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Every Man Needs A Shed

Life and games (but mostly games) from Tony Boydell - Independent UK games designer, self-confessed Agricola-holic and Carl Chudyk fan-boy: www.surprisedstaregames.co.uk

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Whattheactualheck?

Anthony Boydell
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Read this, please:

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

Okay?

Now please tick one of the following:

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


Good day to you...

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Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:03 am
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Tears fell upon the page he read...

Anthony Boydell
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(the title is a quote from Longfellow BTW)

Amongst my 'finds' at the UK Games Expo was a bring-and-buy copy of Al Rashid which, if I recall correctly, was one of the buzz games from Essen 2012 (there were quite a few that year!):


Look at the tiny, tiny words...


It's worker placement with a bidding twist to decide which three players will resolve an action (action) or land (resource-gathering) space. So far, so meh BUT it contains two mechanical elements that provide the interest:

i) the five resources have no graduated value in themselves but it's the variety of resources that you spend that gets you more money value eg. 1 spice = 1 money, 1 pottery = 1 money but 1 spice with 1 pottery = 3 money. Thus, a set of all five is 15 money.

ii) action and land spaces are resolved in an order chosen by the players rather than some fixed loop; this lends itself to some awfully mean shenanigans indeed if one is not careful eg. process the buying of an extra worker before your opponent(s) has/have gained resources from a Land to pay for it? Pow! Resolve resource gathering from a Land space before others have collected mercenary tokens to beat the standing bandits? Wallop!

Victory points come from your workers - you need to acquire more during the game - and from 'Title' tiles ie. bonus 'people' that you have bought with sets of resources for the usual mix of abilities (once off, once per turn and game-end scoring etc).

But - and this is a BIG but - the whole thing is irreparably-tarnished by the graphics, the graphic layout and the hopeless rulebook. It's a good job that I...

a) played this once back in 2012 and vaguely remember it and
b) watched Tom Vasel do a run thru on a contemporaneous Dice Tower video

...because it is a bugger's muddle and no mistake: no diagrams / illustrations to assist, no detailed description of the action (Palace) spaces, the headings (on the board and in the book) are in an illegible faux-Arabian font, the descriptions of 'Title' tile abilities are in 4 point font (unreadable across the table and, in fact, unreadable directly in front of you unless you squint and hold it against your nose) and the most boring board artwork since our very own Confucius*.

Despite (a) and (b) above, we were (still) 30 minutes in setting up and explaining (I'd not noticed the odd colour-variations on the Title tiles, for instance: green Palace tiles that are grey on the flip side, grey palace tiles that are purple on the flip side etc) and although we got in to a relatively-smooth groove, I think Boffo summed the whole experience up beautifully: "It was almost worth all that effort."


Whining and wining.


Getting back to familiar, comforting and stoic territory, we dived in to Viticulture and rattled along in a far more pleasing way. It seemed both Jobbers and Boffo lucked in to some excellent visitor cards early on but, in spite of my (playful) complaining, it was a positive balm after all that Arabian fart-arsing about. I managed to combo some nice cards and wine contracts later but the two boys had gotten so far ahead that it was simply a race to be 'not in last place' for the rest of us.

Gary and Jobbers, the latter wielding his 'spunky table', high-tailed it out of the Pub with unseemly haste leaving myself and the Batesons to chattily-amble over to the Car Park in the glowingly-warm dark. An evening of two distinctly-different halves.



*I'm not being overly harsh, here; we at SSG took the experience of the Confucius board debacle and implemented our own internal rule of 'playtest the graphics as well as the gameplay'.
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Sat Jun 17, 2017 9:41 am
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Ain't gonna spiel...

Anthony Boydell
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I got a club, meeting Fridays in the town,
Playing Euros in the corner
Drinking beer and pop down.
Huge black carry-all on my back
I had to sit on it *zip*
Just to get the bugger packed!
I leaped in the motor
Let 'my bird' get us there
Driving through the country roads trying not to swear.

We got late round town
Couldn't find a car space
Sun went down cyclists sittin' in our place.
'Til a stranger let us share
His tay-bull-top
When I started to unpack
He didn't tell me to stop.
I tried to explain
Puerto Rico to this dud
I knew I maybe shoulda
Picked a filler game instead

He said:
'So, bud; is it like Monopoly, mun?'
I whistled through my teeth and I bit my tongue
And I sipped on my beverage
Left another Puerto player
'Splaining all the roles
From the Captain to Mayor

Get shippin', get shippin', you know it

I ain't gonna spiel with no soul sucking heel
He gonna take his move back
And I ain't scoring jack!
I ain't gonna spiel with no soul sucking heel
He gonna take his move back
And I ain't scoring jack!

Sitting right here with a beer in my hand
And we’re breaking out El Grande
Which he don’t understand
Fifteen minutes I been running thru da rules
Better get an easy one, this blokes a fool
Breaking out Dixit with the Dixit Quest deck
When it comes to his go
He's a pain in the neck
Big fat fingers bending all of the card
Telling me to go easy
Coz the clues are too hard

I got mad so I went for a slash
And he's calling after me
"Can we play Balderdash?"
Writing on the scorepad, reading out words
That chap's crap coz his answers are turds

Pencil in my leg and I'm trying not to beg
Taking turns being dasher
With this total nutmeg
Well he got me in a corner
Flapping my jaw like a fish
In the dark just waiting for 'Time!'
So give me what I got to get so I can go
Cause I ain't playing boardgames
In this Pub no more

I ain't gonna spiel with no soul sucking heel
He gonna take his move back
And I ain't scoring jack!
I ain't gonna spiel with no soul sucking heel
He gonna take his move back
And I ain't scoring jack!
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Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:31 am
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That thing...

Anthony Boydell
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...didn't go the way we'd hoped/expected; we're angry, sad and confused. It's tough to see the lighter side of life at the moment but we're all in one piece, at least.
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Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:53 pm
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Sweary Mary

Anthony Boydell
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One of the joys of getting tipsy, and having a few spare moments in the Evening at UK Games Expo, is I am allowed to crash other people's broadcasts! Here is the Who Dares Rolls 'Room 504'* special from the Expo 17's Saturday night.

I must warn you that there will be robust language:




*(think Room 101 for games and gaming)
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Wed Jun 14, 2017 6:16 am
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I bless the games down in Africa

Anthony Boydell
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As a coda to my recent enthusiastic outpourings re: May's gaming convention in Uganda, here's a splendid interview with the children who organised it by Ben Maddox at The Perfect Information Podcast:



http://traffic.libsyn.com/perfectinformation/Interview_with_...


It's tremendous and life-affirming and optimistic and I think some of us need to find a way to get stuff (and ourselves?) out there:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1795111/help-us-send-ga...

It just fills my heart with absolute Joy.
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Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:05 am
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Charity ends up at Home

Anthony Boydell
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Me and Arthur wandered in to town for sweets and browsing at the weekend and came home with some cool stuff:



Total cost: £12

I thank you; now, go about your business.
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Mon Jun 12, 2017 6:10 am
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Parks and Recreation

Anthony Boydell
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For the second time in a year, the Ross-on-Wye board gamers have been turfed out from their gaming womb in search of a new venue; it doesn't help our self-esteem when we, on most occasions, we can barely call ourselves quorate despite Garry and Norm and Keith and Byll and Dave and Mischa and Sam(?) and Kat and Charlie being local enough to make up the numbers but not doing so. It's lonely and frustrating and maybe it's something I said?*

Anyway, The Plough Inn is neatly situated on the main road out of Ross-on-Wye heading North (to the M50); while it has no car park of its own, the Town's Pay & Display is 20 yards away and Free after 6PM. We have been allotted a back room to ourselves, within swearing distance of the Public Bar which seemed half-full of folks we used to see regularly down The White Lion (by the river) - perhaps the UKIP-loving Landlord there has alienated them as well? That'll do, (racist) pig; that'll do.



It will come as no biggie to read that it was the foundation quartet solely in attendance but, surprisingly, in a very well-lit and spacious cubby hole. Jobbers had brought his fold-out painting table, liberally Jackson Pollock-ed, and before I had returned with my mid-price OJ&L, the others had unpacked Bärenpark:


'Bearing' ourselves with Phil Walker-Harding's Patchwork+


In summary: Place a Tetris tile on to your board, orthogonally-touching an existing tile, and then perform the action of each icon (printed on your board) that you have covered. Three icons give you access to the three levels of tile (basic, middling size and wacko-but-big) which you collect and save for placing in future turn, while a fourth lets you draft an extension board to fill up as well (each player can have a maximum of four boards). When a player fills a board(s), they gain VP Bear Statues and when a player has filled all four, the game enters its final round. Add up all visible points and biggest score wins.

The basic game - described above - is simple and relatively-swift (as long as you don't play with Jobbers), the presentation is typically-Klemens Franz ie. colourful, bright and delightful and it has that 'is going to be a hit with everyone you introduce it to' SdJ nominee feel through-and-through. Aside from a little confusion about the game end** ('When one player has completed their fourth board'...none of us four could do this because we'd run out of 'small' tiles), it was another winner from Mr W-H:

Quote:
Dear Phil,

You are a clever bastard.

Love from Tony.


Quickly stuffed back in the box, I assumed a Boffonian preference for his recent UK Games Expo acquisition (muled by myself) and we did some building:



Suffice it say that it's an efficient card drafting/action spending race in the vein of Guildhall and has the same infuriating 'everyone ends on roughly the same score' trait of the latter. I was one building away from ending the game, three buildings ahead of my nearest rival, and skipped two turns to get much-needed cash...during which everyone else managed to catch-up and get more points. Ah well, this type of 'First to...' scoring mechanism is not to my taste.

The pork scratchings come in disappointingly-small packets at The Plough, so I plumped for something dry roasted instead. Returning to the splattered table, nuts in-hand, the others were already divvying out the chits-and-wood for new club favourite Kraftwagen:


I'm in love with my car. Gotta feel for my automobile.


Jobbers got off to a magnificent start thanks to his 'Starting Tile' which gifted him a big engine and a corking Technology card; he sold cheap-and-cheerful to beat his nearest rival by at least 30 points(!). It was good to see the flow of the Buyers/Cars for Sale resolution again - we are getting a little more devious - but there is still a nagging worry about the power-combined-with-the-randomness of the Technology deck: more plays will, no doubt, support or refute this concern.

Thinking I had time for just a quick one, we plumped for Knizia's "Soup" - a Ross-on-Wye Hall Of Fame-r - and it was another corking session; disastrously, Smudge and I were backed in to the dreaded "Play NO SOUP in the Last Round" for which we were roundly (and hilariously in Smudge's case) punished by the boys: they tied for the win while Smudge narrowly-avoided the ignominy of a negative score by just TWO points!


Soup & Robots


A phone call from Mrs B informed my that a Gloucester pick-up was not required, so I hung around for a final game which turned out to be the Bateson's open-by-unplayed copy of my 2009 'turning point' design Fzzzt!. I reminded everyone of the rules - it's been at least 3 years since it's last outing - and we were off and bidding as quick as you like. Unfortunately, making a lie of their usual auctioning prowess, the others proved unfocused and let me collect all of the robots and/or all of the icons I needed for a monumental 6 sets (36 points) off the one Production Unit (set template) which was a bigger score in itself than two of the players' COMPLETE scores! When I added my robots' individual scores too, well, it was a bit embarrassing. The others were rather subdued in the packing-away: a mixture of having missed the point and being so comprehensively trounced, I think. Sorry.

Nevertheless, a full-and-pleasing evening of games in what is - for now - a comfortable environment; here's to an end to our nomadic tendencies, eh?

*probably a politics-related C-bomb TBH
**There are some prize pricks sweeping around the Barenpark forums complaining about this - and also about a printing error on the main board - if you'd like a laugh at self-righteousness and over-privilege***.
***Or you could just hang around this blog for a bit...
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Sun Jun 11, 2017 6:45 am
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Love on a Branch Line

Anthony Boydell
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Are you a fan of Snowdonia?

Would you like an online resource that brings all of the information about scenarios, promos, spin-offs and other sundry snippets together?

Would you, as a voracious completist, like to take a reality punch to your figurative tits and see exactly how many goodies you will never be able to get your hands on?

Then why not visit Snowdonia Central:




https://www.snowdoniacentral.co.uk/

A comprehensive (and, I won't deny it, hypnotic) home for all of the above, and more, from Giles Bennett.

Pop on over and have a browse!


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Sat Jun 10, 2017 9:43 am
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Hope.

Anthony Boydell
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It's all a bit 'odd' here in the UK today.
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Fri Jun 9, 2017 10:24 am
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