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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Anthony Boydell
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Since I started dumping my thoughts, daily, into this blog (the 8th March, 2011), I have (of course) been playing a lot of games. I thought I'd extract the 'from then until now' list from BGG, as I'm a faithful chronicler of instances using the excellent iPhone app.

Ignoring the debate about whether I should log electronic, as well as physical, plays (that's one for another time) here is the list. I've sorted it into my own categories and provided a little commentary.

Meaty Games:
Agricola 11
Glory to Rome 6
Key Market 3
Power Grid: Brazil/Spain & Portugal 2
Power Grid: Benelux/Central Europe 1
Power Grid: China/Korea 1
The Pillars of the Earth 1
Goa 1
Graenaland 1

I'm surprised that this list isn't broader - it seems the last few months have seen a simplifying trend. I know my pal Richard has been playing a lot of 18XX and Iain ('the Student') has been uncharacteristically sensible and studied for his exams rather than play games - so this has probably removed the usual need for something meaty to get our teeth into.

For a period of 80 or so days, there is a disappointing lack of Agricolean activity - that's not even a 'once per week' average - must do better! And I think I'd prefer a little less Power Grid and a little more Goa in the coming months...

Medium Games:
Magic: The Gathering 6
Paperclip Railways 6
7 Wonders 2
Alhambra 2
King of Tokyo 2
Nightfall 2
Thunderstone 2
Acquire 1
Battlestar Galactica: Exodus Expansion 1
Airlines Europe 1
Airships 1
Keythedral 1
Caylus Magna Carta 1
Finca 1
Modern Art 1
Pantheon and Other Roleplaying Games 1
Pergamon 1
Small World 1
Stone Age 1
Strasbourg 1
Yspahan 1

Wow! Lots of good, accessible and satisfying stuff in this bit of the list - and quite a range of theme and complexity too. This is a fair refelection of MOST of my gaming habits, I think - many of the entries here are favourites that get aired three or four times a year (Airships, Small World, BSG).

Any prior list (since October 2010) would've had 7 Wonders at the top with 30+ plays per quarter, but it's noticable that my love for this has dropped off in inverse proportion to the growth of groupthink; 7W has more than earned its purchase cost in entertainment value - I REALLY hope Leaders will inject a new enthusiasm into this smart game.

Fillers / ‘One more for the Road’)
For Sale 6
Dixit 5
Dōbutsu Shōgi 4
Familienbande 3
Plus and Minus 3
Totemo 3
Tsuro 3
11 nimmt! 2
Biblios 1
Callisto 1
Acuity 1
FITS 1
Gargon 1
The Red Dragon Inn 1
Citadels 1
Hive 1
Labyrinth The Card Game 1
Labyrinth: The Duel 1
Wits & Wagers 1
Zombie in my Pocket 1

The standard melange (that's becoming a pet word of mine) of bits and pieces to open or close an evening. Familienbande, For Sale! and Dixit proving immensely popular with non-gamer friends and family - accessible, colourful and just the right level of complexity and interaction.

Other Stuff:
Unpublished Prototype 7

All the product of a couple of Surprised Stare games development days. We're lucky that our work (sometimes) is also our hobby!
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Mon May 30, 2011 10:45 am
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Busy Bees (part 2 of 2)

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(Part One can be found HERE)

Another day, another assembly line - for 120 copies in the first run, Paperclip Railways is proving a fiddly little beast to assemble! Anyway, its done now *phew* and I'm pretty convinced that we'll get someone else to do all the hard work for the next Edition!

Dramatis Personae:
Somewhere in the organized choas of our kitchen, you will variously glimpse: Tony Boydell(avec 7 Wonders promo tee-shirt), Alice Boydell, Benedict Boydell, Alan Paull and Charlie Paull. Taking the photos, looking after the rest of the Boydell clan and providing a constant stream of drinks and marmite toast is Karen Boydell (Mrs)

1,2,3,4,5...damn! I lost count
A montage of Paperclip counting scenes...64 of each player colour (or thereabouts - you need 60 each, but it never hurts to provide a few spares) and 34 (with 2 spare blues) for the River...


(note the judiciously-placed play-test copy of Ticket To Ride: Ivor The Engine in the foreground!)


Folding boxes/sticking artwork - watch out for paper cuts!
Once you've got that muscle memory thing sorted, you can get through folding 100 bases in a VERY short time!



You put it altogether!
All the components, in their supermarket-bagged, zip-loc-ed, counted and double-counted Glory! Now, pick up an empty box, start at the top end of the table and walk in an orderly, anti-clockwise direction...one of these and one of those and one of those etc

(one score board, one metropolis board, 4 obstacles, wooden cubes, starting stations, one set of 96 station cards, spare baggies, adhesive putty, 'the river', five sets of paperclips, one rule book, one station appendix guide...one full copy of PCR!




And there you have it! Ready for dispatch!

An email will be going out to the pre-orderers very soon about payment, dispatch and all that nonsense and we'll see some of you, of course, at this coming weekends' Uk Games Expo!

*excited*
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Sun May 29, 2011 9:01 am
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Norse-y, but nice

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In the lands of the North, where the black rocks stand guard against the cold sea*, in the dark night that is very long**, the Men of the Graenalands sit by their great log fires and they tell a tale.

They tell of a Prince and how he traveled in the forests and the hills, the mountains and, er, the forests again to collect wood, ore, cattle and grain to build at least six settlements in three different territories, have an army of power 3 or more and a minimum of two Buildings (a Church and a Keep, as it so happens). Boddle the Bod. Prince of the Bods, was his name.

The Bods built Boddle a long ship of oak from the va-lleys (isn't it): the mast a single perfect pine tree; the high prow carved, painted and gilded to look like a ferocious Golden Retriever***. Boddle and his band of warriors - Thor Bateson (Captain of the Guard) and Plant the Lofty (inventor) - sailed down the fjord towards the sea. Boddle's trusted adviser and Librarian: the 'Bird' Beckulus, however, was nowhere to be seen - dispatched on a mission of great (im)Port to forge an Ale-iance with Spirits.

As the people waved from the Quay; everyone was sad to see them go, all except one: BodBill The Bad - Boddle's wicked Uncle. Bodbill coveted the Crown of the Graenalands (well, he would - it's his copy of th'game).

They all knew the game would be arduous: it took 15 minutes to work out the setup - finally realizing that the lovely artwork on the back of the resource cards matched, sort of, the lovely artwork on the territory tiles.

They all knew it would be difficult: resources are gained by propositions about their distribution - the most powerful player in a territory chooses how they will be divided and everyone else with an interest there votes FOR or AGAINST. This generally breaks down into: "I propose, with my overwhelming majority, to have EVERYTHING - you lot can scrabble around on the granite beaches picking limpets off the cold rock" - or similar.

They all knew it would be awkward: from the first wave of Czech boardgames, Graenaland has a variety of stupidly-tiny wooden and cardboard bits.

Prince Boddle bade his time, bullied his way around the mountains and stiffed the others out of resources at every opportunity. Victory came about 90 minutes in - a perfectly-good Settlers-like affair, but hard to see how this would steal precious gaming time over newer, or more staple, games.

With the conquest complete, the band settled down to a more contemplative diversion: Biblios. A light, nicely-presented set collection card game with a Monastic theme, Biblios played in two halves - card distribution (to players or an auction pile) and then an auction. Victory points are awarded by having the highest value set of a colour, there are five colours; the points are represented by dice which can be plus-ed or minus-ed during the game. Money cards in the deck can be collected, along with the colour cards, and is used in the auction phase to buy more cards with which to make sets. Prince Boddle ended up in a tie with Thor Bateson who, much to the Prince's annoyance, claimed victory by having the most money left.

Most money? In a game where the purpose of money is to collect it and THEN SPEND IT on other (not money) cards? It's like playing Agricola and then scoring for left-over resources at the end of the game - why build when you can just hoard? I'm not bitter...but RUBBISH! A rubbish bloody tie-breaker. I'll jot that one down to a shared victory.

Exhausted by our travails, smarting from the drudgery of our religious studies and sorely in need of some pork scratchings, the weary party retired to The Red Dragon Inn for some alcholic comfort. For a quick-fire, comedic fantasy drinking game this plays rather too slowly - each player has a deck of effect cards and will be drinking drinks. Drinks affect your alcohol content and 'other pub stuff' reduces your fortitude - if ever the two meet on your score track, you're out (under the table). Throw in a little gambling and a lot of bad 'dwarf' jokes and that's pretty much it: great fun for the first 20 minutes and then it kind of tails off - I think I'd prefer Braggart in this 'slot'.

Still, I won THAT as well - so three out of three (waits for Thor Bateson's interjection) ain't bad!

*that'll be the overflow restaurant room of the White Lion pub in Ross-on-Wye, then
**yesterday
***Bailey - A mighty Beast: Guardian of the Snug Fireplace, Hound of Infinite Tail-wagging and Eternal Hell-Cur with a cold, wet nose
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Sat May 28, 2011 9:34 am
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Busy Bees (part 1 of 2)

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Today we've been busy, busy, BUSY!

Collation time (part 1) for Paperclip Railways!

We started with the wooden bits...


Then onto collating the Station deck - three people with three sets of piles to pull cards from!


Then bagging up the card sets...


Then it was on to counting paperclips and sticking art onto fold-up boxes - whose idea was this anyway FFS?

More tomorrow, as we're about half way through!

Time for some fish and chips, I think!
(pats self of back)
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Fri May 27, 2011 4:09 pm
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You couldn't make it up

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Due to circumstances beyond my control (short working week, sunny afternoon, chronic homesickness), I was unable to attend the usual Wednesday-night play session at Uncle Carl's in High Wycombe and (instead) ended up playing iPhone games while my daughters watched Bridget Jones' Diary on Freeview.

Not the most satisfactory of outcomes for someone fairly obsessed with games and gaming, but it did provide the slightly-surreal experience of seeing Gaius Baltar show up as one of Bridget's 'kooky British friends'; this begged the question: 'Which character(s) is/are Cylons?', and it would certainly have spiced up this flaccid 'Hollywood rom-com' adaptation of what is quite a sparky book by Helen Fielding by having leaden death-spewing robots shooting up the smug dinner parties and Hugh friggin' Grant.

Anyway, the big man posted up the list of games they played on Facebook and I thought I'd bask vicariously in their glory by writing up a fictional chronicle of the evening from the POV of me being there.

Some of the people and events depicted might be true...throw enough shit at the wall and some of it will turn to gold*

BEGIN

When I arrived with Richard, who insisted on wearing a top hat he'd found on the train, all of the other players had already settled themselves in. Iain was making his first Wycombe appearance since winning the Ham Lottery**; Ray had photocopied himself; Blaine had walked there straight from school and intended to hop back later to save on taxi fares and Carl, our venerable host, was stuck under a collapsed shelving unit of WoW promo cards and big-box boardgames - hoping that someone would notice and help him out.

It was Blaine's turn to choose the agenda for the evening, so we kicked off with a couple of games of 7 Wonders avec a few rules tweaks: we reversed the order of the Ages (III, II and then I) and didn't change the direction of drafting at all. Surprisingly, the game played quite differently, but Carl still won in a convincing manner despite being unable to reach his pile of money...or his cards...or his Wonder board.

Next up was The Really Nasty Horse Racing Game which ended up in utter chaos because the chinese take-out arrived at the same time as everyone was rounding the final bend: suffice it to say that we all ate the horses and the box now contains a soggy portion of Kung Po Chicken with mushroom fried rice. Ray's monochrome facsimile took the victory, though we suspect the REAL Ray 'king-maked' him to the honours.

To mix things up a bit, Richard removed his top hat (!) and Blaine let us pile a few of the boxes, currently pinning Carl to his chair, on him; Carl was able to go to the loo, though still fixed in position (unpleasant for us but a blessed release for the big man).

King of Tokyo was the pre-pubescents next choice, but he'd brought along a doctored roll of lining wall paper upon which he had drawn the 'map' of Tokyo / Tokyo harbour. We moved all the furniture to the edges of the dining room (some of it had to be thrown through the French windows on to the bonfire, unfortunately) and had to stand around in person as the monsters instead of using the cut-outs in the box. Damage rolls were inflicted as real punches (camel bites, dead arms etc) and 'energy' was represented by used car batteries. To be honest, the whole thing seemed a little cumbersome. Richard won both games even though he refused to play and had spent the 30 minutes washing up in the kitchen. Go figure.

7 Wonders made a final, traditionally-ruled appearance to close; it ended in a 6-way tie, which was broken by who had the most ham (how fortuitous for Iain!)

Upon returning to my car, Richard and I noticed it had been stolen and replaced by an exact copy, contents and all! The next 3 hours were spent with the local Constabulary (sad face).

Carl is, as far as I know, still pinned to the carpet by Axis & Allies.

END;

*this is, of course, basic Quantum probability
**£1 per ticket; twice a week a televised National draw reveals who has won some Ham
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Thu May 26, 2011 11:09 am
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Sorry seems to be the hardest word

Anthony Boydell
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Boydell: (knocks on door) Knocketty-knock knock

Headmaster: En...tah!

(Boydell shuffles nervously into the Study; he is staring intently at his shoes. He approaches the large, leather-surfaced desk)

Headmaster: (looking up from a sheaf of documents, sternly) Ah, Boydell?

Boydell: (meekly) Yes, Sir

Headmaster: (removes glasses in sweeping gesture) Speak up, lad!

Boydell: (slightly louder) Yes, Sir - Boydell, Sir

Headmaster: (returns glasses to position) Why are you HERE, Boydell?

Boydell: (very quietly) Yesterday I was being excessively sweary on my BGG blog*, Sir and nobody gave me any thumbs for it, Sir.

Headmaster: (face assumes slightly taken aback demeanor) Sweary on your blog, Boydell?

Boydell: Yes, Sir - quite unacceptably sweary, crude and base, Sir.

Headmaster: I see...and WHY were you being so foul-mouthed? (looks down at the top piece of paper)

Boydell: Don't know, Sir

Headmaster: (looks up instantly) You don't KNOW, Boydell?

Boydell: No, Sir

Headmaster: Could it be you were trying a little too hard to impress your peers, Boydell? Hmmmmm?

Boydell: Don't know, Sir

Headmaster: Don't know, Sir? Don't know, Sir? There it is again, Boydell - do you know ANYTHING, Boydell?

Boydell: Yes, Sir

Headmaster: I should hope so, Boydell - otherwise your Mother and Father are wasting an awful lot of money sending you to this School, aren't they?

Boydell: Yes, Sir - I mean: No, Sir...

Headmaster: No, Sir indeed, Boydell...

(there is an awkward pause)

Headmaster: (standing, then pacing back and forth behind his desk) So, what sort of things were you saying on your blog then, my boy?

Boydell: I used the F word and the C word and I made a joke about Oral Sex, Sir

Headmaster: I...see...and what do you propose to do about it?

Boydell: To clean up my act, Sir - and not use such degrading and vile language or suggestions again, Sir

Headmaster: (picks up a large horsewhip) Excellent. That would be the very best thing, Boydell - for all concerned. Now, stay here and write 100 lines: "Experience is a hard school but fools will learn no other" (takes a swipe at the air; there is a satisfying swoosh sound)

(Boydell spends 30 minutes writing out the lines. He hands them into the Headmaster)

Boydell: May I go now, Sir?

Headmaster: What is your next lesson, lad?

Boydell: English Literature, Sir. To write up the fact that I went to the London On Board meet at the Red Herring pub in the City of London last night and played Agricola, winning 40-31-30-18, followed by a game of Stone Age (a disappointing third position) during which I ate a luke-warm fish-finger sandwich. I returned to my lodgings late after travelling on a stuffy Underground train.

Headmaster: I see...and HOW will you be describing this?

Boydell: That I spent the evening in a basement slapping my (family) member repeatedly on the table to get wood, pulling off an impressive 'combo' with my powerful hand and rearing a pig or two. I followed this with a mouthful of the Chefs cold fish and came last. I ended up sweating and stuck in a dirty Tube, before I finally got to bed - exhausted, but satisfied.

Headmaster: (agape) Same time tomorrow then, Boydell?

Boydell: (resigned to his fate) Yes, Sir - same time tomorrow, Sir.

*In theory, a pastiche of British gangster movies
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Wed May 25, 2011 8:37 am
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The Long Good Monday

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So ah sez to th' boys: "be rahnd the Stafferton tonight and wheel see what 'appens - maybe we'll get lacky and blag ourselves a result?" 'N I strolls up, all confident like, rahnd 6 P.M. wiv my crate full uv goodness. Sam of the lads is already in the bar, suppin' on the tit of endless fizzy drinks and waitin' for the carvery to swap over to the carry - nice bitter carry, it is, all you can eat for seven pahnd.

There was 'The Student'; ees bin aht of the picture for a while, sez he's bin study-in for 'hexams' but I reckon he was done fer knockin' off Post Offices or maybe duffin' up the old ladies for their pension books. Wiv 'im was Big Car Ray - ees just the one bloke with a car...thess a bit too big for 'im.

Nah, The Student don't 'beat arand the bush' (missus) and 'e set up Fanderstahn - a kneesy jab for the free of ass. Now I fackin' ate Fanderstahn - them lads wuz fart-arsin' abaht with buying this and go to tha dungeon thet and winding me ap summat chronic. It wuz a good jab Jimmy Two-Names turn dup when 'e did coz I was abaht to pull aht mar shootah and do a birrov convincin'. I fought I was doin' alright (I took a few monstuhs aht wiv my mejick bow), but ended up twenny points beck in larst place) - fackin' canse!

I called the waiter over and told 'im to get me a fackin' mineral warter then Rico The Beard turn dup just ez we wuz settin' up for some more Glory To Rahm. 'Oo needs deck bildin' wen you ken 'ev Mystery Carl's multi-function, genius card game? The first wun I took wiv a cheesy Forum vick-tree, then the hairy wun warksin so a re-deal is required.

Sapper was nearly ready - they was fackin' abaht with sum daft turkey carcuss 'n swappin out veggies for bhajis - fackin' taystee! Only, they wuz takin so long my stamack fought me froat 'ad bin cut and we 'ad to play Zombie In My Fackin' Pockit to parse the time. The five of ass wuz jus gettin' startid anna first encountah was 10 zombies inna room; we all plays our cards end it turned aht I was the only won fightin' - them yellow fackuz ran off leavin' me to take all the demedge: blahdy twetz! So, bein' artovit, I took great pleasure in watchin' 'em box 'emselves in and die only 5 minits laters: I say they boxed 'emselves, only it was the random room draw and it meant there wuz no exits and they were loctin for good. I don't fink we'll be playin ZiMP again - lease ways not after The Student takes it up some back-alley and blowzits fackin' brains aht!

Sum bloke in the queue for food fought it'd be fanny to push in and then pissarand with the poppadoms and tiny Naans. Only, Big Car fought 'e sed 'nonce' and we 'ed to teach him the error of 'is ways.

I called the waiter over and sed 'Are you 'avin a bubble?' and told 'im to get me a fackin' pop, then we pulled aht my pride and joy - my pee-ess de resistonce: Argri-cola. I call it 'Argy Cola' on accant of it causin' a lot of trouble. The 'Gric is a bit tasty and can take on the five of ass nah trubble. So we're playin' this for two ahs end Rico is playin' aht cards and The Student is growin' his famlee and Two Name-ziz is lookin' well set for a fencey farm and Big Car is gettin' kicked abaht abit and they all get 'emselves Beggin' Cards by the first 'arvist ('cept Ray, 'oos getting himself all worked up) and all the time arm quietly settinup a dubble room bild and veggies and animals and a sneaky clay rahd for a mighty 50 point win. I fackin' lavvit! Gettin!

Looky thet: 'Arf a ton o' farmin' goodness. Strike a light, John - strike a fackin' light!


Fair play to Charcoal Burner, though - 9 Food end 9 Wood offa wan Occ? Well 'ard!

I call the waiter over and told 'im to pull his fum ahta his beckside and sort aht the tab while we sets up a couple more Glories to finish.

Nice one.

Result.

Next Week: The Krays set up a protection racket in For Sale!
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Tue May 24, 2011 8:32 am
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The Road to Hell

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(from a recent sermon given by Pastor Piggs to the congregation of the Parish of St Lambert De Butler)

The Infernal Autobahn is paved with good intentions and none are more good than ‘spending time with family and friends to play some games’. The social and mental benefits of such behavior, the bonding and sharing opportunities and the overall warmth it generates cannot be, in any way, harmful surely?

Ah, but the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing people he didn’t know the rules to Carcassonne: beware, sinners! For eternal damnation awaits the unwary! The rapture may not have come yet but it’s on its way...sometime...probably – just as surely as eggs is eighteen eggs. Thus, I pray that you are all vigilant! Be forever mindful of the Satanic traps that await you within that Loopin’ Louie box…

WRATH
Throwing one's hand of cards across the room in a fit of pique; insulting your opponents; tipping over chairs; insulting chairs; tipping over your opponents; sweeping your pawns, meeples and/or cubes across the board; shouting and cursing etc. You've all done it!

- Just because you rolled a four instead of a six?
- Just because you’re 1 money short of another share?
- Just because you failed to play a Moat and had to take another curse?

The punishment for Wrath is to be dismembered alive and then be waiting for Stage 3 in Power Grid to be turned over…in perpetuity!

ENVY
The jealousy of other people's card draws, dice rolls, game collections and/or fortuitousness in opening chase Rares in TCGs. Often the close bedfellow of WRATH, Envy is the vilification of fellow hobbyists just because they’re better at Ticket To Ride than you are. It’s deliberately not flushing because your host has a room devoted to Miniature War gaming when all you have is a footstool with a green toilet mat stapled to it. The penalty for Envy is to be put into freezing water and have to open Monsterpocalypse boosters gleaning nothing better than a shitty little goblin serf for all Eternity.

PRIDE
Oh, we are a good Thunderstone player, aren't we? How efficiently thy deck hast been constructed - oh yes! How many Settlers of Catan National Championships has one attended? Gosh! How many ‘top tables’ has one accrued? Really? How splendid! And just look at the quality of games in your BGG Trades List and on your ‘Played’ log (bring them to me! bring them unto me and save your soul)! Repent, vile sinner! Repent before the Pride causes you to be 'broken upon the wheel' / fail to win a single tournament game against the worst player in the world until the stars themselves flicker and die!

LUST
"Avert thy gaze, miserable cur!" sayeth St. Petersburgh in the Epistle to the Colosseums - and though he was referring to the imminent presence of the Angel of the Lord, I think such sentiments are appropriate in a gaming context; more specifically, "Avert thy gaze from that woman's chesty lumps, foul stench-monger" or "Avert thy gaze from that Cafeteria, loathsome dog!" Be it stretched trouser fabric or an over-developed appetite, beware the retribution for Lust: to be smothered in fire and brimstone, hair care products, deodorant, eau de Colonia, and thrust (for time without end) into an over-70's singles bar. Prostrate yourselves, malefactors – and pull your clenched fists from your undercarriage! Confess, for the end is proximate!

COVETOUSNESS
Once more the subject of wicked folders of 'cards available for trade' rears it's seven serpentine heads. I've seen you sifting through 'cards for the kids' at Premiere events on the off-chance of a discarded rare! Those salacious gazes at the line of Warfrog first printings? The drooling desire for that limited edition tee-shirt? Actually, Covetousness is a lot like Lust but it would take a better theologian than me to explain the proper difference. Have a care, for the boiling oil and the eternally-smouldering cigarette-end await the covetous offender and his out-stretched hand.

SLOTH
It's so hard to bring games along to the club, isn’t it? I mean, they’re so heavy - and besides, (insert name here) always brings a crate of stuff anyway. In fact, I don’t need to BUY games either – just let everyone else fork out while I reap the benefit! The condemnation for Sloth is to be thrown into pits of snakes / made to carry a dozen copies of Starcraft up a Mountain with a perpetually receding Summit until the Universe implodes!

GLUTTONY
You corpulent hoarder of expansions! You pestilential grabber of Convention-only promotional materials and serial pre-orderer. You fat, gorging pig – those free prawn crackers were for all of us! Renounce your abhorrent appetites unless, of course, you'd prefer to be force-fed rats, toads, and Spielbox ‘free gifts’ ad infinitum?

(pauses to wipe foam from mouth edges; jabbing of finger ceases)

Thus, I send you into the world fully forewarned of the temptations that must inevitably befall weak scum such as yourselves. Don't say I didn't tell you so...

...I told you so.

May perpetual light shine upon you. Even when you're trying to get some sleep.
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Mon May 23, 2011 1:03 pm
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Anthering back

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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Every homo sapiens needs an outbuilding within the curtelage of their property
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Yethterday, I thaw Thor:3D at the thinema with my eldetht thon and thome of hith thschool friendsth. It-th wath for hith Twelfth birthday. We took thweets, thome thodas and managed to find thuffithient thets of 3D glatheth (thank goodneth, otherwithe it would have been expenthive!).
Unthurprithingly, it was two hourth of thilly thuperhero thenanigens - but thatisfying none the leth.

Anyway, you know how my thought prothethes work - tho here are thome board and card gameth not to be played with the thpeech-impaired!

Lithps
20th Thentury - more pollution on the board than comes with the game!
Tigrith & Euphrateeth - flood! flood!
Thun, Thea and Thand - and thowers?

Trouble with your 'R's
Ranking - DON'T bring biscuits! blush
Jack The Ripper - did they have latex and ball-gags in Victorian London?

Got a Stammer, Hon?
B..B..B...abel - could sound like the intro to 'Blue Moon' from the Grease soundtrack
M.mmmm.mmmm.mmmm.emoir '44 - could take you into '45 by the time its said

Orient 'L's
Roopin' Rouie - you'd have no clue just from the name, would you?

'Whistle Tooth'
Serenissima - remove all glassware before playing

Finally, re: Fridayth quith - conthider your mithery put out...
Spoiler (click to reveal)

1. Short concert for micidae and Mr Wiggin then lift with you, not I GIG ANT ENDER LUFT = GIGANTEN DER LUFT!
2. Locksmith’s Bazaar? KEY MARKET
3. Eat chips? PASTICHE
4. THREOLAGELS = THREOLAGELS = ROLL THROUGH THE AGES
5. Seven minutes to seven = 1853
6. What you do from the Crow’s Nest! = SEE LAND = SEELAND
7. Tsurugi & Tachi = they're both SAMURAI SWORDS
8. The process of weathering and transport of solids = EROSION
9. Dear Pa… = anagram of PARADE
10. The Race of Primates? = Mr Fisher's delightful MONKEY DASH
11. Atlantis? Lyonesse? El Dorado? = they're all LOST CITIES
12. Sounds like stories for Winter! = SNOW TAILS
13. Ah, Pansy = anagram of YSPAHAN
14. Two out of four suits… = DIAMONDS CLUB
15. Thoughts for Monday through Sunday = 7 WONDERS
16. Comically asleep in a short 12 inches = F-ZZZ-T = FZZZT!
17. Doubling the capital = PARIS PARIS
18. Look nicer = anagram of CROKINOLE
19. Dir. Michael Powell (1940) = THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD (movie with Sabu)
20. One Parrot? = MONOPOLY
21. Croupier to muddle = anagram PUERTO RICO
22. Green lad? = anagram of EL GRANDE
23. Steak / Mistral = BEEF or THE WIND = BEFORE THE WIND
24. People who tick things off? = CHECKERS
25. nommag = BACKGAMMON
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Sun May 22, 2011 10:01 am
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Dearly Beloved...

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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...we were gathered there yesterday, in the presence of dog, for the playing of games, the supping of ale and the exchange of banter (both merry and witty).

Thus, it came to pass that Dominionican Brothers William, Benjamin and Anthony conjoined (in solemn prayer, naturally - and certainly no dirty habits) with Sister Rebecca of the Silent (Shhhhhh!) Librarian Order for a short evening of Keythedral followed by a punt (yes, you heard me: 'punt') at the Giant Paperclip Railways.

In Domino Tetris Et Filou Et Agricola Sancti...I'm-in.

Vespers
Brother Anthony was the last to arrive, having returned from an extended meditation ("I've opened a window but I'd give it a couple more minutes if I were you"), to find the others concluding a round of My Sheep / Your Sheep. Brother Benjamin was overly-proud as the victor (for which he will be flagellating himself later) while Sister Rebecca was cursing her misfortune and berating Brother William - whose had a fistful of her 'woolly friends'.

'And Keywood begat Keydom, who begat Keytown, who begat Keythedral, who begat Key Harvest, who begat Key Market. And Richard did gaze upon this catalogue and was most pleased.'

Pausing briefly to restock the Communion Wine, the Ga-Mass proceeded to a reading of the Keythedral rules (Breese, Chapter & Verse). Although Brother Benjamin and Sister Rebecca claim to have prior scholarly-knowledge of this text (from previous 'Councils'), it seems one too many Monastic home-brews had clouded their memory - hence, the need for a 'refresher'.

An initial set-up populates the 'Cathedral' with a set (for the game) of randomly-selected VP chips that need a variety of resources to be 'claimed'. Building the main playing area involves placing your villages (there are 5 numbered from 1 to, er, 5) one-at-a-time and a resource-producing octagon adjacent to existing tiles (4 are seeded at the very beginning). The aim is to be next to lots, and various, tiles and also to be AWAY from other players villages of the same number. This is because the first phase of each round is worker placement decided by a sequence of village numbers eg. the start player chooses 'all villages numbered 3' - players then, in order, place a worker in a resource octagon adjacent to their 3 village; once a 'field' is occupied, no-one else can go there. Villages allow single workers to be placed, but upgrading them allows TWO workers to be placed in that action. Thus, resource spaces are occupied (and players often cruelly 'shut out'). Players claim cubes of the appropriate resource type and there follows a second phase of rotating actions/passing where players buy bonus ('law') cards with one-off effects, swap basic resources for complex resources, upgrade their villages (for double placement) and, most importantly, buy VP chips from the Cathedral. Rounds continue until the last VP chip is claimed, then remaining resources and VP chips are totaled to discover the victor.

Keythedral is a delightful, quick (60-75 mins) area control/resource management game with some excellent opportunities to confund other players. What surprised me, apart from having taken this long to get round to playing it (it came out in 2002), is how fresh it seems in the current climate of Euro games; it would fit right in AND be up there at the 'top of the crop'. Thus, I would suggest that Mr Breese might consider a re-issue as there is a whole new generation of gamers who would pick this up and enjoy it immensely[1].

Brothers William and Anthony, despite this being their first encounter, took first and second places respectively, with Sister Rebecca in third followed by Brother Benjamin - who, in last position, seemed to have developed an annoying complaint.

Despite a (not-mentioned-before-but-now-suddenly-revealed) lumbar injury, Brother Benjamin agreed to a stand-up game of Paperclip Railways[2] using Brother Anthony's giant set. Sister Rebecca was the only one unfamiliar with this fasten-ating diversion and, after the briefest of rules explanations, we began. Within a couple of minutes, a stray canine from the adjacent refectory, decided to trot onto the play area and stand (stock still) staring at Brother Anthony's 'religious artifacts'. Once we had dispensed of this Hound of Hell, and closed the door for good measure, there followed a sweaty 40 minutes of bending, grunting and measuring. By the end, Sister Rebecca had scored admirably and beat the rest of us off.

Compline
Brother Benjamin and Sister Rebecca needed to retire early because of an ecumenical visit to Cardiff the next day. Brother William approved, whole-heartedly, of this evangelistic stance saying that he would rather take up a Missionary position than handle things alone in his Cell.

The Ga-Mass is ended. Go in peace to love, and serve, the Board

Les Notes En Bas De Page
[1] 2002, the launch year of this gem, was the first year that Surprised Stare Games exhibited at Essen Spiel! We brought Coppertwaddle with us along with an exciting array of props, drapes, paintings, pictures and other decorative ephemera. Our stand looked wonderful, Hall 9 roughly where Fragor now reside annually, but was next to an empty, unkempt plot. Well, it was empty right up until about 5PM on the set-up Wednesday when Richard Breese (of whom we knew nothing at that time) rolled up with trolleys of computer monitor boxes and blank wallpaper. He decanted the boxes (containing the Keythedrals), slapped the wallpaper roughly around the Stand and hand-wrote out pricing information with a big marker pen. A starker contrast of points-of-sale you would not find anywhere else in the Messe! Of course, Mr B is the pre-order King and the next morning - our first every day of trading at the Spiel - we watched in awe as a huge queue of eager Geeks snaked from his stand, blocking the front of ours, down Hall 9 - it's occupants desperate to pick up their limited edition gem before they ran out / were abducted by aliens etc. How we marveled at the astonishing ease with which Richard was off-loading his stock! How opportunistically we engaged several queue-rs in a quick 'Twaddle or two! The first seeds of the long, fruitful and rewarding friendship with Richard were sewn on that day...

[2] I would post a picture of the final 'board', but the carpet was so deeply patterned that you could barely see anything apart from the Station cards themselves *sad face* Note to self: take a large white sheet with you to Uk Games Expo...
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Sat May 21, 2011 9:02 am
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