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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The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Game Designer

Anthony Boydell
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Ziggy the dog - who is making an excellent recovery, thank you for all your good wishes - woke me far too early this morning with a frantic yipping; this is unusual and, given his medication has made him constipated, I feared he was calling for urgent release so he could effect an 'urgent release'. Cursing under my breath (so as not to awaken the rest of the household) at the ungodliness of the hour, I walked him around the drizzling garden and - in the wet gloom - I had an epiphany while Ziggy had an (if you will) epoophany...

We've only just finished putting away the dishes from the Easter Sunday lunch and we're already haring towards May like a Coopers' Hill cheese roller hares towards a crushed face and twisted limbs. May contains a couple of our children's birthdays (a 19th and a 21st) so when the dust icing sugar settles on the partying it'll be June and the UK Games Expo! The Expo looks like it's going to be bigger, brighter, louder and more wonderful than ever; we're gonna meet up with loads of gaming pals, sell some stuff and we've managed to get (cheaper) rooms in the main hotel so the end of a looooong day doesn't involve a looooong walk to bed! Why, then, when I think about it, do I feel dread?

Last year I wandered the free play rooms in a bewildered daze; hundreds of people playing hundreds of games, sound-tracked by the dull roar of the chattering crowd. There were queues at the Bar, queues at the food concessions, queues in the corridors for the LARP specials and pre-booked seminars and sitting-on-the-floor room only for gaming.

Away from the safe and familiar confines of our Exhibition Stand, there's so much to do and so many people doing it that I find it almost impossible to process and end up fleeing to my room instead. At the Expo, you never really leave the crowds - they've just piled OUT of the N.E.C and IN to the hotel. If I wasn't the custodian (and transporter) of 300 copies of North American Railways, I think I'd be disposed to close the curtains and stay at home!

I think, therefore, that I need to fill my evenings beforehand - just like I've settled in to doing for Essen Spiel - and that includes pre-planning specific games. So, who's going to the UKGE and wants to play some games/hang out with a neurotic, sweary 50 year old?
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Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:37 pm
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NAR? Well...

Anthony Boydell
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I, once again, have a Hallway full of board games and, once again, I managed to not be there when they arrived!
Thankfully, the house is replete with offspring so they formed an orderly line and shuttled 300 copies of North American Railways to their temporary, pre-UK Games Expo home:




Of course, the reason so many now languish upon well-trod terracotta is Surprised Stare Games took a minor investment punt on the reprint and we're officially the main source of copies in the UK (!):







BTW, yesterday's post was the first noodlings for the Expo NAR pre-order exclusive bonus - Sharedonia (aka 18SNOD) - which will come with a train of some kind on the other side too (which one from my notepad has yet tbc).

If you want to pre-order a copy for Expo (circa £23) then please send an email to feedback@surprisedstaregames.co.uk coz there's still plenty o' copies available. And now they're an actual real thing too. All along my bloomin' Hall.

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Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:35 am
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Share and Share Alike

Anthony Boydell
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Whenever you would place a scoring marker on a station (either by excavating the last rubble in a space or building), you may choose to take any other single player's scoring marker and place it on to the station space instead of yours. If you do, immediately place a number of your scoring markers on that player's SHARE PORTFOLIO (a card) based on the value of the donated space:
- 4 to 9 points = place 1 marker;
- 10+ points = 1 or 2 markers (you choose).

You have shares with as many other players as you choose. You cannot have shares in yourself (!)

At game end, after normal scoring has been totaled, for each player with whom you have 'shares', gain 1 point for every 10 of their final score multiplied by the number of shares you have with them. Add each to your score.


For example:


Does this make any actual sense?
(eg. digging/building in crap spots and 'donating' them for a better return later )
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Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:18 pm
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Minnellium 2000!

Anthony Boydell
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Click [Play] and...




It hardly seems like three years since I crossed the magic 1000 posts line only, now, to find myself - chest thrust out against the shiny tape - pressing home the 2000! Only one other BGG blog has been this way before me and that's Eric's BGG News which had a head start, to be fair (but I'm catching him albeit very slowly).

Qn. Is there anyone who's been with me since the beginning*

I've laughed, cried, ranted, travelogued, designed (and designer diary-ed), japed, "session reported", surreal-ed, rumoured and generally muscled my way in to your mornings (or your last thing at nights) since 2011 and yet I still can't get any love from The Geek Weekly! I get (much) love from you folks, though, and that's the (second) best kind of Love of all.

Qn. Why don't people thumb humorous posts with Polls/Quizzes in?



Just like when its one's birthday on a work day, it is I who have brought along some treats!

First up, for those of you who are still having - or who just got the game and are about to have - problems with Guilds of London's iconography, I've done a couple of helpful markup sheets. Simply print on to A4 sized labels, cut out and then affix to the bottom of each card before sheathing in the branded sleeve of your choice:




(If my GoL expansion ever sees the light of day, I'll be sure and get these done on transparent, sticky plastic)




Qn. What is your favourite post evva?

Secondly, I have been awfully selfish in my persistent banging on about "having a shed" (and the need thereof/therein/wheretofore), so I've made some up for Snowdonia and they come in a variety of first-come first-served flavours:


Costs are varying (there is no defined order, just choose the one you want). Your 3rd worker costs 1 coal, but if you pay an extra coal you get your 3rd worker AND you may take a contract card from the selection - if you do take a card, replace it immediately from the top of the deck. During train maintenance you must discard a contract card you possess or lose the train Shed.




Finally, here's a special edition from Boydell's FLGS:

Quote:

(we are in a FLGS; you can tell because it smells of stale farts and pizza dough even though you’re just reading a description of it on-screen. There are a variety of new releases in the display window along with a sign that says: “Don’t ask because we don’t have: Gloomhaven, any 7 Wonders Dual promos, that game with the ‘tits’ in).”. The cashier is stood behind the counter trying to release his hand from the counter-top, to which it has been stapled)

Doorbell: Ding-dong-dong-ding. Dong-ding-ding-dong.

Customer: (brushing dry leaves from his shoulders) Good afternoon.

Cashier: (looking up; covers stuck hand with a tea-towel) Ah, yes. Good afternoon, Sir! Can I help at all?

Customer: (chuckling, he takes a piece of folded paper from his breast pocket and opens it) Yes, indeed; I very much hope so! Do you have...Whorer Et Labora?

Cashier: Do you mean Ora Et Labora...by Uwe Rosenberg?

Customer: No, I mean Whorer Et Labora by Duvet Rosenbonk. It's about building and running a place of ill-repute.

Cashier: We haven't got any games by Duvet Rosenbonk

Customer: It's about placing your workers in to empty action slots...mostly.

Cashier: That's as may be, sir, but we don't have it.

Customer: You must have heard of Fields of Arse?

Cashier: No, sir.

Customer: A Fist for Odin? (the cashier glares at the customer) - I see. How about games by Richard Breese?

Cashier: Why, yes, we DO have games by him.

Customer: Deflower?

Cashier: Key-flower, sir.

Customer: No, Deflower. Or Inhabit My Berth?

Cashier: (confused) How are you spelling "Breese", sir?

Customer: B - R - I - E - F - S. The 'F' is silent.

Cashier: (annoyed) Of course it is.

Customer: (looks at list again) I'll try another des-

Cashier: (catching on) Before you ask, "sir", we don't have any games by "Stiff 'un" Feld or Anal R. Moon or Ign-arse-y Trevijerk or Reiner Ker-tits-ia or Alexander Fister or Phil Wanker-Harding or -

Customer: (interrupting) Eric Wang?

Cashier: (fed up) No, sir; and now I am going to have to ask you to leave -

(the cashier tries to walk around the counter but his hand his still stuck to the countertop; he tugs extra hard and the hand is freed - the staple pings off and hits the doorbell)

Doorbell: ting!

Customer: Wait! Wait, I want to buy -

Cashier: (hustling the customer toward the door) Out!

Customer: Tony Boydell?

Cashier: What? (he pauses his pushing)

Customer: Tony Boydell - do you have any games by Tony Boydell?

Cashier: Not "Boney Toydell"? Not "Tony Bordello"?

Customer: No.

Cashier: (dusts himself off; notices there is a huge hole in the middle of his staple-less hand) Er...well I've got a copy of (reaches down to pick something up and shows it to the customer) this?


PAUSE

Question: What game did he show the customer?**





So, there you have it: two bloody thousand posts***.

-phew-

Can I stop yet?

*excluding anyone who has died or been imprisoned, naturally.
**there shall be a prize for the best answer
***Of course, I'm expecting peeps to thumb the 'flip' out of this post!
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Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:05 am
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Sweary Mary

Anthony Boydell
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One of the joys of getting tipsy, and having a few spare moments in the Evening at UK Games Expo, is I am allowed to crash other people's broadcasts! Here is the Who Dares Rolls 'Room 504'* special from the Expo 17's Saturday night.

I must warn you that there will be robust language:




*(think Room 101 for games and gaming)
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Wed Jun 14, 2017 6:16 am
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NEC Hauls 1 & 2

Anthony Boydell
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Obviously I found enough time to trade/buy during the show DESPITE being nuts-deep in A Nice Cup of Tea tests throughout the three days!

Another great Expo experience: the best yet!






(Mystic Wood includes the expansion too!)


See you all next year!
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Mon Jun 5, 2017 6:35 am
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Ordering a taxi. Waiting for a taxi. F*ck it, I'll walk.

Anthony Boydell
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The National Exhibition Centre complex is enormous and that doesn't get rammed home more forcefully when you've got to walk around it. Due to booking issues, we - SSG - haven't been able to lodge at the Hilton Metropol (has own car park, swimming pool, is 5 mins from the Halls etc) but, instead, have found succour at the Premier Inn (own car park well away from Exhibitors car park, no pool, is a mile - 25 mins - from the Hall); when I say "found succour" of course I mean "found it all a massive pain in the arse". Still, its all lovely and echo-y and calm in Hall 1 before the punters throng (eagerly) and thrust (enthusiastically) forward. A trip to the Bring & Buy rewarded me with a 1998 Kosmos thing with a complicated German name and a very cheap copy of hidden gem (and winner of 2012's Worst Font Printed on Components Award): Al Rashid (£20 the two).

First demo of the day was A Nice Cup of Tea to JVMA Custom Snowdonia Card winners David Moser and Andrew Smith - if only Peter D had stopped by too: I'd have had the set! Here are my gentlemanly opponents:


David (left) and Andrew (right); Andrew pipped me by just 4 points (both of us in the 130s)


A small, diplomatic mission from the Boydell household made it to a sunny Birmingham lunchtime: Mrs B (sporting Ivor the Engine tee-shirt), eldest son Fred (sporting various recent piercings and parent-annoying 'slam metal' gore tee-shirt) and youngest - Arthur - in smart troos and a waistcoat. We wandered, for an hour or so...


(from L to R): Arthur starts with some Rubik's Cube clone basics: a 2x2; "I don't think much of these mirrors, Ethel!" and Arty mugging in a castle.


...and ended up playing Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice with the excellent Mr Mark Rivera:


He chopped, he stomped, he punched and he pinned me: poor old Dad.


All too soon, it was time to wave goodbye and - once more - I was sucked in to an afternoon's vortex of demonstrating stuff and meeting peeps with pre-arranged swaps/buys: Twilight Imperium (Third Edition), Fearsome Floors, Haspelknecht and Nantucket will now be coming home with me. The evening's relaxing routine began with a 20 minute trog across the complex, with Dávid Turczi, to the 'sky train'; down a seedy stairwell and round some back roads (in an industrial estate) to the Ibis Styles. The Ibis is a shiny, new - and horrifically-overpriced - place of residence with an bright open Bar area suitable for much gaming chatter and play; I bought myself a Theakston's Ale and a lime&soda chaser (dehydration, you see) and got a-chattin'. We'd only been there a short while before Paul Grogan - vlogger, podcaster, Mr 'Gaming Rules' and long-time gaming pal - was flogging us raffle tickets for an 8PM draw; all eyes were on the knocked about prototype copy of Codenames Duet but it turned out to be a massive double-disappointment because:
i) he wasn't giving the prototype away, just promising to give someone a new copy when it arrives; and,
ii) I didn't win. Anything.

Woes doubled and doubled: I was to miss the Ice Fisher World Champs...again!!!


I had to leave early on account of being a guest on the Who Dares Rolls live podcast record (Room 504 ie. Room 101 for us lot) and just had enough time to grab a Subway for supper (bread to absorb the beers I'd chugged like lemonade) before going in. I _think_ it went OK; it was almost two minutes in before I dropped the C-bomb but everyone else were quickly on to wanking euphemisms, so I sat back and let 'em get on with it.

I couldn't get back to the Premier Inn without crossing paths with the Hilton Metropol, so we pulled up another beer and a chair and played something to close the evening in one of the huge open gaming rooms:


Temp Worker Assassins: Worker placement meets Thunderstone - simple, fun but wholly-unremarkable.


We'd moved in to Sunday 4th June, so I attempted to get a taxi to save my aching feet and cramping thighs but nothing was happening apart from minibuses and branded Audis loudly pulling up and pulling off in clouds of Vape smoke and geekish B.O. In the end, I decided to risk the ghostly tarmac of the bleak, endless car parking acres and walk back for some sleep: "And, now, the end is near...." (sing loudly along at the back!)
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Sun Jun 4, 2017 6:20 am
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Bhaji, bhaji, bhaji, bhaji, bhaji, bhaji (mushroom, mushroom)

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Up-and-at-em, Surprised Stare elves! 'Tis Day 1 of th'official UK Games Expo extravaganza for 2017 and the sun fair-blinded us as we emerged from a lumpen 'English Breakfast' in to splendid June 2nd. The Paulls decided to drive us all the mile-or-so to the Exhibitors' Car Park - within swearing distance of the Hilton Metropol - and, thence, Hall 1 of the NEC:


Hasn't changed since last year but it's nice to see the big sign again.


The Press show was 9AM-ish and it was hilarious to watch them being marched through Hall 1 by marshalls in a hand-holding crocodile! Meanwhile, Charlie P and I were brushing up on our The Cousins' War rules and demo spiel before the public scurried in at 11PM: 50% scuttling to the booths with 'limited numbers' of things, the others sprinting and shoving and vaulting-the-fallen to get to the fabled Bring & Buy.

And, lo!, did the punters come and they spent - in a most profligate manner - for to secure 2-player, War of the Roses-themed goodness.


Steve, Iain, Chris, Steve: long-time gaming pals from the South East of England.Our paths crossed many, MANY times from 2005 thru 2013; now we only meet up at the big shows :-(


Giles, organiser of the Snowdonia Puffing Billy fund-raising promotional postcard, popped by to drop off 100 for signing (when I finally found a decent pen); Dávid Turczi dropped off my super-pimped Anachrony and I also got a gratis copy of Bärenpark from the splendid Mr Alex Yeager at Mayfair. Add in my upon-arrival Pocket Mars, Nimbee and a long-awaited Beyond the Gates of Antares: The Dice Game and my take-home goodies crates are filling up very nicely indeed!

We could've sold 50+ copies of Snowdonia today but, instead, I whetted appetites with talk-throughs of A Nice Cup Of Tea (which I really should get in to the BGG database sometime)...and then the weather took a turn for the worse and a shower from North Wales moved in:



Taking a late lunch around 3PM (!), I managed to find a coffee and no food whatsoever; I paused for reflection, and to relieve my aching 'plates', in the company of UKT&C stalwarts Chris (The Guv'nor) and Mick (who provided me with a printed-up version of "The Little Engine Who Said Fuck It!") before setting off to annoy Nick Case for a bit.



I can't remember much about the rest of the day, only the klaxxon going for the "Go away!", and emerged from the grey halls to see torrential run coming down over the Park complex and hundreds huddled - mackintoshes in absentia - as it micturated. Smugly, for I had packed a coat anyway despite the Bahamian A.M., I covered myself in the red waterproof and plodded to the Hilton for supper (a plateful of Becky's delicious bhajis), chatting and - eventually - some actual games:




...with Efka, Elaine and Patrick. Nice microgame.



Magic Maze: It's Escape: The Curse of the Temple without the dice and, consequently, lost most of the appeal and drama after about 15 minutes: is that all there is..?



Sagrada: pleasant-enough dice drafter.


It was still drizzling when I decided to call it a night and thought a taxi would be useful; none, however, seemed to be about the place, so I trudged the mile back to the Premier Inn - singing loudly to myself (the traditional defence against serial killers and foliage-dwelling monsters) across the vast car parks in the soggy gloom. Tomorrow brings a much-reduced family visit and a 'party' at the Ibis: it's no rest for the wicked at the Expo...
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Sat Jun 3, 2017 6:25 am
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"You're not allowed to play games in the Bar"

Anthony Boydell
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As is usual this time of year (ie. pre-UK Games Expo), here's a shot of the fat, full arse of my car:



There! Stacked full of gaming goodness: about 550 x The Cousins' War, 60 x Ivor the Engine, 50 x Bad Grandmas and miscellaneous protoypes, bring&buy fodder and swapsies. I purposefully left a rear passenger seat in place so Arthur could be safely transported for a rendezvous with his mum and little big sister to go and fetch his big big sister from the airport: yes indeed, my eldest daughter is returning from nearly two years of travels to spend the Summer with us before her final year of University:


Together again after SO long #happyasdadcanbe


While they were all off "international airport"-ing, me and Benedict were twatting about in the sunny back garden setting up the Alien: Scandaroon nonsense (see yesterday) and have a fine old giggling time of it. A work conference call interrupted the (quite literal) 'sauce'-y shenanigans for an hour allowing the dog to clean away any traces of tomato ketchup from the patio.

There was time for tea when the whole clan were a-gathered and then I bimbled up the hot M50, the scorching M5 and the baking M42 to Jn 6 and Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre. Following the usual road to where all the loading bays are located, I was seen off from a 'checkpoint' by a skinny, bespectacled jobsworth who - after having an incomprehensible five minute chat with his walkie-talkie - turned me away for "not having a pink slip"*. Given that getting the aforementioned meant driving 400 yards back the way I came to get some bloke in a booth to write my Registration Plate Number on a bit of (pink) paper, it all seemed a bit unnecessary; still, it's a bloody good job we've all managed to keep on 'as normal' in these terrorism-filled times, isn't it? 'Not letting it get to us" as in "increasing petty - and pointless - bureaucracy" *tchoh!*

Anyway, I found the loading bay and decanted the Goods in to Hall 1 and left the Paulls to finalising the stand while I found the Exhibitors' Car Park.






All-important space for the storage of purchases!


Er...the car park turned out to be about half a mile away...on the OPPOSITE side of the complex to our hotel (about a mile in the other direction); a security guard took pity upon me and my trolley suitcase and gave us both a lift. I then, of course, needed to get BACK to the NEC to finalise my stuff and got lost in the middle of huge peripheral Halls with a delightful couple of ladies on their way to the Take That concerts (also at the NEC this weekend).

I dropped off my donations to the "Bring & Buy" and ended up spending £27 on The Mystic Wood with the The Mystic Wood Extension Kit thrown in (!) - ACQUISITION No.1

To break up the return (bedtime) journey, I stopped off at the Hilton hotel - where all the shit happens - for Guinness and fun chats with David J. Mortimer, Dávid Turczi, Katalin Nimmerfroh, Chris Marling and Andrew Harman. We were going to have some fun with protoypes (we all rattled our variously-bestickered, re-purposed boxes in simultaneous glee) but were seen off by a sour Bar Manager who told us off: "You're not allowed to play games in the Bar; you must go to the Arden room". So, we went to the Arden room but it was full so we went back and drank more beer instead.

The sunset was lovely as we traipsed across the tarmac and concrete, wandering the giant estate like we were survivors of a zombie apocalypse; my feet howled with ache as the Premier Inn welcomed me to it's bosom - Alan and I retired to the restaurant for more alcohol and a good moan about the state of the world today.

It begins: UK Games Expo 2017!

*I was, naturally, wearing it under my tee-shirt and shorts.
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Fri Jun 2, 2017 6:15 am
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Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Anthony Boydell
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Ah, just a few final checks before setting off to the Expo:



Goodness...what's this? It...moved?!


Spoiler (click to reveal)

Its alive! Noooooooooooooooooooo...


Spoiler (click to reveal)



Spoiler (click to reveal)


Spoiler (click to reveal)
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Thu Jun 1, 2017 12:36 pm
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