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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

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Bake/Off

Anthony Boydell
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Here in the UK, it's that time of the year when all-and-sundry drop everything for an-hour-a-week of scrumptious cookery in the form of recently-'poached'-from-the-BBC The Great British Bake Off. Twelve amateur bakers sweat it out in a tent in the grounds of a posh house for 10 weeks making everything from biscuits and pies to obscure Teutonic cake-breads; we, the adoring Public, will descend upon our supermarkets to recreate these delectables for weeks after.

Last night, in the Showstopper round, the contestants had to bake biscuit-based cakes with a boardgaming theme! Huzzah! Excited, I lay back on the sofa expecting Shortbread Qwirkle, Dampfnudeln Abalone, a sponge "Climbers" and/or some Gingerbread Suburbia action...only, being mainstream Brit TV, it all turned out a little (literally) 'flat'. Here are the intended recipes:


Note the startlingly bland choice of source material


And here's the final result:



A triumph? Not particularly...but then I couldn't do any better, could I?


The episode's winner!


So, if YOU were to bake a boardgaming cake what would it be? Twilight Strudel? Profiterole For The Galaxy? Macaroms? Personally, I was well impressed with the Totemo birthday cake someone made a while back:



And Seb Bleasdale's Wedding tower was a wonder to behold:



Is anyone else feeling hungry?
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Wed Sep 6, 2017 6:20 am
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Wards - ugh! What are they good for? Quite a lot, actually!

Anthony Boydell
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It's been a while since I mentioned The Wards of London - the almost-as-big-as-its-parent expansion for Guilds of London so, um, here's some more information!

I've been distilling everything down to the following basic elements:
(1) losing the 'central' London and replacing it with YOUR Ward and those adjacent; this means some radical re-jiggeration of setups and the growth phase;
(2) adding Coin chits that can be used to power card effects rather than cards themselves (VERY powerful for uber-combos!);
(3) adding Veto chits (safety from those evil neutral liverymen);
(4) adding more 2nd place chits for delicious "I don't want to win that tile" shenanigans; and,
(5) a simpler 'default' colour fixer (pay 2 coins to move 1 liveryman to any tile in your range), along with some other tweaked rules.

Here are some pics supporting (1) and (5) particularly:













Feels good; feels VERY good!
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Tue Sep 5, 2017 6:20 am
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About mother's fear of old china

Anthony Boydell
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Friday, 1st September
With the first day of Autumn (official) comes, in the space of a week, birthdays for both Boffo and Smudge; the Bateson household must be awash with wrapping paper and cake crumbs which is, no doubt, an enormous amount of fun for their guinea pigs. This also means, for the rest of us in the Ross-on-Wye club (ie. me and Jobbers), that the choice of games for back-to-back Friday nights is entirely out of our control: it's a little gesture but it means a lot. Actually, it usually means Lancaster, Agricola, Princes of Florence and/or something (classically) Knizian, so it's never a chore.

On this particular anniversary of uterine egress (Smudge's), there was the giggled threat of an Airlines: Europe, which I find tediously-flimsy but amuses the others no end when I am forced to participate, but it all came good in the end when she asked me to bring Terraforming Mars!

Jobbers didn't turn up...but Gary did.



We may have spent the last 6 months settling 'inn' at The Plough but we've only had clement-enough weather for Molkky last week and this; as a last flourish against the departure of Summer, the landlady kindly left the bouncy castle 'up' too (just in case):



Smudge, slurping gin and tonics through a straw, was razor-eyed and unassailable (a complete whitewash) so we repaired to the back room for proper things.

Passing over the inevitable Boffo complaint that TM is scripted from the start (see the TED lecture on Asynchronous Powers In Games And How to Play Them), it was a busy old 11 generations of card-flopping and hex-dropping! Less so for Gary, who was struggling to get any kind of engine/momentum/point-scoring going at all. Smudge was defiantly down the middle with a healthy balance of card VPs and tile placement (as usual); Boffo went animals and trees, the latter gifting him a couple of milestones and an achievement (Landlord) with ease; while I opted for an 'all mouth and no trousers' card-drawing, price-manipulating, heat-producing engine - indeed, I was responsible for 95% of the heat track progression and at least 4 of the oceans BUT - crucially - failed to grab an award/achievement OR establish a sensible presence on Mars itself. My third place (of four), however, belies the enormous amount of fun I had 'doing stuff': I was regularly the last to 'pass' in a round and probably took up 40% of the elapsed time with my (ultimately futile) actions.

As we neared the final stages, there was an hilarious moment when Smudge chastised Boffo for using the bronze cubes as track markers on his player board; she pointed-and-laughed, willing Gary and me to join in the derision...only for Boffo to realise that she had done the very same!


Gosh! Lucky I managed to capture the moment on camera, isn't it?!




To close: a quick Biblios, wherein both Gary and I acquitted ourselves appallingly by scoring zero a-piece. I don't play this excellent game enough and, with a bit o' cash sloshing about my Paypal, I think I'll remedy this failing ASAP.


A lot of cards but no points...the filler echoes the meat.
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Mon Sep 4, 2017 6:22 am
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Louder Than (C) Bombs

Anthony Boydell
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A Semantic, Syntagmatic (and Sweary) Sunday Snippet

The English language is a beautiful thing and it's disgraceful that it's censored by ignorance, prejudice and stupidity. So, to set the record straight, here's one of a series from the lovely Susie Dent (Lexicographer and Countdown stalwart); the first episode was about 'BOLLOCKS' and I remarked to Mrs B that "I hope she doesn't shy away from some of the more controversial words" - she doesn't!



You can find the rest on the YouTubes, should you so desire.
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Sun Sep 3, 2017 6:30 am
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From Meme 2 You

Anthony Boydell
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I can't take credit for this (thanks, Phil!) but it did make me laugh out loud (especially after last week's Gentes hiccup) so...share and share alike:


(from L to R) Jobbers, Me and Boffo Bateson.
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Sat Sep 2, 2017 6:35 am
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Catalogue Entry

Anthony Boydell
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Essen Spiel 2017 looms large upon the horizon and, I suppose, I should give those of you (who might be interested) some more information about our (Surprised Stare Games') offerings



Firstly: we will, of course, be selling The Cousins' War; David J. Mortimer's splendid Big Game in a Small Box:



...along with a 5-card expansion and a promo card!


Expansion Back, expansion Front and the (separate) Promo.

Secondly: it wouldn't be a Spiel if we didn't cough out some Snowdonia goodies, would it? Given that I have been immersed in A Nice Cup of Tea (see below), I have been ably-assisted on the scenario front by fellow UK designers Alan Paull and David Brain*


Let's take a look at the back of the box, shall we?


Tunnels, Drilling Machines and Crises!


Garrisons, Generals and Conflict!

Thirdly, for those unable to have made it to the UK Games Expo, we have reprinted (as promised!) the Rolling Stock No.1 promo pack:


Quirky locos and a Castle!

Finally, I'll have ANCOT available for demos should you feel so inclined!

That's pretty much everything that we'll be waving at passers-by, so why not come and see us in Hall 7 (we've been moved); if you can't make Essen then don't worry - stuff will be available from our website and (hopefully) we'll be sending copies back to the US some friends!

Oh and by-the-by, excellent progress is being made planning a 3rd Edition of Snowdonia; excellent progress indeed!


*the eagle-eyed amongst you will know that David is about to have a super 2018 with the probable Kickstarter-ing of his superb Key Market!
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Fri Sep 1, 2017 6:50 am
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Posthumous

Anthony Boydell
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An interesting item popped up on BBC News yesterday: the steamrollering of Terry Pratchett’s HDDs (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-41093066).



The drives are thought to have contained 10 unfinished works! Rather than have them ‘finished off’ by others (Exhibit A: Eowyn Colfer and Hitchhikers’, Exhibit B: Tony Boydell and Schubert’s 8th Symphony and Exhibit C: Christopher Tolkien and absolutely EVERYTHING his Father ever wrote down including telephone messages and doodles in boring meetings), Pratchett wanted the files irretrievably mangled - though, one could argue, that giving them to Pratchettean uberleech Stephen Briggs would’ve achieved the same destructive result!

However, should we (forever-adoring) fans have been given a Salmon of Doubt*-esque ‘collection’ instead? Is it a crime to have been denied the full disclosure of rambles, outlines and/or orphaned, contextless chapters? In this age of FOI and ‘in the Public interest’, should the dying wishes of a highly-beloved artist have been wantonly-overridden? The answer is, of course, a resounding FUCK, YES! ABSOLUTELY NOT!

And what about Board Games? If, perish the thought, Stefan Feld should be killed to death by a falling piano or Isaac Childres mortally fatalized by a runaway MPV or Eric Lang irrevocably de-lifed in a bizarre warehousing accident, should the boardgaming world expect their notebooks to vomit forth a series of ‘developed to the point of production’ tributes? Alan Moon stepping-in on behalf of Tom Lehman; Jacob Fryxelius assuming the mantel of Friedemann Friese; Ted Alspach re-skinning Martin Wallace? Basically, if (hypothetically) something (this is just conjecture) tragic (as a thought experiment) happened (theoretically) to Uwe Rosenberg, how would you feel about me releasing a slew of Agricola expansions**?

*Douglas Adams’ ultimately-frustrating, posthumous collection of drafts and excerpts
**This'll never stand up in Court, copper.
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Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:22 am
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Hell Breeses Over?!

Anthony Boydell
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Well, there's a fair chance of that DESPITE global warming!



Richard Breese wrote:
I have not reprinted any of the earlier games before. The main reasons being I have only so much gaming time and resources, and as games are just a hobby for me and I prefer to spend these developing the new games rather than revisiting the older ones. However this year I did use Kick Starter for the first time for the Keyper Character Edition and with David's blessing am happy to consider offering a new edition on Kick Starter if there is sufficient demand, probably in 2018. I've inserted here a copy of the Key Market box lid. I would ask you and any one else who is interested to give the image a thumbs up and post a comment stating they would be interested in joining a Kick Starter re-issue of Key Market. If there is sufficient interest then I will try to schedule this in to make it happen. If we reach 500 thumbs up/comments GMT style that would certainly see it across the line.


This excites, but slightly appalls, me because:
a) this is a great game and deserves more exposure, but
b) I have a First Ed. copy that will depreciate as soon as a reprint is confirmed!

However, there is a
c) Given I am a 'Key'llector (and got my copy for free in the first place for being a playtester), (b) is not an issue in the slightest. Cold, dead hands and all that.

Keyflower is my favourite Key game but Key Market is a close second, even if I always mis-remember the rules for placing workers in the fields! Maybe this time, though, the wooden fruit/veg-eeples could be less prone to 'splitting and coming apart' with the slightest hint of atmospheric dampness?

Anyway, off you pop and get a-thumbin'!
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Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:21 am
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Best Buddys' Boy's Bank Holiday Birthday Bash (Briefly)

Anthony Boydell
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(Very) long-time pals Malc & Angie put on a party, this weekend, to celebrate their eldest son coming of (proper) age ie. 21. As honorary uncle/aunt/cousins, the Boydells - or, at least, those currently available in the UK - were, thus, invited to partake on a sunny, British Bank Holiday: huzzah, indeed, for blue skies and Factor 50! It takes a solid hour, if taking the 'quick roads', to make the journey, so we set off in plenty of time to guarantee ourselves a parking space AND first dibs on the shady tables in the back garden.


A box of hats, you say? Don't mind if I do!


Amongst the glacier-melt levels of free-flowing ale, mountains of meat and carbohydrates, cheeses, salads and - inexplicably - a plate of thinly-sliced 'raw' black pudding, we managed to fit in plenty of games: Dobble, PitchCar, GobbleStones (a sort-of Scrabble with colours from the designer of Balloon Cup), more Dobble and even a couple of duels of Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game for Arthur!


Finger-flickin' good: Yours Truly remains undefeated by all-comers! It's all in the wrist, you see.



(Left) Gobblestones: Play out tiles to match colour spaces on the board and score; draw (5 minus the number of tiles you laid out) tiles at the end of your turn. Repeat until no tiles left and see who has scored the most. A little too luck-dependent for my taste BUT a resounding hit with everyone at 'the Do'.
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Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:25 am
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Keyk of the Week!

Anthony Boydell
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We first met him at Essen Spiel in 2002, when he turned up with Keythedral in a set of scuffed PC monitor boxes. Since that pivotal moment, he's gone from strength-to-strength and has finally achieved the honour of being Geek of the Week. Oh, and his games have won some awards too because they're rather good.

Go here, then, and pay him his rightful due / ask him some probing questions:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1837977/geek-week-620-r...

There is no more gentlemanly gentleman in our hobby.
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Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:17 pm
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