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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The Mark, Over-Stepped? (1/3)

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:16 pm
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I Believe In You.

Anthony Boydell
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Sixty four is no age to die in this new millennium and what’s more it’s wholly unjust that it should happen to Mark Hollis.

Formerly of the astounding Talk Talk and, for just one album and one track for TV, a solo artist, Mark Hollis quickly shook off the New Romantic/New Wave blinkers thrust upon him by the music business and forged his own sweet, SWEET path through the spaces between the notes. The eponymous debut album is rompy 80s synth-pop but from the second something else begins to emerge: patience. Each album (It's My Life, The Colour of Spring, Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock) sails further away from beats-and-hooks and becomes wash-over-you lush. Spirit of Eden is my favourite album of all-time: above, even, The Hounds of Love, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Swordfishtrombones and Kind of Blue. It is utterly perfect, soul-searingly transcendent; it is beautiful to the point of weeping. I shall be listening to it on my way to work today and, yes, I shall weep a little; I guess that I'd always hoped he might get it together and give us another 45 minutes of golden ear-honey? Not to worry as his catalog will more than do for the rest of my own life.

Rest.

In.

Peace.
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Mon Feb 25, 2019 8:29 pm
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I.D

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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With Liverpool on my mind, of late, it is no surprise that I should recall my time there and how I spent it. The strange synchronicity of a game-theme revelation and BBC's Top of the Pops 1987 broadcasting the thick-and-thin of the chart hits I spent my Friday and Saturday nights grooving to in that metropolis' clubs, led me to the attic and some startling further discoveries.

Mrs B joined me in the home of The Beatles in my final year (1989-90) as she escaped small town Herefordshire and I knuckled down for the last sprint over the BSc(Hons) finishing line. Games prior had been the occasional D&D session with Malc but prep for the finals now involved a Judge Dredd league and a tie-in to that year's hilarious Blackadder Goes Forth ('slug-balancing' included). There wasn't really much time between the courseworks, the drinking and the having-to-move-mid-term-because-our-neighbour's-house-was-trashed-in-a-riot to play my (then) personal favourite Samurai Swords - and, besides, it was dearly-missed pal Rob's copy anyway and that was languishing in a Symond's Yat cupboard until I popped back for my intermittent school reunions. It's odd being the only one in your school peer group who ended up in Further Education; you spent most of your time relating what you've been getting up to (gigs, parties, student life) because precious little (ie. fuck all) had been happening to one's pals in 'the old town'.



Ah, but we were so young; indeed, the NUS image of me is from the early days - you can tell because I'm wearing a Duran Duran-esque white jacket and have frizzed up my fringe: and just look at that mustache. The Bus Pass one (a year later) shows my metamorphosis from disco 6th former to overcoat-sporting, raggedy pseud.

Our eldest has, once again, taken herself halfway around the World for an extended working stay in Australia - which is WHY I was up in the roof making space/prodding about - and this time she is accompanied by her beau, Joe. She is older now than we were in those photographs, so the yawning gap of years is made all-the-more real. We were barely-out-of-our-teens - I'd not even got my first proper job - and, yet, the rest was already history.
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Mon Feb 25, 2019 6:15 am
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Put the kettle on, flower; I’m parched!

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Another bright Saturday, another walk out with the mutt: again, in my favourite part of the Town's outskirts where there's room to run and explore (him the former, me and him the latter). This time, on the low approach - stream side - of the old railway line, are VERY overgrown rubbish heaps and for some reason all of the undergrowth has been flattened / scraped away revealing jutting blocks, bricks, metal bars and other detritus. Looking, at first, like a smooth baked clay rainwater pipe there was this enameled beauty quietly corroding amongst the roots of some type of tree or other:





I like to think that these belonged to the Newent Stationmaster and/or the leather-skinned toilers in the Goods Siding; popping on another brew as an Autocar diesel-ed to Ledbury.

(goes all wistful for a moment)

Mrs B is less than impressed that I keep wandering back with a rolled-in-duck-shit dog and some tattered piece of so-called archaeology. She should be grateful I didn't haul this back today 'n all:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
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Sun Feb 24, 2019 7:10 am
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Whose Tern is it?

Anthony Boydell
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As recent Internet-based disciplinary actions will have illustrated, I find myself agitated by World events and have expressed my rising fear and frustration in (mostly) strong Anglo-Saxon. A picture tells a thousand words, of course, and I have been admiring the superlative work of a number of political cartoonists; Steve Bell (of the Guardian) has been an idol of mine since I was a doodling Teen but I've also discovered some rising stars - in particular, the (Francis) Bacon-like grotesques of Wefail:


"Wefail paints monsters" - https://wefail.art/


More positively, my obsession with Attention All Shipping continues apace; indeed, every evening this past week has been taken with solo run-thrus, note-taking and re-printing/rummaging for the right bits in the Shed. A quick call on my favourite FB group garnered some excellent suggestions for 'hazards' to spice up the 'Perfect Storm' shenanigans; in particular, RoW gamer Gerv - who attended this report's evening - has a fascinating tale of a relative whose boat pulled in a WW2 mine: I shall let him (hopefully) tell that story in the comments below:


New additions this week include: hazard cards (taken in certain fishing scenarios), lighthouses needed new light bulbs (!) and the discovery of lucrative (but dangerous) ship wrecks. I've also tweaked the fish market a bit.


It didn't help things at all when I also found out about The Liverpool Overhead Railway; some of you may recall that my alma mater is Liverpool Polytechnic and, for the first two years of my attendance, saw me riding the Mersey ferries to-and-from my Byrom Street studies...and, yet, I had never heard of this fascinating enterprise until a week ago!



I have eBay-ed research material. I think I may be turning in to a Sierra Madre-esque game designer (historically-inspired, theme-tied mechanisms, tighter gameplay).

Anyway. We were a sigh-of-relief-inducing six for the evening at The Plough Inn; the core five plus visiting London occasional 'Michael' who is taking a working holiday away from The Big Smoke: have laptop, will travel.

Peloponnes is an excellent opener at that number so, with the main Bar filling up boisterously with skittles teams, we retreated to the balmy-and-yet-calamitous times of early the European civilisations:



Previously dis-enamoured of 'Ploppers', Smudge successfully navigated the twin paths of building and population growth to pip Michael by a single point. A warehouse full of luxury goods couldn't cover for my woeful crop production and I fell victim to a closely-timed double feeding: my population never rising above five throughout. Still an absolute peach of a punishing auction game, though.

We split for Ulm (Jobbers, Boffo, Michael) and jeu de jour Wingspan:



Smudge managed to set up an egg-collecting/card-tucking engine that left Gerv and I tied and 20 points behind; as you would expect, there were many puns - not least from the Ulm end of the table involving swallows - and much coo-ing over the art and simple-but-addictive gameplay. Smudge stayed on to teach it to Jobbers and Boffo - Smudge NEVER teaches ANYTHING - and Gerv remarked that it was the best new game he had learned at the club...ever!

For Gerv, Michael and myself, we closed with Symphony No.9:



It was quite the most disastrously-inept example of concert organization I've experienced to date: just three out of the six performances made it to an audience and we ended up having to sell off our furniture to keep up with benefacting. Happily, I managed to finally win a game of this - not that I need much convincing TBH: it's a doozy. It should be noted that while I referred to the composers as 'brown', 'purple', 'green' etc, Michael was much more sophisticated and used their proper names: it's so lovely when someone brings a bit o' class to the club.
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Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:06 am
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You can't have a good steak without a bit of fat

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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From the smallest room of the Boydell household (you can say what you like about this dieting thing but it definitely makes you more 'regular' - and not in an unpleasant way either; indeed, there is no troubling the Bristol scale).

As a fledgling IT contractor, it was a tradition - for a short time - that I received a Forgotten English desk calendar for Christmas and spend the following year regaling associates with obscure words and their eclectic meanings (usually via a daily email with humorous examples of usage). Among the many romantically-daft medieval and Dickensian phrases was the word Interlard which, even after ALL this time (20 years+), still sticks freshly in my memory.

INTERLARD
From the literal sense of “to intersperse with alternate layers of lard (and/or other fats)”, existing since Middle English, from Middle French entrelarder, from entre-, “inter-” + larder, “to lard”.

Basically, one would fill out a meal with extraneous (cheaper) matter to make it filling: a 100% beef sandwich being more expensive than a sort-of cow Viennetta.



The definition also extends to the non-nutritional world ie. have you ever been in a long work meeting (the 'meat') where jokes are occasionally told that break the tedium and/or odd side-track conversations are followed (the 'lard')? That's "interlarding" too!

Quote:
intersperse or embellish speech or writing with different material.
"a compendium of advertisements and reviews, interlarded with gossip"


I mention this because, of late, my favourite gaming Facebook group is being subjected to the increasing gripes and grumbles of 'the vigilant righteous' (aren't they all?!) who declaim, report and/or assault - with their sanctimonious ire - ANY post that is not directly-attributable to games or gaming. Dare one post a non-gamery zeitgeist-y quip and, within moments, someone has simultaneously flagged it to the Admins AND commented that one should post this kind of thing elsewhere as they 'come here for the games'.

Aside from the fact that I am a noted game designer and content-providing celebrity - a wit, polymath and bon viveur - it is a demonstrable fact that we interlard our way through the long days and dark nights as an instinctual measure: it protects us from the tedium - it's like looking in to the distance to relax your eyes after a long period of close-up work. But, try telling that to the humourless, starched and low-intellect drones that make up 99% of our Internets community and they'll just fix you with a furrowed-brow glare and run off, wailing, to the nearest Moderator.



Now, if you will excuse me, the children - like the Great Old Ones - are awakening from their deep slumbers and I'm 'hogging the bog'; have a great day now, y'all. *flushhhhhhhhhh*
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Fri Feb 22, 2019 9:57 am
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Giacomo fixed it!

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Fri Feb 22, 2019 9:04 am
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Crumbs!

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Still to come:
Chocolate Factory
Beyond Milford Green (comic book)
Ragusa
Flick Fleet
QE
City of Big Shoulders
Welcome To...
Pax Pamir
The Art of Heikala (art book)
Tricky Tides
Miremarsh
Kitty Cataclysm, and
Snowdonia Deluxe Master Edition.

I don’t have a problem; I can stop whenever I like.
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Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:15 am
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If You Want Something Doing Properly Then You've Got To Do It Yourself...

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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I was a little dismayed, upon viewing W.Eric Martin's preview snippet of Foothills at Nuremburg, because the presenter wasn't one of the development team and obviously knew almost-nothing about the game - or , at least, not enough to go beyond a partial Snowdonia connection and an incomplete explanation of how the awesome action card mechanism works! Foothills was recently-previewed (on a different vlog) as a coming attraction for 2019 and the presenter managed to completely-mangle the description to the point of unrecognisability as well!

"Enough!" I said to myself as I popped another sable grape in to my gob; "time to set the record straight". Before I begin, however, I must apologise for a couple of things ie.

a) the sharp cut-off at the end - my iPhone boinked an 'Out of Space' message; and,
b) the Portrait ratio - I held the iPhone in the correct landscape position throughout.

Anyway, I hope that this gives you the definitive picture of Ben's and my corker of a collaboration*:




*even if I do say so myself!
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Wed Feb 20, 2019 6:15 am
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Er... #Follow #Tuesday

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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If you like, why not follow my good friend Keith Assoji on Twitter: @AssojiKeith ?
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Tue Feb 19, 2019 7:26 pm
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