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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I don't want to change the world...

Anthony Boydell
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My looooong week of working away had almost come to it's end. It being a Thursday, I'd normally have been off down The Marches with a song in my heart and a pork pie on the passenger seat but, this time, it's the full Monday thru Friday for Uncle Tony *gasp*. The dilemma of where to eat (and what to fill the evening with) presented itself on the dot of four o'clock when the last trainee logged off the training system and left the training room; it was too late to start anything new and, besides, I had been barking new functionality and spinning practical exercises since 0900HRS: it was time to get the fudge out. My choice was to either fritter away another £20 on a cinema trip to see the preview screening of Blade Runner 2049 OR be a true gamer and trundle 15 miles South - on the A55 North Wales Expressway - to join the Snowdonia Dragons (West) at the Pontio Arts Centre in Bangor:

Bangor is the oldest city in Wales and one of the smallest cities in the UK. Bangor lies on the coast of North Wales near the Menai Strait which separates the island of Anglesey from the mainland. The origins of the city date back to the early 6th century.

I had an hour to spare and the Sun had come out - how could I not go for a wander?


Garth Pier is the second longest pier in Wales, and the ninth longest in the British Isles, at 1,500 feet (460 m) in length. It was opened in 1893 and was a promenade pier, for the amusement of holiday-makers who could stroll among the pinnacle-roofed kiosks.


The Pontio Art Centre is all shiny perspex and angular carpets; it's also an off-shoot of the city's University and was buzzing with end-of-the-day students walking about in their so-called "trousers" and sipping their Soy Chai Lattes in an ironic way. I scurried to the lift, head-down lest one of them speak to me, and found the fifth floor café space that hosted the Dragon's meet-up. We were joined, for a prompt 6PM start, by Ed and Aaron and Tim and Tim and Rob and Alan and David (not Daffydd) and got stuck in to a raucous 6 nimmt! (see below); oddly, for me, I played an absolute fucking BLINDER and ended up with my last card scoring one piffling penalty point to take the win!

Eight is a magic number, so we split immediately the Nimmt! cards were back in their box for St Petersburg (them) and Rails of New England: me, Aaron, Tim (not that one, the other one) and David (not...well, you get the idea).



In summary: card drafting and money-spending to build connections in a Power Grid manner across a detailed map of New England; historical Events and Depressions/Prosperity interact with your economic engines like the Cubes and Weather in Snowdonia. Additionally, players compete for income-generating Mail Contracts, end-to-end long routes and 'State Subsidies' - the latter are cute VP wrinkles based on historic details like tunnels, riverboat routes etc.

It took us the better part of two and a half hours to puff through 14 rounds of play and it was a lot of pseudo 18XX-y fun - how could I NOT enjoy a 'proper' railway game? - but my knack with the d10 provided an extraordinarily-prosperous, money-rich session. At one point, Aaron called Tim - the other one - over to lament the general lack of poverty and loan stress. 'Our' Tim managed to squeak a $12 win over David (despite me playing all the 'Take That!' actions against him and hate-drafting his businesses), with me $49 behind and Aaron as far back again; we sort-of managed to run out of meaningful things to do in the last couple of rounds thanks to the vigorous fountain of cash coming our ways. It was still a satisfying experience, though.

We closed with a random table pick: Toledo 1085:



In summary: a set-collection affair with a Fzzzt!-feel ie. plenty of auctions along a sequential line of 'Lots'. There are four 'sets' to collect and the first player to collect at least 10 points worth in each set triggers the end-game. Money - we all start with the same fixed amount divvied out each round - comes in three types: vellum, Silver and Gold.

We misinterpreted the bidding as functioning like a kind of priority system ie. Vellum-only bids are trumped by a Silver-based bid (silver or silver plus vellum) and Silver-based bids are trumped by Gold-based bids (Gold or Gold plus other stuff etc). This made things very interesting but fell apart at the end when I'd managed to haul a load of coin-converter cards (promotes one type to the next one up) and was promptly able to easily win every card I wanted. It turns out the fan-produced translation of the original French rulebook, printed in 4 point font, contained an alternative explanation of the money in a random annex/paragraph which we discovered only at the end when looking for the final scoring rules ie. it was actually a mundane 4V = 1S / 4S = 1G mathematics arse-ache. The artwork and presentation are lovely, though.

Studious types were still gazing, pensively, in to their Macbooks in the 'Social Engineering Suite' as I scurried back to the car; it's a hard life being in your early twenties, they take everything so seriously!


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Fri Oct 6, 2017 6:45 am
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The Joy of a Toy

Anthony Boydell
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zombie

This is what the end of the world looks like:


A bleak, drizzling dusk on a broken shell-strewn beach; the salt/fish stench of rotting bivalves and the brown sea roaring and slapping against the sand. I was the only person for 500m in either direction; I wouldn't have been surprised if Viggo Mortensen had emerged from the myopic horizon pushing a shopping trolley of detritus with a child by his side. Hand-to-mouth, hand-to-mouth; the do-it-myself sandwich supper and the thousand yard stare through the rain-soaked windscreen. The waves break and the wind rocks the car; I am running the engine to keep warm but it will be much, much warmer inside The Beach House.


laugh

This is what happiness looks like:


Good folk sharing the simple joy of being together to play board games; look in to our eyes and see how they shine!

blush

This is what A Buggers' Muddle looks like:



The 10 minutes to get seated and the 10 minutes of looking up Leader abilities and the constant drafting/playing out of sync and the questions interrupted by other questions and the answers crossing in mid-air to end up in the wrong ears and the fiasco of the three-tries final totalling.

This is what a glorious evening looks like.

What a glorious evening.

A glorious evening.

Glorious.

Us.
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Thu Oct 5, 2017 6:50 am
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Dragondaze are here again

Anthony Boydell
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Hardly on the scale of an Essen Spiel or a UK Games Expo, South (Welsh) Wales' DragonDaze (http://dragondaze.com/) is a pocket-sized micro-con held in the chlorine-tanged environs of The Newport Centre: with flexible conference facilities, a music stage and a (mainly) family swimming pool with flume, wave machine and a fitness suite attached. The Saturday morning shoppers were out in force but seemed determinedly-focused on only one of the two main town centre car parks; this allowed Arthur and I to breeze in to 'the Kingsway', which has been in Newport as long as I have been alive, pretty much - I have lens-fogged memories of being in Arthur's age in the passenger seat of my Father's MGB GT or his Triumph Spitfire or his Vauxhall Viva or his Mini Clubman or his...well, he had a LOT of cars in the 1970s.

Arthur got in for free, so it was just £7.50 'on the door' and narrowly-avoiding ending up in the changing rooms, we navigated to the Main Hall:


From L to R: The esteemed venue; the meet 'n greet stewardess scares the living sh*t out of every child that enters; the view from one side and the (blurred) view from the other.


It was pleasant buzzing and there was plenty of variety to be enjoyed: foamy LARP gear, dice, miniatures, tee-shirts, comics, jewellery, an Esdevium-run demo square and a sprinkling of board games and board game prototypes. There was no chance of missing Bez (see below); Bez was dressed in bright red and her enormous pointy beard swung about in a graceful arc every time she turned her head. In a Bind has been picked up and given a much wider release (including a 10 minute spot on a French TV-based magazine show) so me and the lad joined a forlorn-looking punter to show off this ridiculous plastic-sheetless version of Twister:


Getting in a bit of a twist with Yogi (note that Bez can't keep still for even a microsecond!) and Arthur, proudly, finds one of his Dad's games in the free-play Library!


Of more pressing interest - because he and his models were eye-distractingly adjacent to Bez's contortionist lair (and hair) - was David J. Mortimer and his new pre-KS miniatures project. It's a combat game with 3D models that you buy the templates for and, thus, can then reproduce to your heart's delight; the system is straight-forward so that even I had a rough idea of what was going on:


Ironclads: Space Battles in the Victorian Aether: Rules and 3D printer templates coming to a KS near you very soon.


Arthur got off to a literal flier by special action-ing his entire fleet, across the length of the Sector, to lurk right outside my figurative front-door! Much ramming, blasting and asteroid-avoiding ensued in what was an ugly conflict; we were both rather too 'gung-ho' to be in charge of military hardware, littering the Po-Tay-Toh System with torn Victorian steel. Arthur managed to puncture my last remaining hull to take the victory; 'twas a hollow one, however, because my die-rolling was abominable. That's MY excuse and I am sticking by it (David? You were there...speak up for me!).

Arthur's RADAR led us to 'Find of the Day' in the form of this grandly-illustrated 1984 curio for just a pocket-money dispensing £5:


We trekked once more around the room to see if we'd missed 'owt (mind you, I'm not going to buy anything 'big-boxy' this close to Spiel) and nipped up to the boardgamer's free-play area for a mooch (see above); we managed a quick try-out of Rainbow Rage but aching feet and the urgent call of sweets called us homeward. Same again next year? I hope so.
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Mon Oct 2, 2017 6:14 am
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Life's a beach and then you (roll a) die

Anthony Boydell
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I'm working away in the Northern reaches of Wales while its still Summer in the UK and a traditional Tuesday evening is gaming-free; instead it is reserved for a cinema trip, supper and a walk of some kind. This week, having lost myself in the visual tsunami of Unicorn vomit that is Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets* and possessed of a belly full of all-you-can-eat toffee beef with noodles and with temperatures in the sticky mid-20s (scorching for the UK), I wandered across -and-along the tide-out Llandudno beach; I say 'beach', but it's really more of a rock-strewn graveyard of jellyfish corpses and torn aluminium drinks cans. The tide was turning, however, so I creaked to the end of a lonely jetty and contemplated the bleak view of the Irish Sea:


(from L to R): Scruffy shores; a scruffy selfie; some scintillating souvenir shops and a sad, sobering seascape.


An excess of salt in the air, and in my buffet supper, had given me a rabid thirst so I retreated to the B&B with armfuls of cheap squash from the supermarket and sweated myself to sleep. Wednesday dawned as warm but, thanks to the clear blue, nowhere near as humid; thus, for the rest of the day, would it remain and made my usual drive over to Prestatyn a windows-down/face-breezy delight. Two days and two distinctly-different seaside experiences:


(clockwise from top L): A soft (if sweary) strand; a starving seagull sprog; a satisfied sunny shoreline selfie and some splendid sandcastles.


Having clambered across the be-barnacled sea-break boulders, pretending I was leaping precarious ravines and scaling Himalayan heights like I did when I was a nipper, I found regular Prestatyn club-attendee Ed perched on a bench and fart-arsing about with his iPhone trying to log in to BGG. We chatted for a short while then made our way to the Pub for our raison d'être ici:

Just the five of us and Ed, being the nominated Chooser Of The Week, chose Istanbul; this is a game I have managed to avoid playing and/or seeing played up until now, so it was eyes down for some Yokohama-inspiring dobber-chaining, resource collection and ruby exchanging. Disconcertingly, Ed was four rubies up while the rest of us were still on one apiece but - sportingly - he let us all catch up a bit before nailing the last one (we played with the Coffee expansion which extends the winning line from 5 to 6, apparently) for an insta-win.



To finish, with a realistic maximum of 90 minutes remaining, we all agreed to try some speed Scythe; everyone knows it very well, so we managed a tussle-filled session with even a few minutes to spare! The haste compromised our decision-making somewhat - as you'd expect - but it was a fine old time had by all and the scores were all daftly-close at the reckoning**.

Life is, indeed, a beach and then you (roll a) die.

*I really enjoyed its bonkers visual storytelling and ambition; then again, I'm big fan of Moebius, The Incal and The Fifth Element so it is no surprise.
**Apart from Jeremy who, true to form, ran out of steam and figuratively face-planted once again.
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Thu Aug 24, 2017 6:50 am
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Minnellium 2000!

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Click [Play] and...




It hardly seems like three years since I crossed the magic 1000 posts line only, now, to find myself - chest thrust out against the shiny tape - pressing home the 2000! Only one other BGG blog has been this way before me and that's Eric's BGG News which had a head start, to be fair (but I'm catching him albeit very slowly).

Qn. Is there anyone who's been with me since the beginning*

I've laughed, cried, ranted, travelogued, designed (and designer diary-ed), japed, "session reported", surreal-ed, rumoured and generally muscled my way in to your mornings (or your last thing at nights) since 2011 and yet I still can't get any love from The Geek Weekly! I get (much) love from you folks, though, and that's the (second) best kind of Love of all.

Qn. Why don't people thumb humorous posts with Polls/Quizzes in?



Just like when its one's birthday on a work day, it is I who have brought along some treats!

First up, for those of you who are still having - or who just got the game and are about to have - problems with Guilds of London's iconography, I've done a couple of helpful markup sheets. Simply print on to A4 sized labels, cut out and then affix to the bottom of each card before sheathing in the branded sleeve of your choice:




(If my GoL expansion ever sees the light of day, I'll be sure and get these done on transparent, sticky plastic)




Qn. What is your favourite post evva?

Secondly, I have been awfully selfish in my persistent banging on about "having a shed" (and the need thereof/therein/wheretofore), so I've made some up for Snowdonia and they come in a variety of first-come first-served flavours:


Costs are varying (there is no defined order, just choose the one you want). Your 3rd worker costs 1 coal, but if you pay an extra coal you get your 3rd worker AND you may take a contract card from the selection - if you do take a card, replace it immediately from the top of the deck. During train maintenance you must discard a contract card you possess or lose the train Shed.




Finally, here's a special edition from Boydell's FLGS:

Quote:

(we are in a FLGS; you can tell because it smells of stale farts and pizza dough even though you’re just reading a description of it on-screen. There are a variety of new releases in the display window along with a sign that says: “Don’t ask because we don’t have: Gloomhaven, any 7 Wonders Dual promos, that game with the ‘tits’ in).”. The cashier is stood behind the counter trying to release his hand from the counter-top, to which it has been stapled)

Doorbell: Ding-dong-dong-ding. Dong-ding-ding-dong.

Customer: (brushing dry leaves from his shoulders) Good afternoon.

Cashier: (looking up; covers stuck hand with a tea-towel) Ah, yes. Good afternoon, Sir! Can I help at all?

Customer: (chuckling, he takes a piece of folded paper from his breast pocket and opens it) Yes, indeed; I very much hope so! Do you have...Whorer Et Labora?

Cashier: Do you mean Ora Et Labora...by Uwe Rosenberg?

Customer: No, I mean Whorer Et Labora by Duvet Rosenbonk. It's about building and running a place of ill-repute.

Cashier: We haven't got any games by Duvet Rosenbonk

Customer: It's about placing your workers in to empty action slots...mostly.

Cashier: That's as may be, sir, but we don't have it.

Customer: You must have heard of Fields of Arse?

Cashier: No, sir.

Customer: A Fist for Odin? (the cashier glares at the customer) - I see. How about games by Richard Breese?

Cashier: Why, yes, we DO have games by him.

Customer: Deflower?

Cashier: Key-flower, sir.

Customer: No, Deflower. Or Inhabit My Berth?

Cashier: (confused) How are you spelling "Breese", sir?

Customer: B - R - I - E - F - S. The 'F' is silent.

Cashier: (annoyed) Of course it is.

Customer: (looks at list again) I'll try another des-

Cashier: (catching on) Before you ask, "sir", we don't have any games by "Stiff 'un" Feld or Anal R. Moon or Ign-arse-y Trevijerk or Reiner Ker-tits-ia or Alexander Fister or Phil Wanker-Harding or -

Customer: (interrupting) Eric Wang?

Cashier: (fed up) No, sir; and now I am going to have to ask you to leave -

(the cashier tries to walk around the counter but his hand his still stuck to the countertop; he tugs extra hard and the hand is freed - the staple pings off and hits the doorbell)

Doorbell: ting!

Customer: Wait! Wait, I want to buy -

Cashier: (hustling the customer toward the door) Out!

Customer: Tony Boydell?

Cashier: What? (he pauses his pushing)

Customer: Tony Boydell - do you have any games by Tony Boydell?

Cashier: Not "Boney Toydell"? Not "Tony Bordello"?

Customer: No.

Cashier: (dusts himself off; notices there is a huge hole in the middle of his staple-less hand) Er...well I've got a copy of (reaches down to pick something up and shows it to the customer) this?


PAUSE

Question: What game did he show the customer?**





So, there you have it: two bloody thousand posts***.

-phew-

Can I stop yet?

*excluding anyone who has died or been imprisoned, naturally.
**there shall be a prize for the best answer
***Of course, I'm expecting peeps to thumb the 'flip' out of this post!
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Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:05 am
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That's The Way (Ah-ha, Ah-ha) I Lake It

Anthony Boydell
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The sun has been kind enough to attend my visit to North Wales and it's been a pleasure to tootle about in the evenings in shorts-and-teeshirt. It had hotted up noticeably as I rolled the windows down (and the Touran out of the car park) so I was definitely going home via a scenic route but which one? It's a soul-shimmering joy to follow the A55 along the Menai Strait with the terraces and textures of the hillside quarries and that processing station - on top of the mountain outside Penmaenmawr - that looks like an Arakis Spice Harvester! The eclectic and entirely-superb Baby Driver soundtrack was thumping and grooving and ballading at the Holyhead junction so I mentally-flipped a coin and beetled onward, now joining the (old) A5 to Bethesda and Betwys-y-coed along the Ogwen Valley.

I'd bought a sandwich and bottle of fizzy pop in the village, so decided to stop and have a Tony-only picnic on the shore of Llyn Ogwen (llyn = lake); the car park had a fancy stile, so - before going for (another) impromptu paddle - I took my chicken & lincolnshire sausage cob up the combination rocky path / mountain stream:








Up, up and away off in the distance is the summit of Glyder Fawr (1000m, the 5th highest peak in Wales) and this is at the top:



(no - I didn't walk it!)


While perched on an sturdy outcrop, I watched enviously as several motorbikes roared along the deserted road; by God it must've been wonderful to be leaning and rolling along the clean tarmac. Ah, but I couldn't stay up there forever...


Sweaty work, that climbin' bizniz, so a chance to cool off.


The rest of the journey was familiarly-gorgeous as per until I got to Craven Arms (north of Ludlow, on the 'Marches') where a 40 mile diversion was in place due to level crossing works at Onibury. I stopped for another drink and a browse in a favourite charity bookshop...and it was well worth it:


"To you, guv? A rahnd five quid fer dallot!". Sold to the man with the beard and the hat.


Not only did I get more reading matter / railway goodness but a kindly lady came out of the stock room to tell me of a devious country lane shortcut to Ludlow that saved me half-an-hour: the glorious day was a gift that just kept on giving!
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Fri Jul 7, 2017 10:53 am
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Mechs on the Beach

Anthony Boydell
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Ultimately I am a man of routine and will likely end up, foetally-positioned, behind a photocopier, should I divert from the well-worn paths that I know. To this end, a "Wednesday" whilst working away in North Wales must always involve an evening of games in Prestatyn presaged by a trip to Marks & Spencer for a build-it-myself sandwich roll supper; parking up on the seafront is the safety-blanketing full stop. Ed, regular Promethean, was wandering along the promenade and had already clocked up 7 miles (Rhyl was involved) by the time I'd burped down a paté and strong chedder bap and ambled on to the sands:


(from L to R) Ensis arcuatus, fahzans offem, litter the beach; casting all caution to the wind, I went for a paddle.


The sea was surprisingly warm, the skies wisped with vague cloud and the windmills blinked in the reflected sunlight; you could even see the oil platform way out in the Irish Sea which, Ed assured me, was unusual indeed. Still, there are only so many pretty shells to divert one's attention and it was soon time to make our way to The Beach House.

We were a satisfyingly-divisible seven this evening so, with me being conferred honorary chooser status by the gentlemanly Mark (below, bottom-left) - and Jeremy having taken the trouble to lug it along - I plumped for the splendid, wonderful, captivating and addictive Scythe. Thus, me and Jeremy and Daffydd and Yvonne gathered around the red Pool table for Stegmaieric shenanigans whilst Paul and Ed and Mark did something with a Viking game somebody was slagging off in the latest Spielbox (edit:Vikings on Board).



Jeremy was trying a visitor from afar whilst I was Mr Shortcut-to-the-Factory which I exploited very early doors and ended up cashing one of my hidden objectives by (my) turn six; relentlessly, I also built mechs and sent my Leader off to hoover up Encounters. In an odd twist, I 'gained' a worker ('Olga') at the other end of the board and - because she was discovered by my Leader - had no way of getting across the river to join her (new) fellow citizens; the Leader duly buggered off, drawn by the promise of more Encounters, leaving her in solitary confinement! A couple of village production actions later, however, and Olga plus family built themselves a riverwalking mech and made a bee-line for the Factory via a couple of brutally-successful fights with Jeremy and Daffydd along the way! Yvonne, to my immediate right, shot up both the Power and Popularity tracks having set up a lucrative bouncy production/bolster/build combo and even though she'd only placed 4 stars when I triggered the STOP with my 6th, she was 5 points ahead in the final reckoning: 73-68-38-29. Another absolute corker made even more delightful by the quirky narrative of Olga's personal (violent) journey: Scythe got up-close and personal tonight!

There was still 75 minutes of good eatin' to be had from this buffet of gaming comestibles, so Yvonne and Paul and I took ourselves to the dark corner for some Grand Austria Hotel.



Pretty darn perfect with three, the new-to-it Paul struggled to build any momentum and was left - lapped - behind. Yvonne ploughed ahead with some VP-awarding staff and guests to challenge my three-for-three fifteen point bonuses on the Politics cards but it wasn't enough and - satisfyingly and justly - I managed to eke out a four point win: revenge for the Scythe 'pipping' served cold (like the slices of sweaty cheese that provided a delicious snack on the dark trundle back to Llandudno).
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Thu Jul 6, 2017 6:30 am
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Narrow Gauge/Wide Smile

Anthony Boydell
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The debacle of Wednesday's opaque vapour was replaced, the following morning, by a hot clarity that promised - once the usual employment duties had been dispatched - a lovely drive home. As I scoffed my breakfast poached eggs on toast, I gazed meditatively through the window at the dawning Llandudno:



It said '28.5 degrees' in the Touran as I tortured the air-con and rolled up to that big A55 Llandudno Junction roundabout; as ever, the exit I chose would determine the quality of my journey: quick and boringly-backdropped or long but a Gin-and-Tonic for the eyeballs. I, naturally, given the hotness and gorgeousness of the day, chose the latter.

Through the Conwy tunnel and along the coast road to the Menai Strait and left, in to the mountains, headed for Betwys-y-coed. Approaching Corwen, I eschewed the usual Llangollen option and spun right on to the road to Bala - a cheeky little lakeside town that leads in to the Martian landscapes of Montgomeryshire (and the Tanat Valley) but NOT before skirting adjacent to a heritage railway; 'heritage railway', you say? Don't mind if I do...

The Bala Lake Railway (Welsh: Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid) is a narrow gauge railway along the southern shore of Bala Lake in Gwynedd, North Wales. The line, which is 4 1⁄2 miles (7.2 km) long, is built on a section of the former standard gauge Ruabon - Barmouth GWR route that closed in 1965. The Bala Lake Railway, which runs on 2 ft (610 mm)-gauge preserved rolling stock, is a member of the Great Little Trains of Wales.

I parked next to a cove on the cobalt-blue of the inviting lake and wandered through a field of sheep to Bala station; well, I say 'station' but it was more like a nicely-mown lawn with a ramblers' bridge over the narrow track! There was much chuffing-and-huffing (not unlike Ross-on-Wye's Boffo when introduced to something 'cult of the new') as the crew - two oily-faced volunteers and the conductor - prepared for the 2PM trip.

Here's a lovely short video of the engine 'coupling' that I took (please note the fat amateur finger intrusion):





The driver told me there was a café at the terminus, so I bade him a cheery "See you at the other end!" and followed the back road to Llanuwchllyn...


...via Llangower


It was particularly delightful to follow this route because the Bala Lake Railway features as one of the nine lines available in my (and Boffo's) prototype 2-player Snowdonia spin-off: Foothills:


On paper and in real-life!


With a Walls Feast deteriorating rapidly in the scorching PM blaze, I wandered along the platform in time to see the train rolling in from the heat-hazey horizon:





The driver recognised me (after all, it had only been 30 minutes or so) and waved as they hissed to a halt and the small, but smiling, passenger manifest disembarked directly in to the Tea Shop for fizzy drinks, tea and cake!

Alas, Time's winged chariot coughed gently in my ear and I resumed my beetling across the wilds once more; approaching Shrewsbury - via the village of Llynclys - I noted a tiny sign for "The Cambrian Railway Museum", FFS! Not this trip however, my friends; gotta keep something in the back pocket for the next one.
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Sat May 27, 2017 6:35 am
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Breezy Rhaeadr

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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I thought my car had splendid air conditioning but, as I wended my post-employment, dazzled-eyed way toward Prestatyn in a refreshingly-cool cloud, a bloody great tractor pulled out in front of me and bounced along (on its fat wheels) with its trailerload of shit scattering in all directions:



While it is easy enough to 'throttle back' to avoid windscreen splatter, what was suddenly-intolerable was the gagging stench of dung: dear Christmas, the smell! Once in the clear, I opened all the windows and gusted the sickly odour away though (psychosomatically) the ghost of a whiff remained. A brief walk before supper would help clear the passages, so I diverted to the Dyserth Waterfall (about 3 miles from Prestatyn):


Rainbows and a refreshing mist.



The view across Colwyn Bay from the top of the waterfall.


As is now my routine, I took my comestibles to the Beach and sat in the car park listening to podcasts. The tide was just on the turn, long and foamy waves crashing against the promenade steps, so I'd just have time for a sandy amble before games too. Being a creature of habit meant that Ed, from the club, knew where to find me at such an hour, pulled up beside the Touran and waved; we chatted over a bramley apple turnover (I had a spare to share) then coated up for a quick walk: shells, seaweed and sunshine.



As for the actual games? Well, Yvonne and Ed and me played through A Nice Cup of Tea and then La Granja while 'the boys' (Jeremy, Mark and Daffydd) did marauder-related things with (J's exquisitely self-painted) Blood Rage. We certainly had fun: me getting a thumping 'no train' win in ANCoT (its all about those chai-boosted actions, folks!) and then Yvonne pipping me by the infamous 'single-point' in La G (71-70-57).



My North Walesian, Spring holiday has now come to an end; no doubt I will be back but, probably, not before the UK Games Expo has come-and-gone. Its been an absolute joy gaming with such generous and genial folk: "Thanks, guys! See you soon!"
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Thu May 4, 2017 6:45 am
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Jean Genial

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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*phew* Another week bites the dust.

Finally able to extricate myself from the attentions of nervous and needy staff, I pulled away from the Llandudno office and - at the 'big roundabout' - decided that today (Thursday) I'd go straight on down the A5 through Llangollen. It's a green and pleasant route that's mercifully quiet this time of year and, about halfway along, rumbles past the Rhug Estate:

Quote:
Rhug Estate, Corwen in Denbighshire is the main estate and home of Lord Newborough. The present house was built in 1799 and extended by Charles Henry Wynn when he reached 21 years of age when he became absolute owner. In 1911, Rhug Hall had 60 rooms with 14 servants living in. The present Lord Newborough, the 8th Baron inherited the estate on the death of his father who, by all accounts, was a rather eccentric character: a Boy's Own war hero who made five trips to evacuate troops from Dunkirk, blew up the German docks at St. Nazaire and ended up in Colditz! After the war he returned to farming; he died in Istanbul in 1998 and his ashes were shot out of an 18th-century cannon.


I mention this in passing because, through my paternal line, Lord Newborough is a distant cousin (!); I am related to a country nob and no mistake*. Thus, stopping off at the Estate is really just a 'family visit', isn't it?

The Estate, as you would expect given the way British history works, has it's own Chapel and - with cramping calves - I pulled in to the grounds for a leg-stretching nosey. The Chapel is now maintained by Cadw, the Welsh Government's historic environmental service, and for the princely sum of £4 I was granted admission:


From the outside, it's small and tidy and unremarkable...



...but on the inside...



...the roof is incredible...



...the panels on the walls, all unique, are sublime...



...the paintings...



...the ceiling panels...



...and the Angels!


I was the only person on the site apart from 'Jean', the Liverpudlian receptionist, who nipped off - as soon as I'd paid - to the Vestry for a warmed-up chicken tikka masala. When I'd soaked my eyes to saturation with the ornate, medieval beauty (see above) I returned to the gift shop whereupon 'Jean' started a conversation that looked like it would never stop! Hardly able to get a word in edgeways, 'Jean' narrated her life story to my polite nods and 'hur-hum's; the poor flower, trapped eight hours a day in a silent pre-Seasonal tourist attraction, was evidently starved of human interaction...and she wasn't letting me go without a (verbal) fight!

Eventually, with still a good three hours of travelling ahead of me, I took my leave and bade this genial prisoner farewell. Looking back on the photos, there are many worse places to be stuck in for one's job! Rhug Chapel is a real gem.

*awaits inevitable Boffonian/enoonian interjection
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Fri Apr 28, 2017 12:00 pm
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