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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

Archive for Miscellany

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Are you sitting comfortably..?

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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...then we'll begin. Yesterday, on our usual Newentian plod, I discovered the following book:


Cheerful, I know.



A nicely-inventoried catalogue of utter horror and woe.


Ever so pleased with it, and because I'd also promised the kids (to get them out of the house and walking around for a bit), we went for a deluxe drink and cake at The Good News Centre. Sat in the sunny garden area, I leafed through and came across this chapter (sweet Moses in his raspberry-flavoured basket coz it uses phrases like "the greatest slaughter in the history of Britain's railways" and "The lucky ones were killed outright"):











Have a lovely rest-of-the-day, now...
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Sun Jun 25, 2017 6:20 am
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Love is...

Anthony Boydell
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While I'm on a bit of a nostalgic bender, does anyone remember this saccharine shit from (particularly) the 1970s and 1980s?



Well, as stomach-churning as this is, it gives me an idea for some blog commentary fun: what would be equivalent 'frames' for gamers?

Here's a few to start us off:

Gamer Love is...never having to play your Sorry!

Gamer Love is...only taking Start Player in Agricola when you have a Minor Improvement to play too

Gamer Love is...helping to pack the game away when done

Gamer Love is...indie fayre (sounds like 'in the air'...)

Gamer Love is...reading the rules for a new game before the session

Gamer Love is...a many Splendor-ed thing

Gamer Love is...like oxygen: you get too much you get too high, not enough and you're gonna die (ie. you'll probably end up asphyxiated for being a dick)

Gamer Love is...the drug I'm thinking of

Fancy joining in (so to speak)?
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Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:02 am
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Two Pools

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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My landlady during the first couple of years doing my Computer Studies degree at Liverpool Polytechnic (now the John Moore's University) used to have a saying that she'd roll out on the first sunny day of the year: "Cast ne'er a clout til May is out". 'Clout' is not, as one might expect, a reference to a swift clip around the ear or a slap in the chops BUT to clothing: in short, it means "Don't swap your Winter clothes for Summer clothes too early". Forever heeding this wise maxim - after trolling around Wallasey in shorts and tee-shirt in May, 1987 only to come down with a heavy cold - this Boydell has forbidden the other Boydell's from assembling the family-sized swimming pool until at least June and the thermometer hits at least 25 degrees twice. Fortunately, for our baking offspring, the last week or so has sunned and sizzled the British Isles in to it's usual moaning submission (its always either too wet, too hot or too cold) and parental permission was duly granted:





Fully-assembled, the pool's designated position was swept for pointy stones and laid with carpet remnants; the pumps and filters dusted off and test-run; hose-pipes and chlorine dispensers stood ready and a new toy for 2017 ordered from the Internet (a giant, inflatable X-Wing fighter and a visor/snorkel combo for Arthur). Fast forward 24 hours and the rubber heating panels have warmed the water to a comfortable 24 degrees and we're open for business. Yesterday, after a sweaty day of User Stories and bugfix testing, I - myself - took the opportunity for a good soak; almost (but not quite) a TV comical image of "man running through house - stripping off as he goes - to plunge, headfirst, in to the Blessed cooling blue". As the sun set behind the hills - and we air-dried in the shade of the shed watching the waterboatmen fighting in the pond - Mrs B brought out a couple of generously-dosed G&Ts and the (start of the) Summer bliss was complete.

Now, if we could only play Molkky underwater?!

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Wed Jun 21, 2017 9:49 am
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Cant Stop

Anthony Boydell
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The 1970s are a misty room in my memory but one filled, still, with the echoes of jokes and songs. Whether it was the twinkling Vernon Elliot ditties accompanying Postgate & Firmin's Smallfilms, the bright pop of Top of the Pops or - above & below - the playfulness of BBC TV's Play Away, we were all short trousers and scuffed knee-caps while our parents papered the walls with orange/brown concentric circle patterns and served up 'posh' prawn cocktails and sherry trifle.

Yesterday, because that's the way Time Passing and Old Age works, one of those warm, fuzzy characters passed away: Mr Brian Cant. If you're British - and over 40 - then I shall need say no more and, like me, you will no doubt be feeling the sadness of losing an honorary grandparent. Play Away, figurehead-ed by the genial Mr C, was a variety show for us children; a Saturday evening - right after the Football Pools Results and before Doctor Who - distraction we could curl up and giggle along too. It was a simple joy.

When I started at Secondary School, we had a geography teacher called Brian Cant: "No, I am not the famous one...though I'd quite like to have his wage packet." he quipped. He tried to tell us lots of jokes, though, in those first few academic years but he just didn't have the timing.

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Tue Jun 20, 2017 6:20 am
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The Burrowers

Anthony Boydell
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Arthur had a Cub Scouts thing on Saturday afternoon so, in the midst of swelteringly-wonderful sunshine, we nipped in to the Forest of Dean - and the village of Parkend (one terminus for the Dean Forest Heritage Railway) - so he could lark about in the Lake, there, for a couple of hours. Rather than trundle 30 mins back again only to have just enough time for a cup of tea, I remembered my recent Tidenham / Wye Valley Railway micro-adventure and set off in search of another abandoned railway tunnel known to be somewhere in the immediate vicinity:

The Moseley Green Tunnel
(from the Forgotten Relics of an Enterprising Age website: http://www.forgottenrelics.co.uk/tunnels/) The Severn & Wye Railway was authorised by an Act of Parliament in 1809 and opened the following year as a horse-drawn tramway. In 1865, five locomotives were bought and the route was largely converted to broad gauge in 1868-9. Standard gauge arrived in 1872.

That year, a Mineral Loop was added to avoid the need for reversing movements at Cinderford. The section between New Fancy Colliery and Pillowell Siding incorporated a 503-yard single track tunnel at Moseley Green - masonry lined throughout with substantial masonry portals. It benefited from three ventilation shafts, one of which is now capped.

The tunnel was requisitioned as an ammunition store between April 1942 and December 1943 before completely closing to traffic on 13th March 1951. In the Seventies, a short section of the tunnel near its centre was strengthened with rail and timber bracing to help it withstand the forces from traffic passing on the road above. This has though been recently fire-damaged so its effectiveness might have been somewhat compromised.


I knew roughly where it should be so I parked on the verge and ventured off in to the woods; within a couple of minutes I'd spotted the top of a ventilation shaft (below left). What looked like a fenced off ditch from a distance turned out to be much more; stone steps in the leaves (below middle) joined stone steps cut in to the buttress of the Moseley Green Tunnel itself (below right):



As per, the tunnel itself was blocked up, and its interior inaccessible, but there were a couple of 'outbuildings' to explore: a track controller's shed and a bunker. The ground was littered with stones fallen from the trackside wall, oily water and the obligatory lager cans. I dream of finding some genuine railwayman's relic on these sojourns but - unless a Forester's great-great grandpa was a chugger of Stella Artois - it was not to be.



Away from the entrance, and off in to the forest, the track bed horizoned in to dense folliage with a tall wall on it's left and a shallow platform edge to the right; I walked it for a while until it became just fat-trunked trees.



A quick nod of appreciation and a scamper back up the steps to the waiting, now baking, Touran. There are plenty more of these dark-throated sentinels around-and-about, so I think I may see how many I can discover over the Summer. I will, of course, keep you posted.
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Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:20 am
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I bless the games down in Africa

Anthony Boydell
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As a coda to my recent enthusiastic outpourings re: May's gaming convention in Uganda, here's a splendid interview with the children who organised it by Ben Maddox at The Perfect Information Podcast:



http://traffic.libsyn.com/perfectinformation/Interview_with_...


It's tremendous and life-affirming and optimistic and I think some of us need to find a way to get stuff (and ourselves?) out there:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1795111/help-us-send-ga...

It just fills my heart with absolute Joy.
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Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:05 am
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Charity ends up at Home

Anthony Boydell
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Me and Arthur wandered in to town for sweets and browsing at the weekend and came home with some cool stuff:



Total cost: £12

I thank you; now, go about your business.
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Mon Jun 12, 2017 6:10 am
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Love on a Branch Line

Anthony Boydell
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Are you a fan of Snowdonia?

Would you like an online resource that brings all of the information about scenarios, promos, spin-offs and other sundry snippets together?

Would you, as a voracious completist, like to take a reality punch to your figurative tits and see exactly how many goodies you will never be able to get your hands on?

Then why not visit Snowdonia Central:




https://www.snowdoniacentral.co.uk/

A comprehensive (and, I won't deny it, hypnotic) home for all of the above, and more, from Giles Bennett.

Pop on over and have a browse!


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Sat Jun 10, 2017 9:43 am
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Ein numerischer Zufall

Anthony Boydell
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This is blog post no. 1967 which, coincidentally, is also the year in which I was born.


(Actual footage from the time)

Hey-ho.
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Thu Jun 8, 2017 6:35 am
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More than ever...

Anthony Boydell
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It was one Hell of a great weekend at the Expo and the organisers did an astonishing job: third biggest Con in the World, by numbers?! Wow!!! Unfortunately, however, the adrenaline-high of the Expo was always going to be followed by a pre-known, pre-scheduled and pre-dreaded week of anxiety and fear; the family has been under a huge weight these last 18 months and this is the week it all comes to a head. Please hold us in your thoughts and/or prayers for just a moment, if you would. Love from the Boydells.

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Tue Jun 6, 2017 6:35 am
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