I saw it, I bought it and - sat in the cool breeze of a Summer PM - I read it:
Well, actually I read the bits I was proper interested in (auction games, Cluedo in-depth strategy, role-playing and the war games bits for Risk, Diplomacy and Kingmaker) and ignored the rest (the huge treatise on 'Noppers - orange is best, yes (I already knew that) - the backgammon/parcheesi rant etc).
It's rather befuddling that
a) this does quite a commendable job of deep-diving in to the side of games we'd normally have assumed were ignored this many years ago, and
b) it's actually a reprint but with the Playboy marque - pour quoi?! I suppose it's the image of the successful gambler...
I should really scan the WHOLE Kingmaker section and post it to Mr Alan Paull, seeing as he is doing a 21st century makeover of all things KM for our mutual pals Gibsons.
See? I don't just spend my time buying tatty old board games..!
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
Archive for Miscellany
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It was only a matter of time.
Having pronounced that Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea probably wouldn't have an expansion, I was tempted - last week - to see what I could come up with.
Borrowing quite heavily from my Makaibari prototype - the additional Towns and a consequent variable setup, tea breaks for the workers - plus noodling with more Equipment (one of the complaints is that there aren't enough equipment cards - usually from Snowdonia veterans!), I've mocked up a 'pitch' slideshow:
Oh, and I'd quite like to have that extra large start player piece double as a wandering elephant too. And I'd quite like some more Event cubes. And add a history book (as requested by rahdo).
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Mediterranean (recently reprinted as Rome & Carthage) is that classic board game beast: the head-to-header ie. it's an abstract, territory conquest-y game with cute pieces and a standard deck of cards as the battle resolution / standard action-modifying mechanism.
As is the pre-packed, tracing paper board-protection sheet! Not sure this has been played beyond a couple of 'the-Christmas-when-it-was-received' exploratory sessions.
All-in-all, a very nice, clean item with appealing graphics - and a an actual game thought good enough to re-publish in recent years.
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My design notebook has become a core tool in surviving the average day; a very tactile Tome-ette, it sits easily in the palm and is a great accompaniment to one's first big movement of the Day. From shitgamerpuns and new game ideas to philosophical musings and stress-relieving conference doodles, I started this particular volume in April and am almost 80% of the way through. Fortunately, I bought a couple from Amazon at a good price, so I'm good for the rest of the year at least.
Anyway, with a lack of anything specific to yak about today, here are some miscellaneous pics:
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Crippled by a terrible headache, I retired - pre-suppertime - for a short lie-down; without any paracetamol available, a nap seemed the sensible way to get rid of the pain. I recall waking around 2AM - for a pee and the chance to change in to my PJs - then back to La Terre de Nod until the Dawn Chorus tweeted out their avian lungs circa 0530HRS.
I'm an old man so 9-10 hours is verging on a coma (compared to my average of about 6); there was no reason to remain in bed, so I put together some breakfast and sat in the Library room letting the sunrise breeze cool my face through the open window. I am reminded of my days working at the M50 24H Service Station in Ross-on-Wye (1991) when I did the 10PM to 7AM shift: Summer was glorious as I stepped out on to the deserted forecourt at 4AM to watch the sun rise, skin tingling with the evaporating dew.
This is the view that has greeted/treated me for the last four months; pretty much seven days a week - unless I'm taking a break, abluting or watching a movie/box set in the Living Room. Or sleeping.
Monday dawns optimistic as the week starts a-new and a weekend's worth of break from work has energised me somewhat; it is a day of taking stock and planning. Tuesday wakes with the actions related to everything requiring urgent resolution on Monday being initiated / drafted / followed-through and so on. Wednesday is (purportedly) reserved as 'No Meetings' to give us all breathing space (especially after whatever panicked the horses on Monday) but, because we're SO close to go live, there is invariably something that needs discussing (this week, however, I was the guy doing all the end-to-end testing - on account of knowing everything about everything in the new system - and was watched, silently, by three other people for three hours)! Thursday is 'Where are we after all that?!' progress meetings in all the areas (tech/architecture, software, training, rollout, data migration etc). Friday is user groups and the tying up loose ends.
Endlessly cycling through this routine is exhausting and with no face-to-face gaming (to speak of), the allure of working from home is fading a little.
I've downloaded MTG Arena - now that it's compatible with Macs (at last!) - and have been breaking away for a couple of hours - here and there - throughout the day: it's a lot more fun now I've passed through the Tutorial bits and can now participate in drafts and constructed events! Highlight, so far, is signing up for a JUMPSTART draft (two random, pre-constructed mini-decks combined to make one) and snaffling a PHYREXIAN and TEFERI pairing: two of the most sought-after packs in the whole release! Indeed, they're a LOT of fun to play and follow the typical controllish arc of 'setup-control-KILL!': and the Teferi planeswalker is a fucking broken beast!
Oh, I perked up a bit there...my MS Teams is pinging as various associates wake, sign-in and perform the ritualistic 'GM All!' messaging; for me, three hours in to the day already, it's time for a second coffee.
Up and at 'em.
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I'm really excited to announce that Shite Games are going to release my early catalogue in a new, stylish imprint (yes, we all definitely had the idea before Queen Games did for ol' Baldy-Nut).
The mechanisms within each remain exactly the same but they've all undergone a radical retheming: cities and towns of the United Kingdom.
Coming to Kickstarter later in the year, some of the stretch goals we've got planned include:
A screen-printed 'Tony' start player marker in each
Prestige card quality
Train-shaped paperclips (!)
A commitment not to print Swindon after all.
You heard it here first!
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22 Jul 2020
...going first is best and no-one likes a sudden ending."
Swiss Tony, here, with a recent acquisition: it's a beautiful little runner and only has one previous owner...Dealer's Choice:
Okay - so the cover pic is naff...
...and the card quality is shite...and the money is dull as the water of a ditch...
...and it contains many of the 'Take That!' / luck-of-the-draw elements of 1970s output that sets our collective teeth on edge...
...but it's got some lovely vehicles...
...at VERY reasonable prices (£1500 for a DB5?)!
And a whopping hunk o' plastic to store all the components in while you play! Wowza!
So far, so what? But the secret to this The Decade That Time Tries To Forget curiosity are the Blue Book player 'cards':
This is the genius bit of the design and the one bit that I think is going to take the Ross-on-Wye gamers by their haggling, bickering, negotiating and bantertastic core:
Each player takes a generic (blue) sleeve and selects, at random and in secret, an insert for it. Each insert has the 24 'cars' with different values to that player and a humerous comment to (car) boot! This means that each car has its own special value to each player - and all of the values are different: ranging from 'ultimate prize' to 'utter dogpile'.
Players then bid, outbid, wheel, deal and huckster their way through the sale of (most of) the cars ensuring they pay low for their secret gems and get paid high for the flaming dumpsters, with the player holding the highest total of cash plus their book's values of bought stock being the winner.
A cursory look at the BGG page sent me off to the YouTubes and this delightful promo film:
Looks like the RoW Gamers have got their Cosplay identities sorted out as well! Reiner? Eat your (Modern) Art out!
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I've no bone to pick with 'the Jury' and am happy to watch from the sidelines as various good choices have been rewarded. I am especially pleased-with-myself on seeing Pictures bite the big one after a snap purchase at last year's Spiel because - mainly - they were giving rocks and wooden off-cuts away as promo items: genius, I say! The family adores it and, if I had a (minor) gripe, the photos are a bit - well - they're photos: next time we play, we're gonna use DIXIT cards (of which we have 100s).
As usual, however, my own personal faves from the last 12 months seem to have - once again - been brutally omitted / callously spurned; it's a bit like the England Cricket team playing in a major championship...they'll be doing very well and then I'll tune in and, suddenly, the wickets start dropping like colons at a Prolapse Party.
Ffoxes, Ffuckoff, Fforrabit - innovative deck-destroyer played, simultaneously, by between 4 and 16 players using - wait for it - the same, single deck of cards! Yes, indeed! Have you managed to dump a series of inconvenient 'cloggers' in to the Eternity Crevice? Well, you can be sure someone else is going to bounce them back out again to get in someone else's way! Utter chaos, complete confusion and all-out befuddlement from just 30 cards and a folded rules-sheet. If you were lucky enough to catch designer, Chris Handful, at the booth then you'd have got yourself the ltd edition Start Player marker...which is the Last, Median and Mode Player marker as well. Gloriously bent.
Mice I.T - everyone thought that veteran designer Rainman Knickers had retired but the gnarly old bugger rolled in to town on the crest of a glacial moraine with multiple prototypes and expansions 'ready to go!'. Mice I.T is a domino-esque tile-layer with hints of the classic "Hey! That's MY Pangolin!" where players are cute ickle meeces going about their day stealing cheese, annoying cats and fixing network issues across a variety of platforms and protocols. Though thematically-confused, the screen-printed rodents (detachable heads) and the serrated, resin mousetraps make for an appealing package for both young and old.
Quantity Surveyors Of The North Sea - so many jaws dropped at the lack of a 'nom for Phlegm Shilliptz that you could've felt the quake from the other side of the green room. Number 38 in the 'North Sea Trilogy', Phlegm zooms in on the typical worker placement 'Build a Building' action with press-out player slide-rules, stock assessment sheets and bulk resource ordering for the complete construction planning and regulatory compliance experience!
F*ck My Old Boots! - Freedomzone Fleece's annual foray in to his Fabulous! series (via Shite Games) finds us - starting with an 'Eff', as per - in a humorous re-working of Tiddlywinks: be the first to 'tiddle' your 'winky' (discs etched with the traditional cock-and-balls motif) in to a variety of small and large containers - shaped like boots, natch! 'spaFFing' your winky in to a small boot is worth more than a larger boot and most points, naturally, wins! Comes with wipe clean boards and alarming regularity.
Hey-ho! There's always NEXT year.
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As is my wont at shows - especially Spiel (though the UKGE Bring and Buy sometimes revealed a esoteric item) - I like to find rarer games; I'll go as far as blagging demo copies of pre-prod fayre if I can and - ahem - have been known to help with the clearing of rubbish from time-to-time.
At Spiel'19, I was browsing the TBG stand and saw a couple of copies of this...as in 'the only two copies they had with them':
Trying to outdo my 2018 acquisition of David Wang's 'one of the ten in my suitcase' East Indiaman, a friendly PoS (point-of-sale) operative exchanged one of the two for a paltry 20 euros.
It doesn't have a name that I can find - though the English rules print-out included in the box suggests it might be Recommended Reading (while the box hints at Book Selector); in any case, I can't find hide-nor-hair of a reference to it on the Interwebs despite it manifestly exiting, here, right in front of me!
But what IS it? Well, it's like GiftTRAP but with books: the idea being the active player (customer) has a character card - or can, indeed, make up their own character traits and subject preferences (there are a fixed number of categories on many 'Book' cards) and the other players use book cards in hand to 'pitch' a tome to the customer. Players then vote for the book that seems to be best pitched to the customer's requirements and points awarded etc etc.
There are screens - possibly several copies' worth in my box - and chits and LOTS of book cards: some in English (perhaps 20 or so for illustrative purposes/demos), some non-English and some with QR codes and seem to be referencing real works.
It's a sweet, kitsch-y bundle of fun!
Personalities galore (should some of your local group require one)!
Of course, I would be failing in my duty as a privileged, middle-aged white man if I didn't also highlight some of the amusingly-Anglicised book titles in the demo set - given the hearty and delightful Mr Frank Liu (the excellent Symphony No.9) is one of the designers, I would suggest the wackiness is entirely intended!
I can see the Ross-on-Wye gamers very much 'digging in' to extrapolating the names and natures of their book suggestions; it's just what we do and we're proud of it.
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Sunday rolled around all shiny and new and, having very much enjoyed the escape to the wilds the weekend before, I determined we should repeat some perambulatory exertions this week too. Unfortunately, there was a reduced acceptance response from la famille, so it ended up being just me and Arthur and Ziggy racing the baked tarmac to Malvern - this time to sortie British Camp:
With my bijou (Snowdon climb last year) holdall - replete with sandwiches crisps, sweets, water, spray-on sun block and dog treats - and my floppy 'Cricketing' hat - we tucked the Volvo in a corner of the car-park (opposite an enormous US-imported Ford) and set off up the steep incline.
One day, I have determined that we'll spend the day going back-and-forth across the whole bumpy lot of 'em; however, for today - in the sweaty, dry hotness - British Camp was enough:
Once at 'the summit', there are a number of winding and branching ridge routes to divert you; we paused for food and then set off on a great 'top of the world' circuit.
Despite the obviously well-populated hilltop, there was more than enough space - and there were more than enough paths - for us to avoid bumping in to anyone.
Two hours, 9000 'steps' and a packet of Swizzels' Drumstick Squashies for 'energy boosting' later, we trudged - heavy-footed and panting back to our chariot:
A slightly over-the-speed-limit-with-all-the-windows-down swoosh home helped with the cooling down somewhat.
Next week: a return to The Skirrid, near Abergavenny (fingers crossed). I've also mooted a couple of days away to North Wales - Welsh Assembly Covid-19 rules & restrictions permitting - and my third ascent of 'the big one' in as many years: fingers crossed!
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