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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Reiner Shine

Anthony Boydell
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After an uncomfortable realignment of work last Thursday, I drove home feeling anxious and sad; it seems that Tony the B.A is no longer regarded favorably (my views and experience are no longer listened to). While I was restocking my car's supply of nibbling grapes in Monmouth, I noticed a job call on LinkedIn and registered my interest immediately; a quick chat followed and my CV was submitted that evening. On Friday AM, I was called about availability to interview and by lunchtime, I had been booked for a chat on Monday afternoon. The intervening days were pretty miserable thanks to a family crisis; this didn't leave me much room for preparation. The new week began with an odd prospect: if all went well, I'd be handing my notice in - indeed, within an hour of getting home from the Interview, I'd been offered the role.

As the week has progressed, blue skies began emerging from the black clouds:


(sings) The Sim...psons...do dat-dat do-dat duh-do-dat-dat do-dat


With a hopeful spring in my step, it was off to The Plough Inn to pick up where we'd left off last time: I was still owed a game of Nusfjord, after all. First things first, though, and despite a noddingly-eager Smudge pressing for some turd-avoiding wood-lobbage (Molkky), we jumped straight in to Game Three of our Charterstone campaign.


(note: deliberately unfocused to avoid spoilers!)


Having complained - for most of 2017 - that the club was constantly max-ing out at just four attendees, this year has been the year of five or more which (of course) has consigned Jamey's cartoonish legacy to the barely occasional pile. Not to worry, however; it's only been a few months so we were soon off and rootling through the Index. Charterstone certainly doesn't hang about, so we were in very good time to play Boffo's shiny new (deluxe reprint) copy of Knizia's classic Ra:



I say 'classic' but, until yesterday, I had played it just the once - and that was about 17 years ago, so I was keen to see what the Hell I've been missing. The deluxe version is very beautiful but, in the dim light of the Pub (and my old age), I found it a little tricky to differentiate some of the tiles; not a problem after the first Epoch, though, and I'd managed to gather a full set of the professions to max out 15 points-per-Epoch scoring as well as a rich variety of Monuments. Jobbers floundered miserably at the back and ignored the potential of his two-Gods-won-from-the-first-auction in favour of a fruitless Pharoah race with Boffo (I ignored Ps altogether for a whole-game penalty of just -6 points). I thought I'd ripped ahead with ease only to find Smudge's judicious Invoke Ra just to swap a low tile for a not-so-low tile had sneaked her the 'highest Sun tile total bonus' and tied us both on 61. Ra is the perfect Ross-on-Wye gamers game: push-your-luck, auctions and - importantly- plays briskly.

And so to the long-promised (and much missed these last three weeks) fishing expedition:



My Architect is the latest in a series of Elders to be roughly-handled by Captain Combo (Boffo)!


Smudge was uncharacteristically slow and seemed to be lacking focus while Jobbers, Boffo and I skipped gaily along implementing our various plans. Boffo, in particular, had latched on to 'future expansion building' Dance Hall (see above) and set about abusing it most vigorously! It certainly didn't help that Smudge - to his right - kept refilling the Plates just enough to power the 'double use', so Ben's final tally of (a magnificent) forty seven (47!) was as unsurprising as it was utterly-dismaying! I've logged this as a potentially-abusive card with the Lookout peeps but, to be fair, Boffo spun a well-planned web: averaging more than 2VPs per action for the whole game is a cracking achievement.

Almost there! Having managed a completely-uninterrupted session, we still had time for one more table-topping delight:



Two Knizias in one evening? Who are you, Sir, and what have you done with the real Tony Boydell? Indigo is like Tsuro but good! Jobbers and I did a great job of sharing gems - including the prestigious sapphire - for a completely-tied 8 pts victory: place a tile and move the gem(s) to the end of the newly-extended path and, if off the board, award to appropriate players positioned at that exit point. Ridiculously-simple, colourful and relaxing; it's hardly going to change my gaming life but the £1 charity shop copy in my Shed will now get some family-gathering love in future. Mr Knizia is quite good, isn't he? I may be sticking my neck out but, I think, he'll go far*.

*do check out the latest 5 Games 4 Doomsday episode featuring Mr K's choices for surviving Armageddon!
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Today 9:56 am
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Florence and the Marine

Anthony Boydell
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As I was chain-choffing black, seedless grapes on the way the Ross-on-Wye this sunny Friday e'en, I was struck by how - just a week earlier - I was choffing Pasta Carbonara with Heavy Cardboard and others in the Bar of the NEC Hilton. Such an enjoyable weekend is now Doppler-ing in to the Past so thank goodness I keep a record of everything! On the down-side, yesterday's (Friday's) post got a little side-tracked thanks so some ropey Tony context/phraseology (the last para was supposed to be a generalization but seems to have been picked up as a specific); that's the written page for you.

Peter from Bromyardsgrove joined the Batesons (and therefore, by extension, us) for the evening with a driving need to play (for the first time) The Princes of Florence; I'm not sure how much of this was his need vs how much Boffo wanted to show off a Club super-favourite at the perfect player count (despite me flashing my Nusfjord from the bag):



Peter proceeded commendably to a 30+ score - rather excellent for a 'noob' - with Smudge pipping me by a building's bonus of 3 points for a couple of scores above the magic 50! I was worried I'd thrown the whole plan: I got lured in to bidding for a Recruitment card with Boffo when I'd been musing for a third Builder- thinking to make him pay a little more, I ended up with it myself!



Thankfully, I needed it later to borrow a Profession from Smudge which - as it turned out - is what kept me so closely in contention! Quite superb.

Pausing to tilt my Nusfjord and run it along the edge of the table to the strains of the JAWS theme, we continued with something "lighter" in the form of North American Railways. Boffo pronounced that he didn't know whether he liked it or not, after an all-elbows waste-cash-on-poor-routes shenaniganfest, and Smudge looked horribly-confused throughout. I think it was a success; Peter committed to buying his own copy then-and-there after sneaking the win ahead of a tied Jobbers and myself.

To see us in to the second half of the evening, we taught Peter the singular joy of being a pirate (rather than a Norwegian fisherman - dang!) in Paolo Mori's marvelous Libertalia:



Peter got an absolute flyer in the first week and was 15+ points ahead of everyone else BUT some wise, considered play from Boffo and myself brought us back within range (week 2) and just a little ahead in the final week to overtake him. It was Boffo, this time, that edged me in to second place!

Glory for Tony, however, would eventually arrive in the second of two Dobble hot potatoes to close off a fine session. Peter despises Dobble but even he had cracked a smile by the end...
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Sat Jun 9, 2018 8:19 am
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The Fisher King

Anthony Boydell
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It's Friday, it's 5 o' clock:



Everybody merrily piled in their chip shop order without pausing to wonder what poor old Dad would have as an alternative; you see, I'm on a health kick at the moment, which means a proper official diet and a slavish devotion to my Fitbit. The process of medicating me against anxiety showed up an increased risk of diabetes so I figured if I was going to have a mid-life crisis then it might as well be one that (statistically) will enable me to live longer! Anyway, while they choffed in to fish and burgers and chipped potatoes, I tucked in to a hearty plate of scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast: delicious.

With my VW Touran in the local garage's Intensive Care Unit (I think it's completely FUBAR, TBH; something to do with the camshaft), I pootled over to The Plough Inn with just two offerings in the bag: Grand Austria Hotel and, of course, the current subject of my game stalking: Nusfjord. With a promised six, we like to start the evening off with something involving everyone and it's been too long since we last shouted our way through an hour of the excellent Chinatown.



Chinatown only just lost out to Beyond Balderdash in my 5 Games 4 Doomsday selection as the 'noisy fun times for everyone' entry; it's certainly a Hall of Fame-r for the club. Anyway, there was much dick-swinging-ing "hard-nosed" deal-making from both Boffo and Jobbers which was roundly ignored for the ridiculous guff that it was. Boffo was denied victory ($20,000, ie. 2 points, in it) by Smudge and Jobbers lagged waaaaay back in fourth despite all his posturing. Pleasingly, my own unwillingness to succumb to Boffo's "Take It Or Leave It!" Gordon Gecko rhetoric - with my single Laundry in the middle of his (4 out of 5 needed for big money) Laundry - proved the point upon which the result turned.

Having made excellent time, we split in to two threes: Jobbers, Gary and Boffo opting for Trains while Wendy, Smudge and I went fishing:



Wendy struggled with keeping the Nusfjord rules in her head but managed a creditable 30 points (to Smudge's 32 and my 34); there was an awful lot of reminding and advice-giving, though, which stretched everything out to 90 minutes. Gary scooted off at 10PM so it seemed a good opportunity to keep Nussy on the table and just reset it for five; given Wendy had now had a good flavour of the game, that should see us through to a comfortable 'closing time' finish. The problem, however, was that all the actions Wendy seemingly wanted to do were either taken before she could get a chance OR the Fish Plates were empty (denying her Elder actions) OR confusingly-worded (to her) on the buildings. While we didn't actually take as long as the three-player, we did struggle a little with time; with us fast approaching 30 minutes after "Time, gentlemen, please" the final tally was more of a Blessed Relief than the back-slapping "Phew! What a game!" that it usually is. Boffo played a blinder (38) - utilising a Reserve-emptying Elder with a series of 'When your reserve is empty...' buildings - but it was my own carefully-does it try and fill the entire board that took me over the magic 40 point milestone. My obsession continues...

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Sat May 26, 2018 10:43 am
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Monk-y Business

Anthony Boydell
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Smudge was unavailable this week so, with just the prospect of an Unholy Trinity, Boffo and I commenced pre-session negotiations via the medium of Social:


(screenshot-ed after the fact)






All was quiet in the Refectory as Brother Anthony mixed up the pancakes; the Prior always assigned him the 'by hand' jobs as he was especially good with his batter (Brother Jobbers had a habit of whisking it up the walls and painting the stove like a builder's radio). Brother Benjamin struggled in from the garden, wheezing and dragging a large bag of vegetables.

"A successful harvest, Benjamin?" asked Br Anthony.

"I should *gasp* bloody well hope so *cough*, Brother; I've been tugging at my brassicas for most of the afternoon! By the way, what are you cooking? It smells like crepe." he replied.

"It's pancakes, Brother; and I'm trying my best!" Anthony said, hurt.

Jobbers kicked the door open and marched in resolutely; he was carrying something long, flat and awkward. He started talking immediately, unaware that there was a conversation (of sorts) already in progress.

"I've been in the workshop!" he barked, proudly; "And I've made a table!"

Brothers Anthony and Benjamin looked from the enormous Refectory trestle to Jobbers' effort and back again.

"But we already have a table, Brother Jobbers?!" they exclaimed, in unison.

Brother Jobbers stopped, looked around the room and began to seethe: "Bloody fucking fuck it bastard bollocks!" he shouted, and shoved his table through the open door to the garden. It clattered on the York flagstones and split up the middle with an ominous CRACK!

Brother Benjamin ejaculated: "I think he took that rather well, don't you?!"



Boffo sharked us a bit and was comfortably 40+ points ahead at the end but I was pleased with 178 for second. I've been seeing mention of Ora et Labora in various blogs, on vlogs and such and it was a pleasure to get in to it after such a long break. Indeed, Uwe is having quite the effect on our little group at the moment; perhaps we should change our name to "The Rosenberg-on-Wye Board Gamers"?!





A sozzled barfly peered around the doorway at our shenanigans and started singing "The Games People Play" by way of a 'joke'. Hilarious. Less hilarious was my risible die-rolling SKILLZ in Roll for the Galaxy; singularly unable to get a DEVELOP icon across eight dice for most of the game, I barely managed to get the first of my three 6-ers in to play before Boffo slammed down his 12th tile. He'd pushed it a couple of turns too many, which let Jobbers overtake him with a last minute TRADE for veeps.



Subtly stroking my Nusfjord, Jobbers ignored my subliminal suggestion and tore Glass Road from the sanctity of Boffo's coffin trolley: "Sod it! Let's give this a go!" he chirruped. I keep thinking that Jobbers hates it but that's Dan; Jobbers is ambivalent on account of not quite getting it yet.



Once again, Boffo's heavy experience drew ripe dividends and was easily victorious in the mid 20s; I regarded my own 18.5 as a personal success but 5+ points is quite the margin in GR. Jobbers tailed behind on 16 which, I think, is one of his best scores ever - so not a complete disaster.



in nomine patri et fili et spiritus sancti, Amen.
Go in peace to love and serve the Board.
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Sun May 20, 2018 7:00 am
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Camelid Up

Anthony Boydell
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Well, I wasn't expecting to be driving about the countryside so soon after my last holiday placement but a combination of late coding deliveries backing up against the need to gather new requirements has meant I'm in both 'Trainer' and 'Business Analyst' mode this week. Some blah-blah in Carmarthen early doors was followed by a trip to the coast (the sea as flat and still as a bath that's been left to go cold overnight) and a lunch-time chat with my Dad, brother and sister.


All the shades of blue, Welsh sky.


The car was wheezing a bit as I dragged it up the Cader Idris valley but various podcasts drowned out its simultaneously deeply-worrying and effing-annoying (g)rumble; don't worry, I've booked it in for a check-up on Friday.

I'm only at my preferred B&B for two of the three nights this week thanks to the local Theatre playing host to UK comedian (and all-round silly person) Tim Vine; as it turns out, the B&B itself is also playing host to Mr Vine - I wonder if they've alloted him my (current) room? I'll have to leave a note. Dropping my suitcase off, there was barely time to unpack my toothbrush and give my aching toes a good, breezy airing before it was Snowdonia Dragons time:



To break the ice, Aaron and Ed and Tom and myself ploughed eagerly in to Hansa Teutonica: Britannia; with but a few moments required for a rules refresh, we were off and immediately laying cubes in eachother's ways. The Britannia map has Wales and Scotland only accessible if you're 'in control' of London (granting access to both), Cardiff (to Wales) and/or Edinburgh (to Scotland), which is a bit of an arse-ache, and some new scoring bits-and-pieces. The pic above is slightly inaccurate in that Tom and I were overlooked in our Wales and Scotland 'dominance' bonuses; we were all a lot closer in the end. HT is an odd game that really needs to be played more to really start getting it; in our session, Ed won despite only having two actions per turn (Aaron and I were on 4) and Tom was gifted far more 'bumped off' bonus placements than the rest of us but still languished in last place ie. two situations that you would've predicted leading a player in one direction led them in the opposite!

I'd brought mine and Aaron had brought his, so it was a shoo-in that Altiplano was going to get an airing:



I was utterly perplexed and bewildered with the options presented to me and I spent the first half of the game trying to work out where the 'islands' were for the actions I had on my board! In the end I settled on collecting and scoring contracts, which kept me just ahead of Tom but still waaaaaaay behind Aaron and Ed. My warehouse was half-empty compared to the bulging lock-ups of glass and silverwear sported by our hustling hosts! I'm very much not at all sure about Altiplano and it may well get passed on like Orleans was: too fiddly for anyone in the Ross group to want to play it.

We closed with a quote "daft Japanese card game" called Sly Knight Seekers:



It's like 'go fish' crossed with 'rummy' and some deduction thrown in for good measure; I am singularly terrible at this style of card game, so I stumbled from one confused and ill-played hand to the next - somehow, Tom and I (paired across the table) managed to end up tying with uberspielen Ed and Aaron which - given our risible performances for the rest of the evening - counts as some sort of victory.
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Tue May 15, 2018 6:30 am
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B.O.G

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(converted from the Facebook Live video)
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Sun May 13, 2018 11:38 pm
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Horse Apples

Anthony Boydell
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The end of the week got off to a marvelous start when a roughly-taped parcel got dropped off by the Postie:



Klemens has taken to forwarding English-language editions of his complimentary copies to me. This unbridled generosity humbles and delights and only occasionally have the games themselves turned out to be "unsuitable", in which case I passed them on gratis, "in the spirit".

After the usual conference call/email clearing period, highlight number two in the shape of lunch pinged on my calendar reminders and I set off for Ham, Egg and chips salad with a couple of long-time (former work colleague) pals. There was less reminiscing about project stuff than there has been on past (annual) gatherings, but the ale was light and delicious and the company most excellent! Graham as bullish as ever, if a little more silver-haired, and Jeremy forever youthful despite being the elder statesman of the group. The Pub was packed with Wiltshire grandparents who scowled in our direction at the dropping of a 'fuck' or 'bollocks' but it's a free country (at least for now) so we rambled on, unperturbed. Before departing, we each posited a news item that we thought would have occurred by the time we next meet; the financial responsibility of 'the next round' would be riding on it:

Me: The Queen and/or Sir David Attenborough would be deceased (hopefully in separate circumstances)
Graham: Brexit, if it happens at all, will be a squeaky little fart of a Brexit.
Jezza: We will have had another General Election in the UK.

Highlight three, naturally, is the anticipation of our weekly evening of board games! Ah, yes! The mental oasis at the end of the arid employment desert! The good news was that we were to be a proud seven - yes, count them! - with last week's postponed Gary (crossing his heart and hoping to die) definitely coming and return visits for Skenfrith Dan and Aberystwyth Phillip! The bad news was that despite a 7PM start, we would only be 'full' around 8PM so we needed to find something short for six in the meantime: Winner's Circle.



Well. If you like rolling a die and having to chose the worst possible option because the die roll wasn't in your favour - while pretending that you have some kind of agency in the whole thing - then Winner's Circle is definitely your thing. A tiresome parcel of equine ordure that, rightly, was swept in to the box after the first of three alleged "races" and consigned to the figurative dungheap. Boffo, unsurprisingly (and, to be fair, legitimately) took umbrage at my zealous disdain but - given the equal rapidity of everyone else returning their components before Race 2 could be reset - it seems I was not alone in my snubbage! Another nail in the coffin of my disillusionment with Mr Knizia.

Phil would be with us shortly, so Dan and Jobbers and Smudge and I took ourselves (and Jobbers' seminal worktop) to a corner for some Martian landscaping - a first run for Dan and, as expected given his TCG background, he was completely smitten with it. He came within just a few points of myself (in second) despite failing to get any territory on Mars at all! This bodes very ill for our next game as I predict he will completely crush us.

We had an hour to spare and, with the other lads deeply engrossed in Goa, I returned from a comfort break to find my three happily decanting Nusfjord! I am nowhere near being tired of this remarkable return-to-form and was sent (this week) another two - yes, TWO! - play-test expansion packs by Lookout Games. Tonight, though, Dan wanted to try it 'as printed' and the whole thing whistled along and was done before the 60 minutes were up; Jobbers was again victorious in a low-scoring game (35) with me - again - in second (33) followed by Smudge (27) and Dan (26).

Boffo et al had added Divinare and Saint Petersburg to their own dance card so, in all, another superb evening of distractions...just as long as you put that horsey hogwash out of your mind (and straight in to the nearest recycling bin).
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Sat May 12, 2018 9:25 am
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Tree Dolphin Cheese

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"Games tomorrow. 7pm start for Gary. RSVP if you’re quick" quoth Boffo in a last call to gaming arms. With the return of Jobbers after a fortnight's hiatus, the occasional Gary would swell our numbers to an awkward five but I had a plan up my sleeve: oh yes! During a recent online chat with Klemens, it came to light that Mr Uwe Rosenberg has been filled with the fecund joys of Spring and has been merrily puffing out new Nusfjord decks like willow catkins puff out pollen (*atishoo*)! How, in the name of the little baby Jesus, could I lay my hands on such? I was straight on it! On Thursday, I received an email with a Word attachment that listed 60 or so new ways of spending wood, fish and gold in exchange for combo-tastic combos and even more points (in addition to the 30 I'd already gotten a few months ago); indeed, I was content to mock up actual cards from these specs but the list was also accompanied by a brief note saying that someone would do that for me, if I would just wait a day! They duly arrived and I duly printed them out and sleeved them:


Some.


On the dot of 1845HRS - it takes just 15 mins to bimble over to Ross-on-Wye - I adjusted the driving position in Mrs B's car, plugged the iPhone and noticed an urgent notification from Boffo: "Gary cancelled. Bring Charterstobe if you’ve not set off". Hmmmmm - I don't have a copy of Charterstobe but it did remind me that this might be a good opportunity to continue our Charterstone campaign. A blip in my Scandinavian schemes, to be sure, but we could still proceed with one-fewer fisherman once the Legacy japes were done so I nipped back in and retrieved the big white box. No pics in case of spoilers: it took us a few moments to remember the basics - it's been rather a long time since our debut - but we were soon away and worker-placing for the glory of The Forever King - building and (the best bit of all) opening crates to get new cards.

Ten minutes in and who should pop his nose around the door but the West Walesian Wizard himself: Mr Phil Dennis - that bloke who knows my Dad and likes to play board games! He's in the area to attend Malvern's DellCon but decided to pop over and see his Father first; evidently, the evening wasn't going quite to plan so he ran away to The Plough for an ale and some dobbershovin'. I didn't even bother to ask before setting everything up and, being curious as to what all my fuss is about, neither did Phil object:


A Quintet For Nussy


What a corker at the full player count! Phil acquitted himself nobly on a first go (31) while Boffo and Smudge plugged resolutely onward to a brace of usually-game-winning mid-30s; it was Jobbers and I, however, who settled quickest in to an easy flow of points-for-actions. The new buildings provide some fantastic explosions, if paired correctly, including quite a few more ways to get fish in the main phase (VERY useful!). Annoyingly, like last week, I was pipped by a single point - 41 to 40 - but, bloody hell!, I'm rather infatuated!

Falling short of actually telling me and Nusfjord to "get a room", Boffo took the reins and waved Glen More in our faces. I recall being catastrophically bad at this one but managed a respectable second to - once again - a delighted Jobbers.


Boffo complained I was knocking components between sections of his plastic tray so I up-ended the whole lot on to the table and Jobbers leant over to give everything a good mix. Come the end, the tiles joined the melange and a resigned Boffo grumbled that we "might as well sweep the whole lot straight in to the box.


Phil departed, leaving the core four to close with Dobble; "hot potato" is our favourite variant and the calling of 'matches' led to the table-collapsingly "you had to be there" hilarity of this post's title.

Sublime.
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Sat May 5, 2018 11:18 am
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Caer-ful with those Mechs, Eugene

Anthony Boydell
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The breezy sun was out on a Llandudno Wednesday afternoon and, after a couple of hours of training a room full of distracted Inspectors (120 minutes without a fag break induces the twitches, apparently), I scarpered the building with a headache and the intention of walking it off somehow. Yesterday was an up-and-down-the-main-shopping-street perambulation that garnered a salad supper and the new David Peace novel; today was a return to the scoured, stone-robbed hillside overlooking Conwy and what little remained of Deganwy Castle:



The glorious Monday sunset had given us a splendid view of this up-jutting from the comfort of our Mulberry Bar & Grill gaming tables so, yesterday, I parked, rolled my sleeves, set the iPhone to camera mode and strode purposefully around the dome-ish, rocky dollop. I'd not noticed the brickwork on my previous excursion, so spent a lot more time at the top climbing the walls and exploring. The wind had really picked up at this altitude; it was such a terrific blow that I feared my ears would pop. Keen to get a little warmer, I completed my circuit of the site and settled myself in the windless sanctuary of the VW Touran and made my way along the coast to Prestatyn:


(clockwise from top-left): a Sand-sperm; a gift from Ed; fractious stuff; and dark clouds on the horizon!


The supermarket provided a delicious, healthy bounty (and a new charger cable for my phone) and I parked next to the Promenade and looked dolefully out over the Bay while I scoffed it*. A silver-haired, smartly-attired gentleman leaned in to the gust as he lurched by; he seemed to be alternately muttering and spitting - the latter surely a dangerously-likely backfiring scenario given the vigorous zephyr. Replete with cous-cous and char sui pork, I soft-footed down to the tide-line in search of driftglass with my hood pulled tight over my head.

Weary of the chilly gale, mud-shoed and with sand up my nose, it was time to leave this exercisal nonsense and play something Euro-ish up at The Beach House; we'd all sort-of agreed on Scythe which meant Paul and Mark wouldn't be joining us. George hadn't replied - he's in our tournament group - but then even he doesn't know if he's coming until he actually turns up at the Pub. It was a daftly-brisk first game - all done-and-dusted after 60 minutes - so we racked it all up for a second. It was a little tetchy in the room with a great deal of woodwork shuffling, backsies and adjustments; your move would be almost done and you'd find yourself back in the spotlight almost immediately - indeed, at one point you'd have been forgiven for thinking this was a simultaneous turns game! The absent George, like an unclaimed Diplomacy power, was made to 'stand' throughout but, nobly, he didn't complain at all.

*the supper, that is.
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Thu May 3, 2018 6:35 am
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Testy McTestface

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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Another gamified weekend (that's the second one this year, already) with, this time, the good company of Mr Brettwell J. Gilberton. We're on to the next leg of hammering out The Great (Air) Race because recent independent test sessions have suggested we need to have a bit of a rethink. As per, Brett also brought another prototype along and some juicy goodies for the Boydell household:


Fussball!


First to arrive was young Stu Burnham bearing gamer snacks (which I can't eat because of my diet) and beers (which I can't drink because of my diet). No sooner had I popped the kettle on than the three of us were trying out Brett and Matt's 'abstract thread-maker':



It's a tiny bit Azul-ish but immediately had me thinking of a train theme: a line of bonus cards are stocked with 5 discs from a bag (five colours). On your turn take 1, 2 or 3 discs from an end card (carrying over in to the next card when that one is depleted, taking the depleted card too) and place it/them in to one space of your player board (see photo). If you take a single disc then you can 'split' any hex of >1 disc, sending the disc(s) of your choice in to adjacent spaces. Why? To connect colour spots on the outside of your board with that colour of discs in a line (straight or circuitous). At the end of the round, cash in any taken cards for bonuses and extra disc placements THEN score edge-to-edge connected lines. Scored lines use a disc at either end to cover the edge spot and wholly-completed segments of those edge spots score more points at the end of each remaining round. It plays very smoothly and I was pleased to have almost completed the entire border but I was pipped in to second by Stu.

Not much to feed back, really - apart from it being very clean - so we took advantage of an arrived Boffo and launched straight in to a pair of simultaneous Foothills:



Stu and I had a monstrously white-cube-heavy first game which was contrasted by a steady and normal-paced second. Brett and Ben struggled through their singleton being waylaid by Brett's anxiety about the card play; it's a mechanism that takes a little getting used to as you can't just race through the actions doing everything you want, one after the other. Forward planning and good attention to what your opponent is doing/can do is essential. The net result of their discussions was a win for Brett and a suggestion to build a set of 'starter' action cards for each player. For Stu and I? Well, he may chime in below with his thoughts...

A quick bite of lunch and then we flew from London to Dover and then from London to Paris. *Tchoh* Not really, dear friends; we were, of course, testing The Great (Air) Race Again, Stu may chip in a tuppence-worth but it was an incredibly valuable test generally: some nagging fears were (sadly) reinforced but a new direction was revealed - onwards and upwards.

The least said about the appallingly dumb Danse Macabre try-out, the better.

Ben had to go - something about Dancing - so fresh beverages were brewed and, at Arthur's suggestion, we treated Brett and Stu to the eclectic delights of The Black Overcoat Game:



Arthur enjoys the (many) opportunities for shenanigans that B.O.G presents and it was particularly funny when Stu took severe damage from a bomb and was then forced by the young tyke to pick that bomb up again, fatally, a turn later! Following the tradition that house guests seem to always win their first game of B.O.G, Brett raised the treasure chest high in game 1. We played again, straightaway, and it was Stu who found the treasure location first only to then get stuck in the Gardens trying to get his Jet Boots to work - this gave me enough time to shimmy up the front in my ballet shoes and race to the Guest Bedroom for victory!

Supper was a Mrs B classic Lamb Curry to which I only had to add some boiled brown rice (brown rice smells like a drain!) then we sneaked a quick Bärenpark (me, Brett, Stu) and a Nusfjord (joined by Arthur) before Stu had to go home:


Stu shows his appreciation for my robust score of 39. Arthur got a personal best of 32 (tied with Stu) and Brett scored the same as he did the night before: 31.


With Arthur safely snoozing, Brett and I chatted over the findings of the day and then retreated to the living room to watch Event Horizon with eldest lad Fred. Quite the productive session, all-in-all.
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Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:15 am
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