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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fishy on a little dishy

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Our family - the in-laws and us - have booked our holidays for Summer 2018 and, in a huge break in tradition, we're NOT going to North Yorkshire: shock! horror! How will I cope without a railway to ride or places to walk?! Easy: we're going to Snowdonia! Yes, twelve of us have booked a cottage in the middle of nowhere - 20 miles from Blaenau Ffestiniog and about the same from Llanberis - so I think I've just answered that particular question. The aim will be to walk UP the mountain and catch the train back down again - though I'd better book it soon as the bloody thing is backed up for months. Of course, it also means that on Monday nights I could sneak out to join the Snowdonia Dragons or settle with the Prestatyn Prometheans on a Wednesday or spend Thursday evenings in the company of the Bangor crew...or all three?!

Last night, however, I settled for the first option and availed myself, in daylight, of The Mulberry on the Conwy Marina for some ludological distractioneering:


Another outing for Welcome to Centerville; this time taught to Philip, Aaron and Tom.


'Twas a brisk and breezy 60 minutes and a nail-biting final tot-up with Philip emerging victorious after a disastrous Round 1 (of 3). I'm not sure if they all liked it, though, as it was a relatively silent packing-away.

The table behind us had started light and then borrowed my copy of Nusfjord; during the lull in our Centerville die-rolling, I would glance over my shoulder and gaze enviously at the magnificent table-spread. When the reshuffle - and drinks restocking - had completed, I pulled Fjordy (as no-one is calling it) from my bag almost immediately after it had been put back in. An unusually-buzzing first floor delivered me three others to get a-fishin' in the form of Philip (again), Tom's wife Denise and new-arrival Melanie:


#badteacher Oh dear: 41 points.


Nusfjord is a pleasure to teach because there's not a lot of complexity to impart so, within 10 minutes, we were smoothly away. I eschewed any kind of boats and hoovered up enough shares to keep me well-supplied from the comfort of my harbourside bunker. Melanie (29pts) and Denise (32pts) made excellent use of Elders for building while Philip (25pts) surrounded himself in Forestry combos and spent the entire game taking his forests off his player board and then putting them back on again. I'm not sure I could love this game even more without bursting.

Philip chose something to close - remember that these Cambrians don't like to be out in the Witching hours - and it was his all-time favourite: 7 Wonders.


Just four points in it between first and last!


Another evening under my belt, then, and so back to the B&B through a ghostly Conwy Castle and up the riverside-running Deganwy road. Fortunately, there's just time - after jotting this blog down - for a pre-snooze chapter or two from today's bargain purchase:



It's all very civilized, isn't it?
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16 Comments
Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:45 am
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Nice 'n Spicy!

Anthony Boydell
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It finally seemed like proper Spring as I meandered back to the B&B after a day's training; flumping on to the bed, I caught up with some loose games of 'Gric on boiteajeux.net while the happy sound of chattering tourists rattled my windowpanes. A number of options presented themselves, prone though I was on the deco spread, as potential evening entertainments:
Go to the cinema and (possibly) kill my diet with a delicious double-scoop of Baskin Robins' ice-cream;
Stay in at the digs and borrow one of their DVDs (and probably scoff grapes all evening); or,
take the car out for a sunsetty spin down the coast road to Bangor and play some bloody board games.

So, I decided to stay in...

...no, but pish! I merely jest with you because OF COURSE I decided to go and play some games! It is ridiculous that (just a couple of months ago) it was getting dark as I set out on my evening mission of ludography and now it's still a bit glowy-in-the-distance on the coming back! A brief diversion by way the supermarket for some scrummy end-of-the-day sushi bargains then it was up the whooshing lift to the 5th floor of Pontio's Art Centre; après "ping!", one is dumped in to a quiet area bedecked with tables, foamy chairs and many an earnest student-type gazing - brow-furrowed, bic biro interdental, at their laptops. I scurried quietly by attempting to keep the boxes in my bag rattling like cuboid maracas.



It was an excellent turn-out (with over 20 in total) even though it was just a shade passed 6PM; they like to get their gaming done early in these 'wilder' parts and - indeed - the place had emptied and people were looking at the inside of their lids by 10PM. I, of course, remain awake to document the sessions' delights. To open, Rob - who works at Bangor Uni (of which Pontios is a 'wing') and his son Ethan (?) joined me for some dice-chucking and Welcome to Centerville:



I find myself curiously enamored of this Yahtzee-esque meaty filler and I'm not sure I can tell you why coherently; it's just a feeling I have when I think about playing it. It pleases me with the simple rules: roll/re-roll six dice up to three times then 'spend' them on a variety of actions, score area majority and set collection in two currencies (Income and Prestige) at various times and then the lowest of those two currencies at the end of the game is your final score. It's more than Roll Through The Ages and it's ilk and less of bastard fiddle than Roll For The Galaxy. (Semi-)amusingly, Ethan kept rolling the dice so that they'd bounce on the central board and scatter player cubes in all directions; indeed, this perilous corruption of the game state was further compounded by Ethan's tendency to lean on his player reference and slide it either OFF the table (his weight creasing the cardboard - argh!) OR slide it toward the (aforementioned) board for minor nudging. Anyway, it mattered not because the fight was really for second place between Father and Son as #badteacher I romped away with proceedings.

Things wouldn't be quite so clear-cut when Aaron joined Rob, myself and Yollo (?) for some hot, spicy Goa action:



Both Yollo and Rob were in virgin territory here, so there was much for them to take in and they did tickle along for a couple of respectable scores (29 and 31); on the other hand, the very LAST action of the game was from Aaron playing an Exploration card that allowed himself to sell 10 spices for 3 dukats a-piece and edged past my own 28 cash to claim the 'richest player' 3pt bonus! This took him from 44 to 47 and me, consequently, from 44 to 41! Robbed, I say! It turns out Yollo and Rob have a great many other fantastic games of the Goa Era to explore - Princes of Florence and El Grande to name but two - so I need to find an excuse to be up here on Thursday evening more often!
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Fri Apr 6, 2018 6:50 am
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The Sundowner

Anthony Boydell
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I find myself in a deeply emotional state. Since Christmas, I have been taking pills to reduce my anxiety levels and, until a couple of weeks ago, they were working great; really great. Unfortunately, a side-effect is a form of IBS and after waking in the early hours with a screamingly-painful back and a hot ache in my stomach (the rest of this section is REDACTED), I decided to stop taking them: that was a couple of weeks ago. Now, amidst the usual maelstrom of stresses that accompany high-profile ICT deliveries, the blissful calm that enveloped me throughout January has vaporized and - once more - I find myself vulnerable to panic attacks and over-sensitivity. I am hating my job again; actually, more accurately, I am hating some people with whom I work and I hate myself for feeling this way - perhaps the drugs wearing off have had a further side-effect, a sort of amplification?


Near. Far. Where-eeeeeeh-ver you are...
(discovered in the Car Park; he's run aground on the Beech!)


I am in North Wales again but I avoided calling for an ad hoc games evening on Tuesday and then backed out of both the Prestatyn Wednesday and a Bangor Thursday; I have spent three evenings shut away in the quietude of the B&B. After a particularly irritable phone call yesterday - me in North Wales, everyone else in Cardiff and nought between us but a Conference Phone - I picked up a shitty KFC supper and decided to visit a part of Llandudno I had not, in the four years I have been coming here, visited before: the Great Orme.


A disappointingly scruffy start: the hotel at the (land) end of the Pier



You're soon away from it all - just after the not-operating-yet Toll Booth.



Looking back at the Pier.



Dirty, damp vaults; I prefer a good Cathedral.



The sunset shines on Little Orme: a breathtakingly simple pleasure.




I met a guy called Ali who unfolded some crash mats from the boot of his car and started free-climbing; slathering his hands in chalk dust and probing the rock for holds, he happily chatted with me. A chilly wind began to sough across the flat sea so I took my leave.




Sunset over Anglesey and the Menai Strait.



An orange glow in the cold Welsh evening and a wide, wide surrounding.




My thoughts, as I trudged to false peak after false peak, dwelled upon change: wouldn't it be poetic if this first, well-overdue circumnavigation of the nub of the Creuddyn Peninsula - a headland with which I have become more-than-passingly familiar from a distance - spelled the end of my time with the Welsh Government? The closing of the circle, if you will.


Abbott and Costello greet me in the Cambrian dusk.
They were no bloody help at all.



There's a shipwreck down there; in my slippy work shoes I wasn't going to hazard it, though. The dew was already pearling on the heather, the stubby grass and the sheep dung.



I return to Llandudno's West Beach (having started from the Promenade on it's East); Conwy Castle in the distance and the snowy Snowdonians at the very back.


I really couldn't face any smalltalk-ery so I tip-toed up the stairs, avoiding the creaks - and any unnecessary fellow-guest banter - by keeping to the wall. Snicking the door lock, I signed in to Amazon Prime and lost myself in the grace and beauty of Arrival while an owl hooted, urgently, on the cliff behind the hotel. I feel sick.
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Fri Mar 9, 2018 6:50 am
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Breese-ing in then Breese-ing out again

Anthony Boydell
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Mrs B was off at a funeral (a Great Aunt) for the day, so I was in charge of various runnings-about. A morning of Conference Calls was a tiresome time-hoover (and ache-er of ear) and, indeed, being trapped in the building awaiting the imminent arrival of the Cooker engineer was also somewhat of a bind; he, naturally, arrived AT THE VERY END of his projected 'window' to replace a short-circuited induction hob:


Mundane magnets.


Finally able to boil a proper brew with our whistling kettle, I'd just settled down for chai tea and a custard creme when rappetty-tappetty-rap went the front door and the friendly visage of Mr Richard Breese leaned in to view. Richard and I have been meaning to get together and sort out some serious play-testing for a while now (a couple of years, in fact) but - finally - our diaries converged and here he was.

After a delicious nut roast bolognese (Mr B is vegetarian), the weekend was scheduled to start with a relaxing visit to the Ross-on-Wye boardgamers at The Plough Inn. Wendy was there (again) too, as was pal-from-the-Internets Peter, so we were a robust six to start; as I posted yesterday, we stayed together as one group for a run at Keyflow/Key Flow ie. Keyflower: The Card Game.

In summary: It's 7 Wonders meets Keyflower. Players are drafting cards that are either buildings or meeples with which to activate buildings over four seasons; all of the familiar iconography is there in an intuitive and slightly-more-forgiving spin-off.



Richard pipped me in final Winter card scoring and the whole table pronounced it a hit; I believe this is the 2018 offering from R&D Games so that's one pre-order already sorted for Spiel!

We split for the second half and I introduced Richard (with Becky - just arrived - and Jobbers) to my current addiction: Nusfjord. It's crazy but when I think of the next gaming session, I think of Nusfjord and I get all looky-forwardy-excitedy-tummy about it; I believe I have become a litte infatuated. See below for my trumphantly-comfortable victory tableau scoring a career best of forty one (41):


Sometimes everything just falls perfectly in to place!




Saturday dawned bright and crisp-with-frost so it was breakfast, the brewing of beverages and a Breesian run at saving a failing spaceship:


Lost In Space: Lux Aeterna provides Richard with some vacuum-packed decisions!


Managing to avoid a totally-wrecked ship (and not falling in to the Black Hole), Richard scored a paltry 18 points but was happy to have made it to the end in one piece! Lux is pretty much done-and-dusted now, bar the magnificent plan I have for the Art and Design. We repaired to the Library room for some serious playtestery, leaving the kitchen to the mid-morning bustle of scoffing teenagers:


The Foothills of Snowdonia: In this set-up featuring Snowdon itself!


Jobbers and Boffo would be joining us around lunchtime, so Richard and I played through a full 'Foothills' in just over an hour. The core railway (and Snowdonia-esque) elements are the same but the action selection mechanism - card flipping Concordia-like headache-ery - is a recent Boffonian revelation...and it worked an absolute dream! Apart from one card effect that 'expired' as the game entered the final stages and effectively locked Richard out of a specific action (an easy fix), it was a resilient game from which 'the iconography needs a little tweaking' was the main comment. Hanno, (Lookout Games' main man) is coming to the UK Games Expo this year and I really wanted to be able to show him a functioning prototype of this; we're well on track for that now! Richard even complimented us (Ben) on the innovative mechanic when he turned up for an afternoon of deep Keyper action:


If you thought there were too many animals in Keyper already..!


The Keyper expansion adds fish, mussels, lobsters, crabs and squid (!) along with colour-themed Fishing Boats, more standard and bag-dwelling buildings, a Fish Market _and_ a slightly fuzzy (but it works) flattening out of the Seasons. In the latter element, there are no fixed Season 'ends'; players can claim a board and then transition it to the next Season while other boards are still processing the prior - there's a sort of 'double' Keyper retrieval-of-workers going on. TO be honest, my grasp of BASE Keyper was non-existent given my massive confusion on first play (see a previous Blog entry) so I ended up playing a traditional game and ignored all the new stuff. Jobbers had not played at all before so did pretty much the same, leaving Boffo and Richard to mess about in boats for the most part. One thing for certain is that I actually began to understand what was going on and what I needed to do; this led me to a fantastically-pleasing 2nd place (after three hours), edging Boffo in to 3rd and only missing out from conquering Mr Breese by 11 points! It certainly felt like I had more elbow room than before and was great fun to play; the Seasonal changes, however, were still a bit befuddling even having seen them in action - however, this is a 2019 release so plenty of time to smooth off the rough edges!

The sun was setting and thoughts turned to a slap-up Nepalese curry takeout supper, so lighter fayre - this time initiated (and able to be played) by Arthur - was in order:


The Kingbrick is dead; long live Cube Quest!


Many, many finger-flicking conflicts ensued with Richard taking on - and beating - all-comers; who knew this Euro stalwart had it in 'im?! To close off the evening before Match of the Day (a Breesian must-see), Mrs B and Benedict and Arthur and Richard and Me scampered about the Overcoat Stately Home for the daft card-driven chaos that is The Black Overcoat Game. Richard compared it to favourably to Talisman - one of his top 10 games - and rounded off the session by powering up his Prototype Jet Boots, shoving the rest of us out of the way and whooshing up the main stairwell to the Attic and Victory:


To the victor, the spoils! (in this case, a small cardboard chit with a sketch of a Chest on it)




Sunday was the copy of Saturday and lit up the ice crystals with blue skies and brightness; no time for any more play as Richard had a rendezvous at Goodrich Castle and I needed to sort out my socks for the week.

What a marvellous couple of days!
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Mon Feb 26, 2018 6:20 am
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Here Be Dragons!

Anthony Boydell
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Tucked up safe and warm in the toasty comfort of Room 4 (or "The Boydell Suite" as it is now known) of my Llandudno digs, I can hear the storm howling outside and I am glad. For the third week running I have been able to avail myself of the generous company of The Snowdonia Dragons and later, as the wind whips along the back alleys pressed up against the mighty Orme, repair to my laptop for the write-up. I couldn't just make a nest of the many pillows and drop off immediately; no, indeed, I must empty my head of the day's events first.

To start, I'd prepared the way (via the BGG Guild) for a play test of my Snowdonia:Wye Valley Tourer expansion which, originally, started life as 'the B side' to a smaller Darjeeling and Himalaya scenario. The Wye Valley Tourer adds tunnels (co-opted by the recent 1881 Channel Tunnel), a couple of lucrative-the-more-you-build 'bridge' cards and the drinking of tea. With a postcard of 'bonuses', you send your Surveyor up and down the valley in search of delightful tourist spots in which to sup a brew - provided it's not raining - which, in turn, allows you to 'tick off' your postcard in return for points and/or bonus resources or actions.


Sarah, Bernie and Ed take a break from all that hard work!


It was a slow start with quite a lot of rain (ie. almost ALL rain) that cleared up in to a scorching Summer; the four of us drifted off along different paths (Sarah: a bit of everything including a tie for the most tunnel sections, Me: failing to complete my contract cards but clearing my Postcard, Ed: Track and Tea and Bernie: the Tunnel and Track King). We were done in 90 mins and, for a play-test, I thought it went excellently; the three 'new bits' worked smoothly, it's now down to a re-scanning of the contract cards to sort out a couple of minor inconsistencies! The aim is to have it ready for the forthcoming 3rd Edition Kickstarter campaign (Summer, I believe) along with a little tribute to my pal Peter: "The Bluebell Line".

The table in the opposite corner had finished it's Altiplano shenanigans, so we were able to mix things up a bit; in the end we seemed to have only swapped Ed for Aaron, so it was back to our table for a daft WP-ish filler from the makers of the excellent The King of Frontier:


Little Town Builders: King of Frontier 2?!


In summary: place a worker on the board in a free space and then gain resources from the 8 spaces around you OR spend resources to build and place a building. As the game progresses those 8 spaces will cover your buildings and those of other players; in the latter case you must pay the owner $1 to use that building's effect. Buildings are worth points, conversion of resources into points can be done on buildings, secret goals can be attained in-game for points and money is also VPs (3:1). You play four rounds, feeding your workers fish/grain at the end of each one, and then you see who has the most points.

Quick and fun, this is another daft gem from the East; I'm not sure I'd pay 60 euros + postage for it, but it was a hoot nonetheless.

Plenty of time to go yet, so one went up to one's elbows in Bernie's bag to tug out a couple of trinkets; firstly, something with quite a good rep from all I've heard and read:



In summary: Play cards from your hand to your tableau OR to a central 'Capital' that matches the suit (there are four). If you play to a capital, you gain a bonus of some kind (a gold, a card draw, a secret modifier or a low card from a capital); if you play to your tableau, you're setting up majority scoring at the end of each of the three rounds AND your final total too. The trick is to avoid the total value of cards in a suit in your tableau exceeding the total value of cards played to the matching capital in the middle of the table: if you do, you might be in line for scoring bonuses, if you don't you lose all of your collected cards in that suit!

A clever little decision brewer, I thought it would go down well 'at home' so I offered to buy it from Bernie (who had previously mentioned he wasn't likely to play it with 'just two'); he paused for a moment and then simply handed it to me as a gift - how utterly wonderful, how stupendously civilised!

I repaid this fulsome generosity by crushing him at our final game: DragonFlame...


In summary: It's Coloretto with special abilities and mixed scoring opportunities!


While the others were fighting over chests and 'hard VP' treasures, my Wyvern burned up a series of villages and amassed a collection of unique statuary for a comfortable victory; not even a vindictively-donated -3 point Knight from Sarah could dent my Smaugian triumph.

Next week I shall be training folk in Merthyr Tydfil and my Wintry sojourn of gaming luxury will come to an end. I'll be back in the Spring, though, which is something very much to look forward to!
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Tue Feb 13, 2018 6:30 am
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Rise Of The Machines

Anthony Boydell
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Inspired by my Friday messin' about, I present - for your Snowdonian delectation - the following:




Cost: Remove your 3rd worker from the game(the march of progress, eh?)

i) When resolving a Stock Yard action, you may use your worker to take all iron ore above the 5th and all stone above the 3rd and all coal above the 2nd in to your supply; if you do, this replaces the normal Stock Yard action.
This ability is not modified by contract card effects (as it replaces the core Stock Yard action).

ii) You may take the Foundry/Works action ([C]) without placing a worker (resolve it after all other players have resolved their [C] actions).

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Mon Feb 5, 2018 6:50 am
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Moon Over Prestatyn

Anthony Boydell
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There was a full moon over Colwyn Bay on a drizzling January evening as I beetled along the North Wales expressway in Mrs B's Nissan Micra (my Touran having suffered a dashboard-illuminating tantrum last week and now in the 'shop' for £600 worth of repairs *gasp*). It's fun rallying along the meandering Welsh roads in a tiny car but not so much fun when the wind gusting off the Irish Sea is threatening to tip one over and roll one up the bloody hillside! Thankfully, I made it to Prestatyn in plenty of time (and the right way up) to purchase my usual Marks & Spencer Food Hall Supper but, disappointingly, found the sea-front car park gates closed: no thousand-yard staring out at the beacons on the wind farm and DEFINITELY no ankle-dragging cuss words in to the flat sand #sadface.

The Beach House was just warming up for the evening and the gamers were arriving in fits-and-starts; at one point a couple of Tramps (that's 'hobos' for our American cousins) shambled in and looked like they were about to kick off and piss on our chips when I realised they were just Mark and Paul: club illuminati (if scruffy as fuck):


Not a bottle of meths or a dog-end between 'em.


Suitably soft-beveraged, we repaired to the upstairs room and promptly split in to a five for the excellent Peloponnes and four for tiresome Seasons. Peloppers - as no one is calling it - fair blistered along; the two of us who had played it before (and remembered it ie. me and Ed) managed our twin scores well enough to survive the disasters and end on a creditable pair of mid-to-late 20s scores. The others, rather distracted, failed to juggle the demands of their hungry populations and fell victim to the classic 'Ponnes' kick in the teeth: ending the game with 30+ points in buildings and a sad handful of citizens between 'em. Jeremy and Daffydd seemed unperturbed but Yvonne was visibly steaming with frustration - I fear this one is off her Christmas list.

She was still unsettled as we prevaricated over game number two and snuck off to a side table for a solo Fields of Arle while I taught my umpteenth game of Calimala! Jeremy and Ed were donating to buildings with such enthusiasm that Daffydd and I left them to it and built fleets of ships and the collective noun for trading houses of trading houses instead. It was all neck-and-neck, nip-and-tuck around the first corner of the score board as Ed, Jeremy and I hoovered up the scorings; Daffydd was being cut out of points by poor tie-breaks though, fortuitously, it was his hidden scoring card that provided me with the one extra point to steal the victory from Jeremy at the very last! Huzzah for me...and huzzah for Calimala!



Jeremy departed (and Yvonne was still arsing about with Arles) so D, E and me Rolled for the Galaxy to see the session out; I don't feel a burning urge to play this game but whenever I end up doing so, I have an absolute blast.

The journey home - now moonless thanks to rain clouds - was stormier but I was cocooned in a warm cockpit by the transcendent melodies of Dark Side Of The Moon. The whole effect was quite poetic especially when an ambulance sirened passed in a blur of spray and blue light to the strains of Time / The Great Gig In The Sky...

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Thu Feb 1, 2018 6:40 am
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The Company Of Dragons

Anthony Boydell
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The Snowdonia Dragons have decamped from the windy wilds of the Conwy golfing dunes to a snug, marina-side trendy Pub called The Mulberry; it was all open-plan pine-clad with an upstairs balcony bar perfect for gobbing on the general morass below. It being January, there was no morass to be seen, not even a mild hubbub. It was a notably small - for the Dragons - turnout with just about nine of us so after a brief catch-up about Christmas etc, it was down to some gaming...after all, I'd come here for my mental health after a four hour drive through (a bleak) mid-Wales and the prospect of a whole working week away from home.

Daffydd, Yvonne and Jeremy seemed to have pre-booked a Terraforming Mars sesh and were fully-loaded in one corner with Elysium, Corporate Era and Venus Next for good measure; Aaron was spinning lighter fayre in the other. Ed and a flu-recovering Tim joined me for some disc stacking, area majority fun:


Calimala for three?


It was clear, very quickly, that Ed was getting an absolute flyer; by the end, he almost needed to use his +50 token (unheard of)! I'd blame it all on him drawing 'Ship' and 'Cloth' cards while I kept drawing 'Bricks' and 'Donate', if I was a sore loser, which I'm not so I'll keep it to myself. Tim, almost nodding off in a fug of poorliness, dragged himself through the proceedings with the fabric warehouse he started with but was only picking up mostly-third place scraps.

Quickly done, Aaron joined us from an adjacent table clutching a skinny box of brainfuck & mindtwist a.k.a John Company:


Oddly co-operativeWorkerFamily placement with a sprinkling of Chicago Express?!


Basically, you're all involved in running the Company and making decisions about purchasing, trade and conflict; taking kickbacks from shipyards and factories that supply the Company that, in turn, supply the Indian regions for the Company's profit. Buy shares to get dividends, train up your peeps to take roles in management or the Armed Forces; all to earn cash to reinvest in the departments of the Company and - ultimately - to line your own pockets. It's a Cole Wehrle game so you get no bloody help from the game about what to do, how to do it or - most importantly - how to get through the entire game without tanking the Company. We made it to Round 3 when a horrible dice role on trade denied us $17 essential dollars and collapsed everything; three of us had family members in key positions shamefully-sacked (with their attendant VP penalty) while Tim - thousand yard staring at the busy board through rheumy eyes - was the only one NOT with a negative score! It was a lot of (obtuse) fun, though, and I'm glad I got to play it as I'm never likely to play it anywhere else!

With about an hour left - and Tim zombie-lurching homeward for a hot water toddy - Aaron, Ed and I settled in for a no-fuss Nusfjord; it's fab when one doesn't have to do any explaining and one can just get stuck in:



Apart from discovering we've been playing one (minor) rule wrong in Ross-on-Wye, this was the usual mix of tight decisions and good timing; indeed, managing to buy three shares (two of them my own) in Round Two set me up for a stable fish income. As always, the buildings were important and a deft final round juggling of wood and Elders netted me 6VPs - just enough to keep me ahead of Aaron who had been fishing with his Forests instead of boats! This game just keeps going up-and-up in my estimation: a corker!
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Tue Jan 30, 2018 6:35 am
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Anthony Boydell
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Time was when UK gamers had GenCon to look forward to and Baycon and, perhaps, a smattering of other bits and pieces around the place - usually hosted University campuses 'off Term'. I remember catching the train with pals for a Play-by-Mail convention in Sheffield, for goodness sake (we're talking mid-to-late 80s). Manorcon and Midcon, The Cast Are Dice, Dragonmeet, Dragondaze, Salute, Sorcon and the UK Games Expo. One's calendar is now bursting with a fecundity of gatherings that would make my 20 year old self blush with embarrassment; for example, in the next few weeks alone we have:



I'd actually penciled Handycon in to my mental diary but forgot to book any tickets; I'd love to go up to North Wales but - oddly - I'm going to be in the area during the weeks either side of the Con but not available at the weekend. OxCon was fun a couple of years back but I shall be holding the Fort at Boydell HQ that weekend and can't get a Pass out. There's a long haul, via Shrove Tuesday, through February until March where there's something happening oop North:



Too bloody far away? Not really, it's just that I couldn't get permission to sneak away twice in the same month and - to be honest - it was never going to beat this St David's Day (and long weekend) beauty of International gaming shenanigans:



I missed Leiriacon in 2017 but, with the blessings (and euros) of Surprised Stare Games, I get to go along this year! Four days of beer-ing it up networking with some of the best designers and players Europe has to offer and, I believe, Heavy Cardboard's Edward and Amanda flying in too. Mac Gerdts is a special guest and, of course, one can't escape the larger-than-life presences of the most excellent Messrs Paulo Soledade and Nuno Bizarro Sentieiro!

It's going to be a hoot, I'm certain and it'll be enough to keep me ticking along until the Expo in Birmingham in June and then the long Summer haul towards Spiel. Phew! This gaming lark is ruddy hard work!
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Wed Jan 17, 2018 6:20 am
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Playing with yourself for fun AND profit!

Anthony Boydell
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It's December, so:

Marty "26 days until summer" Malone
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is running his annual Snowdonia solo challenge ie. who can score the highest given a specific starting condition.

It runs from Today to the 31st and peeps are encouraged to play, post photos and write up their experiences (good and bad). I like to throw in some prizes too, as it's so rewarding seeing such direct love for my little board game!



This year the scenario is...NO TRAIN ie. who can score the highest with just two labourers per Round? If you're interested in taking part then here's the place to go:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/200307/item/5798056#i...

Good luck and happy steaming!
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Fri Dec 1, 2017 6:25 am
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