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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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The Keynard Line

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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We started early (7PM) to give Gary an earlier finish because he lives about 40 miles from Ross-on-Wye: it's no fun driving through the Herefordian wilds at midnight with it's complete lack of light pollution and a high risk of hedgehog/badger-based roadkill opportunities. As it turned out, he was still winding down our second big game of the night - the excellent Transatlantic - even after I'd scooted off for Son-collection duties at 10.45PM!

With a lack of Jobbers this evening, it seemed the perfect opportunity to try out a multi-player session of Keyper; my first readings of the rulebook had me scratching my head in places as I struggled to visualise the process BUT one fresh-and-bright Spring in to the actual playing-of-it and it's all straightforward enough.


Hmmmmmm.
6 types of worker,
27 'actions' on 4 manipulate-able game boards,
three modes of action taking
(place alone, 'join' and 'laying down'),
8 types of animal,
four types of gem,
3 basic goods,
3 finished goods,
26 seasonal Fairs,
12 starting country tiles each
and 48 general country tiles.


In summary: Place a worker on an empty action space (field) which may result in you doing that action alone or one other player 'joining' OR add a worker to a field with only one worker already on it OR (if you're out of workers and your 'Keyper' piece) 'lay down' a worker(s) in a field on your (claimed-by-your-Keyper) board. Resolved actions give you stuff (cubes or animals or gems), convert stuff or let you build / upgrade / sell stuff. Resolved actions are better if the action colour is matched by your placed worker(s) and/or there are more workers.

It was patently obvious that Boffo and Smudge - with three games under their belts - were going to run away with proceedings; I'm not sure it helped that they were sat immediately next to each other either - Boffo placing and Smudge joining was a bit of a mantra. They also kicked off and hogged blue and white meeples: blue (sailors) being the best for selling goods for veeps (a LOT) and white (wild cards) for being able to follow at will. I was totally bewildered by the options available and one's 'starting Fairs' - which give you sets of things to possess by the end of a given Season - didn't help much because they were worth such derisory amounts of VPs. I managed to fill my 'Town' portion of the board but a finishing score of 48, compared to Smudge's victorious 125, showed this to be a fruitless (if hard fought) endeavour.

Yes, I moaned and groaned.

Yes, I huffed and puffed.

Yes, I swore and cursed.

The vast panorama (see the box cover!) of options is precisely why I have no interest in A Feast For Odin or modern-day Felds: I struggle to bring so much sand-boxing in to focus! As beautiful, innovative, lovingly-crafted and slightly-bonkers as Keyper is, it was too overwhelming and had me pining for some klaustrophobic Keyflower kapers instead*.

Our second game - with 90 minutes left on my own clock - was another Spiel release...the aforementioned Transatlantic:


More benevolent than Concordia but with some equally-convoluted scoring.


In summary: Play a card from your hand and do the action on it. Buy ships, deploy ships, refuel ships, send them trading for money and points, collect score-boosting chits: repeat until game end.

I managed to survive Boffo's rules explanation which - through no fault of his (he is generally very good at teaching) - had to compete with the lingering fug of my Keyper experience. Trans Atlantic is also incredibly straightforward in the actual playing; I found myself kicking ahead on the scoreboard by hogging red and blue ships (and their equivalent scoring tokens) which proved steadily-lucrative whenever one of those ships retired. Money flowed easily and I felt cosy and comfortable in my card-play throughout: Trans Atlantic is tighter and I loved it for this. Unfortunately, I had to leave about 10 minutes before the end - missing the all important 'wrap-up' - so the others played out my remaining turns 'logically' and I lost out to Smudge by just 4 points. I didn't see how she managed it (I thought I had edged enough in front to take it), so I guess I'll just have to play it again soon?!

Two more Essen releases under our belts, then, and 2017 - despite my clogged-headedness in Keyper - is shaping up to be a vintage year indeed!

*I will, of course, play it again to see if this myopia is just a temporary 'learning game' condition.
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Sat Dec 2, 2017 9:37 am
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Florence and the Piscine?

Anthony Boydell
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Gazing at the new configuration of the (recently tidied) library room (when I should've been editing an important spreadsheet), I noted the 'new acquisitions' shelf with its freshly-punched 2-4 player delights...and then cursed loudly - waking the cat - that Gary had said he was coming to Ross-on-Wye this week! Five is an awkward number that, whilst not insurmountable, steers us dangerously to "Things We Know That Work" and that, stout yeofolk, means the hotness is left to cool somewhat: fruit withering on the bough.

Fortunately for Gary's wellbeing, Jobbers had managed to scrounge a cider-enabling lift from neighbour Xander and we were back on for "two tables of three": huzzah! Being a caring sort of so-and-so, I figured we might start off as a full group with one of my "never, EVER getting rid of this one from my collection" showpieces: Peloponnes. You just can't go wrong with this superlative Civ-Auctioner and only the most foolish group would pass it over in favour of, say, a poor-man's Mysterium-cum-Werewolf.

Er...


Deception: Murder in Hong Kong: Wibbling, fuzzy, limp and confused...(note 1)


In summary: Deal out role cards with one player becoming the Forensic Scientist then deal out 4 x SOC Evidence and 4 x Possible Weapon cards to each player (face up); all close eyes and murderer opens theirs and silently indicates - to the Forensic Scientist - which SOC Evidence and Possible Weapon are 'in play'; murderer closes eyes and 'Witness' opens their eyes so the Forensic Scientists can silently indicate which player is the murderer *long sigh, deep breath*. All players open eyes and the Forensic Scientist uses several 'List of Things' tiles to describe, mutely, the selected SOC Evidence and Possible Weapon cards - six nice 'bullet-eeples'. Everyone argues for a bit about what cards (possibly) match what criteria and then we all throw one-time'accusation' chits in to the middle and get it wrong. If the murderer should be identified - by pointing out the correct SOC Evidence and Possible Weapon cards *Sweet Christ this is dull* then the murderer has one last chance to ID the 'Witness' to save him/herself.

It was tepid nonsense and I'd much rather have been playing Mysterium (but NEVER Werewolf, which I also think is arse); to be fair - given my Friday blogrant - I suggested we try it for a second time: perhaps we had missed a trick? Nope - it was just as naff as the first. Boffo, strangely-enamored of this whispy nothing, packed it away with indignant snorts and huffs while the rest of us drowned out his protestations with louder grumbles of our own!

I imagined a small voice calling from my bag: "I will save you!" it said with a thick Scandinavian accent. It was Nusfjord and it was gallantly coming to our (or at least three of us') rescue:


Smudge, Xander and Gary go 'all drinky' with Viticulture while Jobbers, Boffo and I go fishin'.


Aside: By an odd quirk of Fate, the Viticulture end of Jobbers' spunky trestle could almost have been playing New Bedford but Smudge didn't want to teach; that would've been a Blue Planet-themed evening right there! But they didn't, so it wasn't.

Nusfjord is a frosty-but-familiar, smooth-sailing Rosenberg treat: income distribution (fish) followed by worker placement to spend/gain further fish/resources, boats (to increase your income) and gain Elders (personal WP spaces) and/or buildings (the bit that's a lot like Glass Road but without the wheel brain-ache). The three resources - fish, wood and gold - are a pleasing triangle of fluctuating relative importance and the 'Shares' aspect (you issue shares for gold which other players can then pick up to leech off your income) adds an extra (small) spanner in to the works. The whole thing, once you get going, whistles along with a thoughtful vim: we loved it.

Gary, ashamed by his worst-ever performance in the "fields of vine", hung his head and left for a long trek home; this left the rest of us with plenty of time for something meaty:


Calimala: Eyes down for a Full House Santa Croce!


Calimala is an easy teach and we were off cube-juggling within bare moments; three of five were new but that didn't stop Boffo getting well stuck in to the Cloth/Ship intersection that proved ultimately game-winning (he kept Jobbers at bay by the magic single point)! Our quest to foil him was not helped by an outrageous King-making move from his beloved spouse that barely benefited her but resulting in two 'Port'-scoring victories and healthy share of several end-game bonus cards. Boffo claims this appalling nepotism made no difference at all but, of course, the golden rule for Calimala is get everyone else to trigger your actions rather than have to trigger them yourself!

No matter, Calimala kept it's excellent reputation for "a lot of game in a short playing time" and we had time for more raucous fayre: shouty Dobble (natch) and a couple of rounds of Codenames.

The warm reception for new Essen releases continues, then, and I might go as far as building upon my prediction of Azul for SdJ with a punt for Calimala getting a (deserved) nod in the KdJ: only seven months before we find out #excited #canbarelysleep

Note 1: the game NOT a left-to-right key *ba-domp tish*
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Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:24 am
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18ELC - Train games just got HARD!

Anthony Boydell
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Follow me as I unbox and, then, try to make sense of my newest train game acquisition!

Part 1:
Spoiler (click to reveal)


Part 2:
Spoiler (click to reveal)


Part 3:
Spoiler (click to reveal)

(apologies for the orientation; I remain befuddled by modern technology)


"Phew!" is all I can say, frankly; I'm not convinced this 18XX lark is really for me. I'm glad I tried it, though - better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all etc.
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Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:17 am
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Every Monk Needs a Shed

Anthony Boydell
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Friday got off to a miserable start with the news that Boffo - who is currently "on retreat" in Derby for Midcon 2017 - awoke from a rousing night of games, beer and curry to find his little car had been broken in to:



His big bag of games was half-inched: the casualties include his Keyflower-with-everything, Key Harvest and the much-beloved Glass Road. There is a whisker of a sliver of a slender chance of the thieving scum dumping the bag in a nearby hedge on account of it containing nothing but weird bits of wood and paper (and not the treasure trove of electrical consumables he might've first imagined).

For those of us remaining in the damp, leaf-strewn 'South', the day promised much by way of nothing at all ie. no dramas, crises and/or errands; the hours drifted by in a cloud of toast crumbs and coffee vapour until it was time to go and play games. I had promised - earlier in the week - to bring The Voyages of Marco Polo along for Smudge's benefit (Boffo will not stomach it to be mentioned in his company, let alone be actually played) but then forgot and brought along the ubiquitous Calimala, a newly-purchased Valletta and one of the repeatedly-played Essen releases from last weekend's party: Heaven & Ale.


A spacial puzzle combined with the need to maintain a tight Peloton of scoring markers.


In summary: each round, players take a number of actions by hopping around the rondel board: buy 'crop' tiles, buy monk tiles, initiate a scoring or claim bonus tiles (barrels). Crops and monks go on either the Sunny (cost more) or Shady (cost face value) side of your player board (garden); scoring tokens trigger the 'production' of your claimed tiles: all of one type (there are five types), all of the same number OR all monks of a type. Triggered tiles gain you money (shady side) or advancement of the appropriate resource token (and/or your 'Brew Master') on your garden's main 'Track'. Surrounding 'no entry' site spaces on your board gets you SHED TILES (!) and initiates a scoring in the same way. At the end of the game, how far your Brew Master has advanced affects how you are able to bring together your resource markers: you will be scoring off the LOWEST POSITIONED MARKER and using the Brew Master's ratio to spend higher resources to catch the lowest one(s) up.

Aside from the (initially) befuddling 'scoring rules', it didn't take us long to get going and we were soon elbowing each other for the juicy spaces. It reminded me a little of Suburbia in that you're trying to keep a fair balance between your Shady garden to keep the money supply up and the Sunny garden to get those all-important markers moving up the track (if any of the latter are still in the 'starting dead zone', you'll be scoring a miserable ZERO come game end). The opportunity to step on eachother's toes is much more obvious, much easier and much more effective than in Suburbia; you've also got to keep an eye on those barrel bonuses too as you can claim as many as you satisfy when on the Barrel space - this can lead to a satisfying sweep of veeps accompanied by a chorus of curses from your fellows!

Jobbers and Smudge both had completely full boards but were at opposite ends of the final scoring (the former having successfully hiked his components to the top), while Gary and I were more economic in our purchases with me hoovering up VP barrels like some kind of giant barrel-eating VP-hoover (though it was not enough to catch J). I think Boffo will rather like this one (goodness knows the poor chap needs some cheering up!).



We closed with Cubist, a lighter club favourite, and made our separate ways in to the Herefordshire/Gloucestershire night: Winter-lovely, frosty with the tang of wood fires.
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Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:42 am
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Happy Snaps II: Tired but Happy

Anthony Boydell
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Sunday was a much slower start and, after the long Saturday, I didn't feel quite so spry as I slunk/slinked along the Landing to the bathroom. Pals Malc and Angie were already downstairs making drinks, so I piggy-backed off of a cafetiere of strong black coffee and attempted to upload the Day 1 photos to this Parish. My Pa joined us and soon, also, Richard and Ben; we chatted until the dregs in our mugs were stony-cold about World Wars, the British Aristocracy and Ancestors before realising the morning was already running away from us!

As I scampered down the road to the Pub, my Facebook Messenger notification showed me a picture message from Boffo: his storage box of all-things-Agricola. My urgent (and excited) pace increased and I took my seat - arranging my Revised Edition replete with the Agricola: Artifex Deck - and ordered a cheesy bacon sandwich while I was at it.


(Left) I do not remember this at all; I have no idea why they are pointing and laughing...perhaps it was something I said?
(Right) Richard's first two card plays had the rest of us in a filth-minded uproar; it continued in a similar (relentless) vein for the remainder.


We were joined by Mrs B, Alice (my eldest), Benedict and Arthur and they occupied themselves with more Rick and Morty: Total Rickall Card Game, JamSumo and the like before Alice declared she wanted to try out Inhabit the Earth. Our five player agrarian ambrosia played out in a couple of hours with myself and Boffo steadily racking up oodles of bonus points around a tidy farmstead (him 47, me 44), Claire flailing about in an unfamiliar-to-her elbow-shoving five player, Ben M nobly persisting through the banter and dirty jokes to a respectable personal best and Richard tying himself up in combo knots and making a couple of timing errors that probably cost him 5-10 points. It was wonderful; every day, in every way, I love Agricola more.

Boffo, once our farming duties were complete, taught and participated in a game of ItE that - according to Mrs B - was "the boys ignoring the girl", which Alice duly won. For myself, I finally co-tabled with Jimmy, Andrew Harman and Dave for a curious debut of Lagerst├Ątten


In summary: it's worker placement with dinosaur bits.


As this clever take on dobber-spotting played out, all of us were purring with admiration about how well the 'digging for fossils' mechanic worked: the more people participating in a site's excavation meant more of the fossil cards 'buried' there would be in the drafting hand upon resolution! Collect fossils, assemble whole specimens and then either sell them to collectors OR send them off on income-producing tours. Jimmy and I got off to a clean and steady start and left the other two well behind; in the end it was a cheeky little Pteranodon that sealed a comfortable victory for me. Jimmy, who runs an FLGS, was already googling the manufacturer's deets, during the takedown, so he could get a batch brought back to the UK in the near future; that play had sold three copies!


Loot Island: not well received, really; from L to R: confused but won, confused but cared even less and just 100% befuddled from start-to-finish.


It was suddenly 4PM and I had family stopping by so it was farewell to the stragglers - and to our Pub hosts - and a benificent distribution of birthday beers and home for hot tea and presents:


Books, games, records, whisky, funny cards, lovely messages and a tunnel for m yet-to-be-built model railway!


With everyone gone and supper done, the last few hours of November 12th passed in the company of my first ever board game design: B.O.G.



Ben M, Alice, Mrs B, Benedict and I howled with mirth at the farcical cinematic storytelling of this lumbering beauty: a gentle start followed by two player deaths, a near death experience, the death/resurrection/re-death of the game's fictional progenitor and a frantic scramble to the Balcony-bound treasure made for quite the fullest, most satisfying session in a long while. A fittingly daft end to the evening and, of course, to a wonderful weekend; the Pub is keen to have us all back again in a more regular capacity...I fear this may be the beginnings of ShedCon!

P.S. Many, many thanks for your kind Birthday wishes: I love you all!
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Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:30 am
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Happy Snaps

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A quiet start: bleary eyes and bacon butties then, having set out the tables and chairs, we started with something light: Fast Forward: FORTRESS.

In summary: Set collection and use a set to 'take over' a fortress card; be the player with the most Fortresses or the lowest-numbered fortress (if tied on numbers) when the third 'Hour glass' appears and you win. Each game digs deeper in to the deck...



As previously-promised to Arthur, we played Scythe with five (no 'wind gambit' due to too many noobs/haven't played for a whiles). Arthur stayed on the table for Adrenaline (and, from all accounts, made blood-thirsty work of his Chainsaw and Sledgehammer!)



Mid-morning and the room is full, warm and free-flowing with an utterly-delicious Plum Porter!



Calimala was probably the Game of the Weekend; almost constantly in-play and exceedingly well-received (great work, Mr Fabio Lopiano!)



It wasn't all the "serious stuff", you know?!



Alex and Mr Alex baked me a delicious gluten-free fruit cake..albeit with dubious decorative flourishes.



Montana, Tulip Bubble and Billy Burnham's favourite Cheating Moth: universally regarded as 'Meh', universally confusing and universally dumb fun respectively.



Santa Fe Rails and the gloriously-gorgeous, most-beloved Glory to Rome. I would play GtR later, after our enormous curry supper, with a group who didn't need any teaching at all: it was totes emosh (and I'm not even joking).



All back to the Shed! Well, back to the kitchen and the garden of Castle Boydell for a slap-up spicy supper and songs around the bonfire! It was especially brilliant to be leading a crocodile of 40 people from The Kings Arms and through the housing estate to our Home! The fresh air certainly did us all the world of good!
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Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:48 pm
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No; Calimala is _not_ deep-fried squid.

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(today, it's a quick write up of yesterday's events)


Opening anecdote: when I went to pick up the second batch of the birthday bottles of beer, I happened to meet up with my old 'A'-level Biology teacher; he was buying a tray of 12 bottles and he chortled to himself when he saw me loading 144 of my own. We waxed-lyrical about 'the old days' (we're talking the 1980s here) and how I was the ONLY student studying 'A'-level Biology and had the Lab to myself: breeding ten generations of Drosophila to see how genetics and mutations work, freezing live locusts to the point of coma so I can vivisect them, pretending I'm on the Nostromo by using the bunsen burner as a flamethrower etc. We supped a light, lunchtime ale as we chatted and I began to feel the first pangs of excitement...


The first beer of the weekend...opened with a little help from 'Bruce the Bottle Opener'!


Anyway, after a fish-and-chip supper, me and Ben and Richard and Craig popped over to Ross-on-Wye for games:


The excellent Calimala in progress. BTW Today's blog title makes reference to young Phillip D's witty rejoinder when I called for players #nowTHATScomedy



#badteacher Tony romps home by a country mile



Becky, quietly-smug, spanks the botties of everyone else at the Lancaster table. Again.



Never have so many..! From West Wales, Belgium, Berlin, Bristol, Berkshire and Bucks.


Intermediate anecdote: a Plough Inn regular wandered in to see what all the noise was, gave the room a confused and disdainful look and drifted straight back out again. Was that pity in his mournful eyes? Or was it the first flickers of rage, for we - this room of weirdos - had just emptied the barrel of the guest ale between us!


Mini Rails: it's a beautiful bastard! My developing beer goggles meant I kept tanking my own share interests (my excuse: the disc was hidden under another disc, m'lud!)



With Surya and Myriam in attendance, it would be rude to NOT play the wonderfully tricky trick-taker Sticheln. It always takes me the first Round to get settled...but that usually means I start Round 2 on minus 30 points!
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Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:40 am
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Azul Like It

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If proof were needed that something is brewing in the wider Universe (stars aligning, portentous omens writ large across the sky, the mewling of base animals etc) then Friday night at The Plough Inn with the Ross-on-Wye board gamers provided it: Boffo liked the three new Essen releases I brought along!

Let me write that out again: Boffo liked the three new Essen releases I brought along!

First, to get this started, colourfully and gently, I presented Azul - a game I have now played six times since the weekend and my first tip for the next Spiel des Jahres (so soon?!). After the first game, which I won by just a couple of points with a personal best, Smudge immediately demanded we play again; the rest of the table smiled, nodded and hem/hurr-ed their approval and so we did.

Ready for the next course, Boffo pointed at Mini Rails in my compact stack o' product and gurgled "I very much want to play that". Within the first few, tentative actions he was muttering variations on "This is clever", Smudge was pronouncing it "...very hard for such a simple game" and Jobbers' 'Analysis' was certainly stiffening (if not completely paralyzed)! I managed to squeak out the win thanks to piggy-backing on Jobbers' well-protected Yellow and the rest of us mutually interested in White: this is a triumph of a game, Mr Mark Gerrits; a bloody TRIUMPH!


We should really get a cloth to cover Jobbers' painting table.


By way of a change of pace - and with not enough time to get Calimala going - I suggested we crack open Boffo's new copy of Fast Forward: FEAR. Given the club is mostly just the four of us, we will get plenty of opportunities to run through the deck and see what awaits at the end.


Remove the cards from their shrink and read the top card: proceed from there.


Four games whizzed by and we'd delved about a fifth of the way through the deck; we decided to 'save' it there and move on. I was, again, on pick-up duty, and the only fillers left to us were High Society and Port Royal; Smudge turned her nose up at HS so emphatically that I imagined she could smell the back of her own neck! And so it was Pfister's corking push your luck-er:


Tres amusant - how we laughed! Boffo (left) much-pleased after I shared my big Pinasse with him and (right) the Church singularly-unhelpful in my quest for claiming either Bonus card!


No 'big Euro' this time but I do have my 50th birthday bash next weekend! I should've gotten through most of the rule books by then so it's going to be Trans Atlantic, Keyper, Calimala, Heaven and Ale, Nusfjord (and more) ahoy!
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Sat Nov 4, 2017 11:00 am
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CotN-ing on to the CotO

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The Plough Inn had a bar buzzing with local types - all, obviously, big mates with the Landlady (who was making surgical work of a Scotch Egg and Salad) - clogging up the thoroughfare and loitering on the Beer Garden patio having a fag despite it being Storm Brian (cold and wet) outside. The 'back room', to which we have exclusive Friday night access, spoke a different story:


Forlorn, innit?


Occupying myself with yet another play-through of Monument Valley, my ears perked at Boffo's approaching "Halloos" as he struggled in to the Sanctum bearing a sack of classics; Jobbers followed shortly after with his big table and we were, once again, 'set':



To open, Smudge had picked Concordia but spotted Goa being shifted out of the way to get access to it and plumped for that instead! I love Goa; I play a good game of Goa and am happy to find myself always in contention. However, in this instance, a start player-hogging Jobbers (to my immediate right) took it upon himself to place the flag in the most inaccessible position forcing me - five rounds out of eight - on to a no-choice tile and, more importantly, gifting both Smudge and Boffo (obviously, after the first round, the ones to watch) with a wide choice of tiles for themselves. Even pointing this out after the second instance did nothing to stop Jobbers' wilful Kingmaking. Ah well, it is an amazing game regardless; only a handful of new releases in recent years have come anywhere near to being as good (and eternal). As prophesied, Boffo romped home by a clear 10 (ten!) points (which is HUGE in Goa) - having taken NO extra actions, mind! - while I scored my lowest EVER with a risible, pathetic, appallingly-inept 29.

It was my choice next and I'd latched on to a long, Shed-buried gem:


Zooloretto: Have YOU played this recently? Well, you absolutely should!


Not that I was beginning to feel victimised or anything but - sweet David Attenborough! - those 'boats' were being filled and/or taken with an almost Olympic level of WTF?-age! At one point Boffo, playing a very shrewd game, looked comfortably on the top podium until - with the very last tile draw - Smudge knowingly set up a 10 points-worth boat for Jobbers and swept him, gleefully, to the win! Boffo king-made in to second place by his own spouse! My own score of 9 (nine) points would, rightfully, have passers-by questioning if I was able to use a knife-and-fork without injuring myself let alone 'play proper board games'!

To close, Jobbers plucked a true colossal star of the hobby: Manhattan



This sort of thing is much more in Jobbers' (and Boffo's) sphere of expertise and I fully expected to be ground in to the dust like the gaming cockroach that I seemed to be on this windy evening...but, no! Plugging away quietly at keeping dominance in a couple of districts, letting Jobbers and Smudge waste time-and-effort picking on each-other and snarking away at Boffo's tentative intrusions kept me firmly ahead after each of the four scoring phases and - at the end - stretched way out in front: some dignity recovered, then!

However, regardless of scores (and any perceived persecution!) this was a delicious menu of vintage gaming to be much-recommended. Go delve in the back of your cupboards and sweep aside the modern pompery; give those Elder Statesperson games a deserved airing and you'll be surprised at just how bloody great they are.
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Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:07 am
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Dancing Daise (Are Here Again)

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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With my eldest daughter now back at University, it's been a rum month for Mrs B as the only female in the household: meal times are beset with conversations about internet memes, Rick & Morty and movie trailers in which she has absolutely no interest whatsoever. Fortunately, we both escape to a less-teenage world on a Tuesday night for our Ballroom Dancing lessons and this week it was the Quickstep! A lumpy, grumpy middle-ager I may be but I was positively motoring about the sports hall and (mostly) in time to the music too!


Karen and I, this week.


Further salvation came, yesterday, in the just-for-a-day-or-so arrival of youngest daughter (Daisy) back from her Guildford life for a brief visit; it's been 10 weeks (!) since our glorious Yorkshire hols and the last time we were all together as a family so it was with an excited tremble in my tummy that I drove home through a gloomy Monmouthshire after work! Big hugs, plentiful cups of tea and an enormous pasta bake saw us through to Arthur's bedtime and we settled at the (cleared) kitchen table for some lighter gaming distractions; it's so very nice to just chitty-chat over cubes and chits:


First up was Too Many Cinderellas: the curious micro-game where one tries to protect a secret Cinderella card-in-hand (or two) from a series of player-played 'elimination' criteria which are also, themselves, potential Cinderellas. Daisy proved quite unassailable and won both of the rounds we played...with a Cat and a Transvestite! I, as per, failed to offer up even a single potentially-eligible candidate.



Secondly - because Daisy liked the box - was Fish Frenzy. Play-tested for the good Mr Brett J. Gilbert in it's previous incarnation (working title: "Fuck Off, Cormorant!"), this bounce-out auction set collector proved much to Daisy's liking as well: she hammered us both by a considerable margin (mainly, I think, because Mrs B and I kept flapping-and-squawking over stuff).



Thirdly, and something a bit more push-your-luck was Port Royal. Mrs B has been quite successful in recent outings of this but, tonight, it was Daisy again who seemed to be running away with it! Hold your horses, though, because this Old Hoss made a strident comeback - still glowing from the dancing - to rack up the requisite 12 points and a measure of consolation.



With a few chores to do before settling the house down for the night, we closed with a couple of games of Kingdomino; a shining firmament-dweller amongst the Boydells! Daisy had not partaken of the many 'Yorkshire holiday' plays so had a rocky first game but, naturally, had a much better handle on what she was doing in the second...and won THAT as well!


Sweet, light and warming - like the sticky toffee pudding we scoffed for dessert - this impromptu kitchen table session was a delightful alternative to goggling at the TV for the duration.
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Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:20 am
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