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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 What was that beardy bloke going on about?

Archive for Miscellany

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Playing Those Mind Games

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Wow! A Spring cleaning of the shed unearthed a clipping from way back, ie. 10 years ago, when Scandaroon was an exciting 'Coming Soon!' on the SSG web page and we'd yet to get our greedy hands on Agricola;gosh, was there really a time without that masterpiece? 2007 was also the year of the first UK Games Expo, of course.

Anyway, the following bijou article is from the BBC (yes, that BBC) magazine Mind Games: basically, an A4 sized periodical filled with Sudoku, Kakuro and other miscellaneous picture puzzles. They got in touch after a BBC History programme - What Did the Tudor's Ever Do For Us? - thought Coppertwaddle was real medieval card game* (the Internet back then, eh?) and wanted an interview; I had to tell them it was all made up and that I was the game's real (modern day and alive) designer. They thanked me for not stringing them along and asked me if I could recommend any similar games for their readership; they wouldn't let me advertise CT, so I picked the next best thing (to me, at the time):



The magazine, like it's many glossy pages, 'folded' shortly-thereafter.

(BADDOMP-TISH!)



*They were duped by this lot of online horseshit: http://www.surprisedstaregames.co.uk/CopperTwaddle/index.htm
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Today 6:20 am
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Mums, Microdots and Molkky

Anthony Boydell
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Up, bright-and-early, yesterday because the clocks all went forward an hour and there was a big roastie lunch to cook for Mothering Sunday as well (my In-Laws were coming over). I haven't seen my own Ma for a while - we have an awkward relationship but that doesn't mean I don't miss her - so I resolved to nip over to Monmouth for a visit; I stopped off at the Ross-on-Wye Car Boot Sale on the way because they always have an excellent Plant Stall (a local Nursery) and I wanted something to plant in the garden as well as a lovely bunch of daffodils (her favourite) for the table. I also picked up a massive bacon & cheese butty (a ridiculously cheap £2.80 for half a pig and half an udder's worth!) and, because it's a Car Boot, I brevetted the surrounding trestle tables and happened upon this three quid bargain:


Microdot

It is in pristine, possibly never-played, condition with just ONE component missing: the Yellow 'Passport'








It's a roll-and-move (!) with a set collection element...





...but the 'hook' is are the two special card decks that have letters and numbers, respectively, printed in 1 point font on to a dot somewhere in the word Microdot...for which one needs the assistance of a handy magnifying glass!

What a curiosity, indeed!


To round off an excellent afternoon, bellies full of roast pork and veggies, we retired to the newly-mown lawn for the first Molkky of 2017...


...and the first (comfortable, it has to be said) win for Yours Truly!

Spring has well-and-truly sprung.
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Mon Mar 27, 2017 6:20 am
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The Magnificent Severn

Anthony Boydell
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Anyone hanging around the Chepstow end of Wales cannot fail to notice that there are a couple of bloody great big bridges spanning the River Severn:



I have many misty memories of being driven across the the top one of the two (see above) as a child, on our way to see my Uncle and Aunt in Swindon; the newest one I crossed just last Thursday on my way to pal Richard's. These are both road bridges and, up until about 18 months ago, I was under the impression that the railways had tunneled their way under the River and that it had always been thus. However, scouring maps of the railways of the Forest of Dean (including the eye-wateringly scenic Wye Valley Line), I noticed that there was a railway river crossing ABOVE the ground and it was a proper bridge and everything:


The original Severn Bridge Railway Crossing, Opened in 1879.


Now, knowing my love of rediscovering remnants of this golden age in the modern landscape, it won't surprise you to hear that I sought out the location of this noble and statuesque construction. Of course, my background reading informed me that it was almost entirely disappeared:

In 1960 two out-of-control petrol barges in the Severn struck a pier of the Severn Bridge and brought it down, severing the line. After much deliberation the decision was taken to close the line permanently and to demolish the Severn Bridge.

As with other pieces of local-to-me railway architecture, there was barely the blink of an eye between the decision to close and the actual (and, often, entire) removal of it from the face of the Earth! Luckily, while the steelwork and pillars of the main bridge have gone, the massive groundworks to bring the line up to the crossing still remain; so, with a sunny afternoon welcoming my exit from work, I diverted up the river road to Chepstow then Lydney then Purton to walk the site for myself:


Clockwise, from top left: the bank rises to empty air now that the viaduct and bridge are gone; a train toots passed as I walk along the track bed; the real-life platform, choked by brambles; something trolley-like lost in the undergrowth; the track from the side; centre: in it's hey day and a tiny GWR route map; sleepers, piled high and sleeping; yours truly getting another long shot of the line; the tunnel - matches nicely in that central photo; more of the platform; an archive pic of the signal box.


I shall never cease to be delighted by uncovering these treasures of the landscape; they only serve to make me love railways even more. Rest assured, I'll be doing something about this for Snowdonia - after all, anything that I can do to keep the memory alive is a very good thing indeed.
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Fri Mar 24, 2017 6:30 am
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(Not so) Kissing Cousins

Anthony Boydell
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Coming soon from SSG Wargames (basically Surprised Stare Games Ltd with a fancy new themed logo!):

Cousins' War
2 players, 30 minutes.




The Wars of the Roses were fought between the Houses of York and Lancaster for over 3 decades during the 15th century in England. The houses were both branches of the royal family, therefore the Wars were originally known as “The Cousins’ War”. Each player represents one of the houses as they fight battles and gain influence to control England.

Cousins' War is a new game from David J. Mortimer (Twilight Squabble, Pocket Imperium, [microfilms], Flock and Dragon Slayer). Artwork and layout is by the utterly-wonderful Klemens Franz.

Come and pick up your copy at the UK Games Expo (June 2nd-4th, 2017 at the N.E.C, Birmingham)!

Oh, and we'll have a new Snowdonia mini-pack there too!
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Thu Mar 23, 2017 6:25 am
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Two-Face

Anthony Boydell
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Every few months we get another 'monumental' announcement about what Asmodee is doing / wants to do / has just done and the Forums flare, briefly, with pessimism and rage. It's been a year since the OLGS vs FLGS "policy launch" and it's certainly starting to bite; listen, here, to one man's story:



For me, the main point of frustration is Asmodee's unwillingness to talk out the gray areas; a one-side-or-the-other approach NEVER works in the real world. Simply replying to all pleas and pressure with "Sorry, but that's our Policy" is just a smart uniform away from "We're just obeying orders". Patently, the new rules are harming the FLGS's purported to be protected and, yet, all dialog is stifled.

Of course, there ARE exceptions - mentioned in the interview - that make it even more ridiculous ie. if you're big enough, Asmodee will compromise. Is this the real reason for the policy, then? To protect the online bottom line of the major players? Certainly such situations occur; for example, in the U.K., we have had the ghost of a particular piece of tax legislation hanging over the IT contractor market (IR35) since the late 90s when large IT providers (Cap Gemini, EDS etc) lobbied the (then) Labour Government to penalise independent businesses so they could clean up.

What, if anything, is left for the rural FLGS to do but give in and fold?
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Wed Mar 22, 2017 11:58 am
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I CAN'T STAND IT!!!!!

Anthony Boydell
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Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:37 pm
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Can't be arsed.

Anthony Boydell
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See subject.

Actually, it's more that I could be arsed if I could think of something but I feel oddly empty, strangely vacant, unusually blank. Ah, well.
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Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:02 pm
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The Last Post

Anthony Boydell
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I'm not around for any Friday Frolics, I'm afraid; I'm at the funeral of my friend Peter. So, here's something for him and for all of our lost pals:



And now for something completely different (that I know he would have enjoyed):

Spoiler (click to reveal)


Turn it up LOUD!


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Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:35 am
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Doodlebug

Anthony Boydell
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Six scribbles done during a particularly tedious meeting, six game designers:


(remember to use spoiler tags to protect the indifferent)
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Thu Mar 16, 2017 6:25 am
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Just a minute...

Anthony Boydell
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I love this video; I can't keep up with the German soundtrack but it certainly communicates the essentials in it's pocket-sized running time:


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Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:52 am
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