Today is Father's Day: "a holiday of honoring fatherhood and paternal bonds, as well as the influence of fathers in society".
Yesterday, though, in an attempt to do nothing (but usefully so), I mowed the lawn but - halfway thru - the starter cable snapped: two thirds of the lawn was cleanly-shorn, the other third daisy-sprouting and unruly. Obviously, there's no way on the gods' wide Earth that I was going to leave it like that so: a trip to the local DIY centre for a socket spanner set and a replacement cable was required. In every department selling tools of some kind, there were suspended banners and standees proclaiming "The Perfect Gift For Father's Day!" and "Great for Dads!" and "Don't Forget Dad on Sunday 20th June!". Apparently, as a Father I am to be entirely considered as a pottering craftsman; obsessed with drills, strimmers, power washers and/or gas-powered barbecues. In the supermarket over the road, various War, Soccer and vehicle-based DVD documentaries awaited my species-male-who-has-sired-offspring attention. Thus...
Cashier: Good morning, Sir -
Customer: Good morn -
Cashier: - no, wait, shut your face: I haven't finished yet -
Customer: - oh -
Cashier: - Good morning, Sir; a-a-and a Happy Father's Day to you!
Customer: Well, um, thanks very much.
Cashier: I assume you are a Father, Sir?
Customer: Well, yes, I -
Cashier: Phew - that's a relief! Now: what can somebody's son (points to himself) do for a Father (points to the customer) on this most esteemed of days?
Customer: Well, I was looking for a new game and wondered what you might recommend?
Cashier: For you, Sir, the fertilizer of eggs, it would be a pleasure!
Customer: Are you alright?
Cashier: How about a miniatures war game, Sir? It's got guns and fighting and stuff PLUS you need to assemble the figures and paint them in your Shed on a Sunday afternoon prior to play. Sir.
Customer: Well, I do like painting - do you have any painting-themed games like, for example, Fresco or Starving Artists?
Cashier: "Painting themes", Sir? I'm afraid we only have such things as are suitable for Mothers and other females, Sir.
Customer: You have nothing in that vein at all?
Cashier: Not today, Sir. Not for the "Day of the Dad", so to speak.
Customer: Well, then; what have you got?
Cashier: We have various table-based golf products? The Top Gear Trivia Challenge? FIFA 2021: Das kartenspiele?
Customer: Have you got anything more 'Euro'-y?
Cashier: How about Meerschaum Pipeline? Star Wars: Outer Strim? Near and Father? Dad of Winter? Black & Decker Stories? Through the Garages? Glen Mower? Igloo Poppa? Otac!!! Père-to Rico? Pa-drenaline?
Customer: *tchoh* Those aren't real games at all! They're just an excuse to list out a whole lot of puns!
Cashier: Caught me bang to rights; mea culpa and so on.
Customer: pointing up Then: you'd better go to your room and think about all the trouble you've caused.
Cashier: Yes, Sir. (he leaves, muttering under his breath) motherfucker
Customer: I heard that and, strictly speaking: yes.
Life and Games (but mostly games) from Tony Boydell: Dad, Husband and Independent UK Game Designer.
Archive for Miscellany
- [+] Dice rolls
Another long week in front of the laptop and - courtesy of various process flow diagrams - wrestling a detailed spreadsheet of user stories into some sort of shape prior to bulk loading. After all that, you'd think I'd be chomping at the bit for games in Jobbers' garden but - come 6PM, with dinner ordered but tardy - I felt all of the enthusiasm drain away. Instead, I printed off some new pages for mine & Matt Dunstan's Polygonia prototype and hid myself away in the spare room to cut-and-stick until the chips arrived.
As it transpired, dinner was VERY late so we sat - plates resting on knees - to watch Episode 13 of Season 1 of the 'new' Doctor Who (Christopher Eccleston): Arthur is playing catch-up (from the start of the modern era) as he missed out the first time on account of not being born yet. It's an odd relaunch series when viewed 'in toto'; the whole thing is set in it's own closed environment with back references and settings between the episodes - the most obvious one being the 'Bad Wolf' meme. It's funny and silly, the acting is a bit wayward in places but the whole thing bounces along effervescently; indeed, when Eccleston passes the baton to Tennant, you can't help but feel a bit emotional. And Captain Jack is likeable too (at this point).
Flitting to 'main TV' to decide what to watch next, we caught a glimpse of the England v Scotland match: sluggish and evidently - even at the start of the second half - heading for a wholly-disappointing (and not entirely unexpected) draw. If you wandered into the garden at any point, you could hear the shouts and near-miss 'Whoa!'s of BBQ parties and The King's Arms watching on big screens. Restless, I tried reading a chapter or two of 'XX' (Rian Hughes) but soon returned to the belly of the Living Room for TV comedy.
Saturday dawns - cool and grey - with nothing in particular on the schedule; after a couple of consecutive visitor weekends, we've got the time and the place to ourselves again and - like last night - I'm buggered if I know I'm going to do with it.
Go out - but where?
Stay in - and do what?
- [+] Dice rolls
My pals at Robin Red Games - the fine folk who published Bad Grandmas - are running a bijou KS for their new fun filler Tea, Scones, and ARSENIC. They had a little trouble, it seems, with KS dealing with the word 'Arsenic' in the campaign title but...it's all good now!
Okay - so it's en Francais but you get the general idea!
Daft, drafting, bluffing fun with biscuit-shaped tiles - what's NOT to like?
BTW I am in conversation with the company about negotiating a (much) cheaper shipping cost that involves receiving X copies first and then re-posting them: if you're UK-based and interested, let me know below and I'll add you to a list!
- [+] Dice rolls
- [+] Dice rolls
May, 2021: As the uncertainty in my previous job increased, my Teams meeting doodles kinda swept me along; the smudged border is courtesy of the Left Outside, Overnight adventure from last weekend:
Sat Jun 12, 2021 6:15 am
- [+] Dice rolls
I've got an Internet stalker.
He attached himself during my Social Media scuffle in 2020 and, since then (and while I was still social media-ing), he'd pop up on BG community threads and either inform me that I was unwelcome directly or, mostly, comment indirectly as to my lack of good character. Most recently, he's taken the time to stop by a Youtube video and express his distaste though, I fear, he's not actually bothered watching it. He is very angry - all of the time - about everything that falls short of his tolerance benchmark.
I'm not his only object of disdain, however; several other Industry peeps - far more influential and important than me - have been/continue to be subjected to his ongoing outrage. He's never met me, he doesn't know me; our handful of interactions have been through the medium of 280 characters and - yet - the piss boils so very strongly.
The prospect of him stopping by every video or podcast chat, every thread/forum contribution, to digitally spit/scorn/snark reminds me of my secondary school days (in the early 1980s). As a skinny, awkward, olive-skinned, ex-Monmouth School for Boys pupil in a Ross-on-Wye Comprehensive, I was the regular target for the playground bullies - the 'logic' being:
- skinny, awkward = not very good at fighting back;
- olive-skinned = assumed ethnic minority (!); and,
- from the Boys' school = gay.
The effort the bullies expended to ensure children like myself were 'attended to' was as baffling then as the stalker's continued curating of my Internet presence is today. I'm not as bad as he thinks, you know.
- [+] Dice rolls
01 Jun 2021
It's been a couple of weeks since Ziggy and I circuited the fair town of Newent - preferring, instead, the sheltered-but-slippy woodland topography - so, with the sun hidden-but-still-baking behind a thin layer of cloud, we set off on a favourite course: up to Acorn Woods (at the bottom of May Hill), across to (and behind) the International Birds of Prey Centre, following the stream between the endless orchards and home again.
Obviously, the familiar paths have become trenches amid the swaying crops. Ziggy chasing a bird or an imagined rabbit into the green wheat and then yipping/bouncing his way back to me for a biscuit and/or a refreshing rollabout in the soft grass.
The bare hedgerows, the muddy ponds in the fields and the skeletonized trees have burgeoned with vegetation and present new horizons; I force-march the gradients to get the heart pumping and the legs working.
Long walks are good for the soul but, according to Chad Valley Co Ltd., they're not quite everything:
CV - like Gloucester's Glevum Games - were pretty damn huge in the early-to-mid 20th century; the tail-end of their story - the modern bit - is rather cheap and plastic-y, though. Still, I'm sure my own collection of their desirable wares us but a scratch.
The chunky spinner is a surprise - I'd have expected a die or two - and, given this edition isn't in the BGG database, it's likely it is a replacement for lost components:
A different Pilgrim's Progress entry, here, mentions a spinner with multiple results on each 'edge', which reminded me of the WW2 dice replacements you can find:
I fear I may have lost the Moral Compass necessary for successfully-traversing this map; I'll stick to fields and trees and streams, thanks.Quote:Aside: Having recently become re-obsessed with The Beatles' white album ('The Beatles'), how serendipitous that Mother Nature's Son has just popped on to play as I wind up this post!
- [+] Dice rolls
From 'the Pedia':Quote:Dennis Yeats Wheatley (8th January, 1897 to 10th November, 1977) was an English writer whose prolific output of thrillers and occult novels made him one of the world's best-selling authors from the 1930s through the 1960s. His Gregory Sallust series was one of the main inspirations for Ian Fleming's James Bond stories.
Not content with churning out fiction - which, in my memory, had photos of animal skulls, dribbly candles and satanically-robed virgin on the covers - he also signed his name to a trio of board games: Invasion, Blockade and Alibi.
Copies of two, of the three, are now in my possession:Quote:Blockade is played with multi-shaped wooden pieces representing Naval Formations, Air Units, Submarines and Cargo Ships on a six-color map. Victory consists of capturing or sinking all enemy Merchant Shipping so that the enemy is completely blockaded and cannot obtain further supplies from Neutral sources.
The Map shows four countries (two sets of paired enemies). The land war between them is considered to be locked in a Maginot Line type of stalemate so the battle hinges on the war at sea. The map has 32 ports (5 in each warring country and 12 on the coasts of the neutrals).
Each country has a different starting mix of units (for example Leoland is high in Naval Formations and Adlerreich has the most submarines). The player round consists of moving all your cargo ships 1 space then rolling the dice and moving your units. A player may make a single air attack instead of moving any naval units. The air units have unlimited range and the number required to make an attack is based on the target. Losses are also based on the target and are automatic (for example it takes 4 air units to attack a naval formation and 2 air units are automatically lost).
A merchant ship can join a naval formation and create a convoy for more protection. Naval combat consists of a surprise attack (by submarines) and open attacks between naval formations. The surprise attack can be triggered by a roll of 8 or higher and an open attack requires the player to spend 1 or 2 pips of the dice roll.Quote:The Alibi rule book outlines a detailed scenario in which a murder has taken place and one of six infamous criminals must be to blame. The players are detectives and move around a map of Britain and in various towns get to look at one of the cards which may help provide an alibi for one of the suspects, advance the investigation further or merely cause a delay. When enough information has been gathered a player can race back to the town the murderer is in and arrest him to win. Nice system which ensures it plays differently each time. Includes metal detective figures.
- [+] Dice rolls
Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men. I'd been very diligent in booking my return ticket - Ledbury <-> London Paddington - and parked the car up ready to enter my special tickets-printing code:
NOT the sight you want greeting you at 0520HRS. Still, I was able to get the Guard on the train to print out some tickets - and have a brief chat about the Passenger Assist app installed on her Great Western Railway mobile phone..the project what I have been working on. She enthused about the app and how the training video was really clear: that'll be the video I recorded and narrated then! A celebrity at last?!
Ledbury station is pretty as a picture with the sun coming up and I was soon decanted in a pre-reserved window seat for the journey.
The mist was evaporating as we trundled across the Cotswolds to Oxford and down to the 'main line' into this Nation's capital. Unfortunately, the tickets I'd booked were 'off-peak' only - something the online booking page failed to sort out - and I was presented with a top-up fare of twenty quid before I could get out, and de-mask, onto the street.
The plod from Paddington to the Edgeware Road was fraught with anxiety; I realised, rather quickly, that I'd entirely forgotten how the city works: it was overwhelmingly busy with people and the buildings oppressively tall - looming, even. A simple country gent like myself isn't used to such activity!
Our splendid core team - Brian (left) and Chris (right), were already at the 'Club' and setting up for the day's various conference calls. As soon as I poked my (masked) nose into the breakfast bar we decamped to a larger table for bacon and black pudding and a proper cup of coffee. As befits a departing crew - only Brian is staying on - our meetings were on auto-pilot; our 'handover' tasks completed and our voices far less important in any discussion of 'future scope'. We wandered over to a restaurant for a lavish lunch - and a cheeky beer - then back to finish off the day's obligations.
As the only one 'staying over', I wandered down to Marble Arch to check-in to the Hard Rock Hotel:
A wash, a laying out of the pyjamas and then back to the Club - sans luggage - for pre-supper beers:
Quietly reminiscing on the grand achievements of the last 15 months, we were joined - after his brief question about where to buy cigarettes - by a nervous-but-determined young gentleman named Ollie; he contributed to our conversation about psychology and we then spent the next two hours in his engaging company discussing all manner of intellectual things. It turns out his same-sex parents conceived him from a 'donor' and he'd recently tracked down his 31 - yes, thirty one - siblings. He is also the God son of National British Treasure Stephen Fry.
In a day of us three generally drifting from relaxed situation to relaxed situation, we were quite happy to have spent time with a stranger and had a rewarding time doing so! It also helped that one of the Club's attendees started playing rather well on the Bar's piano: it was quite the idyllic scene, all told! I suspect that the 1 year+ lack of 'external' social contact had a big part to play in us all being damn eager to talk to anybody and everybody!
Eventually, supper called us: a delicious tapas bar half an hour's walk from the Club and zig-zagging through the evening people traffic:
Beer, wine, meat, cheese, octopus, wine, mussels, more cheese and some paprika-ed potatoes for good measure.
Bidding the good gentlemen farewell, I had the solo return journey to the top right-hand corner of Hyde Park to myself; the Fitbit buzzed 10,000 steps half-way but, I fear, the calorific intake of today's Last Huzzah has rather made a joke of any so-called 'exercise'.
- [+] Dice rolls
The slow build-up to a proper British summer continues with hints and promises on the BBC Weather app that it's all going to clear up by the middle of the week (ie. today). A soggy May has kept the lawn happy but confined me and the mutt to multiple visits to Queen's Woods if we want to get a decent step-rate in.
The trees are barely-sufficient (in terms of coverage) but there's enough to keep the worst of a black sky downpour at bay. The drainage channels and streams that criss-cross the forest are bursting their banks - Willy Wonka chocolate river frothing and brown - and the paths are mostly-slurry:
I was mulling over the recording of another monologue but an expected, imminent call from middle son, and just the one topic of conversation nix-ed the idea before I'd gotten the iPhone out of my pocket! That topic? Well, last week - fed up with the lack of commitment from my current employer - I fired off yet another copy of the Boydell CV into the recruitment aether; fully expecting it to vanish into oblivion, I was startled to get almost an immediate call-back! Within 48 hours I'd had a Teams interview and, 48 hours after that I'd been offered the role! No more railways for Uncle Tony - no 75% travel discount - but, instead, something Environment, Food and Rural Affairs-related: swapping my iron horses for some actual cows (maybe?).
The slurping mud and the slopes work up a sweat so I'm wearing my raincoat like a cape to let the air ventilate via my tee-shirt.
Despite it being 'peak time', we saw no sign of the occupants of the twenty or so cars in the North-easterly bay; one man and his dog with all those acres to themselves.
Keeping right (and right, again), Ziggy and I hugged the boundary fences wary of the distant sound of Country Gents' shotgun fire. We diverted toward the Lake, for a bit, but were disappointed by the lack of white and pink lily rafts. With no desire to photograph boring old reeds, we followed the horse track up the long hill to the (now empty) Car Park.
There are still plenty of bluebell glades but they're passed their best already; drooping and rotting, you only get a couple of days when the whole area sparkles like a giant, vegetative sapphire. There ARE other delights: giant, moss-coated trunks tipped onto their sides; deep rabbit holes (thankfully smaller than Ziggy), rusted 1950s fencing wire, gates-to-nowhere and curious, car-sized gouges amid the pine needles.
And, if one is especially lucky; a close encounter with a local resident.
- [+] Dice rolls