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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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Your Holiday Gift Guide

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Spoiler (click to reveal)








Please note: all of the above artwork is courtesy of the astonishing Italian illustrator Walter Molino; if you want to see more of this kinetic work then have a quick scan of this Pinterest thing: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/josephrwebb/walter-molino-illust...
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Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:17 am
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Erdnüsse

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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(For those unfamiliar with Google Translate: “I have a shopping list and I will be back sharpish”)

He’s using his Glass Road resource wheels as a shopping list, you see.

And the title is German for ‘Peanuts’ - an allusion to the cartoon strip by that name. But German because Uwe is German.

Ahem.

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Tue Nov 27, 2018 6:20 am
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The Future Is Bright, The Future Is...Kangaroo?!

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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With another turn out of 'not five', the Ross-on-Wye boardgamers is - once again - able to take a leisurely look at a couple of new Essen releases and - for Dan and Gerv - also a run at a couple of old favourites; thus, across the three and a half hours, this happy band managed the following full games:

Agricola (Smudge, Dan and Gerv)
Futuropia (Me, Jobbers and Boffo)
Goa (Boffo, Gerv and Smudge)
AuZtralia (Me, Jobbers and Dan), and
A couple of rounds of Capital (Boffo, Smudge and Gerv).

Plenty going on and plenty to think about, certainly and - apart from being yapped-in-to-Monday morning by the nasty little Peke - a sedate and relaxed evening of gaming.


Powergrid: Factory Manager meets Cuba (!): the 'A' game puts the fun in to 'functional', so here's looking forward to trying the 'B' sides.


As with almost every 2F Spiele game I've ever encountered, the rulebook for Futuropia was 'challenging' so, with Boffo complaining on FB Messenger that we'd probably need to resort to a video, I brewed up a fresh coffee and headed over to BGG: many thanks, indeed, for:



The biggest struggle was with setting everything up...and then packing it all away again: what a bloody fiddle (and you thought Snowdonia could be a bit of a bind?!). The game itself is very straightforward and - with the 'introductory' A-side-of-tiles - a little bland. Our final scores (121-120-110) didn't really reflect any particular winning strategy so there's not a lot else to comment on; we'll definitely play it again with the alternate sides, though.

With everyone perfectly-synchronised to a finish, I pushed AuZtralia to the fore and recruited Dan and Jobbers for some Eurotrashy japes:


Somebody fucked up and built their Port near all of the monsters #tonythetwat...but at least we killed everything before the end!


Keen to make sure a frowning Jobbers was in full command of the rules, I neglected to pick myself a non-exposed starting Port but - hey - this isn't so much a game about the winning as the sheer bloody fun to be had sending troops across the desert to kick Old One ass*! Hilariously, Jobbers' first combat succumbed to the 'shit draw' experience and how Dan and I laffed as his army lost all of it's sanity against a sedentary Temple.

Aside: this particular form of damage prompted Boffo to lob in a well-timed "I'm not sure John has got that much sanity to lose" jibe.

Unlike my first game of this a couple of weeks back, all of us tooled up with fighters and were unafraid to get well stuck in to the slimy, warped servants of 'old squid face. Come the finishing line (time space 53), we'd completely cleared the board and gifted the ancient, worm jowel-ed twat one Hell of a beating (and a paltry five points for the blighted farms). Jobber's seemed to have warmed to the unavoidably-random elements by the end but I'm not convinced that this much lack-of-control would ever sit entirely comfortably; Dan and I, however, were much more in the anarchic spirit and enjoying every daft minute.

*or, in Dan's case, a series of solitary marsupials
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Mon Nov 26, 2018 6:15 am
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Just A Walk In The Woods

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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It may have been gloomy outside but that didn't prevent us from taking a much-needed excursion to the family's remote woodland plot on the side of Gloucestershire's May Hill...
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Sun Nov 25, 2018 7:00 am
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A Shark Under The Drawbridge

Anthony Boydell
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Occasionally, what most would regard as a simple situation can morph - in my mind - to something of infinite and intricate complexity and ends up looming on my temporal horizon making me fidgety and anxious. This week, my eldest lad was going to a Clawhammer gig at a small venue in Bristol so, given I now work in the general locale, this would seem an unremarkable conundrum; however, the logistics of how he would get to Bristol, what I would do in the evening and the inevitable lateness of our return needed checking and re-checking. In the end, the plan was very simple but it was tremendously helpful to be able to tick off little milestones throughout the day and evening:
- know that Fred has got on the right train
- know that Fred has got off at the right station
- know that Fred is near/in the venue with associated pals
- leave work late enough to avoid paying super-hiked car parking charges
- leave work early enough to avoid the crush of commuter traffic, and
- work out where the gig is in relation to my own site of evening entertainment (see hereafter).

Basically, I'd discovered that a board gaming group meets at The Drawbridge pub in the very centre of the city - right next door to the Hippodrome Theatre and proximal to a multi-storey car park (Trenchard Street) - which, in turn, is just 500m from The Gryphon wherein the 'Slam' shenanigans would be loudly unfolding.

The gamers' pub is also 500m from Chance & Counters, a board game café, so I nipped along to have a nosey and a chai latte in the half-an-hour I had spare between appointments. Amongst the rectangular tables and the warming heaters, I watched a group running through the rules for Cyclades while, behind me, a Codenames: Duet was getting underway. Mark, a kindly barista/recommender meandered over to see if I "needed any help?" and then, after ordering my drink, cocked his head to one side and asked: "Are...you...Tony Boydell?". Be still, my beating heart: at last, fame and recognition! However, it transpires that he recognised my grumpy mug from the many-and-various sarcastic, trolling and/or ranting posts on the Board Games Trading and Chat UK Facebook group. Trouble follows me...

I couldn't stay long so guzzled the spicy brew and headed off in the newly-arrived rain storm to The Drawbridge:



I ordered my supper (ham and egg and chips with a pineapple juice and soda water chaser, thanks for asking) and cautiously wandered upstairs to the function room. There was quite the crowd of chattering punters - almost a 50-50 split of the sexes - and the conversation seemed predominantly about Magic: The Gathering. A box of hopeless, Toys R Us 'party games' languished on a corner table: rightfully unloved and ignored...as was I, sipping my soft drink and wiping the drizzle from my copy of Nusfjord.

Dear Bristolians: Bless you all for being gamers but, seriously, when someone new walks in to your club you really need to give them a warm welcome. We may be surly in Ross-on-Wye but we sure make a fuss of new faces!

After ten minutes, the crowd began to condense in to play groups so I wagged my Rosenberg in the air and drew the smiling attention of Andre & Eileen (both at the back of the picture, opposite each other).



We were joined by Ali (front, right) and keen-as-mustard Tom (front, left) for the full 5-player experience. They'd all confessed to having played Agricola before - with no-one decrying it - so they were, indeed, already my favourite people in the Bristol Area*. I taught, we played, I joked and tickled the whole thing along and - unsurprisingly - I proved victorious BUT not before coaxing three 30+ scores and a mid-20s out of the others.



It was 9.30PM and, given the early start, it seems half the club required an early finish. From the remainers, Tom and Sophie** and a fourth person joined me in another playtest of fweeep; this time with added 'Sleeping Cars' - they're a bit like the Guards in Guillotine in that they're worth more for bidding if more are in the bids / visibly in play. It was encouragingly quirky with Tom and I fighting for Zzzs while the fourth chap (can't remember his name, sorry!) screwed himself on the first purchase of the final round and ended up sitting the round out...but still won my 9 points! That's something I need to mull over: sometimes train effects can be 'fun and wacky' but, also, destructive.

I found a nice - free - place to park right outside The Gryphon and waited (in the car-rumbling warm listening to podcasts) for the gig to finish. Driving through the clear, Jupiter-visible night we were home dead-on midnight; I went to bed immediately because I'd be back in Bristol early in seven hours. No rest for the wicked BUT at least it all worked out fine in the end.

*apart from my lad, obviously.
**her name is 'Solvejg', I think; but given my verbal mangling, she suggested I just call her 'Sophie'. She is from Norway and only here for the week; it's a pity she missed out on Nusfjord then!
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Sat Nov 24, 2018 6:40 am
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Clickbait!

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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You won't believe what Tony found in an unmarked box in his Shed!!!


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Fri Nov 23, 2018 6:20 am
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The postman rings a LOT more than twice round ‘ere.

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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(and not for any saucy reasons)

Kindly painted for me by
Andrew Smith
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Stockport
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They’re noggin’ fantastic, aren’t they?!



I’ve also been in receipt of ‘overs’ of the Alubari advent calendar promo:



Aaaaaand a couple of gratis Kalendars themselves:



Where to PUT everything, eh?

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Thu Nov 22, 2018 6:15 am
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It's YOUR fault, you know; time to dig a bit deeper in to those pockets, you misers!

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Maybe they're getting lazy and, just maybe, we're finally seeing through their pretty plastic/naff actual game bullshit?
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Wed Nov 21, 2018 11:23 am
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Black Box

Anthony Boydell
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Last weekend I decided to expunge the Spiel detritus that’s been clogging up the house ie. SSG stock in the Hall, the be-shrinked remains of my haul, bits and pieces of prototypes etc. This necessitated a clean out of the Shed which, itself, was harbouring the squatting box files of my IT company’s archives: it was time to pack a bunch o’ stuff for burnin’. Amongst the receipts, time sheets, expense claims, invoices and bank statements there was a black, unlabelled box file: in this two-part post, I shall reveal unto thee the miraculous and dumb-founding contents of this mini-monolithic cardboard containment facility:

The Coppertwaddle File


Bloodyfuckinghell! Just LOOK at the two of us!


We'd spent five hours (!) driving from Cheltenham (where Alan lived at the time) to Norwhich, where Coppertwaddle was being printed. Back then (2003), we used a 'real' printer rather than a dedicated games manufacturer...because we didn't know of any. We were there in the small industrial unit as the first sheets of my first published design rolled off the press.


I watched for about 30 minutes, during which the 1000 or so copies were finished.



Being a keen Magic player in those days, the game couldn't go without it's tournament rules.




And talking of tournaments, above are the results of our Summer of 2003 extended Coppertwaddle league. A team of us worked 60 hour weeks to implement a major piece of work for British Telecom/the Ministry of Defence and during the server configs, patches and software releases we filled the time with some medievally-themed card-floppage.

At the end of the Summer, the final standings:


It was bloody close, though *phew*


On Friday, I shall reveal something even more startling that has been nestled in the dark cuboid for 10 long, silent years!
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Wed Nov 21, 2018 6:15 am
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I was walking the dog and I saw it poking out...

Anthony Boydell
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(that last pic is something Mrs B picked up for me)


...so I dug it up and gave it a wash!

What is it, you might ask? Well, thanks to some bright sparks on Facebook it seems I'd discovered an inkwell:


http://collection.sciencemuseum.org.uk/objects/co8406772/gre...

Imagine the missives from the Newent Stationmaster to (Regional) Head Office, the updating of the daily log books, the on-and-off staffing, accident reports and everyday events on the Daffodil Line. I've been browsing the site of the old station for years in the hope of unearthing something antique and, this time, I struck figurative gold!

I'll be back there on Friday...with a shovel.
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Tue Nov 20, 2018 6:16 am
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