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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Leiria Control - That’s Entertainment

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh, what a beautiful mornin’; oh what a beautiful daaaaaaaaay! Yes indeed, dear hearts; I set myself a longer lie-in and snoozed until a decadent 8.30am. Aside from an aching knee, it was a comfortable sleep made all the more satisfying by the glorious A.M weather.



Uli greeted me cheerily with his fabulous ‘Tony Scream’ tee...as did Ben with his ‘Can You Not Cheat’ one: I made $4 profit from those two.









Above: I managed to get thru five tests of Attention All Shipping today and VERY damn useful they were too; indeed, the game at 10AM had been smoothed significantly come 7PM.

Just prior to supper, we (Ben, Meeplepeat, Bruno & I) fit in a quick Fzzzt!; hashtag ‘bad teacher’ as I was merciless in my crushing.



And, so, to the main event: An Infamous Traffic. Playing a serious game while getting pissed with Uli B is now an essential convention date and, like last year’s John Company debacle, AIT did not disappoint! A full and eager five pumped opium into China and had an hilarious riot of a time doing so. I may have arsed my finances for the sake of a 3VP peerage but it garnered me second place! Incredible game.



We closed with Arboretum (awful) and then 6 Nimmt (sublime) and then, ploddingly/wearily to bed.



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Sat Mar 16, 2019 6:40 am
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Leiria Control - In The City

Anthony Boydell
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The tiny phone must serve as this evening’s conduit of blogular chronicalisation because I’ve left my laptop in the UK. The journey was pretty unremarkable until we approached Lisbon in glorious sunshine - see the photos above!

It was an upsy-downsy journey North what with me getting used to manual transmission again AND left-hand drive! The sea front was warm and windy with huge waves breaking on the sandy beach.

There was time, after the generous welcome, to fit in Attention All Shipping before supper with Richard and my official Leiriacon minder (!) Bruno. Joined by many pals, we scoffed and then returned to the main room for Jumpdrive, Glory to Rome and Skull King. Ben M joined Richard and me for GtR and - because we were guiding him - he win with a whomping 42 points!

Cheap beer and jolly banter saw us all to the ridiculous hour of 3AM and here: tapping the screen of my iPhone when I should be sleeping.
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Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:30 am
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Leiria Control - Start!

Anthony Boydell
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This is me today: a travellin' man. Car then plane then car to take me - and pal Ricardo - to the North-Western shores of Portugal: LeiriaCon 2019 awaits.



As well as being a hub for an expected 400 or real gamers, a great many of us publisher and media peeps are making the trek too: 'locals' Bruno, Nuno, Paulo, Vital, Mariano and Veronica PLUS 'internationals' Ben Maddox, Matthias Nagy, Matthias Cramer, Markus and Inka Brand, Paul Grogan, Isaac Childres, Uli B, Stefan Stadler, Citie Lo and Ella Ampongan. Goodness, I need to take my autograph book!



I've already been invited to a game of Tales of the Northlands: The Sagas of Noggin the Nog on Saturday plus all of the playtesting I want to get covered; which reminds me: I must remember to get enough 'social beer' euros out of the SSG expense account before Stansted Airport.

Like last year, my posts for the next few days shall be mainly pics with the barest of commentary (no laptop, just the tiny iPhone keyboard, little-to-no-sleep etc).
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Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:06 am
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FLGS 51 (Chess)

Anthony Boydell
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(we are in a friendly local game store; the shelves are well-stocked with enticing new releases, staples and the occasional intriguing oddity. The cashier is sat on a high stool behind the PoS counter; he rests his hands upon his knees, is straight-backed and completely still. He has his eyes closed while listening to a classical music soundtrack on the shop's tannoy. A customer can be seen approaching the display window and is looking at it's contents with a bewildered expression)

Cashier: (with eyes still closed, whispering) You can come in, if you like?

(the customer removes his woolly hat and presses the shop door; it opens silently but, of course, triggers the bell)

Door Bell: (the sound of sparkles) * * * * * * * * * * * * *

(the customer steps up to the counter cautiously)

Customer: (nervously) Um -

Door Bell: (the music of the spheres) * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Customer: (trepidatiously) Er -

(there is a moment's silence)

Customer: (turning on his heels towards the exit) I think I've made a mista-

Cashier: (opening his eyes, he speaks gently) - Welcome.

Customer: (turning) I'm sorry but I can't remember why I've come here.

Cashier: (looking around) Perhaps to buy a game, Sir?

Customer: (confused) No, er - yes; perhaps that was the reason? I'm afraid my memory is a little fuzzy.

Cashier: (patiently) There is no hurry, Sir; please - take your time.

Customer: (relieved) Thank you; I think I'll have a look around.

Cashier: Of course, Sir.

(the customer wanders for a bit then picks up a copy of Spirit Island and starts reading the base blurb)

Cashier: (kindly) Do you enjoy playing games, Sir?

Customer: (looking up) I do; co-ops, mainly - nothing too confrontational.

Cashier: You're in it for the Social side rather than the competitive one, right?

Customer: (nodding) That's right, yes.

Cashier: And are you a 'good gamer', Sir?

Customer: 'Good'? Do you mean in a skilled sense?

Cashier: Is there another kind, Sir?

Customer: Well there's 'good' as in 'virtuous', I guess?

Cashier: Very true. Are you a virtuous gamer, Sir?

Customer: Most of the time, I think.

Cashier: (a little surprised) Most of the time, Sir?

Customer: Well, I do get impatient with people when they take a long time on their turns or make moves I wanted to make. Nothing terrible, though; just letting off a bit of steam.

Cashier: Goodness me!

Customer: (pausing, he massages his temples and gives a pained expression) It's not like I've killed anyone.

Cashier: Isn't it, Sir?

Customer: I don't suppose you have a paracetamol, do you? Only I have a blinding headache.

(the cashier hands the customer a glass of water and a box of tablets)

Cashier: Found anything yet, Sir?

Customer: (pulling a box, at random, from the shelf beside him) What's this like?

Cashier: Scythe? A lot of drama in a short time, Sir; a striking presentation, certainly.

Customer: (taking another) And this?

Cashier: Skull King? An absolute classic, Sir; one of my personal favourites.

Customer: This?

Cashier: Ah, now: Perdition's Mouth? Let's not go there, Sir; a deeply unpleasant experience.

Customer: Oh. (he pinches the bridge of his nose)

Cashier: How's your headache, Sir?

Customer: No better. I - um - I -

Cashier: Is there something you want to tell me, Sir?

Customer: (looking around the shop) Is this really an FLGS?

Cashier: What else could it be, Sir?

Customer: (hesitantly) Only -

Cashier: Yes, Sir?

Customer: - Only I think I did actually kill someone. During a game of Pandemic and no-one was listening to my suggestion for dealing with the imminent Milan outbreak. They never listened and then we drew Milan and the whole continent chain-reacted and then someone blamed me for not swapping the right cards and I knocked over my drink by mistake and it soaked the game and all of the components. And then he laughed at me.

Cashier: I see, Sir.

Customer: So I hit him with the giant pepper mill. (coming to a realisation) Oh, Lord. Where am I?! What have I done?!

Cashier: (more serious but, still, kindly) You're in the Ultimate FLGS, Sir: the "Finished Life Game Store", if you will; the "Friendly Last Gasp Store". God's Workshop. "Essence Spiel".

Customer: 'Was'modée?

Cashier: (chuckling) Sort-of, Sir.

Customer: (nervous again) So - what happens to me now?

Cashier: Well, that's entirely up to you, Sir.

Customer: Has the man I killed been in yet?

Cashier: He's waiting over there in the open gaming room, Sir (he points) You could go and apologise..?

(a closed door appears in the far wall where a display carousel of Adlungspiele decks had been; a bright light is shining through the gaps between the door itself and the architrave. The customer walks slowly towards it, reaches out for the handle and pulls; there is a blinding flash and, at once, both the customer and the doorway are gone)

Cashier: (sighing) How nice.

Door Bell: (the sound of sparkles) * * * * * * * * * * * * *

(someone walks in)

Cashier: Welcome -

Customer: Fancy a game of Chess?
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Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:15 am
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Poe-try

Anthony Boydell
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Once upon a Friday evenin’, while I studied at The Plough Inn,
Over many a quaint and curious Euro rank’d as wunderbar
While I rules-read, nearly dozing, suddenly there came a nosing,
As of some one “Hi? Hello?”-zing, interposing from the bar.
’Tis some customer”, I muttered, “question-posing from the bar? –
juste un client au comptoir


Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate supping member scoffing at our hobby pure.
Eagerly I wished the others; - swiftly come my sisters, brothers!
For this e’en (had I my druthers), smother me in Essen’s spoor –
For the rare and radiant board games muled from Essen Messe’s door –
Stackèd here upon the floor.

And the burping, bold, intruding queries of the barfly’s brooding
Illed me – filled me with a dreadful portent often felt of late;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I sat repeating
Tis some customer entreating at taverns back room’s gate–"
Some old visitor entreating: “’Tis like Monopoly, mate?
We all think Monopoly is great!

Presently, my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly tis nothing like that Hasbro curse;
But, in fact, it’s something finer: I say “God Save Regina!” –
Look! this board game’s own designer’s liner notes are writ in verse
Likened to Monopoly? Nay! You could compare to nothing worse!
"
My lips did purse at Hasbro’s curse.

Then this nosy lout beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By his much-confused demeanor at my reposte to his implore;
Though your pate be shorn and shaven , thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Perhaps polymath or maven? Loitering at the tavern’s door -
Tell me: what’s thy fav’rite hobby for a Night’s board gaming draw?

Quoth this knave one: “Connect Four!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Twenty B&H whose tarry billows flowed in the Fire Door.
*Retch* (I choked), “thy God hath sent thee – in his anger to torment me!
In spite; in spite and present me with an evening of Cee Four?!
Nay, oh nay I must prevent thee and forget this dinosaur!
"
Quoth this brave one: “Connect Four?”

Comrade!” said I, “speak no evil! – comrade still (or man, or devil?!)
By that Heaven that bends above us – by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul - with marrow frozen - if the game that you’re supposing
It can be, perhaps, un-chosen? This, the awful Connect Four?
Browse my hold-all, steadfast yeoman who attends the tavern door!

Quoth the grave one: “Connect Four!

And the punter, ne’er disbanding, still is standing, still is standing
On the tattered patch of carpet just beside the tavern’s door;
And his eyes have set to blinking like a devil that is thinking
Of the chunky discs a-clinking in their plastic armature
And my soul is steeped in shadow as I’m playing Connect Four.
Cursed to play for evermore.

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Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:15 am
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The Party's Over

Anthony Boydell
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Yesterday was Arthur's 11th birthday 'treat' and a party with his school pals. As a Year 6, this occasion is, in all likelihood, the last one of it's kind to grace the Boydell household: next year he'll be in secondary school and will, no doubt, have different requirements. For now, though, Arthur wanted a trip to 'Lunar City' - a bouncy castle to end all bouncy castles:



He, and six pals, removed their shoes and disappeared in to the cavernous hall leaving me and the missus to seek out a coffee; the kids emerged - red faced and puffing - every 10 mins or so, in dribs-and-drabs, to glug down half a pint of chilled water and then return to the fray.


(Arthur scales the obelisk)


For nearly 25 years Mrs B & I have made-and-decorated umpteen cakes, designed and implemented our own themed parties* and wrestled with the booking of village halls, museums, parks, pools, mazes and/or garden-filling inflatables; we've cooked the house's weight in pizza, french fries and chicken nuggets; and, we've made every single card ourselves. That phase of our parental lives is now over, I fear; another stark transition to be simultaneously mourned and celebrated.

Fate added a figurative - and literal! - sprinkle to the sunny-but-windy afternoon by sending a hailstorm and a snow shower which sent the children scurrying into the garden trailing mozzarella and biscuit crumbs; they made slushy snowballs and bounced on the trampoline until soaked and then came in for the lighting of the cake. They played their role perfectly, unaware of the World changing under their feet; indeed, when we sent Arthur upstairs for his Sunday evening bath, I could swear he was already an inch taller.


*Harry Potter (with troll, levitating stuff and real Quidditch; mermaids and a Goblet of Fire); Peter Pan; 1930s murder-mystery and many more
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Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:10 am
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Goals

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You've got to have something to aim for, right? It's all very well playing around within a rule-space but there has to be a goal. I've been solo-ing Attention All Shipping every evening for the last couple of weeks and I'd initially set off with a deck of Navigation cards (bottom half of the pic below): the premise is that you must deliver at least one fish to each of the Ports on the card - for which you use your marker discs - and then you can cash it in for some extra money and, sometimes, a free upgrade to your boat.


(top) The random pairing goals of Port + Fish Order vs
(botton) A pre-determined route (and you get to choose what fish to deliver)


This has been working well enough but, after a dozen or so games, I've ended up spinning around-and-around the map in a single-minded pursuit of those Ports; it doesn't feel "tricky" enough (for the solo variant at least) because it doesn't matter what fish - though the regions do regard the value of the fish species differently ie. fish that can be caught locally are cheap, those from more exotic climes are expensive!

To spice things up, I made another mini-deck of objectives - one card for each sea area with the top fish caught in the area as an 'alt/flipped' end; the idea is to shuffle the deck then deal out some areas and then an equal number of cards - but inverted - to tuck under the top of the area card as the 'fish order' to be delivered. As well as getting the money for the fish, the player also gets a small cash (VP) bonus. I'm liking this idea more than the fixed 'Navigation' sets because a well-planning player could stack close deliveries and really knock them out!

Of course, this is entirely what play-testing is all about and these twin contract methods shall be an area of focus through next weekend's Leiriacon visit. As a matter of interest, though; what do you lot think?

Do you prefer the fixed sets OR the random fish/Port pairings?

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Given the choice I'd rather get my goal satisfaction through:
a couple of cards with their own sets of Ports to visit; when I've visited them all I get a yummy bonus!
a set of randomly-drawn pairs of cards showing a sea area Port and a fish order that they have ordered; when delivered I get the usual cash plus a little extra on top.
      94 answers
Poll created by tonyboydell
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Sun Mar 10, 2019 7:30 am
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I love a shared deck of cards in a game; I loathe a shared deck of cards in a game.

Anthony Boydell
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For a brief moment, we were staring down the twin barrels of i) two tables-worth of juicy gaming and ii) the first appearance in much time of Cap'n Byll 'Billikins' Billson. Alas, a fractured patella (his mother's, not his) ended up depriving us of his wry presence and we were stuck with the good company of the core five and the bad scenario of 'five players'. It didn't take a clairvoyant to predict that we would open with Wingspan as this is very much the jeux du jour; indeed, the Batesons are now in possession of their very own copy courtesy of 'March 8th' being the official release date. Apropos of that, apparently my self-enforced absenting from Facebook has meant I've missed a major kerfuffle about people showing they have received copies BEFORE the (embargoed?) release date: some retailers have mounted their high horses* to complain that they were Holy enough to keep stock 'back' until the date that His Serene Majesty James hath decreed while others shipped 'em out the moment the UPS guy threw the parcels against the jamb. A controversial issue with arguments on both sides but, in the words of Sister Wendy (the famous art-critiquing Nun): "Who gives rosy-cheeked, klunting fuck?!". It's a board game, you pricks; not the Ark of the shitting Covenant! Anyway, not being on Social Media has worked wonders for my mindfulness.

WS was, for me, a bit of a bust this evening: hampered by drawing only expensive-to-play, non-forest, no-activation-ability birds at the start, I found myself taking singular food actions three or four times in a round while the others were busy playing, egging and chaining bonuses. I thought I might reach a reasonable score with a surfeit of Bonus Cards but they, too, seemed to be drawing at cross-purposes with my bare tableau. Of course, getting this kind of sluggish beginning clouds one's perception of the finishing and I sank in to a fug of frustration:



There was quite the dance for game number two - I was resolutely staying out of it - with Viticulture Essential Edition eventually winning out. For some reason - and not entirely my fault - the others in the club have played this a lot more than I have so the first ten minutes were wrestling with remembering how the whole thing flowed. Again, my opening (Mama & Papa-gifted) visitor cards - and hugely expensive Wine Contract - seemed weak compared to the shenanigans being perpetrated by the others: everyone seemed to have MORE workers, better cards and vines in the colours they needed. Like WS, I seemed to be wasting actions just to get up to a reasonable starting position while the others were off-and-running from the get-go. Experience is all, naturally, but following my exasperating Avians I was neck-deep in an evening of passive observation rather than active participation:



With a soul full of melancholy, I pushed for us to close with something that didn't rely on the random drawing of cards from a shared deck...and then remembered that Ben had brought Citadels: third time's the charm, eh?



Now THAT's more like it! In a tight and immensely-fun 40 mins, I found myself happily avoiding MOST of the nasty effects and steadily building my rainbow kingdom: the final round, myself as King, let me pick the only good Role (the Merchant) from a wonderfully 'Meh' hand of non-Assassin, ineffectual cards. Jobbers commenced celebrating a thumping 27 point win - with ALL of us in the 20s (pretty rare, that) - only for me to proudly announce a doubly-thumping 29. A modicum of respect gained, then, after an evening of vexatious top un-decking.

*pick your definition (ride or 'ride'), as both apply
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Sat Mar 9, 2019 9:26 am
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The Year Of Living Game-gerously

Anthony Boydell
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What 2019 has in store: from me to you!


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Fri Mar 8, 2019 6:45 am
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The Stolen Child

Anthony Boydell
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No credit where credit is due, eh? Twunts.
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Thu Mar 7, 2019 6:40 pm
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