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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embargo farrago

Anthony Boydell
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This tweet popped up in my browser and I immediately spat out a mouthful of tea: "embargo"?!

I am trying to visualize the circumstances in which our beloved Eric was fed this particular tidbit and then told he wasn't allowed to reveal details on pain of...well, on pain of WHAT? Never letting him get privileged info about a gaming product at a very well attended Public trade show ever again? Eh?! The guy from the Industry's most voluminous and influential media presence is gonna be shunned ad infinitum for bleating out details of "Codenames: Legacy" or the "Rising Sun iOS App" or "Pandemic: Flu Outbreak at the Old Folks Home"?! Get bloody real, you twats; you're not the effing NSA. Was he told this Gaming Extinction Level Event (GELE, pronounced 'Jelly') in front of other punters as part of the general publicity ie. is this info freely advertised at the Toy Fair BUT every single attendee is now under this %$@#! embargo? (unlikely) OR was he led in to a booth in the bowels of the Stand and shown this particular Fart Of The Covenant in secret? What the actual, low-calorie, vegetarian friendly, gluten-free FUCK do these publishers think they're doing? This is a shitnugget game/toy NOT the discovery of a new quantum particle or confirmation of communications from extra-terrestrial life!!! Still; it's a good thing these pills I've been taking are keeping me at a low anxiety level otherwise I might've really let rip.

Cunts.
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Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:30 am
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Stope the Trope!

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(ie. anything about having to "clear" purchases with 'the missus' in advance,
having to smuggle boxes in to the house secretly so your partner doesn't notice,
obfuscating Bank statement transactions and/or
'hilariously' being told off for having too many games etc)
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Wed Feb 7, 2018 6:40 am
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Song

Anthony Boydell
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Now the Minis in the stretch goals of the CMON big Kickstarter fuss are just going live
Now the Minis in the stretch goals of the CMON big Kickstarter fuss are just going live
Now the Minis in the stretch goals of the CMON big Kickstarter fuss are just going live
Now the Minis in the stretch goals of the CMON big Kickstarter fuss are just going live

Now the faces of the bases on the Minis in the stretch goals of the CMON big Kickstarter fuss are just going live
Now the faces of the bases on the Minis in the stretch goals of the CMON big Kickstarter fuss are just going live
Now the faces of the bases on the Minis in the stretch goals of the CMON big Kickstarter fuss are just going live
Now the faces of the bases on the Minis in the stretch goals of the CMON big Kickstarter fuss are just going live

Now the temps who put the stickers on the faces of the bases on the Minis in the stretch goals of the CMON big Kickstarter fuss are just going live
Now the temps who put the stickers on the faces of the bases on the Minis in the stretch goals of the CMON big Kickstarter fuss are just going live
Now the temps who put the stickers on the faces of the bases on the Minis in the stretch goals of the CMON big Kickstarter fuss are just going live
Now the temps who put the stickers on the faces of the bases on the Minis in the stretch goals of the CMON big Kickstarter fuss are just going live

Now the bloggers and YouTubers with their overwhelming hubris re: the temps who put the stickers on the faces of the bases on the Minis in the stretch goals of the CMON big Kickstarter fuss are just going live
Now the bloggers and YouTubers with their overwhelming hubris re: the temps who put the stickers on the faces of the bases on the Minis in the stretch goals of the CMON big Kickstarter fuss are just going live
Now the bloggers and YouTubers with their overwhelming hubris re: the temps who put the stickers on the faces of the bases on the Minis in the stretch goals of the CMON big Kickstarter fuss are just going live
Now the bloggers and YouTubers with their overwhelming hubris re: the temps who put the stickers on the faces of the bases on the Minis in the stretch goals of the CMON big Kickstarter fuss are just going live

So if you want to pledge your moolah thanks to Bloggers and Youtubers with their overwhelming hubris re: the temps who put the stickers on the faces of the bases on the Minis in the stretch goals of the CMON big Kickstarter fuss that’s just going live…

You’re too late! Because the campaign’s just closed!
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Sat Feb 3, 2018 6:30 am
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Fox News

Anthony Boydell
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Couriers? You gotta love 'em! With their chirpy smiles and wry whistles, they carry the very lifeblood of our hobby from door-to-door (OR from door-to-wheelie bin OR from door-to-neighbour-with-whom-one-has-fallen-out's door). If you're lucky, they won't have thrown it off a tower block just to record the impact as a text ringtone or driven a fork-lift truck over it because no-one was there on the Induction Training Course to teach the 'How To Use A Fork-Lift' module. Indeed, my favourite FB group has a regular post appear - every fortnight or so - that exhibits a fresh, new MyHermes' maltreatment of some unfortunate's hard-worked-for hotness.

To be honest, you're lucky if the bloody thing turns up at all; I mean, it took FIVE attempts to get a box of Counter magazines from Kent to my house and each time the website took the Tracking Number and told me it was 'In Transit to Main Depot' when I knew, for a fact, it was still in Derek's porch! And there's the depressing thought of some shady streak-of-piss driver half-inching a couple of those 'tasty lookin' boxes' only to find something nerdy and valueless (to him) within: "What the f*ck is Gloom-f*ckin'-Haven?!" and cue dumping the evidence in a quarry.

It was with a sigh of reassured pleasure, then, when my latest impulse purchase of The Fox in the Forest (just £20 incl. P&P) plopped on to the door-mat surrounded by proportionately as much packaging as an apple pip is surrounded by apple:



God Bless You, Karl! And better luck next time, Mr so-called Postman!
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Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:19 am
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Tick-Tock

Anthony Boydell
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A favourite hobby horse for gamers is to complain about the "accuracy" of the Playing Time, as printed on the side of a game box. Its an eternal game of True or False? where the informed experience of designers, developers and publishers - who have lived and breathed a product for (usually) some years - is pitted against the first evening's experience of complete strangers.



The traditional rubrik of X to Y mins which, of course (and it shouldn't have to be spelled out but...), is an indication of an AVERAGE playing time that takes in to account some experience of the game. Up until now, the world has seen fit to avoid the need to print an extra box labelled "Expected First Game Duration", as this would be more like a vast cosmological equation having to consider:

The intelligence of the group or, more specifically, the intelligence of the stupidest member of the group;

The preparation and/or explanatory skills of the teacher (loquacious vs succinct? coherent vs rambling? audible vs mute? etc);

The environment in which the game is being played ie. visibility (lighting, dense fog etc), background noise (intimacy vs Hen Party) and physical space

Player's susceptibility to over-analysing; and,

The level of general distractions eg. eating a meal at the same time, wandering pets / children and free Wi-Fi.

To expect a number on a box to exactly fit your personal circumstances comprised of many factors out of the control of the game is not just unreasonable, it's bone-headedly imbecilic.

Recently, publishers have started using the X per Player approach which is a smart about-turn as one's natural response is to think about the specifics of each intended player and adjust accordingly eg. Jobbers (a name pulled from the aether purely at random) likes to 'consider his moves more carefully than most', so we'll count him as 1.5 players instead.

In the end, publishers don't just roll a couple of d100s or pull raffle tickets from a hat; we think about these things carefully and honestly - any variance that YOU might suffer is your own fault and you should try a bit harder next time.
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Sun Jan 7, 2018 9:36 am
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Ludocide!

Anthony Boydell
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(Today's blog is brought to you from Shite Games and their new Party Game for Christmas: Just a Cotton-Pickin Minute! The Game of Half-Baked Arguments! In HBA, players draw subject cards and must speak on the side of that subject for 60 seconds while avoiding stringing together an even slightly-coherent/salient point; those that do can be 'buzzed out' and the subject taken over by the buzzer!)

We Are Murderers!



For a community that professes to be enthusiastic, appreciative, supportive and loyal, we are killing our hobby
zombie Dead! zombie

We’re killing games before we play them:

Hype Hypertension: The "I Am Not A Sheep" Excuse
"I'll be damned if I'm gonna jump on the bandwagon with everyone else; I'm a leader not a follower!".
The sheer nose-severing/face-spitedness of this buffoonish position is breath-taking; it's perfectly fine to be part of a wider community of appreciation. Stop being an elitist prick.

zombie Dead! zombie

Hype Hypertension: The Irritable Buyer Syndrome
The ubiquity of a game on Social Media/the Internets begins to grind your gears; it's everywhere and all of the time and you shall not stand for it.
Over-saturation can be a turn-off, yes, but – conversely - the howl of indignation is equally loud when great games are under-sold and become hard to get hold of; is there a happy medium? “No” is the quick, easy answer, so stop getting quite so ragged.

zombie Dead! zombie

Hype Hypertension: The Upside Down
If so many people are saying it's great then it must be, in fact, the opposite! This is because the rest of the community is on a singular mission to dupe their fellows and me, in particular!
We’ve all got a lot more on, to be honest.

zombie Dead! zombie

”I don't like the presentation/artwork/design aesthetic!”.
Liver casserole looks revolting but tastes like Heaven; {Insert Name of Miniature-Heavy Kickstarter GeekPorn Here} looks like a million dollars but is, in fact, a foetid pool of lumpen arse-gravy. And just because Aquasphere looks like a vomit splat doesn’t mean it’s nauseating (not when the mechanisms and processes themselves do that instead).

zombie Dead! zombie

*whine* *whinge* "They’re too expensive!" *grumble* *moan*
What you mean to say is “They cost more than I’m willing to pay”, which is a different thing entirely.

zombie Dead! zombie

"Wahh! Kickstarter is destroying the industry!"
No. It's. Not.

We’re killing games while we play them:

The rulebook is either too big, too small, too brief, too long-winded or just 'bad' (no further justification is given); the tsunami of 'rules clarification' threads on BGG is further evidence of a general malaise in game literature.
Opinions about rulebooks (and the thread issue) is, in fact, clear evidence of a growing laziness in gamers to read the paperwork in front of them and then blame anyone and everyone else when it all goes ‘tits’. It gets even worse when threads are started to clarify rules that were previously-clarified in other threads that, in turn, pointed to a perfectly clear section of the original rulebook.

zombie Dead! zombie

It's explained poorly and/or incompletely by your game teacher; we don’t play the game as designed and/or we just all play it wrong.
We should rely less on ‘teachers’ and do more research/background reading ourselves. Just because ‘Person X’ neglected to explain the Science rules in 7 Wonders doesn’t make 7 Wonders an appalling failure of a game (a purely-hypothetical example). Oh, and it's YOUR fault if you miss/miss-play/mis-read a rule and no-one elses PERIOD.

zombie Dead! zombie

I don't grasp the intentions/subtleties/mechanisms immediately (or at all); if I can't grok everything the first time around then, frankly, I must move on...
Not everything is – or should be – immediately apparent. A banquet is more delicious served in courses than in one, huge, table-groaning dump.

zombie Dead! zombie

I didn’t win the first play so I don't like it (for extra points add "It must be broken", "It's a game of total luck" and/or "The icons are unclear").
Grow the fuck up and stop sulking, you big baby.

zombie Dead! zombie

I have other things on my mind so I am not giving it my full attention.
Give it your full attention NEXT TIME...and that means accepting you are at fault (and not the game) and giving it a next time!

zombie Dead! zombie

We’re killing games AFTER we play them:

Great reviews of Terrible Games
(cue: the sound of cash tills a-ringin')

zombie Dead! zombie

Terrible reviews of Great Games
(see all the reasons above)

zombie Dead! zombie

Standalone unboxing videos
(?Why?)

zombie Dead! zombie

I Rest (In Peace) My Case.
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Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:46 am
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...and another thing...

Anthony Boydell
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Day Two of ‘scribbling difficulties’ and I find myself in a branch of Subway in Cardiff and assailed by a server who (it subsequently seems) has not had a good day so far:

Tony: (cheerily, despite low blood sugar) “A foot-long Italian Meatball sub with extra cheese on Italian Herb bread, please”

Assistant: (as if I’d called her a fat cow) “We don't have Italian Herb bread; we have Italian Bread OR Italian Herb & Cheese bread?”

Tony: “Er…herb and che-“

Assistant: “We don’t have Italian meatballs…”

Tony: (hungry and befuddled) “Um – you have meatballs though, right?”

Assistant: “Yes. But it’s called Meatball Marinara”

Tony: (thinks to himself)I’ve been coming to Subway for 15 years and it used to be called an “Italian Meatball Sub

Assistant: (fed up that this is taking so long ie. about three elapsed seconds) “So. Is it Meatball Marinara you want?”

Tony: “Yes please. With extra cheese, please.”

Assistant: (NOT adding the extra cheese) “Toasted?”

Tony: “Yes please. With extra cheese.”

(The assistant sighs audibly. I wander over to the drinks cabinet which is, confusingly, NOT by the counter but right next to the front door)

Cashier: (calling out) “Excuse me! Are you going to pay?”

Tony: “I’m just getting a drink – “

Cashier & Assistant: (simultaneously, angrily – after all this has now taken about 90 seconds) “Do you want any salad?!”

Tony: “Yes please.”

The sub is warm in my hands and my cheeks are flushed with embarrassment and a growing rage: corrected on my mis-speaking and accused of attempted thievery when all I wanted was a meat roll and a peach tea!

What the actual, strawberry-scented, reduced sugar, two-for-the-price-of-one fuck?!
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Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:07 pm
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Swirling in the Heavens

Anthony Boydell
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I was recently put on to a new podcast by, incestuously, a different podcast and it's been a bit of an addiction these last few weeks; just like when I first discovered 'Perfect Information' or 'Heavy Cardboard', I've been rootling through the iTunes archives and digesting as much as possible.

It's not board game-related but, instead, is a fiery and ferocious mix of politics, rage, improvisation, obituaries and raw emotion that carries you along with its eloquence, wit and zeal:



I suggest you start with the most recent episode ("Curries") and, perhaps, the one with the Jerry Lewis retrospective ("Deans"); it's very, VERY fine work indeed.
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Sun Oct 1, 2017 6:20 am
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Comical

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Saturday dawned clear (if not entirely bright) and I blearily shambled to the kitchen to make the wake-up drinks; the plan was for 'us boys' to nip in to Gloucester to visit Comic Con 2017 and then sweep up a quick visit to the Newent Onion Fayre on the return journey.

Stage One:
I parked up and (optimistically, it turned out) paid for the whole day then we walked across a busy late AM city centre to the Stadium venue. The 'Stadium' sounds very grand indeed but, in reality, GCC2017 comprised two thin 400yard conference-room corridors squashed with 100 or so vendors who - in an embarrassing retailer equivalent of turning up wearing the same dress as someone else at a cocktail party - all sold the same selection of TCGs, Alien figurines, Power Ranger/Doctor Who/Star Wars figures and superhero-themed paraphernalia. The occasional Walking Dead 'print' and several tables of artists hawking their wares provided the merest smear of variety but, overall, if you didn't like The Joker or Harley Quinn you were in for a massive disappointment. One might argue that the wide array of oversized pushchairs and people just stopping dead-in-their-tracks to block the thoroughfare lent an air of risk/danger but it's an argument that's gonna get you laughed out of the building. At least we could rely on that Comic Con staple: the Cosplayers! Yes, indeed, it seems that Dramione is all the rage in the region; that and Spiderman who, alarmingly, came in a variety of tall/short/thin/fat/adult/child/infant forms (often exciting multiple combinations from that list). I'll not dignify the squad of Imperial Stormtroopers with a mention: those effers are like rats...you're never more than six feet from a cosplayer dressed up as a bloody stormtrooper. C*nts.


(clockwise from top left) RT-B5 meets R2-D2; crystal clear vision; the obligatory Dalek; he is "Groot", apparently; a few short minutes before nausea, shouting and regret; Seymour has obliged the request for sustenance; a mint condition (and coloured) classic Rover (apropos of nothing, it's just a cool thing)


Arthur had a nice time (that's only because he found himself £25 worth of Transformer for £15) but the rest of it was a crowded, meat-odoured anti-climax. With all the fun of the event now firmly squeezed - and thirty quid out-of-pocket for 4 pasties and 4 drinks - we retrieved the car from it's pissaroma multi-storey and drove home.

Stage Two:
Warm sun on our backs, we wandered in to Newent to browse the streets filled with stalls; yes, it was pretty much an outdoors version of Comic Con but with considerably less 'Batman'. I managed to source some Candyfloss for Mrs B and promised my youngest a go on one of the fairground rides before nipping (smartly) home. Arthur choose 'The Extreme' (see pics) and we were subjected to a long, full five minutes of spinning, harness-straining upside-down suspension and eye-bleeding centripetal pressure before staggering back in to the milieu; as soon as we'd wobbled through the Exit gate, the Heavens opened with a crash and pissed a month's worth of rain on to the crowd in 5 minutes. It was hardly Harvey or Irma but, by the time we'd jogged to Casa Boydella, Arthur and I were both entirely soaked-and-shivering:


Wetter than an otter's pocket!


Thankfully, the day didn't end on that bedraggled note; we saw the evening in with hot chocolate and the breathtaking Kubo and the Two Strings - there was nothing comical about THAT.
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Mon Sep 11, 2017 6:15 am
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"If the crowd are behind you, you're facing the wrong way"

Anthony Boydell
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(the quote is from renowned UK comic Simon Munnery; also this post contains pomposity, ill-formed argument and wild generalization in the hope of creating a whirlwind of controversy)

There is much talk, nowadays, of innovation in gaming; the desire, so we are told, is for new and interesting departures from the norm - for the never-before-seen. The old ways are done with; we're in the 21st century and must cast aside childish things; designers should not seek the instant approval of our audience but, instead, confound and challenge them at every turn.



This is scalding horsewater of the yellowest hue because Pandemic Legacy is just Pandemic with permanent marker pens and a 1960s sci-fi plot; 'Exit' et al are just The Adventure Game in a box and anything with an App is Electronic Detective*.

We don't desire (or deserve) innovation, we only THINK we do when - in fact - we just want more of the same of what we know we like as quickly (and regularly) as possible thank you very much.

Familiar,
re-purposed,
re-visited,
re-worked and
re-booted are the true order of the day; everything else is aspirational, pseudo-intellectual hogwash.

Concept cars always look great and exciting but you can't get a week's shopping for a family of 7 in to one of them; this similarly applies to the "groundbreaking"/"revolutionary" Magic Maze - the box is too small, you see, and the condensation from the refrigerated goods always makes the cardboard soggy.

I seem to have wandered off the point, somewhat, so rage hard in the comments section then go about your business. Thanks.

*a friend and I wrote a version of this on his Dad's Commodore Pet 80 (in 1980, oddly), printed it all off and typed it in to the school's Pet 40. It never ran properly after that, so we just went on to the playing fields for 30-a-side football.
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Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:20 am
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