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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Death of a Gamer - 22

Anthony Boydell
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(Arthur and I will be off shopping for Lego early-doors on account of him having just turned 11; so, as a tying-over, here's another DOAG)


Bad Ways To Determine Start Player #14
Russian Roulette


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Rolling Waves

Anthony Boydell
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Saturday, after the usual ritual of awakening was performed, kicked off in gaming style with a PM visit from Ben Bateson; the idea was to present several brewing protoypes and try and get them pointed in the right direction. If we could rope one or more of the household in to some 'published fayre' a bit later then all-well-and-good.

First up was a roll-and-write from Ben and Becky which has a delightful English theme: a show is being organised for the same day in neighbouring (player) villages, and each 'village' competes to put the most exciting and enticing roll-call of stalls and exhibitions.

In summary: It's a Bingo-esque affair in that a number of dice are rolled (4) and made available to everyone: three are summed for the 'event' and the fourth restricting where it can be 'placed' (four quadrants, an 'anywhere' and an 'In The Main Ring'). The events are tetris-like and are drawn on a 'field' sheet; at the low and high ends of the 3d6 (3-18 range) bell-curve, they can be lucrative by rarity, while the middling rolls are off-set with placement penalties (do NOT put the tractors next to the Young Farmers and/or the Cider tent otherwise points shall be lost!). You must ensure that, by the end of the 15th round, you have also installed toilets, food and drink AND that all exhibits are accessible (ie. un-drawn spaces on your sheet).

Country Gents (the working name, tho' something more pastoral is needed shortly eg. A Fête Worse Than Death? The Village Show? Etc) takes about 20 mins once you've gotten used to isolating the die totals (like you would in Can't Stop) and results in pleasingly-obtuse 'final layouts'! A number of tweaks were suggested by my good self (never one to keep an opinion to myself) but these are really sanding off the rough edges of a corking little filler. I have been (self-)tasked with mocking up a better prototype in time for the next Ross-on-Wye gamers session on Friday...

Ben was short-and-to-the-point re: Bazelgette/The Sewers of London - "It sounds exactly like Tinners' Trail," he said; "so best try playing THAT before you take it any further."

Finally, while still maintaining a steady input of hot tea, I pitched my VERY early concepts for Attention All Shipping: a fishing-themed pick-up-and-deliver-er built around the UK's famous 'shipping forecast' ie. the weather in the North Atlantic, the North Sea and around the rest of the UK affects the efficiency (and safety) of your little trawler - and, most importantly, the progression of the weather is laid out exactly as in that shipping forecast ie. REGION - WIND DIRECTION AND SPEED - VISIBILITY

"Hebrides, Fair Isle, Cromarty - North, 3 or 4. Good."


A couple of days brainstorming has already resulted in a solid trawler-movement mechanism that takes the conditions in to account PLUS the chat with Ben focused the fishing bit a lot more too. The enthusiasm for this one is burning rather bright at the moment:


Attention All Shipping!


Arthur had exhausted his Lego mech-building inspiration and began bothering us to play something in the Kitchen; Mrs B was also amenable to something diverting (she was procrastinating the Moussakan aubergine-slicing):


Gingerbread House - Ben enjoyed his first play but Mrs B thumped the lot of us!


The Eggplant could be avoided no more so Ben and I retired to the library (again) for my first go at the vintage Vikings; this is a game I have managed to avoid at the club (not for any negative reason) but am extremely-glad I've finally gotten to see what all the Batesons' fuss is about:


Vikings is a nice, mildy-thinky filler; an OLD one too.


Ben left as the evening drew-in but Arthur wanted ONE more game while the mood persisted; he picked one of his favourites:



Youngest elder Bro, Benedict, made us three for 45 mins of blood-spattering carnage (mainly against MY person); Arthur was rather too excited when taking Benedict or myself 'out' with his Chainsaw but my tractor beam prevailed: why spend one's movement points when one can bring one's quarry straight to one?!

The moussaka was utterly-delicious.
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Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:15 am
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The Word Made Flesh

Anthony Boydell
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A quiet, restful Sunday; a hot coffee (The Big Issue's Tom's Blend - delicious), a biscuit and - naturally - a sneaky preview of Klemens' breathtaking Foothills work-in-progress.


wow wow wow wow wow




"Bloody marvellous (legitimately the most excited I have ever got about this game)!" (Benjamin Corkscrew Diddleesquat Bateson, February 2019)
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Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:00 am
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Is There Any Subject Too Sensitive For Board Games?

Anthony Boydell
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The Nuremberg Spielwarenmesse has come and gone with just a small selection of pictures posted by BGG's roaming, roving reporter W. Eric (the 'W' is silent); as usual, time constraints - and because they have been banned to exhibiting out of the back of a van in the Car Park - Shite Games failed to have their 'Spring Collection' featured.

Let me rectify that oversight immediately.

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Dulce Et Dicecorum Est

Can't Stop meets World War I in this cynical and depressing timely recreation of a futile charge across a wired, mired and mined No Mans Land through a mist of hot lead and mustard gas. Push your luck by summing pairs of dice until you choose to dive in to a crater (‘stop’) or figuratively (and literally) ‘bust’. Be careful, though; whenever you ‘bust’, you lose that piece from the game entirely thus limiting your future column progression options!

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Dicklomacy

All the warmth and social cohesion of The Resistance combined with the no-luck coldness of Diplomacy, ‘Dicklomacy’ introduces a traitor, who can replace the orders of one Nation each Season , as well as submitting their own orders, until they have been figuratively (and literally) exposed and executed.

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Loopin' Bin-Laden
Think The Estates mashed-up with Loopin' Louis in this fast-paced, tactical auction / dexterity cross-over:
build the tallest skyscrapers, score the most points...and make sure the big 'B-L' ‘flies on by’!
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Are you sure you want to see this?
Spoiler (click to reveal)
No, really - you have to be SURE...
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Just checkin' one more time...
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Last chance, now...
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Nope. I've bottled it. Go here if you want to see it (away from BGG):

https://twitter.com/tonyboydell/status/1093817187431841793
(4563750)



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Fri Feb 8, 2019 6:55 am
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In just 100 words (or fewer)

Anthony Boydell
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Hey, kids! There's a new girl on the block and she's smart and she's sassy and she takes no mysogynistic shit: The Design 100





That's 100 words (or fewer) about contemporary gaming issues and topics from the brightest and the best (and the least-busy) of the gaming world's cognoscenti (aka 'the Ludorati', if you will; or, even, 'the Jeuxnoisseurs').



Why not click through and browse the WisdomNuggets from our Industry's toppermost and poppermost*:



*and me.
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Tue Feb 5, 2019 6:17 am
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Don't pooh-pooh the poo-poo

Anthony Boydell
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Despite there being a household FULL of people - mainly teenagers - it was left to me and Mrs B to do the bulk of the Sunday chores; actually, Mrs B wins the Progress Award by stripping all of the tiles out of the shower in preparation for this week's (well overdue) upstairs bathroom overhaul (also, I'm hoping that some more advance royalties will make it to the Boydell coffers this year to cover the follow-on bits and a long-promised kitchen re-furb too). With the dog be-muddied and breathless, the bins 'out' and the dishwasher stocked (and soapily-growling), I took myself to the Library room and set to my work unblocking London's drains:



Bazelgette, or - as I am increasingly thinking - "The Sewers of London" (to complete a Boydellian 'London Trilogy'), has evolved a little further by stocking the main action card replacement deck with unique 'special buildings' to offer placement bonuses and/or end-game scoring and moving the 'Events' to the District deck.

The idea is that each round sees the 'sewer flushing' being initiated from the 'current District (drawn from that deck) and a new action replacement with zero, one or more 'special buildings' made available to the players. Digging trenches and constructing/upgrading sewers to handle increased volumes of waste is the aim; a successfully 'flushed' District increases in population while a 'more poo than people' district could lose one or two Pop(ulation) depending on how overwhelmed it is.



Having added arrows for the allowed placement of sewers (they logically direct towards the rivers/the estuary), my self-managed three player game had players (me) directing their crap in to other players' (my) Districts to deal with! Should the population reach zero, the District succumbs to miasma and any player scoring marker is removed (each player starts with a number of home districts, drafted from the District deck during setup).

Resources were tight, the game flowed ok and I realised the special buildings were a little over-costed (and have now been adjusted), so that's a great start and a positive step forward; I think I'll do a couple more private run-thrus before exposing it to a first public playtest.

As always, watch this space for progress!
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Tue Jan 29, 2019 6:15 am
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It's all in the wrist

Anthony Boydell
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It's nowhere near April 1st so I must, therefore, assume that an advert I saw yesterday for Imperial Settlers: Roll & Write is a bona fide 'thing'.



My initial reaction was to cough up a nugget of my cheesy pasta bake, sauced in stomach acid and cheap red wine and - as I was wiping the unfortunate, 'in trajectory' guinea pig down with a stinky dishcloth - it got me to thinkin': do I have a roll-and-write game in me? And if I do, would they believe that I just sat on one accidentally when I report to Accident & Emergency?

The key requisites of a good* roll & write are
a) a number of dice (preferably 'custom', to appeal to the shallow spendhappy who feels that regular polyhedra are a lazy production-scrimping cut-back);
b) a generous pad of pre-printed papers OR a wipe-clean board;
c) a mechanism for applying ink/graphite to (b) for the purposes of game tracking and final scoring; and,
d) a decision as to whether the dice are 'shared' or 'personal'.

Aside: If you can possibly bot fly larva an existing Property then all the better; if you can 'kill' a similar R&W in the process too then that counts as a double win!

Locking myself in the library room with 'E.T. The Extra Terrestrial Soundtrack LP by John Williams & The London Philharmonic Orchestra' on permanent loop**, I stared out of the window at my neighbour's Sunburst Porch Light(TM) and mulled. The closest contenders in my cogitatory pensivication were Snowdonia (naturally, inevitably) and Guilds of London; my notebook sang to the frenetic scribble of my bulk-bought gel rollerball.

For Snowdonia, the tableau would represent a specific railway configuration - thus lending itself to a series of expansion pads in the future - with the die affording the usual Snoddish actions: Excavate, Resources, Track and Building. I'd quite like weather and events to play a part, still, so they could be GLOBAL-affecting dice (a different colour?) while the rest would be personal to the active player. I might throw in the option for all the other players to use one of the dice too, just to stop them from looking at their phones / complaining that "It's all at the whim of bones"/"Why didn't I roll a double Navvy, FFS!". Every notable game needs a tag line to remember, so how about: "Righting the Rails on the Rolling hills" or "Snow-dice-ia" or "Bandwagon-jumping cash-grab...in the Mountains of Wales"?

For Guilds of London, how about having the Guild tiles but a third of the size and with a wipe-clean surface; select a square of 9 at random. Players roll Meeple dice and Action dice and allocate the latter to the former, inking the appropriate squares and claiming the appropriate elements on their deluxe score pads. With their deluxe marker pens. There is, of course, a beautiful consequence of R&W-ing Guilds in that the dice absolutely HAVE to have iconography all over them: revenge at last, my pretties - the haters will suck it happily without even noticing! Finally, how about "London: City of Bones", "Cubes - not Dudes - on this Map" or "Party-crashing, market-saturating lucre-pump"?

I'd gotten this far when Mrs B and the older kids called me in to the Sitting Room for Saturday Night Film Club; this evening it was to be The Silence of the Lambs and it was about half-way through before I realised the movie was an elaborate metaphor for the genre: gross cannibalism and/or making a horrifying product out of the best bits of others. And bones.

*I use the word 'good' in the context of an industry-accepted metric of a games worth and NOT as an expression of my own delight in this woe-begotten genre of play.
**the side ends; I get up and flip the vinyl over; repeat
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Mon Jan 28, 2019 6:15 am
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Anthony Boydell
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The men who built the railways arrived with sound boots and got their shovels on credit; they were issued tickets, in payment for their work, which could be spent at the Tommy Shop or (more likely) on beer! As a ganger, or foreman, you are responsible for your own team of navvies as they travel through Mid and North Wales: digging the track beds, laying the rails, and occasionally helping a passenger or two along their way. Foothills lets you participate in grand-scale railway construction while paying attention to the small details; manage your navvies’ work carefully and you should be able to let them go to the Pub at the end of the day.







Just for fun, my current prototype uses actual Old British MoneyTM for scoring - ha'pennies (half), pennies (one), thruppenny bits (three) and sixpences (six):



Sizzlin' clean in Bicarbonate of Soda and White Vinegar.
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Ward Up

Anthony Boydell
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Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:50 am
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The Country Diary of An Edwardian Gentleman

Anthony Boydell
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As a very young lad - we're talking barely in to double figures - me and my brother and my sister (with the help of our Pa) pooled several weeks' pocket money and bought the above book for our Mum on the occasion of Mothering Sunday. It was the big-hitting tome of the time; everyone wanted a copy and you had to go and find a real bookshop to get one. It was a recreation of a typical Edwardian lady's scrapbook-cum-diary: delightful, pastel sketches of fauna and flora combined with twee quotes, poetry and 'thoughts'.

After I'd dragged my quill across the Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea contract - a couple of Spiels ago - we immediately had a discussion about the art style for the game and - serendipitously - both Hicham's and my vision collided at this 'journal' concept!*

Encouragingly, the last few days have seen Snowdonia proofs and, now, Alubari progress:



I'd show the latest board design too, only it's a HUGE file and I can't quite get it in to a reasonable BGG-posting size (and, besides, I'm still trying to massage the final composition); this will have to do for now.

Is there any other game designer who shares quite as much as I do?

*I am extremely grateful that I am afforded the chance to contribute to the final stages of a game's journey to market; it's not many publishers that would continue to indulge the mores of a designer once the ink has dried on the baseline version and the 'Go!' button has been pressed.
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Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:15 am
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