Mr Anthony Flashman. On The Cards was on the cards and provided much fiery discourse as to how the four main rules (Deal, Playing Cards, Aim and Trick Taking) should be interpreted; just as they formed some kind of precarious peace on the matter, the current round would end with a card being removed for tallying purposes and the debate would rage all over again. The Prime Minister proved the most able in the final reckoning, winning three dockets and – therefore - the privilege of whipping the first pauper.

The 1570s
The Court of Pope Inclement VII (aka Le Lion Blanc) was unusually crowded that particular evening due the Holy Father’s recent call for artisans, sculptors, artists and craftsmen. Il Papa was inspired through Prayer, meditation and a programme on Channel 4 to enhance his Palace with the best Works available in such a Renaissance period. With promises of great rewards - renown, wealth, their name on the Guest List at the Eternal Buffet – the brightest and best creative minds of the Age were now gathered...along with the following:

Gordano De Servizzis: gambler, raconteur and part-time ‘scarecrow’ - Gordano is credited with the first formal ‘Performance Art’ piece: ‘Never mind your unmade bed, here’s my neglected laundry’.

Johannes – Semi-mute alchemist from the wild country who is rumoured to be able to stretch others’ perception of Time (making even Coloretto feel like Through The Ages).

Benedetti Battisonne – gruff Florentine industrialist, inventor of the caprine beard and the salted boar-shaving. Sculpts like an Acheiropod, paints like an Anophthalmic and sings like a dysmelodic.

Michaelanthony – Jack of all artistic trades but master of none; likes to spend long periods on his back in Churches, touching up his diptych and/or stroking his Filbert.

David of Ledbury – Pious prior whose vow of silence makes game playing, especially those with Auction mechanics, problematic. Revered within the monastic community because he shaves his tonsure from the inside.

Thus were professions engaged, Works completed and finances juggled in the pursuit of ultimate Catholic pleasure and after seven tense rounds of bidding and building, Gordano De Servizzis ultimately impressed the Bishop of Rome with his erections, thrusting ahead of Michaelanthony by a single vote.

Now
The Gallery thrummed with small-talk and the metallic guff of money; it’s white walls blistered with the bright rectangles of the art for sale. Collectors from all corners of the world peacocked and boasted in the comforting glow of their Bank Accounts, powdered their noses and nosed their powders. When the auction finally began, certain attendees made their presence known: the entertainment mogul David Gaffin, J. Paul Gordy, Charles Butty-Baachi, Francois Pilant and the mysterious Wanksy. Contentious bidding and an insane preference for Karl Gitter and Krypto tilted the focus somewhat putting Gordy, Butty-Baachi and Pilant neck-and-neck at the end in the 410s/420s, Wanksy an astract’s worth behind on 367 and the art-blind but spendthrift Gaffin seriously out of pocket on 127.

The Future
Like the cheesiest science fantasies of the 20th century come true, the peoples of the future – preoccupied with perpetual hedonistic leisure pursuits – eschew traditional pastimes like ‘sitting down for meals’ in favour of mass ingestion of nutrients via the portable and convenient medium of broths and consomes; too much soup, indeed, for the pleasure-driven flesh automatons of the 30th century: “David”, Bateson-4, Droog-N and an R.P.P (Recursive Processing Plant). There is no further information on this Event due to diminishment of the tachyon particle stream, fluctuations in the Space/Time continuum and having to get home early.
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Sat Mar 9, 2013 5:18 pm
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Zeroes are Heroes

Anthony Boydell
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Oft overlooked, the best games for no players at all are an essential part of any persons collection. Despite the lack of attention, 'zeroes' play an important role in the management and maintenance of one's hobbyist catalogue - here are a few raison's to stick up your d'etre:

1) They take up shelf space
It's all very well boasting that you've got the BGG Top 100 gracing your most intimate sanctum, but just 100 games...really? To the casual observer, that makes you look like a cheapskate, a pinch-penny and/or - worst of all - a part-timer. Go off and count your DVDs - betcha got a feeshus load more than that. My point, therefore, is zeroes pad out the worthiness in your assemblage; give it heft, bulk it up and so forth...never mind the quality, feel the breadth! Remember also that with a large collection comes the justifiable requirement for storage space and/or a proper gaming dungeon room.

2) They provide colour
Lord protect us from 'magnolia' (the colour, not the sweary film) - in an Age when 30 seconds after moving in to a new house you're all pressured into making sure it's decorated sufficiently blandly so as to be re-sellable. You've barely unpacked the kitchen jigsaws* and you've been creatively stifled by the Property Market. So, given we're not allowed to brighten up soulless cubic spaces with paint, at least zeroes can inject an element of photoreceptor stimulation. Line them up, edge-on or face-first it doesn't really matter; watch out, though, lest you end up with an horrific Euro-montage of 17th Century noblemen/explorers/merchants holding a bag of coins/scrolls of important-looking paper/sextants and compasses against a backdrop of a distant city/harbour/new frontier.

3) They are a constant focus on gaming
As my old Grandmother used to say: “A fart is a cry for help from a strangled turd” – which is quite unpleasant - but she also used to say: “Out of sight is out of mind” and we absolutely must not have that situation with games! Three dimensional wall-papering with zeroes provides a constant reminder that
a) you have games, and
b) they need playing.

You will, of course, select something eminently more suitable** when the point of choosing actually comes but those naughty noughties got you there in the first place! Without that guilty stab in the retina provided by an Hot Potato or an Takenoko there’d be no awesome Mysticas, no brilliant Power Grids, no superb Agricolas, no swooning Walk The Dogs, no teabaggin’ Twilight Struggles and so forth.

4) They consume financial resource...
...that will otherwise be frittered away on food, heating expenses, fuel and rent and presents for other people. This needed saying; it is important. Like with Government budgets, ensure you never under-spend lest annual allowances be cut *shudders* (note: these two asterisks are not footnote referrals****)

5) They are a valuable resource for Maths Trades!
If you understand how this process works then they lead to doorstep delivery delight. If, like me however, this seems an unfathomable and arcane ritual of mutual geek masturbation that’s because it is – like Swap Shop without Noel Edmonds, like barter but with massive postal overheads. Zeroes are a wonderfully cheap method of getting your hands on juicy items – why go into a shop and pay some money when you can, instead, submit priority-driven wishlists with meta-trade incentivizing freebies into a VB-coded logic engine and wait for a stream of ‘send X to Y’ instructions to prolapse into your Inbox?

6) They are source of humorous deprecation
Should it all go silent in the snug this evening, one can pull a zero off the shelf as a mock suggestion for 'the next game' and the room will echo to the howls - nay gales - of laughter. One may require the services of a sewing kit to repair busted guts or a skilled pulmonary surgeon to re-integrate the lungs wot you just coughed up.

7) They are a reminder of our own fragility
Humility is an important personality trait (not that I have need of any more of it). After all, we bought these farting pus-bags masquerading as games in the first place and now they're a constant reminder of our failure as human beings. A warning, perhaps, that will inform future transactions?***

-

So, don’t be disheartened if the cupboards and shelves and cabinets and stackable-cartons of your lives are infested with zeroes – they are a necessary part of the life we have chosen…like beards, a high BMI and/or fun.

*Those items of crockery clearly marked as 'Fragile' which the removal company used as road-side crash/dispersal detritus in a series of phone-recorded YouTube mini-movies
**something ‘not bad’
***Being realistic this is highly unlikely, isn't it?
****...but these are
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Fri Mar 8, 2013 2:01 pm
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Night Terras

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
Unspecified
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Every homo sapiens needs an outbuilding within the curtelage of their property
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Orophin Telrúnya* stepped up to the battered doorway of The Immolated Hobbit resplendent in his green doublet and russet hose; he knocked three times using his impressive oaken codpiece and a rhythmic series of pelvic thrusts. The portal swung open roughly, it’s hinges squealing like a violated pig, revealing the squat ugly visage of the Door Troll: one good yellow eye, a swollen gangrenous face and bald pate marking it out as ‘a looker’ amongst it’s kind.

No f*cking Elves” it snorted, a gobbet of emerald ectoplasm emerging in a long loop from one nostril and stretching almost to the sawdust-strewn floor before a single sniff sucked it back into it’s nostriline abode.

Orophin bowed low, unfortunately catching a whiff of the troll’s noxious trouser area, and gagged: “You are mistaken, good Sir Troll, for I am not Elvish but of Auren descent".

Causing trouble again, pointy ears?” said Daffith, Grand High Cleric of the hepatically-hued gods-botherers “The Cultists” poking his head around the jamb, a snifter of Mother’s Sweet Seepage in his gnarled, holy fingers.

People still mis-hearing your faction name, Oily Father?” retorted the forest-dweller, pulling a lump of ambergris from his ear with a be-budded twig.

The troll stepped aside - crushing a Halfling (on his way to the midden) against the plastered wall, splintering ribs and puncturing major organs - and let the visitor in.

Ignoring the jibe, Daffith continued: “That flaming nut-job wizard John De Ravage is already here

There’s no need to swear!” replied the hippy.

No, really – he is flaming; the silly sod set himself on fire as part of some arcane ritual...

A Sacred Purge of Sins to appease the Deities?

No - athlete’s foot. I think.

It wasn't difficult to see the Chaos Magician in the corner of the Bar area; he was dressed from singed-head-to-smouldering toe in what looked to have been red robes; the room smelled of barbecue. Daffith and Orophin kneed their way through a party of carousing midgets, Daffith’s jumbo cilice carving deep lines into their hairy little faces.

Sorry...oops, sorry! Coming *oof* through...

Well met, my comrades”, whispered the Sorcerer, “Come! Sit and dine with me before we parley...”. He peeled off a strip of his forearm and stuffed it into a salad-filled baguette; the other two dry-retched.

The map of the Kingdom was arrayed upon the stained trestle – a miniature, abstracted representation of the enchanted country they all shared, albeit precariously – the domain of Good King Jens and Very-Naughty-Indeed (But In A Sexy Way) Queen Helge. This secret conclave had been called at the request of the shrub-huggers to forestall all-out war between the three Races: the Auren wanted to plant more trees, the Chaosae wanted to burn more of them down and the Cultists didn’t mind either as long as they could chant loudly – and ever so slightly out-of-tune – from the sidelines.

Eschewing real conflict and conquest for the pushing of pieces of wood around the board, the Three conducted the next two hours in a tense, contemplative silence; a silence broken only by the crunching of crisped rind (both porcine and Johannine**). The Auren began to fall seriously behind on the in-game point progression tally-stick but were clearly the most devout and the most prolific expansionists. In the end, that lag proved just a pip too much of a gap to close with the sizzled warlock on 93, the easy-to-mispronounce cults on 91 and the dreamy woodland folk on 86.


The semi-roasted spell-weaver celebrated by boiling a Stag party of ‘little folk’ (on the adjacent bench) in their own skins and bared his blistered arse at the Barmaid.

The Grand High Cleric was prostrate with reverence under the table, giving emetic thanks to the Eternal ones and the Elements – either that or he had had one too many Sherries and was now burbling into a pool of fresh vomit (hopefully his own).

Orophin - humiliated, defeated and utterly-shamed – decided to do the Honourable thing...and paid the Door Troll to kill both John and Daffith before they could leave the Inn.

And they lived happily ever after.

* Tony Boydell as parsed through http://www.chriswetherell.com/elf/index.php
**Oh yes this IS a real adjective!
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Thu Mar 7, 2013 1:29 pm
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9 1/2 Weeks

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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I hate and despise and loathe stats for the sake of stats but it's no use being prejudiced; and I did make a silent vow (to the darkness) to be more receptive to experiences normally not of my kidney*

Here, then, is a summary of the first 9 weeks of 2013 in Boydell free-time occupation terms:

7 x Terra Mystica
Didn't win a single one (yet) but IIRC I've been second in six of them - consistency is important in game playing...and in stools.

7 x Unpublished Prototype
This is probably Snowdonia: Jungfraubahn & Mount Washington but I don't log any more info so it's a couple of things I played at the last Surprised Stare Games Ltd designer day too.

5 x Dragster
Marble-based, finger-flicking fun with the youngest boy courtesy of my local charity shop and a £1 coin. Interesting fact: 25% of all £1 coins in circulation in the UK at the moment are counterfeit...

4 x Divinare
It's hard to trash talk your way through this chin-stroker but I might give it a go next time (and there will be a next time, oh yes!). Is there anyone here who knows a lady whose name begins with a T? I'm getting a message from a spirit whose name begins with a T...because everyone's on abbreviation terms in the f*cking afterlife, aren't they?

3 x Agricola
I've logged three because they're 'real world' games - I'm in my 30s for the year so far courtesy of boiteajeux.net and *cough* something else.

3 x Guildhall
Buckets of fun and the best not-a-Tempest-game Tempest game from AEG (yes - it IS better than Love Letter, stop wetting yourselves and change into some clean trousers FFS); given the motorway accident rubbernecking indifference given to the rest of the Tempest range it looks like it's probably a good thing it WASN'T branded thusly.

2 x Snowdonia
Yeah, and? I play my own games...is that a bad thing?

1 x Arbos
Tree-themed, balancing fun with a deck of miniature cards all in German; the latter not proving an obstacle for Arthur and I as we improvise our way to blooming fun.

1 x Balloon Cup
Delicious 2-player at which, I believe, I still remain wholly undefeated in to 5+ years.

1 x Buccaneer (or Seerauber)
Unfathomable (!) set-collection, dobber stacking obtusifest that looks wonderful, costs almost nothing now and plays smoothly. I refer you to the first word in the previous sentence.

1 x Chinatown
(N)oodles of fun - buy, bid and build your way to financial superiority over six rounds - dodgy, racist cliches / mispronunciation optional (thankfully).

1 x Eclipse
Really just the once? I have a lot of free time at the moment (almost 100%) so this out to be in double figures come April, surely? Must try harder.

1 x Power Grid: Northern Europe/United Kingdom & Ireland
Played the Scandinavia side and had a real blast too.

1 x Top Trumps
Aeroplanes. With Arthur.

1 x Totemo
With Arthur. He beat me.

1 x Trampelfanten
With Arthur. He beat me (again).

1 x Troyes
With some peeps from the Hemel crew and a stoney-faced Carl (he was NOT impressed); curious that the big man's boat is on the water and bobbing at the mere mench of a Quarriors or Castles of Bollocking-Bee, but slip Troyes under his nose and you'd think it was a microwaved turd.
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Mon Mar 4, 2013 12:23 pm
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