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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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It's worse than that: he's dead, Jim...

Anthony Boydell
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Friday night at The Plough Inn was back to some semblance of normality with just a cosy foursome camped out in the back room. Jobbers had absented himself (probably) for to attend a comedic performance somewhere; next week , no doubt, we shall be regaled of it's "simply the best gig I've ever been to" credentials. In the meantime, it was me and Mr & Mrs Bateson and pretty-much-a-regular-now Gerv for some oldies and some newies.

First up - and accompanied by a pretty good rules explanation from myself* - was Holding On: The Game With The Bloke Wot Is Dyin'. Disconcertingly, it transpires that Gerv's Pa is currently hospitalised thanks to a heart attack so I was a-feared this would go down like a coffin-making class at an Adult Care Home. Fortunately, my attempts to read out the snippets of Billy's memories in an Ulster accent on the 'Partial Memory' cards was so OTT that Gerv was in danger of soiling himself with mirth; indeed, Boffo nearly spat out his mouthful of ale when I remarked - in my best Reverend Ian Paisley !SHOYT! that it was good to see an 'orangeman' included in the game**

In summary: the 'start player' (shift leader) allocates PC and NPC pieces to a Patient Card for that part of the day (morning, afternoon or night) and those assigned can either pay care tokens to keep Billy from getting worse (damage) OR chat to him and try and piece together his fragmented recollections. Each scenario - there are 10 - has an objective; the opening scenario requires a CLEAR memory (a sort-of doubled-up partial memory) in each of his mind's five 'timelines'. Who knows what's coming up?!

Right off the bat, we eschewed some medical attention to have a nice chat instead; pretty quickly we'd gathered a good pool of partial memories without too much stress or 'damage' but, then, Becky seemed to be singularly unable to gather CLEAR versions of the PARTIAL memories on display. She is notoriously 'weak'*** at spacial stuff in gaming so I am still worried that she had LOADS of matches but just couldn't join it all up from her side of the tableau!!! Anyway, it didn't help that whenever she was shift leader, we'd get a medical emergency for which we were hopelessly under-prepared:

"No, Matron, you're supposed to put the extra pillow UNDER his head!"

Suffice it to say that we're probably going to be up before the General Medical Council soon.


top row: looking good...oh shiiiiiiiiiiit!!!
bottom row: racing with vegetables and in third place 'for want of a tomato'


On safer, less mortal, grounds we taught Gerv the quirky delights of Reykholt which, despite his doubtful grumblings, is one of Boffo's most played games of the last month. Reykholt is brisk and clever and pretty and a tremendous filler puzzle and I'm looking forward to all of the extra Service Cards that Matthias (Frosted Games) has lined up for the inevitable - but welcome - expansion!


See bottom right: going in to the last round joint first...this was never going to end well.


At Boffo's insistence, we fitted in a round of 'Soup' which is one of the club's favourites AND on his 'get to an H-Index of 40' list. The game ran to the usual script with me forced in to 'no soup' in the final round and then losing 67% of my score in the (disastrous) process.

I had a better showing in the closing brace of For Sales (also on his list) and then we were away in to the dark. Despite our hypocratic hippocratic tomfoolery, it was a fine night.

*Many thanks to "Watch It Played" for the excellent run-thru
**one of the nurse pawns is coloured orange.
***totally crap
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Mon Nov 19, 2018 6:15 am
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Forging Ahead

Anthony Boydell
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Pretty convinced the algorithm has gone AWOL:





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Sun Nov 18, 2018 6:15 am
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Chumson D'Amour

Anthony Boydell
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(The Gathering of Chums 2018)

And so we come to the finale; the last day of the GoC and a restful, genteel awakening. Folks were emerging as if to The New World Symphony: shyly-peeking around the jamb and reluctant to commit to the first game of the morning. A couple of coffees later and we were off pausing, only, for 10 minutes at 11AM to wander in to the main Bar and pay our respects to the Armistice commemorations. It was genuinely moving to stand with thirty other folks in thoughtful silence as the wood fire crackled and glowed.


(clockwise, yadda-yadda) Arthur teaches Dave and Boffo how to play Miremarsh*; the magnificent Glory to Rome with the magnificent Richard, John and Jimmy; portable (both physically and temporally) 18XX fun with 18Lilliput - my second favourite new game of the event; my birthday haul and current hotness Teotihuacan: City of Gods


My feelings about Teotihuacan: City of Gods are a little mixed. Despite the astonishing 'spread', it's a very straightforward Euro with more than a passing resemblance to 'Voyages of Marco Polo'. My main concern - assisted to vocalisation by yet more plum juice - is that I thought I'd played a competent strategy and, yet, was almost half-a-lap behind everyone else at the end...and I have no idea why! I shall have to give it another go but am pretty sure Boffo is going to hate it/Smudge will absolutely love it. Tittywacking: City of the Godless was to be the last official temptation as the great and the good were now setting off for their faraway homes.

Some remained to take tea with us at Appleton House and we contrived to play one more 'Glory To Rome' (for the road) but we were just delaying the inevitable; as quickly as it (and they) arrived, the weekend (and the chums) were gone again. Suffice it to say that I have already booked the venue and sent out the invitations for 2019.

*still available BTW on KS Backerkit (https://miremarsh.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders) - me and Arty are in for the basic package!
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Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:59 am
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Chum-pagne Supernova

Anthony Boydell
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(The Gathering of Chums 2018)

I'd been teetotal on the Friday - happy to be the designated driver - but, for the rest of the festivities I was determined to be able to have a jar or two. Given that I've shed a fifth of my body-weight since the Spring, I felt I owed myself a few nutritional favours: an extension of my Essen 'essen' privileges, if you will. There was also the promise of a barrel of the utterly gorgeous 'Titanic Plum Porter' (4.9%) and there was no way on Gaia I was gonna miss out on THAT!


(clockwise etc) Matt, Aaron, Ed and I mull over the quirky-yet-familiar Airship city (resource collection, recipe fulfillment, spacial-manipulation fun); two views of the delightfully-daft, dice-rattling shenanigans of Miremarsh (roll-and-allocate, survive, eat fish) - certainly an Arthur (and Arthur's Dad)-pleaser; (Ceylon) Tea & Jam (sumo) - the former is a handsomely-presented, accessible and light Euro, the latter 'flicking great!'; all back to mine and scoffing the enormous takeout curry - Mrs B got carried away and ordered about 50 poppadoms(!); drunken Agricola (see below) and the pre-Botswana selfie.


It was inevitable that I should do a spot of farming at some point so, topping up my porter, MrShep and Stu took up my challenge for quick threesome. A couple more pints were eagerly-glugged as I put my workers to work and held on, rapaciously, to the new Start Player Marker (a gift from Stu); indeed, as I began to mentally drift under the sweet-brewed influence of those impressive plums (and occasionally stick the S.P.M to my forehead like a Unicorn's horn), I was also taking unconscious command of the table ie. despite getting quite squiffy (quite quickly), I was winning!


The gloriouz AuZtralia! Quite definitely my Game Of The Weekend - taught excellently by MrShep and played in the spirit by Snowdonia Dragon Ed and Eurosnoot Surya. Just the perfect mix of Eurogame, theme and rando-trash.


Mrs B attended, post-Botswana, to gather peoples' curry preferences and we had to wait a further (just one more game!) hour before it was ready for pick-up. It took three of us to carry all the food back to the house.

By the time we'd gobbled our bhajis, noshed our keemas and necked our dals it was 10.30PM and too late to get back to the pub before closing SO some of us wandered over to the shed to wax lyrical, prod cardboard boxes and admire my extensive collection of Gaming Tat.


The Three Wise UK Daily Bloggers (and a photo-bombing Nick Case)
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Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:05 am
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He can get both an 'Amen' AND an 'Hallelujah'

Anthony Boydell
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My podcast feed is regularly updated with comedic, gaming and political episodes and it's always a pleasure when I see something short but, invariably, sweet from Mr Ben Maddox and his post-Apocalyptic cabin.

This week his dissembling eye turns, Sauron-like, to commercial concerns and how one particular 'bit of family fun' triggered an erudite rant of magnificent, lexicographical proportions. There's no shouting but there's an awful lot of spot-on emotion.

Enjoy:

https://fivegamesfordoomsday.com/2018/11/15/kacka-alarm-a-5g...
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Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:22 am
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We Are The Chum-pions!

Anthony Boydell
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(The Gathering of Chums 2018)

Obviously, I would've been hard-pressed to be 'current' with my session reports for the prior weekend's Gathering Of Chums 2 - this year's expedition in Autumnal gaming while enduring (!) a pub lock-in. Thus, to you all I present some pics with an ickle-bitto captioning.

After wrapping up a spreadsheet or two and, naturally, clearing the Inbox, messages about peeps' arrival in the Newent area began popping up on the GoC2 Events page. In particular, pal Richard then Sean from the Kilkenny - by way of the United States (who had aeroplaned, diesel-trained and hybrid-bused his way to the town centre at the same time that the weather turned and a shower blew in from North Wales (that would be Aaron, Ed and Paul!)). I invited them all back to the house for tea, biscuits and chatter and - because the afternoon had darkened swiftly to evening, a handsome fish-and-chip supper. With Arthur off to a school film night (Paddington 2), we lads kicked about the place until it was time to go over to Ross-on-Wye and the heaving (for us) Plough Inn:


(clockwise from top left) Richard, Sean - (Clare, Keef and Boffo Glass Road-ing in the bg) - Nick and me enjoying a solidly-proportioned carrot/proudly-domed mushroom* or two; vegan heaven; fweeep gets a makeover; roll-and-write railways and a view of the others (we were almost TWENTY!)


Not pictured was Matt's copy of Voodoo Prince that kept us (very much) entertained while waiting for table changeovers. Unfortunately, our pace was a little slow while Reykholt-ing, so we didn't manage a play of Nusfjord between the subsequent fillers. However, the coming weekend would fill up with a surfeit of meaty gaming goodness to more than make up for the RoW appetizer...

Our (my) intinerary:
Impressive vegetables, Missus;
Nasty Knizian Card Game;
ScribbleTrains; and,
fweeep!.

*steady, now...
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Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:05 am
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Just

Anthony Boydell
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Joni Mitchell famously said - in the classic Big Yellow Taxi - that you "don't know what you've got 'til it's gone"; it should also be mentioned that Radiohead said "You do it to yourself, you do". After a week of man-flu and winding myself up with current affairs, I painted myself in to an hubristic corner and - for the second time in nearly eight years - was reminded that while my Blog may be a safe-r space than many areas of BGG, it is not immune to moderation. Oddly, though it took 16 hours to get from 'post' to 'takedown' (the blog AND me), the day in-between passed with me wincing whenever I checked the page for thumbs and/or comments; even I was finding the image discomfitting. I should've listened to my gut...if it wasn't already growling with nausea and pumping out unpleasant clouds.

The weekend came-and-went to a jolly montage of friends, beer, delicious food (and too many poppadoms) and board games under the banner of my Gathering of Chums 2 (I shall recap at some point); ending with a warm beef stew, Doctor Who and gifts to celebrate my 51st birthday.

We've always handmade cards in the Boydell household and will continue to do so until the day we're buried with our pencil cases; indeed, there are tens of scrapbooks filled with the childrens' happy Suns and shaded-outside-the-lines family caricatures. This particular black-outside, leaf-strewn, wood-smokey Monday tea-time revealed the following treasure from young Arthur:



I am not ashamed to admit that this made my heart leap and my tear ducts leak. I am already eminently cartoon-able due to bald pate and salt-and-pepper beard, but it's not the delightful Lego-fication of Arthur and I that makes me lachrymose but the way he has drawn me with a loving and protective arm around him: this simple gesture is how he sees our relationship and I am reduced, instantly, to jelly. This last week - while I have been unable to do nowt but 'lurk' - I have also seen you, dear reader, in my place in this picture: your figurative arm reassuringly-around my shoulder. It feels ever so good to be back.

P.S. Much love and thanks to everyone for their kind words and messages!
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Thu Nov 15, 2018 8:35 am
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a lick of paint

Anthony Boydell
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I've been noodling about with images for my *fweeep* prototype in the style of the Railway ABC ie. hand-painting (digitally) over the top of an image/images. It reminds me of the classic, screen-printed railway excursion posters and I thought they'd look pretty damn nifty shrunken down to the size of a playing card.

The four images for the 'basic' train types took me about an hour each on a quiet, damp Sunday afternoon; the remaining types PLUS re-working the players' starting hands (after feedback from Spiel testing) will probably take the same time again.

Sample of a 'Before' page:



Sample of an 'After' page:

(Yes, I know the text needs sorting)

It makes all the difference though, doesn't it?
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Mon Nov 5, 2018 6:20 am
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Insert Money Here

Anthony Boydell
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A brief Essen anecdote for a Sunday morning:

"Directly-opposite the A-Muse-Ment booth (noble purveyors of the excellent and beautiful Tales of the Northlands: The Sagas of Noggin the Nog) was a booth for laser-cut, wooden box inserts. I can't remember their name because there's at least two 'famous' ones and keep getting them muddled; it's not an important detail.

Anyway, I noted they had one of those huge Scythe 'box for everything's with it's own insert etc. So, I approached the kindly Lady at the POS and enquired of the cost; the reply went along these lines (I'm paraphrasing):

Me: How much is the big box, please?
Them: 40 euros.
Me: And how much is the insert, please?
Them: 50 euros. Do you have the original game insert from us?
Me: No.
Them: Oh, well you would need one of those as well. That would be 50 euros.
Me: 140 euros for everything?
Them: Yes, that's right!
Me: No discount for buying everything in one go?
Them: No, sorry.
Me: 140 euros? (chuckling to myself) I love Scythe but I don't love it THAT much! Thanks. Goodbye!
"

Make (or not) of that what you will.
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Sun Nov 4, 2018 10:06 am
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Playing Poorly

Anthony Boydell
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ConCrudTM really landed with a punch this week and I've gotten through a box-and-a-half of Lemsips, four packets of Lockets and "gone to bed early" three nights out of five since crunching on to the driveway on Monday evening. My appetite has been suppressed (though I did get a huge craving for marmite-on-toast on Friday), my dreams feverish and my thorax a cold barrel of shivering sensitivity whenever brushed by limb or clothing.


The calm before the...


Despite the library room table audibly-groaning under the weight of my Essen haul, I was feeling ambivalent about Ross-on-Wye gaming; with Boffo away at Midcon and Smudge away with pals, it was going to be probably four - Gerv, Jobbers and occasional Wendy - with me the chief custodian of the games (and, by extension, the designated explainer). I'm nervous enough when it comes to explaining and find my attention is constantly trained on the others during play to make sure they don't make mistakes, glaring errors etc. With a swimming head and a raspy cough, the whole (physically painful) process is amplified and by the end of the evening I was aching and exhausted.

First to the table was my new, recently-sourced, copy of Pioneer Days by good pals Matt & Chris. I played, and blogged about, the prototype three years ago at Seb Bleasdale's wedding weekend and the final version was just as much fun as I'd remembered. Jobbers and Gerv were wagons a-rollin' with Townsfolk combos and stacks o' Favours while I ran a tight single-wagon train (does it count as a wagon train with just the one?!). Wendy, struggling with the core conceits, limped along at the rear to the sound of a mournful harmonica. Jobbers celebrated a little too early only to find himself put in his second-place-by-a-point by a polite-but-forceful Gerv.

With 90 mins to go, I figured we should be able to get a couple of rounds of NEOM in; however, as with Pioneer Days and (a few months back) Nusfjord before it, a new game with new rules and iconography proved a river of treacle through which Wendy needed leading. A circumstance most definitely not aided by my English copy coming with a beautifully-printed and easily-punchable set of GERMAN tiles! There is no language issue, as such, but looking up the effect of a complex tile required translating the German name in to English first!


We'd packed NEOM away before I'd remembered I should've taken a photo.


Again, it was Jobbers and Gerv fighting for the laurels as I seemed wholly-preoccupied with looking things up for the others. It's a very nice game indeed - sort of the bastard son of 7 Wonders and Suburbia - and I think this will be a fine addition to the club's list of 'drafters'.

Bones creaking, muscles stiff and head pounding, I fired the car heater up to FULL and trundled home coughing and sighing; I should really have stayed at home tonight.
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Sat Nov 3, 2018 10:55 am
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