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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a la recherche du temps perdu (encore)

Anthony Boydell
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In the distant, misty TV memories of the 1970s I recall - as Christmas approached - the relentless, raging torrent of adverts for cooking utensils (razor sharp, micro-thin blades with which to flay oneself in pursuit of a salad), mail-order vinyl LP collections (the entire Beatles back catalogue performed on Zither & Cowbell, Elvis: The Bathroom Years, Richard Clayderman Plays Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music etc) and vibrant, 3D, clatteringly-plastic board games:



While scoffing a biscuit (or two) and watching Saturday morning TV with Arthur, yesterday, we were assailed by a six minute advertising break - SIX minutes - of repeating 15 second segments: pet toys, 'jewellery making kits' and...er, huzzah???...board games:


(clockwise from top left) A farting cow; balloon punching frenzy; hairy 'chin'anigans (!); and an alarming dildo dexterity game (that actually shouts "Play With Me!").


I really shouldn't grumble: it's a step in the right direction, I suppose...

...isn't it?

shake

Obligatory Sunday Participation Question:
What 3d/plastic-y games do YOU recall fondly from decades past?
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Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:45 am
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Roll up! *choo-choo* Roll up!

Anthony Boydell
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Some quick pics (courtesy of Mr Alan Paull) of Snowdonia: The Siege of Petersburg / The Channel Tunnel 1881:



and the Generals:



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Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:37 pm
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Roll up! *hic* Roll up!

Anthony Boydell
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I have managed to get 144 bottles of my birthday beer EARLY (!), so I shall be bringing them to Essen Spiel!



For the princely sum of just 3 euros, you can add a bottle of this foamy wonderfulness* (and it's a Snowdonia train too) to the other items you are able to purchase from our Stand (7-G121):

The Cousins' War (15 euros)
Snowdonia: The Siege of Petersburg / The Channel Tunnel 1881 (12 euros)
(special deal: both for 25 euros)

Snowdonia: Rolling Stock #1 (2 euros)
Bad Grandmas (2 euros)
The Cousins' War Events Expansion only (2 euros)



Roll up! Roll up!


*while stocks last.
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Fri Oct 20, 2017 3:34 pm
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They're only after me Lux-y charms!

Anthony Boydell
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The (design) road goes ever onward and while SSG waits for a shiny new 3D printer to be delivered, I thought I'd pull my finger out and get some copies of Lux Aeterna ready for Spiel blind testing. Of course, it's missing the final artwork (still very much in the early stage of mood boards and philosophy) but now that it's not thick-stickered cards in half-torn plastic sleeves but PoD-ed and glossy, it feels closer to being a real thing:


(clockwise, from top-left) Six systems and their system dice (there are five different cards for each system - that's 34375 combinations); bad things to go in the deck to make a bad situation even worse; killed to death (iteration 172); how Proximity difficulty looks; and example main deck cards showing the eight basic actions (there are 12 unique others).


I have, naturally, been giving it some play-throughs; unfortunately, my initial greed has seen me plummeting in to the Black Hole with alarming (stupid) regularity so I dialed my ambition back and started mid-Proximity with more success!



The core game is the same: draw a hand of cards each round and assign them to an ship damage, an action (fixing the ship) and movement (your inexorable descent in to oblivion!). In this (final?) version, I have added 'glitches'; these are nasty, disruptive events unless you can 'remove' them, in which case they become a rich source of points.

To grade your difficulty, there are three parameters you can tweak:
i) Events: how many glitches you seed in to the main deck (minimum 3, maximum 6);
ii) Time: how much time you restrict yourself to (10 mins, 15 mins or 'as long as I need'); and,
iii) Proximity: how close you start in relation to the Black Hole (see above) - the white cone is your ship (moving), the white disc your starting point.

Anyone who comes to our stand at Spiel (Hall 7, G121) should give this a go and I'll probably rig up a league table or something. And a prize too, no doubt!

So, who's up for some hot Solo action with me (if that's not a contradiction in terms)?
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Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:15 am
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Gated Community

Anthony Boydell
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I'm a lucky sausage and no mistake! Thanks to some brilliant friends what I have made in the industry, I get to see stuff early and (sometimes) I have to button my lip! About a month ago, I was sent the English rules for the expansion for The Colonists: Ante Portas. An extra pair of eyes over translated-from-the-German rules is always handy and I am proud to be a Port(as) of Call in this matter!

In summary: it is NOT more Eras! It's a couple of scenario-based ways to play the first TWO Eras: invaders on the ground OR from the air!



For more info, in German for now, go to:
http://lookout-spiele.de/2017/10/12/die-neuen-2017-die-kolon...
because it's not in the BGG database yet!

You heard it here (almost) first!
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Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:17 pm
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lux art-erna

Anthony Boydell
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Between me and Mrs B, we've got a large extended family (98% of them are on HER side TBH) and there are a lot of talented peeps amongst them. One particular cousin has been doing a daily doodle (not really the right word to do them justice) on his Instagram feed:


Want to see more? Take a look here:
https://www.instagram.com/storyofalex/


Recent posts have involved space and sci-fi elements and they immediately got me thinking about the art style for my Lux Aeterna prototype (solo, sci-fi themed card game). In between (bollocks) work meetings, I mocked up a couple of the cards to see how they looked/felt:



I think I might need to explore this a little further because they're crisp and evocative! And maybe he'll give me a discount for being related?!
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Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:46 pm
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Captain Underpants

Anthony Boydell
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naturally leads to:



In any Round when it's raining, your Surveyor moves an additional Station for free when taking the Surveyor action
(cannot be used in the Necropolis Railway scenario...for obvious reasons!)
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Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:23 am
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Brett-spieling

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I mentioned the weekender guest attendance of Mr Brett J. Gilbert in my write-up of Friday night’s session but neglected to explain what the Fellow was doing at Boydell HQ in the first place. This was, of course, a deliberate tactic to elicit curiosity and increase tension which – perusing the response to the post – achieved neither, in the final analysis. Never mind, for I shall tell you more whether you want me to or not because – as you might imagine – it’s a real bugger putting something together day-after-day:

Brett and I have been noodling about with a light-to-medium weight card game with an Air Race theme (qv. Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines) for about a year now and, to be honest, Brett’s been far too busy getting his games published and garnering SdJ-type award nominations to give it his fullest attention: thus, it seemed a wholly sensible idea to trap him in invite him over to the hoose (rhymes with ‘moose’) and properly sort it out. And, goodness, ‘sort it out’ we did! To aid us in our quest, I invited the Friday night attendees for a spot of Saturday lunch and some play-testing, sprinkled with the intimation that some published games might get a look-in too. So, around/about lunch time the Batesons and Jobbers scowled through the front door, eager for ingress, and the latter laden with as much low-alcohol Stowford’s Cider as he could carry.



I sat out of the first game (to let Brett dip in for his first multi-player experience); my job being to observe (natch) and, as is traditional, make snarky comments about Boffo’s play choices. Though our RoW pals have played ‘MagMen’ before, Brett and I had already – over a strong coffee and an early-AM ‘two player’ – tweaked and clarified the card play/resolution sequence and several card effects. It was pleasing to see the drafting phase (‘the Practice Race’) merge seamlessly in to the main Race phase though Jobbers’ violent outburst during final scoring - when he, as ‘the most villainous’, was penalised by 5VP – threatened to bring the afternoon to an abrupt “I’m going home and taking my crisps with me!” end! It was clear, when we’d talked him down off the highest gable, that:
a) ‘most villainous’ was better converted in to ‘every one loses VPs based on how villainous they have been’; and,
b) this should only be applied in the advanced mode of the game ie. not the ‘intro’ game.

Catastrophe-averted, we reset the board and swapped seats and started again (removing ‘most villainous’). Jobbers, obviously adrenalized by his previous outrage, drafted a solid deck that garnered him a heady pot of free-to-play wildcard tokens and whizzed in to Paris while we were still admiring the Kent coast! Both Brett and I had spotted some card effect quirks but there would be too much of a delay to do that thee-and-then (it would take us a goodly couple of hours later and on the Sunday morning) so, strong cheese and crackers in hand, we gathered our testers in the library room for their ‘proper games’ reward.

First up was a belter – and another one unknown to Mr G (what the Hell does he do with his gaming time, eh?!):


It looks a bit like a vomit-strewn table but - unlike Aquasphere - Notre D is not a massive pile of Arse.


I am usually pretty good at ‘the Dee to the En’, but it was Boffo’s turbo-charged Carriage/ignoring the Church that pushed him comfortably to a win.

Second up, Libertalia, was under the G-meister’s belt already BUT he’d had (another) sour experience and remained trepidatious and unconvinced (WTF? Someone seems on a mission to cloud the poor chap’s eyes against the good stuff!); not that he let this spoil his first week’s performance, ending with an astonishing total of FIFTY-THREE doubloons whilst the rest of us were well-chuffed with our own ‘in the 30s’ totals!



Arrrrrrrrrrr! Etc


That 20 point gap looked unassailable but, then, this IS Libertalia and the second week played out with CURSES EVERYWHERE tomfoolery and Brett wheezed to the Sunday with just 12 doubloons, the rest of us able to catch back up. Week three, always tense, came down to a head-to-head of Me vs Boffo and there were just a couple of points in it; my saved-until-the-very-last Monkey (pass all your curses to the left), kept me safe from penalties and a Blackbeard-y whisker ahead of Ben and a late-sprinting Smudge!

In other news, Brett and I managed to brainstorm a lovely Trad-feeling children’s game design for a pitch next week AND he played Lux Aeterna without tearing it to pieces at the end!




Setting all of that incidental stuff aside, it was an excellent couple of days where important work was completed and excellent progress was made; Brett even found time, in the stillness of a Newent Sunday morning, to mock up some new MagMen card layouts (courtesy of Google clip-art, for now):


Beautiful, aren’t they?
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Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:20 am
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angry, jealous spies (got telephones for eyes)

Anthony Boydell
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Pull out pretty much any old game - and I'm talking about pre-1990s now - and you'll probably find a TM or circled R somewhere on the box top: those old timers were shit-keen on protecting their IP with superscript-ed glyphs and 'Patents' both 'Pending' and 'Applied For'. It still amuses me to either ear-wig on / participate in conversations with 'fresh' game designers who are nervously-reluctant to talk about what they're doing for fear of being hijacked by a treacherous, shadow-dwelling plagiarist; I have even heard of them demanding NDAs of the companies to whom they are presenting/demoing! How, simultaneously, charmingly-naive and lumberingly-stupid.



We at Surprised Stare Games got a cease-and-desist email when we were producing Tara, Seat of Kings back in the mid-2000s; a chap producing a game also called Tara: his was a 3D tile-laying puzzle thing, ours a card-driven area control thing with a (Celtic) twist. He got quite aggressive in his missive, banging on about how his game was older than ours, how he had started using 'Tara' as a name first etc etc yadda yadda blah blah; naturally, having sent the files off to Ludfact, we took advice from a mate who was also a Solicitor: the upshot was that we registered Tara, Seat of Kings as a Trade Mark for £200 and told the other chap (respectfully) to piss off! Awkwardly, he had a Stand at the Essen Spiel that year which was about 200 yards away from ours in Hall 4; we passed no words until, on the Sunday, he remarked upon our Tara's 4th place in the Fairplay scouts' Top 10 of the show: "People obviously voted for your game thinking it was mine.".



There's absolutely no point in being paranoid; there's nothing new under the Sun and most offenses are committed by those already close to the victim: a co-designer with a gripe, a chancing play-tester or that bloke in the stripey black-and-white shirt and the "SWAG" rucksack. If you want to get worried about anything then get worried about the mass production of copies of your games by unlicensed groups in countries over which you have no jurisdiction - but only if you're the designer of a BGG Top 100 game, which you're not, so...

I believe that you should be unashamedly PUBLIC about your endeavours; sing from the rooftops, post plenty of WIP pictures and articles and put yourself - and your prototypes - about at conventions. You're more likely to see the Path of Success open up to you by being confident than shivering in the basement having blacked out all the curtains.

Why have I muted the camera shutter noise on my iPhone? Er, no reason; now, if you'll just open the box and tell me ALL about it...
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Fri Sep 15, 2017 6:47 am
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Bake/Off

Anthony Boydell
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Here in the UK, it's that time of the year when all-and-sundry drop everything for an-hour-a-week of scrumptious cookery in the form of recently-'poached'-from-the-BBC The Great British Bake Off. Twelve amateur bakers sweat it out in a tent in the grounds of a posh house for 10 weeks making everything from biscuits and pies to obscure Teutonic cake-breads; we, the adoring Public, will descend upon our supermarkets to recreate these delectables for weeks after.

Last night, in the Showstopper round, the contestants had to bake biscuit-based cakes with a boardgaming theme! Huzzah! Excited, I lay back on the sofa expecting Shortbread Qwirkle, Dampfnudeln Abalone, a sponge "Climbers" and/or some Gingerbread Suburbia action...only, being mainstream Brit TV, it all turned out a little (literally) 'flat'. Here are the intended recipes:


Note the startlingly bland choice of source material


And here's the final result:



A triumph? Not particularly...but then I couldn't do any better, could I?


The episode's winner!


So, if YOU were to bake a boardgaming cake what would it be? Twilight Strudel? Profiterole For The Galaxy? Macaroms? Personally, I was well impressed with the Totemo birthday cake someone made a while back:



And Seb Bleasdale's Wedding tower was a wonder to behold:



Is anyone else feeling hungry?
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Wed Sep 6, 2017 6:20 am
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