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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 What was that beardy bloke going on about?

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You know that thing about Terraforming Snowdonia I did a few days ago..?

Anthony Boydell
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Well, here ya go:



Cost = 1 Steel (!).
Whenever you excavate, you excavate like Events do ie. one space per point of Work Rate rather than one cube.
However, you cannot further affect the number of cubes you take with Contract Card effects.
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Sun May 14, 2017 6:30 am
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The Professionals

Anthony Boydell
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Get this playing and then read on...




Boffo and Smudge was already dahn the boozer when I skidded me motor into the car park; I did a capple o' donuts for good luck then climbed aht froo the winduh. A dodgy old geezer wiv a dog was watchin' from the pavement: "Wotchoo lookin' at, you slag?!" I sez. He juss looks at me and sez naffin', so I nutted him and I nutted his Lahndan Fog 'n all. Ponce.

There wuz no sign o' Jobbers - probly doin' iz missus or robbin' a Post Office...or boph (knowin' Jobbers) - but there was a new bloke 'angin abaht wiv the Batesons by the name of "Bodie"*. 'E 'eard abaht us from Boffo's blog and fort he'd give it a try; 'ees from the same neck o' the woods as Gentleman Daffers, apparently. 'E might be a rozzer in disguise, so we did the Breese Test on 'im (any gamer wurf iz salt iz gonna recognize a Richard Breese game, innit?):


Keyfeedrull: Looks pretty? It can give you a birrova slap if you don't wotch aht, tho'.


'E seemed to get the 'ang of it and made enough uvva Key game references for us to fink 'e was cosher. I fink Boffo won but it were vewy close.

Kingdom Bilder woz next; iss bin a long while since we popped this wan on the Aunt Mabel but it was a proper treat. Bodie was cussin' on accahnt of 'im drawin' naffin but Sand 'n Ravine cards all the Harry, so 'e was beginning to fit right in: diamond.


Thass a loverly line o' Rats you got there, chief; be a shame if ennyfing 'appened to 'em, woodenit?


Course, the real test was when we offered 'im a nice cuppa Rosie; mind you, Bodie's only red Boffo's blog so eed not 'eard of Rosie before or, as it turns aht, Snowdonia either! Wozz the matter wiv da man, eh? Az ee bin livin' in annava cahntry or summut?

'Ang on, tho' - maybe eez bin in chokey doin' bird..? Proppuh geezuh!


We played in just over an hour, which ain't bad for five. It was very tight and Boffo's extra Rosie (and one more contract than Smudge) took 'im to the win.


Boffo started bangin' on abaht tea bein' too powerful but ee duz talk aht of his Myleene sumtimes; we just 'ad a very sunny game, is all. But I did like iz idea of half-a-point for a tea leaf**. I woz speshully pleased to see a lot of chai bein' drunk which means the game lives ahp to iss name!

Bodie 'ad to leave - summat about seein' a man abaht a motor - so the rest of us finished wiv some raw Lillian:


Sushi Go!? More like Sushi Leave It Aht!, Princess!


Boffo woz way ahead in this 'un too; eez gonna aff to be careful, mind, coz no-one likes a smart arse. He might av to check his brakes for a while, innit?

Now: fack orff, you cahnts.

*cue: everyone askin' 'im where Doyle woz
**as in a "leaf of tea" NOT a robber
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Sat May 13, 2017 10:28 am
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Tunnel Vision

Anthony Boydell
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Once again, the end of the working week beckons and - with the car in for a proper Service - Friday will be joyously, comfortably work-from-home! This means that departing Cardiff on the Thursday afternoon is infused with a special demob-happy fizz, so - seeing as the weather had looked gorgeous - I took the long route home and diverted for 'an explore'!

There was a temporary climatic blip, as I beetled through Newport and along the motorway to Chepstow, when the skies opened and the mother of all thunderstorms flooded the three lanes of speeding commuters with a couple of inches of water! It had all gone by the time I crossed the Wye in to England and followed my Google Maps up the lanes to Netherton Halt.

Why Netherton Halt? Well, the Wye Valley railway broke off from the main line at Chepstow and ran up through the village of Tidenham - and the halt - to enter a 1200 yard-long tunnel and emerge at Tintern on the other side of the hill. I'd managed to source some co-ordinates off of the web and decided I wanted to go tunnel hunting!

The lane ran over an innocuous stone bridge with a convenient lay-by on one side; I parked, grabbed my coat and set off in to the trees:


Only a few paces in and I couldn't miss it! My heart leapt...there were still rails!!!



It was a steep climb down to the track bed.



Once down, the whole channel was crunching underfoot - 50 years of cracked stones and fallen branches.



There was no way to walk or climb inside the tunnel PLUS all the metalwork was painted with black grease!



I could sneak the phone in to the gaps to take some snaps, though.



The cool air exhaled out of the long dark...



Simply my favourite picture: peaceful, eerily-still...



The grand entrance, mortared in to the rough natural stone.







Farewell; it's time to go.


In the grand scheme of Snowdonian things, all of the above overgrown splendor is summarised in this bit of my prototype Wye Valley Tourer scenario:



At least there's no grease on the cards!
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Fri May 12, 2017 6:30 am
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Terraforming Snowdonia?

Anthony Boydell
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Someone made a quip on a FB post of mine this morning:

"There needs to be a Terraforming Vehicle Train promo for Snowdonia ! (I know Snowdonia is a terraforming game already!)"

Sim Salla-bim!

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Thu May 11, 2017 10:41 am
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Toilet Humour

Anthony Boydell
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Last night, Mrs B and I took a friend (Pip) with us to see some live comedy (cue traditional commentary posts about "not finding any of that at home" etc). The tiny Savoy Theatre in Monmouth - where I saw the first release (1980?) of The Empire Strikes Back with my friend Jonathan on a rainy Saturday afternoon - now plays host to movie showings, tribute acts and - occasionally - stand up comedians; tonight it was (for the second time in three years) Mr Richard Herring:



I have long been an admirer of his coarse (but witty and satirical) act, particularly from his podcasting (The Collings and Herrin Podcast, Richard Herrings Leicester Square Theatre Podcast and As It Occurs To Me). Earlier this year I saw his former comedy duo partner, Mr Stewart Lee, so last night completed the set (for 2017, at least).

The tour is called 'The Best' and is (as you'd expect) a concatenation of his favourite bits from shows from the last 15 years; it was utterly hilarious and prescient and thoughtful and rib-tickling and there were several moments where Mrs B was laughing harder than I was! One segment, from his Talking Cock show, involved answers to an online questionnaire filled out by over 15,000 gentlemen...and one question in particular:

"What's the most unusual place you have put your penis?"

Answers included a variety of orifices and utensils, "a fat ginger lass who had a Brazilian that looked like a fish finger" and "a toilet roll with jelly spooned in to it"; our pal, Pip, thought it would be great to present the following to Richard for autographing:



Naturally, it was signed "To Tony..."!
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Thu May 11, 2017 6:21 am
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A Travelling True Story

Anthony Boydell
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Wed May 10, 2017 6:25 am
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All Kinds of Awesome!

Anthony Boydell
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Ben Parkinson, who frequents a mutual UK Facebook gaming group, posted some inspiring and awesome pictures from Africa today. He says: "I am training up young social entrepreneurs...from slum districts and remote rural villages in Uganda, through training and developing life skills at the Chrysalis Centre, a drop-in centre for children living in a Kampala slum. I am based at the Acholi Quarter, a dangerous and chaotic area, where there is terrible deprivation, but it has beautiful views of Kampala and is a place where every day you can create some change in another person's life, should you choose to. I want to see children valued in Africa, so they can create a better future for their peers and themselves.

And the post?

"Some prep work the kids have done on their own for the Uganda Village Boardgame Convention - anyone recognise it?"





This is amazing and brilliant and all-kinds-of wonderful! I am hoping Ben will send more pictures of the event next week!

More information can be found here:
- https://www.changemakers.com/empathy/entries/butterfly-proje...
- https://chrysalisuganda.wordpress.com/

And if you'd like to donate something toward this incredible work? Then please go here: https://www.justgiving.com/cyen

Fan-bloody-tastic!
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Tue May 9, 2017 6:20 am
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The Loneliness of the Long Distance Game Designer

Anthony Boydell
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We're fast approaching the UK Games Expo and my email Inbox is being deluged by notifications from their Spambot about Events, Guests, Facilities and Other Sundry Distractions (OSDs). To be honest, the whole thing looks flippin' brilliant but I have just the one problem...and it's a big one:

I won't be able to partake of most of it!

When I'm not on the Stand, I shall either be walking to/from the Hotel OR trying to find some food OR sleeping. I find myself as a wandering waif at the Expo: the crowded freeplay rooms are overwhelming and there's usually no space/no tables waiting for players. By the time I've slipped out of 'exhibitor mode', everyone has grouped up and are sorted for the evening! Despite this being an excellent playtesting opportunity, its very hard to get peeps playing a prototype when they've just picked up a launch copy of Pandemic: Gotham City or Codenames: Pets Edition. I am, truly, the loneliest soul in the most populous gamer location!

So, if you see me trudging about in a melancholic stupor, why not call out and give me a gaming home for an hour or two?

*sigh*
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Mon May 8, 2017 12:04 pm
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Man and boy

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Arthur and I went on a diverted shopping expedition, yesterday, and ended up 30 miles away in Chepstow. When he was a tiny, Nursery-attending bean, he and I would nip off - on a WFH Friday - for lunch in a nearby Town; over the space of 18 months (way back then), we visited every major settlement in Monmouthshire and Herefordshire - even taking the train further to Worcester on occasion!

Well, yesterday, it was Chepstow and we walked up the hill from the Castle's car park to find some din-dins; on the way, I dragged the poor fellow in to every Charity shop. I had few expectations of finding any Euro goodness but was pleased to find something 'game like' liberally sprinkled with sarcastic wit:



As we waited for our steak pies to arrive, Arthur flicked through the deck and began chortling to himself; he was particularly taken by the daft pictures and the mental stats:



As a find, it's hardly anything to crow about - unlike the earlier joys of Air Traffic Control, for instance, but its given my lad and me a few minutes of shared hilarity and that's certainly worth a £1 of anyone's money!

Happy Sunday!
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Sun May 7, 2017 6:30 am
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Little Voice

Anthony Boydell
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A (literal and figurative) upsy-downsy week ended with a full workshop day in the Merthyr office poring over a long and complex document; not for me the serene, armchair-and-laptop pleasures of WFH. Added to my general out-of-routine discomfort was a hacking, explosive chesty cough that's been dogging me throughout. I've been sipping my way through crates of bottled water to keep a cool throat but I can feel it slowly 'rising'; consequently, I can now produces a Basso rumble that vibrates pens across tables.

* * *


I was a few minutes late arriving at The Prince of Wales, clutching my dog-eared copy of Troyes that I wasn't _really_ expecting to play because I knew we were likely to be 'five'. There had been an email-based rumour of playing The Princes of Florence for Garry, a late birthday present, and you were not going to get any objections on my part:



This is the PERFECT game for our group: we all know the rules (apart from Garry), have had plenty of experience (apart from Garry) and understand each-others foibles and predilections (apart from Garry). I usually try and get as many Works out as possible - often six - but, today, with being in fifth position in the opening auction - and having opening professions that shared a landscape (forest) and freedom (opinion) - I decided to eschew the usual 'Jester' war and go all-in on 'Builders' (buildings get you three points a time AND your second/third builders get you 3 further points each, make buildings cheaper/free AND you can ignore the usual Tetrisian agonies of board placement). This worked very well and, mid-game, I was steadily producing works to maintain an easy auction cashflow AND gaining VPs. An aggressive 3rd builder tussle with Boffo in the penultimate auction cost me all my cash which meant taking a 3VP-for-money hit to buy an essential Freedom; I managed to stay ahead of the pack, however, with only Jobbers (and his 13VP of Privilege cards) keeping me off the top spot:



Garry had struggled in the early part, not really clear on how the Works worked and then found himself defeated by the rising 'Work Minimum Value' scale in the last rounds BUT he did manage a creditable debut score of 29. Now that he knows 'the rules', he must get to grips with the auction itself: the glorious heart of this true masterpiece!

It seemed appropriate to stay with something old and proven so, for the second week in a row, a Feld hit the table at my insistence!



Notre Dam is, perhaps, my all-time favourite Feld design: so much delicious decision-making in such a perfectly-formed compact package! My opening draft hand suggested 'Garden' + 'Garden' and a VP-hoovering strategy, so that's what I went with; for the remainder of the game, I was taking extra VP chits EVERYWHERE - initially via the 'messages' and, always, via the Helpers at the end of the rounds. I was hit with the Rat penalty just-the-once while the others all suffered at least twice; Boffo, who led off with 'double cathedral' (!), suffered EVERY round bar one in an astonishing ND version of the Stone Age 'starvation strategy' - in fact, the enormous stack of VP chits at the end suggested he might've actually pulled it off...but they all turned out to be 1s. In revenge for the earlier game, I kept ahead of Jobbers (53-51-46-42-23) to take a glorious victory: the first round Garden set-up proved decisive and carried the day!

Two absolute corkers, then, in a session that I think could be universally acclaimed as a classic. By this hour, my voice was crumbling into croaky inaudibility so bodes a quiet rest-of-the-weekend in the Boydell household: an extra bonus for the family, perhaps?

*cough*hack*splutter*
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Sat May 6, 2017 10:18 am
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