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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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18ELC - Train games just got HARD!

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Follow me as I unbox and, then, try to make sense of my newest train game acquisition!

Part 1:
Spoiler (click to reveal)


Part 2:
Spoiler (click to reveal)


Part 3:
Spoiler (click to reveal)

(apologies for the orientation; I remain befuddled by modern technology)


"Phew!" is all I can say, frankly; I'm not convinced this 18XX lark is really for me. I'm glad I tried it, though - better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all etc.
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Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:17 am
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a la recherche du temps perdu (encore)

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In the distant, misty TV memories of the 1970s I recall - as Christmas approached - the relentless, raging torrent of adverts for cooking utensils (razor sharp, micro-thin blades with which to flay oneself in pursuit of a salad), mail-order vinyl LP collections (the entire Beatles back catalogue performed on Zither & Cowbell, Elvis: The Bathroom Years, Richard Clayderman Plays Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music etc) and vibrant, 3D, clatteringly-plastic board games:



While scoffing a biscuit (or two) and watching Saturday morning TV with Arthur, yesterday, we were assailed by a six minute advertising break - SIX minutes - of repeating 15 second segments: pet toys, 'jewellery making kits' and...er, huzzah???...board games:


(clockwise from top left) A farting cow; balloon punching frenzy; hairy 'chin'anigans (!); and an alarming dildo dexterity game (that actually shouts "Play With Me!").


I really shouldn't grumble: it's a step in the right direction, I suppose...

...isn't it?

shake

Obligatory Sunday Participation Question:
What 3d/plastic-y games do YOU recall fondly from decades past?
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Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:45 am
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It was twenty (three) years ago today...

Anthony Boydell
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...Henry Burrows taught us Devs to play!

Twenty [EDIT] three [/EDIT] years ago, I was working as a Civil Servant in Cheltenham and we were a small team working on a juicy little IT project. We were supported by a team from an external supplier and I remember the morning that I popped in to their Dev room - at the (far) end of the corridor - for our traditional start the day caffeine brew: Henry was fart-arsing about with an brownish, oblong box:



"What's THAT?" I queried, shoving another McVities Ginger Nut in to my mouth. He proceeded to give me a brief overview of a new trade-able card game called Magic: The Gathering.

"Oh that sounds interesting," I replied, "perhaps I'll stop by FORMAT* after work and pick one of those gift boxes up."

By the end of that very same week, I had bought a gift box for myself (Plateau was one of the rares) and one for my mate Rob (he got a Taiga); I'd scraped up enough spare change to pull out a few extra booster packs AND learned the "see through the thin white plastic" trick.

Within a month, we - me and Rob and Henry and Steve and Paul - were attending a weekly Monday-evening meetup at The Three Crowns pub on the opposite side of Cheltenham. There I met a chap called Vic who traded his shit rares away for our (unknown to us) much more valuable dual lands and - most importantly - Mr Alan Paull and Mr Mark Stansfield who, in conversation, revealed themselves to be "game designers".

Co-located for work, Mark and I began playing prototypes during the lunch hour and from this fecund period came "Bloody Legacy", "Coppertwaddle" and "Ivor the Engine".

I chucked in the life of a permanent employee and became a Contractor; staying in Reading, Monday-to-Friday, and now - fully addicted to M:TG - motorbiking weekly to Swindon and Hemel Hempstead and Maidenhead for Drafts. I met Peter and Russell and Richard and Jimmy and Martin and Brett and Jamie and Matt and Alice and Paul and Phil and Dave and Hazel and Claire and Keef and a hundred other gamers.

During the 15 years that I was a Magic fiend, I possessed the Power Nine on two separate occasions, got a paid gig writing comedy articles for a US web site and managed to reach the dizzy heights of 54th at the UK Nationals; it also put a strain on my marriage as well as my wallet. When, in 2008, I sort-of gave it up forever and - like giving up smoking - it has not troubled me since.

Of course, I can't (and shouldn't) hate it nor should I try and blur/rewrite the history of something that quite literally changed my life; without Henry's mundane, workplace introduction, I'd never have set out on this incredible, rewarding journey: Every Mana Needs A Shed?!

*the only place in Cheltenham to get board and card games in 1995
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Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:04 am
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Beer Goggles

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The tummy tremble that accompanies every fleeting thought of an approaching Essen is tempered by the sheer clarity of my memory of catching the Ferry to Dunkerque for the last bloomin' one!

I ask myself "Where has the year gone?" and sigh in to my foamy Latte, but the thing is I do know where the year has gone and it scares the bee-cheeses out of me: life? It will get you in the end!

My 50th birthday approaches (November) and I'll be having an extended gaming weekend from the 10th to the 12th*: Friday night through to the Sunday afternoon at a local (real ale-serving) Pub with a reasonably-big back room and it'll be all back to mine for through-the-night gaming, if needed.

Actually, I'm even MORE excited because I'm working with a local brewery (http://bespokebrewery.co.uk/) to get 144 bottles of their Going off half-cocked beer delivered with a custom label:


What do you think?


Slllllp, aaah! Delicious! I may have to get another batch in time for 2018's UK Games Expo and Spiel too, no?

*if you're in the area, why not stop by?
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Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:20 am
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The Rodeo to Damascas

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Another curio from the travels of Phileas Boydell; this time it's a jigsaw - well, actually, it's FOUR jigsaws with very similar (but not the same) pictures of rodeos - that are all mushed together and the pieces then dealt out to each player.



Build your jigsaw then, in a sort of PIT meets 7 WONDERS drafting/passing frenzy, one swaps the useless bits for similarly (to the others) useless bits.



If you finish your jigsaw first - so it matches the image on the inside of your Dungeon Master-style player shield - then you are declared the winner! Everyone else grumbles on while you go and sort out the tea and crumpets.



Two quid this cost me - this oddity from the mid 1970s - and I feel that I should be able to do something with this rather splendid premise to bring it in to the 21st gaming century: cue the SdJ 2018!

#iwish #itprobablyhasafatpatent #theydidthatwithgamesbackthen
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Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:15 am
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Minnellium 2000!

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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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Bossman

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At this very special time, when one considers the sacrifice paid for the redemption of humanity, one's thoughts also turn - naturally - to promotional Snowdonia trains. That and chocolate.

It's nothing to do with Easter...unless by 'Guvnor' you mean 'Jesus Christ' and by the ability you mean 'Is always with us'? Anyway...


(this is actually a little pressie to my favourite Facebook board game group)

At the end of the round you may leave one of your workers on their action space; in the next round the worker will take that action.


Happy Easter!
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Sun Apr 16, 2017 6:25 am
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This is the Bee Bee Sea...

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Apologies if you can't access it but, for those of you that can, this is a rare example of
a) British broadcast media giving a shit about board games, and
b) it not being a massive fountain of Monopoly-obsessed bollocks.





It helps a great deal, of course, that the utterly splendid Mr James Wallis is involved: the man's a balm for the gaming soul, he really is.

Let me know what you think, below...
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Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:31 am
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Big & Bouncy!

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Pickins' have been slim in the Charity Shops of Gloucestershire in recent months; it's almost as if gamers have been paying much more attention (and much less money) for those Euro goodies (old and new) that ended up as gifts for non-gamer relatives. We've all done it: popped a minty-fresh copy of Carc or Catan or High Frontier in to Cousin Bubba's stocking in the vain hope we could make him like us, only to find him aggressively-resistant and preferring to pick his arse in front of Match of the Day instead. Or is it just me?

Thus, it took another 'away from the usual haunts' trip to happen upon a back-street Llandudno antique warehouse and - amidst the crates, drinks cabinets and stuffed geese - a remembered gem from the 1970s:


Rebound: It's almost a metre long, missus.


Back then, the TV would be saturated with adverts for this and a hundred other board games (Waddington, Milton Bradley, Parker, Spears et al); it was a pre-Trivial Pursuit era - a sort of British Silver Age - before that Q&A monster killed the fun for a million families for the next 30 years. Never mind all that; Arthur and I will be getting stuck in to this barking, bouncy shove ha'penny nonsense as soon as he gets back from his last day at school for 2016!

Finally, here's something to rekindle the Christmas fire in your bellies - I defy you NOT to feel all tinsel-strewn and 'five years old all over again' dewy-eyed:

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Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:52 am
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Game-Plan

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I mentioned, a short while back, that I'd been invited to the preview of a new exhibit at the Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood (http://www.vam.ac.uk/moc/):

Game Plan: Board Games Rediscovered


This seemed like the perfect opportunity for Mrs B and myself to get some well-earned R&R given that the kids would be at College/School for most of the day anyway. Thus, Grandparent-ly babysitting was secured and Thursday the 6th of October, 2016 was ours to do with as we would! First up was the cross-country drive, over the Oxford plain and under a clear, hot Autumn sky, to High Wycombe - an old haunt from my working-in-London days and one that offered us the simplest, most flexible access to 'the big smoke'. It was lunchtime as the two-carriage 'local service' beetled in to Marylebone Station so we broke up the underground jaunt directly to Bethnal Green (and a good job too as it's quite "informal") by getting off the Central Line at St Pauls. Our repast was buritos - purchased from an inaudible-above-the-atmospheric-shop-music staff - and consumed within the grounds of St Pauls Cathedral. We strolled down Cheapside, cut across in to Gresham Street (paying my respects to the defunct Red Herring pub - see blog posts from 2011 and 2012) then along to a rather splendid piece of architecture...you might recognise it:


(clockwise, from top-left) Mrs B is exasperated by my preoccupation with the Guildhall; the V&A Museum of Childhood (it looks like a Victorian Tram-shed but, apparently, it was purpose built a few years back); St Pauls - splendidly massive - watches, implacably, as my soggy burito disintegrates over my chin and chest; and a black - BLACK?! - telephone box?


Riding perhaps the city's squeakiest/squealing-est tube train the remainder of the way from Bank to Bethnal Green, we emerged next to a scruffy intersection and walked the last 200 yards to the museum itself. It's FREE to enter and, at this time of day (about 3PM), remarkably free of visitors; there was plenty of room (and time) to amble about, hands clasped behind one's back, admiring the many nostalgic treasures. In particular - and I hope you'll forgive me for going on about it all over again - was the Smallfilms installation; a shipping container-sized space filled with pictures, paintings, models, equipment, puppets and other ephemera related to my most favourite memories of childhood EVER: Peter Firmin, Oliver Postgate, Ivor the Engine, Noggin the Nog, Poggle's Wood, The Clangers and Bagpuss. Mrs B is still somewhat-miffed that she was unable to come with me on my two 'special trips' whilst developing Ivor the Engine but I think seeing these priceless artifacts 'in the flesh' has gone some way to de-miffing:


(clockwise, from top-left) Noggin the Nog - note the splendid 'Ice Dragon' and the tiny, richly-coloured animation parts; Poggle's Wood puppets (the Witch, also there, is not shown to prevent nightmares); the Bagpuss tableau replete with the old moggy himself and the LEGENDARY marvellous, mechanical mouse organ; and Clangers (and froglets...and a soup dragon)


It is impossible to convey in words, no matter how many times I try, the absolute crushing wonderfulness of the Smallfilms ouevre; it is sublime and utterly perfect.


Men at work plus a couple of 'grand views' of the Museum


Time oozed slowly in the echoing chamber and the odd, dusky light of the museum; the two of us meandered amongst the glass cabinets and the interactive areas ("Watch out! flying wooden blocks ahoy!") examining almost everything in detail...BECAUSE WE COULD! By the good Lord, it's been twenty years since we have been allowed to go at our own pace rather than be chivvied along by restless offspring: "Is it time to go yet?", "I'm hungry!" and "I'm bored now" being the usual, predictable, refrains. Not so today, huzzah! So, with the 'upstairs' still unseen, we broke for a cup of tea and some delicious cakes:



The afternoon gave way to the evening and I do believe we'd managed to see almost EVERY exhibit. Other friends and gaming world colleagues would be gathering imminently, so Mrs B and I went for a quick once around the park before bumping in to Efka from the No Pun Included YouTubes channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/NoPunIncluded) and the United Kingdom's Tallest & Most Gentlemanly Game Designer Mr James Wallis. The Museum staff asked us all to come back inside, as we were making the forecourt look untidy, so we spent the remaining 45 minutes before the Game Plan preview chinnywagging in the cafeteria.

Game Plan: Board Games Rediscovered


Amongst the friends and benefactors of the museum, a number of other familiar people appeared including Matt Leacock (he gets EVERYWHERE, F.F.S), David Parlett, the UK Games Expo's terrible trio (Richard, Tony and Pat) and Dávid Turczi (Days of Ire). We grabbed ourselves complimentary booze items, a handful of savoury nibbles and drank in the day's raison d'être:


Old Games!



Interesting Games!



Fascinating Games!



You want to see the original Pandemic prototype, you say?



Challenging , yet fun, activities!



Goodies to take home!


It was great! "Game-Plan" is a colourful, thoughtfully-curated and always-interesting pitched-to-the-masses timeline of our hobby from Senet through to Pandemic. So, while the 'modern games' section might have been lacking in anything beyond "Carc" and "TtR", I was stunned by the beauty of the vintage games on display; even a moralistic 'Snakes & Ladders' provided some wicked chuckles!

Ultimately, though, I got to spend 12 exclusive hours in the company of my best friend heart
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Sat Oct 8, 2016 6:40 am
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