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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Pob beth da

Anthony Boydell
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I always joked that working for the Welsh Government was, when escaping the moribund clutches of Merthyr Tydfil or Cardiff, like a holiday: the Vale of Neath, Cardigan Bay, Snowdonia, Anglesey and Colwyn Bay to name but-a-few.

During my time as chief BA, and over-emotional smart-alec, I visited mountains, passes, viaducts, aquaducts, canals, heritage railways, beaches, bridges and castles; even the odd 'curiously-named village' failed to escape my attention. I've eaten supermarket sandwiches overlooking a black lake, gasped at resplendent valleys and sweated my way up to hilltop obelisk. I went to the cinema, the theatre and the end of a couple Victorian piers. I have stayed there in snowy January and sweltering August and every month else and it has had something soul-warming to offer every time.

And, of course, I played so many board games in a golf club, in pubs and restaurants, and in people's homes. Sooooo many with so many excellent people!

Now that that chapter in my working life has ended, so too has that outstanding fringe benefit. How marvellous, then, that this Summer we'd elected to spend our family holiday in this astounding environment - just one last literal and figurative throw of a North Wales' die! We rented a cottage in the middle of the hills and spent the fortnight on beaches, in forests, amongst the rubbled-ruins of castles and - finally - reaching the summit of the most important mountain in my life.

You have followed me on this adventure throughout and - hopefully - enjoyed it vicariously; I'm not sure that the daily commute to Bristol is going to offer anything near as remarkable but - hey - there are plenty of ways of getting up and down there so we'll wait and see!

Diolch, indeed.
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Today 8:17 am
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He marched them up to the top of the hill...

Anthony Boydell
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We congregated at the Snowdon Mountain Railway station (Llanberis) though, of course, we would not be availing ourselves of it's steam driven delights this time.



Setting off on the path - all unknowing of what was to come.



Right: this is the official start...after a thigh-weakening uphill road climb #alreadytired



The map of our route!


From the sunshine in to the clouds!





Eerily silent near Clogwyn.






You saw the main summit pics yesterday...



Here we all are IN the cafe at the top: hot pies, sugary drinks and steaming the mist off of our coats.


...now we're making our way back down:






Trains! Yes, there were TRAINS!!!



THE Moel Siabod!



"Yeti" (apparently)




And, finally, a majestic closing shot:


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Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:45 am
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But soft?

Anthony Boydell
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Yesterday we went to a ruined castle*.

It was ace.

The original layout is utterly perfect for my re-engineering of The Black Overcoat Game.

Did I say it was ace? Because it was!












But soft, what light from yonder window breaks?
It is the East and Juliet is the su-

Er, no; hang on...
it’s just a cock-and-balls.
Oh.
#shakespearewouldloveit #statelygraffiti #hedgehogcastle

http://gwrychtrust.co.uk/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwrych_Castle


*early 19th century castle-style home aka a monstrous, elaborate and wonderful fairy-tale folly
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Mon Aug 13, 2018 6:50 am
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The WTF?-le Brothers

Anthony Boydell
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To me, to you...to WHERE?!


Still no news on Fraser, Gordon and their magnum opus* of Aardmanian proportions and we're fast approaching what will be the third Essen Spiel without the Lamont bros. With the rate the Spiel is expanding - almost in proportion with the Fragor Games' game boxes themselves - they'd be hard pushed to find a space in Duisberg let alone Essen itself...unless that ENORMOUS new Messe frontage is being custom-built for the display copy?

As someone who blog-blurts out any piece of news at the drop of a hat (because I get so excited I just can't help myself**), it feels an oddly self-eviscerating move to go for nigh-on two years without a single peep, press release or micro-update; there's no game entry in the BGG DB and it was 2015 that their website last got a refresh! A loyal following they have, for sure, but are they enough to power a Kickstarter campaign to splendid fruition? Is the (Oscar winning) Wallace & Gromit license strong enough to attract an international crowd in sufficient quantity?

In short, where the Grand Day Out-ing, Wrong Trouser-ed, Closely-Shaved, Matter of Loaf and Death fuck are they?! The silence (like that mountain from A Game of Gnomes) is crushing!

*almost EVERYTHING is 'magnum' from the boys TBH
**in hobbygame circles, this is known as 'Premature e-Circulation'
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Thu Aug 9, 2018 6:35 am
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That's no moon..?!

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More Legotimes with youngest 'un:




I have a sneaking suspicion as to how this is all going to end...
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Sat Aug 4, 2018 6:30 am
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"I don't care how hard it is, I want to learn how to play it."

Anthony Boydell
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I'm afraid that I'm asking for your money again and, again, it's for my favourite of favorite causes (one spelling for us, one for my US pals): the gaming kids of Uganda. Ben Parkinson is taking the insatiable curiosity and fearlessness of the children one step further by challenging them with heavier weight games; if this works, then expect some full-blown 18XX in 2019!

From the campaign page:
"We already knew they loved to play boardgames, as they were members of our remote village clubs, that we have been implementing over the last year or so, but they surprised us with their desire to learn more and new games. Cinderella, one of the younger girls, who lives in a very remote place in Omoro District, especially challenged us. We had a competition for the game Dragon and Flagon, one of the more complicated games and our youth team initially tried to dissuade her from playing but her response was "I don't care how hard it is, I want to learn how to play it." And she duly did."



"The Uganda Village Boardgame Bootcamp is a long weekend for young people, who want to learn more challenging boardgames and some of whom have proved themsleves to be interested to create social change. It will be a small group of around 24-30 children, aged 11-14, whom we will teach seven different boardgames..."

Those games are:
Terraforming Mars
Signorie
Spirits of the Rice Paddy
Tikal
Mombasa
DRCongo and
"Something Co-Op"

The last item needs a bit of input from you peeps so here's a poll!

Poll
What co-operative board game should the kids play?
SOL?
Pandemic?
      169 answers
Poll created by tonyboydell


If you voted then I'd very much appreciate you slipping them a couple of pounds towards their £500 target; no pressure, obviously, just a little fizziness of delight in your gaming soul in return!



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Fri Aug 3, 2018 6:20 am
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"The Postman's been!" she said.

Anthony Boydell
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And left me one of these:


As my most-excellent gaming pal Ulrich Blennemann would exclaim:
"You bloody bastards!"
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Wed Aug 1, 2018 6:20 am
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Ex-po?

Anthony Boydell
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Been musing this morning - in between mugs of free coffee and Outlook Calendar notifications - about the splendid UK Games Expo and how, next year (and forever after), we - Surprised Stare Games Ltd - may decline to attend. I'm not saying we've decided anything BUT I don't get that excited wibble in my tummy when thinking about it.



Why? Well, here's the thing(s):

1. It's really expensive to stay in the area - yes there are places around-and-about but its a real fag having to commute around a draining day's work.

2. The market for our oeuvre is a relatively small part of the overall Expo attendance. Sunday was absolutely DEAD for sales this year soblue

3. Unless we are launching something brand, spanky new (and not always then), the returns barely cover the costs of attending.

4. The Bring and Buy is overwhelming - I shudder just thinking about it!

5. There's no room to play games at the Hilton if you're an exhibitor because by the time you've made it out of the Halls, all of the tables are taken.

6. The 'awards' are a little 'corporate'.

7. I'd much rather spend the weekend wandering about with Mrs B and Arthur than hoping for someone to stop by for a demo of something.

Oh, I don't know; maybe it's the change in the weather?

Whenever I think of Spiel, I get a 'semi' on; whenever I think of the Expo, I feel sad.
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Tue Jul 31, 2018 12:52 pm
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Aaaaaaaaaaaand rest!

Anthony Boydell
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Me and Mrs B were watching a BBC iPlayer episode of Who Do You Think You Are with gender-bending, 1980s pop sensation and renowned heroin addict Boy George. Well, she was watching it while I was relentlessly-refreshing the Snowdonia: Deluxe Master Set Kickstarter page to see if we'd break the $450,000 milestone. We didn't quite make it - or the 1000% of funding target goal - but we came DAMN CLOSE and (I hope) we'll edge closer/over it when the Pledge Manager goes live in September. My audible sigh of relief, when the status changed, made Mrs B miss a spoken comment and we had to send iPlayer back 15 seconds to catch it properly.

Naturally, my emotions are a bit all over the place at the moment; it's been quite the ride over the last 3 weeks. The campaign - planned and executed by the biggest, most bear-like individuals (NSKN) I have ever had the pleasure to meet - has been exemplary: quite the best KS campaign I've had the pleasure to follow. The wit and quality of the promotional videos, the delightful thematic side-arms of translated-to-the-Welsh phrases and Wales-themed recipes and that wonderfully-breadcrumbed trail of brilliant stretch goals...

just WOW!

Let me try a summarise exactly what one would get for one's $100 (£75) incl. P&P:
the game
ALL of the published scenarios
Five NEW scenarios
Custom meeples with double-sided printing on
Custom -eeples for Daffodils, Water, Dynamite, Oxygen, Goats and an Abominable Snowman
A double-sided board big enough to lay the cards on too
A new Automa solo variant
EVERY promo card I ever designed/donated for the game - EVERY SINGLE ONE!
NEW promos from TWELVE designers!
NEW promos from TWELVE players!!
Custom wooden markers for the Excavation (shovel and axe) and Track work rates
Custom insert in a double-sized box
New box art

And over four-and-a-half thousand pledgers have come aboard according to the campaign, but it's actually more because of the hundreds and hundreds of group buy participants.

We even made the Welsh news:


What the actual strawberry-flavoured, gluten free, low-calorie FUCK?!

The adrenalin is slowly ebbing but the work goes ever onward: I've already had a design conversation with Dávid Turczi about the automa, the Malta Railway is being play-tested and the competition winners (12 of them) are finalising their designs with me on the Geeklist (https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/243738/snowdonia-desi...).

I've never been so happy to be so busy in my life: bring it on, my friends!
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Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:47 am
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#gamerbehindthegame 2

Anthony Boydell
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#gamerbehindthegames

Hi everyone! My name is Shooi O'Foot and I love board games. I don't belong to a games club - at least for very long anyways - coz people get really hung up about the way I look. I know it's silly but folks can't cope with my weird hats!

My favourite games are Lewis & Clarkes, Ganz Scholl Clever, Bunion Pacific, Felix: The Cat In The Sock, Pummicestone, HalLuxor and Toe-ra-jamming Mars.

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Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:25 am
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