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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Better Late than Never

Anthony Boydell
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Taking an "I'm not sure when I'll be in this area again" opportunistic diversion on my way home from Cardiff (the farewell to the development team was necessarily-quick with firm handshakes and back-patting a-plenty lest the air-con fill my eyes with grit), I rumbled tentatively in to the tiny South Walesian town of Magor (to which I have never before been) on a long-overdue, personal pilgrimage.



I was 10 when my Grandfather died and we children were barred from the interment because we "weren't old enough to understand"; this is patent hogwash but, hey, it was a different time with different values - the 1970s is a decade best left to the Past, if I'm honest. Grandpa is but a faded memory: a recall of moist tobacco and a throaty chuckle. He worked as a builder and was involved with some major road construction in the Newport area; his youngest son, my Dad, joined him and they would spend their lunchtimes eating pies and buying Players' Navy Cut from an Italian-run café in Risca. No prizes for guessing that my maternal grandparents ran the cafe and it was there - over the steaming coffee machine, the penny sweets and the sixpenny jukebox - that my parents met and fell in love.

Interesting ruins caught my eye at the edge of the churchyard so, with nothing to particularly hurry over, I wandered across for a look-see:


The Procurator's House.


I stood at the graveside, in the breezy P.M, and gave an abbreviated version of how the last 40 years had progressed for his eldest grandchild; I then shut up for a few minutes and we both enjoyed the Summer in silence.
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Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:18 am
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The competition is back up!

Anthony Boydell
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After someone complained and the mods marked it as private, sense has been seen and all is rosy in the Station Master's garden once more:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/243221

Go!
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Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:49 am
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T minus 48 hours (and counting)

Anthony Boydell
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Two more days in my current job then, tomorrow evening, I'll be pressing the Big Contractor's Reset Button(TM): new office, new workmates, new business and new goals. No-one will have heard my 'previous job stories' nor will they know of my familial arrangements OR my hobbies OR which sport is my favourite OR my politics OR my sense of humour; there will be no baggage and no enmity (at least not yet) and the slate will be a shiny-and-unblemished black accompanied by a stick of long, sleek, fresh-from-the-carton chalk. They won't know that I play and design board games; such green and verdant pastures await!

In the meantime, here's a sneaky peek at more of my Malta Railway scenario:



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Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:20 am
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Noughts and Crosses is for Tossers.

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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No, really...

It was an early start for everyone thanks to the warm air and the sunshine at 0500HRS, so by the time Arthur and I trotted off for a quick wander at the Ledbury Car Boot we were well into our second shift for the day.

There was a high percentage of fresh fruit vendors; the extreme hotness (and, perhaps, some sore post-footie heads) no doubt keeping the numbers down this time. Pickings were extremely slim with just a couple of gaming-related stalls buried amongst the toddler clothes and the cheap lighter fluid; without exception they were wanting silly money for vintage (ie. 1970s) items...all of which look like they'd been left in a bath overnight then dried out on a radiator! Still, one caused a Father/Son simultaneous titter:

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Mon Jul 9, 2018 6:20 am
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The Art of Design

Anthony Boydell
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Because I love theme so much, it's essential that my early proto-prototypes - ie. while brainstorming those first ideas - have some evocative art to help keep the inspiration a-flowin'. A quick, timely example of this is my Malta Railway scenario for Snowdonia which only came to life on Wednesday evening and has been occupying my neurons ever since. Searching for appropriate images of this long-gone beauty, I happened across the wonderfully vivid and sumptuous pictures of John Scerri:



So, before I did anything else, I sent him a courteous email inquiring as to the process of - perhaps - being able to use some of his gorgeous work in the scenario. His response was wholly-positive and eminently-reasonable so I carried on 'mocking up':


Hopefully, this will become a real thing! (All images (c) John Scerri)


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Sun Jul 8, 2018 9:35 am
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Well, we didn't see THAT coming!

Anthony Boydell
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With the Batesons away on their annual holiday (and a null response to my calling email), it was to be just Jobbers and me at The Plough Inn. The last time this compact scenario presented itself, he and I had a rivetting head-to-head with Letters from Whitechapel: as 'the rozzers', I managed to corner the foul Demon and send his debauched carcass to the gallows. Tonight was to be the serrated knife is in the other bloody hand with me assuming the role of the dreadful psychopath...

The pub's main Bar was bestrewn with pennants depicting the cross of St George and sound-tracked with much expert discourse* on the remaining World Cup fixtures: apparently Brazil would have little trouble dispatching Belgium / Neymar is a wonderful player when not writhing about like a toddler who can't have any more pudding / France look the strongest / we should declare a National holiday if England win it etc. Even the man who says 'fucking' every other word** couldn't sour the excitable air!

Jobbers' ribbons-of-spermy folding table duly erected, I was just about to jot down the location of my secret lair when a young person wandered in to the ante-chamber, having braved the noxious cloud of soccer flatus, and enquired if this was the board gaming club...



A pause for introductions and the acquisition of beverages before setting forth. Jobbers has only brought Letters from Whitechapel (now consigned to the corner as it's bobbins with >2) and Divinare. And myself? Why just Nusfjord, naturally. Having gleaned that Lydia (welcome!) has played-and-enjoyed Imperial Settlers, Blood Rage and Dominion, our cut-down July 6th menu wasn't going to present any problems whatsoever!


Easy does it, for starters.


It takes the first game to grok what's happening in 'Divvers', so Lydia was up against a couple of psychic charlatans. Jobbers flyer of a round one was reined in by me in the second but he pulled away in the third by a couple of judicious adjacency veeps. Lydia was still seated as we packed it away so we moved quickly in to matters piscine:



Lydia picked it up quickly, if a little nervously, so with a) 90 mins left and b) nothing else available, she acquiesced to playing it again immediately...



Great weather?! England in with a chance of doing something amazing?! The UK Government finally reaching concord about Brexit?! New blood in the Ross-on-Wye board gamers?!

Maybe the World is taking a turn for the better?***

*i.e. regurgitated TV pundit bullshine, preposterous generalizations and wildy-misinformed personal opinion
**not me; honest, guv!
***Apart from that bit about Brexit, obviously.
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Sat Jul 7, 2018 10:26 am
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"Please, Sir, I want some more"

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Like baby birds, Kickstarter pledgers (and those hovering on the edge of a 'maybe') need constant feeding; this is an exciting process to be part of because everybody wins in the end*. Contrary to the impressions of some, my part in the Deluxe Master Set Edition campaign is in a supporting role: all of the hard work and invention has been handled by Kuba, Blażej and the team at NSKN Games! I have been able to sit back and watch with delight as the pledge total steadily climbed and the stretch goals began to appear...and then quickly fall like ducks on a fairground shooting range! Of course, I have a rough idea of what stretch goals are coming up (though not necessarily 'the order') but a recent Skype catch-up raised the issue that we may need a bigger boat few more!

So far there are THREE new scenarios in the mix (Bluebell, Hakone, China/Tibet) - one of which comes with custom pieces; the eagle-eyed among you will also have noticed that the beer-swilling Wye Valley Tourer has not been mentioned yet PLUS...after the call, I rummaged about the Library room:



I had been noodling with a Malta-themed line for inclusion in a Foothills 'Island Rails' expansion (already, Tony?) but the need for tunneling and a hot, arid landscape got me to thinking I could make use of the custom pieces in the Deluxe Edition: water, dynamite, 'flowers' (daffodils):



The first notes set the geography of the line. The book has an excellent map that shows some of the actual/proposed branches but the original line is solid enough to stand alone. The key elements in my initial reading were:
- Valletta and Floriana stations are underground; there is also an underground lake that needed 'skirting';
- the rest of the line is fairly mundane but the end-point, 'Museum', seemed a cool place to cash-in special pieces for points - though I should probably make a version of 'Museum' that is not -eeple dependent?
- it's particularly noted (in the book, on Wikipedia and other sites) that tramway services (buses) were quick to obsolete the trains, so that should find it's way in too.

There was a needlessly-convoluted and dull side-discussion at my final Welsh Government team meeting yesterday so, in between bon mots and sarcastic quips ("Well, someone seems to be demob happy..."), I jotted down more thoughts:



So, as it stands, the Il-Vapur tal-art will comprise:
- stations, two of which are 'underground' (and linked to a contract card bonus);
- use of water (flooding), flower and dynamite (excavation) pieces (or substitutes for those without); and,
- buses as events; and, of course,
- some trains.

I need one more wrinkle, though; so, it's back to the book with a large cup of coffee!



*unless you're the KS campaign for Glory to Rome: Black Box Edition in which case you lose your house**
**apparently.
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Fri Jul 6, 2018 10:38 am
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The All of a Tizz Quiz - Answers!

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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(1) Offer a soda tin
(2) When the lollipops have all gone…
(3) No, she went of her own accord.
(4) Crass PMS
(5) Collegium Vocale Ghent
(6) All’s down
(7) Malibu
(8) ennon you oness
(9) Clearing out
(10) 4, Whitehall Place

Spoiler (click to reveal)

(1) Offer a soda tin - anagram of A FEAST FOR ODIN
(2) When the lollipops have all gone… - STICKY STICKZ
(3) No, she went of her own accord. - JAMAICA
(4) Crass PMS - BLOOD RAGE (sorry)
(5) Collegium Vocale Ghent - ACQUIRE
(6) All’s down - anagram of LOWLANDS
(7) Malibu - SPIRIT ISLAND
(8) ennon you ones - RISING SUN (say it out loud, slowly)
(9) Clearing out - ERIC LANG
(10) 4, Whitehall Place - SCOTLAND YARD
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Fri Jul 6, 2018 6:30 am
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More Precious Things

Anthony Boydell
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The generous Paulls had 50th birthday gifted me a Kickstarter pledge for some metal Noggin the Nog figures and, after a seven month wait, they finally arrived:


(not quite sure about that image of Noggin in the middle of the box - it's a bit like that mutilated Jesus icon...)


Ooh, shiny!

They will be perfect for my copy of Tales of the Northlands: The Sagas of Noggin the Nog when it arrives though I think I'm getting an extra set, so it's a win-win for Uncle Tony!
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Thu Jul 5, 2018 6:15 am
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Runaway Train!

Anthony Boydell
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https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/nskngames/snowdonia-del...

As nervous as a Father pacing the hospital ward as he awaits the arrival of his first child, I clicked to Kickstarter from my work PC at 2.30PM expecting a 'You Are Blocked' message from the Firewall but, instead, was greeted with a real-time, upward-clicking running total of pledges that made me drop my apple*! The five second rule most definitely does NOT apply as I know what's been on shoes that have walked that carpet! By the time I'd gotten home around 5PM, the funding goal had been crunched and we were sailing through the early stretch goals! Bloody marvellous, isn't it? In fact, I was so trepidatious that one of my pre-leaving-this-job handover meetings resulted in me drawing this:


"I'll take one of everything, please!"

The speech bubble had something else in; I have edited it because (for the first time in a while) I decided to think of the children!

And this is only Day One of 24...you ain't seen nuthin' yet!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/nskngames/snowdonia-del...


*I do love to nosh a Pink Lady of an afternoon
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Wed Jul 4, 2018 6:20 am
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