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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Strike a light!

Anthony Boydell
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Yesterday, everyone seemed to have found a reason either not to be in the Bristol office or to have left by 2PM. All my own meetings were done by lunch and - after writing up various minutes and arranging some upcoming workshops - I'd completely crossed-off my 'To Do List' and was eying the maple syrup biscuits hungrily. Despite the overall size of the team reducing, there still seem to be ample occasions for the decanting of cakes, sweet treats and pastries which - for someone like me under a (voluntary) nutritional regime - is a constant temptation: for example, this week a CRM release went in successfully and that resulted in enough Mr Kipling battenberg to sink the flippin' Bismarck. Anyway, the long and the short(bread) of it was that I left early.

Dursley is a market town in the hills between Bristol and Stroud and Gloucester and one I have not previously scoured for charity shop goodness; a quick clicketty-click on Google Streetmaps highlighted a couple of potential goldmines in the form of an Oxfam and a generic local hospice property. The latter was the first I stopped at and, lawks a-mercy, 'twas a veritable Tutankamun's tomb of delicious (and cheap!) treasures. In particular (ignoring the usual armful of railway tomes), my eclectic eye happened upon this 1946 First Edition oddity for just six of our earthly pounds:



I'm not sure that there is anything particularly useful for game designing purposes beyond, maybe, coming up with some games presented in a matchbox (which could be a lot of fun, of course: think Chris Handy's Pack O'Games line); no, indeed, it stands purely as a colourful and curious diversion. And I learned a new word too:

Phillumenism
the hobby of collecting different match-related items: matchboxes, matchbox labels, matchbooks, matchcovers, matchsafes, etc.

Oh and, if you want to turn your stomach a little, try looking up "Phossy Jaw" gulp
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Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:58 am
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Resolution No.9

Anthony Boydell
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After several decades of squabbling, wrangling and general bickery-fuckery, celebrated game designer Marton Willis has sorted it all out with former partner Jim Bahra and despised, cynical publisher Dick Swabbe, (purple) head-honcho at Aquiline-Shite Games. Here is Marton's I wrote this myself freely and absolutely NOT under any duress press statement in full:

Hi Folks,

Good news, Dick and I have made an agreement (and we also made a nice cake). The following is an officially-agreed, gun-to-the-head press release. From my point of view (staring down a barrel), I am now "happy" with Aquiline-Shite Games proceeding with Era of Locomotives.

1) Whatever disputes about Era of Locomotives that may have existed in the past have now been laid to rest in a shallow grave in a remote wood (otherwise it would probably have been me).

2) I will no longer dispute that Aquiline-Shite Games is the proper successor in interest to Aquila Games, the entity I signed a Purchase Agreement with in July, 1988 conveying various ownership rights to Era of Locomotives; Tussle of Kingdoms; and a game to be designed at a later date if I could've been bothered.

3) I have conveyed whatever rights I might have in Era of Locomotives free (as in 'no money' rather than 'without obstruction) and clear (like a handful of mud) to Aquiline-Shite Games.

4) I will not dispute that Aquiline-Shite Games is the sole and exclusive holder and owner of the rights to Tussle of Kingdoms, Locomotive Rich Man (later named Cube-Shunters of the World), and Cube-Shunters of the Isles of Man and Wight (later named Island Cube-Shunters) – games that I donated through gritted teeth in good grace to Aquiline-Shite Games.

5) I also give my permission to Aquiline-Shite Games to use my name in relation to the Era of Locomotives game at ASG's discretion (e.g., on the box cover; on the rules; in advertising and marketing including press releases regarding Era of Locomotives; and specifically in any StartKicker campaign, updates, comments, blame exchanges etc.). I realize that they are under no obligation to use my name on the EOL box or otherwise and that is perfectly okay with my wife me.

6) I will no longer speak or write ill of Aquiline-Shite Games, in public or in private because the oily turds have promised they will come after me with the full force of their morally-bankrupt legal team. I will write no more BGG threads or on any other similar forum negative comments about Aquiline-Shite Games, as I have no basis to continue to do so; though it would give me a well-needed giggle to see someone else call them out for the arseholes they so patently are. ASG has agreed to reciprocate until it suits them. In short, we are both ready to put this behind us and move forward with our respective projects (mine legit, theirs probably stolen).

7) I encourage everyone with an interest in the present Era of Locomotives Prestige campaign running on StartKicker to pledge and support that production and not to feel that some obligation to me prevents them from doing so...especially when the cynical short-changing on the component quality can prevent you from doing so instead.

Yours, absolutely not drenched from a morning's waterboarding,
Marton Willis.
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Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:15 am
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Poe-try

Anthony Boydell
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Once upon a Friday evenin’, while I studied at The Plough Inn,
Over many a quaint and curious Euro rank’d as wunderbar
While I rules-read, nearly dozing, suddenly there came a nosing,
As of some one “Hi? Hello?”-zing, interposing from the bar.
’Tis some customer”, I muttered, “question-posing from the bar? –
juste un client au comptoir


Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate supping member scoffing at our hobby pure.
Eagerly I wished the others; - swiftly come my sisters, brothers!
For this e’en (had I my druthers), smother me in Essen’s spoor –
For the rare and radiant board games muled from Essen Messe’s door –
Stackèd here upon the floor.

And the burping, bold, intruding queries of the barfly’s brooding
Illed me – filled me with a dreadful portent often felt of late;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I sat repeating
Tis some customer entreating at taverns back room’s gate–"
Some old visitor entreating: “’Tis like Monopoly, mate?
We all think Monopoly is great!

Presently, my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly tis nothing like that Hasbro curse;
But, in fact, it’s something finer: I say “God Save Regina!” –
Look! this board game’s own designer’s liner notes are writ in verse
Likened to Monopoly? Nay! You could compare to nothing worse!
"
My lips did purse at Hasbro’s curse.

Then this nosy lout beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By his much-confused demeanor at my reposte to his implore;
Though your pate be shorn and shaven , thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Perhaps polymath or maven? Loitering at the tavern’s door -
Tell me: what’s thy fav’rite hobby for a Night’s board gaming draw?

Quoth this knave one: “Connect Four!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Twenty B&H whose tarry billows flowed in the Fire Door.
*Retch* (I choked), “thy God hath sent thee – in his anger to torment me!
In spite; in spite and present me with an evening of Cee Four?!
Nay, oh nay I must prevent thee and forget this dinosaur!
"
Quoth this brave one: “Connect Four?”

Comrade!” said I, “speak no evil! – comrade still (or man, or devil?!)
By that Heaven that bends above us – by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul - with marrow frozen - if the game that you’re supposing
It can be, perhaps, un-chosen? This, the awful Connect Four?
Browse my hold-all, steadfast yeoman who attends the tavern door!

Quoth the grave one: “Connect Four!

And the punter, ne’er disbanding, still is standing, still is standing
On the tattered patch of carpet just beside the tavern’s door;
And his eyes have set to blinking like a devil that is thinking
Of the chunky discs a-clinking in their plastic armature
And my soul is steeped in shadow as I’m playing Connect Four.
Cursed to play for evermore.

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Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:15 am
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The Party's Over

Anthony Boydell
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Yesterday was Arthur's 11th birthday 'treat' and a party with his school pals. As a Year 6, this occasion is, in all likelihood, the last one of it's kind to grace the Boydell household: next year he'll be in secondary school and will, no doubt, have different requirements. For now, though, Arthur wanted a trip to 'Lunar City' - a bouncy castle to end all bouncy castles:



He, and six pals, removed their shoes and disappeared in to the cavernous hall leaving me and the missus to seek out a coffee; the kids emerged - red faced and puffing - every 10 mins or so, in dribs-and-drabs, to glug down half a pint of chilled water and then return to the fray.


(Arthur scales the obelisk)


For nearly 25 years Mrs B & I have made-and-decorated umpteen cakes, designed and implemented our own themed parties* and wrestled with the booking of village halls, museums, parks, pools, mazes and/or garden-filling inflatables; we've cooked the house's weight in pizza, french fries and chicken nuggets; and, we've made every single card ourselves. That phase of our parental lives is now over, I fear; another stark transition to be simultaneously mourned and celebrated.

Fate added a figurative - and literal! - sprinkle to the sunny-but-windy afternoon by sending a hailstorm and a snow shower which sent the children scurrying into the garden trailing mozzarella and biscuit crumbs; they made slushy snowballs and bounced on the trampoline until soaked and then came in for the lighting of the cake. They played their role perfectly, unaware of the World changing under their feet; indeed, when we sent Arthur upstairs for his Sunday evening bath, I could swear he was already an inch taller.


*Harry Potter (with troll, levitating stuff and real Quidditch; mermaids and a Goblet of Fire); Peter Pan; 1930s murder-mystery and many more
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Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:10 am
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Music For Your Tape Recorder

Anthony Boydell
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Good therapy uses music and - apart from the reliable cast of Miles Davis', Talk Talks' and Vaughan-Williams' - two new-to-my-collection albums have been massaging my lobes in to a near-trance. For the longest time, it has been awkward - frowned upon, even - to listen to music while in the office; this is because I've almost exclusively been in the office with the customer these last umpteen years and it's 'unprofessional', apparently. My latest role has the project team co-located in their own 'supplier bunker' 300m from the customers' building so it's not unusual to see row-upon-row of contractors plugged in to bulky headphones like Borg drones plugged in to the collective!

Anyway, moving on from Star Trek allusions (the new series IS rather splendid, isn't it?), the first of the brace of audio treasures is:

#1 Record by Big Star

Quite how a bona fide, long-term, card-carrying 'Q Magazine', 'Mojo' and 'The Word' reader could've completely let Alex Chilton’s rocky pop pass him by shall forever remain a mystery. It matters not because I've caught up at last: addictively-melodic and hippy-esque - what you'd get by crossing Dirty Harry with The Monkees?!

Secondly, the follow-up to 'Out of Season' (with Portishead's Beth Gibbons) - one of my top 20 albums of all time:

Drift Code by Rustin' Man

David Bowie meets Robert Wyatt meets that bloke who sings Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet for 40 minutes of lush, intricate musical poetry; with the iPhone on {REPEAT}, this swelling and grinding soundscape fluffs up my brain like it was a big eiderdown-stuffed pillow - gorgeous and exhausting.

Supplementary recommendations include Eno's Music for Airports, Dazzleships from OMD, Fluid Rustle by Eberhard Weber and any quality version of Verdi's Requiem.

You owe it to yourself to get some aural stimulation.
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Wed Mar 6, 2019 6:15 am
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The Fire's Gone Out.

Anthony Boydell
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Psychosomatic, addict, insane.
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Mon Mar 4, 2019 12:57 pm
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The Mark, Over-Stepped? (3/3)

Anthony Boydell
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(last one I promise)

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Thu Feb 28, 2019 6:07 am
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The Mark, Over-Stepped? (2/3)

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Wed Feb 27, 2019 6:20 am
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The Mark, Over-Stepped? (1/3)

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:16 pm
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I Believe In You.

Anthony Boydell
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Sixty four is no age to die in this new millennium and what’s more it’s wholly unjust that it should happen to Mark Hollis.

Formerly of the astounding Talk Talk and, for just one album and one track for TV, a solo artist, Mark Hollis quickly shook off the New Romantic/New Wave blinkers thrust upon him by the music business and forged his own sweet, SWEET path through the spaces between the notes. The eponymous debut album is rompy 80s synth-pop but from the second something else begins to emerge: patience. Each album (It's My Life, The Colour of Spring, Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock) sails further away from beats-and-hooks and becomes wash-over-you lush. Spirit of Eden is my favourite album of all-time: above, even, The Hounds of Love, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Swordfishtrombones and Kind of Blue. It is utterly perfect, soul-searingly transcendent; it is beautiful to the point of weeping. I shall be listening to it on my way to work today and, yes, I shall weep a little; I guess that I'd always hoped he might get it together and give us another 45 minutes of golden ear-honey? Not to worry as his catalog will more than do for the rest of my own life.

Rest.

In.

Peace.
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Mon Feb 25, 2019 8:29 pm
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