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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Getting the Band back together

Anthony Boydell
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Finally, they guys have set aside their differences;
Polish 'George' joins 'John', 'Paul' and 'Ringo':










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Never Say Never

Anthony Boydell
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After the business of a Winter Sunday is done, it behooves one to settle down - after drawing the curtains and fetching a hot beverage - and watch some trad. Sunday evening fayre.




In the UK, we have - for 40 years now - been avid viewers of other people falling down mountains with grace: Ski Sunday provides us with a glimpse of how other people deal with snow ie. slipping around on it, the faster-the-better! I can't really be doing with the short-range slalom events, though; all that bouncing left-and-right and the whacking poles - ouch! No, for me it's got to be the Downhill: long, fast and tear-squeezingly exhilerating...even if it is vicariously through a big, flat TV. This week was 'Wengen', in the shadow of the Jungfrau and LITERALLY sliding under the Jungfraubahn railway; no sign of dynamite but the train did rattle over the heads of a couple of racers which, apparently, is lucky.

Mrs B quipped that "You should design a game about this!, ie. downhill skiing. I curtly replied "No, it can't be done" and then - for a few moments - it got me thinking...

How about a dexterity game a la PitchCar? Well, why wouldn't you just play PitchCar instead? A Flamme Rouge-esque race game? Well, it would be hard to get the feel of whisking along 4.5K in 2.5 minutes while one is agonising over a hand of cards and the most efficient way to play them out!

However, it might suit real-time dice chucking as a core mechanim?! Lay out a track printed on multiple card-sized cards; each has multiple spaces in 'lanes' containing fixed die value icons (banks, jumps, awkward stuff) or blanks. Roll a set of dice and then allocate them to spaces sequentially down the track:
- never more than one space away orthoganally or diagonally; and,
- the placed die either matching the die vlaue icon on the space OR one pip difference to the last die placed (blanks).

When you cannot place a die, take a TIME penalty and re-roll all the dice again. Repeat until you cross the line! Ok, that's waaaaaay too luck-based, so need to think about mitigation effects...

I should never have poo-pooed Mrs B's suggestion in the first place but, inevitably, the lot of the game designer is never being allowed (or able!) to switch off...regardless of whether it’s any good or not!
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Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:25 am
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Hills and Highways

Anthony Boydell
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We'll make a board game designer out of Ben Bateson yet! These last few years he's been known to dabble with the occasional intriguing idea and then get distracted with 'real games' and nothing ever comes of it. Our current collaboration - coming up on it's first birthday - is a Snowdonia-esque two-hander called Foothills which has, in it's most recent incarnation, become everything we feared and vowed to avoid: overblown.

At the very start, Ben had come up with an interesting - but ultimately frustrating - mechanism for handling Contract (scoring) cards; we reined it back in to something more conventional and, by doing so, drifted off course. Late November, Ben began chuntering about the card mechanism again and proposed a pretty major change: ditch the worker placement element altogether! Yesterday we tried out a first run of Foothills using his refined card-driven action selection mechanic which can only be described as "twisted Concordia"! It was certainly an inspiring and reassuring session for me and, I hope, for Ben who has been able to return us to something more sympathetic with his original imaginings!


Still the variable railway setup but there ain't no place for workers, Bach!


Topping up our mugs of tea, we relaxed with a couple of games of the frankly-ridiculous Tokyo Highway:


Both games ended with fat-fingered collapse!


Frustratingly, neither Ben nor Arthur nor myself (we mixed) seemed able to get even close to 'spending' all of our cars before a nudging catastrophe brought the daft knot of lollypop stick roads crashing down. There was more fun to be had watching me trying to stop my scored car perpetually sliding down a 5 high -> 3 high ramp; in the end I had to place it cross-ways so it looked like a disaster movie taxi about to tumble off the road into the river!

There wasn't enough time for an Agricola - even though Arthur was well up for it (!) - so we closed this impromptu Saturday distraction with Beyond the Gates of Antares: a Yahtzee-esque dice-chucker from good pal Matt Green.



I remember playing this back in the way-back when it was called 'Escape from Dicelantis' which is a far better name and a far better theme than the naff sci-fi one the publishers slapped on! Underneath the blah-blah about star gates and offensive manouvres and factions is a corking little push your luck-er with asym player powers that rattles through - both audibly and temporally - in 10 minutes; after a couple of rounds, Ben was straight on his phone trying to source a copy!
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Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:45 am
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The Lost Boy(dell)

Anthony Boydell
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We used to have a large, brown sideboard in the living room which – over a period of about 10 years – became an ever-expanding repository for knick-knacks, ‘filed’ post, old photographs, inherited crockery, Primary School projects and a thousand other forms of useful gubbins. In the great Spring purge of 2013, the sideboard was emptied – the contents consigned to the attic / chucked – and given away on a local Freecycle group. The end of 2017 saw a Mrs B pet project come to fruition: a newly-painted, reconditioned and entirely-different sideboard and the attic was relieved of the dusty archive. Buried between the "smash pot" piggy banks and geocache rewards was a two-inch thick deck of small laminated cards, elastic-banded for security: by Jove, it was the lost prototype for my Movie Mogul game!

Discovering Magic: The Gathering in the mid-90s changed my ideas/approach for my Black Overcoat Game and led to a fecund period of designing activity; we’re not talking Euros, here, but lighter fayre with a humourous edge. From this flurry of enthusiastic scribblings came Coppertwaddle, Bloody Legacy and what would eventually become Ivor the Engine; other mock-ups came and went too eg. Car Boot Sale (a card game about negotiating the best price for stuff, some of which might turn out to be antiques), Scavenger Hunt (a physically-active version of Scattergories) and the aforementioned Movie Mogul (Shock! Horror! A game about making and releasing movies).

I don’t have a rule sheet for Movie Mogul - it would’ve been lost to my mid-2000s burgled Dell PC – so the cards themselves must tell the story:


Without the author there is nothing.” ― Michael E. Bierman


Each movie needs a Script and all of the scripts were in a draw deck along with the Actors and Directors (and Actor/Directors); you needed two actors, a director and a script to put the movie in to 'production':
Cost - How much to put this in to play from your Hand (you started the game with 50); a pencil and paper sufficed as I didn't have a copy of Monopoly at the time.
Take - A multiplier, combined with other Take bonuses on cards, applied to a 2d6 dice roll when the film is "released"; the first player to earn over 500 money was the winner.
Shoot - The number of counters to place on a movie when it goes in to production; at the start of each of your turns, you removed a Shoot counter from each movie.
Award - A modifier for a system (now forgotten) of determining whether a released movie also won an Oscar (three Oscars was an alternative win condition).


All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” ― William Shakespeare


Actors and Directors have the same attributes; when in production you add up all the Shoot values to see how many turns it will take and, when on release, add up all the Take values and multiply your 2d6 roll accordingly!

Finally, in a separate deck, are the Events: a miscellaneous collection of TCG staple effects to boost/screw over according to taste (there's quite a lot of 'take that!' which, as I leafed through, made me shudder):


Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson


Back in the box it goes, though; there's no place for this kind of thing nowadays apart from being a sweet, naïve reminder of a game designer setting out on his journey - and that's enough in itself, I think.
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Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:10 am
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Crush!

Anthony Boydell
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I couldn't hold out forever and so I opened the so-called mystery parcel - the one so fetchingly-adorned with the word eBay. It was, of course, a fresh and crisp copy of Charterstone; how could I pass up such an exciting product - especially when that well-known online auction site was offering to pay 20% of the cost for me?! Indeed, the only reason I didn't come back from Spiel with a copy was because I couldn't blag a freebie off the excellent folk at Matagot: they had already been astonishingly generous in gifting me both Meeple Circus and Scythe: The Wind Gambit, so it would've been churlish to push my (exceeding) luck any further.


A little bick o' Jamey in da house!


Now, obviously, Jamey Stegmaier has played a solid part in my enjoyment of gaming these last couple of years: I adore Scythe and I enjoy Viticulture very much. I have yet to try Euphoria but I fear I may be postponing that pleasure until I've worked my way through his latest hotness: I pulled off the shrink and read the rule book cover's introductory blurb and I actually, honestly and genuinely went a little weak at the knees!



Jamey certainly has the Midas touch. I don't know if anyone has tried to compile a list of the 100 Most Important People in Boardgaming but Jamey must, surely, be well up the charts! He designs games, he writes insightfully, he's the King of Kickstarter, he's supportive of the industry and he's quite a handsome chap too. God, but he makes one quite (love) sick!



*swoon*
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Fri Jan 5, 2018 2:48 pm
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Alone Again (Naturally)

Anthony Boydell
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It would be churlish not to have a go at my own Snowdonia 'Set Challenge' for December so - after OD-ing on 'Hello Neighbour' YouTube videos with Arthur - I cleared the detritus from the Library room's coffee table. The challenge - as you may recall from a couple of weeks back - is Base Game Solo with NO train and no means of getting a train; thus, one's third worker will languish in the Pub for the duration and coal is only good for a specific contract card.

After the initial setup, I realised quite a lot of my components were missing: purloined for prototypes (ANCOT, the ongoing 2 player design with Boffo etc), so I had to venture in to the dusky, snowbound garden (in my flimsiest shoes) and raid the chilly shed.



In summary: I took the 'Stock Yard' and 'Office' whenever a card of use popped up and that left me with 8 steel bars and only a handful of rounds remaining: double-doubled excavate followed by track+track+track and a sneaky Yr Wyddfa 'build' for 14. Managed to make a nice rockery out of the 17 unused rubble...but, unfortunately, rockeries aren't worth any points.

Thirty minutes later - soundtracked by sides 1 & 2 of Kiss "Alive" - I was 121 points better off and placed Eighth in the League Table: no too shabby, to be sure!

It's fun to spectate as players learn from earlier mistakes and begin to tag the secret of a higher score in this limited scenario: one makes a breakthrough and then others begin to exploit it. Fan-bloody-tastic!

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Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:45 am
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What shall we do..?

Anthony Boydell
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(Photo courtesy of DeanH; song inspired by both him and Toc)

What shall we do with a drunken worker?
What shall we do with a drunken worker?
What shall we do with a drunken worker?
Early in the morning.

Excavate the path to Hebron station.
Excavate the path to Halfway station.
Excavate the path to Clogwyn station.
Early in the morning.

Dynamite the Jungfrau while it’s snowing.
Dynamite the Jungfrau while it’s blowing.
Dynamite the Jungfrau while it’s snowing.
Early in the morning.

Filling in canals and picking flowers.
Filling in canals for hours and hours.
Filling in canals and picking flowers.
Early in the morning.

Slide 'im down The Cog on the Devil’s Shingles.
Slide 'im down The Cog till his buttocks tingle.
Slide 'im down The Cog on the Devil’s Shingles.
Early in the morning.

Bury his Surveyor with a nice, big headstone.
Bury his Surveyor coz he's nice and dead, Tone.
Bury his Surveyor with a nice, big headstone.
Early in the morning.

Tunnel under water till he gets to Sangatte.
Tunnel under water in his sturdy mine hat.
Tunnel under water till he gets to Sangatte.
Early in the morning.

Back to the Pub for a right old skinful.
Can't go t'church coz he's much too sinful.
Back to the Pub for a right old skinful.
Early in the morning.

What shall we do with a drunken worker?
What shall we do with a drunken worker?
What shall we do with a drunken worker?
Early in the morning.

Send him to Darjeeling...
(to be continued)


When you place your 3rd (Pub) worker, place him with a game marker disc underneath.
When you return your 3rd worker to the Pub, leave the disc in the action space for the next round: the space cannot be taken by any player during that round.
Your worker cannot come out during the next round (because he is 'sleeping it off' on that action space!).
At the end of that subsequent round, remove the disc from the space - it is available for the next round (as is your sobered-up 3rd worker)!
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Thu Dec 7, 2017 6:10 am
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Playing with yourself for fun AND profit!

Anthony Boydell
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It's December, so:

Marty "approaching 5000" Malone
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is running his annual Snowdonia solo challenge ie. who can score the highest given a specific starting condition.

It runs from Today to the 31st and peeps are encouraged to play, post photos and write up their experiences (good and bad). I like to throw in some prizes too, as it's so rewarding seeing such direct love for my little board game!



This year the scenario is...NO TRAIN ie. who can score the highest with just two labourers per Round? If you're interested in taking part then here's the place to go:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/200307/item/5798056#i...

Good luck and happy steaming!
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Fri Dec 1, 2017 6:25 am
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M.I.A?

Anthony Boydell
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What the Hell has happened to Fragor Games?! They disappeared in a cloud of industrious activity over the Summer of 2016 and missed that year's Spiel entirely - not even glimpse of a Brother Lamont within those sacred halls.

Then, in the Spring of 2017, we were all delighted and excited to hear of their licensing deal for Nick Park's Wallace & Gromit franchise!



Lawks, but we were expecting at least a couple of white boards with "artists impressions" come Spiel 2017; one even hoped one would get to finger a 3D-printed were-rabbit! Again, the biggest show in the world came-and-went with no "Sorry, we can't make it"s or "Don't worry, we're still alive!"s. And that's precisely when I get to worrying.

No updates on BGG, no updates on their website, no sign of them at any of the usual shows; no rumours, no tweets and no word of any kind. I worry.

soblue
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Tue Nov 28, 2017 6:20 am
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Getting back on the horse

Anthony Boydell
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In an attempt to whittle down my extensive 'To Do List' (already nailed the next draft of the A Nice Cup of Tea rules and the first draft of the JVMA 'Design a Snowdonia Card' winner's card), I tackled layout and art ideas for the forthcoming Guilds of London expansion (aka The Wards of London).

About two-thirds of the 42 (forty-two!) new tiles/Guilds are locations in medieval London BUT the rest are Guilds and, where possible, I am trying - again - to get some REAL armorial bearings in to the set. To this end, I repeated the bulk mail exercise from a couple of three years ago and within five minutes I had my first reply...

...it was, joy of joyous joys, a firm "Yes!"; actually, it was:

"You have my permission to use the crest and details of the livery of the Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers for your board game. I wish it well and will no doubt sell some to my liverymen."

Huzzah, indeed, and the mimed raising of a glass in a toast to those splendid Wyre-drawing folk!

As for the rest and everything else? Well, here's a snapshot of Sunday's work-in-progress:

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Mon Nov 27, 2017 6:20 am
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