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

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The Art of Farming

Anthony Boydell
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I'm loving this idea of the (current) BoardGameGeek Artist Series (https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1829941/boardgamegeek-a...) where the box art for classic games is re-imagined by new artists. First up was Blood Rage followed, a week later, by this wonderful piece for Agricola:


(Jacqui Davis - https://jacqui-davis.squarespace.com/)


Luscious and lovely, I shall certainly be putting an order in for one of these; but, in my travels I have come across other pieces / styles that I think would make equally-scrumptious re-skins:





(Pisarro)



(Pieter Bruegel)


Though, frankly, another Bruegel sort-of sums up a lot of peoples' Agricolean experiences:



The Triumph of Death


But, in the final reckoning, I think this last piece - by a favourite artist of me and Mrs B - is the one _I_ would choose:



(Jo March - https://www.facebook.com/JoMarchArt/)

Gorgeous!
Gorgeous!
Gorgeous!


Of course there will always be a special place in my gamer heart for Klemens' original:


Did I ever mention that I f*cking LOVE this game?
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Training Day

Anthony Boydell
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It wouldn't a Yorkshire holiday without my traditional 'Rail Trail' walk and, once more, a grey-but-dry morning dawned in readiness. I have often threatened - as the teenager grumbling has increased over the years - that I'd be quite happy "to do the walk on my own" but there was no need for the Solo variant on Friday as I was ably supported by a party of six others!


The red line, black dotted route




We took our time, wandering along-and-around the cinder path and skimming stones underneath the stout remains of the bridges; there was no particular hurry as I was aiming for the 1330 Pickering departure and so we had hot drinks and cakes in the Grosmont School café. We had a diesel for the down trip and a couple of steamers on the way back so 50% of the journey was smuts-free, at least. The others played Shithead and Dobble while Arthur and I hung out of the window, grinning from ear-to-ear.



Choo-choo! huffettypuffettyhuffettypuffettyhuffettypuffettyhuffettypuffettyhuffettypuffettyhuffettypuffettyhuffettypuffettyhuffettypuffetty
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Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:00 am
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Bridestones Revisited

Anthony Boydell
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We promised everyone a lie-in yesterday morning, followed by a colossal fry-up brunch...only they took the mick a bit and peeps were still emerging from their hibernations around 11AM: good God but the best part of the day was escaping us! I used the opportunity to finish off my second book of the holiday (Nod by Adrian Barnes) and sip a massive mug of coffee on the patio in the baking mid-morning sunshine listening to the steam train in the distance (that's Friday's - today's - singular joy!).

Eventually, though, we were off in to Dalby Forest to seek out a favourite walk combined with some fabulous climbing opportunities: the Bridestones, weather-worn and -beaten fat fingers of rock thrusting from the thick bracken sea:






Ziggy had a whale of a time scampering up-and-down the 'big rocks'...as did the rest of us, of course!


There was a minor drama on the final leg of the walk - knee-deep in grass by an iron-rusted stream - when Ziggy the dog disappeared with a "Yelp!" for five anxious minutes; no response to our calls and whistles, the party grew quickly-and-genuinely worried for the pup's safety. He then emerged, scampering down a muddy bank, panting in the heat with blood dripping from his cut tongue: oh, but the fuss that followed! He was alright, though, and we calmed the group down with cold drinks and ice-creams at the Dalby Forest Visitor Centre. A minor drama in a major panorama.
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Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:00 am
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Forbidden Pleasures

Anthony Boydell
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Every holiday has its signature day and, this year, it was a visit to The Forbidden Corner. By advanced booking only, entrance to this wonderland of mazes, follies, dead-ends, gardens, tunnels and curious architectural artifacts is a two hour drive from our Whitby-proximal lodgings and the journey traverses sweeping moors, gold-and-green valleys and the plummeting steep of Sutton Bank: its a delightful pastime just to travel there.

Once you're parked up - and have passed through the genome scrutiny and codeword verification system - you set off on your bemused trek through the grounds:


The green man points the way; a welcoming poem and in to the monkey's mouth!


You can spend a good three hours losing yourself in this piece of eccentric, three-dimensional nonsense and that's exactly what we all did: wandering together, then getting split up and losing each other and, finally, bumping in to each other in Caliban's grotto. Or at The Rat's Underground Schoolhouse. Or in the haunted mausoleum. Or getting drenched in the stepping stone waterspout. Or any number of other splendidly-bonkers Alice-in-Wonderlandesque scenes!


Bears cheatin', boars and our pals, the Warners, sent in to a fountain trap!



(cue: "That's a big chopper etc" gags)



An attractively-painted statue and, well, "Ooops!" #caughtintheact #enterthedoghouse



Underground...



The Frog Fountain


Despite having failed to find all the (quest) brasses that needed a-rubbin', we congregated in the gift shop for obligatory souvenir purchasing and then a snoozy return.

Bliss.
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Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:35 am
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It were wetter than a dolphin's armpit

Anthony Boydell
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2000 acres of sky.


Monday was a day of wide vistas, blustering beauty and a boiling sunset.


It was all much more red than the iPhone could discern


As the traditional saying goes: "Red sky at night is a shepherd's delight.." which, basically, means the next day will be sunny and bright...only this particular Yorkshire Tuesday made a liar of centuries of Old Wives and greeted us grey and sodden. No matter; Arthur and I, the only ones up-and-about circa 8AM, made good use of the time to get some 2-player Kingdomino in - we played the 7x7 rules and I was pipped by just 4 points by an increasingly-adept youngest lad. Kingdomino is proving to be a proper hit with everyone in the holiday house (there are 14 of us in all) and is pretty much only off the dining table when the meals are on! All this tabletoppin' is beginning to piss the dog off; Ziggy wanders forlornly from person-to-person seeking tickles (and wants his balls thrown) only to find us all busy. His previously 'cute' face now seems to have taken on a more sinister edge:


Soon..! #ziggpocalypse


The group split up and shuttled to Whitby; Arthur and I were on a mission to hunt down Transformers and secondhand books - he managed BOTH in the form of a Decepticon figure AND 6 consecutive issues of Marvel's Transformers comic from 1986. Me? I found a couple of steak-and-gravy pies and a badly-illustrated DC Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series (which I put back on the shelf for someone else to be also disappointed by). All the while, the sky steadily wept fat raindrops on us until chilly rivulets started seeping through to the insides of our coats! We bedraggled home for hot tea and an afternoon snooze.

Later, while the kitchen buzzed with bodies preparing a Latin American Dances Pun Supper ('Cha-cha-charred' chicken with salsa, merenges and cream for dessert - no rumba-bahs, though etc), some of us managed to sneak Scythe on to the table: Ian (fellow 'adult'), Adam (Ian's eldest) and Arthur (my youngest) all given the rules run-down (a refresher for the latter) and we were away.


Tahm t'build t'mech, lad (etc)


Much coaching and coaxing was required to maintain momentum (and enthusiasm) as the scrummy smells of chilli begin clouding from the cooker; add two more Scythe fans to the list, though, and Arthur was well-pleased to be playing the Togana Shogunate (purple)...though he got a bit over-fixated on stealing The Factory from Adam (which he did, before the end).

A visit to The Mallyan pub (by all of us 'olds') rounded the soggy day off nicely enough; having survived the torrent, there was no way being told to 'keep the noise down' by a posse of sour-faced locals watching the satellite coverage of Man Utd vs Real Madrid would dampen our spirits. We laughed loudly and bollocks to the football.
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Wed Aug 9, 2017 6:30 am
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You'd all better share the heck out of THIS post - unbelievable prizes await! No, SERIOUSLY!

Anthony Boydell
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Ok - read this on Matt Leacock's blog:

http://www.leacock.com/blog/2017/8/7/gamechangers

In case you missed it (these are HIS words):

If you do pledge, leave a comment below and let me know, because on Tuesday, August 15th at 12:00 noon PDT, I’ll randomly select one of the commenters who has made a donation to the program (however large) and send them a personalized care package. It might include…

a new, never-before seen prototype role card for Pandemic with your name on it
or a game
or a lenticular Forbidden Island postcard
or a special, hand-made “Box 9” for Pandemic Legacy Season 2 that only YOU will ever know the contents of
or all of the above … who knows?

Whatever it is, it’ll be a surprise and I’ll ship it anywhere in the world if you win.


Now...will you donate?

I thought so!
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Tue Aug 8, 2017 8:53 pm
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The Pillars of the Esk

Anthony Boydell
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It is now an established holiday tradition that, on any given Sunday morning, Arthur and I will scoot off for a couple of hours to find a local Car Boot Sale. Given the popularity of coastal Yorkshire at this time of year, it's no surprise there's a LOT of them going on! Our particular favourite is hosted at the sniggerworthy "Cross Butts Farm" and is just big enough to be a pleasant plod. There was no El Dorado of secondhand Transformers (like last year) BUT there were several happy finds amongst the chipped china, the rusted garden tools and the half-a-million Wrestlemania action figures:




I almost succumbed to handing over £20 for a copy of this:


From the 1930s, it's a sort-of much-more-detailed Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective case.
The pack contained letters, transcripts, envelopes containing forensic SoC pics, tickets, stamps, torn photographs and other tactile evidence. Joyously macabre!


I was saved at the last minute (I was reaching for my wallet) by a collector who asked "How much for the lot?" (there were three) and bit the vendor's hand off at the offered £50.

On the way back, I detoured in search of a train-related monument I knew to be near by: the Larpool Viaduct:



(from Wikipedia) The viaduct was constructed for the Scarborough and Whitby Railway to carry a single track line over the River Esk. Due to its situation close to the sea the design avoided the use of iron, using brick and cement construction. Construction began in October 1882; two men fell from the piers during construction, but recovered. (It is) a 13 arch structure, 305 yd (279 m) long, with the rail level reaching 120 ft (37 m) high. The foundations on land were excavated to the level of rock, and formed from slag based cement. The river foundations were excavated in brick lined wells. Piers 5,7,8 and 9 had triple foundations, connected above the water level by two semicircular arches. Three of the piers in the river are skewed so as not to deflect the tidal flow (the River Esk is tidal as far as Ruswarp upstream).


An impressive shadow (left) and the beached boat (right) is on the site of an old Gas Works.


Eventually, mid-morning hot and high up - vertigo (on my part) and the need for an ice-cream (Arthur's part) snapped us back to reality and we made our way back to the house via a village shop. All this and it wasn't even midday yet!
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Mon Aug 7, 2017 6:20 am
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Five Go To Boggle Hole

Anthony Boydell
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A Sentimental Seaside Sunday Snippet


Boggle Hole is a small inlet around the headland from Yorkshire's more famous Robin Hoods Bay; when the tide is fully out, one has plenty of time to walk between the two, should one choose. Robin Hoods Bay has pubs and shops and craft exhibitions and holiday cottages and cafés and a cinder (cycle) path that follows the track bed of the Scarborough & Whitby railway (see below). Boggle Hole just has a Youth Hostel which, if one takes a closer look in the nooks and crannies of the tea room, is generously-supplied with games: decks of cards, copies of 'the usual' (Cluedo etc) and - burrowing a little deeper amongst the secondhand paperbacks - Settlers of Catan, Qwirkle and a copy of 7 Wonders too - an unexpected gamer sanctuary!



Clockwise,from top-left: The Youth Hostel; a strawberry of the sea; the whole Hole; and, paddling against the incoming tide.


However, the main business of the afternoon was a hearty menu of paddling and fossil hunting; the Whitby Tide Times Twitter account informed me that there was a good couple of hours of splishing and splashing to be had yet but, of course, that was fine for a long, wide beach like what they have in Whitby (6 miles up the coast); here, in the thin and tiny coves, the water is directed more swiftly and an hour in I noticed (see piccy) that our exit point - a cliff corner - was now awash. We were in swift danger of being cut-off, so I bellowed back down the beach and windmilled my arms frantically until everyone had got a bloody move on! Several who had chosen not to wear shorts found themselves knee-deep and soaked, wading across the short 10 yards to safety.

Panic over, we repaired to the Youth Hostel for pizza and chips and fizzy pop, giggling about our little adventure and, in some cases, sitting in a cloud of their own trouser steam. What larks!


To finish: a corking, if slightly melancholy, railway treat.
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Sun Aug 6, 2017 9:02 am
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wISShing upon a star

Anthony Boydell
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No more working, just time to relax; as the long traveling day ended, sunsettingwarm, the rope swing - having waited patiently all year for us - was, once again, put to most excellent use:



As per usual, I have selected a number of cardboard distractions to tempt guests' attention; almost all with 'fun' and 'accessibility' in mind, only the one (obvious) selfish pick:



Stuffed to garlic-flavoured burping with spaghetti bolognese, we were alerted - by Mrs B's trilling phone - of an imminent International Space Station fly-over; young and old scampered, barefoot, in to the cool blue dusky garden and there it was!



With the young 'uns a-bed, some of us olds saw through to the thick edge of 1AM with generous Gin & Tonics and an eclectic mix of acoustic songs from my iPhone library. My feet have been put - most emphatically - up.
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Sat Aug 5, 2017 8:48 am
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Karma is a bitch, eh?

Anthony Boydell
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Mon Jul 31, 2017 7:56 pm
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