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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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The Night of the Long Scythes

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Smudge has been tepidatious (a mix of both trepidatious and luke-warm) about the concept of Scythe - especially because it has fighting in - since I first waxed-ever-so-lyrical when the super-deluxe KS edition landed (with a terracotta-tile cracking THUD!) on my Hall floor. She hem-ed and hurr-ed equally noncommittally about Terraforming Mars six months back (and she LOVES it now), so I was hoping for a similar Damascan Road experience for her on Friday (last) night.

Of those attending - a circle-the-date-on-the-wall-calendar SIX - only Jobbers and Boffo had played before so I set off on a 20 minute unpacking, setting up and action-explaining spiel including such oldies-but-goodies as:
- "You don't have to do a bottom action"
- "You produce in the indicated number of HEXES not number of individual workers ie. multiple workers in one Hex = a good thing"
- "A single movement icon is 1 unit moving 1 hex, unless it's a big unit and you've built your +1 Move mech"
- Only your big units (leader and mechs) are affected by built-Mech abilities
- If you're stuck for a resource, you can always take the TRADE action
- When you've recruited, you get the bottom action bonus whenever YOU or an adjacent NEIGHBOUR takes that bottom action...and ALL of the bottom actions are in the same position on ALL boards
- and so on.

In addition, to avoid any gripes and whines about 'you didn't tell me!' later, I also made a MASSIVE point of explaining how POPULARITY affects game-end scoring. I only mention (all) of this because much of the game was spent reiterating the above points time-and-time again; not that I'm really moaning because I got to play one of my all-time favourites.


Jesus; you'd think someone had died!


Smudge loaded up on combat cards and initiated the first fight; Jobbers raced to the Factory and then got kicked about by Boffo; Norm forgot to use his flags but conquered a creditable number of hexes (to be let down by very low popularity); Gary completely ignored his Trap ability and stayed in the corner obsessed with completing his objective and always getting the PRODUCTION rule wrong; I spread, achieved, fought, built mechs, upgraded, recruited and everything-and-anything else with alarming ease. Boffo, game-end imminent, attempted a last ditch dust-up to deprive me of points only for me - with my special ability - to steal his POWER 5 combat card from him (a 33% chance of doing so) and send him home in utter disgrace (and to the Bar in a genuinely-unsportsmanlike muttering tirade). I placed my sixth star, with Popularity way up in the teens, and romped to such an easy victory (80 points) that only Smudge (39) and Norm (35) bothered to add up their scores!



It didn't help the post-drubbing atmos that the whole thing had stretched to a bum-numbing (though not for me because I just immersed myself in the wonderfulness of it all) 140 minutes - about half an hour longer than I've experienced a 5+ player game before. I fear that although there was a glimmer, the faintest sliver, of a positive reception from Smudge (she DID pick it up quickly AND she came second), the loooooooooog evening might have ultimately killed it for her. A damn (or should that be 'Dame'?) shame.

Norm and Gary had to scuttle away - a 45 minute journey to the other end of Herefordshire - so the usual suspects broke out an end-of-the-evening comforter:



This is a fantastic game. It is a true classic of the hobby. Everyone needs to play it regularly and with an evangelistic fervour. An odd combination of goals - 'lots of little settlements' plus 'one big settlement is good' plus 'building by water is good' - proved distracting for both Jobbers and Boffo, who forgot one criterion completely, leaving Smudge and myself to edge in front: Smudge pipped me by just the two points, despite Boffo chuckling, mid-game, that I didn't seem to know what I was doing.

A curiously-tetchy evening, then, and - for everyone else - not seemingly a very satisfying one; personally, I thought it was fantastic but 'one out of six' is a poor return on four hours investment.
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Sat Jun 24, 2017 9:00 am
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Tears fell upon the page he read...

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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(the title is a quote from Longfellow BTW)

Amongst my 'finds' at the UK Games Expo was a bring-and-buy copy of Al Rashid which, if I recall correctly, was one of the buzz games from Essen 2012 (there were quite a few that year!):


Look at the tiny, tiny words...


It's worker placement with a bidding twist to decide which three players will resolve an action (action) or land (resource-gathering) space. So far, so meh BUT it contains two mechanical elements that provide the interest:

i) the five resources have no graduated value in themselves but it's the variety of resources that you spend that gets you more money value eg. 1 spice = 1 money, 1 pottery = 1 money but 1 spice with 1 pottery = 3 money. Thus, a set of all five is 15 money.

ii) action and land spaces are resolved in an order chosen by the players rather than some fixed loop; this lends itself to some awfully mean shenanigans indeed if one is not careful eg. process the buying of an extra worker before your opponent(s) has/have gained resources from a Land to pay for it? Pow! Resolve resource gathering from a Land space before others have collected mercenary tokens to beat the standing bandits? Wallop!

Victory points come from your workers - you need to acquire more during the game - and from 'Title' tiles ie. bonus 'people' that you have bought with sets of resources for the usual mix of abilities (once off, once per turn and game-end scoring etc).

But - and this is a BIG but - the whole thing is irreparably-tarnished by the graphics, the graphic layout and the hopeless rulebook. It's a good job that I...

a) played this once back in 2012 and vaguely remember it and
b) watched Tom Vasel do a run thru on a contemporaneous Dice Tower video

...because it is a bugger's muddle and no mistake: no diagrams / illustrations to assist, no detailed description of the action (Palace) spaces, the headings (on the board and in the book) are in an illegible faux-Arabian font, the descriptions of 'Title' tile abilities are in 4 point font (unreadable across the table and, in fact, unreadable directly in front of you unless you squint and hold it against your nose) and the most boring board artwork since our very own Confucius*.

Despite (a) and (b) above, we were (still) 30 minutes in setting up and explaining (I'd not noticed the odd colour-variations on the Title tiles, for instance: green Palace tiles that are grey on the flip side, grey palace tiles that are purple on the flip side etc) and although we got in to a relatively-smooth groove, I think Boffo summed the whole experience up beautifully: "It was almost worth all that effort."


Whining and wining.


Getting back to familiar, comforting and stoic territory, we dived in to Viticulture and rattled along in a far more pleasing way. It seemed both Jobbers and Boffo lucked in to some excellent visitor cards early on but, in spite of my (playful) complaining, it was a positive balm after all that Arabian fart-arsing about. I managed to combo some nice cards and wine contracts later but the two boys had gotten so far ahead that it was simply a race to be 'not in last place' for the rest of us.

Gary and Jobbers, the latter wielding his 'spunky table', high-tailed it out of the Pub with unseemly haste leaving myself and the Batesons to chattily-amble over to the Car Park in the glowingly-warm dark. An evening of two distinctly-different halves.



*I'm not being overly harsh, here; we at SSG took the experience of the Confucius board debacle and implemented our own internal rule of 'playtest the graphics as well as the gameplay'.
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Sat Jun 17, 2017 9:41 am
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Parks and Recreation

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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For the second time in a year, the Ross-on-Wye board gamers have been turfed out from their gaming womb in search of a new venue; it doesn't help our self-esteem when we, on most occasions, we can barely call ourselves quorate despite Garry and Norm and Keith and Byll and Dave and Mischa and Sam(?) and Kat and Charlie being local enough to make up the numbers but not doing so. It's lonely and frustrating and maybe it's something I said?*

Anyway, The Plough Inn is neatly situated on the main road out of Ross-on-Wye heading North (to the M50); while it has no car park of its own, the Town's Pay & Display is 20 yards away and Free after 6PM. We have been allotted a back room to ourselves, within swearing distance of the Public Bar which seemed half-full of folks we used to see regularly down The White Lion (by the river) - perhaps the UKIP-loving Landlord there has alienated them as well? That'll do, (racist) pig; that'll do.



It will come as no biggie to read that it was the foundation quartet solely in attendance but, surprisingly, in a very well-lit and spacious cubby hole. Jobbers had brought his fold-out painting table, liberally Jackson Pollock-ed, and before I had returned with my mid-price OJ&L, the others had unpacked Bärenpark:


'Bearing' ourselves with Phil Walker-Harding's Patchwork+


In summary: Place a Tetris tile on to your board, orthogonally-touching an existing tile, and then perform the action of each icon (printed on your board) that you have covered. Three icons give you access to the three levels of tile (basic, middling size and wacko-but-big) which you collect and save for placing in future turn, while a fourth lets you draft an extension board to fill up as well (each player can have a maximum of four boards). When a player fills a board(s), they gain VP Bear Statues and when a player has filled all four, the game enters its final round. Add up all visible points and biggest score wins.

The basic game - described above - is simple and relatively-swift (as long as you don't play with Jobbers), the presentation is typically-Klemens Franz ie. colourful, bright and delightful and it has that 'is going to be a hit with everyone you introduce it to' SdJ nominee feel through-and-through. Aside from a little confusion about the game end** ('When one player has completed their fourth board'...none of us four could do this because we'd run out of 'small' tiles), it was another winner from Mr W-H:

Quote:
Dear Phil,

You are a clever bastard.

Love from Tony.


Quickly stuffed back in the box, I assumed a Boffonian preference for his recent UK Games Expo acquisition (muled by myself) and we did some building:



Suffice it say that it's an efficient card drafting/action spending race in the vein of Guildhall and has the same infuriating 'everyone ends on roughly the same score' trait of the latter. I was one building away from ending the game, three buildings ahead of my nearest rival, and skipped two turns to get much-needed cash...during which everyone else managed to catch-up and get more points. Ah well, this type of 'First to...' scoring mechanism is not to my taste.

The pork scratchings come in disappointingly-small packets at The Plough, so I plumped for something dry roasted instead. Returning to the splattered table, nuts in-hand, the others were already divvying out the chits-and-wood for new club favourite Kraftwagen:


I'm in love with my car. Gotta feel for my automobile.


Jobbers got off to a magnificent start thanks to his 'Starting Tile' which gifted him a big engine and a corking Technology card; he sold cheap-and-cheerful to beat his nearest rival by at least 30 points(!). It was good to see the flow of the Buyers/Cars for Sale resolution again - we are getting a little more devious - but there is still a nagging worry about the power-combined-with-the-randomness of the Technology deck: more plays will, no doubt, support or refute this concern.

Thinking I had time for just a quick one, we plumped for Knizia's "Soup" - a Ross-on-Wye Hall Of Fame-r - and it was another corking session; disastrously, Smudge and I were backed in to the dreaded "Play NO SOUP in the Last Round" for which we were roundly (and hilariously in Smudge's case) punished by the boys: they tied for the win while Smudge narrowly-avoided the ignominy of a negative score by just TWO points!


Soup & Robots


A phone call from Mrs B informed my that a Gloucester pick-up was not required, so I hung around for a final game which turned out to be the Bateson's open-by-unplayed copy of my 2009 'turning point' design Fzzzt!. I reminded everyone of the rules - it's been at least 3 years since it's last outing - and we were off and bidding as quick as you like. Unfortunately, making a lie of their usual auctioning prowess, the others proved unfocused and let me collect all of the robots and/or all of the icons I needed for a monumental 6 sets (36 points) off the one Production Unit (set template) which was a bigger score in itself than two of the players' COMPLETE scores! When I added my robots' individual scores too, well, it was a bit embarrassing. The others were rather subdued in the packing-away: a mixture of having missed the point and being so comprehensively trounced, I think. Sorry.

Nevertheless, a full-and-pleasing evening of games in what is - for now - a comfortable environment; here's to an end to our nomadic tendencies, eh?

*probably a politics-related C-bomb TBH
**There are some prize pricks sweeping around the Barenpark forums complaining about this - and also about a printing error on the main board - if you'd like a laugh at self-righteousness and over-privilege***.
***Or you could just hang around this blog for a bit...
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Sun Jun 11, 2017 6:45 am
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Omino supra Omnia

Anthony Boydell
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Just a quick one today on account of having to go to work and start packing for the Expo and number two daughter is coming back later and number one daughter is coming back tomorrow and, well, sheesh, it's just all bloomin' go in the Boydell household and no mistake:

After drying out from our rainy Bank Holiday excursion (see yesterday), there was a pleasing enthusiasm to play some games while we warmed up with cups of hot, strong tea. First up is the fun, family filler Ominoes from YAY Games:



In summary: you're trying to get a cluster of four or more of your symbol (green or red or blue or yellow) - with the circular snake/dancing man counting as 'wild' in groups - to score an equivalent number of points; first to a threshold score is the winner.

On your turn you must roll a die THEN (if poss) move a die already on the board - with the same symbol - three spaces orthogonally (straight, or in an 'L') THEN put the die on the board wherever you like. If you roll a circular snake, you get to reroll and replace a die on the board and if you roll a dancing man you can move ANY die.




Arthur proved most effective at making both Mrs B and myself roll HIS symbol repeatedly and, after three quick (in succession) games, took the laurels (or whatever the Ancient Egyptian equivalent is) 2-1-0.


A block of SIX, you say?! Arthur: Omino supra Omnia!


I might have presaged this run-thru with the words 'filler' and 'family' but Ominoes is a sneaker little 'fecker' too. Another fantastic, accessible treat from Andrew "Harmanotep" Harman.

Finally, then, the inevitable - but fabulous - Loopin' Louie:



Right! Gotta get on: things to go, people to do, places to see etc #busybusybees
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Wed May 31, 2017 6:20 am
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I've Got No Mind To Worry

Anthony Boydell
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Ah, wouldn't it be nice to get stuck in to Nations
So I sent a message out
(invited both The Batesons).
They came around lunchtime, I made 'em some tea.
And then we was playing: a civilised three - ah

Lazy Sunday afternoon
I've got no mind to worry
I take my turns and drift away-a




Here we all are sittin' in the kitchen
"Hello Arthur, lad; do you want to pitch in?" ("Let's play JamSumo")
We're flickin' our dice at the hole in the board
The dog tries to eat 'em if they go on the floor - oh yeah!

Lazy Sunday afternoon
We've got no mind to worry
We take our turns and drift away-a




Some wood and stone and reed; a plow and Occupations.
Grain and Veg and Sheep; fam'ly fed and renovations.
There's nothing to touch it, Agricola's ace
Even young Arthur had taken his place - yeah!

Lazy Sunday afternoon
We've got no mind to worry
We build our Farms and drift away-a










Lazy Sunday afternoon
The Time ain't slow or draggin'
Take our turns in Kraft - a
Take out turns in Kraft - a
Take our turns in Kraftwagen...

We've got no mind to worry
We take our turns and drift away-a






(and then Mrs B came home and we repaired to the newly-mown garden for Molkky and G&Ts)
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Mon May 29, 2017 6:50 am
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Starving Le Havre

Anthony Boydell
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It's Friday evening and I am standing in front of the shelves trying to decide what to take to Ross-on-Wye; I scan from top-to-bottom, left-to-right:
- too long for an evening session
- Jobbers/Boffo/Smudge hates it
- I hate it (so why is it still there?)
- Too valuable to actually play
- Haven't read the rules so the first hour would be a heckle-some ordeal
- "Just don't fancy it"

I only want to take one thing down - Yokohama is already in the back of the car - and I just can't seem to make up my mind. And then I see the spine of Le Havre...

Le Havre has been / is about to be reprinted with all of the extra goodies (which is a bit of a shame for those of us who tirelessly hunted-and-gathered them the first time around) and pictures of it 'in play' have been popping up on Social Media (mainly via the excellent Heavy Cardboard stream: @HeavyCardboard). Additionally, I have been happily hammering the AI on my iOS app version for 4+ years now so it seemed almost an angelic chorus-accompanied moment as I slid it from the 'Lookout Games Line-Up' and in to my bag!



We would be six again this evening: by the bead-woven beard of St John the Baptist but it's a purple patch for the Ross-on-Wye gamers at the moment, so the thought of a 3 player Le Havre (the perfect player count) filled me with butterflies. While we waited for Mischa and James, the usual four got out our bristle-y daubers a got a-paintin':


Starving Artists: I don't know much about Art but I know what I like.


In summary: each round comprises two actions (a 'working day'), one each for the morning and one each for the afternoon: get some paint cubes from a bag, put some paint cubes on to a painting 'stencil' OR buy a stencil. Once per day you may swap cubes for other cubes from a central pool. At the end of the day, players may sell one or more completed stencils to get VPS, food (very important) and more paint cubes drafted from the pool. Each day, your food marker counts down and the game will go in to an end phase when someone 'starves' ie. runs out of food because either the cannot - or don't want to - sell a painting to get food. The game ends when a player completes X stencils OR reaches a threshold VP value OR the end of the round after someone starves; in the first cases, the person achieving the goal wins and, in the latter, most VPs is the winner.

I'm enjoying Starving Artists very much but I won again by being the first to complete X stencils and - again, like last Monday - the other players expressed concerns about how paint cubes are awarded/drafted when stencils are sold: I find myself collecting almost all the cubes I need to complete my NEXT painting off the back of the prior one, in a pleasing 'chain', but this only benefits the first picker. I must scout the forums to see if anyone else has been niggled by this. It _is_ lovely, though.

There was still no sign of Mischa and James, so Smudge suggested we play Troyes; hardly Le Havre but an acceptable alternative. I'd barely picked up my first worker to place in one of the districts when our missing additionals cheerfully bounce in to the Pub. There was some thought that we should pack away Troyes and, perhaps, offer something lighter to our guests but - in a moment of (selfish?) evangelistic fervour - I forbad that suggestion and insisted they still play Troyes (because it's great and substantial and a fantastic example of modern Euro games) while Jobbers and Smudge and I slope off to the corner to play - yes - Le Havre!



What a brilliant session it turned out to be: Jobbers and Smudge picking up end-game bonus buildings for 'spare resources' and cows respectively. I spotted I was getting a bit behind on buildings myself and hoovered up the Church, Cokery and Bank in a penultimate round splurge...the latter worth an extra 15 points on it's own! The final scores, all very close indeed, gave witness to a superbly nip-and-tuck game (all done in just over two hours): 185 (me), 172 (Jobbers) and 164 (Smudge). Now that this magnificent work is getting some reissue love, perhaps I need to sit down and design a few additional buildings myself? Perhaps with some new supply tile(s) and new Goods?

Next week I shall be Expo-ing, of course, and the week after..? Well, it seems the Prince of Wales pub is being sold and refurbished over the Summer - the last time our little group went through that particular change scenario, it didn't turn out too well. Fingers crossed, eh?
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Sun May 28, 2017 6:50 am
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Mistatyn

Anthony Boydell
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The sun was on my back all day as I clicked and Control S-ed: immersed in a detailed and fiddly spreadsheet. I trundled out of the car park a little early because what better time to make the most of the glorious weather and take a walk up the Little Orme before Wednesday night games in Prestatyn? I hadn't noticed it on the way in (to Llandudno) but, on the way back out again, the Promenade was being washed to a whiteout by a solid wall of fog coming in from the Bay, it was utterly preposterous!


Rhyl looked a bit dodge, to be honest; so I kept on driving.


Obviously, given I could hardly see 20 metres beyond the car, there was no point slogging to the Trig point so I kept on driving and walked along the eerie Prestatyn Central Beach instead:


No joggers, no dog walkers - just seagulls and salt air.


At the Beach house, already rapidly filling up for some big screen European football, a fewer-than-expected five (it shoulda bin eight) meandered about the Pool table and settled on Scythe as the lead-off; as the boards were being randomised, Jeremy's astonishingly-beautiful hand-painted minis unpacked and setup set up, we were joined by a new face - Chloe - who's seen something on Meetup.com and chanced her arm. No need to reset, though, because Jamey Stegmaier's magnum opus plays sweetly up to 7:



Playing 'the Poles', I quickly got myself three encounters and (thanks to my faction bonus) six benefits. With no early access to oil and metal, the encounters, some trading and an opportunistic raid on Mark's ill-guarded metal store proved decisive in setting up my riverwalking/submersible Mechs. I would successfully fight again later - this time to steal Food from Ed to power enlisting - and found myself romping through the stars (2 x combat, 1 x all buildings, 1 x Achievement, 1 x Max-ed Power and 1 x Enlist) for a $71 winning score (nearest score was $49). Three players managed to muscle their way to the factory (for all the good it did them!) but I had purer, simpler aims and was - thankfully - left alone on account of having a shed-load of combat cards and 16 power! I do enjoy this game very much indeed and wondered, during the Herbertian/Darabont-esque journey back along the rim of the Bay to my digs, whether I could get it to the (kitchen) table sometime over the immediately-forthcoming Bank Holiday weekend?! What with Scythe and Monday's The Colonists, I've got the makings of a Boys' All-Dayer right there...time to earn some serious Brownie Points with Mrs B, methinks.
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Thu May 25, 2017 6:45 am
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Era Worship

Anthony Boydell
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Work yadda long drive "due West" blah weather hot and bright jabber popped in to see me Dad and brother chitter-chatter free lunch FTW rhubarb parked up overlooking Cardigan Bay to eat it:



Vroom to the top of Wales mutter usual procedure and over to the Golf Club:


A good walk, spoiled.


I had half a mind to play Yokohama again but Aaron mentioned he had The Colonists and I couldn't possibly pass up the chance of getting my first (learning) game in! We were joined by Yvonne but had to send her fiancee, Daffydd, away with a flea in his ear because we wanted to get at least a couple of eras in before the close and - therefore - three seemed to be the perfect number:


A goods worker, moiled.


I'll not go in to mechanical detail but it is a straightforward resource collection/conversion affair in the traditional manner but has a pleasingly swift turnaround between goes. We fair whistled through Eras I and II in a couple of hours and were buzzing with contented glee as we scored it at that point: only 7 points the gap! I floundered about - inefficient and wasteful with my actions - without a decent direction/plan beyond making sure
(i) I could get lots of resources, and
(ii) I had enough storage space to store them in !

I suspect, with his solid foundation of Embassies and other buildings, Aaron would've extended his lead rather drastically had we played a third Era; no matter, the three of us had barely enough time to sip our drinks because we were so hyptonized by the goings-on! There was just enough of the evening left, now that we had released Yvonne from her colonial servitude, for Daffydd the join us for Starving Artists:


A gaudy work, oiled.


In summary: buy a painting OR draw some random paint cubes OR allocate up to 4 cubes to a painting (each has a number of spaces upon which to place appropriately-coloured and collected cubes) THEN, if you want (and can) sell a finished painting at the end of the round ('Day') for VPs and food and - most important, this - extra paint cubes (ready for the next masterpiece). If you hit the target pointage / number of completed paintings before someone starves then you win; if someone starves (the player food track counts down one space each round) then everyone gets one more round and the most points wins.

Starving Artists had a Cubist (a personal fave) feel to it and, consequently, I found myself breezing off with the win. We were a little concerned, in the post match analysis, that finishing a big(-ish) first painting to dibs the majority of a central pool of paint cubes is too much of an advantage, especially as the pool seemed to shrivel and dry up as we went on; mind you, I picked up painting 'templates' that were perfect for the stock of cubes I was collecting ie. I was already 2/3rds of the way to the next one after the previous one. Pretty to look at and enjoyable to play but the Jury is still out at the moment; let's see what the contrary and stubborn discerning peeps in Ross-on-Wye have to say about this on Friday, eh?
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Tue May 23, 2017 6:35 am
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The Professionals

Anthony Boydell
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Get this playing and then read on...




Boffo and Smudge was already dahn the boozer when I skidded me motor into the car park; I did a capple o' donuts for good luck then climbed aht froo the winduh. A dodgy old geezer wiv a dog was watchin' from the pavement: "Wotchoo lookin' at, you slag?!" I sez. He juss looks at me and sez naffin', so I nutted him and I nutted his Lahndan Fog 'n all. Ponce.

There wuz no sign o' Jobbers - probly doin' iz missus or robbin' a Post Office...or boph (knowin' Jobbers) - but there was a new bloke 'angin abaht wiv the Batesons by the name of "Bodie"*. 'E 'eard abaht us from Boffo's blog and fort he'd give it a try; 'ees from the same neck o' the woods as Gentleman Daffers, apparently. 'E might be a rozzer in disguise, so we did the Breese Test on 'im (any gamer wurf iz salt iz gonna recognize a Richard Breese game, innit?):


Keyfeedrull: Looks pretty? It can give you a birrova slap if you don't wotch aht, tho'.


'E seemed to get the 'ang of it and made enough uvva Key game references for us to fink 'e was cosher. I fink Boffo won but it were vewy close.

Kingdom Bilder woz next; iss bin a long while since we popped this wan on the Aunt Mabel but it was a proper treat. Bodie was cussin' on accahnt of 'im drawin' naffin but Sand 'n Ravine cards all the Harry, so 'e was beginning to fit right in: diamond.


Thass a loverly line o' Rats you got there, chief; be a shame if ennyfing 'appened to 'em, woodenit?


Course, the real test was when we offered 'im a nice cuppa Rosie; mind you, Bodie's only red Boffo's blog so eed not 'eard of Rosie before or, as it turns aht, Snowdonia either! Wozz the matter wiv da man, eh? Az ee bin livin' in annava cahntry or summut?

'Ang on, tho' - maybe eez bin in chokey doin' bird..? Proppuh geezuh!


We played in just over an hour, which ain't bad for five. It was very tight and Boffo's extra Rosie (and one more contract than Smudge) took 'im to the win.


Boffo started bangin' on abaht tea bein' too powerful but ee duz talk aht of his Myleene sumtimes; we just 'ad a very sunny game, is all. But I did like iz idea of half-a-point for a tea leaf**. I woz speshully pleased to see a lot of chai bein' drunk which means the game lives ahp to iss name!

Bodie 'ad to leave - summat about seein' a man abaht a motor - so the rest of us finished wiv some raw Lillian:


Sushi Go!? More like Sushi Leave It Aht!, Princess!


Boffo woz way ahead in this 'un too; eez gonna aff to be careful, mind, coz no-one likes a smart arse. He might av to check his brakes for a while, innit?

Now: fack orff, you cahnts.

*cue: everyone askin' 'im where Doyle woz
**as in a "leaf of tea" NOT a robber
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Sat May 13, 2017 10:28 am
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Little Voice

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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A (literal and figurative) upsy-downsy week ended with a full workshop day in the Merthyr office poring over a long and complex document; not for me the serene, armchair-and-laptop pleasures of WFH. Added to my general out-of-routine discomfort was a hacking, explosive chesty cough that's been dogging me throughout. I've been sipping my way through crates of bottled water to keep a cool throat but I can feel it slowly 'rising'; consequently, I can now produces a Basso rumble that vibrates pens across tables.

* * *


I was a few minutes late arriving at The Prince of Wales, clutching my dog-eared copy of Troyes that I wasn't _really_ expecting to play because I knew we were likely to be 'five'. There had been an email-based rumour of playing The Princes of Florence for Garry, a late birthday present, and you were not going to get any objections on my part:



This is the PERFECT game for our group: we all know the rules (apart from Garry), have had plenty of experience (apart from Garry) and understand each-others foibles and predilections (apart from Garry). I usually try and get as many Works out as possible - often six - but, today, with being in fifth position in the opening auction - and having opening professions that shared a landscape (forest) and freedom (opinion) - I decided to eschew the usual 'Jester' war and go all-in on 'Builders' (buildings get you three points a time AND your second/third builders get you 3 further points each, make buildings cheaper/free AND you can ignore the usual Tetrisian agonies of board placement). This worked very well and, mid-game, I was steadily producing works to maintain an easy auction cashflow AND gaining VPs. An aggressive 3rd builder tussle with Boffo in the penultimate auction cost me all my cash which meant taking a 3VP-for-money hit to buy an essential Freedom; I managed to stay ahead of the pack, however, with only Jobbers (and his 13VP of Privilege cards) keeping me off the top spot:



Garry had struggled in the early part, not really clear on how the Works worked and then found himself defeated by the rising 'Work Minimum Value' scale in the last rounds BUT he did manage a creditable debut score of 29. Now that he knows 'the rules', he must get to grips with the auction itself: the glorious heart of this true masterpiece!

It seemed appropriate to stay with something old and proven so, for the second week in a row, a Feld hit the table at my insistence!



Notre Dam is, perhaps, my all-time favourite Feld design: so much delicious decision-making in such a perfectly-formed compact package! My opening draft hand suggested 'Garden' + 'Garden' and a VP-hoovering strategy, so that's what I went with; for the remainder of the game, I was taking extra VP chits EVERYWHERE - initially via the 'messages' and, always, via the Helpers at the end of the rounds. I was hit with the Rat penalty just-the-once while the others all suffered at least twice; Boffo, who led off with 'double cathedral' (!), suffered EVERY round bar one in an astonishing ND version of the Stone Age 'starvation strategy' - in fact, the enormous stack of VP chits at the end suggested he might've actually pulled it off...but they all turned out to be 1s. In revenge for the earlier game, I kept ahead of Jobbers (53-51-46-42-23) to take a glorious victory: the first round Garden set-up proved decisive and carried the day!

Two absolute corkers, then, in a session that I think could be universally acclaimed as a classic. By this hour, my voice was crumbling into croaky inaudibility so bodes a quiet rest-of-the-weekend in the Boydell household: an extra bonus for the family, perhaps?

*cough*hack*splutter*
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Sat May 6, 2017 10:18 am
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