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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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Adventskalendar 4 - Burn It With Fire!

Anthony Boydell
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Now this one I had heard vague mutterings about while in Germany; I believe we were queuing for a table at the "Pigs Knuckle Brew House" and I overheard someone mention there was a game about the Library of Alexandria to be had: think Downfall of Pompeii but collecting books at the same time?



An amusing little chitty, it seems that >1 player in this room will make everyone lose time - ho! ho! ho! Us boardgamers, eh - what are we like? A good joke well implemented then but, wait, there's an elephant in the room here - can you see it?

LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THE PROMO COMPARED TO THE REST OF THE KALENDAR CARDBOARD SHEET?!

FFS, how hard could it have been to come up with at least three more 'fun' rooms to make this a worthwhile promo, eh? I mean, I came up with SIX tiles for the Isle of Skye Kennerspiel-winner celebration set and it only took me one boring ICT Team meeting to do so! Lazy, that's what it is; sheer bloody laziness!

Next time ask me; I'll do it for a cup of nice coffee and some free stuff.
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Mon Dec 4, 2017 6:20 am
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SUnboxing

Anthony Boydell
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Sun Dec 3, 2017 6:30 am
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Adventskalendar 3 - The Noise That Annoys?

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Today we see the first non-cardboard promo - ie. a card - for Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure, a classically-themed, multi-nominated flavour of the several-months-now.


Sneak in, steal stuff but don't wake the Dragon


Clank is a push-your-luck deck-builder with some cute twists but my deck-building gaming taste-buds have been forever-tainted with the sour tang of "the Dominion years". Dominion is now a game so overwrought and so overladen that one might-as-well play it like Dobble ie. set out ten random piles and whoever spots 'the combo that will win' first is the winner; if there is a tie, roll a d6 to see who would've got that combo going first. Besides, its only had 659 plays this month so far...and 626 were some joker logging his mobile app sessions: that's basically defunct, innit?!

(insert a sad face emoji here to lend an air of authenticity)

Whilst I have no particular axe to grind either way with Clank!, it IS pleasing to see this promo going for circa 10 euros in the Geekmarket - that's an infinite %-age profit on my original Adventskalendar investment of "Free und gratis to you, mein guvnor!"

(insert a smug emoji here)

(oh, and don't forget to delete the placeholder prompts, you knob!)
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Sun Dec 3, 2017 6:30 am
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The Keynard Line

Anthony Boydell
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We started early (7PM) to give Gary an earlier finish because he lives about 40 miles from Ross-on-Wye: it's no fun driving through the Herefordian wilds at midnight with it's complete lack of light pollution and a high risk of hedgehog/badger-based roadkill opportunities. As it turned out, he was still winding down our second big game of the night - the excellent Transatlantic - even after I'd scooted off for Son-collection duties at 10.45PM!

With a lack of Jobbers this evening, it seemed the perfect opportunity to try out a multi-player session of Keyper; my first readings of the rulebook had me scratching my head in places as I struggled to visualise the process BUT one fresh-and-bright Spring in to the actual playing-of-it and it's all straightforward enough.


Hmmmmmm.
6 types of worker,
27 'actions' on 4 manipulate-able game boards,
three modes of action taking
(place alone, 'join' and 'laying down'),
8 types of animal,
four types of gem,
3 basic goods,
3 finished goods,
26 seasonal Fairs,
12 starting country tiles each
and 48 general country tiles.


In summary: Place a worker on an empty action space (field) which may result in you doing that action alone or one other player 'joining' OR add a worker to a field with only one worker already on it OR (if you're out of workers and your 'Keyper' piece) 'lay down' a worker(s) in a field on your (claimed-by-your-Keyper) board. Resolved actions give you stuff (cubes or animals or gems), convert stuff or let you build / upgrade / sell stuff. Resolved actions are better if the action colour is matched by your placed worker(s) and/or there are more workers.

It was patently obvious that Boffo and Smudge - with three games under their belts - were going to run away with proceedings; I'm not sure it helped that they were sat immediately next to each other either - Boffo placing and Smudge joining was a bit of a mantra. They also kicked off and hogged blue and white meeples: blue (sailors) being the best for selling goods for veeps (a LOT) and white (wild cards) for being able to follow at will. I was totally bewildered by the options available and one's 'starting Fairs' - which give you sets of things to possess by the end of a given Season - didn't help much because they were worth such derisory amounts of VPs. I managed to fill my 'Town' portion of the board but a finishing score of 48, compared to Smudge's victorious 125, showed this to be a fruitless (if hard fought) endeavour.

Yes, I moaned and groaned.

Yes, I huffed and puffed.

Yes, I swore and cursed.

The vast panorama (see the box cover!) of options is precisely why I have no interest in A Feast For Odin or modern-day Felds: I struggle to bring so much sand-boxing in to focus! As beautiful, innovative, lovingly-crafted and slightly-bonkers as Keyper is, it was too overwhelming and had me pining for some klaustrophobic Keyflower kapers instead*.

Our second game - with 90 minutes left on my own clock - was another Spiel release...the aforementioned Transatlantic:


More benevolent than Concordia but with some equally-convoluted scoring.


In summary: Play a card from your hand and do the action on it. Buy ships, deploy ships, refuel ships, send them trading for money and points, collect score-boosting chits: repeat until game end.

I managed to survive Boffo's rules explanation which - through no fault of his (he is generally very good at teaching) - had to compete with the lingering fug of my Keyper experience. Trans Atlantic is also incredibly straightforward in the actual playing; I found myself kicking ahead on the scoreboard by hogging red and blue ships (and their equivalent scoring tokens) which proved steadily-lucrative whenever one of those ships retired. Money flowed easily and I felt cosy and comfortable in my card-play throughout: Trans Atlantic is tighter and I loved it for this. Unfortunately, I had to leave about 10 minutes before the end - missing the all important 'wrap-up' - so the others played out my remaining turns 'logically' and I lost out to Smudge by just 4 points. I didn't see how she managed it (I thought I had edged enough in front to take it), so I guess I'll just have to play it again soon?!

Two more Essen releases under our belts, then, and 2017 - despite my clogged-headedness in Keyper - is shaping up to be a vintage year indeed!

*I will, of course, play it again to see if this myopia is just a temporary 'learning game' condition.
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Sat Dec 2, 2017 9:37 am
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Adventskalendar 2 - The Arse of Eternity

Anthony Boydell
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The English side of the rulesheet calls this 'A Column of Fire' but that's not what the German side calls it, oh no! 'The Arse of Eternity' (literal translation) is a complete mystery. I don't recall any fuss or bother in 2017 for this 2017 release; there was no Essen Spiel stampede, no hotness-bothering hovering: nothing...other than a vague indication that it's Part 3 of a Follett-based series. The first Follett ('Pillars of the Earth') is utterly fantastic, the second ('World Without End') I have heard is utterly fantastic and this - of which I have heard nothing at all - looks like it might be utterly fantastic but that's no guarantee nowadays.

Still, it is Christmas, so if I don't buy anything for myself then I'll not get anything at all...

(scurries off to the BGG Marketplace)

Oooh, there's one for £25!

(presses [Add to Cart])
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Sat Dec 2, 2017 6:45 am
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Adventskalendar 1 - The Most Passive/Aggressive Game Since Hanabi?

Anthony Boydell
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Picture Grandma's face as you slam the dobber down repeatedly - and hard - in front of her because she can't work out a) which tile she's supposed to be looking at and b) what the little 'role' chit in front of her means again. You'll vibrate the false teeth right out of her mouth!

Picture little cousin Jimmy - his crisp new Beano annual in one hand and a Lego Star Wars figure in the other - as you slam the dobber down repeatedly - and hard - in front of him because he can't work out a) why everyone is shouting at him when he was perfectly happy sat in a mountain of wrapping paper in the Dining Room five minutes before and b) can he watch the Christmas cartoons on CBBC yet? You'll make him cry so hard he'll be sick!

Magic Maze is an appalling platform for shouty, pompous twats to get all on your dick about "paying attention" and "working together" and shit. Here's your Adventskalendar Day 1 so-called 'gift': you're f*cking welcome to it.
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Fri Dec 1, 2017 10:21 am
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Playing with yourself for fun AND profit!

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It's December, so:

Marty "approaching 5000" Malone
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is running his annual Snowdonia solo challenge ie. who can score the highest given a specific starting condition.

It runs from Today to the 31st and peeps are encouraged to play, post photos and write up their experiences (good and bad). I like to throw in some prizes too, as it's so rewarding seeing such direct love for my little board game!



This year the scenario is...NO TRAIN ie. who can score the highest with just two labourers per Round? If you're interested in taking part then here's the place to go:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/200307/item/5798056#i...

Good luck and happy steaming!
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Fri Dec 1, 2017 6:25 am
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The Czech _was_ in the post!

Anthony Boydell
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*rubs hands together in glee*
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Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:10 am
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Old Red Eyes Is Back

Anthony Boydell
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Me and Mrs B don't get to go out much (apart from the weekly dance lessons which don't count coz they're just up the road), so it's always a delight when we finally escape the household for the ENTIRE evening! Mostly it will be to the cinema but, occasionally, we make it to an actual live gig!

On Monday evening, after having driven the 55 miles to Cardiff and work, I drove the 55 miles home again to pick up Mrs B and transport her (almost immediately) back down the same road 44 miles to Newport for Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott at the Leisure Centre/Gymnasium and sometime Concert Hall: The Newport Centre.

Cue vaseline-lensed flashback: I recall when the venue was 'brand new'; the two of us queued for 4 hours in a dusty, rubble-strewn make-do car park to end up not getting Tin Machine tickets; we picked up some Roachford ones instead and - later - we took Karen's cousin to her first Crowded House concert there (1992) where they sang her a special song: "Happy Birthday, Hannah".

On this chilly November evening, we queued around the building and I muttered about how old all the punters looked and then remembered that I was old too and they would've been as fresh-faced, be-trenchcoated as we were when we saw The Beautiful South at the Liverpool Royal Court or The Ramones at the University or Stiff Little Fingers or All About Eve or...

With the calm, unhurriedness of the been here/done this all before, we purchased a couple drinks and a tee-shirt from the Merch stand before ambling in to the Hall and up to the Stage barriers. In the blue glow of 500 smartphones, we chatted and cheered the roadies until the support act came on (Son Little) and rocked us - Black Keys-style - for half an hour. Then, in a flurry of dismantled drum kit and - oddly - a burly bouncer carrying a box labelled "Confetti Re-Fills", the Stage was clear for the main event!

They were wonderful; they were rich and funny. All killer and no filler, the Heaton songbook from the 1980s until now in all it's gorgeously sing-along, darkly-witty glory! A particular treat was "Good as Gold" with it's chirpy "carry on regardless" refrain that our youngest daughter misheard - and repeated endlessly - as "carry on with the gardeners"!



Here are some more snaps from a fantastic, soul-lifting, ear-engulfing, glitter-filled and smokey-bubbled tune-tastic odyssey:





It's good to get out for a bit.
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Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:20 am
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M.I.A?

Anthony Boydell
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What the Hell has happened to Fragor Games?! They disappeared in a cloud of industrious activity over the Summer of 2016 and missed that year's Spiel entirely - not even glimpse of a Brother Lamont within those sacred halls.

Then, in the Spring of 2017, we were all delighted and excited to hear of their licensing deal for Nick Park's Wallace & Gromit franchise!



Lawks, but we were expecting at least a couple of white boards with "artists impressions" come Spiel 2017; one even hoped one would get to finger a 3D-printed were-rabbit! Again, the biggest show in the world came-and-went with no "Sorry, we can't make it"s or "Don't worry, we're still alive!"s. And that's precisely when I get to worrying.

No updates on BGG, no updates on their website, no sign of them at any of the usual shows; no rumours, no tweets and no word of any kind. I worry.

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Tue Nov 28, 2017 6:20 am
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