Me and one of my favourite ever Germans, Mr Ulrich Blennemann, chew the fat:
(Uli is very quiet - uncharacteristically - in this one)
Here's fun: how many times do I side-eye my live 'room next door' stream from Dominic Cummings?
I do miss my European friends so very much.
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
Archive for Ranting
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The sun was back out in glorious heat and light today: no grey clouds to separate us from a good ol' English globally-warmed Summer! I made use of a convenient break between meetings to drop off a stack of parcels and, as I drove through the town, it was like a regular, balmy Monday. Folks gathered in the shops, chatting outside the Library, kids huddled under the Market Place, an orderly - socially-distanced - queue for the Post Office and Mums returning from the Primary School drop-off; a queue for the bus and masked OAPs out for a stroll and a bottle of milk from the supermarket. To be completely honest, I'm not clear whether we're out of lockdown now or not - it's been over a week since I left the boundaries of Chez Boydell to do anything except take the dog for a walk in the empty fields.
Most children won't be going back to school until September but the zoos are open; the R-number is only just below 1 but the beaches are open. Tens of people are still dying each day - well, some number are because we don't get informed of the figures with any regularity anymore - but at least that statue of Winston Churchill is safe (feel free to piss over any Police memorials, though).
Black Lives Matter, unless you lived in Grenfell Towers or are part of the Windrush generation. If you're a farmer, or a fisherman, then you've got six months to retrain before the hammer comes down: chlorinated, hormone-soaked tariffs for everyone!
Every little bit of good that happens in the World is, almost immediately, obscured and/or belittled by the relentless imbecility of those who profess to serve us. Consider the United Kingdom: currently under the tutelage of a lolloping, tousle-haired whoopee cushion of liquid turds and his merry band of Beano horrors (all the clichés are here); it's like a sitcom but the laughter is canned because the audience is, in fact, dead. If I hear the phrase "doubling down on the lie" one more fucking time, I may scream and never stop.
For the Boydell household, the lockdown has seeded boredom, resentment, frustration, rage, emotional retreats and emotional outbursts; it's a bit like walking on eggshells...while they're still coming out of the chickens. There's nowhere for anyone to go, no-one to offer any help. Arthur barely holds interest in anything away from the XBox or YouTube and is just buffeted about in the wake of the older kids' outbursts; he has bags under his eyes, isn't eating or sleeping properly, misses his pals and is prone to sudden tears. I. fucking. hate. this. country.
I can't trust the news, so I retreat to gaming BUT a quick glance at boardgame Twitter and - Jesus in a tin-foil Mankini! - you're castigated for not believing enough in X or complicit in the persecution of Y or simply enabling the perpetuation of Z by your 'inaction': fucking hell, I've got quite enough to worry about within the curtilage of my property without being flamed-then-blocked for not being part of the foam-mouthed mob at every. fucking. sleight!
To distract myself, I watch videos of Magic: The Gathering booster packs being opened; of combo-decks being combotastic on MTG Arena; of ornate, wooden puzzles being solved by a man with heavily-tattooed hands; of movie trailers for films I can't go and see because the cinemas are closed; of theories behind HELLRAISER and the ALIEN franchise; of a bloke lathing tree-trunks in to marbles; of a fake BBC TV News presenter ranting at the ugliness of it all.
I designed a game where you're trying to successfully summon a Demon; why did I bother? There's plenty here already.
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In light of MrShep's recent blog post (HERE) revolving about this statement in the Repos manual for Just One -
- I, humbly*, present a free alternative in the spirit of 'Fuck you!' to the Great Legal Minds(TM)** who request this sort of unenforceable shite spoil everyone's day:
a. Give each player a sheet of paper and a writing implement; encourage players to write small enough to make the sheet last for the whole game in an attempt to be more environment-friendly.
b. Throw your copy/copies of Concept and Just One (and any other tiresome, derivative tat that Repos have spunked out in order to avoid taxation) in to the recycling (separate the cardboard from the plastic components according to the rules of your local authority).
c. Nominate a player as the GUESSER; the player seated to the left of the GUESSER is the NOMINATOR. All players should decide, at this point, how many 'lives' are allowed (I recommend three with six players, adding one for each two players beyond that) - you are ready to play!
Playing the game:
1. The NOMINATOR announces a Subject Category and then writes down an example of something in that category; it can be any category you like but it should be general enough to provide good choices eg. films, vegetable, books and so on.
2. The GUESSER closes their eyes and/or performs some other operation of obscuring (dependent upon visual/aural impairment etc). The NOMINATOR shows, in silence and ensuring the GUESSER is not privvy, their selected example.
3. All players - except the GUESSER 'excluded' - must write down a single word clue to the 'example'.
4. When all players have written their word, the NOMINATOR removes any duplicates from play ie. if there is more than one instance of a word, ALL instances of that word are removed. Plural and singular forms together count as duplicated.
5. The GUESSER returns to play and is shown the remaining, valid clue words and must guess the example of the selected category. If they are correct, the team scores one point; if they are incorrect, the round counts as the loss of one life - if there are no lives left, the game is over and proceed to checking for victory OTHERWISE repeat the round structure from step 1, with the NOMINATOR now becoming the GUESSER and the player to the left of the new GUESSER becoming the new NOMINATOR.
Checking for Victory:
If your final score, as a group, after all lives lost is greater than the number of players then you have WON! Huzzah! Record your winning margin ie. the score minus the number of players on a league table, if you like.
If your final score, as a group, is less than or equal to the number of players then you have LOST and should be thoroughly-ashamed of yourselves.
(c) 2020 Tony Boydell
Important note: do what the fuck you like with these rules.
I love you x
*not in the slightest bit
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...that this year's 'virtual cons' are going to be nothing more than a thousand variations on BGG's live Con streams?
I mean there's nothing wrong with showcasing new products etc but that's NOT a "virtual con", that's just doing the usual, seen-it-before media shilling. Take a step away from the enthusiastic re-branding / re-paint job we're being sold and GenCon 2020 is going to comprise the same variable quality of industry guests being gamely chivvied along by Beth, Eric and that bloke with the massive chin.
I have questions and I have doubts:
The Demo experience?
Obviously, the huge increase in interest for Tabletop Simulator/Tabletopia is a viable channel for exposure to the new hotnesses BUT how much of a cut of sales would these platforms want/force if they're being actively promoted as demo venues by the publishers?
The 'P'-word; the thing that we all adore ie. being rewarded for our being bothered to schlepp to the Halls with a card or a chit or a chewy sweet? I can see 'live giveaways', perhaps? But I hope they're all ready for the howling bleats of 'The Denied' because timezones preclude timely attendance.
Okay - this is much easier: scoff a couple of rancid chicken mcnuggets then throw 20 euros in to the bin.
Pitching One's Game(s)
Oh, and don't get me started - oops, you did - on the latest trend in arsewittery from the hipster game companies (or do we have to call them "Design Studios" now?): "Speed Pitching". Fuck you all with your smug, self-satisfied, self-important con-artistry. How fortunate we must feel that you deign to give up 2 minutes of your incalculably-valuable time to dwell with us mere mortals; how we be-shit our trousers at the undoubted privilege you afford us as you pretend you know what you're talking about - wheedling and judge-ing and criticising (but constructively and with sincerity, OBVIOUSLY?!) over Zoom, or whatever else lactose-free collaborative-platform is making you all jizz in your trendy undercrackers this week. Fuck you in to the Sea for reducing the hard work of designers to a series of patronising soundbites and platitudes; making a tawdry reality show out of our dreams. Fuck. You.
The Getting Drunk With Pals You've Not Seen For 12 Months
Impossible to reproduce.
Buying, buying and MORE buying?
If there's one "good" thing about no Spiel is that I'll save myself about 1000 euros of game purchases - even with the generosity of industry pals enabling me to get oodles of free stuff, I still adore trawling the lesser Halls for curios and rarities. Speculative purchases, too, are an 'in-person' thing and can't be cloned for virtuality.
We are being told of 'lots of things in store'; organisers are 'working on a full itinerary' and we're to expect 'surprises galore!' but I don't want empty promises, I want details and I want them now! You'll not get me hunched over my laptop - melting the motherboard with 12 hours of live streaming for four days - with non-specifics. If you know what you're doing then tell us; if you don't know, then shut up and tell us when you do.
I want my 2020 back, please; this isn't the year I signed up for.
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...that GenCon 2020 (due the last weekend of July) is remarkably tardy in finally declaring that it's been cancelled? This is so late to the fucking party that only empty Pringle's tubes and a tin of expired Fosters lager remain.
I mean, the UK Games Expo - led by a medical practitioner FFS - tried the hopelessly-optimistic postponing thing ten weeks ago then recognised the reality of their surroundings* a month-or-so back; Essen - distantly shining on the October horizon - gives up the ghost yesterday after consideration of Governmental advice. Coincidentally, conveniently - SHOCK and bastard HORROR! - the GenConMen suddenly decide, the next day, that it's 'up' for them too. Had they been a shared Autumn festival then - perhaps - I might cut them a little slack BUT hanging on Spiel's coat-tails (like they are forever doomed to do) in such a cynical fashion is, well, deeply cynical...or, again, is that just me?
I say "Boo-fucking-hoo!" to their reluctant, corporate bandwagoning; I smell regret, but isn't it just regret for the loss of buckets of cash? No-one's going to be trousering wads of green from a virtual Con - apart from fucking 'Zoom', obviously.
As for The Gathering of Chums in mid-November? Well, you'd think I'd be taking advice from MY Government but that would be a 'hard pass' from me; instead, I shall keep in touch with the most excellent Landlord of The King's Arms in Newent (the venue) and take my lead from him: he makes a mean beef-burger AND serves the best beer selection in the County - I trust him over the scarecrow-haired, Mr Blobby arse-wit...
*great Fishbone album
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Of course there have always been, are, and will be again, marketing campaigns that annoy because they trick you into thinking they're about something else eg. A 30-second montage of a gestating foetus - the miracle of life - only for it to cut to a baby asleep in a manger on the back seat of a fucking Audi OR that one where Coke invented Christmas:
tl;dw Hasbro have made some Monopolys with real money in them to give to clever "not boys" because they care about STEM and the-opposite-of-males a very lot much indeed - too much, if anything. Adding the 'Ms' to the name gives it the feminine touch, yes? And I expect the playing pieces are a die-cast Pram, a mini-Lipstick, a Tampon, a Pony and the gratefully-received Right to Vote.
In a Universe that really doesn't need another fucking Monopoly variant, this is Olympic-standard, patronising, smug, bandwagon-hopping, creepy, 'What a Good Girl! (pat on the head)' marketing dogshit.
The first reactions to the advert have ranged from "Burn it with fire!" to "Burn Hasbro, and every man who works there, with fire!" - a multitude of immolation metaphors resting in-between. Fair enough, folks; because you absolutely, positively know for certain that this sexist wank was thought up by a bloke...and he was probably hoping he'd get a Teen fuck out of the whole deal too, the cunt.
What we really need is a mass market board game that highlights - once and for all, replete with portrait minis - how Science and Art and Culture owe an overwhelming - and, as yet, unpaid - debt to Womankind; it should be given away for free to every school and it should bear no Branding whatsoever: something created just because it is right and informative and helpful.
We now return you to your regular programming...
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Today is not quite as good a day as other days.
The sun persists in its pre-Summer glow, the streets remain unclogged and - thankfully - our neighbour has resisted the urge to cycle through every damn one of his fucking power tools in the converted garage workshop; when he's not angle-grinding a trailer axle or moving his enormous stack of house bricks three feet to the left, he's encouraging his son to kick a football repeatedly against the back wall - what IS it with these people? Don't they ever want a moment's pissing peace?! Thus, silently - twittering avians in attendance - I sit with the window open and the laptop gently buzzing; fighting off the intermittent BGA and Yucata.de notifications by working.
The postman has been, but only delivered a Santander bank statement: no sign of the handful of due-by-now online purchases. In theory, I am saving quite the wedge of cash by not commuting but am in serious danger of frittering an equivalent away on anything with a painted box and scuffs pre-1950!
A ploughman's lunch has assuaged the munchies, followed by cake and fruit for pudding. My dietary regime - usually based around copious bowls of salad - has wandered away from true: cheese has reverted from an intoxicating treat to the norm - if fear for my trousers' wellbeing.
For the first time in a long while, I find myself restless; unsettled - bordering on bored - my gaze drifts around the library room and settles on nothing. I tried throwing a ball for the dog but he's in an odd mood too and pays no attention to where the thing lands, forcing me to traipse in to the undergrowth on his befuddled behalf.
My biorhythms have, evidently, troughed; my spiritual cycle has a puncture. This, too, shall pass.
I shall close with a minor rant because, despite polite requests to BGG moderation, no response - or solution - has been forthcoming. There is a gamer who has rated my games '1' with the slanderous statement "I won't support a designer who defends cultural appropriation in games.". He has refused to remove the text (I asked nicely):
I wrote a fulsome post explaining my thoughts and concerns around 'CAIG' (HERE) - to which this individual contributed (somewhat belligerently) - but what should I do now as he refuses to remove the offending statement and the mods won't intervene?
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