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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Strike a light!

Anthony Boydell
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Yesterday, everyone seemed to have found a reason either not to be in the Bristol office or to have left by 2PM. All my own meetings were done by lunch and - after writing up various minutes and arranging some upcoming workshops - I'd completely crossed-off my 'To Do List' and was eying the maple syrup biscuits hungrily. Despite the overall size of the team reducing, there still seem to be ample occasions for the decanting of cakes, sweet treats and pastries which - for someone like me under a (voluntary) nutritional regime - is a constant temptation: for example, this week a CRM release went in successfully and that resulted in enough Mr Kipling battenberg to sink the flippin' Bismarck. Anyway, the long and the short(bread) of it was that I left early.

Dursley is a market town in the hills between Bristol and Stroud and Gloucester and one I have not previously scoured for charity shop goodness; a quick clicketty-click on Google Streetmaps highlighted a couple of potential goldmines in the form of an Oxfam and a generic local hospice property. The latter was the first I stopped at and, lawks a-mercy, 'twas a veritable Tutankamun's tomb of delicious (and cheap!) treasures. In particular (ignoring the usual armful of railway tomes), my eclectic eye happened upon this 1946 First Edition oddity for just six of our earthly pounds:



I'm not sure that there is anything particularly useful for game designing purposes beyond, maybe, coming up with some games presented in a matchbox (which could be a lot of fun, of course: think Chris Handy's Pack O'Games line); no, indeed, it stands purely as a colourful and curious diversion. And I learned a new word too:

Phillumenism
the hobby of collecting different match-related items: matchboxes, matchbox labels, matchbooks, matchcovers, matchsafes, etc.

Oh and, if you want to turn your stomach a little, try looking up "Phossy Jaw" gulp
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Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:58 am
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Almost there (Stay on target!)...

Anthony Boydell
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Wed Mar 20, 2019 6:30 am
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Goals

Anthony Boydell
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You've got to have something to aim for, right? It's all very well playing around within a rule-space but there has to be a goal. I've been solo-ing Attention All Shipping every evening for the last couple of weeks and I'd initially set off with a deck of Navigation cards (bottom half of the pic below): the premise is that you must deliver at least one fish to each of the Ports on the card - for which you use your marker discs - and then you can cash it in for some extra money and, sometimes, a free upgrade to your boat.


(top) The random pairing goals of Port + Fish Order vs
(botton) A pre-determined route (and you get to choose what fish to deliver)


This has been working well enough but, after a dozen or so games, I've ended up spinning around-and-around the map in a single-minded pursuit of those Ports; it doesn't feel "tricky" enough (for the solo variant at least) because it doesn't matter what fish - though the regions do regard the value of the fish species differently ie. fish that can be caught locally are cheap, those from more exotic climes are expensive!

To spice things up, I made another mini-deck of objectives - one card for each sea area with the top fish caught in the area as an 'alt/flipped' end; the idea is to shuffle the deck then deal out some areas and then an equal number of cards - but inverted - to tuck under the top of the area card as the 'fish order' to be delivered. As well as getting the money for the fish, the player also gets a small cash (VP) bonus. I'm liking this idea more than the fixed 'Navigation' sets because a well-planning player could stack close deliveries and really knock them out!

Of course, this is entirely what play-testing is all about and these twin contract methods shall be an area of focus through next weekend's Leiriacon visit. As a matter of interest, though; what do you lot think?

Do you prefer the fixed sets OR the random fish/Port pairings?

Poll
Given the choice I'd rather get my goal satisfaction through:
a couple of cards with their own sets of Ports to visit; when I've visited them all I get a yummy bonus!
a set of randomly-drawn pairs of cards showing a sea area Port and a fish order that they have ordered; when delivered I get the usual cash plus a little extra on top.
      94 answers
Poll created by tonyboydell
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Sun Mar 10, 2019 7:30 am
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Yeah, baby; yeah!

Anthony Boydell
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Mon Mar 4, 2019 6:10 am
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Windy Pigs

Anthony Boydell
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At the generous invitation of the Batesons, I joined them for tea and playtesting at Lilliput (their domicile) after the (Wednes)day's work was done. Now that the Severn Bridges have removed their tolls, its a free ride across the river and up the Wye Valley - especially with a relaxed stop at Stella Books in Tintern, purveyors of many precious bibliotic treasures. With the bookshop behind me, I gazed out at the dreaming Wye and the Abbey and the sunset-over-the-cliffs:



A cup of tea and an all-hands-to-the-pumps lamination and cutting session followed my first proper multi-player (with separate, real players) game of Attention All Shipping:



Becky struggled a little with the movement mechanic - the most complex (and, yet, hopefully intuitive) part of the game - but managed a close second to my lighthouse-servicing, self-harming (happy to take a bit o'damage to the old 'tug' if I can get an extra halibut out of it!); we were playing in 'Easy' mode ie. four hold spaces for fish (and damage protection should things get blowy).



We played it all the way through in about 90 mins and it was very smooth indeed - that'll be the three weeks of relentless solo-ing paying off! The weather conditions escalated in all the right (ie. inconvenient) places as be bobbed, bounced and chugged our way around the British Isles. Boffo, when asked if he'd had fun, replied "I'm not sure" which - for him - may be a bit of a win for such an early prototype! Some tweaks were duly noted and some trims stored in the 'to be considered' tray (ie. for in the car on the journey home). I was very pleased indeed because I now feel I can take it Leiriacon for a more serious evaluation.

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In the interest of balance - and because it sounded like a proper treat - our last-minute manufacturing had set us up for a three player 'Happy Guinea Pigs': Boffo's 'the more, the merrier' simulation of G.P. life: huddling, squeaking, chasing, eating, mating, squeaking and sleeping!



Each player has a deck of cards for their Boar and their Sow and a hand for each drawn from them. Players are attempting to get up the pecking order (males), interfere with the other pigs' actions (chase) and general eat as much food from the Feeder as possible. Simultaneous-squeaking makes the humans refill the pot when it gets bare. And if you're lucky, you might get yourself a Baby Pig or two!



It was very raw - and the laminated components were a bit irritating - but the thing is not far off being a very respectable party filler at all! Between Foothills, this and Country Gents (qv), Boffo is turning in to the Herefordian Wolfgang Warsch. Or something.

It seemed churlish to leave without ticking another item off Boffo's H-40th Birthday list, so we played Citadels for three...and doesn't it work well (and is a lot of quick fun) with that number?



Despite being assassinated OR thieved OR both for the first four rounds, I managed to hog the Architect and build my way to a comfortable victory: all in under 30 minutes! I can see us flopping this one over the magic line in plenty of time if Wednesday night's speedy hoot was anything to go by.
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Fri Mar 1, 2019 6:50 am
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If You Want Something Doing Properly Then You've Got To Do It Yourself...

Anthony Boydell
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I was a little dismayed, upon viewing W.Eric Martin's preview snippet of Foothills at Nuremburg, because the presenter wasn't one of the development team and obviously knew almost-nothing about the game - or , at least, not enough to go beyond a partial Snowdonia connection and an incomplete explanation of how the awesome action card mechanism works! Foothills was recently-previewed (on a different vlog) as a coming attraction for 2019 and the presenter managed to completely-mangle the description to the point of unrecognisability as well!

"Enough!" I said to myself as I popped another sable grape in to my gob; "time to set the record straight". Before I begin, however, I must apologise for a couple of things ie.

a) the sharp cut-off at the end - my iPhone boinked an 'Out of Space' message; and,
b) the Portrait ratio - I held the iPhone in the correct landscape position throughout.

Anyway, I hope that this gives you the definitive picture of Ben's and my corker of a collaboration*:




*even if I do say so myself!
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Wed Feb 20, 2019 6:15 am
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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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Sat Feb 16, 2019 7:00 am
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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?
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No, really - you have to be SURE...
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Just checkin' one more time...
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Last chance, now...
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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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