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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One more for the road

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Wed Jun 6, 2018 6:20 am
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Warning: Robust Sense of Humour Required

Anthony Boydell
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Did anyone else pick this up at the UK Games Expo?



(this is some hard satire right here)
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Tue Jun 5, 2018 6:19 am
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A day on which the weariness finally caught up with me but a splendid time was had by all (despite the best efforts of others)

Anthony Boydell
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I really didn't want to get out of bed Sunday morning; the sky was cobalt blue and the sunrise was reflecting dazzlingly on Hall 9 on the horizon. Breakfast was, like Saturday, to be 'taken' in a side-room because although the main restaurant looked half-empty it was evidently being crushed under the weight of sausage demands! The waiting staff were - and I'm being charitable now - catastrophically inept; we were shown to a small table only to find it's prior occupant returning with a laden fruit bowl and a cheery "What the fuck?!". A be-suited flunky with the voice of a hoarse mouse redirected us to another only to have three people in the line for coffee chorus "We're all sitting there!". Mr Whisper then told us to sit down at two spare chairs on a table occupied by a pair of delightful Lady Masons without even asking them if it was alright to do so! Naturally, being the gentleman that I am, I posed the question and they were gracious in their accommodation. We quietly nibbled our repast until I remarked upon my diet and Ben's veganism which elicited a snort of laughter from one lady because Ben was choffing down on a heaped-and-steaming plate of pork products! Ice broken, we then had a marvelous 20 minute chinny-wag about games, traveling with Masons and the Acting profession! Sweet are the uses of adversity!

Before settling in to what would a hugely-busy DEMO day (but a barren wasteland of sales TBH), I had to return my borrowed copy of Agricola (see yesterday's blog) because the game library only ran until 2300HRS despite the Open Gaming rooms running until well after 0200HRS! I wanted my £10 deposit back though, failing that, I could've gained a cheap spare copy of 'Gric!


(clockwise from top L) Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea and Foothills in full flow, first thing on a Sunday morning; myself, Edward and Matt Green discuss something or other; no sooner had we set everything up than we'd packed it all away again; and, goodbye everyone. In the middle is Matt's tres amusant trolling of the nearby Starbucks for our mid-morning beverage!


I was joined by Matt (see back of his head, above) and we chatted and I introduced him to various peeps: Hanno from Lookout, Wolfgang from Kosmos and Edward from Heavy Cardboard (see above also); Matt has been woefully abused by previous publishers of his (tremendous) games and it's about time he got some proper Euro publisher love!

Around lunchtime, my copy of Foothills was packed up and shipped off to foreign lands for further evaluation (yay!) leaving the afternoon for nothing but tea. In order to ensure a timely parking space for the 'take down', I retrieved the van and queued up in the Exhibitor's holding area. Running some obscure logistics algorithm, it was almost TWO HOURS (!) before were actually granted access; if I wasn't on these pills, I may have exploded with frustration and clubbed a Traffic Attendant to death with my snack banana! As it was, I chatted between windows with Martin (Admin of the BGTAC Facebook group) and tried to get some dancing going with a doors open/volume up mix of Elvis Costello and Fishbone. There were no takers. Eventually, we were granted entry and it only took us 10 minutes to decant from Hall 1 in to the Peugeot and high-tail it the Hell out of there!


The Completely-Obligatory Convention Haul shot (COCH) - as in "The facebook group feed is full of COCHS", "Would you like to see my COCH?" and so on.


Home, home again; I like to be here when I can. And, when I get home cold and tired, I like to warm by bones beside the fire.

P.S A big shout out to Joe Browes, Neil Yates, Mark Lewis and Hanno Girke for their extremely-generous gifts!
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Mon Jun 4, 2018 12:41 pm
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A day on which I get all emotional for a variety of reasons (with a variety of results)

Anthony Boydell
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The day begins with another in a long line of healthy breakfast options:



Followed by an early-as-possible browse around the ridiculously-huge Bring & Buy selection:



Sweet Jesu, but it took a while! Happily, I located a selection of old and new goodies for the Princely sum of £74 and then scuttled back to the Stand for "proper work":


The ever-lovely Hanno from Lookout Games pays me a first-thing (time-off) visit and I rope him in to a game of Foothills


The morning flew by full of demos and the first raspings of "convention voice" began to appear; thankfully, the iPhone dinged to announce the arrival of Mrs B and Arthur - a three hour leave-of-absence duly followed. It's been so frenetic that I was stunned in to a tear-eyed stupour when we met in the atrium; only two days yet I was struck by how much I'd missed them!



After a snack lunch - camped out in a far corner of Hall 1 - we met up with our dear pal (long not-seen) Neil and his eldest to play some games in the excellent Family Zone:


Pikoko (Hanabi meets Whist) was fun - if confusing for Arthur - but the hit was (naturally) Animal Upon Animal: Crest Climbers


All too soon, it was 4PM and time to return to the booth; deep (and held) breaths stopped me getting all daftly weepy as they disappeared across the plaza toward the Car Park.

I managed to catch the Bring & Buy when the Public had been hustled from the building (or in to Hall 2 for the Open Gaming) and 'cashed out' my fecund earnings. I am always amazed at the stupidity of those who expect a secondhand - easily available - game to go for almost it's MSRP; the line of twelve TI3s all for a minimum of £60 was especially-hilarious!

And so we transition from the Day of Business to the Night of Play. First was Paul Grogan's charity raffle:


The BGTAC crew!


The auction raised a magnificent £2700 (!); unfortunately, I'd forgotten it was a raffle rather than an auction and neglected to buy any tickets! No matter. Next, in the depths of the Conference workshop rooms of the Piazza Suites, was the Who Dares Rolls 'Sparring Bants' podcast:



From the sublime to the ridiculous: we were, one stage, in real danger of outnumbering the audience in what was a rude, silly and (hopefully for both of them!) entertaining hour. Having expressed a melancholic side with friends and family, I now expressed a rude and stupid side which can only be described by listening to the 'record' when it's released. One of the panelists, Charlie, soldiered gamely on with eminently-sensible and well-considered answers while the rest of us swore and told knob jokes. I was particularly pleased with pitch for 'The Oscar Pistorius Game': a dexterity 'flicker' where you were trying to propel a wooden disc through a 3D cardboard bathroom doorway at a 'girlfriend' standee. I'm going straight to Hell for that one.

Weary, and with the Fitbit calorie counter comfortably over the 4000, it was back to the Hilton for a game of - well, how could I pass it up as it called for me in the Boardgame Library? - Agricola.



I was fucking furious to find that I'd been booted out of a boiteajeux game on account of being 60 mins late on taking my move; I'm at a fucking CONVENTION, you tedious twats!!! I took my revenge - playing against pals Richard, Ben and Phil-the-Sheep - by getting a highly-respectable 48 points and a lead so comfortable you could put your friends up on it for the night! Sometimes it all comes together perfectly! Such a delightful way to end a long day: glowing with satisfaction in my special gaming place.
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Sun Jun 3, 2018 9:07 am
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A day on which I save Martin Wallace and Tom Vasel from an awkward situation

Anthony Boydell
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Up 'n at 'em! The alarm ding-donged 0715HRS and I immediately leapt to my feet, switched it off and climbed back in to bed. An extra 15 mins was sufficient to clear the clutter from my eyes, post-ablutions, Ben and I trod the soft corridor carpets to breakfast.

In the Hall, a brief attempt to gatecrash the Bring & Buy before the hordes arrived was quashed by a lack of staff, so I trudged despondently back to the stand unavailed of my cash. Such woes were soon forgotten as the Great Washed arrived keen to both spend their own money and play some games. Tom Vasel, the man himself, stopped by mid-morning to ask if I might be available for a 1PM seminar about Game Design evolution over the last 25 years (cheeky pup! I'm only 50!); it was originally going to be just him and Martin Wallace but they wanted a spare third to plump out the numbers and mine was the first name that popped in to Martin's head apparently?! Not wishing to see Tom and Martin flounder, I quickly assented and then got roped in to another demo:


Off and running with Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea! Still my Snowdonia-library prototype artwork but the final version will be very different! (Rest assured as soon as I get to see the proofs, I'll be sharing them with you dear reader!).


Unfortunately, despite my pre-start warnings about paying attention, my fellows left me a couple of juicy opportunistic actions to compliment my track-laying strategy and I roundly crushed them! Huzzah for me! Even better, being a prototype there was no pressure to let the wookie win lest I forfeit a sale or two from surly sore-losers! Double huzzah! Actually, they were a chirpy bunch and it was a pleasure to beat teach them.

With barely a minute to spare, I arrived at the Toute Suite to find T & M (or M&T, take your pick) already 2-2-ing in to the mics and then 60 people shuffled in and we were off!



Mission of Mercy completed - look out for Martin swearing (not me!) and his tale of Reiner Knizia - I returned to the safety and warmth of 1-T8:


Fellow daily blogger John (right) and pal Alistair wrap their heads around Foothills' action selection mechanism - is it a good sign when one player puts their head in their hands and lets out a long groan?

They finished on the dot of kicking-out time (6PM) and just as we were joined by Edward Uhler (Heavy Cardboard) and Board Game Girl Jess; the latter seems to be on a determined odyssey to visit EVERY major game convention in the world...and she's already racked up a seriously-impressive dance card! There was a noisy, hug-strewn collision of podcasts as we bumped in to the Shut Up And Sit Down guys and then supper back at the hotel:





Edward aks John if he'd like to 'take a knee'. Odd, that, considering American opinion about 'taking a knee' in general?!


Another hour, another podcast: Tom (Slickerdrips*), Paul Grogan, Edward Uhler and Matt from Creaking Shelves.

We parted ways and I ended up in the King Suite for some last minute, pre-bedtime gaming; Ben had expressed an interest in Paperclip Railways so I'd packed it in my suitcase:




For the second time in as many years, I managed to win at one of my own games! Very good times, indeed!


*this is a White Stripes song NOT an S.T.I.
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Sat Jun 2, 2018 8:46 am
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A day on which I sweat all the moisture out of my body

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Day Zero is all about the setting up; it’s queuing, lifting, sweating and head-scratching. It’s taking any excuse to stop and chat with pals you haven’t seen for a while (Gil Hova, Michael Fox, Hanno Girke and many others). It’s looking at your watch and seeing it’s 4PM then looking at it again and it’s 7.30! Say what? It’s a cold pint of Guiness in the hotel bar and pasta carbonara. It’s a sneaky, late night 5 player Nusfjord before beddie-byes.


Panorama shot of our immediate Hall 1 surroundings.


Someone is up to no good on out stand...and it’s NOT Mr Alan Paull (for once).


A quick refresher of North American Railways.


The sublime view from my hotel room balcony. All this used to be fields, you know?!


At least the Fitbit is happy with me!


Ben, Carrie, Tyler, Chris and
Me go a fishin’. They got sharked, TBH.
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Fri Jun 1, 2018 9:06 am
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Failing to prepare is preparing to fail!

Anthony Boydell
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I've had to rent a van at the last minute on account of the VW being unavailable*; this, as it turns out, is no bad thing because I wouldn't have been able to fit everything in anyway. Behold, my 'to do' list:

Quote:

Clothes
Phone & Charger
Laptop & Charger
Book
Money etc
Pills
Parking Pass thing

Foothills
Alubari
Nusfjord and other things to play
Bring & Buy Stuff

Posters
NAR – all
Snod expansion – 16 boxes
Ivor the Engine – 4 boxes
Bad Grandmas – all
Rolling Stock#1 - lots!
Trolley


Yes, I do need to remind myself to bring clothes - not for nefarious nudity-prone reasons but because it's a sort-of superstition thing. Aside from the physicality of loading, other details of preparation occupied my attention over the long Bank Holiday weekend:

On Sunday, I'd arranged a consultation with Boffo to get Foothills up-to-date; it's making it's public debut and we both want it looking its best! That didn't take as long as I'd expected (who said collaborative design is difficult?!) so we had some minutes to spare:


The only 'mode' I've yet to try (and win at!) is 'Solo'


Leaving the boys to mow the lawn and strim the borders, much shed time was expended putting a second copy of Alubari together, seeing as my other is currently in Germany:





Packing the 'admin' stuff (pens, passes, gifts etc) and Bring & Buy booty:



Finally, after a mandatory day at work, Thursday 31st May dawns and it's time to fetch, and load up, the van:



Ready to go (and it's not even midday yet!)



*I think it is truly dead; already looking at a replacement...
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Thu May 31, 2018 11:42 am
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Not So Fuzzy!

Anthony Boydell
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The answers to yesterday's Collage Cwizz!

Spoiler (click to reveal)


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Wed May 30, 2018 6:09 pm
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Death of a Gamer - 11

Anthony Boydell
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Wed May 30, 2018 6:50 am
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Fuzzy

Anthony Boydell
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How many games can you spot?
(Don’t forget spoilers!)


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Tue May 29, 2018 6:20 am
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