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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Dancing Daise (Are Here Again)

Anthony Boydell
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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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The King is dead. Long live the Queen!

Anthony Boydell
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Jobbers was in an unusually-effusive mood on Friday evening; perhaps it was the result of a fresh, Autumnal afternoon walk or - more likely - having garnered a lift from fellow Much Marcler (and occasional gamer) Xander, leaving him free to quaff pints of Stowfords Press Cider in a dimpled pint glass?! No sooner had he, and his chauffeur, erected the be-spattered pasting table than the Batesons hoved in to view accompanied by the Boffonian progenitor: Judie*. Decorum required that we be on our very best behaviour in the company of an Elder...but decorum could go fuck itself and we proceeded to be as rowdy and uncouth as always.

Oddly, despite Judie having given good account of herself in Glass Road a couple of years back, Boffo had packed a satchel full of (mainly) party games: Cyrano, Codenames and Beyond Balderdash. There was a general eagerness to play the latter (despite it not being immediately-proximal to the Yuletide) but there were NO pencils in the box at all AND a paucity of paper verging on the criminal: "Well, let's play Cyrano instead" suggested Jobbers, already a couple of huge swigs in to his befuddling apple juice. Opening the box revealed more stubby red pencils than a barn-full of excited puppies and a player pad thicker than School Dinners gravy:


Hallelujah!



Left: A typical, 'hard-to-separate-anyone' start. Right: Nothing's gonna stop Smudge now!


As long-time readers of this blog will know, there is much history surrounding the Ross club and Balderdash; in all of the years of it's existence (the Club, obviously, NOT 'Balders'), I have remained unbeaten - a veritable Colossus of Bullshit. Like Bjorn Borg, Usain Bolt or Steve 'Interesting' Davis, I have worn my sporting laurels with great aplomb and dignity but all good things come to an end. After tens of sessions; after runaway leads and seemingly-impossible comebacks and pipped-at-the-posts, I was finally defeated. A less gracious loser might suggest that both Boffo and Smudge read out a few of my definitions with a deliberate awkwardness (or a wry smirk) to suggest 'this is not the correct answer'; indeed, a sour grapes merchant might point to the dubious handling of a 'player definition = the actual definition' scenario as possibly-depriving me of a point or two BUT there's no place for that unsportsmanlike behaviour in this blog! Instead, I would point to this "WORD" definition as being the torpedo that sunk my Balderdashian battleship:

Quote:
vb. Snying - pretending to sit down on a chair that's not there.


I was so distracted by this astounding and beautiful definition that I put my fingers in my ears for the other five 'meanings' and gifted Boffo a free point; fair play, my friends, not since the days of Benedict's "Pokeloken"** have I laughed so hard that I shat! So, then, the Claptrap Crown has been handed on; the Archibishop of Banterbury has lowered the Diadem of Drivel on to a younger head.

Wheezing fit to choke with the merriment of it all, we continued with something more appropriate to a so-called Games Club with Between Two Cities. I've managed to miss playing this on each RoW occasion, so enjoyed a first run-through this evening.



My house-proud, fully-stocked conurbation (shared with Judie on my right) gifted us both the joint win (though I nailed the tie-break) and it was a pleasing enough experience but, TBH, I have a hard time seeing how there's much control over anything. If I want to build a city or two, then I'd rather invest in the superlative Suburbia than in this gossamer-light tile-drafter.

We closed with Codenames but only the one round as I was on late-night Taxi duties once again. 'Twas enormous fun - especially compounded by Jobbers' profuse Cider glugging - but I hanker after more meaty fayre next week: our last session before Spiel!

*Ben brought his Mum along
**https://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/9430/maunday-maunday
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Sat Oct 14, 2017 11:08 am
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The Kite Runner

Anthony Boydell
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A little way from our house through the Forest of Dean, and then down the main road (immediately parallel to the River Severn) to Lydney, will find you in the grassy field and cluttered artisan workshops of Taurus Crafts. It's been a while since we needed to avail ourselves of the handicraft-ed toddler clothes and wooden toys, but we have returned for little 'Event Days' like Gifford's Circus and the amazing Illuminarium.

This weekend saw them running a Kite Festival, so we (me, Mrs B and Arthur) rummaged in the lockup/Shed for any Kites we might have lying about the place, dusted off the spiders and trundled along in the late A.M. It was quite clear but, importantly, too still to get anything up when we first arrived; mind you, our signature flyer was missing a cross-bar, so I ripped in to a nearby hedge for a suitable replacement spar:


Success!


Mrs B was cornered - pretty impressive given we were in an open field - by a Kite Bore who regaled (what he thought were) interesting tales of altitude, wind speed and the mechanics of a good launch (he ACTUALLY used the word 'trajectory'!). Seeing she was in trouble - backing slowly towards the heavily-walled Pitch 'N Putt centre - I whisked both her and young Arthur off for some lunch; when replete, we returned to find conditions much more amenable:


With only a bit of coaxing, our pink/lime dart was soon hovering in the heights!



Higher, even, than the show-off's kite!



Soul-soaringly sensational!


Arthur was completely rapt! After an hour the wind dropped and the dart drifted to the ground; we did try and launch it again but the field had become over-crowded: no room for a decent run up. There would be running of a 'Blade' kind later in the day (with the older boys) but, for now, this was a gorgeous, and refreshingly-active, way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

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Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:24 am
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I don't want to change the world...

Anthony Boydell
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My looooong week of working away had almost come to it's end. It being a Thursday, I'd normally have been off down The Marches with a song in my heart and a pork pie on the passenger seat but, this time, it's the full Monday thru Friday for Uncle Tony *gasp*. The dilemma of where to eat (and what to fill the evening with) presented itself on the dot of four o'clock when the last trainee logged off the training system and left the training room; it was too late to start anything new and, besides, I had been barking new functionality and spinning practical exercises since 0900HRS: it was time to get the fudge out. My choice was to either fritter away another £20 on a cinema trip to see the preview screening of Blade Runner 2049 OR be a true gamer and trundle 15 miles South - on the A55 North Wales Expressway - to join the Snowdonia Dragons (West) at the Pontio Arts Centre in Bangor:

Bangor is the oldest city in Wales and one of the smallest cities in the UK. Bangor lies on the coast of North Wales near the Menai Strait which separates the island of Anglesey from the mainland. The origins of the city date back to the early 6th century.

I had an hour to spare and the Sun had come out - how could I not go for a wander?


Garth Pier is the second longest pier in Wales, and the ninth longest in the British Isles, at 1,500 feet (460 m) in length. It was opened in 1893 and was a promenade pier, for the amusement of holiday-makers who could stroll among the pinnacle-roofed kiosks.


The Pontio Art Centre is all shiny perspex and angular carpets; it's also an off-shoot of the city's University and was buzzing with end-of-the-day students walking about in their so-called "trousers" and sipping their Soy Chai Lattes in an ironic way. I scurried to the lift, head-down lest one of them speak to me, and found the fifth floor café space that hosted the Dragon's meet-up. We were joined, for a prompt 6PM start, by Ed and Aaron and Tim and Tim and Rob and Alan and David (not Daffydd) and got stuck in to a raucous 6 nimmt! (see below); oddly, for me, I played an absolute fucking BLINDER and ended up with my last card scoring one piffling penalty point to take the win!

Eight is a magic number, so we split immediately the Nimmt! cards were back in their box for St Petersburg (them) and Rails of New England: me, Aaron, Tim (not that one, the other one) and David (not...well, you get the idea).



In summary: card drafting and money-spending to build connections in a Power Grid manner across a detailed map of New England; historical Events and Depressions/Prosperity interact with your economic engines like the Cubes and Weather in Snowdonia. Additionally, players compete for income-generating Mail Contracts, end-to-end long routes and 'State Subsidies' - the latter are cute VP wrinkles based on historic details like tunnels, riverboat routes etc.

It took us the better part of two and a half hours to puff through 14 rounds of play and it was a lot of pseudo 18XX-y fun - how could I NOT enjoy a 'proper' railway game? - but my knack with the d10 provided an extraordinarily-prosperous, money-rich session. At one point, Aaron called Tim - the other one - over to lament the general lack of poverty and loan stress. 'Our' Tim managed to squeak a $12 win over David (despite me playing all the 'Take That!' actions against him and hate-drafting his businesses), with me $49 behind and Aaron as far back again; we sort-of managed to run out of meaningful things to do in the last couple of rounds thanks to the vigorous fountain of cash coming our ways. It was still a satisfying experience, though.

We closed with a random table pick: Toledo 1085:



In summary: a set-collection affair with a Fzzzt!-feel ie. plenty of auctions along a sequential line of 'Lots'. There are four 'sets' to collect and the first player to collect at least 10 points worth in each set triggers the end-game. Money - we all start with the same fixed amount divvied out each round - comes in three types: vellum, Silver and Gold.

We misinterpreted the bidding as functioning like a kind of priority system ie. Vellum-only bids are trumped by a Silver-based bid (silver or silver plus vellum) and Silver-based bids are trumped by Gold-based bids (Gold or Gold plus other stuff etc). This made things very interesting but fell apart at the end when I'd managed to haul a load of coin-converter cards (promotes one type to the next one up) and was promptly able to easily win every card I wanted. It turns out the fan-produced translation of the original French rulebook, printed in 4 point font, contained an alternative explanation of the money in a random annex/paragraph which we discovered only at the end when looking for the final scoring rules ie. it was actually a mundane 4V = 1S / 4S = 1G mathematics arse-ache. The artwork and presentation are lovely, though.

Studious types were still gazing, pensively, in to their Macbooks in the 'Social Engineering Suite' as I scurried back to the car; it's a hard life being in your early twenties, they take everything so seriously!


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Fri Oct 6, 2017 6:45 am
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The Joy of a Toy

Anthony Boydell
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zombie

This is what the end of the world looks like:


A bleak, drizzling dusk on a broken shell-strewn beach; the salt/fish stench of rotting bivalves and the brown sea roaring and slapping against the sand. I was the only person for 500m in either direction; I wouldn't have been surprised if Viggo Mortensen had emerged from the myopic horizon pushing a shopping trolley of detritus with a child by his side. Hand-to-mouth, hand-to-mouth; the do-it-myself sandwich supper and the thousand yard stare through the rain-soaked windscreen. The waves break and the wind rocks the car; I am running the engine to keep warm but it will be much, much warmer inside The Beach House.


laugh

This is what happiness looks like:


Good folk sharing the simple joy of being together to play board games; look in to our eyes and see how they shine!

blush

This is what A Buggers' Muddle looks like:



The 10 minutes to get seated and the 10 minutes of looking up Leader abilities and the constant drafting/playing out of sync and the questions interrupted by other questions and the answers crossing in mid-air to end up in the wrong ears and the fiasco of the three-tries final totalling.

This is what a glorious evening looks like.

What a glorious evening.

A glorious evening.

Glorious.

Us.
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Thu Oct 5, 2017 6:50 am
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Yet Another True Story

Anthony Boydell
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(Spiel, 2016)

The Hotel man, who writes things in a special Breakfast Book, looked very grumpy as I put the hard-boiled eggs in to my rucksack for day snacks; the bowl was heavy so I had to use both hands to lift it, bracing the lip of the bag with my chin as I poured them in. Some of them were cracked and crushed and when I zipped it up, the bag puffed an eggy cloud over my face.

The Messe security guards gave me a similar grumpy look when I showed my exhibitor pass and wandered in to Hall 1; lying down in the back of the van for the journey across Essen meant I had accidently squashed a few more eggs; the fabric of the rucksack was damp with yolk, as was my branded Stand tee-shirt. I wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t miss out on the new Concordia expansion, so I stopped by Mr Gerdts’ and paid for 200 of them – I’m pretty sure I’ll be guaranteed a copy now if I stop by early tomorrow.

I was the first person to get to the stand and was horrified to find that everything had been stolen - the games, shelves, boxes, tables and chairs – and replaced by someone else’s games, shelves, boxes, tables and chairs! I ran to the Administrator’s office in an awful tizzy and waited for 20 minutes until it opened; by that time, I’d forgotten what I’d gone there for and had to come away again. I met Alan by the entrance and he told me there was egg-white leaking down the back of my trousers; he also told me that we were in Hall 2 and not Hall 1: “Does that mean you caught the robbers?” I asked. He walked off, holding his nose.

It was very busy just after they opened the main doors; several people wanted to try out Guilds of London, so I poured the contents of the box on to the table. I reached in to my rucksack and offered them each a handful of crushed egg; one of them was a bit sick in the back of their mouth.

Alan suggested I take a break and “get some coffees”; he gave me a 20 euro note and pointed to the far corner of the Hall at a restaurant booth: “There’s a branch of Starbucks in the town centre” he continued, “it shouldn’t take you more than an hour to get there-and-back.”. It is very confusing to be in a foreign city, so I played it safe – navigation wise – and followed the U-Bahn rails back to the Hauptbahnhof; I only had to duck against the wall twice to let a train passed. My mission was a bit of a failure because the coffee, which I had put in to my rucksack to keep warm with the eggs, had all leaked out by the time I returned to the Messe. My back was sticky and, to be honest, the smell was making me gag.

I met a friend from Boardgamegeek who told me that the International Gamers Award was about to be presented at their booth and would I like to come and watch? I thought this would be nice but it was very crowded; I nipped around the back and stood next to a man who looked a lot like Stefan Feld. I put my rucksack at my feet - which took the weight off my shoulders – and put on my serious listening face when the speeches started. When the IGA Man said “Mombasa!”, everyone began clapping and the man next to me stepped forward with his arms waving; he hadn’t noticed my rucksack and caught his feet in the white chocolate mocha-dribbled straps and plummeted off the podium – face first – in to the carpet. The noise his head made was like the sound of the eggs being crushed from the morning. I began laughing, then, because I remembered that I often mixed up Stefan Feld with Alexander Pfister and that I had, ironically, been stood next to the latter famous designer all along!

All this excitement had obviously made him tired because he had fallen asleep where he fell; it’s nice to have a ‘power nap’ in the middle of the day (Ted Alspach does it all the time, I hear), so I did that too with the help of the IGA Man. He used the trophy on me as a soporific.
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Wed Oct 4, 2017 6:25 am
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Gentes Prefer Blondes

Anthony Boydell
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There were all four seasons in one day as I did a big sort-of-inner-loop around Wales: cool and damp along the Heads of the Valleys to Merthyr and down the sunny Dawned Vale of Neath to Carmarthen. Pause to do some actual work then Northwards - through the drizzling countryside - to Aberaeron (painted houses and honey ice-cream) for lunch with me Dad, brother and sister. Continuing North to Aberystwyth, Machynlleth and Dolgellau the dark clouds glowered until - around Blaenau Ffestiniog - it looked like late dusk even though it was only 3.30PM! Following the river Conwy from Llanrwst, the Sun pulled out from behind the mountains and made everything Spring and by the time I got to Llandudno I'd wound the windows down and had an arm draped on the sill as cool air breezed in to the car. It seems I'd driven under-and-through the tail of an Atlantic 'system' that was travelling North too because everything was turning grey again as I sat in the Conwy Marina car park scoffing chicken-in-a-bucket. Later that evening, it would piss merry Hell against the Golf Club windows while we were all safe-within playing board games.


A carefully-selected filter hides an appallingly-blurred 'selfie';
(clockwise from L): David, Aaron and me.
Daffydd refused to take part in such juvenile behaviour and backed out of the shot.


To start, then, was Gentes: a game that I have been keen to get back to the (any) table since it's ignominious debut at the Ross-on-Wye club. Explaining how the recruiting and card-buying 'ranges' worked took a few minutes longer than expected but, otherwise, we were able to get off to a sensible start. Having neglected city-building last time, I made sure to set myself up for some useful Decline Phase bonuses by getting in - early - to all three areas on the board; combined with a couple of filled-then-emptied hands of cards (including the first two that cleared action spaces on my top row), I found myself far more productive and co-ordinated. Aaron was having a similarly-synchronised game with he and I breaking in to the three Bonus chits before the others (David and Daffydd) got even close. Despite me pulling a couple of late, easy-to-solve cards for the Game End clearance, Aaron stayed 8 points ahead for the victory. Gentes is fantastic.


This is the end.


We had eaten in to a fair chunk of the Snowdonia Dragons' evening, so it was fillers all the way until kicking out time; first, at Aaron's enthusiastic behest, was Colossal Arena. From the early pen of Dr K, this rowdy, card-flopping exercise in 'set preservation' and underhandedness is a corking delight!

In summary (from this very Parish): Each round one of the creatures will die. To decide which unlucky soul will be the victim, players put numbered power cards in front of the creatures, with the lowest one going to the graveyard. The jockeying for position and strategic diplomacy in playing the numbered power cards can be intense - but what makes this game even more interesting is that the players' place bets throughout the game which will sometimes allow them to use a creature's special power in battle!


Lots of game in small packages.


Despite being targeted relentlessly for having the gall to put a couple of tokens out early (top row = 4 points, if they survive), I managed a well-timed Dragon to kill off a previously safe-looking Troll and rob Daffydd (not David) and Aaron of three chips between them! In the end, David (not Daffydd) had quietly spread himself in the mid-ranges but fell a single point short of my own triumphant haul!

Finally, with the Moon now emerging in the black Autumn sky - and the rain well on it's way to the Isle of Man - we played a couple of rounds of Too Many Cinderellas: quirky and daft, I failed to present a suitable glass-slippering candidate in both, though - in the second - I was foiled not by the players but by the turn of the last, random card.
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Tue Oct 3, 2017 6:30 am
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In which I describe a memorable evening but can neither show any photographs nor speak of details

Anthony Boydell
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The people that I work with know that I have something to do with board games as a hobby; most have no contact with board games themselves and Monopoly is something they remember from younger days. Conversations occasionally run to PS4s and the like but it's an arid desert for someone like me. The fact that I design games is a small talk ice-breaker around October time when I mention I'll be off on leave for a week: "Oh, yeah, that's right; you're off doing game stuff.". They all have a copy of Ivor the Engine because they're people of a certain age OR, more disturbingly, their parents are people of a certain age; I don't think any more than a couple of them have actually played it, though. The point (I'm clumsily alluding to) is that, for most people, board games are irrelevant and those associated with them in a design/production capacity equally so; it's a closed world, a 'niche area'...it's all a bit odd and unimportant.

I have shelves of vinyl LPs, and filesystems filled with MP3s, of music that means something to me; this library is an audio stimulus for thousands of distinct memories: any Led Zep reminds me of the Robert Plant concert I went to in 1983 with Access All Areas passes; Al Green brings back 3AM dancing with my wife-to-be after our first Date; Crowded House takes me to the operating theatre and my eldest daughter being delivered by Caesarean Section. My immersion in the hobby of board gaming over the last 20 years has grown to provide the same triggering of nostalgic feedback; key moments in my transition from occasional TCG-er to 100% gaming geek are locked in to shelves of cardboard and wood.

Last night, spurred by flashbacks of the late noughties and presented with a rare opportunity, I eschewed the cosy confines of The Plough Inn to travel just a few miles further to Flanesford Priory; there for the evening, and the whole week leading up to it, were a huddled mass of 18XX-ers and proper-serious gamer types coming to the end of Castlecon.



In the company of (occasional) RoW-er Phil, I was led in to one of the holiday flats and greeted by a genial, roly-poly American gentleman called Tom; he, and a couple of be-bearded fellows, were just winding down a play test of a new dice-based prototype. Tonight, you see, was not to be the usual 'What shall we play from this stack of Euros?' but, instead, a seriously-curated playtest of the newest member of an illustrious boardgaming family (_not_ the dice one mentioned).



Tom found us a bigger space and ran through the rules clearly and succinctly; we picked 'Intermediate' mode and spent the next 90 minutes pushing cubes, playing cards and, ultimately, failing in our goal. It was a lot of fun, though, and certainly had me more engaged than I have been with it's siblings. I was quite nervous throughout because I didn't want to come across as a total gaming numpty; I even forgot I'd brought some grapes along 'for nibbles'. Like the green berries, the wash-up was fruitful but - to be honest - the whole thing is pretty damn close to being 'ready'.

Before I left, Tom asked Phil and I to sign a credits sheet - which may mean we'll appear in the eventual rulebook - and I, in turn, asked Tom to sign a card I'd brought along specially:



Tom's own little game was a major contributing factor in me moving away from Magic: The Gathering and discovering board gaming proper; it was, therefore, an honour to spend this evening with him. Tell that to anyone in the office, though, and they absolutely wouldn't give a rat's arse.
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Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:13 am
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Five Go Pig-Rearing

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The Cat - Jobbers - was off laughing at political satire in Monmouth which gave the Mice - the rest of us - the opportunity to play Agricola in public for the first time in ages (aside: it was OVER a year ago (https://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/56571/looks-fish). We were joined - and I was genuinely delighted to see them both - by Herefordian Gary (he's keen as mustard) and West Walesian Phillip (he knows my Dad). Both are greener than a tramp's be-fungused toenail when it comes to The World's Greatest Game(TM) but they didn't object when we arrayed Uwe's magnificent octopus before them. After months of the toiling three player in the Batesons' dining room, it was a proper delight to stretch in to the freer space of the full five player; it's like putting on a baggy, slightly-threadbare sweater after spending the week in a leotard two-sizes too small. Er...

No surprises, then, that the freshly-minted farming noobs were left somewhat out in the cold; Boffo also blocked my Fences action in the final round (I saw it looming in the previous round but was unable to stop it) to deny me 7 (seven!) points and, yes, in the final reckoning, beat me by eight! Gary, as enthusiastic as an incontinent puppy going on it's first walk, managed to keep his chin above Zero (but not by very much) and Phil was glad not to be Gary:



Our temporal guests selected Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King, which everyone knows, so there was barely time to adjust one's seat before we were assigning coins and axes. A fine mix of scoring tiles (sets of the three buildings, boats with lighthouses, "squares" and most connected barrels) made for some furious tile-stealing when rare pieces of those point-hoovering criteria appeared. Boffo and I quickly began to stretch away from the others with just a single point separating us at the denouement! Refusing to accept that I'd managed to pip him, Boffo performed that most ungracious of gaming acts: "the re-count".

Poll: The Re-Count
When all scores have been announced, how do you feel when one player - previously confident of Victory and now staring at the prospect of Defeat - performs/demands a re-count?
It irritates the tits off me; 'someone' needs to be a better loser.
It irks me somewhat; enough that I'd express a preference in a Poll.
(stares blank-faced)
Totting up is just as important as the preceding 60 minutes; get it wrong and you might as well tip the table and set fire to the building!
      176 answers
Poll created by tonyboydell




Gary (super-eager) had a long drive home so departed; the four of us, now firmly in 'filler' territory, plumped for my last minute pile addition Eggs and Empires. The golden rule with E&E is "Whenever one has to give bad cards to another player, give them to Becky" because, without failure, she's almost unassailably-good at this game! The rule was ignored during the first round (of three) when she scored 42 to Phil's (nearest) 25 and Boffo/me - flopping about like landed carp - on 10 a-piece! Round two was much better - mainly because we restricted Smudge to a risible 12 points - and Boffo even managed to slip in to second place. I was still, laughably, bringing up a fairly-distant rear at this point; however, a corker of a final round saw me steal a resounding 40+ haul of eggs to sneak ahead of Becky and Phil! Boffo, equally delighted at the twin-prongs of his own win and the foiling of Becky, joined in my whooping cheers.



It was time to go BUT we'll be seeing Phil again next Friday - he's in the area for Castlecon: a week-long exercise in medium-to-heavy Euros and 18XX in the shadow of Goodrich Castle. Indeed, we're hoping he might bring along some extra peeps to beef up The Plough Inn's back room: fingers crossed!
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Sun Sep 24, 2017 6:45 am
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Brett-spieling

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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I mentioned the weekender guest attendance of Mr Brett J. Gilbert in my write-up of Friday night’s session but neglected to explain what the Fellow was doing at Boydell HQ in the first place. This was, of course, a deliberate tactic to elicit curiosity and increase tension which – perusing the response to the post – achieved neither, in the final analysis. Never mind, for I shall tell you more whether you want me to or not because – as you might imagine – it’s a real bugger putting something together day-after-day:

Brett and I have been noodling about with a light-to-medium weight card game with an Air Race theme (qv. Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines) for about a year now and, to be honest, Brett’s been far too busy getting his games published and garnering SdJ-type award nominations to give it his fullest attention: thus, it seemed a wholly sensible idea to trap him in invite him over to the hoose (rhymes with ‘moose’) and properly sort it out. And, goodness, ‘sort it out’ we did! To aid us in our quest, I invited the Friday night attendees for a spot of Saturday lunch and some play-testing, sprinkled with the intimation that some published games might get a look-in too. So, around/about lunch time the Batesons and Jobbers scowled through the front door, eager for ingress, and the latter laden with as much low-alcohol Stowford’s Cider as he could carry.



I sat out of the first game (to let Brett dip in for his first multi-player experience); my job being to observe (natch) and, as is traditional, make snarky comments about Boffo’s play choices. Though our RoW pals have played ‘MagMen’ before, Brett and I had already – over a strong coffee and an early-AM ‘two player’ – tweaked and clarified the card play/resolution sequence and several card effects. It was pleasing to see the drafting phase (‘the Practice Race’) merge seamlessly in to the main Race phase though Jobbers’ violent outburst during final scoring - when he, as ‘the most villainous’, was penalised by 5VP – threatened to bring the afternoon to an abrupt “I’m going home and taking my crisps with me!” end! It was clear, when we’d talked him down off the highest gable, that:
a) ‘most villainous’ was better converted in to ‘every one loses VPs based on how villainous they have been’; and,
b) this should only be applied in the advanced mode of the game ie. not the ‘intro’ game.

Catastrophe-averted, we reset the board and swapped seats and started again (removing ‘most villainous’). Jobbers, obviously adrenalized by his previous outrage, drafted a solid deck that garnered him a heady pot of free-to-play wildcard tokens and whizzed in to Paris while we were still admiring the Kent coast! Both Brett and I had spotted some card effect quirks but there would be too much of a delay to do that thee-and-then (it would take us a goodly couple of hours later and on the Sunday morning) so, strong cheese and crackers in hand, we gathered our testers in the library room for their ‘proper games’ reward.

First up was a belter – and another one unknown to Mr G (what the Hell does he do with his gaming time, eh?!):


It looks a bit like a vomit-strewn table but - unlike Aquasphere - Notre D is not a massive pile of Arse.


I am usually pretty good at ‘the Dee to the En’, but it was Boffo’s turbo-charged Carriage/ignoring the Church that pushed him comfortably to a win.

Second up, Libertalia, was under the G-meister’s belt already BUT he’d had (another) sour experience and remained trepidatious and unconvinced (WTF? Someone seems on a mission to cloud the poor chap’s eyes against the good stuff!); not that he let this spoil his first week’s performance, ending with an astonishing total of FIFTY-THREE doubloons whilst the rest of us were well-chuffed with our own ‘in the 30s’ totals!



Arrrrrrrrrrr! Etc


That 20 point gap looked unassailable but, then, this IS Libertalia and the second week played out with CURSES EVERYWHERE tomfoolery and Brett wheezed to the Sunday with just 12 doubloons, the rest of us able to catch back up. Week three, always tense, came down to a head-to-head of Me vs Boffo and there were just a couple of points in it; my saved-until-the-very-last Monkey (pass all your curses to the left), kept me safe from penalties and a Blackbeard-y whisker ahead of Ben and a late-sprinting Smudge!

In other news, Brett and I managed to brainstorm a lovely Trad-feeling children’s game design for a pitch next week AND he played Lux Aeterna without tearing it to pieces at the end!




Setting all of that incidental stuff aside, it was an excellent couple of days where important work was completed and excellent progress was made; Brett even found time, in the stillness of a Newent Sunday morning, to mock up some new MagMen card layouts (courtesy of Google clip-art, for now):


Beautiful, aren’t they?
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Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:20 am
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